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Disaster Movie

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Choose your doom.note 

Peter: [T]his city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean "biblical"?
Ray: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor. Real wrath-of-God-type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
Egon: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes!
Winston: The dead rising from the grave!
Peter: Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!

Films whose plots revolve around something huge, horrible, and natural heading towards the protagonists, and their reactions to it.

About half have the main characters trying to stop the disaster somehow, while the other half have them simply trying to survive. In both varieties, viewers are introduced to large casts that exist solely to be killed off in various ways by the disaster and its side effects. Meteors, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, and catastrophic climate change are among the popular subjects. People who watch these movies are typically Just Here for Godzilla.

The genre became incredibly popular in The '70s, with Irwin Allen becoming (in)famous for making a number of these movies. Eventually, like all trends in Hollywood, it burned itself out, finally being killed when Airplane! tore into the genre. Modern special effects helped revive the disaster movie in The '90s, until certain events made scenes of cataclysmic destruction rather insensitive. This aversion swiftly passed, therefore making this trope a textbook case of Cyclic National Fascination.

Alien Invasion and especially kaiju movies tend to be very similar in tone to disaster movies, with their focus on destruction.

Not to be confused with the Seltzer and Friedberg movie of the same name.

Common tropes used in the genre:

  • All-Star Cast: For some reason, disaster movies are like magnets for A- and B-list actors.
  • Anyone Can Die: For audiences back then it was genuinely surprising to see big name actors that one assumed were safe die horrific deaths onscreen, as opposed to just the extras.
  • Apocalypse Wow: These movies are big on special effects by necessity to wow the audience.
  • Based on a True Story: Real-life disasters make great inspiration for movies. See here for many examples.
  • Big Dam Plot: Dams appearing on a disaster movie will be severely damaged and/or break, just like the Chekhov's Volcano will always erupt.
  • Cassandra Truth: Often times one or more of the protagonists know about the impending catastrophe, even know how to prevent it, but they are often either a) laughed at/ignored, or b) silenced with threats.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: If the movie features a volcano, it will erupt.
  • Deadline News: The poor newscaster assigned to cover this story is in for it.
  • Death of a Child: For some reason, a lot of these movies show a child getting killed, just in case we've ceased to care by this point.
  • Designated Villain: Sometimes, the character that is intended to be the Jerkass and Hate Sink will be a completely rational and pragmatic character who simply makes reasonable but tough decisions that the other characters don't like. See 2012's Carl Anheuser for what is perhaps the prime example.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Half of the movie will usually be spent on setting up the characters before the disaster takes out a large chunk of them.
  • Doomed Contrarian: Many characters (but most probably the Hate Sink) will continue to go against the heroes regardless of how sensible the heroes' decisions are (or out of a sense of extremely cold pragmatism) up until the disaster kills them off.
  • Fight to Survive: Most disaster movies will at some point have the characters that are left struggling to stay alive.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Applies to some examples in the aftermath of subsequent Real Life disasters. May tread on Distanced from Current Events if the timing is poor.
  • Hate Sink: The main antagonist is the disaster itself, but since one cannot hate a force of nature, a Jerkass character will often be added to serve as an outlet for the bad-guy-hating.
  • Heroic Dog: If there is a medium or large sized dog in the film, it will rescue someone. (typically a child) If it appears to die offscreen during the effort, after twenty seconds of children shedding tears to depressing music, it will be revealed to have survived — happily panting, barking, and wagging its tail and without any apparent injuries.
  • Hollywood Science: After all, you can't let little things like the laws of physics get in the way of some awesome destruction.
  • Ignored Expert: Most films of this genre (except those that focus entirely on civilian survivors), will have a scientist warning authorities of the potential for disaster in the early scenes and not being taken seriously.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Large parts of the audience watch it solely for the disasters themselves, rather than the character subplots around it.
  • Made-for-TV Movie: Since the advent of video tape, TV production has often been cheaper than film. This allows more money for an All-Star Cast and Stuff Blowing Up. (Sometimes called the Movie of the Week or Million Dollar Movie.) Even in the 1970s there were about as many made-for-TV disaster movies as theatrical ones, another reason the genre initially burnt out at the turn of the 1980s.
  • Monumental Damage: Because The White House getting blown up is a lot more awesome than your neighbor's house getting blown up. Unless you really hate your neighbor...
  • Natural Disaster Cascade: Why have just one disaster in the same movie when you can have multiple.
  • Nightmare Fuel: One wonders why none of these movies ever get mentioned when anyone makes a list of the scariest movies of all time, considering how much they work off of common fears like acrophobia and claustrophobia.
  • No Antagonist: The main conflict in these films is caused by a natural disaster, so unless the film adds additional human adversaries to overcome (who often fall in the Designated Villain category), there are effectively no antagonists.
  • One-Word Title: It seems to be popular for the title to be just the name of whatever's trying to kill the heroes i.e. Earthquake, Avalanche, Volcano, Twister, Meteor, etc.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Often many times in a single movie. Substitute "tidal wave", "fault line", "lava flow", Wave-Motion Gun, etc. for fireball as necessary.
  • Popularity Polynomial: Disaster movies went out of fashion twice — the first time being after the genre burned itself out in the late '70s, and the second being the result of September 11th attacks. The 2004 tsunami and Hurricane Katrina didn't help either.
  • Primal Fear: If you're claustrophobic, acrophobic, pyrophobic, or any number of other phobias, you will not have a good time.
  • Red Shirt
  • Relationship-Salvaging Disaster: What better way to integrate the obligatory romantic subplot into a story about a disaster?
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Releases of these films tend to coincide with real life disasters (give or take six months depending on severity of destruction or death tolls)
  • Rule of Cool: See Hollywood Science.
  • Scenery Gorn
  • Shocking Moments: The disaster sequences will most definitely do their damnedest to shock the audience.
  • Spreading Disaster Map Graphic
  • Stuff Blowing Up: First rule of Hollywood: "Anything can explode".
  • Suit with Vested Interests: They're willing to ignore an imminent disaster to protect their investment.
  • Summer Blockbuster: With the budgets that most disaster movies have, it's only natural that they're released in the summer.
  • Token Romance: Most common with films released in The '90s and onward, and very often involves the protagonist's prior unspecified divorce or an upcoming unspecified divorce. It is assumed that their issues get resolved shortly after the film ends.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The films shot in The '70s are replete with groovy fashions and set designs. Films from The '90s are also heading into this.
  • Villainy-Free Villain: The real conflict is the disaster, but writers don't seem to want this film to go without an outright bastard in the cast who antagonizes the heroes (without doing much besides being a Jerkass) and will often receive a Karmic Death.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome (or Special Effect Failure if done wrong)

Examples of disaster movies:


  • Morning Departure (1950): A submarine on routine patrol is sunk by an old Sea Mine. The survivors are trapped on the sea floor, awaiting an uncertain rescue.
  • The High and the Mighty (1954): An Unbuilt Trope example of the genre. Starred John Wayne, who was also co-producer. Its plot, about a plane that suffers engine failure on a flight from Honolulu to San Francisco, would later be copied by Airport.
  • Short Walk to Daylight (1972): A TV movie, where an earthquake strikes New York and a group of passengers in a subway, led by a cop played by James Brolin, must try to find their way back to the streets above after realizing nobody will be looking for them. Quite well liked despite being rather obscure, with a low budget, and notable for taking place entirely underground.
  • Nihon Chinbotsu (Japan Sinks) (1973): Arguably the most successful Japanese disaster film ever, it was followed up by a highly subpar remake in 2006. Subjected to a particularly bad Importation Expansion when it was released in the US. Based on a book by the great sci-fi novelist Sakyo Komatsu, who is mostly known in the Anglosphere for the numerous Shout Outs he gets in work by Osamu Tezuka. See below for its plot.
  • Westworld (1973): Humanoid robots go murderously haywire at a futuristic amusement resort visited by Richard Benjamin and James Brolin.
  • The Towering Inferno (1974): The world's tallest skyscraper is built in San Francisco, but on the day of its dedication, it catches fire and traps partygoers on the top floors. The second of Irwin Allen's disaster movies, and often considered to be one of the best. Stars Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, William Holden, and Fred Astaire among others.
  • Earthquake (1974): An earthquake destroys Los Angeles. Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, and Lorne Greene try to survive. This was the first of a handful of '70s films to use Sensurround, a special surround sound system with a powerful bass line. When the city started to rumble, crumble, and tumble, the bass kicked in to literally shake up audiences.
  • Prophecies of Nostradamus (1974): Japanese movie. Earth goes through a disaster gauntlet, ranging from mutant slugs to city-engulfing fire-storms, to the sky filling with green shit.
  • The Hindenburg (1975): Why did this Real Life disaster happen? The fictional story chronicles the possibility that it was sabotage. A rare case of a Disaster Movie that holds off on the actual disaster until the finale. Notable for the sets being extremely loyal to the real Hindenburg, to the extent that the spectacular, dreamlike airship steals the show. George C. Scott heads the cast.
  • The Big Bus (1976): Genre parody. On the maiden voyage of a luxury transcontinental coach (nuclear-powered, double-decker, equipped with a bowling alley, cocktail lounge, swimming pool, and dining room) the crew must deal with a series of disasters and sabotages.
  • The Cassandra Crossing (1976): A terrorist infected with plague is on a train, so authorities send it in the direction of a bridge too weak to support it. Can the passengers who don't succumb to the illness save themselves?
  • The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977): Three years before they did Airplane!, the ZAZ team included a shorter-form parody of the disaster genre in this movie with the segment "That's Armageddon!" (Featuring Donald Sutherland as the clumsy waiter!)
  • Gray Lady Down (1978): A nuclear U.S. Navy sub sinks after colliding with a Norwegian freighter, trapping its crew and necessitating a dangerous rescue effort.
  • The Swarm (1978) (1978): In another Irwin Allen effort, killer bees attack Texas. Yeah. The genre began dying out with this movie's failure.
  • Avalanche (1978): Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Cyclone (1978): A cyclone devastates the coast of Mexico, bringing down a plane, leaving a glass bottom tour boat adrift, and forcing a group of fishermen to Abandon Ship. The survivors of all three groups are left trapped at sea with little food and water to go around, especially once they come into contact with each other and have to share.
  • The China Syndrome (1979): An odd variant, since it's about the narrow aversion of a disaster (a meltdown at a nuclear plant) and the attempts to cover up what nearly led to it.
  • City on Fire (1979): An unnamed Midwestern city suffers a massive fire when an oil refinery worker loses it and sabotages the place.
  • The Hamburg Syndrome (1979): About the sudden outbreak of a deadly disease in Hamburg and the West German government's attempts to quarantine the city and stop its spread.
  • Meteor (1979): A bunch of nukes built by Sean Connery and Brian Keith versus a giant asteroid. Not as cool as it sounds, sadly.
  • When Time Ran Out... (1980): A volcano in the South Pacific threatens a resort, an oil rig, and a volcano observatory. The final nail in the coffin for the first cycle of disaster films, and Irwin Allen's final theatrically-released film. Even the cast (which included Paul Newman, Jacqueline Bisset, and William Holden) hated it.
  • Airplane! (1980): The Parody of the disaster genre. So effective, it made it nearly impossible for disaster movies to be taken seriously for another thirteen years.
  • The Chain Reaction (1980): A young couple in rural Australia must inform the public of a radiation leak following an earthquake before the corrupt corporate executives responsible can intercept and silence them.
  • Virus (1980): also based on a novel by Sakyo Komatsu, a man-made virus wipes out the human race, save for a group of Antarctic researchers who must take on the task of preserving some sense of civilization. At the time it was the highest budgeted Japanese film, with an All-Star Cast including Masao Kusakari, Sonny Chiba, and Olivia Hussey.
  • Goliath Awaits (1981): A cruise ship sunk in World War II has managed to conserve enough air to keep the survivors alive for decades afterwards, with there being mixed reactions when a rescue party (originally meant as a salvage party) finally arrives, and some of the survivors can't conceive of leaving.
  • The Day After (1983): A very different sort of disaster movie, which is the reason it was able to escape Airplane!'s shadow. It was a TV movie made for ABC about nuclear war between the USA and the USSR. It doesn’t go well. It, along with its British equivalent, was effective enough at showing the result of a nuclear war that it is widely credited (by, among other people, Ronald Reagan) for inspiring the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987.
  • Testament (1983): Another made-for-TV film, this time for PBS, similar to The Day After. The key difference is that rather than focusing on the direct effects of a nuclear exchange like its network counterpart (in fact, outside of a bright flash, said exchange is never shown onscreen), it focuses on a small California town that manages to initially escape being destroyed by the bombs, only to soon deal with the collapse of the outside world, and eventually radioactive fallout. Much less intense and well-known than The Day After, but nonetheless heartbreaking and just as, if not moreso critically acclaimed, to the point of actually getting a theatrical release.
  • Threads (1984): The Transatlantic Equivalent of The Day After, with the added horror (thanks to advances in understanding the effects of nuclear war between 1983 and 1984) of showing the long-term effects of worldwide nuclear war (short version: those who die in the blasts are the lucky ones).
  • Apollo 13 (1995): The true story of the manned space mission that never made it to the Moon.
  • Outbreak (1995): An extremely virulent Ebola-like virus is brought to the U.S. by an infected capuchin monkey sold as a pet and threatens to decimate a small town in California.
  • Twister (1996): Tornadoes in Oklahoma. Helped to revive interest in disaster films, with help from...
  • Independence Day (1996): Aliens blow up the White House, among other world landmarks, and humanity has to figure out how to stop them from doing even more damage. This film turned Will Smith into a superstar and remains one of the few A-level disaster films to have a sequel (Independence Day: Resurgence, released and set 20 years later after both sides of the conflict have rebuilt).
  • Daylight (1996): The Holland Tunnel floods following an explosion, and Sylvester Stallone goes in to save the people trapped.
  • Mars Attacks! (1996): A parody of '50s Alien Invasion films, which overlapped into the disaster genre. Directed by Tim Burton, and starred Jack Nicholson, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, and Sarah Jessica Parker, with early roles by Jack Black and Natalie Portman. Had the misfortune of arriving a few months after Independence Day, and barely made back its budget.
  • Dante's Peak (1997): A volcano erupts in the Pacific Northwest. Surprisingly for a disaster flick, it's notable for its relative scientific accuracy. Starred Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton. Dueled with...
  • Volcano (1997): A volcano erupts in Los Angeles. Not so notable for scientific accuracy. Starred Tommy Lee Jones.
  • Titanic (1997): What happens when you combine a disaster movie with a Chick Flick. The latest in a long line of films about the Titanic disaster, and by far the most famous and popular.
  • Armageddon (1998): An asteroid the size of Texas is headed for Earth, and our only hope is Bruce Willis and his team of deep core oil drillers. Makes Volcano look like a scientific documentary. Directed by Michael Bay. Dueled with...
  • Deep Impact (1998), the comparative Dante's Peak of this particular duel.
  • Earthquake In New York (1998): A two-part TV movie about a major quake in a place no one expects!
  • Firestorm (1998): When a convoluted prison escape scheme causes a massive forest fire, it's up to a smokejumper and a plucky ornithologist to save the day.
  • Hard Rain (1998): Concerning an armored-car robbery that takes place during a cataclysmic Midwestern flood.
  • Atomic Train (1999): A train carrying explosive chemicals and a nuclear bomb becomes a runaway, and it's up to an NTSB agent and a train operator to prevent the train from crashing and the bomb exploding in Denver.
  • The Perfect Storm (2000): Dramatization of the hurricane that hit the Atlantic coast of North America in October 1991, and the sinking of the commercial fishing boat Andrea Gail.
  • Smallpox 2002: Aired on The BBC in 2002, but didn't air in America till 2005, about a (fictional) smallpox pandemic spread by a bioterrorist.
  • 9/11 (2002): Real Life documentary that it's actually not that far off - a film crew embedded with the fire department responding to a minor call just happens to capture an incredibly destructive terrorist act and follows the firefighters into harms way, recording the whole time. In the end, despite thousands dying, the entire main cast survives. If you wrote a movie with that plot you'd have fanboys telling you it's unrealistic.
  • The Core (2003): Earth's core stops rotating thanks to a top-secret military project Gone Horribly Wrong, eliminating Earth's magnetic field and causing it to get hit by solar storms. Aaron Eckhart and Hilary Swank go down into Earth's interior to restart the core with nuclear bombs. Makes Armageddon look like Volcano. Or something.
  • D.C. 9/11: Time of Crisis: Dramatization of how the U.S. government responded to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
  • 10.5 (2004): An NBC Mini Series about massive earthquakes destroying the West Coast. Its 2006 sequel, 10.5 Apocalypse, had a massive fault line opening up in the Midwest and splitting North America in half.
  • Supervolcano (2005): A docudrama aired on the Discovery Channel about the Yellowstone Supervolcano unexpectedly erupting.
  • Category 7: The End of the World (2005): The sequel to the above. The storm from the original moves east and destroys New York and Washington, while similar storms destroy Paris and Egypt. Meanwhile, a televangelist and his wife exploit the storms to gain new converts. Starred Gina Gershon as the head of FEMA, as well as Shannen Doherty, James Brolin, and a returning Randy Quaid.
  • End Day (2005): An hour-long docudrama offering four (or five, depending on the cut) ways that natural disasters could cause the end of the world (or even just massive loss of life and property): megatsunami, meteor strike, pandemic, supervolcano eruption, and formation of a killer strangelet in the Large Hadron Collider.
  • Nihon Chinbotsu (Japan Sinks) (2006): Exactly What It Says on the Tin. A remake of the highest grossing disaster film Japan ever produced, it flopped compared to the 1973 original. Earthquakes and volcanoes destroy Japan and cause it to sink into the ocean. A Japanese production, it was notable for actually exploring the consequences of such a disaster with more than just passing reference.
  • 2012 (2009): The Mayan prophecies of The End of the World as We Know It start coming true. Lots of stuff blows up. An aircraft carrier crushes the White House and St. Peter's dome imitates a bowling ball.
  • Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 (2009): A disaster Anime. Pretty much Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a story about an 8.0 earthquake in Tokyo, though with a surprising focus on human drama and emergency procedures rather than spectacle. Harsher in Hindsight after 2011.
  • Quantum Apocalypse (2010): A strangelet, which the movie portrays as a gravity vortex pulling in only one direction, moves towards Earth. Russia tries to solve the problem by nuking the Poles, which only causes more destruction.
  • Metal Tornado (2011): An energy company called Helios World tests its new power generation technology, harnessing energy from a solar flare. An accident involving a power overload causes a magnetic vortex to pinch off, and spiral out of control into something like a tornado headed straight for Philadelphia.
  • The Dark Knight Rises (2012): Word of God maintains that mixes this in with a Superhero film due to the sheer scope of Bane's plot to destroy Gotham.
  • Aftershock (2012): A group of people surviving the aftermath of an earthquake in Chile.
  • The Impossible (2012): Based on a real-life disaster (the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami) but instead of spectacle, the film is driven by the film's performances and the story of a family fighting to see each other again (which was based on a true story, by the way).
  • Gravity (2012): The destruction of a satellite leads to Disaster Dominoes as each piece of debris impacts other satellites and space stations, with a Minimalist Cast of two astronauts trying to survive it.
  • It's a Disaster! (2012): In this Black Comedy, four brunching couples wait for the end after learning that the U.S. has been attacked by poison bombs.
  • Sharknado (2013) and its sequels have been hugely successful due to the entirely ridiculous and over the top premise of combining two entirely unrelated and incompatible disasters together. Has pretty much become an Affectionate Parody.
  • This Is the End (2013): A disaster comedy parody film that focuses on a house party filled with celebrities trying to survive the end of days.
  • Into the Storm (2014): A Found Footage Film following a number of people trying to survive a barrage of super-tornadoes. Much Stuff Blowing Up ensues, like the tornadoes razing a fully loaded airport, and even one making a gas main explode, turning into a massive firenado.
  • Noah (2014) - all the usual disaster movie tropes, set in Biblical Times.
  • 10.0 Earthquake: A new fracking project sets off tremors all over the Los Angeles basin area, ultimately threatening to destroy the entire city.
  • Fire Twister (2015): A group of ecologists are prompted to stop a firenado destroying multiple cities in California after witnessing its spawn. It notably stands out from other disaster movies in that the disaster in question, rather than occurring naturally or out of nowhere, was actually man-made and planned, courtesy of a CIA bomb exploding at a storage tank.
  • The Wave (2015): An unstable mountainside collapses into the Geiranger fjord, sending a 300 ft wave towards Geiranger, Norway. Based on plausible future events.
    • Now has a sequel, The Quake (2018), which centers around a major earthquake striking Oslo, the capital of Norway.
  • San Andreas (2015): The Big One finally hits California.
  • Flight Crew: A mid air rescue between two planes fleeing a volcanic eruption.
  • Tunnel (2016): On a routine trip home from work, Lee Jung-soo is trapped by a collapsing tunnel. With only two bottles of water, a birthday cake, and his phone on 78% battery, he must survive long enough to be rescued by emergency services.
  • Geostorm (2017): Centers, as the name implies, on a series of global meteorological disasters caused by weather-controlling satellites. It's the sort of premise one might expect from a director who's worked extensively with Roland Emmerich in the past.
  • The Hurricane Heist (2018): A group of rogue treasury agents plan a heist in the midst of a hurricane.
  • After Darkness (2019): A rich family hunkers down and tries to survive the aftermath of the sun going out.
  • Ashfall (2019): About a volcano whose eruptions have devastating consequences for the Korean peninsula.
  • Crawl (2019): A young woman and her father battle a hurricane and alligators.
  • Exit (2019): A terrorist releases a slowly rising toxic gas throughout downtown Seoul, which forces the citizens to head to the roofs. A rare comedic example.
  • Songbird (2020): By the year 2024, COVID-19 has mutated into an even deadlier form known as COVID-23, claiming more than 110 million lives worldwide and forcing those infected to be placed in quarantine zones where they are left to die.
  • Greenland (2020): A structural engineer (Gerard Butler) and his family seek shelter against an oncoming planet killer of a meteor.
  • Don't Look Up (2021): A Genre Deconstruction dark parody of how a planet-killing meteor scenario would likely play out in real life with a modern-day political and social landscape, with their answer being that government corruption, greed, and a dash of willful ignorance would ultimately screw everyone over.
  • 13 Minutes (2021): Four families deal with their own personal issues (a married TV meteorologist and emergency management official raising their deaf daughter, a young adult daughter of a teen mom dealing with whether to keep her unplanned pregnancy, a closeted gay teen struggling to come out to his socially conservative parents, and a hotel employee trying to start a new life with her undocumented immigrant fiancée) as a monster tornado descends upon their small Oklahoma town. An independent film featuring Amy Smart, Anne Heche, Peter Facinelli, Paz Vega and Trace Adkins.
  • Silent Night (2021): A group of Britons try to enjoy a farewell Christmas dinner party before a climate-change induced toxic storm arrives to kill them all.
  • Moonfall (2022): A mysterious force knocks the Moon from its orbit and sends it hurtling on a collision course with Earth. Makes 2012 look like a scientific documentary.


  • Many Syfy Original Movies tend to be disaster flicks. Why they go for the genre with such a meager special effects budget is unknown, but it may have to do with Canadian and German tax credits.
  • Chernobyl is a mini-series that focuses on the eponymous nuclear plant accident and its aftermath and crosses the line with Historical Fiction due to both being based off real events and eschewing the disaster genre's clichés (it could well be classified as Horror as well).
  • Cloverfield and Gojira are disaster movies in a sense. Unlike most Kaiju movies, they focus more on the horrors of encountering a gigantic rampaging monster, thus giving them many disaster movie aspects. Helps that Godzilla was supposed to be a walking representation of the atomic bombs while "Clover"'s attack had many aspects of 9/11 in it.
    • Shin Godzilla also has disaster movie aspects akin to its 1954 predecessor, taking cues from (and a few potshots at) the Japanese government's response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
  • The Day of the Roses: An Australian two-part miniseries about the real-life Granville Rail Disaster and the subsequent investigation, with viewpoints shared between recollections of the disaster and its aftermath and the investigators dealing with the political implications of their findings.
  • Kyūkyū Sentai GoGoV was sort of this, since the heroes were all civil servants who rescued people from disasters, complete with lots of exploding buildings, erupting volcanoes, etc. (the explosions help to strengthen the comparisons to the Gerry Anderson shows they were homaging). Only thing was, most of these disasters weren't just happenstance — the Saima Clan intentionally causes a lot of the disasters in their attempts to bring back their mother Grandiene or just because. This carried over into Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue to an extent, albeit toned-down in comparison.
  • Thunderbirds (and various adaptations) is partially this, since it's about a family who operate the giant Thunderbird craft to rescue people from awful situations (sometimes caused by error, other times it's really The Hood in his attempts to steal International Rescue's technology). Lots of Stuff Blowing Up is a frequent sight.
  • Zettai Zetsumei Toshi, known in English as Disaster Report, is a series of disaster video games: ostensibly, they are Survival Horror games, except with earthquakes taking the place of monsters and zombies.
  • Escape the Museum 1 and 2 take place in the immediate wake of a devastating earthquake, with the main characters crossing all manner of hazards to reunite as a family.


Video Example(s):


Titanic's Sinking

With the ship sinking rapidly & all the lifeboats gone, everyone forced to remain aboard the Titanic as well as those in the water enter a state of panic in a vain attempt at survival.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (19 votes)

Example of:

Main / CrowdPanic

Media sources: