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Post Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Movies

Apr 23, 2016


Post Apocalypse, Mad Scientist, and Dystopias are all genres with heavy overtones of anxiety or criticism of the effects of science and technology on human society but no Genre in Science Fiction is clear cut.  Many commentators group Post Apocalyptic SF with Dystopian SF and they are related although a SF purist would consider them distinct.  A Dystopia is a repressive society that uses technology to oppress the population and the plot is usually driven by rebellion against the ruling class.  Metropolis (1927) is a classic Dystopia with a small privileged ruling class high above a large exploited worker caste.  In Post Apocalyptic SF there is a world shattering event and the plot is driven by survival in a world suddenly void of civilization.  Things to Come (1936) the first movie in RPL’s Science Fiction Movie Marathon, has all the elements of a Post Apocalypse in that a world war leads to a plague and the collapse of civilization.

Mel Gibson in Mad Max 2.

Mel Gibson in Mad Max 2.

Beyond Thunderdome 1

While the Mad Scientist genre has roots in the earliest SF cinema, with the exception of Things to Come  (1936) Post Apocalypse is a recent development.  Planet of the Apes (1968) begins as a hard science SF based on the effects time dilation on near speed of light space travel but in a spectacular plot twist it is ultimately Post Apocalyptic.  There were two Apocalyptic Horror films in the 1960’s Last Man on Earth (1964) in which a plague of undead vampires cause the apocalypse and Night of the Living Dead (1968) which was inspired by Last Man on Earth and would crossover into SF when Last Man on Earth (1964) was remade as the Omega Man (1971) starring Charlton Heston with the difference being that the Zombie infestation is caused by germ warfare.  Last Man on Earth would be remade again as I am Legend (2007) staring Will Smith.  So there is always a close relationship between SF and Horror.  Cold War fears and environmental concerns were common enough that A Boy and His Dog  (1975) was a true Post Apocalypse.  Possibly the most famous and most successful of the Post Apocalypse movies was Mad Max (1979) with sequels Road Warrior (1981) Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) and Mad Max Fury Road (2015).  The Terminator (1984) is an interesting time travel post apocalypse hybrid with time travelers from a Post Apocalypse future using time travel to interact with the present.  The Twelve Monkeys (1995) is a radical variation on the same plotline where a time traveler tries to prevent the apocalypse.  Waterworld (1995), the Postman (1997), and the Children of Men (2006) are all garden variety Post Apocalypse films.


Rogers Public Library Post Apocalypse Movies.

  • Things to Come  (1936)
  • Planet of the Apes (1968)
  • Omega Man (1971)
  • A Boy and His Dog  (1975)
  • Mad Max (1979)
  • Road Warrior (1981)
  • Terminator (1984)
  • Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
  • Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
  • Twelve Monkeys (1995)
  • Waterworld (1995)
  • Postman (1997)
  • Terminator 3 Rise of the Machines (2003)
  • Children of Men (2006)
  • Terminator Salvation (2009)
  • Terminator Genisys (2015)