Tuesday, August 23, 2011

8 Great Disaster Movie Scenes

An hour ago, Virginia experienced a 5.9 magnitude earthquake, equal to the largest earthquake in the state’s history.  Reports are still streaming in, with apparent tremors felt in Baltimore, Boston, New Jersey, Connecticut, West Virginia, North Carolina, Illinois and more.

Inspired by these events, and the fact that it has taken three beers to make my legs stop shaking, I’ve assembled a list of the best scenes in disaster movie history.  A lot of the scenes I’d like to feature aren’t readily available online, but the clips below are worthy nonetheless.

These are nature-driven disasters only, folks.  No aliens, no terrorists, no zombies, no monkeys. Enjoy.

Alive (1993)
Cast Away, Alive and Fearless contain the most terrifying, in-real-time plane crashes in film history (not counting United 93, of course), but because this one is true, it takes the cake. (Crash begins at 6:30)

Twister (1996)
I personally prefer the scene where Cary Elwes eats shit, but this is arguably the most iconic moment from Jan de Bont’s disaster flick.

Titanic (1997)
The “ice berg, right ahead!” scene is a personal standout, but there’s nothing more terrifying than every light on the ship blowing out simultaneously. 

Deep Impact (1998)
I’ll never forget seeing this movie in the theater.  This scene was ballsy in its scope, utterly awesome in its executive.

Armageddon (1998)
I'm no fan of seeing the World Trade Center towers pierced with holes, but as far as disaster flicks go, this scene remains forever epic.

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
New York, Roland Emmerich, hellacious rain storms.  What do you expect to happen?

Posedion (2006)
Not as good as Deep Impact, but it’s still pretty badass to watch that wave come in.

2012 (2009)
While I absolutely hate this movie (and many others on this list), I had to include at least one earthquake scene.  Plus, if anyone knows how to completely wreak havoc on America, it’s Roland Emmerich.

And for good measure....

The Towering Inferno (1974)
No disaster movie list can be complete without mention of The Towering Inferno.  Here's the scene that starts it all:


  1. Not gonna lie the opening disaster scene in "Hereafter" ... was pretty amazing.

    Great list!

  2. And I'm not gonna lie, I completely forgot about that scene. Guess that's what happens when a thrilling scene takes place in an otherwise unthrilling film.

    Thanks for reading, looking forward to the Battle of the Directors this week.

  3. I love this list...some of my all time favorites. Classic.