Movies are designed to give the audience the most entertaining experience possible. Whether that comes in the form of intense action, heartful romance or an edge-of-your-seat thriller, movies are all about enthralling the audience. Then there are movies that are made in order to recreate actual events that occurred throughout history. Some go back to the ancient times and some retell events that people may have lived through and can recall. For this list, we’ll be looking at disaster films that are a retelling of actual events that unfolded. These movies accurately portray the disasters and remind audiences that real-life incidents do inspire the arts that ultimately reflect the world around us. Note, this list will only include films that are based on natural disasters or resulting from human error and not related to disasters that involve acts of violence such as war films or terrorists’ attacks.
James Cameron’s epic retelling of the infamous maritime disaster that occurred during peace time and resulted in a cataclysmic loss of life is without a doubt a major accomplishment in the world of cinema. This ambitious film is fictional in terms of its central characters, but the disaster sequences are stunning to say the least and show us the fear that the passengers of the RMS Titanic faced that frigid cold night on April 15, 1912. While Jack and Rose are fictional characters, they do represent the people who sailed on the fateful ship that has now become a staple of disasters in relation to the tragedy that befell everyone onboard. If you’re looking for a film that focuses on the disaster itself and not the romantic plotline then A Night to Remember is the second-best film based on the Titanic sinking. You can also check out James Cameron’s documentary of Titanic titled Ghosts of the Abyss. Both of those films are solid choices but nothing compares to the recreation of one of the greatest maritime disasters to ever occur in human history. Titanic is not only a great film but it captures one night of hell and loss into a movie that no one soon forgets. For what it’s worth, it’s a groundbreaking achievement of filmmaking and James Cameron rightfully deserved the Oscars that were awarded to him when Titanic won big at the 70th Academy Awards.
On December 26, 2004, the largest earthquake in the 21st century occurred in the Indian Ocean. It was estimated between a 9.1 and 9.3 magnitude that resulted in tsunami waves that reached the height of one-hundred feet! The sheer devastation and over 200,000 people who lost their lives is still one of the most significant disasters to occur this century. The Impossible recreates these events and focuses on one family and their will to survive and hopefully find each other after being separated from the tsunami while on vacation in Thailand. The movie is inspired by the story of Maria Belon and her family. Featuring a good screenplay and great acting by its cast along with the terrifying disaster sequences and you have a movie that encompasses the very best in human nature to ensure our survival in the face of insurmountable odds. The Impossible is an inspiring film and one that tugs at the heartstrings for all of us who can’t imagine losing someone we love.
Arguably the best film that Ron Howard has directed; this movie is based on the 1970 aborted Apollo 13 lunar mission that threated the lives of three astronauts. When a routine operation triggered an explosion in an oxygen tank it put the entire crew of the Apollo 13 mission in grave danger. With oxygen depleting and the astronauts unable to determine what caused the explosion, the mission to land on the moon was aborted but now a more serious question was a stake…how do we return the astronauts home safely? No operation of this magnitude had ever been thought of or even attempted and now every step taken from this point forward will determine whether or not the astronauts will survive this growing situation. With a solid and accurate script, perfect casting and flawless direction from Ron Howard, Apollo 13 is a fantastic film that shows us the perils of space and how if everyone works together no matter our politics, religion or where we are located on the planet, we can truly achieve anything when we put our minds to it.
The Perfect Storm
Although it does stray away from the actual accounts that befell the Andrea Gail, Wolfgang Petersen’s disaster flick is one hell of an exciting movie. Based on the book of the same name by Sebastian Junger, the movie recounts the Perfect Storm of 1991 which involved a Nor’easter that became absorbed by Hurricane Grace which resulted in another unnamed Hurricane forming off the coast Atlantic Canada. The movie focuses on the events of the crewmates of the Andrea Gail and how their story is not only heartbreaking, but pits the ultimate battle between human and nature. The special effects are pure eye-candy and the filmmakers do a good job of recreating the hellish condition that The Perfect Storm unleashed in 1991.
The BP oil spill that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico on April 10, 2010 is one that no one has forgotten or the simple fact that the oil executives of BP were able to dodge responsibility. This disaster movie retells the events that resulted in the loss of eleven workers on the oil rig that fateful day. Expertly paced, gripping action and will ultimately leave audiences enraged with BP make for a movie that perfectly defines a disaster movie. We see all the mistakes that were made and the failure of BP that resulted in the disaster that dramatically changed the tourism and fishing industry in the southeastern part of the United States. While the movie is more focused on the workers, this is still one of the best disaster films of recent years and notably so is the principal cast that brings the workers that survived to life so that we can remember the actions they took in order to save themselves and their fellow workers. Deepwater Horizon is scary, intense and a painful reminder of how corporate greed can affect the lives of everyone on this planet.