The Farmers’ Almanac Predicts A Brutal Winter: Weather It With These Top 20 Movies

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A prepper’s to-do list is always long.  But in-between filling storage shelves and surviving what is purported to be a frigid winter, we deserve a little down time.  And what better way to do that than sitting down to a movie that reminds us why we are preparing in the first place? 

Actually, some of the movies and made for television shows and miniseries are likely to have you wincing over the inane actions of the protagonists, or the glaring don’t-get-a-redo mistakes portrayed by the characters trying to cope with survival after an outbreak, or an EMP, or any number of calamities that befall them. It’s just another form of practice that will entertain us, sometimes leave us cringing over fatal mistakes, and in some cases, will help keep us on our toes.

The list supplied below is in alphabetical order, rather than by ratings.  There are some incredible films like The Matrix and 1984 that I would have gladly listed here, but held back, as I was searching for movies and made for TV shows and miniseries that offered the most hands-on survival content.  Even so, many shows that didn’t end up on the list have merit today if we plan to  stay one step ahead of the “thought police”, so please don’t hesitate to add your own personal favorites with your comments to broaden the list!  

Important Note: I am aware that not all of the made for TV movies and miniseries can be rented or purchased, but if you search You Tube, you just might get lucky. . . Just saying. . . .

(Ox’s note:  These aren’t “how-to” movies, and you’ll probably see a lot more examples of what NOT to do than what you should do.  All of that to say, don’t get too worked up when you see tactical, logical, and factual errors.  The mission of producers is to entertain you and make money, not get you prepared.  So, enjoy the movies/shows and when you see errors, make a note of them.  There’s value in having a fast, highly tuned BS detector and it doesn’t have to ruin your movie watching experience.)

Apocalyptic / Survival Movies

A Boy And His Dog: Until going in search of the “best of” post-apocalyptic, survival related films, I wasn’t aware of this 1976 movie, A Boy & His Dog, which, it turns out, is a cult classic. I’ve posted a review that I found on Amazon, which details the plot, and it’s now at the top of my must-watch list:

It’s the year 2024, and most of the Earth’s nations have been demolished by yet another world war (the latest being WWIV). In this post-apocalyptic world, slow-witted survivor Vic (Don Johnson) forages through the ruins for food and women with the help of his faithful dog, Blood (voiced by Tim McIntire), with whom he is able to communicate telepathically.

Blood, more intelligent and more cultured than his young “master,” often gets impatient with Vic’s immature behavior and lack of interest in his attempts to educate the boy, but he nonetheless loves Vic and sticks with him to help him survive. And after several minor adventures and one huge misadventure, Vic does learn one incontestable actuality: Nothing is more important to a boy than his dog.

American Blackout: Made for TV, American Blackout follows the lives of ordinary Americans caught in a national power failure brought on by cyber attack.  It portrays the lives of several individuals , reflecting their carelessness, frailties and the hardship that being unprepared for grid-down can bring as individuals cope with bank and communication failures, empty grocery shelves, and lack of water that quickly leads to looting.  There is one survivalist portrayed in American Blackout, which the movie unfortunately portrays as being as dumb as a bag of rocks, but it’s an excellent wake-up call for the dynamics of what we should expect from the multitudes of “entitled” people who are going to become a Prepper’s biggest obstacle to ongoing survival.  This made for TV drama was realistic enough that we devoted a post to the multi-faceted plot entitled American Blackout: The Devil’s In The Details .

Amerika: The fact that this 1987 TV miniseries was banned, pulled off every shelf in America, is reason enough to watch what happens when the Soviets fear they are losing the cold war and opt to deploy four thermonuclear weapons (EMP) over the United States.  Down goes the grid, communications, most automobiles and the Internet.  America yields to the Soviet demands and now the U.S. President and Congress are rendered talking heads to Soviet powers.  The U.S. is subsequently occupied by United Nations peacekeeping forces and the United Nations Special Service Unit made up of Eastern Block forces who take pleasure in intimidating the people of Milford (where the miniseries is centered) through a show of force during ongoing training exercises.  These actions are intimated in the series, but made crystal clear in the novel, Amerika, from which the miniseries sprung.   

Children Of Men: A 2006 Science Fiction, Children Of Men portrays life after two decades of human infertility brings society to virtual collapse and war and chaos impacts humanity on a global level. Refuges seeking survival in the United Kingdom, which remains the worlds only stable government, are subjected to draconian immigration sanctions while a cynical bureaucrat, Clive Owen, attempts to help one of the refugees, Claire-Hope Ashitey, escape the madness.  Eventually,  Clive learns of her miraculous pregnancy while he protects her against incredible odds. The work of the lead actors and fellow actors such as Julianne More, Michael Caine, Chiweetel Ejiofor and Charlie Hunnam, along with stunning cinematography led to the films being nominated for three academy awards; best adapted screenplay, best cinematography and best film editing. 

I Am Legend: This 2007 post-apocalyptic horror film staring Will Smith portrays a virologist who is immune to a dissemating man-made virus which was originally designed to cure cancer.  Nearly 90% of the populace has perished when Smith’s character, Robert Nerville,  experiments with infected rats to come up with a cure while having to scrounge for food and supplies amongst the devastation and listens for a response to his radio broadcasts requesting that survivors meet him at a designated location.  Using his own virus-immune blood, Nerville discovers a possible treatment, but he is captured while trying to cure a woman of the virus.  After narrowly escaping, he is attacked by dogs infected by the virus that also attack his dog, Sam, who he is forced to put down.  He meets up with Anna (Alice Braga) and Ethan (Charlie Tahan), a young boy; both survivors of the virus who were traveling to Nerville’s broadcast meeting place. Norvelle, Anna and Ethan must fight off the onslaught of those who are infected at Norvile’s laboratory while he simultaneously discovers that his latest attempt for a cure was successful.  Note: Many reviews also recommend the original, The Omega Man, staring Charlton Heston, made in 1971, while others prefer The Last Man On Earth, staring Vincent Price, which is the earliest 1964 movie version of Richard Matheson 1954 novel, titled I Am Legend. 

Jericho: Is a popular 2006 made for TV miniseries about the aftermath of nuclear destruction that the town of Jericho dodged when several major metropolitan areas in the U.S. were hit simultaneously.  Now they must contend with a lack of food and supplies and those who want to seize the town of Jericho for their own gain. 

Note: I finally had the chance to view this miniseries this summer as time allowed, and although it doesn’t necessary depict a real-world scenario of grid-down (everyone in the film looks as if they’ve just emerged fresh from a shower and blow-dried their hair, followed by me-time primping in front of a mirror in preparation for their day), it does bring home, in a minor way, the real-life struggle that being thrown back to the stone-age would bring.  

On The Beach: Actually, I am hesitant to recommend this movie, because even though this 1957 movie is a classic, starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins, it is not for the feint of heart.  The story takes place in the future–1964 to be exact–when the northern hemisphere has been bombarded with fallout during World War III, killing everything in its path.  The Australian government takes steps to offer its citizens suicide pills to avoid its populace suffering from radiation poisoning.  Australian Naval officer Peter Homes, who is assigned travel on a U.S. Submarine for several weeks, must leave his wife and young daughter behind while a glimmer of hope remains as an exploratory crew is sent to research the possibility of scientific speculation that radiation levels near the Arctic Ocean may be lower than that of the northern hemisphere.  

Red Dawn: This 1984 movie portrays the beginning of World War III and the impact it has on a mid-western town when invading Soviet forces take over.  A group of teenagers (lead actors Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell and Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen, Darren Dalton, Jennifer Grey) grab supplies and flee to the wilderness to plan and execute attacks against the soviet oppressors in an attempt to save their town and their country. 

Note: The 2012 remake, which portrayed the invading forces as being North Korean, wasn’t as well-received as the original.

(Ox’s note:  One of the interesting storylines about this movie is that the original attackers in the 2012 remake were Chinese.  The producers ran out of money and ended up getting bailed out by Chinese investors.  As a result, the attacking army was changed from China to North Korea through the magic of CGI.  Is the story true?  I don’t know, but I do know that it would mesh with the Chinese model of Unrestricted Warfare.)

The Book Of Eli:  Personally, I have never watched a movie that Denzel Washington stared in that I haven’t liked, and this 2010 movie The Book of Eli is no exception.  Eli travels through a wasteland of murder, looters, and cannibalism after a catastrophe has killed most of the population.  He must protect himself from roving gangs and thieves willing to kill for crumbs, but the knives, guns and martial arts used against him are no match for Eli and his unflappable, quiet strength.  He travels West to the coast for reasons unexplained, reading each day from a sacred book.  Carnegie, played by Gary Oldman, is ruthlessly searching for the book; not for good, but for power.  Eli isn’t detoured from his mission when a victim of Carnegie evil insists on tagging along with him on his unstoppable mission, which is wondrously unveiled at the closing of the movie.

The Postman: Kevin Costner stars n this 1997 post-apocalyptic adventure movie. The struggle to survive the terrible ravages of what is refereedto as the “Doomwar” that has taken out all technology, leading to a complete societal collapse.  Costner barely escapes a rouge group called the Holnists, and run by General Bethlehem, when he finds a United States Postal Service uniform and Jeep.  Showing up in Pineville Oregon, Costner  ignites the hope of the surviving townspeople when he dupes them into believing he’s a postman representing the newly restored government.  After deputizing a youth as a “postal employee”, and with the promise of this fictitious government comeback, communities are fueled to likewise begin delivering mail and begin to rebuild their communities as they stand against General Bethlehem’s control.  Note: It should be pointed out that The Postman was a dismal failure at the box office and with critics who ridiculed its sentimentality, yet the movie has plenty of fans who appreciate the heart of the movie that embraces overcoming adversity. 

The Road: This 2009 movie is a dark but realistic portrayal of post-apocalyptic survival. Something (not specified in the movie) has caused most of the plant and animal life to perish and a father, Viggo Mortensen,  and his young son, Kodi Smit-McPhee, must survive the carnage as they travel south to better their chances of survival in a warmer climate.  On their trip, they discover prisoners, kept alive as a food source for their tormentors, and stumble upon an underground bunker filled with canned food and supplies that sustains them as they continue their trek south and the hardships of life devoid of even the basics, including compassion from others who are likewise struggling to survive. . . except on a few rare occasions, which is all the more rewarding when rare glimpses of selflessness appear in the movie.   

The Road Warrior (AKA Mad Max 2): Made in 1981, The Road Warrior stars a young Mel Gibson and is a unique departure from the current doomsday pandemic scenarios when the plot turns to a non-existent gasoline supply which halts food production and  distribution along with the transport of goods as Gibson goes in search of those responsible for the murder of his wife and child in the desolate, depopulated countryside. For those who haven’t seen the Mad Max Trilogy, the following is a good description gleaned from a fan’s review at Amazon: This movie, the second in the Mad Max trilogy, is easily the best of the three. Visually, it’s very distinctive. The first movie showed a society breaking down in the post apocalyptic world. By this movie, it’s broken down. The first movie showed the immediate aftermath. There were still working phones, power lines, people trying to go on with their normal lives, etc. There was even a police force, of which Max was a member, trying to maintain order. Now, society has descended into complete anarchy. Civilization’s infrastructure has broken down completely. In the first movie you saw shops, service stations, hospitals. Now you see people scavenging in a wrecked world. Max’s car is no longer a gleaming black vehicle, but a dilapidated, dirty old beater, its engine still in top shape, but its interior stripped, and its body covered in dust, battered and old. Max’s leather police uniform is no longer immaculate, but torn and patched. Visually, this movie set a new standard, and like “Star Wars” and “Blade Runner”, changed the way movies in its genre were made. Even the setting works in telling the story. Where the first film featured country with trees and green grass, this movie is set in a blasted desert, further accentuating the sense of collapse.

The Stand: In this 1994 miniseries, based on the Stephen King novel, a weaponized influenza is inadvertently released and kills everyone on staff at a military base except for one man, a military policeman named Charles Campion.  Campion is already infected with the super virus coined “Captain Trips”, but he is yet unaware of that fact as he and his family attempt to flee and he spreads the virus. Stu, Campion’s friend, is by his side when he tells him he was followed from the base by a mysterious man.  His final words are, “You Can’t Outrun The Dark Man”, which haunts Stu.  The town is put in quarantine which proves futile as 99% of the world dies of the virus, leading to a complete societal meltdown.  After the carnage is over, a small group of immune survivors band together, but it isn’t long before the survivors begin to have visions; a portion of the group heads for kindly Mother Abigail in Nebraska, and the other chose the dark side,  Randall Flag, who is located in Las Vegas and trouble begins anew. 

Tomorrow When The War Began is a 2010 drama filmed in Australia and set in the town of Wirrewee. Many claim it’s a respectable Aussie version of Red Dawn, but I can’t vouch for that until I get the chance to watch it.  As much as I love Red Dawn (one of my favorites), I’m willing to give this movie a try. The following review for Tomorrow When The War Began was found on Amazon: 

This is the film adaption of John Marsden’s 1993 novel of a group of teenagers caught up in a foreign invasion of Australia. In short – it’s great! Given the books popularity, I had some concerns that the film might not do it justice and it might look like `Home & Away’ (Australian TV Soap) goes to war! But the actors, most with TV acting experience, do a creditable job and aren’t there solely for their looks or profile. For the most part they fit what a normal group of teens would look like and as the action kicks in they take on a suitably unkempt look anyway. Of the key characters, Homer was very good and most importantly, Ellie worked for me too. There was a surprise or two in terms of casting choices and frankly Robyn will not work for everyone. A real plus was that some of the secondary characters get more exposure than in the book. The interactions between them all are fine, with the humor in particular being well delivered. For those concerned about coarser things, there is a little bit of sexual conversation but no nudity, some low level drug use and I’m pleased to say minimal bad language.


With a film adaption there are always a few tweaks to the original story and I have to say that for me, these all worked quite well and in a number of scenes, were very good. There was also some additional information on the wider situation with the war and this was most welcome given the book is very vague on this aspect. All the key events in the book are there and the film makers did a good job constructing them. There are plenty of explosions and the war violence is conveyed in a stronger manner than in the book. It is quite action packed and I found it to be genuinely exciting at times! It is not Mad Max and it shouldn’t be either. 

Take Shelter Is a movie I hadn’t heard about until researching likely apocalyptic/survival movies for this post, but if the recommendations for this 2012 movie hold true, it looks to be a worth-while couple of hours spent in front of the TV.  Here is a review I culled from Amazon:

There is a lot of food for thought in this movie. In prior times, a man like Curtis would not be assumed to be mentally ill. The fact that he is having visions would be respected by both the bible and in native folk lore as he would be seen as a possible prophet in their midst. Curtis’s mother has been in long time care since she was diagnosed as a schizophrenic. However, when we meet her, the question is really open as to her as well. We live in an age where science has decreed that things like portents, omens, seers, prophets and the like are impossible. That anyone who deals in this matter is just plain loco.

Curtis begins turning his storm shelter into more of an atomic bomb like shelter and runs into one person after another who is teed off at him, from his employer to his colleague to his wife. Yet he persists. What he sees is supported by reports which have been filed around catastrophes. For example, when tidal waves come in, birds do go crazy. They swarm and take off and some, in their hurry to get out, drop dead from the sky to the ground.

So the big question is whether Curtis is having a psychotic break with reality or if he is a seer who feels and sees a disaster coming. I know most people are going with the mental illness interpretation. Personally, I think since this this kind of person has been chronicled for thousands of years that it is possible that such a person could exist but does not want to broadcast his visions for precisely the reason that people will think he is insane.  Michael Shannon as Curtis and Jessica Chastain as his wife are both terrific. One caution about this movie: it is very slow. If you are looking for a quick paced movie, this is not it.

12 Monkeys: I haven’t yet watched this 1995 movie, but it’s now at the top of the list after reading so many recommendations for this movie along with glowing reviews.  Here is a bio of the movie found on Amazon: In this science fiction masterpiece, Cole (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to save the human race from a deadly virus that has forced mankind into dank underground communities in the future. Along his travels, he encounters a psychiatrist (Madeleine Stowe) and a mental patient, brilliantly portrayed by Brad Pitt, who may hold the key to the mysterious rogue group, The Army of the 12 Monkeys, thought to be responsible for unleashing the killer disease. Believing he can obtain a pure virus sample in order to find a cure in the future, he is met with one riddle after another that puts him in a race for time.

28 Days Later (NOT to be confused with 28 Weeks Later!–reviews for this copycat title weren’t good): This 2002 movie depicts animal rights activists who, while freeing chimpanzees from their captors,  unleash a virus called the “Rage” on humanity.  When Cillian Murphy wakes from a coma, he discovers that London has been ravaged by people infected by the virus and is rescued by Naomie Harris and Noah Huntley who explain that the city has been virtually destroyed.  Food and water are scarce and survival unsure for the small group as people who are infected are in hot pursuit.  Several of those who were uninfected must be killed once exposed to the blood of the infected with the Rage as it’s devastation overcomes its victims within 30 seconds after exposure to tainted blood or the bite of those infected.  One of the survivors, Brendan Gleeson, plays a recording broadcast by a military blockade claiming there is an answer to the virus and invite survivors to safety. What isn’t mentioned in the recording is that females are held against their will for procreation, assuring a growing population within the platoon.  Upon arrival, the group escapes the death the platoon has planned for the males and rescues the females, after which they flee to a remote cottage where they attempt to be rescued through a banner they unfurl as a rescue helicopter is shown flying overhead.

Humorous Apocalyptic / Survival Movies

Blast From The Past:  I love this movie!  Although it may seem an impossibility to insert humor into prepping, Christopher Walken and Sissy Spacek were amazingly funny in this 1999 romantic comedy. Walken, a scientist, has prepared for “the end” with an underground home that has been outfitted with decades worth of food supplies–including fish holding tanks–back-up power and every possible convenience.  Spacek, his pregnant wife, reluctantly follows her husband underground when “the big one” hits and they live life underground for the next 30 years until Walken deems it’s safe to surface and sends their clueless 30-year old son above-ground to the realities of life 30 years later.  His innocence is refreshing but thoroughly confusing to his love interest when she is hired to drive a U-Haul to collect Walken’s substantial list of survival supplies while his wife remains underground, secretly swilling vodka while wearing the uniform of a 60’s era housewife–an apron–to keep her sanity.  Better stop there, so I don’t give away the entire plot!  

Tremors: Okay, I really can’t help myself from adding this 1990 spoof-on-monsters movie that adds a twang of the old west to this movie. I honestly can’t justify including this movie to the top 20 list based solely on its survival content, unless you count Reba McEntire up on the roof with her husband , played by actor Michael Gross, (otherwise known to the ex-mining town of Perfection, Nevada’s other 12 residents as Bert and Heather Gummer), both die-hard survivalists, yelling out everything they’d done to get prepared (save for Eminent Domain, which they couldn’t have beaten, anyway) shooting at a snaggle-toothed monster tunneling from the foundation of their cement block bug-out home with an arsenal (including an elephant gun) that’s determined to make them an afternoon snack.  Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward are undeniably funny as the hapless, sometimes handymen heroes who must gather their neighbors together and hightail it out of town and away from the “things” that have an uncanny way of out-thinking the humans.  But I should stop there to avoid giving away the entire plot. If you’re game for an entertaining break from reality, and want to be privy to an impressive array of guns and hilarity, I highly recommend you rent this movie.

Family  Apocalyptic / Survival Movies

Swiss Family Robinson: This much loved  1940 Disney Classic is a family style utopian portrayal of life after a shipwreck.  The Robinson family must be resourceful to survive on an East Indies island, so they lash together a make-shift raft and transport livestock, two huge Great Danes, tools and supplies from the shipwreck to a tropical beach most of us can only dream of, which becomes home once they’ve built a thatched tree house and devised a pulley system to deliver fresh water and necessary supplies to their comfortably quaint “home”. The boys learn to be resourceful in-between frolicking with unlikely wildlife: an elephant, an ostrich, a zebra, and ultimately a tiger they trap in a deep hole they’ve dug that threatens their and their livestock’s safety.  They later discover a girl, disguised as a boy, whose family are hiding from pirates, and eventually engage in a PG-rated battle with these dreaded pirates while the eldest sons compete for the attention of the female who is “adopted” by the Robinson family.  Although  unrealistic, this movie is a must watch for those with children.  The underlying message of the movie is that resourcefulness equates to survival and a “perfect world”.    

We’ve reached the end of the top 20 survival-related movies.  Did you find any of your personal favorites on the list, or do you have others in mind that should be included?  Please sound off by posting below! 

God bless and stay safe,

David Morris and Survival Diva

 

Comments

  1. The movie that changed my life and began my journey into prepping “Right at your Back Door” (or something like that). Dirty bomb in LA, guy has quarantined himself inside his home. Excellent movie!!

    • Survival Diva says:

      Tara,

      Found it. Here’s the start of a Wikipedia blurb on it: Right at Your Door is a 2006 American thriller film about a couple and follows the events surrounding them when multiple dirty bombs detonate in Los Angeles: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_at_Your_Door

      It’ll be added to the recommendation list : )

      • ??? How to find the UPDATED LIST – a link please.

        • Survival Diva says:

          jjm,

          Look for it on the forum, titled “Top Movie Recommendations” on Sunday. I decided to wait until everyone had a chance to add movie recommendations before posting it in the forum.

        • Survival Diva says:

          Thanks Everyone! Here’s The Final Movie List, With a Few Book Recommendations As Well

          Original Top 20 Apocalyptic/Survival Movie Recommendations

          A Boy And His Dog

          American Blackout–TV miniseries

          Amerika–TV miniseries–difficult to find–check You Tube

          Children Of Men

          I Am Legend/The Omega Man 1971-second remake and a classic/The Last Man On Earth 1964–All 3 films are based on Richard Matheson 1954 novel, titled I Am Legend.

          Jericho–TV series

          On The Beach

          Red Dawn (1984 Version)

          The Book Of Eli

          The Postman

          The Road

          The Road Warrior (AKA Mad Max 2)

          The Stand

          Tomorrow When The War Began

          Take Shelter

          12 Monkeys

          28 Days Later (NOT to be confused with 28 Weeks Later!)

          Blast From The Past (Humor)

          Tremors (Humor)

          Swiss Family Robinson (Family/PG)

          * The Following Are Reader’s Movie Recommendations

          Panic In The Year Zero

          The Siege

          No Blade Of Grass

          One Hundred Mornings

          Testament

          Threads

          The Day After

          Soylent Green

          Planet Of The Apes

          World Gone Wild

          Escape From New York

          Escape From LA

          Doomsday

          The Walking Dead–TV Series

          Goodbye World

          Castaway

          Joe vs. the Volcano

          Tank Girl

          City Of Ember-PG

          Revolution-TV Series

          Sniper

          Remnants

          Atlas Shrugged

          V For Vendetta

          Survivors (BBC 2008)

          Ever Since The World Ended

          Outbreak

          The Andromeda Strain

          Contagion

          Aftermath

          The Divide

          Lucifer’s Hammer

          Right At Your Door

          *The Following Are Reader’s Book Recommendations

          Alas Babylon

          The Hot Zone

          The Demon In The Freezer

          Spillover

          One Second After

          Remember, Remember The Fifth of November

  2. lots of good choices for sure, a book I read many times and tell my prepper friends about is Lucifer’s Hammer by Pournelle and Niven here;s what the review says The gigantic comet had slammed into Earth, forging earthquakes a thousand times too powerful to measure on the Richter scale, tidal waves thousands of feet high. Cities were turned into oceans; oceans turned into steam. It was the beginning of a new Ice Age and the end of civilization. But for the terrified men and women chance had saved, it was also the dawn of a new struggle for survival–a struggle more dangerous and challenging than any they had ever known….
    “Massively entertaining.”

    • I really loved Lucifer’s Hammer, and just yesterday finished listening to the audiobook. I had read the book in the past, so the audiobook reminded me of a lot of things I needed to remember in my prepping.

  3. Survivor in waiting says:

    I would like to add a couple of new movies to the list. AFTERMATH (2014) and the one im watching tonight THE DIVIDE (2012). Both post nuclear bomb films.

  4. Head Shrinker says:

    My wife asked that I add: Survivors (BBC-2008 and her favorite), Ever Since the World Ended (2001), Outbreak (1995), The Andromeda Strain (1971), and lastly Contagion (2011). Yes, she is a nurse and a disaster responder as well if you can’t tell by most of her selections.

    While books are not part of this list, one book that is timely and will scare the hell out of you and I highly recommend is The Hot Zone (1994-Richard Preston). It is a nonfiction about the origins of viral hemorrhagic fevers.

    • Survival Diva says:

      Head Shrinker,

      They’ve been added. By tomorrow when the list is posted here, the final tally will be very diverse–and that’s always a good thing!

    • M. Tucker Brawner says:

      The Hot Zone – Excellent choice; add The Demon in the Freezer, also by Preston and Spillover by David Quammen.
      Thorough education about virus pandemics and where they come from.

      • Survival Diva says:

        M. Tucker Brawner,

        I’ve put your recommendations under a separate book section. Couldn’t find them available in a movie version. If I’m mistaken, give me a shout!

  5. Sue the Frugal Survivalist says:

    Two great movies are No Blade of Grass (1970) , based on the novel, The Death of Grass, by John Christopher, and Testament (1983) , based on The Last Testament, written by Carol Amen. No Blade of Grass depicts a world in which all grasses ( cereal grains) have been killed by a virus or rust ( don’t remember exactly ) and the entire world faces starvation. (Google UG99 which affects wheat and other grains for an eye-opener that this scenario is possible ). Testament follows a small community after a world-wide nuclear holocaust.

  6. what about Threads and The Day After…

  7. Floyd Lloyd says:

    The Children of Men was just dreck. Two hours of my life never to be relived. Oddly enough, I thumbed through the book by PD James at the book store and actually took it home to read. WAY better than the movie, without the political agenda. Revolution was awful. That girl Charlie should have been killed a dozen times over or gotten everyone in her group killed by her stupid decisions. An hour of TV timeslot hopefully to be filled by something more enjoyable. “The Omega Man” was a far better (but kind of hokey in the hindsight of time) adaptation of Richard Matheson’s “I Am Legend”. Even better than “I Am Legend”. And speaking of post apocalypse and Charleton Heston, how about “Soylent Green” or the first two original Planet of the Apes films? All classics. “On The Beach” was remade for TV in 2000, starring Armand Assante as the Captain of a U.S. nuclear sub. I saw the original “Red Dawn” after getting out of the Marine Corps and while still in the thralls of the Cold War. Talk about getting choked up. I loved seeing patriotic young Americans kicking ass on commie invaders (you know, back when young Americans were still patriotic). Plus, it had Jennifer Grey and Lea Thompson.

  8. Another B grade 80’s movie is “World Gone Wild”, where after a nuke war it stopped raining for 50 years and while the rest of the world ran out of water, a small settlement has access to a supply of underground water. After a cult attacks the settlement the main protagonist Ethan (Bruce Dern) hires the help of an ex criminal partner and some other misfits to defend the settlement. After the battle, Ethan works some kind of “magic” that manages to make it rain for the first time. While the writers left a lot of holes that most preppers/survivalists would point out or ask questions about, there were many things that would either give preppers ideas with regard to defense or make preppers say “I wouldn’t do that because…”

    A few other movies to look at would be “Escape From New York” and “Escape From LA” and “Doomsday” for an idea of how society might become animalistic after a major disaster. There’s actually a lot of B grade post apocalyptic movies out there, you just have to go look for them. Oh, also don’t forget “The Walking Dead” for another present day series.

  9. Head Shrinker says:

    Again, being a shrink, I tend to focus on the psychological, emotional, and behavioral aspects of managing disaster but try to be balanced to include the many other aspects. One series ongoing that I recommend is The Walking Dead in addition to the movie Goodbye World. While The Walking Dead is over-the-top with the literal aspect of zombies, it deals or rather presents well the difficulties of life, death, hard decision making, stress, relationships, and many other aspects of survival during disaster. If/when the poop hits the fan, and the masses were hungry for an extended period, the figurative zombies would certainly be an issue of great stress and focus. With them trying to take what the preppers have saved, it could quickly develop into a Walking Dead type of environment where it was state against state, county against county, city against city, neighborhood against neighborhood, and neighbor against neighbor. The show portrays the mindset of living with ongoing trauma and surviving it well.

  10. No one has brought up MacGyver? lol

  11. Castaway, Tom Hanks, for survival without the luxury of preparation. Again Tom Hanks, Joe vs. the Volvano, for how picking one key piece of equipment can make all the difference in the world.

    Besides A Boy and His Dog, another campy B Sci-Fi is Tank Girl. Lori Petty plays “a chick with a tank and tons of attitude” and Malcolm McDowell is the mega-villain leader of Water & Power in a post-meteor 2033 world. Not for everybody, but it’s a change of pace.

  12. City of Ember is another family movie we enjoy. Based on the novel by Jeanne Duprau and featuring Bill Murray, this PG rated story is about an adventure to solve the problem of what happens when a post-apocolyptic underground haven winds down due to entropy generations later.

  13. How about the tv series Revolution!! To real not ignore!! Wish it would come back instead of being canceled :>)

  14. On the Beach is very intense and without the shedding of a single drop of blood! It’s one of my all time favorites and I cry every time I watch it. I still remember how it really made people think about the fine line we were walking with the Cold War in 1957.

    • Beth in TX says:

      Excellent movie. I know it was intended to warn the world about the very real possibilities of global extinction after nuclear war. It is a very stark, somber movie — as the subject deserves.

  15. The Siege (1998) is a good movie about government take over by way of martial law following secret US abduction of a suspected terrorist then leading to a wave of terrorist attacks in New York. Another Denzel Washington movie that is very well done.

  16. M. T. Brawner says:

    “Alas Babylon” – Worth reading the book. Set in mid-60s but still topical with realistic prep scenes and ideas. No aliens, zombies, vampires; just average people trying to survive after nuclear war.

  17. What about just survival category: these are to entertain Arnold Predator booby traps primitive bow. Tom Berenger Sniper Billy Zane character makes a lot of mistakes many teaching moments.

  18. Joseph-Lee Morehouse says:

    Have nearly all of these movies , I also collect the posters that go’s with them . Love the books as well.
    There a movie called the Amish Way , it about living a simple life with all the basic on feeding , clothing,shelter , farming and so on – it about 6 hours long – it not bad.

    • Survival Diva says:

      Joseph,
      I’ll add it to the list that will be included with this thread on Sunday.

    • Survival Diva says:

      Joseph,
      I searched online for a movie or miniseries or series called “The Amish Way” or “Amish Way” and all I could find was a book titled The Amish Way. If you have any more info on it, let me know, so it can be added to the list.

  19. WRONG! “Jericho” was a television SERIES, one of the best, I might add. But, TPTB yanked it off, perhaps because the sheep should depend on GOVERNMENT, not on themselves. Season Two showed what life would be like when the U.S. military is turned into a private, occupying force. It also tied up some loose ends before the series was turned into a comic book.

    • Survival Diva says:

      Sam,

      Jericho, the entire series, is available at Amazon fro $24.45. I agree that the series gave an important warning about the power plays that would take place after SHTF. I enjoyed the series, couldn’t wait to see the next episode. I only wished that it would have shown more detail on the struggles of every-day life, post grid-down, for those who remain clueless. Then again, it may not have been appreciated by an audience.

      • Jericho had a huge following and fans got them to do an additional season after it was cancelled so they could wrap up the loose ends and give us some closure.

  20. There is one you missed, Panic in year zero. It has some teachable moments in it, from what the characters do and missed opportunities that they dont do. check it out.

    • I was going to mention the omission of Panic in the Year Zero. Thanks for beating me to it, Scott. This is so old, but I still think about some of the scenes. A real classic.

  21. Please give us “just” the list , so i can take it with me when I search.
    Thank you

    • Survival Diva says:

      Jack,

      I’ll post the list Sunday so I can add other recommendations–like Panic In Year Zero : )

    • Survival Diva says:

      Jack & All Other’s interested in the list of the original 20 movie recommendations, with the addition of everyone’s suggestions has been posted on the site.

  22. “Remnants” with Tom Sizemore.

  23. Atlas Shrugged – May not be considered a survival movie but is a good fictional twist on the collapse of society

  24. You forgot the best one…”Panic in the Year Zero”. Ray Milland and his family are leaving L.A., complete with a big car towing a big trailer, to go on a camping trip. As they are driving up a canyon , they see flashes of light in their rearview mirror. They discover that L.A. has been nuked. Their are some good prepping/ PAW ideas interspersed between really 50’s style campy effects. This one is or should be a must watch for entertainment and some chuckles.
    Also “Alas Babylon” was shown on a GE Playhouse” in the late very early 60’s. Videos of it occasionally show up for sale on eBay.

    Russ

  25. How could you miss Panic in the Year Zero! (1962)
    Great Movie.

  26. I thought what about the omega man that was a pretty good one

  27. The Stand is very apt as our government insists on allowing people in the country who have a deadly disease (Ebola) in the country. Also the Omega Man is very good as is the remake. Amerika I have never been able to find since I first saw it which is rather strange or maybe it isn’t.

    • Survival Diva says:

      James,

      They pulled Amerika off the shelves, presumably for politics reasons. I found several old VHS’s on ebay, but the series cost from $130 to $300. I finally found it on You Tube.

  28. Although not a “survival” movie, per se…”V for Vendetta” is a good one. What makes it “erie” is the gov’t. depicted(England) and our current situation in the U.S.

    • Beth in TX says:

      “Remember, remember, the 5th of November…”

      Highly recommend, especially in light of situation in US… as if we weren’t painfully aware already.

      • Survival Diva says:

        Beth & Greg,

        Thank you for the recommendations! I’m going to add a new thread on the forum so we can continually add to list of recommended movies and books and I’ll include your favorites there : )

  29. Head Shrinker says:

    I would add to the list, Goodbye World (2013). It speaks more to the relational and emotional side of prepping and surviving a disaster. (Spoiler) It’s concluding message of hope is vital in my opinion as a prepper, disaster team first responder, disaster response trainer, and head shrinker. If hope and a sense of community aren’t present, surviving and eventually thriving aren’t likely post disaster.

  30. Goodby world (2013) I like this movie because of one statement made by woman that had an affair with a politician.

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  1. […] placed an asterisk next to reader’s recommendations from an earlier September 2014 post, The Farmer’s Almanac Predicts A Brutal Winter: Weather It With These Top 20 Movies. If your favorite book didn’t make it on the list, I’ll be happy to remedy that by […]

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