The right mix of terror and a great duo differentiates the disaster movies of the 90s from stuffy romance novels and comedies.
In the ’90s, disaster movies were all of that. If you wanted to witness a plane crash, an earthquake, a tornado smashing through the drive-ins, or an alien takeover, you found yourself in the theater from 1990-1999. Disaster movies are loved and accepted by so many people because they are such a guilty pleasure; sometimes they’re so bad they’re good. Natural disasters dominated the screen and people just accepted it; some hate it; others love it when avalanche after avalanche hits their screens. You might find the CGI of godzilla (1998) absolutely awful, but there’s something so nostalgic about a 400-foot monster robotically moving through the city and destroying everything behind it.
In 2022 we have so many remakes of original movies we don’t know what to do with ourselves, but you can find peace in the ’90s disaster movies. Movies that were original, weird, and slightly dark, taking the plot in bizarre directions to make the movie even messier than it already is. Plus, whether you’re expecting it or not, you can always count on the cast being absolutely stacked. There are tons of disaster movies from the ’90s, so here are some of the best of the best, ranked.
5 Deep Blue Sea (1999)
One of the best shark films of its time, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Saffron Burrows deep blue sea, and it really takes the cake for ’90s CGI sharks. The story follows Burrows’ character, Dr. Susan McAlester, as a researcher for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, conveniently found in the brain tissue of engineered sharks. When something goes wrong (which of course they do), she calls Russel Franklin (Jackson) to help him fight those man-eating sharks. Coupled with a great cast and a solid soundtrack, you can see it grossing $165 million at the box office.
4 Apollo 13 (1995)
Ron Howard brings to life the true story of the Apollo 13 mission, starring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon and the late Bill Paxton. This film dramatizes what happened on the mission to land on the moon, but when an oxygen tank explosion occurs, things go very wrong for Lovell (Hanks), Swigert (Bacon) and Haise (Paxton). This disaster movie is so good because while it has nothing to do with nature like an earthquake or a tornado, the story is retold. Audiences are mesmerized as performances by three critically acclaimed actors tell the chilling tale of what it was like to be on this mission. The shaky camera and lighting almost make you feel like you’re on the spaceship with them, sweating with them as they try to figure out what to do and how to land safely Apollo 13.
The best disaster movies of the 2000s
3 Volcano (1997)
Inspired by the real Parícutin volcano in Mexico, volcano gives you pretty much everything you need to know about it in the title. Tommy Lee Jones plays Michael Roark, the City of Los Angeles’ Director of Emergency Management, and from the start he senses something is wrong in his city. When a volcano erupts in the middle of downtown, it takes a stacked cast of Jones, Don Cheadle, Keith David and Anne Heche to try and stop the lava flow. This movie is a pure disaster movie simply because of all the reckless destruction that is taking place. In the end Los Angeles is destroyed and Tommy Lee Jones is the hero. What more do you want?
2 Dante’s Peak (1997)
not how volcano, Dante’s peak, another volcano film, did absolutely poorly at the box office. It received negative reviews, certainly couldn’t live up to it volcano in box office, and people just hated it. However, that’s what makes it so good. The CGI is unpolished, the story is already over the top and corny, and Pierce Brosnan delivers one of his weakest performances, and yet… it’s a cult classic. The film stars Brosnan alongside Linda Hamilton and the late Charles Hallahan. It is set in a fictional town where a dormant volcano sits until one day it wakes up and wreaks havoc on the sleepy little town. Chaos ensues. If you love bad disaster movies and acting, that’s so weird it is Welllook no further and pop Dante’s peak in. You’re in for quite a ride.
What the Twister reboot needs to get right
1 Twisters (1996)
The first thing you need to know twister, is that it’s the most ridiculous tornado movie ever made. The second thing you need to know is that it’s the best disaster movie ever. Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt headline this epic flick surrounded by a handful of notable cast including the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Ruck, Jami Gertz and Cary Elwes. The film is about a group of tornado hunters and their love for terrible weather, but also for each other.
twister has something that most disaster movies ignore; the found family. Helen Hunt’s character, Dr. Jo Harding, leads this group of misfits almost across the state of Oklahoma chasing the biggest tornadoes they can possibly find using their new gadget, Dorothy. twister features a series of nasty tornadoes rolling in, and with them, plenty of life-or-death moments. In the end, every single person survives and the family is reunited as Jo Harding and Bill (Paxton) reconcile. Oh, and the villain of the story, Dr. Jones Miller (Elwes), sure gets what’s coming.