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Top 10 Post-Apocalyptic Landscapes in Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Luke Terry. It would almost be worth the world ending just to see these awesome places – almost. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 post-apocalyptic landscapes in movies. For this list, we’ve chosen what we felt were the most iconic, interesting and original visions of what a post-Armageddon world would look like on the big screen. And, there might be a few spoilers ahead so, SPOILER ALERT. Special thanks to our users erick palacios, Andrew A. Dennison, Domenic R. Sengstacke, Jasper Mampaey, Jake Fraser, Trường Nguyễn, Ian Denham, Manuel Guadarrama Moreno, Aman Bhonsle, Jasmine_HM, Derrick Wildt and Itan Chait for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Luke Terry.

Top 10 Post-Apocalyptic Landscapes in Movies


It would almost be worth the world ending just to see these awesome places – almost. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 post-apocalyptic landscapes in movies.

For this list, we’ve chosen what we felt were the most iconic, interesting and original visions of what a post-Armageddon world would look like on the big screen. And, there might be a few spoilers ahead so, SPOILER ALERT.

#10: Earth of 2077
“Oblivion” (2013)

Ever wondered what Earth would be like if aliens blew up the Moon? Well, according to “Oblivion,” it would be struck with so many tsunamis and earthquakes that the human race would be forced to evacuate to other celestial bodies. Well, everyone except Tom Cruise. He has to stay and protect the generators that power humanity’s new home on Titan – or so it seems. Cruise’s second film featuring an alien attack, this one shows an Earth far removed from the warzone of “War of the Worlds”; rather, it’s actually a thing of beauty as nature has had a chance to start again over the buried remains of humanity.

#9: Human-less Earth
“9” (2009)

“9” is set after the world’s first free-thinking robot has created an army of machines and destroyed all human life. But this film takes place so long after the robot apocalypse that only one machine is left. The only other survivors are nine small, ragdoll-like creatures that each have a portion of a man’s soul inside. And the city in which these creatures roam is just smoking remains. Basically, the whole thing looks like a really depressing level of “Little Big Planet,” and boy, does it leave a lasting impression.

#8: Flooded Earth
“Waterworld” (1995)

A pet project of Kevin Costner’s, “Waterworld” depicts a future where all the icebergs have melted and the Earth had flooded at the onset of the 21st century. With dry land as just a myth, humanity survives on floating cities and boats. This original take on what a post-apocalyptic world would look like nearly bankrupt Costner, and was the most expensive film ever made when it came out. Regardless, no other movie has tried to showcase an Earth without dry land like this, and to such spectacular effect.

#7: Infected Philadelphia of 2035
“12 Monkeys” (1995)

The setting of “12 Monkeys” is another unique landscape, but this time it’s one that’s set under Philadelphia in the year 2035. Yes, under. The City of Brotherly Love has been hit with a virus so poisonous that humans have had to make their way under the Earth’s surface to survive. Meanwhile, a criminal played by Bruce Willis is being sent back in time to try and stop it, or at least to help develop a cure. This time travelling element is especially effective in that it allows viewers to see the stark contrast between ‘90s Philly and its barren future.

#6: Infected London
“28 Days Later” (2002)

We all remember the famous shots of an abandoned London in this Danny Boyle-directed flick. Upon waking up from a coma, bicycle courier Jim visits just about every iconic landmark the capital has, as if he’s on a one-man walking tour. But, as Jim soon discovers, the city is far from empty. It’s actually full of hordes of aggressive and senseless creatures. No, not tourists. Zombies. The sudden contrast between the seemingly uninhabited city and one bustling with people infected by the Rage virus make this a memorable setting for a horror movie.

#5: American Wasteland
“The Road” (2009)

This bleak film, based on the Cormac McCarthy book, is set in a world with little flora or fauna. The shortage of food and freezing climate has forced Viggo Mortensen’s character and his son to trek across America. As they travel, the audience is treated to shot after shot of a decaying, desolate country. Abandoned houses, collapsed power lines and bare trees make up this iconic landscape. There are also cannibals. So that’s cool. Or not.

#4: Future Australia
“Mad Max” (1979)

The Australian Outback is already a beautiful and deadly place. But take out most civilization and put in a turbocharged supercar and you’ve got the perfect backdrop for an apocalypse. In this film, the Aussies are suffering from such a shortage of fuel that they are willing to fight each other for it. However, there’s no shortage of leather, piercings and lunatics. In fact, the Outback is so full of marauding gangs of nut-job bikers that Mel Gibson comes across as sane. And we love it.

#3: Junkyard Earth
“WALL-E” (2008)

This Pixar film shows us an Earth evacuated by humans after they filled it with garbage. And one plucky robot has been left behind to clear up the entire planet. This is no easy task, considering WALL-E is surrounded by piles of junk that are literally taller than skyscrapers. The film is a surprisingly deep take on complete loneliness and the dangers of over-consumerism. But the animated images of Earth are what stay with the viewer after the sci-fi romantic comedy has finished.

#2: Ape-Run Earth
“Planet of the Apes” (1968)

After three astronauts land on a mysterious planet, they soon discover it is run by apes. These apes keep humans prisoner and have a society carefully divided into a caste system. This planet may seem farfetched but – spoiler alert – it’s a little closer to home than you might hope, thanks to a nuclear fallout and primate evolution. The idea of a world where apes rule and humans drool clearly caught people’s attention, as this sci-fi film spawned several sequels and reboots.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:
- Ice Age
“Snowpiercer” (2014)
- New York Post-Outbreak
“I Am Legend” (2007)
- Post-Nuclear Apocalypse USA
“Book of Eli” (2010)
- Real World Earth
“The Matrix” (1999)
- Sterile Earth of 2027
“Children of Men” (2006)

#1: Post-Nuclear Holocaust 2029
“The Terminator” franchise (1984-)

“The Terminator” helped set the standard for robot apocalypse movies. Sure, the scenes set in the ‘80s and ‘90s are gripping and action-packed – however, it’s the ones that take us to the future that are really bone-chilling. In these scenes of 2029, James Cameron shows us his vision of a world where machines have systematically worked to wipe out humanity. The idea of an army of metal skeletons hunting us down terrifies us still, while the barren, skeleton covered battlefield of this robot conquest is an image that has gone down in film history and remains a vision of the worst-case-scenario future.

Do you agree with our list? What post-apocalyptic landscape took your breath away? For more entertaining Top 10s published daily, subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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