Best Disaster Movies of the 90s, Ranked
The right mix of terror and an incredible duo sets ’90s disaster films apart from stuffy romances and comedies.
In the 90s, disaster films were all that. If you wanted to experience a plane crash, an earthquake, a tornado tearing through drive-ins, or an alien takeover, you’d find yourself in the theater from 1990 to 1999. Disaster movies are loved and accepted by so many people because they are a guilty pleasure. sometimes they’re so bad they’re good. Natural disasters dominated the screen, and people just accepted it; Some hate him; others love it, as avalanche after avalanche hits their screens. You might find the CGI of Godzilla (1998) is absolutely terrible, but there’s something so nostalgic about a 400-foot monster moving robotically through the city, destroying everything in its path.
In 2022 we have so many remakes of the original movies that we don’t know what to do with ourselves, but you can find peace in the disaster movies of the 90s. the plot in bizarre directions to make the movie even messier than it already is. Plus, you can always count on the cast to be absolutely stacked, whether you expect it or not. There are tons of disaster movies from the 90s, so that being said, here are some of the best of the best, ranked.
5 Deep Blue Sea (1999)
Easily one of the best shark movies of its time, Samuel L Jackson and Saffron Burrows star in The deep blue sea, and it really takes the cake for the CGI sharks of the 90s. The story follows Burrows’ character, Dr. Susan McAlester, as a researcher for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, which is conveniently found in the fabric brain of altered sharks. When things go wrong (which, of course, they do), she calls on Russel Franklin (Jackson) to help her fight off those man-eating sharks. Coupled with a great cast and solid soundtrack, you can see how it made $165 million at the box office.
4 Apollo 13 (1995)
Ron Howard brings the true story of the Apollo 13 mission to life with Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon and the late Bill Paxton leading the journey. This film dramatizes what happened on the mission to land on the moon, but when an oxygen tank explosion takes place, things start to go wrong for Lovell (Hanks), Swigert (Bacon) and Haïse (Paxton). This disaster movie is so good because, even though it’s not nature-related, like an earthquake or a tornado, it’s the story telling itself all over again. Audiences are mesmerized by the performances of three critically acclaimed actors, telling the chilling story of what it was like to be on this mission. You almost feel like you’re there with them on the spaceship, due to the shaky camera and lighting, sweating with them as they try to figure out what to do and how to land safely Apollo 13.
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3 Volcano (1997)
Inspired by the real Parícutin volcano in Mexico, Volcano pretty much gives you everything you need to know about it in the title. Tommy Lee Jones stars as Michael Roark, the City of Los Angeles’ Director of Emergency Management, and early on he suspects that something is wrong with 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 flow of lava. This movie is a pure disaster movie simply because of all the reckless destruction that happens. In the end, Los Angeles is destroyed and Tommy Lee Jones is the hero. What more could you ask for?
2 Le Pic de Dante (1997)
Contrary to Volcano, Dante’s Peak, another volcano film, was absolutely terrible at the box office. It got negative reviews, definitely couldn’t keep up Volcano in box office revenue, and people hated that. However, that’s what makes it so good. The CGI is unpolished, the story is already overdone and cooked, 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. He is based in a fictional town where there is a dormant volcano, until one day he wakes up and wreaks havoc in the sleepy little town. Chaos follows. If you like bad disaster movies and you play it’s so weird it’s goodlook no further and pop Dante’s Peak in. You’re going to have a hell of a ride.
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1 Tornado (1996)
The first thing you need to know about Tornado, is that it’s the most ridiculous tornado movie ever made. The second thing you need to know is that this is the best disaster movie of all time. Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt direct this epic film, surrounded by a handful of notable actors, including the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Ruck, Jami Gertz and Cary Elwes. The film is about a group of tornado chasers and their love for the horrible weather, but also for each other.
Tornado has something most disaster movies ignore; family found. Helen Hunt‘s character, Dr. Jo Harding, leads this mischief-making group almost across the state of Oklahoma, to chase down the biggest tornadoes they can find, and using their new device, Dorothy, in progress of road. Tornado features a number of nasty tornadoes rolling in, and with them, a ton of life or death moments. In the end, each 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) certainly understands what’s happening to him.