Disaster movies entertain us, but also teach us and make us face the situations we might easily find ourselves in. Even though often blown out of proportions, there is still a lot in them to make us reflect on the way we and other people behave. But mostly, they are here for good fun and two hours of adrenaline and adventure.
From comedies to historical events, movies about volcanoes are action-packed and entertaining and they derive from excellent to average, but we can’t deny their originality and spark. This is the list of the 10 best movies about volcanoes of all time.
Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)
Even though not a classical disaster movie, this comedy is a classic among them and probably one of the first movies that come up when someone mentions volcanoes. The chemistry between Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks is superb and a real introduction to their stellar cinematographic future.
Joe is a hypochondriac, unsatisfied with his tiring work but when he finds out he has an incurable disease, his life is about to change drastically. He quits his job and decides to fully seize his last moments on Earth. When he gets a proposition to end his life before death knocks on his door, Joe accepts it and embarks on a journey of a lifetime.
He is about to throw himself into a volcano on a remote island and on his way there he is finally going to see what living is all about and how life can be beautiful. Before he meets Patricia, a yacht captain responsible for taking him to the island, Joe will encounter several interesting characters in New York City and Los Angeles. But she will be the one who will change his entire mindset and he will be a different Joe upon his arrival on the island.
Dante’s Peak (1997)
Another disaster movie classic, this drama thriller starring Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton shows us what is going on behind the public’s eyes where economic interests are much more important than people’s.
Brosnan is volcanologist Harry Dalton and Hamilton mayor Rachel Wando who are trying to convince the city council and Dalton’s colleagues that the volcano above Dante’s peak that looks as if it might erupt is more dangerous than they think. And that the catastrophe is much closer than believed.
This is one of the most frequently told stories about volcanoes. It is set in 79 A.D. when a slave, now gladiator, Milo finds himself in the middle of the scorching Pompeii after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. He needs to find his way out of the arena to save the life of his beloved.
He is in love with Cassia, the gorgeous daughter of a rich merchant who is unwillingly promised to a corrupt Roman senator. Milo will have to face many obstacles in this epic story about love and man’s urge to help and save the ones he loves.
There are movies that haven’t received a lot of critical claim upon their release, but somehow in time gained a cult status. Everyone has heard of this 1997 movie with Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche in leading roles and Don Cheadle as a supporting actor.
When an earthquake hits the Los Angeles downtown, Mike Roark insists on coming to work to help deal with the crisis. Even though there are no major consequences, something is going on beneath the surface. Seismologist May Barnes believes there might be a volcano forming underneath, but she has not enough evidence to have Mike investigate it.
When the second earthquake strikes and causes even more damage, the alleged volcano erupts and lava starts flowing down L.A.’s biggest boulevards, destroying everything in its path. But this is not the end, since Barnes realises that the major eruption must still occur.
The Devil at 4 O’Clock (1961)
This movie is not only a disaster story of bravery but, more importantly, a heartwarming tale of friendship, love and self-sacrifice, a classic that we maybe might not completely experience as the audience of that time. We will have to remind ourselves that the movie was shot sixty years ago and that we should concentrate on different things than in today’s movies.
Acting, the message of the story, but also its interesting plot are what makes this story worth watching. We follow an excentric priest and three convicts who travel to a Pacific island to save a children’s leper colony after they find out that the island faces a volcanic eruption.
Baekdusan (Ashfall, 2019)
We are fully aware of the talent South Korean filmmakers have constantly shared with us in the last twenty years. Always original and intriguing, their movies bring a fresh view on many already familiar situations in movies. Disaster movies are not unknown to them and this time they brought us a story about a volcano that erupts on Baekdu Mountain, on the Chinese-North Koran border.
Threatened by a new imminent eruption, a group of South and North Korean trained specialists need to team up and work together to prevent the catastrophe that is approaching the Korean peninsula.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
Three years after the closure of the Jurassic World theme park, Owen and Claire return to Isla Nublar to save the dinosaurs who are threatened by a volcano. Dormant for many years, it suddenly became active and there is a possibility that its eruption might extinguish all life on the island.
But this is not the only thing that Owen plans on doing and he sets out to find Blue, his lead raptor. Along the way, he discovered things that he and his former colleagues were confronted with several times. There is a conspiracy behind everything on the island and the volcano might be not the biggest threat there.
This funny and lovely movie tells the story of a family of cavemen who has survived numerous natural disasters mostly thanks to the head of the family and his paranoic rules about leaving their cave. When his daughter Eep sneaks out one night and meets a human boy who warns her about the upcoming apocalypse, Eep decides to stay with her family and pray for the best.
After an earthquake destroys their cave, they set to find a new one and meet the boy on their way. This is when another possible disaster might arise when a father realises that his daughter is having feelings for someone else but himself and her family. A disaster inside a disaster, since there is another one approaching them, this time a volcanic eruption.
Into the Inferno (2016)
Documentaries offer us a completely different experience on a topic that we have many times seen in fictional achievements. They are often much darker and their perspective is scientific and elaborate. This Werner Herzog documentary shows us the magnificent views of active volcanoes around the world and the people who live near them.
The director follows volcanologist Oppenheimer who tries to minimalize the volcanoes’ impact. Herzog will come to an interesting conclusion about these natural monsters and together with the audience witness the beauty and harshness of some of the biggest volcanoes.
Krakatoa, East of Java (1968)
Even though this movie wasn’t a huge box office hit and the critics and audience’s opinions were mixed, it is a movie worth mentioning, due to the time it was filmed and its originality. It is the late 19th century and captain Hanson is somewhere in the Dutch East Indies and is about to embark on a dangerous expedition.
He wants to find the shipwreck that hides a cargo of rare pearls and it is somewhere near the Krakatoa volcano. Before he and his crew set off, Henson gets a government order to take a group of convicts with him to Madura island. He has the whole thing planned but everything changes when they finally reach Krakatoa and find out that its eruption had already started.