Best Pandemic & Virus Movies, Ranked

We usually go to the movies to escape reality. Why think about our dead end jobs, relationship problems, and global pandemics when we can wander fantastic medieval lands or travel across galaxies? Sometimes, however, we enjoy watching movies that remind us of our (sometimes miserable, Omicron-filled) reality.

As we enter our third year of COVID-19, it may seem weird that we want to spend more time watching content about pandemics and disease, but watching the real-life portrayals can be very entertaining or heartwarming sometimes. from Hollywood. If you want to watch a more extreme version of a pandemic to feel better that at least you’re not running away from zombies, or if you just enjoy the suspense and thrills that pandemic movies can offer, you’re in luck. . Here are some of the best virus and pandemic movies, ranked:

8 Epidemic

Warner Bros.

One of the best-known virus movies of all time is 1995 Epidemic, a thriller about a deadly hemorrhagic disease that is spreading in California and the United States. In it, doctors and scientists at the CDC try to find a cure, but some of their military colleagues aren’t so altruistic, with a belligerent general trying to use disease as a biological weapon for war. Representing the conflicting interests of bureaucratic and military officials, Epidemic It might sound strange, but it’s a biting political commentary on the push to benefit pandemics. Additionally, this movie is packed with excellent performances from a star cast including Cuba Gooding, Jr., Dustin Hoffman, Morgan Freeman, and Rene Russo.

seven The last man on earth

The last man on earth
International American Pictures

Movies about pandemics and viruses are nothing new. Dating from 1964 and starring Vincent Price, The last man on earth (not to be confused with the TV show of the same name) follows an immune Dr Robert Morgan as he tries to survive in a new world where disease has killed half of humanity and turned the other half into zombies . The film is an adaptation of the novel by Richard Matheson I’m a legend, which also spawned the namesake film by Will Smith and the fantastic Omega man from 1972. It is The last man on earth, however, which is the best of the three, not only because it most faithfully preserves the original plot, but because Vincent Price’s performance is unforgettable.

6 Second World War

Paramount Pictures

You had better learn to run fast if you want to survive this fast paced horror movie. Featuring one of the scariest and fastest zombies in movie history, Second World War follows a UN employee, played by Brad Pitt, who runs to find the origins and cure for a global zombie pandemic. The 2013 film received positive reviews for Brad Pitt’s performance and for its thrilling portrayal of zombies who kept viewers on the edge of their seats; epic CGI sequences of zombie swarms have become iconic images of the genre.


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5 12 monkeys

Universal Images

Brad Pitt loves pandemic movies and we love him for it. In the classic sci-fi 12 monkeys, James Cole (played by Bruce Willis) travels from 2030 to the 1990s to gather information about a man-made virus that has killed billions of people. The film takes a dull look at a post-apocalyptic future as Cole is deemed insane and placed in a mental institution. Directed by Terry Gilliam and inspired by the short film by Chris Marker from 1962 The Pier, the film features excellent performances from Willis and Pitt, which help balance the seriousness of the film with some much-needed comedic relief. 12 monkeys may not have the most streamlined plot and it may have benefited from an edit in the writers’ room but, despite its flaws, it is a unique gem that mixes visual inventiveness, cerebral concepts and emotions. thrilling like no other movie.

4 Dawn of the dead

Dawn of the Dead by George Romero
United film distribution company

Many “pandemic” movies turn into zombie movies after the first act, but few are as revered as the years 1978. Dawn of the dead. Directed by mad scientist George Romero (with help from Dario Argento), this horror genre classic depicts the global zombie apocalypse while focusing on a group of survivors hiding in a mall. The film is not only deliciously gory and hilariously violent, but it is also a fantastic satire of consumerism in American society, comparing the senseless consumption of the late 20th century to a zombie plague; in a sense, materialism and capitalism can become viral pandemics in their own right. In 2008, it was chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 500 greatest films of all time, with Night of the Living Dead which is considered its accompanying piece. Dawn of the dead also led to an action-packed Zack Snyder remake and a hilarious Edgar Wright parody flick.

3 Contagion

Photos of Warner Bros.

Perhaps the most realistic pandemic film ever made, Contagion deserves third place on this list thanks to its stark and frightening description of a global epidemic. The film was directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Scott Z. Burns, and focuses on government officials and scientists trying to identify and fight the spread of the disease, which N + 1 has called “heroism. bureaucratic”. Contagion is a sociological examination of what would happen if a deadly virus were triggered by Gwyneth Paltrow, which is why it features a set of stars like Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and more. Very few films have such an ambitious scope as Contagion, because the film follows several interacting and international storylines in the style of “hyperlink cinema”. Perhaps this is why the film received such popularity in 2020 with the emergence of COVID-19, more than any other pandemic film.

Related: Best Steven Soderbergh Movies, Ranked

2 The seventh seal

The seventh seal
Criteria collection

Maybe not what comes to mind when you consider pandemic cinema per se, but given that its plot revolves around the most famous scourge in history, it’s fair to say that The seventh seal is a film about pandemics. Directed by the master of Swedish cinema, Ingmar Bergman, The film is set during the Black Death of the 1300s and focuses on a knight who meets the Angel of Death and must play a game of chess throughout the film in order to save his soul. The seventh seal is considered a movie classic, as well as one of the greatest films of all time. It makes Bergman a world-famous director and has several scenes that have become canonical thanks to tributes and parodies. If you’re ready for a movie that explores the philosophical and existential aspects of plague and disease, look no further than The seventh seal.

1 28 days later

28 days later 1
Fox spotlight photos

Considered one of the best zombie movies of all time and one of the scariest movies of the 2000s, 28 days later is also the best pandemic film ever to be made. Directed by Danny Boyle, the film has been credited with reinvigorating the zombie genre with its innovative portrayal of zombies as well as formally bold and dynamic cinematography that rocked audiences to the core. The film follows a group of survivors in a post-pandemic world as they attempt to escape those infected with the virus caused by a science experiment. 28 days later was critically acclaimed who praised the screenplay, performance, spooky atmosphere, and gripping soundtrack, which is perhaps why the film was followed by a sequel and possibly d ‘another to come. In 2017, a poll of 150 actors, directors, writers, producers and critics for Time Out magazine named it one of the best British films ever made, but it is also the best pandemic film because it perfectly balances the Zombie genre horror with the resonating emotion of the virus movies, making it a spectacular and entertaining portrayal of the effort to live against all odds when the world is crumbling around you.

28 days later
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