My favorite Post-Apocalypse movies of the 1950’s…

The Atom Bomb…  Radiation…  Mutation…

These were big buzzwords in the 1950’s and gave rise to a breed of film that exploited them to the fullest.  The 50’s was really the full dawn of the post-apocalypse film.  I’d like the take the opportunity to present some of my favorites from that time.  These are not works of art.  They are not high-cinema.  What they are, are warnings that The Bomb could fall at any moment, people would either become shadows on a wall or some sort of mutant, hell bent on killing everyone they came across.  Good times!

Oh, you can click on the image to view a trailer or scene on youtube.

Starting off with the Day the World Ended.  Enter an old man and his daughter holed up in the mountains and the strangers that make their way to this little slice of heaven.  I don’t know if I’ve ever seen another movie in which there were characters I would like to take out back behind the woodshed and literally beat them to within an inch of their life.  This one is an exercise in patience…


Next up, On the Beach.  This one actually hints at being fairly realistic.  Based on the wonderful book by Nevil Shute, it is a suspenseful drama, rather than an effects-laden romp with mutants.  Nuclear fallout has killed everything in the northern hemisphere.  A Naval submarine is stationed off the coast of Australia and receives a signal from San Francisco.  They decide to set sail and investigate.  This one is a heart wrencher and best watched with a loved one – just make sure there aren’t any cyanide pills around and stay out of the garage…


Robot Monster.  What can I say?  Filmed in only four days, it’s the most wonderful worst film you’ll ever watch in your life.  There was rumor that the director, Phil Tucker, had attempted to commit suicide because it was so bad.  Reality is that he did actually attempt it (and failed) because of depression and a dispute with the film’s distributor.  Needless to say, you may feel the urge to throw a towel over the curtain rod after watching this one…


When Worlds Collide.  A classic.  Well filmed and a great story.  Mankind learns of a rogue star that is on a direct collision course with Earth.  An “ark” is built and trained for the planet that orbits Bellus (the star that is about to make everyone’s day really bad in about 8 months).  I highly recommend this one as well as reading the books When World’s Collide and the sequel After World’s Collide, both written by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer…


And finally, World Without End.  Starring Rod Taylor in one of his earliest roles.  It tells the tale of four astronauts returning to Earth after a trip ’round Mars.  Time distortion, ending up hundreds of years in the future, mutants (in this case “mutates”) roving the surface, while down below – you guessed it – a virtual utopia.  Sound familiar?  Yeah, me too.  But this is one of the better movies that uses the same exact recipe as a myriad of others…


3 thoughts on “My favorite Post-Apocalypse movies of the 1950’s…

  1. I don’t know if it’s not one of your favorites, or you missed it, but don’t forget about Five from 1951. It’s sort of slow, and has some real head-scratcher moments, but it’s probably the first atomic war aftermath film made after atomic bombs actually existed.

    It also has the oldest example I’ve seen of the visual cliche where the headlines of old newspapers in broken down racks give clues about how the apocalypse happened.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Evan C.

      You know, I’ve only seen it once and didn’t remember much, but I did sit there and debate about including it. It is an important film in the regard that it was one of the first, but it just didn’t fall into my criteria of “favorites”. I may change my mind after watching it again. 😉 Thanks for taking the time to comment! 🙂


  2. Ty Coon

    I know what you mean concerning On the Beach. I watched it as a kid and came away depressed. But hey I survived and probably lifted my spirit with reruns of Gilligan’s Island

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s