There is nothing better that snuggling up at home when there is a storm raging outside. But storms are also inherently scary, as they are unpredictable and uncontrollable. So next time you are waiting out a storm, why not while away the hours with some of the best tornado films, which show the true power and destruction that weather can wreak.
All Is Lost (2013)
IMDB Score 6.9/10
This survival drama stars Robert Redford as a man lost at sea in a one man show, not dissimilar from the hugely popular Cast Away starring Tom Hanks. Redford wakes up in his boat in the Indian Ocean to find it damaged and flooded with water due to a collision with a shipping container. If this isn’t problem enough, a tropical storm is heading straight for him. With the odds against him, how will he survive?
Atomic Twister (2002)
IMDB Score 4/10
What happens when storm disaster meats nuclear disaster – an atomic twister of course. Starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Sharon Lawrence, a series of small tornadoes damage a nuclear reactor located in a small town in Tennessee, leading to a near meltdown. The film was inspired by the F2 tornado that hit the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Ohio in 1998, but, thankfully, the movie’s events bear little resemblance to what happened in real life.
Category 6: Day of Destruction (2004)
IMDB Score 5.4/10
This four-hour CBS television miniseries is set in Chicago while three unusual storm systems approach from different directions, to form a massive hurricane over the highly populated city. If that is not bad enough, hackers cause power outages which causes chaos as journalists and officials try and figure out what exactly is going on. The follow up, Category 7: End of the World is also worth watching.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
IMDB Score 6.4/10
Taking storms to the next level, this disaster movie starring Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal is based on the book The Coming Global Superstorm by Art Bell and Whitley Strieber. It depicts the catastrophic events following the disruption of the North Atlantic Ocean circulation when the world suffers extreme global cooling, leading to a new ice age. While delivered at a massively accelerated speed, it is based on real ideas of what climate change could do to the earth.
Into the Storm (2014)
IMDB Score 5.8/10
Richard Armitage and Sarah Wayne Callies star in this found film take on the classic storm film which features a series of tornadoes hitting a small Oklahoma town. Storm chasers arrive in the town following a cell of storms just as the local high school is preparing for graduation and creating a time-capsule to be opened in 25 years.
Night of the Twisters (1996)
IMDB Score 5.9/10
A Canadian made-for-TV movie that came out around the same time as the famous Twister flick (see further down), it draws on a semi-fictionalized account of an outbreak of seven tornadoes that struck Grand Island in Nebraska in 1980, killing five people and injuring 134 others. The film focusses on a single family’s struggle to survive the night. Starring Devon Sawa, John Schneider and Lori Hallier.
The Perfect Storm (2000)
IMDB Score 6.4/10
Another storm movie set at sea, this flick starring George Clooney is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Sebastian Junger, that tells the story of the Andrea Gail, a commercial fishing vessel that was lost at sea with all hands after being caught in a storm in 1991. The film won two academy awards, for best special effects and best sound, as a testament to the reality with which they portrayed the deadly storm.
IMDB Score 3.3/10
The mash-up that we never knew that we needed (let along the sequels), it focusses on tornadoes that happen to be full of killer sharks as well. It is a little nostalgic to see Ian Ziering (Beverly Hills 90210) and Tara Reid (American Pie) star. The first film is set in Los Angeles, before moving onto New York (2014), Washington and Florida (2015). So ridiculous that you can’t look away.
Storm Chasers: Revenge of the Twisters (1998)
IMDB Score 3.8/10
Another made for TV movie that hit screens shortly after the famous Twister movie. It stars Kelly McGillis and Wolf Larson as a husband and wife team of meteorologists that have devoted their lives to chasing twisters in order to prove their theory that they are in fact predictable. It is actually based on a conspiracy theory that the US governments manipulates the weather.
IMDB Score 6.7/10
While we might thing of 1998’s Twister as the movie that kicked off the genre, this 1943 epic beat it by quite a bit. Based in the John Guedel novel, the film stars Chester Morris as Pete Ramsey, a coal miner, and Nancy Kelly as his scheming, climbing, former showgirl wife, whose tangled lives start to unravel as a ferocious tornado hits their town. This film has surprisingly good special effects considering the year.
IMDB Score 4.7/10
Yet another made-for-TV storm film that hit our screen in 1996, the film stars Bruce Campbell as a storm chaser who has developed an early warning system for tornadoes with his friend, played by Ernie Hudson. Shannon Sturges plays a government official tasked with determining the value of the project, so she joins them on a tornado hunt, but the storm soon proves bigger than they are.
Tornado Warning (2012)
IMDB Score 4.2/10
Starring Gerald McRaney and Thea Gill, this film follows another scientist that think he may have come up with an early warning system for tornadoes, but no one believes him. Cursed with knowledge, he tries to convince a nearby town that they are imminent risk. While he has little luck with them, several storm chasers do arrive, making the situation significantly worse.
IMDB Score 6.3/10
Finally, the movie the defined tornado movies for a generation. Produced by Steven Spielberg and starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton, while this film does not stray far from formula, it does deliver an experience of a different class. It follows a group of storm chasers researching tornados during a sever outbreak of the storms in Oklahoma. Naturally, while the storm chasers think that they are in control, they quickly learn that they are dealing with something much bigger than them.
Where Was God? (2014)
IMDB Score 8/10
This documentary film focusses on a F5 tornado that tore through Oklahoma in 2013. The magnitude of the storm is described as being eight times greater than the atomic bomb that devastated Hiroshima. The documentary looks at the stories of the people affected by the storm, and asks the fundamental question, in all this carnage, where was God? Whatever you think of the theme, the stories of the people’s lives who have been torn apart is harrowing to experience.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
IMDB Score 8/10
While we might not think of the musical film that launched Judy Garland’s career as a tornado movie, the twister that hits Dorothy’s home and transports her to a foreign land is at the heart of this film. It threatens to take away everything that Dorothy has left, and throws her into a world of chaos. Plus, it is a classic for a reason. Follow the yellow brick road…