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Top 32 Best Tsunami Movies Of All Time
Aishwarya-Updated Jan 20, 2023
Nature is a force to be reckoned with. As long as everything is going smoothly, nature is a benevolent and peaceful force, but when disaster strikes, the fury of nature is tremendous and overwhelming.
Of all the natural disasters that we have witnessed, none is scarier than tsunamis. The world experienced the stupendous force of a tsunami in 2004 when a massive tsunami spread across the Indian Ocean following the Sumatran earthquake.
In the following years, there were four more tsunamis in Chile, Japan, and the Indonesian - Sumatra region. The sight of 50-foot-high waves surging onto land feels like a wall of water crashing onto us and destroying everything on its path.
Movies have tried to capture these scenes and the terrible aftermath left behind. The damage is not just property but also loss of life, livelihood, and hope.
ENTOIN brings you a list of movies from around the world that helped us remember these forces of nature.
They have helped to recreate what happened in those crucial last minutes and connect with the pain. Here are the top 32 best tsunami movies that were made around the world.
Have a watch and let us know which ones you enjoyed.
32. 2022 Tsunami (2009)
2022 Tsunami or Deathwave is a Thai disaster movie. The director of the film Toranong Srichua made a comeback to direction after a gap of five years to make this disaster film because he wanted his audience to be prepared and raise awareness about natural disasters.
The film is about a young prime minister of Thailand who sets up a Tsunami warning center and disaster relief plan.
However, when the tsunami strikes on Songkran Day, how will the planning work out? The film was a direct-to-video film, and did not make a splash as expected.
31. Moonfall (2022)
Moonfall is a science fiction disaster film made by Roland Emmerich. It was the most expensive independently produced science fiction film ever as it was made with a budget of up to $ 146 million.
The film works on a conspiracy that the moon is an artificial megastructure, and it was sent in the orbit artificially.
A conspiracy theorist discovers that the moon’s orbit is slowly moving closer to earth, thereby increasing its influence on the seas and oceans.
He theorizes that this leads to more tsunamis. He works along with two other retired astronauts to launch a rescue mission.
30. Tidal Wave: No Escape (1997)
Tidal Wave: No Escape is a made-for-TV film. This disaster film was produced for the ABC network, but it is not a typical tsunami film.
The film starts with the coastline of California being battered by highly destructive tidal waves. The citizens are distraught but the scientific community is perplexed as they cannot explain this occurrence.
As scientists investigate, they realize that high tidal waves like a tsunami are not natural occurrences but man-made events.
Who is responsible for this and why they are doing it makes up the rest of the film.
29. Flood (2007)
Flood is a British disaster film that deals with severe storm surges that threaten to inundate London. The film was released in theatres and later converted into a two-part film for the BBC.
Flood was given a three-star rating and described as a typical disaster movie made on sodden British soil. The film deals with freak weather phenomena in the north sea area between Britain and Central Europe.
This weather phenomenon causes severe and devastating storm surges along the coast of England and threatens to inundate central London.
28. Meteor (1979)
Meteor is a science fiction disaster movie written by Edmond North. The concept of the film revolves around an asteroid that is heading toward earth, and when it strikes, the asteroid could set off extinction-level destruction on the planet.
The film was a flop, but it earned an Academy Award nomination for Sound. A passing comet disturbs the asteroids in the asteroid belt and sends them hurtling toward the earth.
A few of the smaller fragments strike the earth and set off avalanches and tsunamis. This causes the US government and the erstwhile Soviet government to make a concerted effort to blast the rock before it reaches earth.
The film was inspired by the MIT paper titled Project Icarus, which shared similar ideas.
27. Greenland (2020)
Greenland is a science fiction disaster film written by Chris Sparling. The film was produced by Gerard Butler and set for release before the pandemic, yet it was delayed multiple times due to COVID-19 and had a limited release in 2020 on HBO Max and Amazon Prime.
A comet passes by the earth, and several of its fragments are hurtling toward us. Initially, the US Government offers a few families safe shelter in underground bunkers in Greenland, but the other families that are not selected begin riots and create confusion.
All this happens as small fragments continue to strike the earth, and create tsunamis and wipe out cities.
26. Fukushima 50 (2020)
Fukushima 50 is a Japanese disaster film about the fallout of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that occurred in 2011.
It is based on the book, On The Brink: The Inside Story of Fukushima Daiichi by Ryusho Kadota. It is the first film made to explain the catastrophic events that took place in the nuclear plant.
The film chronicles the events that took place during the tsunami that followed the Tohoku earthquake. It caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to have a meltdown that spiraled out of control.
The radiation from the plant quickly spread into the surrounding seas, towns, and soil. The disaster management team at the power plant had to resort to the process of venting to avert a bigger disaster.
This process would require a human to willingly sacrifice their lives to enter the reactor.
25. The Land of Hope (2012)
The Land of Hope is a Japanese film titled Kibo No Kuni, directed by Sion Sono. The film relates the human tale of the aftermath of the Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami that caused the Fukushima meltdown.
The film is set in a fictional village of Nagashima that is located close to the nuclear power plant.
Life was idyllic in the village before the disaster, but now, the villagers are forced to evacuate their homes due to the radiation leak.
One of the evacuees is a pregnant woman who is worried about the effects of radiation even after she moves to a safe zone.
24. Crack In The World (1965)
Crack In The World is a science fiction thriller and a doomsday movie. The film was praised for its screenplay, saying that despite being science fiction, it was more believable and credible than other movies.
The special effects were much acclaimed. The premise of the movie is that the geothermal energy of the earth can be released and harnessed.
To do this, a consortium of international scientists devise a plan to detonate a nuclear device close to the dene layer around the molten core.
The plan does not work out, and a big crack starts to spread across the earth’s crust leading to major earthquakes and tsunamis around the world.
23. When Time Ran Out… (1980)
When Time Ran Out… is a disaster film with a big star cast. The film’s cast includes Paul Newman, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Jacqueline Bisset, etc.
When Time Ran Out… is partially based on the novel The Day The World Ended by Gordan Thomas and the events of the 1902 volcanic eruption in Martinique.
The film is based on a Pacific island that is a tourist paradise. In the newly constructed hotel, there are a large number of guests.
Disaster strikes when the volcano erupts and sets off huge tidal waves, The residents and the guests at the hotel scramble to escape the tsunami-type waves and reach higher ground that is safe from the lava flow.
22. Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
Atlantis is a science fiction animated film from Disney animation studios. It was based on the science fiction story written by Tab Murphy and based on the mythical kingdom of Atlantis, which was a highly advanced paradise on earth.
The film opens with a large explosion that sets off a tsunami that threatens to inundate everything in its path.
The Queen of Atlantis foresees doom and engages a magical protective shield over the inner city by sacrificing herself.
This shield protects the city from the tsunami, and the ocean swallows the city. In 1914, a young linguist discovers a secret tomb that tells about the path of Atlantis, and he leads a group of mercenaries to raid the lost city of Atlantis.
21. Themis (2011)
Themis is a Japanese film, originally titled Himizu. It is based on a manga series named Himizu, written by Minoru Furuya.
The script of the series was slightly altered to include the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami as a backdrop.
The film revolves around the lives of two teenagers in Japan who come from abusive and dysfunctional families. They are lonely and disturbed, but they find solace in each other.
After the devastating events of Tohoku, they begin to lean on each other to heal and recover from the trauma.
20. The Asadas (2020)
The Asadas is a Japanese film based on the true life events in the life of Masashi Asada. The film was made by Ryota Nakano and the film became the official selection at the Warsaw film festival as well as the Busan International film festival.
The Asadas follow the carefree and loving life of Masashi Asada, who is an acclaimed photographer. He enjoys taking family photos, and it has become his passion.
After the disaster of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, he takes up the job as a photographer for the victims, while ignoring his father’s health.
By the time he realizes the importance of family and comes back home, his father is on his deathbed.
19. Noah (2014)
Noah is an epic biblical tale of the great flood that God sent to purge all the singers from Earth.
It is a Darren Aronofsky film that was based on the take from the Book of Genesis and the Book of Enoch.
Noah was a successful film and became Aronofsky’s biggest commercial success to date. The film is a retelling of the mission of Noah to build an ark and preserve a pair of each kind on animal onboard.
While Noah works to follow god's orders, he faces hardships in all forms to test his perseverance.
18. Ponyo (2008)
Ponyo is a Japanese animated film made by Studio Ghibli. It is a film directed by Hayao Miyazaki for Studio Ghibli.
It is a fantasy tale of a little goldfish. Ponyo is a little goldfish who gets trapped in a jar and dragged ashore by the tides.
On land, a young boy, Sosuke, finds her and rescues her. As their friendship builds, Ponyo uses magic to transform into a human girl.
This causes an unbalance in the world of magic and leads to catastrophic tsunamis. Ponyo and Sosuke have to find a way to make their dreams come true without destroying the world.
17. Poseidon (2006)
Poseidon is a 2006 remake of the 1972 disaster film The Poseidon Adventure. Both these films are based on the novel of the same name by Paul Gallico.
The film is a disaster movie that was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects. Sadly, the movie was not a hit despite its moderate performance.
The film starts on a transatlantic ocean liner named RMS Poseidon. It carries a large number of passengers, crew, and cargo.
Midway across the Atlantic, the ship encounters rogue waves that are fierce. These huge tsunami-type tidal waves threaten to topple the ship.
While trying to take evasive action, the ship capsizes, setting out a mad rush for survival and rescue.
16. Bait (2012)
Bait is an Australian horror disaster film. It combines natural disasters with sea predators and makes a deadly combo of gore, thrills, and horror.
Along the Australian coast, a town is hit by a sudden tsunami, and with the huge wave, the water brings in Great White Sharks.
The sharks were spotted off the coast multiple times, and they got dragged into the town with the waters.
Unfortunately, two of them get caught inside a supermarket along with shoppers. It is a scary and nerve-wracking time for the survivors in the supermarket to get out of the building with the sharks waiting to meet them.
15. The Tsunami and The Cherry Blossom (2011)
The Tsunami and The Cherry Blossom is a short documentary made as an American- Japanese collaboration. The film was highly acclaimed for its theme, subject, direction, and presentation.
The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short and won the Sundance film festival Jury Award.
The documentary is set in the time after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. In the aftermath of this disaster, the documentary captures the sentiment of the Japanese people as they prepare for the cherry blossom.
The film is poignant as the Cherry Blossom denotes hope and beauty.
14. An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
An Inconvenient Truth is a documentary film made by Davis Guggenheim. The film is an effort toward raising awareness about the impact of global warming and its various outcomes.
It has a slideshow of Al Gore that he has used several times to highlight the urgency for action against global warming.
Al Gore is the former presidential candidate and vice president of the USA. He has undertaken various lectures and seminars to highlight the cause and raise awareness.
As the temperatures rise and sea levels rise, the chance of freak weather patterns like El Nino and La Nina increases substantially.
The chance of tsunami-level tidal waves and storm surges will become commonplace as the earth’s climate heats up.
13. Geostorm (2017)
Geostorm is a science fiction disaster film. It is the directorial debut of Dean Devlin who also co-wrote and co-produced the film.
Geostorm was considered a flop as it lost Warner Brothers $79 million. It also received negative reviews for its lackluster visual effects and uninspiring story.
In 2019, all the world nations come together to build climate-controlling satellites that will regulate extreme weather conditions. However, the powerful device starts to be used for nefarious means to destabilize other countries.
Artificial typhoons, hailstorms, and tsunamis are generated by the satellite to target nations and cities.
12. Tidal Wave (2009)
Total Wave is the English name of the South Korean film Haeundae. It is the first disaster film made in South Korea, and it was a commercial success.
Tidal Wave was made by Yoon Je-kyoon and has a strong star cast. The film is set in the coastal town of Haeundae in Busan.
In the film, we see the way the tsunami affects the lives of different people. How do they make decisions and handle the aftermath of the tidal wave?
The coastal town starts to experience a similar sequence of events as the 2004 Indian Ocean disaster. How each party involved makes decisions, and the end result is the story of the film.
11. Kayal (2014)
Kayal is an Indian language film made in Tamil that was set against the backdrop of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
The film was a romance made with a cast of newcomers in the lead. The film starts with the story of two friends who are traveling around India, visiting different cities.
On one such trip, they unknowingly help a pair of lovers elope. Now the family of the lovers have cornered the friends in an attempt to threaten them for information on the lovers.
10. Pompeii (2014)
Pompeii is an epic historical disaster film that chronicles life in the town of Pompeii before and during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
The film was directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, and it became the top-grossing Canadian film of the year.
It also won the Golden Screen Award from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. A young English gladiator falls in love with the daughter of the senator in Pompeii.
However, she is betrothed to another. Meanwhile, the Roman general who killed his parents and made him a slave still holds a grudge against him.
The young English slave attempts to rescue his love during the eruption when a fierce tsunami is set upon the town.
9. The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
The Poseidon Adventure is the film adaptation of the book of the same name, written by Paul Gallico. It was a disaster film that won two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, a British Academy Film Award, etc.
It was also the highest-grossing film of 1973. SS Poseidon is an aging ocean liner, and it is on its final voyage from New York City to Athens.
The ship's captain has raised concerns over the ship’s safety which were ignored. Midway, a sudden tsunami hits the ocean lines, causing it to capsize.
Now, the passengers have the daunting task to escape the ship before it sinks and find a rescue boat.
8. 2012 (2009)
2012 is a science fiction disaster film that is based on the 2012 phenomenon. It was directed by Roland Emmerich and has an ensemble cast.
The was the fifth highest-grossing film of 2009 and earned over $790 million worldwide. Scientists discover a new type of neutrino that is heating up the earth’s core and could lead to major geological disturbances.
In accordance with the finding, many countries around the world build large arks in Tibet that can hold up to 100,000 people.
While people scramble to get a seat on the ark, the world starts to experience cataclysmic events like earthquakes, megatsunamis, volcanos, etc.
7. San Andreas (2015)
San Andreas is an American disaster film directed by Brad Peyton. The film was a commercial hit, but it received mixed reviews from critics.
The acting of Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino was praised, and the visual effects also received a thumbs up.
However, the plot was weak, and the characters were unconvincing. San Andreas fault line is the world’s most unstable tectonic fault line, and it causes many small earthquakes along USA’s west coast.
At Hoover Dam, a new faultline that was previously undiscovered causes a major earthquake. This sets off a string of earthquakes and Tsunamis along the faultline destroying the US West Coast.
6. Deep Impact (1998)
Deep Impact is an American disaster film about a newly discovered comet that is on a collision course toward earth.
The film was met with better reviews from the scientific community. However, the audience preferred Armageddon, a similarly themed film.
A new astronomer discovers a small comet that is on a collision course with earth. The governments deploy spaceships laden with nuclear weapons to destroy the comet, but they are not totally successful.
A sizable piece hurtles towards the earth and hits the Atlantic ocean causing megatsunamis to overrun the east coast of the USA and the coastline of Europe and Africa.
5. The Perfect Storm (2000)
The Perfect Storm is a biographical disaster film about the fishing vessel, The Andrea Gail, that went missing in the Atlantic Ocean during the Perfect Storm of 1991.
The film was directed by Wolfgang Peterson and it was adapted from a novel of the same name by Sebastian Junger.
In 1991, a fishing vessel, the Andrea Gail set out to make one last trip despite the severe weather warnings.
The ship was caught between two weather fronts, and Hurricane Grace was swallowed up to create a new and unnamed weather front.
The gale force winds and huge tidal waves lashed against the vessel and took it down into the ocean.
4. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
The Day After Tomorrow is a science fiction disaster film that was the sixth highest-grossing film of 2004.
The film was directed, co-written, and co-produced by Roland Emmerich, and is based on climate change and melting ice caps.
Jack Hall and his team of Paleoclimatologists uncover a new finding that predicts a severe new weather pattern that will usher in a new ice age.
The changing ocean currents in the Atlantic cause freak weather patterns. Superstorms and tsunamis hit the Northern United States, plunging America into a new Ice Age
3. Hereafter (2010)
Hereafter is an interwoven story of three different people who believe in the afterlife or are affected by it.
The film was directed and co-produced by Clint Eastwood with a script by Peter Morgan. The film was a commercial success, with the actors receiving praise for their work.
However, the critics felt that the story was not handled well. George is a psychic who does not like his ability to communicate with the dead.
Marie is a reporter who almost died in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and is haunted by her visions of the afterlife.
Marcus is a young boy who wants to contact his dead twin.
2. The Wave (2015)
The Wave is a Norwegian disaster film titled Bølgen. The film was Norway’s official entry to the Oscars in 2015.
The Wave was directed by Roar Uthaug, with a story written by John Kåre Raake and Harald Rosenløw-Eeg. The premise of the film is a chain of events that sets off a tsunami that destroys everything along the way.
In a hilly region, a crevice collapses and triggers an avalanche in the hill resort. However, it does not stop there, as the avalanche further triggers a tsunami wave that is 80 meters tall.
1. The Impossible (2012)
The Impossible is a Spanish film (Lo Imposible) made in English by the Spanish director J. A. Bayona. It is a biographical account of Spanish physician Maria Belon and her family during the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
The film was nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a SAG award for the performance of Naomi Watts.
The film was the debut of Tom Holland. The family of five goes to Thailand for Christmas vacation. After two days, they were struck by the tsunami on Boxing Day.
From here starts the chaos of being separated, injured, and the travails of searching for loved ones. It is a heart-rending yet inspiring tale.
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