Several volcano movies have captivated audiences for many reasons throughout the decades. Those who enjoy the thrill and excitement of an erupting volcano would enjoy ten of the best films with volcanos that hit the cinema.
Volcano movies have hit the cinemas several times, offering viewers a visual spectacle with true-to-life special effects that show an erupting volcano’s strong and destructive power.
The quietest volcanoes have been the deadliest in real life, and escaping an eruption is no easy feat. Despite the advancement of science, every exposure can still result in catastrophic damages, as depicted in the films.
An active volcano with ash clouds. | Source: Shutterstock
Some movies about volcanoes don’t just revolve around the impending eruption and disaster it causes but touch on socio-political issues, relationships, and morality. Here are ten great volcano movies from different decades.
In ancient Rome, Milo, a Celtic gladiator, and Cassia, a noblewoman, fall in love despite their different lives. However, as they defy social divisions, Roman senator Corvus, whom she is betrothed to, gets in between. While fighting for their passion, Mount Vesuvius erupts, causing chaos in the city. Milo, with all his might, races to save his trapped love.
Geologist Harry Dalton has spent much of his career studying volcanoes, seismic activities, and predicting eruptions. His life turns exciting when he discovers a dormant volcano awakening in Dante’s Peak. While the volcano threatens the residents, Dante’s Peak mayor, Rachel Wando, hesitates to believe the danger.
Mount Baekdu has been a dormant volcano for years, located at the border of North and South Korea. When the volcano erupts, ash clouds spew over the two divided nations. An unlikely group of heroes must make it their mission to help save lives.
Besides battling the natural disaster, the characters must face political tensions, life-threatening decisions, and questions about humanity. “Ashfall” stars Lee Byung-hun, Ha Jung-woo, Jeon Hye-jin, and Ma Dong-seok.
At the heart of Los Angeles, a volcano unexpectedly erupts beneath the city’s urban landscape and causes panic. Emergency responders, led by a geologist, must find a way to delay the destruction and protect the people from a fiery disaster.
Among the most highly-anticipated films of its time, “2012” portrayed a Mayan prediction of the world’s end. The chilling story of the world falling apart shows a series of catastrophic disasters that people could not outrun.
‘Joe Versus the Volcano’
Joe Banks’ life isn’t headed in any direction, and he feels unfulfilled. To make matters worse, he is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Banks is soon presented with a remarkable journey on a remote volcanic island where he is to end his life by jumping inside a volcano.
During his journey, Banks encounters unorthodox characters and bizarre places, which makes him realize what it is to live. “Joe Versus the Volcano” stars Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Lloyd Bridges, and Robert Stack.
‘The Devil at 4 O’Clock’
A children’s leper community is housed near a volcano on the brink of eruption. Father Doonan, a dedicated priest caring for the facility, assumes the role of a hero and seeks help for everyone to evacuate the colony. Joining him are three convicts: Harry, Chalie, and Marcel.
They soon became vital to the rescue mission, trying to save lives before the volcano’s eruption at exactly 4 o’clock. Besides thrill and adventure, the movie touches on selflessness, sacrifice, and humanity.
‘When Time Ran Out’
Everything is going well for a group of tourists at a luxurious resort. However, trouble in paradise comes when a dormant volcano on the island awakens, about to explode into a big, deadly disaster. Both islanders and visitors must find a way to survive, trying to beat the time when nothing is left of the island.
‘You Only Live Twice’
“You Only Live Twice” is the fifth installment of the James Bond films, set in Japan, where Bond’s mission leads him. There, the lead character discovers a hidden volcano lair that was also the headquarters of an evil organization.
Besides the usual action-packed, espionage, and thrilling chase scenes, the movie is more interesting because of its volcanic touch. “You Only Live Twice” stars Sean Connery, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, and Tetsuro Tanba.
‘Into the Inferno’
“Into the Inferno” is a documentary about the world’s most active volcanic landscapes and the inhabitants occupying the nearby areas, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iceland, Indonesia, and more.
Geologist Clive Oppenheimer is the film’s director and star, alongside other scientists and individuals who are a part of the nearby communities.
Many movie watchers enjoy watching films with volcanoes for several reasons, including the captivating visuals of its explosions and the thrill and adventure of escaping an eruption. Oxford professor David Pyle said, “Around 600 volcanoes have erupted within the last 200 years, and 1,500 could erupt again within the next few decades.”
Besides the films mentioned above, some volcano movies from decades ago include “The Last Days of Pompeii,” “Bird of Paradise,” “One Million Years BC,” “St. Helens,” “Mysterious Island,” “Krakatoa, East of Java,” and “Stromboli.” Other movies with volcanoes from the 2000s are “The Northman,” “The Return of the King,” “Fire of Love,” “Super Volcano.”