There’s nothing like hunkering down and watching one of the best tornado movies to help you relax while there is a downpour raging outside. Like their real-life counterparts, the best tornado movies are wild, unpredictable, and keep you on your seat’s edge. Strap in and grab yourself some storm movie ideas for the next time bad weather hits your hometown.
What are the best tornado movies?
All Is Lost (2013)
IMDB Score 6.9/10
Like castaway, All Is Lost is a storm movie that revolves around a single character’s survival. However, this time rather than Tom Hanks, it is Robert Redford in the driving seat. Redford wakes up floating on his boat in the middle of the Indian Ocean only to find that a clash with a bigger boat has left his vessel incapacitated. As the water starts to flood his craft, he realizes he also has to contend with an incoming storm. Does he have what it takes to survive?
Atomic Twister (2002)
IMDB Score 4/10
Cross a tornado movie with a nuclear disaster, and you get Atomic Twister. Based on the 1998 tornado that hit the Davis-Besse Power Station, the film is set after several hurricanes have damaged a nuclear reactor. Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Sharon Lawrence have to do all they can to avoid a nuclear meltdown, do they have what it takes? Atomic Twister may not be one of the highest-rated tornado movies on Netflix, but it’s great fun.
Category 6: Day of Destruction (2004)
IMDB Score 5.4/10
Category 7 combines a storm movie with a hacker based storyline to bring you utter chaos. Set in Chicago, the CBS miniseries follows journalists and officials as they try to figure out what is happening, all while three enormous storms converge on the city. To make matters worse, a hacker collective is causing city-wide power outages. The sequel Category 7 is worth a watch and might be one of the best tornado movies nobody has seen.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
IMDB Score 6.4/10
Dennis Quad and Jake Gyllenhaal fight for survival in this epic disaster movie. Based on a novel by Art Bell and Whitley Strieber, the film follows the collapse of society after disasters ravage the world. Brought on by a disruption to the North Atlantic current, which then propels the world into a new ice age, it’s a potential insight into the dangers of unchecked climate change. It’s up there with one of my favorite storm movies.
Into the Storm (2014)
IMDB Score 5.8/10
This epic tornado movie follows a group of storm chasers who arrive at a local high school just in time to disrupt the local graduation. A cluster of storms has made its way across Oklahoma and now has it’s sight set firmly in the small town. Richard Armitage and Sarah Wayne Callies star in one of the best tornado movies for those looking for a classic found footage storm movie.
Night of the Twisters (1996)
IMDB Score 5.9/10
Devon Sawa, John Schneider, and Lori Hallier star in this nail-biting tornado movie based on Nebraska’s real-life storms of 1980. While the film is definitely more fact than fiction, five people did die in Grand Island, and over 100 more were injured. Events of the movie revolve around a family’s struggle to stay alive during the night of the storms and was released around the time as Twister, be it with a much smaller budget.
The Perfect Storm (2000)
IMDB Score 6.4/10
The Perfect Storm has an all-star cast with George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and John C. Reilly, and is arguably one of the best storm movies ever made. It follows a commercial fishing boat that is lost at sea after surviving a brutal storm. The film’s portrayal of the events at sea won it two academy awards, the first for best special effects and the other for the best sound. It’s a must-watch storm movie for any fans of the genre.
IMDB Score 3.3/10
Sometimes the best tornado movies are the most bizarre, and that’s why Sharknado gets its spot on our list. Set in LA, the film follows Ian Ziering and Tara Reid (from American Pie) as they battle tornadoes that pass over infested water during a storm and pick up killer sharks. The insane premise and over the top theatrics earned it a cult following and some sequels set in New York, Washington, and Florida.
Storm Chasers: Revenge of the Twisters (1998)
IMDB Score 3.8/10
The best tornado movies usually made for TV and Storm Chasers is no exception. Trying to mop up some of Twister’s success, which came just before it, the film follows Kelly McGillis and Wolf Larson, who are storm chasers. The husband and wife duo are meteorologists who believe that storms are predictable, which turns out to be based on an old conspiracy theory that the government controls the weather.
IMDB Score 6.7/10
This 1943 classic could be considered the godfather of the tornado movie. Inspired by the unpublished John Gudel, Black Tornado, the film follows Chester Morris and Nancy Kelly. Chester plays a simple coal miner while Kelly, his wife, is a scheming former showgirl. You follow the unraveling of their relationship as a giant tornado rolls into town. As far as tornado movies go, the effects are spot on considering how old the film is.
IMDB Score 4.7/10
There’s somewhat a lack of imagination for film titles in the tornado movie genre. This 1996 straight to TV storm movie follows Bruce Campell and Ernie Hudson. The storm chasers have devised a new warning system for tornadoes, and it’s the job of Sharon Sturges to determine the value of their project. There is a bit of romance and some sacrifice throughout with a simple storyline, so it is one of the best tornado movies if you want something easy to watch.
Tornado Warning (2012)
IMDB Score 4.2/10
Imagine having the ability to save thousands of lives, but nobody will listen to you. Well, that’s the plot of this 2012 tornado movie. Gerald McRaney and Thea Gill star with the story following scientists who have made a breakthrough discovery and try to save a local town from imminent danger.
IMDB Score 6.3/10
Arguably one of the best tornado movies of all time, Twister helped define a generation of storm movies. It had a heavy-hitting cast with Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton with Steven Spielberg behind the camera. While it doesn’t deviate from the typical tornado movie formula, it is well-produced, with great acting and a good storyline.
The story follows rival groups trying to get some data on an enormous incoming tornado. The cocky storm chasers soon run into more than they can handle.
Where Was God? (2014)
IMDB Score 8/10
Unlike the other movies on our list, Where Was God is fictional. It is a people-centered documentary that looks at different stories following the F5 tornado that hit Oklahoma in 2013. Unlike the light-hearted and cheesy tone of some of the best tornado movies, the way this movie depicts the lives that have ruined will impact you even once the TV has been turned off.
With a storm that was estimated to be eight times stronger than the bomb that leveled Hiroshima, the documentary aims to answer one question, Where was God?
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
It may surprise some to see the story of Dorothy on our list of the best tornado movies, but don’t forget it’s the twister that carries her to the land of Oz. The iconic film helped launch Judy Garland’s career and has since become a classic in every sense. Not only has it provided the source material for multiple reboots such as Oz the great and powerful and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but it has also mesmerized theatre fans around the world in the form of musicals.