Last year I started digging around for space rocks — movies about space rocks — to compile a list of every asteroid and comet disaster movie ever made, from the very first silent, black and white offering in 1916, to the major blockbusters that launch at us every special effect that digital mastery can conjure up today, plus a handful of TV shows.
This article provides an A to Z of all of the titles I found, with a link to where you can watch the movie, trailer or episode, because tracking down some of the more obscure titles is a challenge in itself. My earlier article Making an Impact: Lights, Camera and Asteroid! provides a brief synopsis for each.
If asteroid and comet impact disaster movies areyour thing (presumably, since you are here), you can rest assured that this genre is not extinct, with at least three releases in 2020 and 2021:
The first is Collision Earth (not to be confused with a 2011 movie of the same name), a made-for-TV drama about an approaching swarm of debris masking a much larger asteroid and featuring a lot of colourful on-the-ground monitoring using virtual reality headsets.
The second is Greenland, a big budget film featuring multiple comet impacts and the search for sanctuary in an underground shelter in Greenland.
The third is Don’t Look Up, a big budget cast in a political satire about two low-key astronomers who go on a high-profile media tour to warn the world about an impending asteroid impact that no-one else takes seriously.
If I were to pick a handful of recommendations to watch from the full A to Z list, I would choose:
Start with the first ever impact movie The End of the World (1916); then watch the mini-series Salvation(2017/18) — a story which encompasses almost everything featured in all the other movies combined and undertakes relentless attempts of absolutely everything known to man to try and mitigate the impending disaster, as well as methods which have to be invented regardless of cost or consequence. For a realistic telling of what might happen before, during and after a massive impact, watch the docu-drama The Super Comet (2007), or for a lighthearted take of an impending asteroid disaster, watch the opening episode of Season 2 of The Onion News Network (2011). If you speak Japanese and want a giant creature to battle along with the incoming asteroid, watch Warning from Space (1956) and Gorath (1962). If you only have minutes to spare, watch the short film Hope (2016) or the comedy The Size of Texas (2011).
Remember, asteroids and comets are not the same thing, although there is growing evidence for ambiguous types — think of them as rocky and icy end members of a whole host of small bodies in between. And don’t confuse meteoroids, meteors and meteorites, because the term ‘meteor’ is almost always misused in movies. For more on that, read the articles Asteroid vs Comet and Meteoroids, Meteors and Meteorites.
The links to watch the movies may be on any of Amazon, IMDb, iTunes, Netflix, YouTube, or a dedicated film website, depending on what was available at the time of writing, but most link to Amazon (UK and/or US) because the majority of titles are available there. If you want to watch a movie on Amazon and don’t have a Prime subscription, they sometimes offer a 30-day trial, but always read their terms and conditions first.
[list last updated: 20 December 2020]
Every asteroid and comet disaster movie and TV show ever made — currently 82 titles: