Making an Impact: Lights, Camera and Asteroid!

More than 100 years have passed since the first film was shown in movie theatres that depicted a rock from space wreaking havoc on Earth—although in that case it was a comet rather than an asteroid making an impact.

That movie, a silent black and white film called The End of the World released in 1916, was inspired by the passage of two comets: the Great Daylight Comet of 1910, closely followed that year by Halley’s Comet.

There was much hysteria surrounding those two events, in particular mass panic due to the word on the street that the population might be poisoned by the hydrogen cyanide gas that had recently been detected in the coma of Halley’s Comet. Some enterprising individuals had two words for that: comet pills.

Since then, we have been inundated with fictional depictions of an asteroid or comet heading for Earth. Below is a spoiler-filled A to Z of every movie and TV show that features an impact threat. If you’d prefer a list of titles in date order without the narrative, click here. The list covers cinema releases, made-for-TV movies, short films, miniseries, a handful of TV show episodes, some anime, and two dramatised documentaries (one of which is unmissable—just like planet Earth in many of these dramas).

There are currently 106 titles on the list. In some, the threat may be from a planetary body that is not technically an asteroid or comet, but a threat to Earth nonetheless. Links are to Amazon, IMDb, Internet Archive, iTunes, Netflix, YouTube, or the film company website.

In case you wonder, the image above is from the 2015 triply titled film Asteroid: Final Impact aka Asteroid Impact aka Meteor Assault (and the image is being used for illustrative purposes only, not necessarily to recommend the movie). In contrast, the quote below is from the movie Fire in the Sky (which is being used to recommend the movie).

So, what you’re telling me is that there’s something out there in space. You don’t know what it’s made of but you’re pretty sure it’s headed toward Earth. It may break up and burn off but you don’t know exactly where. It may change course and miss but you don’t know exactly when. Well, I’m grateful for all the expert advice.

A Fire in the Sky (1978)

In many of these movies, the term ‘meteor’ is misused. The meteor isn’t the incoming object per se, the meteor is the heat, light and ionisation associated with the incoming object striking and burning up in the atmosphere. The incoming object is better described as a meteoroid. There is only a meteor when the object is in the meteor phase—and since there’s no atmosphere in space, there are no meteors in space, despite what you see and hear in these movies. You can read more about all that in the post Meteoroids, Meteors and Meteorites.

In the following A-Z list, the disaster mitigation attempts you will encounter cover everything from nuclear warheads on surface-to air-missiles, space-based missiles, sub-sea missiles, thrown into trenches, dropped into volcanoes, or drilled into the asteroid…to kinetic impactors, gravity tractors, zero-gravity levitation devices, carbon-fibre mesh trawlers, magnetic rail guns, triangulated laser guns, plasma canon drones, Mylar light sails, self-sealing nanomaterials, repulsive energy-field devices, spread focus laser generators, super-heated surfaces, reflective paint, EM drives, EM pulse machines, weaponised asteroids, stealth asteroids, unspecified super weapons, hijacked space probes, clandestine trajectory alterations, theoretical energy sources, homemade rockets, chemical concoctions, tungsten-tantalum carbide-encased deuterium fluoride source laser devices, the Braeburg effect, the fifth element, doomsday machines, mini black holes, making the Earth intangible, cloaking it in a carbon-fibre shield, pushing it out of the way with the rocket effect, jolting it out of the way with an induced tectonic shift, shifting it back by igniting the world’s largest natural gas reserve, hiding in underground bunkers, joining cults, building arks, mass evacuation, planetary evacuation…and when all that fails, digging yourself into a hole in the ground or standing on a beach and waiting for the impact to happen. And there’s always an ill-fated reporter on the trail.

First published: 30 June 2019
Last updated: 26 August 2023 (ne titles added)

A Day On The Asteroid (2009)

A Day on the Asteroid (2009). If you make it through this list you will have spent much more than a day on the asteroid. My list starts not with a disaster movie but a unique little film set in 3032 about a familiar-looking Chief Inspector sent to investigate increasing disturbances in the space-time continuum related to wormhole activities on the asteroid mining colony Palermus IV. There’s definitely something going on, on this unique P-type asteroid.  (Trailer | Watch)

The NEO expert with a meteorite and blackboard showing the comet's trajectory in A Fire in the Sky (1978)

A Fire in the Sky (1978). A newly-discovered comet a quarter of a mile wide is on an Earth-impact trajectory, although if, when and precisely where it will strike no-one can agree. The threat is being kept secret to avoid mass panic but an NEO expert goes on air to tell it like it is. When the military’s nuclear intercept fails, mass evacuation is the only option before Phoenix and everything within 100 miles is obliterated in a massive airburst. While most people take shelter below ground, the NEO expert opts for the once-in-a-lifetime experience at ground zero. Contains the best quote of all these impact movies…and Elizabeth Ashley. Watch

Meteors strike Earth in Anna's Storm (2007) aka Hell's Rain (2007)

Anna’s Storm (2007) aka Hell’s Rain. TV movie. The small town of Cottonwood in Colorado is caught up in a meteor storm that rains debris down across the state without warning. Residents struggle to dodge the incoming rocks, while the town’s doctor struggles to tend those who fail to do so. But the doctor is grappling with his own mental wounds from the time he was unable to save his own son’s life. His wife, now the town’s Mayor, tries to instil calm in what was an already a troubled town even before the impacts, while at the same time trying to decipher cryptic psychic messages from her dead son who is trying to warn her that the meteorites are just the precursor to a much larger asteroid threat. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Apocalypse, CA (2011). A group of friends seeking a fitting end to the end of the world head to the desert outside of Palm Springs, the predicted impact site of an asteroid that will strike in the coming days. “Logic hasn’t exactly been this week’s selling point,” one of the group says (which probably sums the movie up). Almost as a metaphor for the approaching asteroid, a giant woman is stamping people out at random in this off-beat story. It’s The Wizard of Oz meets Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. But she’s just someone whose wish was to get her own back on someone who turned her down years before. What do the others in the group now regret having wished for? An antipodean genie masquerading as a DJ in the desert reverses their wishes gone wrong. Trailer | Watch US

The asteroid the size of Texas in the film Armageddon (1998)

Armageddon (1998). It’s the movie that launched a thousand asteroid size comparisons. A blockbuster (literally) about a team of deep core drillers with the wrong stuff tasked by NASA to save the world from an ominous asteroid the size of Texas. “There’s not a job on the planet that I would want you to work with me on…and I mean that,” says the head of the drilling company to his would-be son-in-law to try and coax him back onto his unruly team. But that’s just the second best quote in the movie. This film is as over-the-top as it gets, delivering a massive onslaught not only on the asteroid but also on the senses. There are only eighteen days before it impacts and it’s 97.6 billion—
Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US | the size of Texas

Asteroid heading into Dallas in Asteroid (1997)

Asteroid (1997). TV miniseries. Not one but two asteroids are perturbed from the asteroid belt by the return of a long-period comet. Kansas City and Dallas are the predicted impact sites, but with insufficient warning and a failed nuclear intercept attempt, mass evacuation is the only option. “I think we have a really good chance as long as we don’t have to stop what we’re doing to answer your questions every ten minutes.” Unfortunately, the family of the astronomer who discovered the asteroid threats lives smack bang in the middle of the Dallas impact site. What are the chances of that happening? Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Asteroid (2021) jammer

Asteroid (2021). A man moves his family back to the town where he grew up, only to find the house is in a communications dead zone. Then NASA announces that an asteroid will hit in three days’ time and his house is ground zero. What are the chances of that? To avoid dealing with the impending catastrophe and mitigation attempt, the government issues an executive order to legally exclude the town from the United States. But it turns out a jammer has been causing the communications blackout, there’s a massive deposit of super-rare minerals buried beneath the town that’s gravitationally attracting the asteroid, and it’s all been a conspiracy to clear the area to get hold of the minerals. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Asteroid-a-Geddon (2021)

Asteroid-A-Geddon (2020). A nuclear strike fails to break up asteroid 2200 QL which is still heading for Earth. The seemingly indestructible core is composed of svobodium carbonate, a carbon-bonded metal more dense than anything known to man. With two months to impact, the US talks about launching a second warhead, the Russians talk kinetic impactor, a religious fanatic talks God’s will, and a bohemian metallurgist builds a ten petawatt tungsten-tantalum carbide-encased deuterium fluoride source laser device and saves the world. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Firing a rocket containing a chemical concoction up into the incoming asteroid.

Asteroid: Final Impact (2015) aka Asteroid Impact aka Meteor Assault. TV movie. A meteor storm is brushed off by officials as a one-off event, but one scientist isn’t so sure. He once ran an asteroid tracking program but he was blacklisted after blowing the whistle that his program was clandestinely being used as a spy satellite. With inside help, he reactivates the satellite and discovers a dark asteroid on course to hit the western continental US within hours. Launching a secret chemical compound on his son’s homemade rocket science project, he implodes the threat in an instantaneous chain reaction. Trailer | Watch

View from space showing explosions around the globe at the fault lines and the incoming asteroid in Asteroid vs Earth (2014)

Asteroid vs Earth (2014). TV movie. Alerted by an anomalous spectroscopic osmium spike, an intern at the Keck Observatory discovers an asteroid a quarter the size of the Moon travelling at seven million miles per hour towards Earth. A geophysicist suggests shifting Earth out of the way with a massive tectonic displacement and knows just the thing that can do it: sending her patented submersible armed with nuclear bombs into the Yap Trench to induce a swarm of earthquakes along the Pacific Ring of Fire. But when the requisite cumulative magnitude 18 intensity isn’t reached, the only alternative is to drop bombs down the Saipan volcano. Watch UK | Watch US | DVD

Axis First Shift (2010)

Axis: First Shift (2010). The action switches between Bangladesh and Los Angeles, but the plot is as elusive as the two asteroids we hear about that will impact Earth and shift it off its axis. Neither NASA nor any of the authorities appear to have a clue about what’s happening. A mysterious organisation has set up a network of shelters, but for whom isn’t clear. A handful of people move between small rooms and derelict buildings, but why isn’t explained. I could deal with all that, but it’s the misuse of the apostrophe in the text crawl of this catastrophe that sealed its fate for me. Watch

Woman looking scared up at sky in Before The Fall aka Tres Dias (2008)

Before the Fall (2008) original title Tres Días (2008). An asteroid will impact Earth in 72 hours in a catastrophic collision that no-one is expected to survive. In its final hours, the world is gripped by mass panic. In the chaos, a serial killer escapes from prison and holds a family hostage, making their final hours even more unbearable. A visually stylish film it may be, but it’s still violent and destructive even before the impact, so maybe do what the asteroid won’t and give this one a miss. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Blaze TV Asteroid (2013) Destroy the Asteroid Act

Blaze TV: Asteroid! (2013). Short sketch (3m). In the run-up to an asteroid impact, there’s opposition to the Destroy the Asteroid Act…but not to the act of destroying the asteroid. Watch

Scene showing Mercury approaching Earth from film Collision Earth (2011)

Collision Earth (2011). TV movie. It may not be an asteroid that’s threatening Earth here, but there’s a massive impact threat nonetheless. The Sun momentarily becomes a powerful magnetar, magnetising Mercury and knocking it onto a collision course with Earth. An abandoned weaponised asteroid project is resurrected to deflect it, a project which was abandoned for good reason: “The deflector never worked in field testing, not once—without that it’s just a big rock with engines.” If you’re looking for the largest collection of superlative-packed lines a movie has ever had, this movie has it in ship loads. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Collision Earth (2020), a film about an asteroid impact threat.

Collision Earth (2020). TV movie. A disgraced military meteoriticist who failed to correctly calculate coordinates of the Chelyabinsk impact now believes that asteroid Phaethon was perturbed during its last perihelion and is heading towards Earth cloaked inside its own debris cloud. Odds are it will strike Manitoba with the force of a million Hiroshimas. VR-operated plasma drones and a nuclear attack fail to destroy it, and Earth’s orbital meteor shield can’t stop it. Will the Braeburg effect work? The what? You’ll have to watch it to find out. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Color Out of Space (2019)

Color Out of Space (2019). Sci-fi horror based on H P Lovecraft’s 1927 short story of almost the same name—and one of three remakes. A glowing meteorite of an indescribable colour lands on an alpaca farm in the fictional town of Arkham, becoming the catalyst for a series of bizarre electromagnetic and horrifically transmogrifying events. The rock disappears shortly after impact, but the transformative colour remains present in the static, in the water, down the well, everywhere, as it attempts to change all life around it. The first three minutes are mesmerising and the electronica soundtrack soars. Watch UK | Watch US

Ectoranium asteroid passing through an intangible Earth in Danny Phantom Phantom Planet (2007)

Danny Phantom “Phantom Planet” (2007). Final ever instalment [S3, Ep 12–13] of this animated TV series about ghost fighter Danny Phantom. A massive asteroid composed of Ectoranium is on a collision course to destroy Earth and the entire Ghost Zone. An attempt to blow it up is scuppered by Danny Phantom’s main adversary, and since Ectoranium prevents ghosts interacting with it, Danny Phantom has to persuade all his adversaries in Ghost Zone to turn the Earth intangible so the asteroid can pass right through. Watch UK | Watch US

Scientist looking at asteroid Rickenbach 10-31 on screen in film Deadly Skies aka Force of Impact aka Ultimate Limit (2006)

Deadly Skies (2006) and its alternative version Force of Impact aka Ultimate Limit (2006). Two different cuts of the same movie with a different relationship slant in each. An astronomer tracks a number of impacts in Switzerland, Africa and California back to an asteroid the size of Texas. But that asteroid will pass by Earth safely. It’s the other rogue asteroid that struck it that’s the main threat here. Unable to convince the military of the impending impact, the astronomer tracks down an ex-Air Force Major who resurrects an aborted secret laser weapon to deflect it, with just seconds to spare. If you think some of the dialogue is suggestive, it’s not your imagination. Watch UK | Watch US | DVD

Tsunami rushing towards the beach in Deep Impact (1998)

Deep Impact (1998). A movie that at first appears to be about someone called Ellie…but it just seems that way. It’s about a comet heading for Earth, a failed nuclear intercept mission, and a lottery to decide who will be allotted shelter in a bunker constructed inside the limestone caves in the mountains of Missouri before the comet fragments impact. A shuttle is sent to plant bombs inside the comet which fail to do anything but split it in two. With both pieces still heading for Earth, the crew sacrifices itself to fly the remaining bombs into the larger rock, breaking it into harmless fragments. Told largely from the viewpoint of a reporter on a US TV news network who chooses beach over bunker when the impact-induced tsunami strikes the coast. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Don't Look Up - Dr Mindy analyses the path of the comet

Don’t Look Up (2021). Two astronomers discover a comet heading for Earth, but no-one else takes the news seriously after the White House and the world’s largest tech giant conceive plans to intercept and mine it. It’s Deep Impact meets Salvation meets Idiocracy in this rare-Earth impact satire with a jazzed-up soundtrack. An exasperating watch that perfectly captures the dumbing down for the public of space science reporting across all facets of today’s media. “Not everything needs to sound so goddam clever or charming or likeable all the time,” the scientist quite rightly proclaims. When a song gets more interest than the hard facts about an impending catastrophe, the world is in deep trouble. Where are those comet pills? Trailer | Watch

Doomsday:10 Ways the World Will End (2016) (Ep1-Killer Asteroid)

Doomsday: 10 Ways the World Will End (2016). Ten-part dramatised documentary in which scientists discuss various ways the world might end. Episode 1 focuses on what might happen if Earth were struck by an asteroid in the Yucatán Peninsula today, near to where an impact 66 million years ago caused the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs. Episode 3 discusses Earth being hit by a rogue planet. Discussions in Episode 1 are interspersed with dramatised scenes in different parts of the world during and after the asteroid impact (similar to but not nearly as good as The Super Comet—see below.) Clip Ep 1 | Clip Ep 3 | Watch UK | Watch US

Doomsday Meteor (2023). When a city-sized asteroid is observed to be on an impact trajectory with Earth, it’s time to initiate the Doomsday Meteor Protocol. But when it fails, the only option is to send a manned mission to attach a propulsion device to the rock and blast it off course. Another classic from The Asylum. Book me a place in one and I will watch these movies all day. Trailer | Watch

Scene from film Doomsday Rock (1997) explaining the cave paintings

Doomsday Rock aka Cosmic Shock (1997). TV movie. A rogue scientist (anthropologist and astrophysicist) assumes control of a military missile silo in an attempt to intercept an asteroid he believes will collide with Earth based on a prediction he discovered in a series of ancient Aboriginal cave paintings. The FBI enlists the help of his daughter to try and stop him from launching the missiles. But his predictions turn out to be correct. Memorable line: “I don’t want the woman getting anywhere near the meteor.” Even so, it’s an excellent movie, the only available edition of which is strewn with vintage ads from a few weeks before Princess Diana died. Watch

Figuring out what the coordinates mean in Earthfall (2015)

Earthfall (2015). TV movie. A close encounter with a rogue planet changes Earth’s tilt and orbit, sending it out towards the asteroid belt. Half the planet is plunged into perpetual night and devastating storms ravage the surface. With subtle nods to a 1977 classic, separate groups of civilians are drawn towards a secret Government facility based on a set of coordinates sprawled on flyers and buildings that seem important, that mean something. Can Earth’s orbit be restored by igniting the world’s largest natural gas reserve with the world’s entire stockpile of nuclear weapons? Of course it can. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Two scientists look at Moon in control room scene in Earth Storm (2006)

Earth Storm (2006). When the Moon is struck by an asteroid, a fragment breaks off and impacts Earth. Now unstable, the Moon creates severe disruption to Earth’s weather and tides. Then a massive fault through the Moon poses the risk of even bigger fragments hitting Earth with devastating consequences. An initially reluctant demolition specialist is sent to implode the Moon using an unproven EM pulse machine to recharge the magnetic field being generated in the core and close up the fault. “No-one knows more about how things collapse in on themselves than you,” the divorced demolition expert is told. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Scene in cave with meteorite in film Evolution (2001)

Evolution (2001). Comedy about an unusual meteorite fall in the Arizona desert that contains the building blocks of alien life and goes through hundreds of millions of years of exponential evolution in a matter of days. The military’s use of napalm accelerates the evolution and soon a giant flagellant amoeba oozes up to the surface. Two community college professors and their group of reluctant geology students are head and shoulders above the rest in figuring out how to save the planet and who to involve. “What about the government…I mean, isn’t this is the kind of thing they usually get involved in?” “No. No government. I know those people. Absolutely not,” says David Duchovny, one of the active ingredients in this highly entertaining movie. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Fish Story (2009)

Fish Story (2009). Before the Sex Pistols was Gekirin, a Japanese punk band and its only album, Fish Story, released in 1975 with lyrics lifted from a mistranslated book. The record never sold. Fast forward 37 years. Hours before a comet is to become the greatest hit of 2012 and a tsunami engulf Japan, a solitary record shop remains open in Tokyo. The owner is playing one of the last surviving copies of Fish Story to one of the last remaining customers in the city. How on Earth can a silent gap in a song that never sold save the planet? How can such a great film not reach anybody? If my love of a movie were a fish, it would be something like this. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US | Internet Archive | Song

Flyby (2021)

Flyby (2021). Short film (13m). The close approach of an asteroid wreaks havoc with some people’s perception of time. There’s no impact, but the extended flyby is causing what’s being dubbed Asteroid Affective Disorder. We watch as the life of one man fast-forwards from meeting a stranger, to starting a family, to developing signs of dementia as he ages, as years fly by in what seem to him like no time at all. Once the asteroid leaves, the passage of time gets back to normal, but the time that’s already passed has still passed. Watch

Scene showing launch of garbage ball in Futurama: A Big Piece of Garbage (1999)

Futurama: “A Big Piece of Garbage” (1999). Animated TV sitcom [S1, Ep 8]. Spoof of Armageddon (1998). Earth is in the path of a giant ball of garbage from Old New York that was launched into space by the mob in the 21st Century. Now its heading back to Earth. “Here’s the bomb I prepared. Once you activate it you’ll have twenty five minutes to get away…there’ll be plenty of time to discuss your objections when and if you return.” The attempt to plant the bomb in a fault line near hypodermic ridge fails, so they have no option but to launch a second ball of garbage to deflect it. Watch UK | Watch US

Gli Asteroidi (2017)

Gli Asteroidi (2017) translated as The Asteroids. Set in a rundown part of Bologna, this coming of age drama charts the demise of two friends into criminality, mostly stealing valuable candelabras from churches to sell. The action plays out against the backdrop of the close approach of an asteroid that their erudite artist friend believes will end all life on Earth. With some scenes filmed at the Medicina Radio Observatory, this film is not so much about the asteroid than the desperation. If nothing else, the soundtrack by Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari and Lo Stato Sociale is worth tuning in for. Watch UK | Watch US

Gorath movie (1962) South Pole construction site

Gorath (1962) aka Yōsei Gorasu (1962) translated as Ominous Star Gorath. It’s 1979 and a collapsed star threatens to rip Earth apart on its passage through the Solar System. Calculations show it will reach Earth in two years’ time, and with no way to destroy or deflect it, the only option is to move Earth out of the way. In a global collaboration, massive rocket thrusters are installed at the South Pole, but a series of environmental catastrophes that awaken a prehistoric walrus momentarily threaten the success of the ambitious project. A stylish film in all respects, despite the monster. Trailer | DVD | Internet Archive | Clips on YouTube

Greenland (2020). STX Entertainment. Making an Impact: Lights, Camera and Asteroid! Every asteroid and comet disaster movie ever made rolled into one.

Greenland (2020). Movie. An interstellar comet is traversing the Solar System and expected to make a close approach with Earth. When the first fragments breach the atmosphere, Florida is obliterated. Subsequent impacts are expected to devastate the planet and an app allocates shelter in an underground bunker in Greenland to those with skills that will be useful after the apocalypse. “We’re already at capacity, there’ll be more planes tomorrow. Or there won’t be a tomorrow.” Rather than focusing on the comet impact, this story is more about clinging onto the fragment of marriage and a bag of medication. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Scene looking down on Earth from film Hope (2016). In blog Making an Impact: Lights, Camera and Asteroid! a blog which is about asteroid impacts and comet impacts on Earth.

Hope (2016). Excellent six minute film. The year is 2112 and a lone scientist believes the Earth will be destroyed by a series of catastrophic impacts, but no-ones believes him because no-one else can duplicate his findings. So he builds his own space ark to preserve hundreds of specimens of life from Earth and watches alone from space as the rocks rain down on Earth below. When a faulty component threatens to destroy the specimens, the scientist reroutes the power from his own life support system to save the cargo. A passing spaceship discovers what remains of the man and his ark 100,000 years later. Watch

How It Ends (2021)

How It Ends (2021). Seeking to make amends before the end of the world. A comedic romp about a woman on an LA road trip of soul-searching and self-discovery in the run-up to an asteroid impact. This woman is no Edith Piaf; she regrets everything. In the end, she is by herself, with herself (her younger self) but not before a scattering of random encounters, a spattering of witty repartee, and an obligatory end of the world party. When it ends she does look up, in what is a unique, socially-distanced asteroid impact movie. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Ice Age: Collision Course (2016)

Ice Age: Collision Course (2016). Animated movie. After surviving another ice age, a sabre-toothed squirrel ends up in space trying to bury his acorn on an asteroid. But the rock splits in two and is sent hurtling towards Earth. A herd of animals sheltering from the meteor storm on Earth find a carving on a cave wall that depicts an impact in the same place every few millions years. Guided by Neil de Grasse Tyson, they launch magnetic crystals from a meteorite into an erupting volcano to deflect the asteroid. This film contains a little bit of everything else on this list, plus an acorn. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Scene showing meteorite splitting in two (hot and cold) in film Icetastrophe (2014)

Icetastrophe (2014). TV movie. A meteoroid enters Earth’s atmosphere and splits in two. The smaller hot fragment impacts in the mountains and the larger icy fragment strikes the town of Lennox where a flash freeze icetastrophe ensues. Only by bringing the two meteorites back together can the balance of nature be restored. Watch UK | Watch US

Scene from Impact (2008) as two astronauts dive into the fault on the Moon to map the fissure. In blog which is about asteroid impacts and comet impacts on Earth.

Impact (2008). Two part TV miniseries. While the Earth is in the path of spectacular meteor shower, a small dense piece of a brown dwarf impacts the Moon. It sets off a series of extreme electromagnetic and gravitational events on Earth, wrenching everything made of metal from the surface of the planet. Soon the increased mass is pulling Earth onto a collision course with the Moon. Two scientists are sent to the Moon with an unproven EM pulse device that may be able to eject the object before the collision. But first they have to build it. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Futureshock: Comet Impact (Impact Earth) (2007).

Impact Earth (2008) aka Futureshock: Comet Impact (2007). TV movie. A comet impacts off the coast of Ireland creating a devastating tsunami. The astronomer who failed to detect it receives NASA funding to develop a reliable near-Earth object observation program and discovers the comet was part of a chain that will strike the United States in a K-T-sized event. The military plan a nuclear deflection, the astronomer warns against it, and the world goes into economic meltdown in anticipation of what’s about to happen. Trailers

Scene from the film Impact Earth (2015) showing computer screen and trajectory changing

Impact Earth (2015). TV movie. A university student predicts a near-Earth collision that will propel one of the impactors on a collision course with Earth. Her supervisor agrees, but he is a former NASA asteroid tracker who once caused widespread panic by announcing a massive asteroid impact that never happened. His former colleague also agrees, but he once spent hundreds of millions of NASA dollars on a deflector with a control system that never worked. What to do? She posts her own warning on social media and plans her own mitigation attempt using the reprogrammed deflector, in what becomes an elaborate game of space billiards planned out on a billiard table. Trailer | Watch

Judgment Day (1999)

Judgment Day (1999). Movie. When comet Comikov traversed the asteroid belt, it collided with an asteroid, sending an 18-metre fragment towards Earth, destroying a village in Bolivia. But another piece, a thousand times larger, is on its way and will arrive within days. Unfortunately, the government scientist who has the arming codes for the only weapon capable of destroying this size of impactor has been kidnapped by a delusional cult leader. A dangerous criminal, the only one who knows the kidnapper’s whereabouts, is released from prison to assist the FBI track him down. Trailer | Watch (YouTube) | Watch UK | Watch US

La Fin du Monde (1931)

La Fin du Monde (1931) translated as The End of the World. Movie co-written by astronomer Camille Flammarion. A wealthy astronomer realises that Lexell’s Comet will hit Earth on its next apparition and the world will end in 114 days. It’s “La fin du monde! La fin du monde! La fin du monde!“. After taking over a media corporation, he announces the event to the world, causing the global economy to collapse and the world to descend into chaos. The astronomer is accused of fabricating a hoax…until the comet comes into view. It passes safely by, but the world is already devastated by the hysteria. Le commentaire! Le commentaire! Le commentaire!

Scene showing close approach of rogue planet with Earth from film Melancholia (2011)

Melancholia (2011). Movie. Not an asteroid but a previously undetected rogue planet given the name Melancholia enters the Solar System from behind the Sun, making a close approach and ultimately colliding with the Earth. The film follows the strained relationship between two sisters who shelter in a magic cave when the planet collides with Earth. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Orange hue over the city in Meltdown: Destruction of Days (2006)

Meltdown: Days of Destruction (2006). TV movie. An asteroid fragment the size of Iceland skims the atmosphere, perturbing Earth’s orbit closer to the Sun and creating a global heat wave. The gravitational pull of the other planets could reinstate Earth’s orbit but whether that will work will only be known when it rains (yep, you read that correctly). A group of strangers decide to fly to the Arctic, but so does everyone else. The asteroid drama is over in the first fifteen minutes. The remainder is about the group overcoming heat and vigilantes to get to the airfield. Then it rains. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Scene from Meteor (1979) in the control room bunker under AT&T New York, in a blog which is about asteroid impacts and comet impacts on Earth.

Meteor (1979). Movie. A main belt asteroid is struck by a comet, deflecting it towards Earth. It will hit within a week. The force of impact will be ten orders of magnitude larger than the largest earthquake ever recorded. If there’s any hope of preventing the catastrophe, the US and Russia must first admit to owning space-based nuclear weapons and then agree to combine their stockpiles. Operations are controlled from a bunker beneath AT&T New York, but that eventually caves in. One of the best films of the genre, despite the ending which descends into a classic seventies disaster movie. Poseidon, Towering Inferno, AvalancheTrailer | Watch UK Watch US

Scene from Meteor (2009) showing two meteoroids approaching Earth. In blog Making an Impact: Lights, Camera and Asteroid! a blog which is about asteroid impacts and comet impacts on Earth.

Meteor (2009). Two part TV movie. A collision in the asteroid belt with a passing comet splits asteroid 114 Kassandra in two and both pieces are on a collision course with Earth. While the emergency Task Force plans the missile interventions, a lone astronomer on the road to the command centre has to find a way to transmit essential data, while all forms of communication are being taken out by the meteor storm. Watch UK Pt 1 | Watch UK Pt 2 | Watch US

Meteor (2021). Following an impact, two people are on the run from a band of mercenaries and the tagline is “Earth has changed“. And so has my interest in watching movies about meteors that aren’t about meteors, but I continue diligently to compile this list to see how the genre is changing. No longer is it the same five points: a scientist spots a space rock heading for Earth, the authorities don’t believe him, then everyone disagrees on what to do, the scientist’s family are at ground zero, the scientist saves the world. Always the same but different. This is not that. Alas, I used to like it when I knew it well. Watch

Scene from Meteor Apocalypse (2010) showing incoming meteors over a city.

Meteor Apocalypse (2010). TV movie. A comet on a collision course with Earth is intercepted by a global nuclear intervention. But the fragments raining down on Earth contaminate the groundwater and poison the population. One man with a possible antidote is on a cross-state journey to find his family and administer the antidote. Watch UK | Watch US

Meteor: First Impact (2022). Like the meteors in this movie, my first impressions are coming soon. Trailer | Watch

Scene from film Meteorites (1998) picking up a rock from a crater. In blog about asteroid and comet impacts on Earth.

Meteorites! (1998). TV movie. Just as the small town of Leroy is about to hold its lucrative annual UFO Festival, it is battered by a series of massive meteorite falls as Earth passes through some cometary debris. People believe that aliens landed in Leroy back in the 1950’s and the town’s Mayor refuses to cancel the festival, meteorites or no meteorites! Watch

Meteor Moon (2020)

Meteor Moon (2020). When an asteroid collides with the Moon, the orbit of the Moon is changed, putting it on a collision course with Earth. The incoming debris can be cleared using nuclear missiles, but what can reinstate the Moon’s orbit? The answer is a mini black hole. There’s a drone orbiting the Moon with an anti-matter drive that can be repurposed as a mini Hadron Collider, but it stalled on the far side of the Moon and someone has to go and reactivate it. If I had a time machine I would go back and erase this hour and a half from memory. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Meteorite impacting through the Golden Gate Bridge in the movie Meteor Storm (2010)

Meteor Storm (2010). TV movie. What is expected to be a spectacular meteor shower as Earth passes through the debris trail of a comet, turns into thousands of impacts into the San Francisco Bay. A local college professor is called in by the US Air Force to advise, but all her impact predictions are wrong. With only the Bay being targeted, the military assumes the impacts are being guided. But it turns out that millions of years ago, a dense meteorite rich in the element Unbinilium impacted into what is now the Bay and is altering the paths of satellites and near-Earth objects by electrostatic attraction. There must be a way to find a way to bleed off the charge or else jam the element’s frequency. If that’s not enough, the comet perturbed the orbit of asteroid Apophis and now that’s heading for Earth, too. Trailer | Watch UK

Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack (1988) - Earth and asteroid Axis

Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack (1988). Thirteen years after the war, Neo Zeon plan a counterattack on Earth with weaponised asteroids. The first asteroid impacts in Tibet near Lhasa, but the Federation evacuates its HQ from Lhasa in time. Special forces manage to break up the second asteroid by detonating a stockpile of weapons inside the abandoned network of mining tunnels. But only by using the enhanced Nu Gundam psycho-frame can the two largest pieces of the asteroid be decelerated and eventually be captured by Earth’s gravity where they remain in orbit as harmless satellites. Watch

Moon Crash (2022) impact London

Moon Crash (2022). Movie. A disaster during a mining operation on the Moon sends huge chunks of moon rock into space. Now hundreds of pieces are heading for Earth, devastating major cities around the globe. But the largest piece is still on its way and threatens to destroy the planet. By repurposing equipment from the mining operation, they might be able to fire an EM pulse to deflect the rock away from Earth. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Moonfall (2022)

Moonfall (2022). Movie. A space scientist, a disgraced astronaut and a conspiracy theorist walk into a barrage of problems: how to avert a catastrophe when a change in the Moon’s orbit brings it on a collision course with Earth. But the Moon is not the Moon as we know it, it’s an artificial megastructure that the conspiracy theorist has been trying to get people to realise for years. Now he’s been proved right, how can his knowledge help save the world? Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Scene showing the silo bunker where survivors lived for 10 years after the impact in Mutant World (2014)

Mutant World (2014). Movie. A doomsday prepper discovers that an asteroid will impact Earth in a potentially apocalyptic event. Not only that, but there’s a nuclear reactor at the impact site. A group takes shelter in a former missile silo and ten years later they venture outside to find that anyone who was exposed to the radiation becomes a mutant cannibal after dark. The first seven minutes is about the asteroid impact; the rest of the movie is about mutant cannibals. But I’ll tell you something now: it’s got nothing on Hannibal. Watch UK | Watch US

Scene from Night of the Comet (1984) showing the red haze and piles of dust in a deserted street.

Night of the Comet (1984). Comedy horror movie. A teenage girl spends the evening in the projection room at a cinema with her boyfriend while the world watches a comet that is returning after 65 million years. They emerge the next day to a red haze and find that anyone who was not reduced to a pile of red dust is now a zombie. It’s only included for the title. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Meteor explosion over the city in One Punch Man The Ultimate Disciple (2015)

One-Punch Man: “The Ultimate Disciple” (2015). Anime episode [S1, Ep.7]. Superheroes Genos and Metal Knight fail to destroy a meteoroid on a collision course with City-Z. Superhero Saitama destroys it in one punch but it fragments and devastates the city anyway. Watch UK | Watch (DVD) | Watch US

Pete's Meteor (1998)

Pete’s Meteor (1998). A grandmother in Dublin is struggling to take care of her orphaned grandchildren and their drug-dealer uncle Pete is no help at all. One night, a large meteorite falls in their backyard and the kids are convinced it was sent by their dead parents whose spirits they believe now reside on a star. A scientist becomes convinced it’s all part of a cosmic plan for him to adopt the children. Expect incomprehensible whispers throughout. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

View of the city with the magnetic reversal in progress in Polar Storm (2009)

Polar Storm (2009). Movie. A fragment of comet Copernicus impacts Earth and knocks it off its axis. A geomagnetic reversal follows, but when the magnetic field declines to zero the solar wind will strip away Earth’s atmosphere. A quarter of a million people perish in the impact and now all life on Earth is threatened by the reversal. With two days to go, only one scientist knows how to realign the poles using some strategically placed nuclear weapons. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

View from space showing the microwave beam power station satellite over Earth in Post Impact (2004)

Post Impact (2004). Movie. The Earth is in the aftermath of a massive comet impact. Most of the northern hemisphere has been plunged into an ice age as a result of the atmospheric dust. An experimental microwave-beam power station satellite, secretly designed as a lethal weapon, is the key to Earth’s future. But whoever gains control of the satellite gains control of the planet. Superman may be in it but, man, it’s not super. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Resignation (2016) short film

Resignation (2016). Short film (running time 13m). An unidentified object is heading for Earth. Whatever it is, it’s something and it’s rendered all of the world’s defence systems powerless to stop it. As radio broadcasts warn people to take shelter, one man is heading to the great outdoors for a rendezvous with a fellow traveller he’s known for a thousand years. One of them is about to depart the planet and when he gets to where he’s going, he can eradicate the threat with a single word. But what’s the point? Mankind is destroying the planet anyway. Watch

Scene showing the atmosphere chain between the two gypsy moons in the film Crash of the Moons (1954)

Rocky Jones, Space Ranger: Crash of Moons (1954). See Crash of the Moons (1954). TV movie (or three episode story of a TV series). The planet Ophecius is in the collisional path of one of the moons in a pair of “gypsy moons”. The planet, the moon and a nearby space station must all be evacuated before the impact which is predicted to happen within days. Silly names, ball gowns, superhero capes, peep holes, and people being gassed to sleep—it’s all a very odd experience, but worth a watch to see the type of TV show people used to enjoy in the 1950s. The baby trying to warn of what’s happening is strangely reminiscent of the toddler in Meet The Fockers. Watch UK | Watch US | YouTube

Vena explains where the missile came from in Rocky Jones, Space Ranger: Menace from Outer Space (1954)

Rocky Jones, Space Ranger: Bobby’s Comet (1954). See Menace from Outer Space (1954). TV movie (three episode story of a TV series). Professor Newton spots a comet heading for Earth…but on closer inspection it’s a missile made of a powerful energy source of pulverised silicon that could only have come from one of Jupiter’s moons. Watch UK | Watch US | YouTube

Darius and the team studying the EM drive on screen in the design room in Salvation (2017)

Salvation (2017–18). TV series. An MIT student discovers that an asteroid will impact Earth in six months’ time causing an extinction level event. He approaches the head of the world’s largest tech giant, who tries to save the world with money he doesn’t quite have, radioactive material he can’t legally get, and technology that doesn’t quite exist. This story throws everything you can think of about asteroid mitigation at you. And, yes, there’s an ill-fated reporter on the trail. Trailer S1 | Amazon UK S1 | Amazon US S1 & S2 | Netflix S1 & S2

Comparing a vinyl record to the Solar System in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012). A bit of a romcom. As a 70-mile wide asteroid heads towards Earth, two strangers in New York embark on a road trip, one to find his high school sweetheart, the other to try and return to England. But they end up back with each other when the impact happens. There’s only one special effect in this film: inspecting the countless concentric grooves of a Scott Walker record for specs of dust. Poignant symbolism of Earth’s place in the Solar System and what’s about to happen. The Sun ain’t gonna shine anymore. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Seven Minutes to Closing (2017)

Seven Minutes to Closing (2017). Short film (running time 14m). In the final minutes before an asteroid impact, a man tries to buy a bottle of Hennessy but is 14 cents short. Seemingly oblivious to the impending disaster, the shopkeeper insists he pays in full, or else leaves. The man tries to explain what’s about to happen, that money can’t matter anymore, but frustrated by the shopkeeper’s pettiness, he grabs the bottle and leaves. Until his conscience forces him to go back. Watch

Weapon to destroy asteroid shown in blue from Sliders Last Days (1995)

Sliders: “Last Days” (1995). TV series episode [S1, Ep 3]. The sliders team arrive on an alternate Earth two days before a predicted asteroid impact and three days before their next slide. Nuclear weapons have never been invented so they have to get to work inventing the atom bomb to deflect the asteroid before it’s too late. Watch UK | Watch US

Asteroid having passed through Earth using the hyper drive in Stargate SG-1 - Fail Safe (2002)

Stargate SG-1: “Fail Safe” (2002). TV Series episode [S5, Ep 17]. A Goa’uld diverts an asteroid onto a collision course with Earth and the Stargate team is dispatched to prevent the catastrophe. As they prepare to launch a missile to destroy the asteroid, they detect a high concentration of the rare and super-dense mineral Naquadah inside the rock and instead manage to use the hyperdrive to jump the asteroid past Earth. Watch UK | Watch US

Scene showing the devastation of Buenos Aires after the arachnid asteroid attack in Starship Troopers (1997)

Starship Troopers (1997). Film inspired by the 1959 novel by Robert A. Heinlein, although not much like it. The war with alien arachnids is instigated when they launch an asteroid at Earth, wiping out Buenos Aires and killing in excess of 9 million people. Shortly afterwards, a system of defence is constructed in space to prevent any further asteroids reaching Earth. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Police stand next to a large crater in the middle of the road in Stonados (2013)

Stonado (2013). Movie. So it’s not about asteroids, comets or even meteorites, but huge boulders being ripped up from the sea floor by a series of massive tornados and then launched back to impact the Earth. Boston is the target for the destruction. The solution is to heat up the atmosphere with a high altitude explosion using one of the tornados as an elevator for the bomb. Watch UK | Watch US

The Apocalypse (2007) is a meteor movie with faith

The Apocalypse (2007). A movie about faith that lives up to its title. In the run up to a devastating asteroid impact, the Earth is pummelled by every form of extreme event imaginable, from twisters to tsunamis. A man and woman embark on a cross-state journey to reunite with their daughter, but not everyone makes it. Actually, no-one makes it. When the asteroid appears in the sky moments before the credits roll, it’s the most massive object of any of these so-called meteor movies. “Pray with me,” the father says. Well, there’s nothing else left to do. Watch

The Color Out of Space (2010)

The Colour Out of Space (2010) original title Die Farbe (2010). Based on H. P. Lovecraft’s 1927 short story of the same name, relocated to Germany. A meteorite of a colour never seen before lands on a farm but disappears over the course of a few days, leaving scientists not only baffled, but with no sample to study. Absorbed into the soil, the colour slowly infiltrates its surroundings, transforming and mutating all forms of life in the vicinity. When the source of the colour is tracked down to a well, the entity is forced back into space, seemingly by no more than the energy released by a single hand grenade. Watch YouTube | Watch UK Amazon | Watch US Amazon

The Curse (1987) aka The Farm (1987)

The Curse (1987) aka The Farm (1987). Sci-fi horror based on H. P. Lovecraft’s 1927 short story The Colour Out of Space. A mysterious glowing sphere falls onto a farm in Arkham in the middle of the night. The local doctor says it’s not a meteorite. So…what, then? Over the next few days it disintegrates into a murky ooze that seeps into the soil where it poisons the water, rots the crops, eats away at the livestock, and eventually sends the farmer’s family mad. Sounds reasonable to me. Trailer | Watch

Space walk scene from film The Cusp (1996)

The Cusp (1996). In the not too distant future, Earth’s bloated population of 26 billion has exhausted almost all its natural resources and a massive metal-rich asteroid is being nudged by a series of coordinated nuclear explosions into a lunar trojan orbit for mining. But not everyone is convinced this is enough to save the planet. A band of environmental extremists has an alternative view about saving the planet with a plan to eradicate everything but the most basic bacterial life on Earth and reset the clock to start life over again. A saboteur on the spacecraft that is coordinating the deflection mission has been masking the true course and speed of the asteroid so that it comes in too fast to be captured and will impact Earth instead. The one remaining crew member who manages to outwit the saboteur now has to skim the asteroid off the top of Earth’s atmosphere and back out into space using the spacecraft as the kinetic impactor. Watch

Fireball meteor over a lighthouse in The Day of the Triffids (1961)

The Day of the Triffids (1962, 1981, 2008). One movie and two TV series. Not so much an impact than a meteor shower helps create the catastrophe in the two earlier versions of this story—but it’s a classic and simply has to be included on this list. In the first version, a spectacular meteor storm blinds everyone who watches it and disperses spores around the globe that grow into an unstoppable infestation of monstrous carnivorous plants. In the two later versions, the plants already exist being farmed for oil all over the world, escaping when the event that blinds most of the human race occurs. In the early version, salt water destroys the triffids; in the later version, it’s genetic engineering. Watch 1962 | Watch 1981 | Watch 2008

Scene showing thousands of missiles heading for the asteroid cluster in The Day The Sky Exploded (1958)

The Day the Sky Exploded (1958) original language title La Morte Viene dallo Spazio (1958) translated as Death Comes from Outer Space. Italy’s first sci-fi movie (English dubbed). When the booster rocket of a malfunctioned mission to the Moon explodes, it sends a massive cluster of near-Earth asteroids onto a collision course with Earth. The Moon shields Earth from many of the impacts but the cluster causes widespread devastation as fires, storms, tsunamis and earthquakes ravage the Earth and mass evacuations intensify the hysteria. A nuclear intervention is planned using the world’s entire stockpile of nuclear missiles, but a rogue scientist tries to scupper the launch, disabling the computer that holds the trajectory coordinates. Eventually control is regained, the launch continues and the sky explodes with the thousands of missiles that destroy the cluster. Watch UK | Watch US | Internet Archive

Scene showing meteors impacting the town in The End of the World (1916)

The End of the World (1916) aka The Flaming Sword (1916). Silent movie. A comet is discovered that will enter Earth’s atmosphere and cause global destruction and economic disaster. This film was made in the aftermath of the panic that preceded the 1910 apparition of Halley’s Comet, made worse by the sudden appearance of The Great Daylight Comet of 1910 which stole Halley’s thunder. Don’t forget your comet pills—and especially your canary, if you take shelter in a coal mine. Danish Film Institute | Internet Archive | DVD

Asteroid Strike NW of Philadelphia, 41 24 15 N, 75 41 03 W

The Expanse (2015-2021). TV series [see S2 Ep 4-5; S4 Ep 10; and S5 onwards]. Set in the 24th century when much of the Solar System has been colonised, the inner planets are fast-consuming resources from the asteroid belt where water is more precious than the minerals they mine. Earth, Mars and the so-called outer planets (actually asteroids and moons) coexist on the brink of war. In S2, Earth is saved from a catastrophic impact from a protomolecule-infected 433 Eros by redirecting the asteroid to impact into Venus. This feeds the foundations of a future megastructure that is launched from Venus in S3, changing the course of history and expansion of civilisation beyond the Solar System by creating portals to hundreds of other planetary systems in the galaxy. Woah! When an outer planets freedom fighter enters the scene in S4 with plans to show the inner planets how it feels to be oppressed, the effects on Earth and Mars are catastrophic when he launches dozens of weaponised asteroids their way, causing global ecological devastation, civil breakdown and ultimately mass evacuation to other planetary systems. See also astro-mining in the movies. Watch UK | Watch US

The long period planet of pure evil threatening the pale blue dot of Earth

The Fifth Element (1997). Every 5,000 years, a massive sentient fireball of the most ominous and evil intelligence imaginable reappears intent on destroying all life on Earth. Engaging it in warfare only makes it stronger and the sole method of defeating it is the alignment of four sacred stones activated by the four classical elements—earth, water, fire and air—and a fifth element, a supreme being. In 2263, the fifth element is attacked on its way to protect Earth from being destroyed by the great evil, and is itself all but destroyed before being biotechnologically rebuilt. An ex-special forces officer turned taxi driver is tasked by his former commander to save the world by reuniting the fifth element with the four stones which are by now sequestered on a distant planetary resort concealed by an alien operatic diva for safekeeping. Even though the five elements are reunited, it turns out that to save the world, all you need is love. Rumour has it that it took 22 years from writing the script to getting this film on screen—proof that there is hope for us all. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Astronaut on asteroid inspecting green slime on equipment in The Green Slime (1968)

The Green Slime (1968) aka Ganmā Daisan Gō: Uchū Daisakusen (1968) translated as Gamma 3: Great Space War. Movie that was originally in Japanese but adapted and edited into a US version. A team of scientists are dispatched from an orbiting space station to plant a bomb on the surface of an asteroid that is on course to impact the Earth. They find it inhabited by a green slime, some of which is inadvertently brought back to their space station and evolves into a host of one-eyed tentacled aliens. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US | Original Japanese version

The Last Train aka Cruel Earth (1999)

The Last Train (1999) aka Cruel Earth (1999). TV miniseries. A group of passengers on a train to Sheffield are accidentally frozen by the contents of a canister released by the shockwave from an asteroid the size of Birmingham impacting in Zambia 6,000 miles away. Phew! They thaw out 52 years later in a lawless jungle inhabited by violent gangs and feral dogs. A government agent who was on the train leads them to a secret bunker in Scotland where a cryogenic project has been set up to save the human race. Watch

Fighter jet pilot in cockpit with bright missile in the distance in The Lost Missile (1958)

The Lost Missile (1958). Movie. An unidentified missile-like object from space is heading towards Earth. A foiled attempt to blow it up sets it on course to destroy New York and Ottawa. A revolutionary rocket is launched just in time and the missile is destroyed, saving New York, but not before Ottawa is destroyed. Watch UK | Watch US | Internet Archive

Scene showing the rock monoliths being destroyed in saltwater in The Monolith Monsters (1957)

The Monolith Monsters (1957). Movie. A large meteorite impacts and breaks up in the Southern Californian desert. When exposed to water, the fragments grow into massive stone monoliths that petrify (literally) the inhabitants of a nearby town. A geologist realises that salt water destroys the monoliths. To generate enough of it, he blows up the local dam and floods the nearby salt flats. Watch UK | Watch US | Internet Archive

Scene showing news anchor Brooks Alvarez in front of countdown screen in The Onion News Network Asteroid Heads To Earth (2011)

The Onion News Network: “Asteroid Heads to Earth” (2011). TV news comedy episode [S2, Ep 1]. The news on 5 October 2011 is that all life on Earth will come to an end when a massive asteroid strikes in less than half an hour. With simultaneous tweets by anchor and host of Factzone @BrookeAlvarez, there is live coverage right up to the moment the studio is struck by the asteroid. Watch UK | Watch US

Scene showing K67 exploding over a house in The Sarah Jane Adventures Whatever Happened To Sarah Jane (2007)

The Sarah Jane Adventures: “Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?” (2007). Two part episode [S1, Ep 7–8] of a children’s TV show. Meteoroid K67 is on a collision course with Earth but no-one knows because it is coming through a radar blind spot. When in range, Sarah Jane will use her alien computer, Mr Smith, to create a magnetic pulse and deflect it back into space. But only after other time-travel adventures take place across the decades in between. Watch

Scene showing man looking out of window at beach as firestorm arrives in These Final Hours (2013)

These Final Hours (2013). Movie. Ten minutes after an asteroid has struck in the North Atlantic Ocean, a global firestorm is gradually ravaging the Earth. There are 12 hours until it reaches Western Australia. In Perth, one man attempts to use his final hours to help a child find her father. At the end, with no escape, the only choice is to watch from the beach as the firestorm arrives. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Scene showing Bart next to a telescope from the TV episode The SImpsons Bart's Comet (1995)

The Simpsons: “Bart’s Comet” (1995). Animated TV series episode [S6, Ep 14]. While in detention with Principal Skinner, Bart discovers a comet heading for Earth and straight for Springfield. A misguided rocket invention destroys the only bridge out of town and as the residents of Springfield sing Que Será Será, the comet breaks up in the atmosphere and Bart bags a meteorite. The episode first aired on 5 February 1995, influenced by the events surrounding Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 that broke apart under the gravitational influence of Jupiter, colliding with it in July 1994. Watch UK | Watch US

Explaining the size of an asteroid by comparing to the size of Texas on a map

The Size of Texas (2011). Three-minute comedy short about a group of scientists advising the government about an asteroid that will impact Earth in 15 hours. Their best estimate is that it’s the size of Texas, or at least a Texas and a Paris, Texas. They need to know how many Texases before considering mass evacuation, but it depends on the decade used to define the size of Texas. But it’s all too late, because no-one listened to Dutton. You need to watch Armageddon first. Brought to you by the cast of Funny or Die. Funny, that. Watch

Scene showing massive comet and debris field approaching Earth from space in the documentary The Super Comet (2007)

The Super Comet (2007). Two-part dramatised documentary which is utterly brilliant and deeply impactful (pun intended). A hypothesised future history of planet Earth after a comet strikes in the Yucatán Peninsula today, near to where an impact some 66 million years ago caused the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs. Events are discussed by a roundtable of world-renowned scientists, interspersed with dramatised scenes that follow the lives different groups of survivors in different parts of the world in the aftermath of the impact. Trailer (ZDF) | Part 1: The Impact | Part 2: On a Strange Planet | Parts 1 & 2 Amazon

Scene showing POTUS looking solemnly at document in The West Wing Impact Winder (2004)

The West Wing: “Impact Winter” (2004). TV series episode [S6, Ep 9]. The White House staff prepare for the possible impact of a 400m wide asteroid that could hit the northern hemisphere in 46 hours. POTUS weighs up the impact scenarios: obliterating a city would be better than an impact in the Pacific Ocean for damage containment. The asteroid misses Earth by 73,000 miles. Watch UK | Watch US

Scene showing asteroid exploding in the film Tik Tik Tik (2018)

Tik Tik Tik (2018). Movie. An Indian Shuttle crew is sent with an onboard missile to destroy an asteroid which is on course to impact the Earth. They are kidnapped by the captain of a Chinese space station who attempts to steal the missile and use it to destroy India in order to acquire the lucrative rebuilding contracts. One of the Shuttle crew is a trained magician and escape artist who manages to free the crew and launch the missile at the asteroid to prevent the catastrophe. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Scene showing massive incoming meteor over desert mountains in film Total Eclipse (2008)

Total Eclipse (2008) aka Fall of Hyperion (2008). Movie. As hundreds of meteoroids bombard the Earth, an orbiting space station is knocked onto a collision course with Earth. With a thermonuclear reactor on board, if blown up before impact it will shower the Earth with radioactive material — and if it impacts, much of California will be uninhabitable for a thousand years. It turns out if was all part of a clandestine plan to get a vetoed missile defense Act reinstated. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Scene showing incoming meteors in NY in Tycus (1998)

Tycus (1998). Movie. A reporter learns of a secret nuclear missile bunker in the Sierra mountains and goes to investigate. He learns that a comet one third the size of the Moon is on course to impact the Moon and which in turn will affect all life on Earth. The astronomer who discovered the comet is planning a mitigation attempt from an underground bunker and offering shelter to a select few should the comet nuclear deflection attempt fail, which it does. The Moon is shattered and every major city in the world is struck by incoming boulders, wiping out large numbers of the human race. Decades later, stories about the astronomer, the comet and what used to exist above ground are told to the new generation that now lives below ground. Expect tidal waves, earthquakes, fires and floods—and a new ring of moonlets formed around the Earth. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Scene in the outback with man looking up at incoming meteor from Undead (2003)

Undead (2003). Movie. An influx of meteorite strikes turn the inhabitants of the small Australian town of Berkeley into zombies. Then aliens start abducting other residents. Acid rain falls from the sky which turns out to be the antidote for the zombie infection. It seems the aliens only arrived to keep the infection delivered in the meteorites from spreading. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Scene inside spaceship to three pensive astronauts in film Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965) aka Planeta Bur (1965) aka Planet of Storms (1965)

Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965) original language title Planeta Bur (1965) translated as Planet of Storms. English edited version of a Russian film. It’s 2020, the Moon has been colonized, and three spaceships head for Venus but one is destroyed by an asteroid during the journey. This film is only included here because it confuses the terms “asteroid” and “meteorite”: ”There is no fair or unfair…to a meteorite you get hit, you die.” The asteroid strike is three minutes in; the rest is about escaping the clutches of the creatures on Venus. There are signs that human-like beings may have once inhabited the planet but whether the strange sounds that are heard are the key to deciphering their language, I can’t say since I can’t speak Venusian. What say ye, Mr Byron? Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Warning From Space (1956)

Warning from Space (1956) aka Uchūjin Tokyo ni arawaru (1956) translated as Spacemen Appear in Tokyo. A rogue planet named Planet R is on course to collide with Earth. Interplanetary envoys from a technologically advanced race of shape-shifting starfish-like beings appear in Tokyo from Paira, a planet which co-orbits with Earth on the other side of the Sun. Astronomers on Earth know nothing of the existence of Planet R or even the planet Paira, and the Pairans have come to warn the inhabitants of Earth (or rather Japan) about the impending impact and to join forces to stop the destruction of their respective planets. Watch UK | Watch US | Japanese Trailer | Internet Archive

Scene showing the Ark taking off from Earth on a rail launch in the film When Worlds Collide (1951)

When Worlds Collide (1951). Movie not about an asteroid or comet but a rogue star named Bellus, which is orbited by an Earth-like and potentially habitable planet named Zyra. With Bellus on a direct collision course with Earth, a lottery is held to decide which of the 600 personnel working on a space ark will be allotted one of the 40 seats to start a new colony on the safety of planet Zyra. Told largely from the viewpoint of the personnel working on building the ark who leave for Zyra decked out in identical brown parkas that every ardent anorak advocate will have their ‘beady eye’ on. This movie is based on the 1933 book of the same name, although the threat there is from a gas giant in a rogue double planet. Some scenes and ideas in this movie may have inspired aspects of later movies—they’re all on this list, just look them up. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Scene showing news anchor and image of asteroid in movie Without Warning (1994)

Without Warning (1994). A mock news report. What at first appears to be the break-up and impact of a near-Earth object into three uninhabited regions on Earth, turns out to be targeted impacts when the geometry of the coordinates of the three locations are found to be based on one of the symbols on the Pioneer 11 spacecraft. Then segments of an alien message are delivered by survivors at the impact sites, citing what seem to be parts of the recorded message sent out on the two Voyager spacecrafts. Piercing signals then start to be emitted from the three spatially synchronized impact sites and further incoming meteoroids are soon detected. When Earth launches a nuclear intervention, the planet comes under siege by hundreds more impacts that it is powerless to prevent. The reason for the initial contact is never established. Watch YouTube | Watch Amazon

Wizards of Waverly Place Wizards vs Asteroid (2011) on the asteroid with the missile

Wizards of Waverly Place: “Wizards vs Asteroid” (2011). TV series episode [S4, Ep 17]. When the Russo family of wizards, who live above a sandwich shop in Greenwich Village, hear about the failed attempt to destroy an asteroid hurtling towards Earth, they change their minds about taking a portal to shelter in the wizard world and instead go into space to reactivate the missile that failed to detonate and destroy the asteroid. When one of the trio gets his leg stuck on the asteroid with a few minutes to detonation of the missile, he is turned into a starfish so they can break off his leg and leave, knowing that as a starfish the leg will grow back later. Strange as it may seem, it’s not the only drama on this A-to-Z list that features starfish helping to save the planet from destruction. Watch UK | Watch US

Scene showing Rob Lowe and others in You, Me and the Apocalypse (2015)

You, Me and the Apocalypse (2015). TV comedy series. An attempt to deflect a comet off an impact course with Earth fails and nothing can now stop it from impacting in 34 days’ time. This 10 episode series counts down the event, following the lives of a diverse group of unconnected individuals across the world. There’s a bank manager, his adoptive mum and long-lost birth family in the UK, a librarian in New Mexico falsely imprisoned for her son’s hacking crime, and a nun in Umbria assisting a priest who runs the Vatican’s X-files looking to debunk a bunch of reported Messiahs. Somehow or other, they all end up sheltering in a bunker under the UK town of Slough as they watch the end of the world unfold on TV. Watch UK | Watch US

Your Name (2016) aka Kimi no Na wa (2016), translated as Your Name Is? Apparently, the highest-grossing anime movie ever—and for good reason. This movie is stunning to behold in its charm, beauty and enchanting story. Two lives are intertwined in space and time linked to a comet, some kuchikamisake, and the meaning of kawatare-doki. A girl in Itomori and a boy in Tokyo three years in her future swap lives, communicating via notes saved on each other’s smartphone. But on the day in her timeline when a comet makes its close approach, he never hears from her again. He sets out to track down her village in his timeline, only to find a succession of impact craters formed by fragments of a comet that impact in the same place on its return to the inner Solar System every 1,200 years. What a joy to watch. Trailer | UK (subtitled) | UK (dubbed) | Watch US

Carvings of planets and signs of the zodiac in a mine

Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse (2014) aka Zodiac: Signs of Destruction aka Apocalypse Tomorrow. When an ancient astrological rock carving is uncovered in a Peruvian mine, a wave of unprecedented natural disasters are set in motion around the world. Depicting twelve events, each associated with a sign of the zodiac, the final event in the carving marks the return of a long-period planet which will destroy the Earth. One scientist overcomes floods, fireballs, volcanic fury and Feds to reunite the carving with a mysterious radioactive stone that activates an energy field capable of shielding the Earth from its impending destruction. “Sir, those geysers, or whatever you want to call them, they did look a bit like the Aires sign.” Enough said. Trailer | Watch UK | Watch US

Lights, Camera and Asteroid! That’s a wrap.

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TL;DR: Read the short version.

Or read Astro-Mining in the Movies.

Don’t forget, it’s always Asteroid Day on 30 June.

Hope's Comet Pills

Fair Use and Fair Dealing. All images shown in this article about asteroid and comet impact movies were selected to support the commentary. I believe this constitutes fair use or fair dealing of any such copyrighted material, but suffice to say if any copyright holder should wish an image to be removed, please make contact via email and the image will be removed without hesitation.

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