What's Next: 10 Films to Watch if You Like Chernobyl

On April 26, 1986, a malfunction at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant resulted in a huge explosion sending the world into a panic. The mini-series Chernobyl tells the story of the men and women who tried to contain the disaster as well as those who gave their lives to prevent an even greater catastrophe. The series revolves around three major casts; Valery Legasov; the lead scientist who tries to control the disaster, Boris Shcerbina; the Soviet politician representing Soviet interest and who tries to hide the news, and Ulana Khomyuk; the nuclear scientist who strived to uncover the truth about what happened.

The series is a true-life drama that would keep you intensely engaged and philosophizing about the cost of living. If you are a fan of Chernobyl, then you'll love these 10 films that tell the stories of manmade or natural disasters.

  • When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006)

    4h 18min

    When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts is an award-winning 2006 documentary film directed by Spike Lee that spotlighted challenges faced by New Orleans residents following Hurricane Katrina. The film focuses on residents in the throng of death, devastation, and disease. The shooting for the film began three months after Katrina hit and it started when Lee and his crew made the first of their eight trips to New Orleans. Nearly 100 people from varying backgrounds were interviewed for the documentary.

  • Deepwater Horizon (2016)

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    1h 43min

    Deepwater Horizon recounts the story of the worst environmental disaster in United States history. Before April 2010, Deepwater Horizon oil rig was the largest oil exploration operation in the Gulf of Mexico by virtue of its size and depth of drilling. In a selfish intention to cut costs and make up for lost time, BP executives Donald Vidrine and Robert Kaluza had ordered a bypass of the standard inspection procedure regarding the cement foundation - the only thing preventing the rig from a blowout. Despite protests from Superintendent Jimmy Harrel and maintenance chief Mike Williams, the well is opened and not long after disaster strikes, leaving 126 men struggling for their lives.

    Director:
    Peter Berg
    Cast:
    Mark Wahlberg, Mayla Parker, Kurt Russell
    Genre:
    Action & Adventure, Drama
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray, 4K Blu-ray
  • The 33 (2015)

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    2h 2min

    The 33 is a real-life dramatisation of the 2010 mine collapse in Chile, which trapped 33 miners for an unbelievable 69 days. The 33 miners had gone into the San Jose Mine in Copiapo, Chile on August 5 despite concerns expressed by the mine foreman, Luis 'Don Lucho' Urzua, to mine owner Carlos Castillo, about the unstable nature of the mountain under which the mine was located. The miners were trapped 700 meters underground when the mine finally gave way with no means of communication with the outside world and with food only for three days.

    Director:
    Patricia Riggen
    Cast:
    Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche
    Genre:
    Drama
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
  • The China Syndrome (1979) An Element of Risk / Broken Trust / Chain Reaction

    Play trailer
    1h 57min

    Although Kimberly Wells seeks to do hard-hitting news, her bosses at the station prefer to keep her busy with mundane tasks. While doing research on alternative sources of energy at Ventana nuclear power plant, Kimberly witnesses an accident at a nuclear station. Her freelance cameraman, Richard Adams, caught it all on camera. Although the station brass tries to squash the story, citing liability issues, Kimberly, with the help of Richard and Jack Godell, does her best to get the story into public consciousness in an effort to avert a potential nuclear meltdown. However, the power plant company is determined to do whatever to keep the story out of the public in order to protect their billion-dollar investment.

    Director:
    James Bridges
    Cast:
    Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, Michael Douglas
    Genre:
    Thrillers, Action & Adventure
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
  • Unstoppable (2010)

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    1h 34min

    Unstoppable tells the true-life story of an unmanned train that goes out of control. The problem faced from the CSX-8888 is not just that of derailment but the fact that it is carrying toxic materials. These materials are capable of taking human lives and causing a huge ecological disaster. It is the responsibility of the veteran locomotive engineer and train conductor to stop the train.

    Director:
    Tony Scott
    Cast:
    Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson
    Genre:
    Thrillers, Action & Adventure
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
  • Everest (2015)

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    1h 56min

    Morning of May 10, 1996 saw climbers fromtwo commercial expeditions make their final ascent towards the summit of MountEverest. Adventure Consultants was led by Robert Edwin Hall while MountainMadness was led by Scott Fisher. Everything seemed to be working perfectlyuntil a violent storm, without warning engulfed the adventurers in one of thefiercest blizzards ever encountered by man. The climbers had to battleblistering winds and freezing temperatures in a battle to survive againstunimaginable odds.

    Director:
    Baltasar Kormákur
    Cast:
    Jason Clarke, Ang Phula Sherpa, Thomas M. Wright
    Genre:
    Drama, Thrillers, Classics, Action & Adventure, Collections
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D
  • The Impossible (2012) Lo imposible

    Play trailer
    1h 59min

    The Impossible tells the story of a British family that travelled to Thailand on vacation but got caught by a deadly and destructive tsunami. Upon their arrival, they get an upgrade to a villa on the coastline and after settling in soon decide to go to the pool. It was a perfect vacation until a distant noise becomes a roar. The family has little time to seek cover as the tsunami hit the ground. Maria and her eldest son are swept one way while Henry and the youngest are swept in another direction. The film follows the seriously injured Maria and her son.

    Director:
    J.A. Bayona
    Cast:
    Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland
    Genre:
    Action & Adventure, Drama, Collections
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
  • Silkwood (1983)

    2h 6min

    Silkwood is 1983 true-life story about a woman named Karen Silkwood who worked in Kerr-McGee nuclear plant in Oklahoma making Plutonium rods. She becomes a threat to the company after she uncovers several dangerous compromises the company is making at the expense of the health of its workers. At first, she is compensated as a means of getting her to look the other way, but she appears insistent to blow the whistle on all that is going on at the plant...

    Director:
    Mike Nichols
    Cast:
    Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell, Cher
    Genre:
    Drama
    Availability:
    DVD
  • In the Heart of the Sea (2015)

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    1h 57min

    This is a 2015 dramatisation of the true events which inspired Herman Melville's classic novel, Moby Dick. But the book only tells half the story. In 1820, a whaling ship called Essex is attacked by something unbelievable, a massive white sperm whale with an almost human sense of vengeance. The film reveals the harrowing aftermath of the encounter as the crew of the ship are pushed to their limits and are forced to do the unthinkable in a bid to survive. The crew is forced to question the morality of their trade. As the captain searches for direction on the open sea, his first mate seeks ways to bring the whale down. 

    Director:
    Ron Howard
    Cast:
    Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson
    Genre:
    Drama, Thrillers, Action & Adventure
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, 4K Blu-ray
  • Erin Brockovich (2000)

    Play trailer
    2h 6min

    Erin Brockovich-Ellis is an unemployed single mum who is having little to no luck with life. It's so terrible she even fails to win a lawsuit against a doctor for a car accident she was in. With no alternative, she arm-twists her lawyer to employ her as a legal assistant in compensation for her court case loss. Fate seems to start changing for Erin when she begins investigating a suspicious real estate case involving a multi-billion dollar corporation - Pacific Gas and Electric Company. The corporation had bought land and was using it as a dumpsite for deadly toxic waste produced by the company which was putting the lives of people in the area at risk. She finds herself leading one of the biggest class-action lawsuits in American history. 

    Director:
    Steven Soderbergh
    Cast:
    Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, David Brisbin
    Genre:
    Drama, Collections
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
Want to see more films and TV drama? Check out biographical TV series for real-life dramatisations as well as drama films based on true stories.

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