I am very surprised that no one has yet mentioned the superb apocalyptic drama THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE (1961) starring Edward Judd, Janet Munro and Leo McKern. It is available on a beautifully restored DVD edition released by Anchor Bay Entertainment, featuring a full-length Audio Commentary by director Val Guest, the original theatrical trailer, crew biographies, photo gallery and radio and TV spots.
Some other films which could be classified as apocalyptic in nature would be: FIVE (Arch Oboler, 1951) INVASION U.S.A. (Alfred E. Green, 1952) - recently released on a feature-packed Special Edition DVD by Synapse Films KISS ME DEADLY (Robert Aldrich, 1955) - released on DVD by MGM/UA with the original ending restored THE WORLD, THE FLESH AND THE DEVIL (Ranald MacDougall, 1959) THE LAST MAN ON EARTH (Ubaldo Ragona & Sidney Salkow, 1964; with Vincent Price) - based on Richard Matheson's I AM LEGEND; available on a budget-priced DVD as a double-feature with HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL CRACK IN THE WORLD (Andrew Marton, 1965) THE WAR GAME (Peter Watkins, 1965) (TV) - in preparation for a Region 2 DVD release by the British Film Institute NO BLADE OF GRASS (Cornel Wilde, 1970) THE OMEGA MAN (Boris Sagal, 1971; with Charlton Heston) - also based on I AM LEGEND; a DVD release should currently be in preparation
Of all the films I have mentioned I am only familiar with KISS ME DEADLY, THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE, NO BLADE OF GRASS and THE OMEGA MAN. While KISS ME DEADLY is practically a bare-bones DVD, it should still be in everybody's collection being not only Robert Aldrich's masterpiece but also one of the finest film noirs ever and a film which left an indelible impression on the French New Wave a couple of years later.
However I would start out with THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE which is a quite harrowing depiction of man's last days on planet Earth. Altogether a superbly acted film with terrific script and direction. Highly recommended.
That film you earlier confused PANIC IN YEAR ZERO with would be THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED (1956), featuring the wandering mutant monster; one of the earlier efforts of the indefatigable Roger Corman (actor Ray Milland directed PANIC IN YEAR ZERO). DAY THE WORLD ENDED, like many American-International Pictures of the 1950s, isn't currently available on Region 1 DVD, and isn't part of MGM's holdings (DAY THE WORLD ENDED, SHE CREATURE, IT CONQUERED THE WORLD, AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN, etc are now somehow jointly owned by James Nicholson's (former AIP exec) widow and the estate of Sam Arkoff, I believe)
Amazing that no one has yet mentioned WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (1951), easily available on DVD from Paramount...
"I say ALL you scientists are CRACKPOTS! Nothing is going to happen..." -Wheelchair-bound John Hoyt in WWC
A few more apocalyptic fun-fests (not currently available on Region 1 DVD):
GOKE, BODY SNATCHER FROM HELL (1968-Japanese)
THE LAST DAYS OF PLANET EARTH (1974-Japanese, easily the last word in cheezy, end-of-the world flicks)
THE BED-SITTING ROOM (1969-British)
Well I can put into the thread that even so it a bit corny and seem by all by now, but Indepenence Day would count. Also Final Fantasy the movie, while critize by number, is a good end of the world movie with a number of reasons (and yes, it has nukes in it ^^).
Some nice selections so far.
I already have The Day The Earth Caught Fire but this is not a "nuke" movie per se since we don't see the actual event leading up to and causing the planet going out of orbit.
Also have When Worlds Collide which again is not a nuke movie. The ending was quite disappointing as you do not see the earth's ending other than a flash of fire and the new world looked like something out of a cartoon Wizard of Oz! This was compared to an early Deep Impact which I enjoyed more.
I second Arch Obler's "Five". As a 9 year old it scared me to no end. Obler was famous for his scary radio dramas. Another film, "The Bubble" in 3D Spacevision was made by Obler. The 3D was terrific, the film was not - even when it was retitled "Fantastic Invasion Of The Planet Earth". A friend, singer Johnny Desmond, was in it along with Deborah Whalley and Michael Cole.
Oops! In my haste to dash off a couple of other titles in my previous post, I momentarily forgot about the thread's all-important "nuke" criteria. That certainly negates WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (which, though technically primitive, I conversely prefer over DEEP IMPACT), DELUGE and GOKE, as well as others' mention of NO BLADE OF GRASS (a virus is the culprit, not atomic warheads), LAST MAN ON EARTH/OMEGA MAN (ditto), MAD MAX/ROAD WARRIOR (again, not nukes, but rather general societal breakdown, mainly due to world oil supplies running out).
However, LAST DAYS OF PLANET EARTH and the satirical/absurdist BED-SITTING ROOM still definitely qualify, as does DAMNATION ALLEY (1977), and two other Japanese flicks, THE LAST WAR (1961) and THE FINAL WAR (1961). Also the British animated film, WHEN THE WIND BLOWS. None of these seem to be on Region 1 DVD at the moment, although a few classic nuclear-apocalypse-themed TWILIGHT ZONE episodes are on DVD, such as Time Enough at Last and The Last Pallbearer.
As far as feature films on DVD go, the only other ones not already mentioned, that I can think of offhand, are the double-feature of ATOMIC WAR BRIDE and THIS IS NOT A TEST (apparently an even-more-minimal version of PANIC IN YEAR ZERO's scenario), recently released by Image and Something Weird Video, and cold war era documentary, THE ATOMIC CAFE.
...ON THE BEACH, which not only drove home the haunting certainty of the true fate of mankind, and had the eerie images images of an abandoned San Francisco and San Diego (Edison Technical Institute-in the book, now Seattle Central Community College) but made me fall in love with 'Watlzing Matilda'....
Please don't overlook the quirky but ultimately nihilistic MIRACLE MILE, not yet on DVD. Then there are several documentaries that help explain how we got to where we are: ATOMIC CAFE, a beautilly edited film just released to DVD which manages to be hilarious but incredibly scary at the same time (remember "Duck and Cover"?). TRINITY AND BEYOND: THE ATOMIC BOMB MOVIE is narrated by William Shatner and features gorgeous restorations of bomb explosion footage finally declassified by the government, along with a good history of all the nuke testing since the forties. THE DAY BEFORE TRINITY (also on DVD) explores some of this territory as well, I hear, although I haven't seen it yet. The documentary that accompanies the remastered DR. STRANGELOVE dvd is also insightful.
Agreed about Trinity and Beyond--that documentary contains awesome footage of nuclear blasts. However, I must confess that at about two-thirds of the way into the film, I get sooo angry at the fact that atmospheric tests were allowed to continue for so long. But that's me. I consider this a DVD well worth owning. It's amazing, really amazing to watch.
I remember screening Trinity and Beyond for a high-school video class...very powerful stuff and at the same time, awful to watch.
I haven't seen it mentioned yet, but A Boy and His Dog(1975) is a great Post-Apocalyptic film. Hell, there's even a mushroom cloud on the cover!