Friday, April 24, 2015

The best movies about disease outbreaks

Looking for an online list of the best movies about disease outbreaks, I once again came up short. No one had done a clean list of movies with at least somewhat realistic depictions of disease epidemics and pandemics.
Every list I found was loaded with science-fiction movies about diseases from outer space or zombie outbreaks.
So I searched Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb and elsewhere online to compile my own list of the best-reviewed disease outbreak movies.
What follows is a listing of movies ranked by critics on Rotten Tomatoes and users on Internet Movie Database. I’ve also included the type of disease depicted and noted which films are documentaries.

Best-reviewed disease outbreak movies, by % of positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes
  • And the Band Played On (1993), AIDS, 100%
  • Panic in the Streets (1950), pneumonic plague, 95%
  • The Normal Heart (2014), AIDS, 94%
  • Contagion (2011), influenza, 84%
  • I Remember Me (2000), chronic fatigue syndrome, documentary, 83%
  • Under Our Skin (2008), Lyme disease, documentary, 81%
  • Ever Since the World Ended (2001), unknown virus, 78%
  • Carriers (2009), airborne virus, 63%
  • Outbreak (1995), unknown virus, 59%
  • Flu (2013), influenza, 45%
Additional disease outbreak movies from IMDb, with user ratings
  • The Polio Crusade (2009), episode of “The American Experience”; polio, documentary, 8.2 out of 10
  • A Paralyzing Fear: The Story of Polio in America (1998), polio, documentary, 7.8
  • Pandemic: Facing AIDS (2003), AIDS, documentary, 7.7
  • The Plague (2005), a History Channel special; plague, documentary, 6.9
  • Yellow Jack (1938), yellow fever, 6.4
  • The Plague (aka “La Peste”) (1992), plague, 6.0
  • The Cleaner (aka “El Limpiador”) (2012), unknown epidemic, 6.0
  • Outbreak: Anatomy of a Plague (aka “La Variole: Anatomie D’un Fleau”) (2010), plague, 5.9
  • Plague City: SARS in Toronto (2005), plague, 5.6
  • Pandemic (2007), miniseries on the Hallmark Channel; bird flu, 5.3
Photos: Movie posters for “Contagion” and “Flu.”

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