What you can’t see or smell is scary! Especially if it’s transmittable and deadly. Like the Corona virus today. Hollywood knows this too, which is why it has been using these themes in a variety of ways since before the COVID-19 / Corona pandemic. Here you will find a list of the best movies about viruses, infections, plagues, epidemics and contagions.
Here you will find a list of the 24 best feature films, all of which revolve around the theme of epidemics, contagious diseases, viral infections, epidemics and the consequences that arise from them. The Filmpuls editorial team’s selection of the best films of all time on the subject of the pandemic is listed in alphabetical order.
Please note that you cannot draw any (!) conclusions from these fictional films about the real, current worldwide crisis with the virus Corona / COVID-19.
This article was automatically translated into English using AI. If you would like to help us improve the quality, we would be happy to hear from you.
The 24 best movies about plagues, viruses and epidemics
In the aftermath of a devastating war followed by epidemics, the feature film “Aftermath” finds a group of people crammed into a shelter in rural Texas, struggling with symptoms of a virus-triggered epidemic, grief and claustrophobia.
In 2008’s Doomsday, Day of Vengeance, Scotland is ravaged by the uncontrollable and utterly destructive Reaper virus, which claims thousands of innocent lives. Nearly three decades later, in 2037 – the country is still under quarantine – the deadly virus manages to resurge. The disease begins with a second wave and there are no vaccinations.
As a result, the Prime Minister calls together a hand-picked team led by Major Eden Sinclair to find possible survivors of the epidemic and work with them to find a radical remedy to the pandemic as quickly as possible. But with the nightmarish conditions in the country because of the pandemic, no one knows what horrors are still hidden deep in the scorched and unstable quarantine zone.
A mysterious epidemic breaks out aboard a holiday jet from Thailand. It kills numerous passengers in a very short time. The aircraft is diverted to a former military airport and placed under high security quarantine. Gregor, a pilot for the same airline, is the protagonist of “Factor 8 – The Day Has Come”. He learns of the disaster and desperately tries to save his wife Anne and their daughter Julia, who are both fighting for their lives aboard the plane.
As the situation escalates, Gregor manages to sneak into the no-go zone that has been closed off due to the plague. With neither an antidote nor a vaccine medically available, security officials and crisis management face a fundamental choice: Must the lives of a few passengers be sacrificed to ensure the survival of millions?
The world is plagued by a mysterious epidemic in the feature film “The Girl with all the Gifts.” This occurs in the form of a fungal disease. The diseased are stripped of all free will and turned into flesh-eating zombies with a virus. Humanity’s only hope is a small group of hybrid children who crave human flesh but retain the ability to think and feel. All of these children go to school at an army base in rural Britain because of the plague, where they are subjected to cruel experiments by Dr. Caroline Caldwell (Glenn Close).
Schoolteacher Helen Justineau (played by Gemma Arterton) grows fond of an extraordinary girl named Melanie (Sennia Nanua). A deep bond develops between the two. When the school is attacked by zombies, the trio escapes with the help of Sgt. Eddie Parks (Paddy Considine) and embarks on a perilous journey despite the pandemic. Melanie has to learn who she really is in the process.
Out of the blue, inexplicable incidents begin to threaten humanity in “The Happening.” A seemingly unstoppable and invisible threat is changing human behavior beyond all reason.
Against this confusing extreme of an epidemic, a high school science teacher, family man Elliot Moore, and his wife Alma try to understand the origin of the disaster and the epidemic. This, while everyone, including friends and neighbors, are leaving the contaminated area, seeking safety from the pandemic. After all, how can you defend yourself against an intangible opponent?
Robert Neville (Will Smith), is brilliant scientist who sets out to find a cure for a virus in “I Am Legend”. The entire population of New York City – and perhaps the entire world – has turned into flesh-eating bloodsuckers. These fear the light and live only to spread their disease to any remaining living creature that crosses their path. It’s been three years since civilization ended. Neville is correspondingly lonely.
During the day, he scours the city for food and supplies, sending desperate radio messages. This with the hope that someone will respond. At night, he tries to find a way to reverse the effects of the virus by experimenting with his own blood. But time is running out for Neville. Legions of those infected with the plague watch his every move, waiting for the moment to infect the last human on the planet.
Cooped up in their locked house, deep in a gloomy and dangerous forest, Paul, his wife Sarah and their son Travis have condemned themselves to a strict self-quarantine after the sudden outbreak of a virulent and deadly communicating plague in this film. In the feature film “It Comes at Night”, interaction with the outside world takes place only briefly and only when necessary because of the viruses. However, when a family in need takes up residence in Paul’s home in search of food and shelter, the epidemic abruptly disrupts the already fragile balance of things.
Gradually – as the uneasy cohabitation between the two families drags on – mistrust, panic and a terrible suspicion begin to take over more and more.
After a strange disease is discovered in Africa, Colonel Sam Daniels (Dustin Hofman) is assigned by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) to study it in German director Wolfgang Petersen’s classic “Outbreak.” When Daniels, back in the U.S., reports to his superior and tells him that a warning about this disease is necessary because it is becoming a pandemic, the general counters that this disease cannot possibly reach the Americas. However, one infected monkey has already been captured by a pet trafficker in Africa and brought to the US.
Daniels he turns to his ex-wife (Rene Russo), who works at the Center for Disease Control. Both note that the spread of the epidemic has already started.
A television reporter and her cameraman are assigned to work the night shift at the Los Angeles Fire Department in the movie “Quarantine.” After a routine emergency call that leads them to a high-rise building where screams come from that make their blood run cold.
They learn that a woman living in the building has been infected by an unknown plague. After some of the building’s residents are attacked by her, they try to escape, but discover that the building is under quarantine due to the epidemic. All communication has been cut off. The only evidence of the triggers of the pandemic are their video recordings.
Emma and her sister Stacey are normal teenagers in a small town when a mysterious infection caused by parasites begins to spread in “Viral.” With the town quarantined and their parents stuck on the other side of the barrier, the girls have a blast at first. They eat junk food and sneak out to parties.
But when the disease starts infecting people they know, the girls barricade themselves in their house with their neighbor Evan (Emma’s secret crush). But the infection is already in their midst. Emma is given a choice: protect her sister or survive the virus.
Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale
Corona / COVID-19 Factor
A virulent and unprecedented pandemic of global proportions that turns humans into rabid, flesh-eating zombies takes the world by surprise in the feature film “World War Z” from director Marc Forster (James Bond – A Quantum of Solace). Early-retired UN special envoy Gerry Lane(Brad Pitt) leaves his peaceful family life behind to accompany a team of scientists through zombie-infested cities in search of a cure.
As the deadly pathogen, unlike Corona, wipes out entire territories and incessantly gives birth to diseased masses of freshly reanimated undead, the fragile hope for a cure to the pandemic fades. But is there enough time for humanity to wait for a miracle cure for the plague?
Movie plot of “Antivirus”: Pathogen, a company specializing in innovative digital medicine, is in crisis. The Department of Health is refusing to test its breakthrough digital vaccine on humans. The company is on the verge of bankruptcy. The inventor of the vaccine fires the CEO. To save the company, the latter makes a deal with a mysterious investor. As part of this deal, Pathogen releases a contagious deadly virus, triggering a pandemic.
Authorities plan to kill all people infected by the disease to avoid a global epidemic.
After successfully surviving what they thought was the worst of a zombie pandemic due to plague, a team of volunteers in the TV series “Z-Nation” must transport the only known survivor of the virus attack from New York to California. Because that’s where the last functioning lab is waiting for its blood. The antibodies to the virus in the veins of the survivor are humanity’s last hope for a vaccine.
The only thing standing between the heroes and being saved from the pandemic? Two thousand miles of travel across a post-apocalyptic America filled with zombies!
Following the events of Night of the Living Dead (1968), we follow the exploits of four survivors of the spreading zombie apocalypse in Zombie (English language title: Dawn of the Dead). These seek refuge in an abandoned mall after the horrific SWAT evacuation of an apartment complex. They take stock of their surroundings, arm themselves, lock down the mall, and destroy the zombies inside so they can build a new life inside – at least for a while.
As the months pass, tensions build and the survivors of the epidemic realize they have fallen victim to their own consumerism. Soon after, they have even bigger problems as a large biker gang discovers the mall. It invades there, ruining the best-laid plans of the pandemic survivors and forcing them to fight not only flesh-eating zombies, but the criminal bikers as well.
Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt Bewertung
Corona / COVID-19 Factor
An unknown and deadly virus wiped out a whopping five billion people in Terry Gilliam’s 1996 cult film “12 Monkeys.” By 2035, only 1% of the population has survived. Those who live are forced to spend their existence underground. A convict (James Cole, played by Bruce Willies) is sent back in time to 1996 by law enforcement to gather information about the origin of the epidemic. The plague is said to have been spread by a mysterious “Army of the Twelve Monkeys”. The convict Cole is supposed to locate the virus for a group of scientists before it mutates further.
Mistakenly, Cole is sent to 1990, six years earlier than intended. There he is arrested and locked up in a mental institution, where he meets a scientist named Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe) and first encounters Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt), the crazed son of the eminent virologist (Christopher Plummer). Cole eventually lands at his intended destination. There, he actually discovers graffiti from what appears to be an animal rights group called the “Army of 12 Monkeys.”
Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston
Corona / COVID-19 Factor
A group of animal rights activists break into a lab in “28 Days Later.” She releases monkeys from their cages to save them. This is despite a scientist warning that the apes are infecting humans with a deadly disease. As a result of the actions of animal rights activists, the virus spreads and infects many people.
Jim, the main character of “28 Days Later” has been put into a coma after a bicycle accident just before the virus was released. When he wakes up again, he finds out in this quarantine film that within the city there are only two groups: those people who have been infected and those who have not. Jim manages to find other survivors of the plague. They make their way to Manchester, where a group of British military personnel offer protection from the infected to anyone fleeing. Jim and his colleagues, however, have no idea what they are in for.
Seven months after the near-total annihilation of Britain by an epidemic virus in the prequel “28 Days Later,” the U.S. Army declares in the 2007 sequel that the war against the infection has been won and the rebuilding of the country can begin.
With the first wave of refugees returning to England after the plague, a family is reunited in “28 Weeks Later” – but one of the family members still carries the virus. And this time it’s more dangerous than ever. A new pandemic threatens to wipe out all life worldwide.
“The Bay” is set in 2009 in the town of Claridge, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay. During the town’s annual 4th of July crab festival, residents fall ill with a variety of symptoms, leading local news reporters to suspect that something has infected the water where the crabs live. No one knows exactly what it is or how the virus or disease is transmitted.
The townspeople begin to act strangely. When the first deaths from a virus occur and a pandemic is suspected as the cause, fear turns into ever-increasing panic. The city will be quarantined. Government authorities are seizing video footage from any media or personal sources to cover up the incident. But a local reporter who witnessed the epidemic has assembled a documentary from the footage. This in the hope that one day the terrible truth will come to light.
In “The City of the Blind,” a quarantine film, a town is ravaged by an epidemic of instant “white blindness.” In the film, those first affected are quarantined by the authorities in an abandoned mental hospital, where the newly created “society of the blind” quickly collapses. Criminals and the physically powerful prey on the weak, hoard food rations, and commit horrific crimes.
There is, however, an eyewitness to this nightmare: a woman whose eyes are unaffected by the plague-like infection follows her blinded husband into quarantine. There, keeping her sight a secret, she leads seven strangers, who have become a family of sorts, out of quarantine despite the pandemic and viruses and onto the ravaged streets of the city, where all traces of civilization are crumbling because of the plague.
High school graduation friends Paul, Karen, Bert, Marcy and Jeff rent an isolated cabin in the woods in “Cabin Fever.” They want to spend a week together. When they arrive at their lodgings, a man contaminated with a strange disease asks for help. The friends panic and kill the man, who falls into the reservoir and dies. The whole group, with the exception of Karen, is afraid of an epidemic and decides to drink only beer instead of water during the week. This is to prevent them from being infected by a possible disease.
Karen drinks tap water and contracts the virus. For the group of friends, this begins a journey into hell.
In a world devastated by an outbreak, Brian, his girlfriend Bobby, his brother Danny and their friend Kate are on their way to a beach where the brothers spent their childhood holidays in the feature film “The Carriers”. They expected this one to be a sanctuary. When their car breaks down on the road in the desert, they negotiate with a man named Frank who is also stranded but out of gas.
Frank is trying to get his daughter Jodie to the hospital (she’s infected with some disease), and they decide to travel together. During the trip, events spiral downward because of a pandemic.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law
Corona / COVID-19 Factor
The plot of “Contagion”: Soon after returning from a business trip to Hong Kong, Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) dies of a virus. Her young son also dies the same day. However, her husband Mitch seems to be immune to the viruses. The spread of a deadly pandemic begins. For doctors and administrators at U.S. disease control centers, several days pass before anyone realizes the extent or severity of this new infection. They must first identify the type of virus in question and then find a means of combating it, which will take several months.
As the contagion spreads to millions of people worldwide as a result of a pandemic, panic is building over the disease. The social order is collapsing.
Movie plot of “Containment”: In a residential tower in a nameless English town, artist Mark (Lee Ross: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) wakes up one morning to find there’s no water, no electricity, no phones… and that the front door to his apartment and all the windows are sealed shut.
Mark is not alone in this confinement: across the courtyard, he can see other people in another building knocking on their windows. And in front of his settlement, an army of people in orange hazmat suits is setting up a field hospital.
Evans City is the name of the town where a plane crashes in the feature film “The Crazies”. The crash releases a bacteriological weapon into the water for six days that only affects humans. An army under the command of Colonel Peckemseals the city to contain the spread of the virus. There is no antidote for the victims condemned to death or incurable insanity by the epidemic.
Pregnant nurse Judy, her husband David, her boyfriend Clank, her new acquaintance Artie and his daughter Kathy are trying to cross the town line. But those seeking protection are being hunted down by the army. Meanwhile, scientist Dr. Ralston Watts researches blood samples to find a cure for the disease.