8 Best Tornado Movies of All Time

Updated April 25, 2018
9 min read

Tornadoes are defined as a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground – are often formed when warm and cold air masses clash. They are capable of tremendous destruction, creating damage paths in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Tornados speed can vary from nearly stationary to up to 70 mph; however, the wind speed from these formations can exceed 250 mph. Tornadoes are classified using the Enhanced Fujita Scale. Most tornadoes (~88%) are considered weak (EF0 or EF1) and about 95% of all U.S. tornadoes are below EF3 intensity. In the United States, on average, 1000 tornadoes are reported nationwide each year, resulting in 70 deaths and over 1,500 injuries. Here is the list of the top tornado movies ever. You can watch some of these best tornado movies on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.

8. Tornado (1996)

Tornado was a 1996 American television film starring Bruce Campbell and Shannon Sturges, released on May 7, 1996. It was written by John Logan and directed by Noel Nosseck. The film runs 89 minutes, and has been released on DVD. It is rated PG for some perilous weather sequences and mild language. Tornado was a story about An accountant sent to produce an evaluation of a tornado research project, and the scientist running the project pursue tornadoes and each other.

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7. Night of The Twisters (1996)

Night of the Twisters is a 1996 made-for-television disaster film that was directed by Timothy Bond. The film premiered on The Family Channel (now Freeform) on February 11, 1996, as the cable channel’s first original movie (and appeared on the channel until 2004, under its successor brands Fox Family and ABC Family). Filmed in Kleinburg, Ontario, Canada and based loosely on the 1984 young-adult novel of the same title by Ivy Ruckman (a semi-fictionalized account of an outbreak of seven tornadoes that struck Grand Island, Nebraska on June 3, 1980, killing five people and injuring 134 others), the film centers on a family’s struggle to survive a night as a bizarre tornado-producing supercell thunderstorm tracks into and becomes stationary over their town. Night of The Twisters is a family movie, and it does gloss over the realities a bit.It’s set at night and you don’t get to see that much of the tornadoes but overall This is a good movie that and is worth your time.

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6. Storm Chasers: Revenge of the Twister (1998)

The narrative focuses on Jamie Marshall, who is a storm chaser.She loses her husband Jim at the beginning of the movie as both are chasing a storm. Two years later, she is too dedicated to her job; people she trains often quit because she is too tough. She also sees no need for rules and she has a real attitude problem. Yet her superiors still want to send her to investigate a tornado in Colorado, in an area where such storms never happen. The visual effects were pretty good, especially on Jamie’s computer.Stock footage of storms and their aftermath, and of a major fire that destroyed homes, added a little realism to the movie,I wouldn’t call it atrocious but it is still watchable compared to the other unwatchable disaster flicks. This movie was inspired by the HAARP conspiracy theory, the theory revolves around the US government manipulating the weather.

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5. Category 6: Day of Destruction (2004)

Category 6: Day of Destruction is a 2004 four-hour miniseries that was broadcast in the United States on CBS in two parts, with the first part aired on November 14 and the second on November 17. It was later released to DVD on February 15, 2005. The miniseries focuses primarily on the city of Chicago as three unusual storm systems approach from the west, north and south and combine over the city to form a massive hurricane. At the same time a hacker-induced power outage cuts communications leaving a journalist and power officials scrambling to find the cause.

The miniseries was a success for CBS in terms of ratings, as it was the highest-rated movie for the channel in two years, and it earned the highest ratings during the November sweeps week with 19.4 million viewers watching the first part. Critics were less favorable towards the film, with most panning the film for its dialog, implausible science, and poor acting. Some reviewers did praise the film’s high-budget special effects and felt the film had at least some “charm.”

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4. Category 7: End of The World (2004)

Category 7: The End of the World is a 2005 four-hour television film miniseries that was broadcast in the United States on CBS in two parts, the first part aired on November 6 and the second on November 13. It was directed by Dick Lowry. A sequel to the 2004 miniseries Category 6: Day of Destruction, this film starts directly after the events shown in that film. The new director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) must continue to contend with the massive storm system that hit Chicago in the first film. The storm has continued to gain strength, spawning additional storms around the world, with three converging over Washington, D.C. and forming a massive tropical cyclone scale 7 hurricane.

Category 7 was the top rated network miniseries in 2006. The first part of the miniseries came in number 16 among the top 25 network programs aired in the week of October 31-November 6, and was the second most watched program for that Sunday with 14.7 million viewers.

The film was nominated for multiple awards in 2006, including a Primetime Emmy Award for “Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special. It was nominated for a Saturn Award for “Best Television Presentation”, a Cinema Audio Society Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Movies and Mini-Series”, and two Golden Reel Awards for “Best Sound Editing in Television Long Form — Dialogue and Automated Dialogue Replacement” and “Best Sound Editing in Television Long Form — Sound Effects & Foley.”

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3. Into The Storm (2014)

Into The Storm was a story that focused on Storm trackers, thrill-seekers, and everyday townspeople who document an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes touching down in the town of Silverton. The film was released by Warner Bros. Pictures on August 8, 2014. The film was directed by Steven Quale, written by John Swetnam, starring Richard Armitage and Sarah Wayne Callies. Into the Storm grossed $46.4 million in the US and $100.4 million in other territories for a total of $146.8 million, against a production budget of $50 million.

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2. The Day After Tommorow (2004)

The Day After Tomorrow is a 2004 American science-fiction disaster film co-written, directed, and produced by Roland Emmerich and starring Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ian Holm, Emmy Rossum, and Sela Ward. It is based on the book The Coming Global Superstorm by Art Bell and Whitley Strieber.

The film depicts catastrophic climatic effects following the disruption of the North Atlantic Ocean circulation in a series of extreme weather events that usher in global cooling and lead to a new ice age.[2] Filmed in Toronto and Montreal, it is the highest-grossing Hollywood film made in Canad. At the end of its theatrical run, the film grossed $186,740,799 domestically and $544,272,402 worldwide.

Much of the credit for the film’s success must go to Ronald Emmerich, which is one of his best works till date. He keeps his viewer on the edge of his/her seat through the entire film. Action is the film’s primary objective, Emmerich humanizes his characters and the movie works strictly as an entertaining fantasy-adventure story.

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1. Twister (1996)

Twister is a 1996 American disaster adventure film starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton as storm chasers researching tornadoes. It was directed by Jan de Bont from a screenplay by Michael Crichton and Anne-Marie Martin. Its executive producers were Steven Spielberg, Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald and Gerald R. Molen. Twister was the second-highest-grossing film of 1996 domestically, with an estimated 54,688,100 tickets sold in the US.

It went on to earn a total of $241,721,524 at the North American box office. As of November 2012, it has earned a worldwide total of $494,471,524. It currently sits at number 76 on the all-time North American box office charts. It’s a classic 90’s disaster movie and a great action thriller. It had amazing special effects, heart-stopping action, and a reasonably well written storyline which is fast-paced, energetic, and interesting with some spectacular special effects.

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[Honourable mention] The Wizard of Oz (1939)

The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Widely considered to be one of the greatest films in cinema history, it is the best-known and most commercially successful adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s book.

Legendary for its use of Technicolor, fantasy storytelling, musical score, and memorable characters, it has become an icon of American popular culture. It was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, but lost to Gone with the Wind. It did win in two other categories, including Best Original Song for “Over the Rainbow” and Best Original Score by Herbert Stothart.

The Wizard of Oz is a visually stimulating fantasy world that surpasses the expectations of even the most imaginative viewers. Brimming with stunning visual effects and the film’s fierce tornado special effect, which is unparalleled comparing it to todays CGI, the film benefits itself from the witty dialogue, and eye-popping Technicolor. The Wizard Of Oz truly does lives up to its reputation as a unique gem that will withstand the true test of time and is indeed a shining  example of how to turn a great story into a fabulous, milestone of a film.

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