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Mark Kermode's Disaster Movies

Mark Kermode uncovers the cinematic and storytelling secrets of one of the oldest and most spectacular genres of all, the disaster movie.

Earthquakes, explosions, eruptions… since the earliest days of cinema, film-makers have understood that true spectacle lies not in building things up, but in bringing them crashing down.

Mark Kermode grew up in the 1970s, the heyday of the all-star Hollywood disaster movie, and he has always been fascinated by the genre, which continues to thrive today. Mark shows how disaster movies use stunts and sound, editing and special effects to bring us jaw-dropping visions of destruction.

But spectacle alone is not enough, and Mark reveals how film-makers rely on recurring story devices, themes and character types to build drama and maintain our sense of jeopardy. Mark also showcases the remarkable range of disaster movies, from claustrophobic solo survival stories to films that explore the ultimate catastrophe – the end of the world.

59 minutes

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:08

    James Horner


  • 00:11

    John Williams

    Journey to The Island

  • 00:18

    Andrew Lockington


  • 00:25

    Steven Price


  • 00:34

    John Williams

    Eye To Eye

  • 00:34

    John Williams

    High-Wire Stunts

  • 00:35

    Steven Price

    Don't Let Go


Role Contributor
Presenter Mark Kermode
Writer Kim Newman
Writer Mark Kermode
Producer Kath Pick