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May 21 Alert! Top 10 Doomsday Movie Scenes

We could be down to our final moments before The Rapture on this, the 21st day of May, the 2011th year of our Lord. Or not.
/ Source: E!online

We could be down to our final moments before The Rapture on this, the 21st day of May, the 2011th year of our Lord. Or not.

Either way, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at how the world could be ending. Will we be annihilated by alien invaders? Vaporized by a comet? Wiped out by a virus (or at least turned into zombies)?

In honor of Judgment Day, we've compiled 10 of the most memorable scenes of civilization's destruction ever put to celluloid:

MORE: Top 10 Things We'll Miss Thanks to the May 21 Apocalypse

10. The War of the Worlds (1953): Panic sweeps the globe. Martian invaders! Run for your life! Preying Manta Ray-shaped saucers with heat rays zap anything in sight, but especially humans, stoking fear into the hearts of millions of moviegoers. When Hollywood's original sci-fi adaptation of H.G. Wells' classic novel hit the big screen, L.A. residents got the worst of it and Baby Boomers would never be the same.

9. Independence Day (1996): The first of Roland Emmerich's Hollywood disaster epics was a big-budget reboot of the alien invasion classics of the '50s and '60s. Saucer-shaped destroyers cut a path of destruction across the good ole U.S. of A., including famously blowing up the White House, before a cigar-chomping Will Smith and friends manage to save humanity. Some of the more gnarly devastation includes the incineration of the Empire State Building.

8. Deep Impact (1998): Death from above. Comets smashing into the earth is a civilization killer, hence the premise of Deep Impact which preys on such doomsday fears effectively and gave moviegoers an excuse to watch a 200-story wall of water smash into the Eastern seaboard, killing millions. Good thing Elijah Wood had a motorbike so he and Leelee Sobieski could make a fast getaway.

7. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001): Steven Spielberg made this sci-fi fantasy as a tribute to his pal, Stanley Kubrick, who developed the Briand Aldiss short story into a feature and had asked him to direct it before he died in 1999. The coolest doomsday scenes in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence detail the aftermath of humanity. When Haley Joel Osment's robot child goes on his Pinnocchio-esque quest, he journeys to the flooded ruins of Manhattan only to be trapped underwater where he remains for 2,000 years, frozen over in another ice age, until he's dug out by new silicone-based life forms that have replaced humans.

6. 28 Days Later (2002): Societal breakdown doesn't get any scarier than this. Forget New York and San Francisco. Danny Boyle's apocalyptic thriller starring Cillian Murphy is set in the deserted streets of London and the English countryside as everyday life is brought to a halt when mankind is infected with a deadly virus called Rage which turns people into zombies (who can run!). While most of the devastation has already occurred by the time our hero bicycle courier wakes up from a coma, we couldn't help including this horror flick on the list as it remains a riveting portrait of near-human extinction.

5. The Core (2003): Before he played Harvey "Two Face" Dent in The Dark Knight, Aaron Eckhart did damage control as a hero who helps earth fend off deadly cosmic radiation. Eckhart and his Armageddon-like team drill to the center of the earth to restart the earth's core, but the best action is on the surface, where electrical superstorms wipe out San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and Rome's Coliseum among other landmarks.

4. The Day After Tomorrow (2004): God Bless, Roland Emmerich, who's never met a disaster scenario he didn't like. Out of his fertile B-movie mind comes The Day After Tomorrow, a climate-change thriller that imagines what would happen if the North Atlantic current shut down, leaving New York and most of the East Coast engulfed by rapidly rising seas. Of course, it's also an excuse for the special-effects guy to create one massively ginormous tsunami.

3. War of the Worlds (2005): Spielberg opted to give up making films about good E.T.'s for a Close Encounters with some bad ones. His 2005 re-imagining shed the saucer look for Wells' original Tripod terrors and stuck it big time to Bayonne, N.J. where a good chunk of the end-of-the-world destruction took place. Tom Cruise and kids end up surviving a capsized ferry and avoid being turned into human fertilizer for the strange red weed the war machines emit. All we can say is thank God for microbes.

2. Knowing (2009): To paraphrase Nicolas Cage, there is no grand meaning in Knowing. After all, it's a disaster film. But there's a nice order to the mass destruction that unfolds in this thriller about an astrophysicist (Cage) who decodes a paper full of numbers that can predict the future, found buried five decades before in a children's time capsule. And by the looks of the explosions, train derailments, plane crashes and wall of fire, Knowing sure gives the emergency broadcast system a run for its money.

1. 2012 (2009): It's that crazy German again. After blowing up the White House and drowning the Big Apple in his previous two entries, Emmerich goes the full Mayan here. This time, he's taking his cue from a purported ancient Mayan prophesy that says the world will end in, yup, 2012. His Noah's Ark-like tale stars John Cusack, who has the pleasure of not only outrunning a super volcano, but a tsunami too!

MORE: Eco-Disaster Flicks!