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%
- 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