Moviegoers have thrilled to disaster since the dawn of the silent film era. From the 1901 drama “Fire!” about a burning house to the 1928 epic “Noah’s Ark,” whose climactic flood scene drowned three actors, Hollywood has reveled in catastrophe from the very beginning. The genre exploded in popularity during the ’70s with a string of blockbusters featuring all-star casts. Though the trend soon faded, the development of CGI effects brought it roaring back to life two decades later. The chaos continues on May 29 with the release of “San Andreas,” about a massive quake that destroys California. While we wait to assess the damage, here are ten essential disaster movies, plus five that barely register on the Richter scale.
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