1 of 21 20th Century Fox Film Corp/Everett Collection
The Day After Tomorrow
The takeaway here? When someone has extensive scientific proof that a new ice age is coming, listen to them! And if you don't (like that rascal the vice president), then at least make sure you seek shelter in a warm, elevated place, like the New York Public Library! (Having Jake Gyllenhaal by your side doesn't hurt either.)
2 of 21 Dimension Films/Everett Collection
The Road is a story about self-preservation, but also about humanity. Although Viggo Mortensen's character is willing to do anything to keep himself and his son alive, his son reminds him that even in a dystopic wasteland, there is a difference between survival and immoral self-interest. So before you go robbing your neighbors of the clothes off their back, remember that mercy isn't just the name of Kim Kardashian's deceased kitten, it's also something to cherish.
3 of 21 Mary Evans/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection
28 Days Later
Sometimes people can be the most dangerous part of an apocalypse. In all honesty, Jim (Cillian Murphy) and his friends weren't doing too bad before they were lured to West's (Christopher Eccleston) fortified sexual-assault mansion. But once they
4 of 21 Laurel Group/Ronald Grant Archive/Mary Evans/Everett Collection
Dawn of the Dead
In the great words of How I Met Your Mother's Robin Sparkles, "Let's go to the mall everybody!" But seriously, when and if zombies take over the Earth, run to the closest shopping center or superstore. Malls have enough resources to last you and your ragtag group of survivors until you can think of your next move. Just watch out for looting motorcycle gangs!
5 of 21 Barry Wetcher/Warner Bros./The Kobal Collection
I Am Legend
Never give up hope. Even when Will Smith's Neville believed he was the only man left on Earth, he never stopped trying to find a cure. Though he might have lost his life in the process, Neville discovered a camp of survivors and, more importantly, a way to cure the infected. So, again, never give up. Also, get a dog. They sure come in handy.
6 of 21 Alcon Entertainment/The Kobal Collection
Book of Eli
Though much of the film focuses on the Bible, The Book of Eli is a story of faith, no matter what your relationship is with religion. Denzel Washington's Eli never stops moving forward, guided only by his faith and nothing else. In the end, he might have died, but he died happy. In the apocalypse, it's hard to ask for much more.
7 of 21 Sony Pictures Entertainment/Everett Collection
There's not one but two important lessons to take away from this Oscar nominee for best picture. First, always spray a foreign fluid away from you, lest the unknown substance have the ability to turn you into an alien. Secondly, if you do become an alien, you may as well play along! After all, even when you completely morph, you can still send your wife metal flowers from afar. Now that’s love.
8 of 21 Warner Bros. Pictures/Everett Collection
Mad Max and The Road Warrior
Do you feel a need for speed? Come the end of the world, maybe you should. As Mad Max Rockatansky shows, you can take anything and anyone down as long as you have a set of badass wheels (and a sawn-off shotgun).
9 of 21 Columbia Pictures/The Kobal Collection
Battle: Los Angeles
Sometimes your intelligence hits its limits and that's when it's time to fight back, guns blazing. Battle: Los Angeles won't teach you any highbrow tactics or ingenious survival techniques, but its non-stop action sequences will show you how to kick some serious alien butt.
10 of 21 Murray Close/Lionsgate
The Hunger Games
Keep your wits about you. Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss didn't become the Hunger Games' victor simply by slaying her way to the top. She was smart and proved that sometimes wit is the best weapon. So before you get all quiver happy, take a minute and assess the situation.
11 of 21 Oliver Upton/HBO
Game of Thrones
Peter Dinklage's Tyrion Lannister might not be a shining moral compass, but there's no question he can survive anything life throws at him (and avoid more than one possible beheading). So take a cue from the Imp and don't be afraid of a little — OK, a lot — of lying. Lies might not be the best way to make friends, but we'd take having nobody over having no body any day.
12 of 21 Gene Page/AMC
The Walking Dead
In the apocalypse, it's often kill or be killed — not handcuff someone to a pipe or be killed. Rick (Andew Lincoln) and the gang learned that a little too late when Merle (Michael Rooker) started hunting them outside Woodbury. So before you go abandoning someone, make sure you fully think through the consequences.
13 of 21 Discovery Channel
Though many shows demonstrate basic survival skills, it's watching the psychological effects isolation imposes on Les Stroud that makes Survivorman so useful. When and if the apocalypse comes, Stroud shows that we not only need to learn how to get food and water, but also how to stay sane when there's no one to keep you company but Mother Nature.
14 of 21 National Geographic Channel
This series provides a basic overview of almost every end-of-the-world scenario known to man, from economic collapse to fuel shortages to terrorist acts. So no matter what comes, they'll help you prepare.
15 of 21 Patrick Wymore/CBS
After the apocalypse comes the hardest part of all: rebuilding. Throughout the cult-favorite CBS series, the residents of Jericho struggle to return to some form of normalcy after nuclear attacks leave the rural town isolated from society. Their fight to rebuild is not an easy one, but take a note from Jericho residents and stick together, no matter what trouble comes your way.
16 of 21 TNT
Split, run, hide and survive. Those are the words of wisdom Falling Skies taught us after society was invaded by aliens. Then along came Arthur Manchester (Terry O'Quinn) with his dream of rebuilding society. But are things really better when we're all together in one place or are we just making it easier for the aliens to find us? That's for you to decide.
17 of 21 The WB
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and the Scooby Gang have faced more than their share of apocalypses, but no episode will help prepare you for the end of days more than Season 4's "Hush." As Buffy demonstrates, the worst that can happen isn't just zombies and fireballs. When the citizens of Sunnydale's voices are stolen, we see how society falls apart when all usual forms of communication break down. So start thinking about how you'll stay calm and adapt when cell phones, internet and streaming news become things of the past.
18 of 21 Diyah Pera/The CW
If there were ever two people who've proved their skills at survival, their names are Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles). Demons, Purgatory, Mayan gods — the brothers have faced it all. And though they might not always come out unscathed, they always come out together. Plus: If you need any tips for a post-apocalyptic road trip, they've got you covered! Though sadly, there probably won't be as many burger joints to stop at.
19 of 21 Brownie Harris/NBC
When the apocalypse comes, follow the Mathesons' lead and get the frak out of the city! Charlie may have left her idyllic community behind, but that simple, agricultural lifestyle seemed pretty good to us. But if you do chose to venture out, Revolution is full of tons of handy tips on how to outwit and escape bandits and other nefarious people you might encounter. Just don't forget your poisoned whiskey!
20 of 21 Discovery Channel
Having a hard time deciding what type of survivalist you'll become in the event of doomsday? Dual Survival shows you the best of both worlds by featuring the philosophies and skills of a naturalist contrasted with those of a military man. That way you can pick which technique works best for you or just continuously shift between them depending on what type of Earth-ending danger is coming your way.
21 of 21 History Channel
Life After People
If you turn out to be the solo survivor of the impending Mayan apocalypse, Life After People will become your televised fortune teller. The series predicts the way flora, fauna and the world we leave behind will be affected by humanity's virtual extinction. (Warning: things don't fare too well over at The White House.)