Not a peaceful atom: 18 best films and series about Chernobyl

The accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant that took place in April 1986 is, without exaggeration, the largest man-made event in the world. Hundreds of people died on the first day, and thousands later died from exposure to radiation. The disaster has become a kind of inspiration for writers, creators of computer games and screenwriters. We have prepared for you a list of the best films and series about Chernobyl and Pripyat, among which there are both feature films and documentaries.

After Chernobyl (2021)

Among the novelties of cinema in 2021, a thriller about Chernobyl, filmed in an amateur camera format, is worthy of attention . This film does not affect the accident itself, it tells about a group of American tourists who find themselves in the “dead city” of Pripyat. The eerie atmosphere intensifies throughout the film: if at the beginning it looks like a simple frightening quest , by the end everything turns into a real horror.

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Genre:
Horror, thriller, detective

Actors:
Katrin Badalyan, Vladimir Dykhovichny, Michael Gul …

Country:
Russia, Ukraine, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 4.9, IMDb – 4.5

Age restrictions:
16+


Chernobyl (2020)

The dramatic novelty of Russian cinema is inspired by the events that took place in Chernobyl, but is not based on them. Therefore, the film bypasses the real historical facts. Firefighter Alexei has big plans for the future, a little son and a girlfriend. He is not eager to take risks and is not suitable for the role of a national hero, but a global tragedy – an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant – changes everything overnight. Together with engineer Valera and diver Boris, Alexei goes into the thick of things to prevent a second explosion. This is the compartment under the reactor, flooded with water.

Genre:
Drama, history

Actors:
Danila Kozlovsky, Oksana Akinshina, Philip Avdeev …

Country:
Russia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.3, IMDb – 4.3

Age restrictions:
12+


Forbidden Zone (2020)

Three years after the Chernobyl disaster, six friends set off on a rafting trip down the Pripyat. Having got confused in the coordinates, the guys fall into the exclusion zone. In an attempt to find their way back, young people accidentally kill a man. The guys find among the belongings of the deceased a large amount of money. Are friends capable of such responsibility? An accidental crime becomes a test for the feelings and actions of the characters.

Genre:
Thriller

Actors:
Daria Melnikova, Alexander Golovin, Daniil Vakhrushev …

Country:
Belarus

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.6

Age restrictions:
16+


Chernobyl (TV series 2019)

On the eve of May Day 1986, nothing in Soviet Ukraine foreshadowed trouble. The small city of nuclear scientists Pripyat lived and worked quietly, people were preparing for the holiday. The date of April 26 forever imprinted in the fate of the townspeople. Tonight, the local nuclear power plant is undergoing a test with disastrous consequences. A new foreign series about Chernobyl, based on real events, shows the chronicle of the accident.

Original title:
Chernobyl

Genre:
Drama, history

Actors:
Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson…

Country:
USA, UK

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 8.9, IMDb – 9.4

Age restrictions:
18+


Chernobyl: Exclusion Zone. Final (2019)

The 2019 Russian feature film is a full-length finale of the popular science fiction series about Chernobyl. Each of the three paintings offers the viewer a different ending. Pasha has gone over to the “dark side” and is helping a mysterious corporation carry out illegal construction inside the sarcophagus. The four friends go to the Zone again to try to save a friend and prevent a catastrophe.

Genre:
Thriller, fantasy

Actors:
Konstantin Davydov, Kristina Kazinskaya, Anvar Khalilulaev …

Country:
Russia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.9, IMDb – 5.0

Age restrictions:
16+


Black Flower (mini-series 2016)

After graduating from the Pedagogical Institute, Lera goes to work as a primary school teacher in Pripyat. There she meets a handsome nuclear physicist working at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The couple is doing well, they plan to start a family and have children. But the events of April 1986 irrevocably changed the history and fate of the main characters of the melodrama.

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Ivanna Sakhno, Victoria Malektorovich, Richard Lepers …

Country:
Ukraine

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.9

Age restrictions:
16+


Pripyat. Left Behind (2015)

In 1986, a nuclear disaster occurred in Ukraine. In the spring of 2011, a company of American tourists decides to visit the outlandish Exclusion Zone. Nobody else saw them. Only a few years later, Ukrainian law enforcement officers found cassettes with a video archive of the events. This interesting picture is one of the few horror films about Chernobyl and Pripyat on our list. Due to its realism, the horror film received good reviews from viewers and a high rating.

Genre:
Detectives, thrillers, fantasy

Actors:
Katrin Badalyan, Vladimir Dykhovichny, Michael Gul …

Country:
Russia, Ukraine, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.3, IMDb – 6.5

Age restrictions:
16+


Chernobyl: Exclusion Zone (TV series 2014)

Five friends are chasing a car thief who stole a large amount of money from the house of one of them. The “advanced” criminal recorded a video report, according to which he is heading to Pripyat. The company follows him and gets caught in a time loop . As a result, the heroes of the exciting Russian series find themselves in Chernobyl on an ominous day in April 1986.

Genre:
Thriller, fantasy

Actors:
Konstantin Davydov, Sergei Romanovich, Anvar Khalilulaev …

Country:
Russia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.8, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Moths (mini-series, 2013)

The multi-part feature film about Chernobyl is based on real events. On the eve of the catastrophe, Alya from Kiev, together with her sister, comes to Pripyat to visit her relatives in order to have a good rest. At night, a fire breaks out at a nearby nuclear power plant, the flames of which are observed by the girls. In the morning, utter horror begins in the city and terrible confusion reigns. In the turmoil of the evacuation, the heroine of the historical series meets the “conscript” Pasha, who was among the first liquidators.

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Yuri Borisov, Maria Poezzhaeva, Evgenia Loza …

Country:
Ukraine

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 8.0, IMDb – 7.6

Age restrictions:
16+


Forbidden Zone (2012)

According to the plot, a group of tourists goes on a trip to Europe and longs for extreme adventures. This time the destination is the city of Pripyat and the notorious nuclear power plant. Just in case, the guys secured themselves and took a guide on a tour, but he could not resist the radiation mutants either. A rather scary foreign horror film about Chernobyl will be appreciated by all fans of the genre.

Original title:
Chernobyl Diaries

Genre:
Horror, Thriller, Detective

Actors:
Jonathan Sadovsky, Devin Kelly, Nathan Phillips…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.0, IMDb – 5.0

Age Limits :
18+


Oblivion Land (2011)

A happy day has come in Anna’s life – she marries a young fireman named Peter. But on the same night, an explosion and a fire occur at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The girl’s life is divided into “before” and “after” the accident. Peter is immediately called to eliminate the disaster, and Anna has two ways: to run away from the city or stay near her beloved.

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Olga Kurylenko, Andrzej Khyra, Ilya Iosifov …

Country:
France, Ukraine, Poland, Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.0, IMDb – 6.3


Saturday (2011)

At night, Komsomol member Valery notices a fire at a power plant. An excited guy resorts to the authorities of the nuclear power plant and finds out the news: an accident has occurred, but it was decided not to inform the public about it. The hero of the film faces a choice: to tell people about the accident at the station, or to remain silent. A modern domestic film about the Chernobyl disaster, based on real events, received a nomination at the Berlin Film Festival.

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Anton Shagin, Svetlana Smirnova-Martsinkevich, Stanislav Ryadinsky …

Country:
Russia, Germany, Ukraine

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.2, IMDb – 5.5

Age restrictions:
16+


Aurora (2006)

During the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, an orphan girl named Aurora accidentally finds herself near the epicenter. The poor thing gets a huge dose of radiation. The only way to survive is an operation in the USA. There the heroine meets her idol, the ballet star Astakhov. A dying girl with radiation sickness touched the strings of the artist’s soul and forever changes his life.

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Dmitry Kharatyan, Eric Roberts, Nastasya Zyurkalova …

Country:
Ukraine

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 6.2

Age restrictions:
16+


Battle for Chernobyl (2006)

In the spring of 1986, the world shuddered from terrible events. There was a terrible man-made disaster – an accident at a nuclear power plant. This tragic incident affected the fate of millions of people around the world, especially in Soviet Ukraine and Belarus. The documentary film about Chernobyl, based on real events, very accurately reproduces the chronology of the tragedy, contains newsreel footage and eyewitness accounts.

Genre:
Documentary, drama, history

Original title:
The Battle of Chernobyl

Actors:
Tim Birkett, Hans Blix, Mikhail Gorbachev…

Country:
Country

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 8.3, IMDb – 8.3


Atomic Zone Ranger (1999)

A submariner nicknamed Badger returns after service to his native Belarus. Judging that it is still too early to retire, the captain of the 2nd rank takes on the protection of the exclusion zone. A gang of local criminals has been operating here for a long time, trading in radioactive forest, equipment and drugs . A badger with a partner undertakes to clear the territory from the bandits.

Genre:
Action

Actors:
Alexey Kravchenko, Vladimir Samoilov, Sergey Makhovikov …

Country:
Russia, Belarus

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.3, IMDb – 4.6

Age restrictions:
12+


Chernobyl: Final Warning (1991)

In the spring of 1986, the infamous Chernobyl tragedy took place. American medical specialist Dr. Robert Gale immediately flies to the USSR. He examines the victims and offers treatment options. This feature film about the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and its consequences is a warning to the world about how dangerous it is to joke with the “peaceful atom”.

Original title:
Chernobyl: The Final Warning

Genre:
Drama, history

Actors:
Jon Voight, Jason Robards, Sammy Davis …

Country:
USA, USSR

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.3, IMDb – 6.3

Age restrictions:
12+


Breakup (1990)

The action of this Soviet drama takes place shortly before the Chernobyl accident, during and after it. April 25, 1986 journalist Alexander Zhuravlev returns home to Kiev. The next day, a catastrophe occurs in Pripyat. As a result of this, many of Zhuravlev’s friends die immediately or after some time, but the media hush up the fact of the accident.

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Sergey Shakurov, Tatyana Kochemasova, Stanislav Stankevich, Alexei Serebryakov, Marina Mogilevskaya, Alexei Gorbunov …

Country:
USSR, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 6.7

Age restrictions:
12+


Brama (2017)

Baba Prisya lives in the exclusion zone with her sickly daughter Slava and grandson Vova. The locals consider the old woman out of her mind. Once during the war, she slaughtered more than a dozen Germans, and now she is fond of hallucinogenic mushrooms. One day, the grandmother receives a mystical vision of a catastrophe that will inevitably happen in the near future. Ukrainian cinema about Chernobyl is a worthy completion of our list.

Genre:
Horror, fantasy, thriller, drama, comedy, detective

Actors:
Irma Vitovskaya, Vitalina Bibliv, Yaroslav Fedorchuk …

Country:
Ukraine

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.3, IMDb – 7.2


Other films about Chernobyl

Artistic:

  • Universal Soldier 3: Rebirth (2009)
  • Door (short, 2008)
  • Extraterrestrial (2007)
  • I Remember (2005)
  • Year of the Dog (1994)
  • Monsters (1993)
  • Black stork (1993)
  • Tomorrow (1991)
  • Third Planet (1991)
  • Wolves in the Zone (1990)
  • Stalker (1979)

Documentary:

  • Chernobyl: 30 years later (2016)
  • Voices of Chernobyl (2016)
  • Chernobyl Cafe (2016)
  • Chernobyl grandmothers (2015)
  • Daughter of Pripyat (2012)
  • Chernobyl jungle (2005)
  • Pripyat (1999)
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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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