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List of dystopian films

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Title: List of dystopian films  
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Subject: Science fiction film, Blade Runner, Equilibrium (film), Female buddy film, Ultraviolet (film)
Collection: Dystopian Films, Lists of Films by Genre
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List of dystopian films

This is a list of dystopian films. A dystopia (from the Greek δυσ- and τόπος, alternatively, cacotopia,[1] kakotopia, cackotopia, or anti-utopia) is an imaginary community or society that is undesirable or frightening.[2][3] It is literally translated as "not-good place", an antonym of utopia. Such societies appear in many artistic works, particularly in stories set in a future. Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization,[2] totalitarian governments, ruthless megacorporations, environmental disaster,[3] or other characteristics associated with a dramatic decline in society. Dystopian societies appear in many subgenres of fiction and are often used to draw attention to potential as well as real-world trends and issues in society, which can range from environmental, cultural, political, economical, religious, psychological, ethical, scientific to technological issues, which if unaddressed could potentially lead to dystopia.


Title Year Comments References
The 10th Victim 1965 In the near future, wars are avoided by giving people a chance to kill in the Big Hunt, which is also the most popular form of entertainment. Based on Robert Sheckley's 1953 short story, Seventh Victim. [4]
12 Monkeys 1995 A convict is sent back in time to gather information about a virus that wiped out most of the human population. Based on Chris Marker's 1962 short film La Jetée. [5][6][7]:34
1984 1956 Loosely based on novel of the same name about a bureaucrat who falls in love in a futuristic totalitarian surveillance state. [8]
2081 2009 Short film adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron. "Everyone is finally equal". [9]
A Boy and His Dog 1974 [10]
A Clockwork Orange 1971 Adapted from Anthony Burgess' novella of the same name. [11][12][10]
A Scanner Darkly 2006 Adapted from Philip K. Dick's novel of the same name. A dangerous new drug causes the users to begin to lose their own identity. [13]
A.I. 2001 [10][14]
Æon Flux 2005 Loosely based on Peter Chung's animated television series of the same name. Aeon Flux is a mysterious assassin working for the Monicans, a group of rebels trying to overthrow the government. [15]
Akira 1988 [6][15]
Alphaville 1965 A secret agent is sent to the distant space city of Alphaville where he must find a missing person and free the city from its tyrannical ruler. [16]
The Animatrix 2003 [17]
Antiviral 2012 [18][19]
Atlas Shrugged: Part I 2011 Based on a novel by Ayn Rand. An alliance forms fight the increasingly authoritarian government of the United States. [20]
Automata 2014 [21][22][23]
Babylon A.D. 2008 Veteran-turned-mercenary Toorop takes the high-risk job of escorting a woman from Russia to America. Little does he know that she is host to an organism that a cult wants to harvest in order to produce a genetically modified Messiah. [24][25]
Batman 1989 Based on the DC Comics character of the same name, directed by Tim Burton. [26]
Battle Royale 2000 Based on the novel and manga of the same name. [6]
Battlefield Earth 2000 film adaptation of the novel, starring John Travolta. [10]
Blade Runner 1982 Loosely based on Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. [12][27][15][28][29]
Blindness 2008 [30]
Book of Eli 2010 A post-apocalyptic tale, in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind. [31]
The Bothersome Man 2006 In a strange city where every person seems content beyond reason a new man arrives in town and stirs up trouble by asking too many questions. [32][33]
Brave New World 1980 In a futuristic totalitarian society, people have no control of their roles in society or lives/destiny. [10]
Brazil 1985 A bureaucrat in a retro-future world tries to correct an administrative error and himself becomes an enemy of the state. [12][4][34][15][35][7]:39
Cargo 2009 [36]
Casshern 2004 [37]
CHAPPiE 2015 The film was directed by Neill Blomkamp (who also directed District 9) and based on his 2004 short film Tetra Vaal.[38] In it the South African government purchases a squadron of high-tech, autonomous robots (AI) in response to a record high crime rate in Johannesburg and uses them as a mechanized police force. One of these police droids, "Chappie", is stolen and given new programming which causes him to be the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. [23][39][40]
Cherry 2000 1987 [41]
Children of Men 2006 Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, based on P.D. James' novel of the same name. In 2027, in a chaotic world in which women have become somehow infertile, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea. [12][27][15][42]
City of Ember 2008 [43]
City of Lost Children 1995 French film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. [6]
Cloud Atlas 2012 [44][45][23]
Code 46 2003 A futuristic 'Brief Encounter', a love story in which the romance is doomed by genetic incompatibility. [4]
Colossus: The Forbin Project 1970 The film which is based upon the 1966 science fiction novel Colossus, by Dennis Feltham Jones is about a massive American defense computer, named Colossus, becoming sentient after being activated and deciding to assume control of the world and all human affairs for the good of mankind[46] during the imminent threat of nuclear war.[47] [48][47][49][50]
The Congress 2013 The Congress is a late-capitalist dystopia in which a corporate media behemoth "Miramount" has effectively usurped control of all human consciousness.[51] In it an aging actress decides to scan her body to sign over to Miramount Studios which allows the company to digitize every trait that she possesses and use it in any movie they choose. The hallucinogenic live-action/animation film represents corporate interests taking advantage of the individual and was partly inspired by Stanisław Lem's novel The Futurological Congress. [51][52][53][54]
Dark City 1998 A man struggles with memories of his past, including a wife he cannot remember, in a nightmarish world with no sun and run by beings with telekinetic powers who seek the souls of humans. [10][6]
Dark Metropolis 2010 Mankind has lost a 300-year war against a genetically enhanced race that man created, abused and finally tortured. Now the descendants of that race - known as the 'Ghen' control the planet Earth from advanced underground cities. [55][56][57]
Daybreakers 2009 In the year 2019, a plague has transformed almost every human into vampires. Faced with a dwindling blood supply, the fractured dominant race plots their survival. [58][59]
The Day the Earth Caught Fire 1961 [28]
Dead End Drive-In 1986 [60]
Death Race 2000 1975 The film takes place in a dystopian American society in the year 2000, where the murderous Transcontinental Road Race has become a form of national entertainment. [4][61][62][63]
Death Race 2008 Remake of the 1975 film Death Race 2000. Ex-con Jensen Ames is forced by the warden of a notorious prison to compete in our post-industrial world's most popular sport: a car race in which inmates must brutalize and kill one another on the road to victory. [64]
Death Watch 1980 [48]
Demolition Man 1993 A cop is brought out of suspended animation in prison to pursue an old ultra-violent enemy who is loose in a nonviolent future society. [28][65]
Le Dernier Combat 1983 [66][67][68]
District 9 2009 An extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly finds a kindred spirit in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology. [14][23]
Divergent 2014 Based on the adaption of Veronica Roth's novels of the same names, In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she's Divergent and won't fit in. [69][4][70][71][72][23][73]
The Divergent Series: Insurgent 2015 After the series of events and death of her parents in Divergent, Tris Prior tries to figure out what the Abnegation were trying to protect and why the Erudite leaders will do anything to stop them. [74][75][23]
Downstream 2010 [76]
Dredd 2012 Adapted from the comic book of the same name. [77][78][23]
Ellcia 1993 [79]
Elysium 2013 In this film wealth inequality, the alienation of the super-rich and class conflict are taken to the extreme: in the year 2154, the very wealthy live on a man-made luxurious space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth. A man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds. It explores political and sociological themes such as immigration, overpopulation, health care, exploitation, the justice system, and social class issues.[80] [23][81][82]
The End of Evangelion 1997 [27]
Ender's Game 2013 Based on the novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card. [83]
Equilibrium 2002 In a totaliterian future where all forms of feeling are illegal and citizens are required to take daily drug-injections to suppress emotion and encourage obedience, a man in charge of enforcing the law rises to overthrow the system. [15]
Escape from L.A. 1996 Sequel to the 1981 film, Escape from New York. [84][23]
Escape from New York 1981 In 1997, when the US President crashes into Manhattan, now a giant maximum security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in for a rescue. It extrapolates the crime and decay of inner cities.[47] [12][10]
eXistenZ 1999 Directed by David Cronenberg. [71]
Fahrenheit 451 1966 Based on Ray Bradbury's novel of the same name.In an oppressive future, a fireman whose duty is to destroy all books begins to question his task. [10][42][15]
Fantastic Planet 1973 [48]
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions 2004 [85]
The Fifth Element 1997 [86]
Forbidden Planet 1956 [28]
Fortress 1993 A futuristic prison movie. Protagonist and wife are nabbed at a future US emigration point with an illegal baby during population control. [65]
Freejack 1992 [28]
Futureworld 1976 Sequel to Westworld. [87]
Gamer 2009 In a future mind-controlling game, death row convicts are forced to battle. A convict controlled by a skilled teenage gamer must survive 30 sessions in order to be set free. [88]
Gattaca 1997 In this biopunk dystopia genetic engineering creates an underclass. One of these so-called genetically inferior "in-valids" assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel. [10][6][15][89]
Ghost in the Shell 1995 [90]
The Giver 2014 A dark, quiet, but powerful futuristic political tale in which a 12-year-old boy must search the truth in the world free of war, crime, disease, poverty, unfairness, and injustice. [69][70][71][72][23]
The Handmaid's Tale 1990 In a dystopicly polluted rightwing religious tyranny, a young woman is put in sexual slavery on account of her now rare fertility. [72][10][15]
Hardware 1990 [91]
Harrison Bergeron 1995 A cable television movie adapted from the short story of the same name by Kurt Vonnegut. [9]
The Hunger Games 2012 Directed by Gary Ross, Based on Suzanne Collins' novel of the same name. Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to compete. [12][69][70][72][63][23]
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 2013 Directed by Francis Lawrence, Based on Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire. [10][23]
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 2014 Directed by Francis Lawrence, Based on Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay. [69][71][23]
I Am Legend 2007 [10][92]
I, Robot 2004 Adapted from a series of short stories by Isaac Asimov. [10]
Idiocracy 2006 An average man is selected for a top-secret hibernation program. When he wakes up 500 years later to discover he's the smartest person in a radically dumbed-down society. [93][65]
The Inhabited Island 2009 Based on the 1969 book Prisoners of Power by Strugatskies. The most expensive Russian science fiction film to date (2015) is set on another planet (hence the title), with a country that is ruled by a totalitarian regime that brainwashes its citizens by towers that send a special kind of radiation erected across the country. [94][95]
In Time 2011 In a future where people stop aging at 25, but are engineered to live only one more year, having the means to buy your way out of the situation is a shot at immortal youth. [10][92]
Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1978 [48]
The Island 2005 A man goes on the run after he discovers that he is actually a "harvestable being", and is being kept as a source of replacement parts, along with others, in a facility. [96][97]
La Jetée 1962 In the aftermath of World War III scientists in Paris research time travel, hoping to send test subjects to different time periods "to call past and future to the rescue of the present". The short film by Chris Marker was constructed almost entirely from still photos and inspired the 1995 film 12 Monkeys. [98][99][100][101]
Johnny Mnemonic 1995 [102][103]
Judge Dredd 1995 Based on the comic of the same name: in a dystopian future, Dredd, the most famous judge (a cop with instant field judiciary powers) is convicted for a crime he did not commit while his murderous counterpart escapes. [104][105][106]
Kin-dza-dza! 1986 A 1986 Soviet sci-fi dystopian black comedy cult film. [7]:184[107]
Land of the Blind 2006 [42]
The Last Battle 1983 [108]
The Last Man on Earth 1964 [28]
The Lego Movie 2014 [109][110][63]
Logan's Run 1976 Depicts a dystopian future society in which population and the consumption of resources are managed by the simple notion of killing everyone who reaches the age of thirty. [10][87][15]
Looper 2012 In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits - someone like Joe - who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by sending back Joe's future self for assassination. [111][23]
Mad Max 1979 [10][89][28][105]
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior 1981 [12][10][6][89]
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 1985 [71][10][89]
Mad Max: Fury Road 2015 [112][73]
The Man Who Fell to Earth 1976 [113]
The Matrix 1999 A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers. [12][71][10][15]
The Matrix Reloaded 2003 The second installment of The Matrix trilogy. [10]
The Matrix Revolutions 2003 The third installment of The Matrix trilogy. [10]
Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future 1985 [114]
The Maze Runner 2014 Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they're all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow "Runners" for a shot at escape. Based on the first book of The Maze Runner Trilogy written by James Dashner. [69][83][23]
Metropia 2009 [115]
Metropolis 1927 A German expressionist epic science-fiction film directed by Fritz Lang. [10][6][15][28]
Metropolis 2001 Animated film by Osamu Tezuka. [48]
Minority Report 2002 Based on Philip K. Dick's short story, The Minority Report. [71][42][89]
Moon 2009 [116]
Natural City 1997 [117]
Never Let Me Go 2010 Based on Kazuo Ishiguro's 2005 novel of the same name. [27][10]
Nineteen Eighty-Four 1984 Based on novel of the same name. [12][10][15][28]
Nirvana 1997 [118]
No Blade of Grass 1970 The film is based on Samuel Youd's novel The Death of Grass and highlights the terrifying effects of environmental pollution.[119] [120][47][119]
Oblivion 2013 Based on Joseph Kosinski's unpublished graphic novel of the same name. [121][122][23]
The Omega Man 1971 [10][28]
On the Beach 1959 [48]
Outland 1981 [89]
Paranoia 1.0 (originally One Point O) 2004 The film is a Kafkaesque nightmare in which a young computer programmer is an unwitting guinea pig in a corporate experiment to test a new advertising scheme. [123][124]
Planet of the Apes (original series) 1968—1973 Most of humanity is extinguished in a thermonuclear war. In the course of the two following millennia, intelligent apes (chimpanzes, gorillas and organgutans) become the dominant kind and stablish an organized society. During the 40th century, a ultra-powerful nuclear bomb is launched as a last resort in a conflict between mutant humans and gorillas, ultimately destroying the entire planet. [4][10]
Planet of the Apes (reboot series) 2011—present A colony of apes in a sanctuary is affected by a viral gas which enhances their intelligence. As a result, they flee the sanctuary and form an organized society apart from humans. Ten years later, that same virus causes a massive pandemic disease called the Simian flu, which ultimately wipes out all humans with the exception of those genetically immune to the virus. A group of immune human survivors form a colony and eventually engage in a war with the apes. [125][126][23]
Pleasantville 1998 [79]
The Postman 1997 [125][23]
Priest 2011 [127]
Punishment Park 1971 [48]
The Purge 2013 In a futuristic America plagued by crime, the government sanctions a 12-hour period once a year in which all criminal activity is legal. [128]
The Purge: Anarchy 2014 [23][128][23]
Radio Free Albemuth 2010 The film based on Philip K. Dick's posthumous novel of the same name is set in an alternate reality America circa 1985 under authoritarian control. In it a record store clerk receives hallucinatory missives from the alien satellite VALIS. [129][130]
Renaissance 2006 [131]
Repo Man 1984 [132]
Repo Men 2010 Based on the novel The Repossession Mambo by Eric Garcia. [133]
Repo! The Genetic Opera 2008 The payment plan. Clients who default on payments are hunted down by Repo Men: skilled assassins contracted by GeneCo to repossess organs, usually killing the clients in the process. [134][135]
Resident Evil series Science fiction horror franchise written and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, based on the video game of the same name. [136]
The Road 2009 [12][10][92]
RoboCop 1987 Centers on a police officer who is brutally murdered and subsequently revived as a superhuman cyborg law enforcer. [15][89]
RoboCop 2014 [23][137][138][73]
Rollerball 1975 [23]
The Rover 2014 The contemporary western takes place in the Australian outback, ten years after a global economic collapse.[139] [87][140][141]
The Running Man 1987 Loosely adapted from Stephen King's novel of the same name. [10][63]
Seconds 1966 [48]
Silent Running 1972 [4][87][28]
Sleep Dealer 2008 [142]
Sleeper 1973 [143]
Snowpiercer 2013 [71][10][23]
Surrogates 2009 [144]
Southland Tales 2007 [27]
Soylent Green 1973 Based on Harry Harrison's novel Make Room! Make Room!. It centers around the issue of overpopulation.[47] [10][42][28][23]
The Stand 1994 [92]
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones 2002 [79]
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith 2005 [79]
Strange Days 1995 [145][146]
Tank Girl 1995 Based on the British comic series of the same name, a tank-riding anti-heroine fights a mega-corporation which controls the world's water supply. [147]
Tekken 2010 [148]
The Terminator 1984 [10]
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991 [10]
Terminator 3 2003 [10]
Terminator Salvation 2009 [10]
They Live 1988 Adapted from Eight O'Clock in the Morning by Ray Nelson. [42][6]
The Thing 1951 [28]
The Thing 1982 [28]
Things To Come 1936 [28]
THX 1138 1971 Set in the 25th century, the story centers around a man and a woman who rebel against their rigidly controlled society. Also the first film by director George Lucas. [10][42][65]
The Time Machine 1960 Film adoption of H. G. Wells' 1895 novel The Time Machine. [149][150][151]
The Trial 1962 [48]
Total Recall 1990 Loosely based on Philip K. Dick's short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale. [89]
Total Recall 2012 Remake of the 1990 film of the same name. [152][153][154][23]
Transcendence 2014 [155]
Ultraviolet 2006 Spiritual successor of Equilibrium (2002)
V for Vendetta 2006 Based on Alan Moore's graphic novel of the same name. [10][42][15][26]
Videodrome 1983 [71][156][63]
WALL-E 2008 [71][79]
Watchmen 2009 [15]
Waterworld 1995 As a result of massive ice caps melting, all of Earth's land became submerse. The few surviving humans, which live in big ships and artificial atolls, are poor and ignorant, since they have lost most of their resources, as well as their technological and historical knowledge. [157][23][105]
Westworld 1973 Written and directed by Michael Crichton. [87]
When Worlds Collide 1951 [28]
World on a Wire 1973 German television movie (original title Welt am Draht), directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. [48][158]
Z.P.G. 1972 [159]
Zardoz 1974 [10][160][28]
The Zero Theorem 2014 [34]
Z for Zachariah 2015 [161]

See also


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  2. ^ a b """Definition of "dystopia. Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, Inc. 2012. 
  3. ^ a b """Definition of "dystopia. Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. 2012. 
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  5. ^ Pulver, Andrew (2 September 2013). "'"Terry Gilliam blames internet for the breakdown in 'real relationships.  
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Santoni, Emilio (14 October 2014). "20 Great Dystopian Films That Are Worth Your Time". Taste of Cinema. 
  7. ^ a b c Hansen, Regina (2011). Roman Catholicism in Fantastic Film: Essays on Belief, Spectacle, Ritual and Imagery. McFarland. 
  8. ^ Aaronovitch, David (8 February 2013). "1984: George Orwell's road to dystopia". BBC News Magazine (United Kingdom: The BBC). Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Perschon, Mike (13 April 2011). "2081: The World of Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron". 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak Erbland, Kate (15 August 2014). "The Complete List: Everything You Will Find in a Dystopian Movie". Vanity Fair. 
  11. ^ McDougal, Stuart Y. (7 July 2003). Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. Cambridge University Press.  
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  16. ^ Brody, Richard (2009). Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard.  
  17. ^ The Routledge Companion to Science FictionAnimatrix"+dystopia&hl=en .  
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