Top 50 Dystopian Movies of All Time

Dystopian Movies

Massive dehumanization, totalitarian government, rampant disease, post-apocalyptic terrains, cyber-genetic technologies, societal chaos and widespread urban violence are some of the common themes in dystopian films which bravely examine the ominous shadow cast by future.

A dystopia is a fictional society that is the antithesis or complete opposite of a utopia, an ideal world with a perfect social, political and technological infrastructure. A world without chaos, strife or hunger. A world where the individual potential and freedom is celebrated and brought to the forefront.

In contrast, the dystopian world is undesirable with poverty and unequal domination by specific individuals over others. Dystopian films often construct a fictional universe and set it in a background which features scenarios such as dehumanizing technological advancements, man-made disasters or class-based revolutions.

Ranking the List

We thought it would be interesting if we could coagulate the most commonly cited dystopian movies and rank them not to preference, but to an average score made up of both Rotten Tomatoes (RT) and IMDB ratings.

As you all will probably know, the Internet Movie Database allows movie fans and registered users to rate each movie from 1 to 10 and the final score is said to reflect the general audience’s view of the movie. In contrast, Rotten Tomatoes rates their movies by collecting and tabulating the reviews given by professional film critics.

We’ve taken both ratings, added them together and found an average score for each film. Each of the films are then ranked according to this average score. We’ve also included links to the IMDB and RT profile for each movie so you can learn more about the movie.

50. Equilibrium (2002)


In the nation of Libria, there is always peace among men. The rules of the Librian system are simple. If you are happy, you will be arrested. If you cry, the law will hunt you down. If you read a contraband book or so much as look at a smuggled painting, you’ve committed a crime. To keep the peace, citizens must take their daily doses Prozium, a powerful designer drug that stops feelings dead and keeps everyone on an even keel. Refuse to take the drug and special police will find you. (Directed by Kurt Wimmer)

IMDB: 7.7 | Rotten Tomatoes: 4.7 | Average: 6.2


49. One Point O (2004)

One Point O

Set in the near future, this is the story of a computer programmer, Simon J., who discovers that his employer intends to use him as a test subject in a dangerous experiment testing a new advertising technique which causes Simon to be plagued by mysteriously empty brown packages, a sense of paranoia and a craving to drink lots and lots of milk. (Directed by Jeff Renfroe and Marteinn Thorsson)

IMDB: 5.9 | Rotten Tomatoes: 6.5 | Average: 6.2


48. Starship Troopers (1997)

Starship Troopers

In the distant future high school kids are encouraged to become citizens by joining the military. What they don’t know is that they’ll soon be engaged in a full scale war against a planet of alien insects. The fight is on to ensure the safety of humanity. (Directed by Paul Verhoeven)

IMDB: 6.8 | Rotten Tomatoes: 5.7 | Average: 6.25


47. Rollerball (1975)


In the year 2018, Jonathan E is a superstar of a sport called Rollerball, which is a combination of rugby, roller derby, hockey and motorcycle racing. Rollerball is a sport run by the Energy Corporation, one of many such conglomerates running the planet in a time when countries and individual governments are obsolete. The corporations provide the population with everything that they need–food, a crime-free environment, mood-altering drugs–as long as they don’t rock the boat and don’t ask too many questions. (Directed by Norman Jewison)

IMDB: 6.4 | Rotten Tomatoes: 6.1 | Average: 6.25


46. Death Race 2000 (1975)

Death Race 2000

In a boorish future, the government sponsors a popular, but bloody, cross-country race in which points are scored by mowing down pedestrians–with bonus points for the elderly! Five teams, each comprised of a male and female, compete using cars equipped with deadly weapons. (Directed by Paul Bartel)

IMDB: 5.9 | Rotten Tomatoes: 6.6 | Average: 6.25


45. Idiocracy (2006)


Joe Bauers, an Army librarian, is judged to be absolutely average in every regard, has no relatives, has no future, so he’s chosen to be one of the two test subjects in a top-secret hibernation program. He and hooker Rita were to awaken in one year, but things go wrong and they wake up instead in 2505. By this time, stupid people have outbred intelligent people; the world is (barely) run by morons–and Joe and Rita are the smartest people in America. (Directed by Mike Judge)

IMDB: 6.4 | Rotten Tomatoes: 6.3 | Average: 6.35


44. Strange Days (1995)

Strange Days

Lenny Nero sells dreams and hustles nightmares, dealing in real-life experiences through a new technology that makes every sensation immediate. But on the eve of the new millennium, Lenny and his street-savvy friend and conscience, Mace, are suddenly caught in a deadly fantasy of conspiracy, murder and betrayal–plunging them into the bleak heart of the nightworld he has always inhabited. (Directed by Kathryn Bigelow)

IMDB: 6.9 | Rotten Tomatoes: 6.0 | Average: 6.45


43. Logan’s Run (1976)

Logan’s Run

In a 23rd-century world of pleasure and perfection, Logan’s job is to kill anyone past the age of 30. But when his turn for sacrifice comes (at age 30), he decides to flee the bubble-domed paradise and find a mythical “sanctuary” that lies outside. (Directed by Michael Anderson)

IMDB: 6.7 | Rotten Tomatoes: 6.2 | Average: 6.45


42. I Robot (2004)

I Robot

It’s 2035 A.D., where robots are everyday objects and are programmed to live alongside humans. Detective Del Spooner is called out to investigate the apparent suicide of the scientist behind these robots, Dr. Alfred Lanning. Spooner suspects that the death might not be a suicide, but the result of one of the robots. All robots are programmed by three laws, but Spooner starts to wonder if a robot can in fact feel emotions, and possibly murder. But if Spooner’s suspicions are true, he is going to have a hard time convincing everyone. (Directed by Alex Proyas)

IMDB: 7.0 | Rotten Tomatoes: 6.0 | Average: 6.5


41. Soylent Green (1973)

Soylent Green

New York City in the year 2022 the population is over 40 million. Without enough food to feed the masses–most of it must be manufactured in local factories. The dinner choices are between Soylent Blue, Soylent Yellow, or Soylent Green. When William Simonson an executive in the Soylent Company, is found murdered, police detective Thorn is sent in to investigate the case. (Directed by Richard Fleischer)

IMDB: 7.0 | Rotten Tomatoes: 6.0 | Average: 6.5


40. A Boy and His Dog (1975)

A Boy and His Dog

A post-apocalyptic tale based on a novella by Harlan Ellison. A boy communicates telepathically with his dog as they scavenge for food and sex, and they stumble into an underground society where the old society is preserved. The daughter of one of the leaders of the community seduces and lures him below, where the citizens have become unable to reproduce because of being underground so long. They use him for impregnation purposes, and then plan to be rid of him. (Directed by L.Q. Jones)

IMDB: 6.5 | Rotten Tomatoes: 6.6 | Average: 6.55


39. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)


A fine and stunning screen adaptation of George Orwell’s prophetic 1948 novel about a world in which the government completely controls the masses by controlling their thoughts, altering history and even changing the meaning of words to suit its needs. (Directed by Michael Radford)

IMDB: 7.1 | Rotten Tomatoes: 6.3 | Average: 6.7


38. Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)


Sometime in the distant future, after the polar icecaps have melted, major flooding has devastated most major cities. Technology has advanced to the point where people depend for many tasks on robots with highly sophisticated artificial intelligence; including companion robots which replace friends, lovers or children. n this futuristic fairy tale, “David”, a highly-advanced robotic boy, hopes to become a real boy so that he can win back the affection of the human mother who abandoned him. (Directed by Steven Spielberg)

IMDB: 6.8 | Rotten Tomatoes: 6.6 | Average: 6.7


37. Silent Running (1972)

Silent Running

A botanist has spent eight years aboard the space freighter “Valley Forge” preserving the only botanical specimens left from Earth under huge geodesic domes. When he receives orders to destroy the project and return home, he rebels and hijacks the freighter, killing his fellow crewmen, injuring himself, and plunging the craft into the gaseous rings of Saturn. (Directed by Douglas Trumbull)

IMDB: 6.7 | Rotten Tomatoes: 6.7 | Average: 6.7


36. A Scanner Darkly (2006)

A Scanner Darkly

Set in a future world where America has lost the war on drugs, an undercover cop, Fred, is one of many agents hooked on the popular drug Substance D, which causes its users to develop split personalities. Fred, for instance, is also Bob, a notorious drug dealer. Along with his superior officers, Fred sets up an elaborate scheme to catch Bob and tear down his operation. (Directed by Richard Linklater)

IMDB: 7.2 | Rotten Tomatoes: 6.5 | Average: 6.85


35. Escape from New York (1981)

Escape from New York

The island of Manhattan has been turned into the world’s largest maximum security prison, a place where the worst of humanity is sent to rot. The U.S. Government finds itself in a major crisis when the president’s plane crash lands in New York only days before a vital peace summit between major warring nations is to take place. Only war hero turned felon Snake Plissken can save the day, and he is offered a simple deal for his work: save the president and live, fail to save him and die. (Directed by John Carpenter)

IMDB: 6.9 | Rotten Tomatoes: 6.8 | Average: 6.85


34. THX 1138 (1971)

THX 1138

THX 1138 is a chilling look at a 25th-century totalitarian state where mankind is stripped of any individuality. People are numbered drones, and a government-enforced program of sedating drugs controls the populace. The story’s title character, THX, is a factory worker whose life is irrevocably changed when he stops taking his mind-numbing drugs. (Directed by George Lucas)

IMDB: 6.7 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.0 | Average: 6.85


33. They Live (1988)

They Live

Set in the future, a drifter discovers that alien beings are controlling the minds of the masses by use of subliminal messages urging apathy and obedience. Nada, a down-on-his-luck construction worker, discovers a pair of special sunglasses. Wearing them, he is able to see the world as it really is: people being bombarded by media and government with messages like “Stay Asleep”, “No Imagination”, “Submit to Authority”. (Directed by John Carpenter)

IMDB: 6.7 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.1 | Average: 6.9


32. District 13 (2004)

District 13

In 2010, the dangerous districts in the periphery of Paris are surrounded by walls, and the dwellers do not have school, hospital and even police in the area, which are ruled by drug lords. In the 13th District, Leito is a honest man that lives in a clean building and does not permit drug dealers nearby his neighborhood. When he destroys one million Euros in heroin of Taha Bemamud, the criminal abducts Leito’s sister Lola and the corrupt police arrests Leito. (Directed by Pierre Morel)

IMDB: 7.0 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.0 | Average: 7.0


31. War Of the Worlds (1953)

War of the Worlds

H.G. Well’s classic novel is brought to life is this tale of alien invasion. The residents of a small town are excited when a flaming meteor lands in the hills. Their joy is tempered somewhat when they discover it has passengers who are not very friendly. The movie itself is understood better when you consider it was made at the height of the Cold War – just replace Martian with Russian. (Directed by Byron Haskin)

IMDB: 7.2 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.1 | Average: 7.15


30. Dark City (1998)

Dark City

A cop tries to help an amnesiac fugitive, suspected of being a serial killer, to discover the truth about his past. He finds that his memories and his reality as he knows it are, in fact, artificial creations controlled by a fiendish underworld of ominous beings knows as The Strangers. (Directed by Alex Proyas)

IMDB: 7.7 | Rotten Tomatoes: 6.7 | Average: 7.2


29. Total Recall (1990)

Total Recall

What is reality when you can’t trust your memory? Set in the year 2084, an Earthbound construction worker keeps having dreams about Mars. A trip to a false memory transplant service for an imaginary trip to Mars goes terribly wrong and another personality surfaces. When his old self returns, he finds groups of his friends and several strangers seem to have orders to kill him. He finds records his other self left him that tell him to get to Mars to join up with the underground. The reality of the situation is constantly in question. Who is he? Which personality is correct? Which version of reality is true? (Directed by Paul Verhoeven)

IMDB: 7.3 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.1 | Average: 7.2


28. Mad Max (1979)

Mad Max

George Miller’s vision of an apocalyptic future set in the wastelands of Australia. Total social decay is just around the corner in this spectacular cheap budget gang orientated road movie. Where the cops do their best to lay down the law and the outlaw gangs try their hardest to defy the system. Leather clad Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) husband, father and cop turns judge, juror and executioner after his best friend, wife and baby are killed. Here we see the final days of normality of a man who had everything to live for, and his slip into the abyss of madness. With its astounding car stunts, unbelievable bike chases and constant ultra violence Mad Max is the antihero on the road to vengeance and oblivion. (Directed by George Miller)

IMDB: 6.8 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.6 | Average: 7.2


27. On The Beach (1959)

On The Beach

After a mysterious nuclear war, most of the world has been wiped out save for Australia. A US submarine, commandeered by Peck, surfaces only to be shocked by the apocalypse. With a black radioactive cloud fast approaching the only surviving continent, the survivors make serious introspection into their lives as they await their fates. (Directed by Stanley Kramer)

IMDB: 7.5 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.1 | Average: 7.3


26. Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

Fahrenheit 451

In a dark futuristic world, literature, reading, and independent thought have been outlawed. The government has gone so far as to employ a special league of firemen to burn all books on sight. But when one otherwise obedient fireman (Oskar Werner) meets an intriguing revolutionary (Julie Christie), she provokes him to question the legitimacy of his actions. Tensions mount when he blatantly transgresses the very laws he’s employed to enforce. (Directed by François Truffaut)

IMDB: 7.1 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.5 | Average: 7.3


25. Gattaca (1997)


In the near future, where corporations screen their employees based on their genetic makeup, a man with a congenital heart condition tries to assume the identity of a former athlete with perfect genes in order to fulfill his dream of traveling in space. (Directed by Andrew Niccol)

IMDB: 7.7 | Rotten Tomatoes: 6.9 | Average: 7.3


24. Metropolis (2001)


Set in the future, Metropolis is a grand city-state populated by humans and robots, the co-habitants of a strictly segmented society. Amidst the chaos created by anti-robot factions, detective Shunsaku Ban and his sidekick Kenichi are searching for rebel scientist, Dr. Laughton, to arrest him and seize his latest creation, a beautiful young girl named Tima. When they locate them, Shunsaku quickly comes to realize that the eccentric scientist is beyond their reach, protected by a powerful man and his fierce desire to reclaim a tragic figure from his past. (Directed by Rintaro)

IMDB: 7.3 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.5 | Average: 7.4


23. V for Vendetta (2005)

V for Vendetta

Set against the futuristic landscape of totalitarian Britain, V For Vendetta tells the story of a mild-mannered young woman named Evey who is rescued from a life-and-death situation by a masked vigilante known only as “V.” Incomparably charismatic and ferociously skilled in the art of combat and deception, V ignites a revolution when he detonates two London landmarks and takes over the government-controlled airwaves, urging his fellow citizens to rise up against tyranny and oppression. As Evey uncovers the truth about V’s mysterious background, she also discovers the truth about herself – and emerges as his unlikely ally in the culmination of his plot to bring freedom and justice back to a society fraught with cruelty and corruption. (Directed by James McTeigue)

IMDB: 8.2 | Rotten Tomatoes: 6.8 | Average: 7.5


22. Planet of the Apes (1968)

Planet of the Apes

When Colonel George Taylor (Charlton Heston) crash lands his spacecraft on what seems to be an unfamiliar planet, he is captured and held prisoner by a dominant race of hyperrational, articulate apes. However, the ape community is riven with internal dissention, centered in no small part on its policy toward humans, who, on this planet, are treated as mindless animals. Befriended and ultimately assisted by the more liberal simians, Taylor escapes – only to find a more terrifying obstacle confronting his return home. (Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner)

IMDB: 7.9 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.1 | Average: 7.5


21. The City of Lost Children (1995)

The City of Lost Children

Just off the coast of a dank, teeming harbor town, a horrible scientist named Krank lives on a mist-shrouded rig. He is aging prematurely because he lacks one vital function: the ability to dream. Krank’s henchmen, a community of Cyclops, kidnap children from town and bring them to Krank so that he can harvest their dreams, invade them, and make them his own. (Directed by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet)

IMDB: 7.8 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.2 | Average: 7.5


20. Akira (1988)


On July 16, 1988, Tokyo was destroyed by what was believed to be a new type of bomb, triggering World War III. Thirty-one years later, in 2019, Neo-Tokyo has arisen from ashes under Japan’s new political system; but the glittering city is built on foundations of poverty, ignorance and despair. Kaneda is a bike gang leader whose close friend Tetsuo gets involved in a government secret project known as Akira. On his way to save Tetsuo, Kaneda runs into a group of anti-government activists, greedy politicians, irresponsible scientists and a powerful military leader. (Directed by Katsuhiro Ôtomo)

IMDB: 7.8 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.2 | Average: 7.5


19. RoboCop (1987)


In the not-to-distant-future, a newly transfered Detroit police officer is remade into an indistructable cybornetic cop after being dismembered by a gang of thungs in an abandoned warehouse. Reborn as Robocop he is programed to serve and protect the citizens of Detroit and eliminate the rampant crime in the city streets so that a massive city-wide reconstruction project can get underway. But once he has completed his task, he sets his sites on the corruption inside Securities Concepts Inc.- the corporation that created him. (Directed by Paul Verhoeven)

IMDB: 7.4 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.6 | Average: 7.5


18. Battle Royale (2000)

Battle Royale

Japan at the start of the new millennium. The country is in a state of chaos, violence by rebellious teenagers in schools is completely out of control. The government hits back with a new law: every year a school class picked at random will be cast away on a desert island to fight it out among themselves. The rules are simple: it lasts three days, everyone gets water, food and a weapon and only one may survive. (Directed by Kinji Fukasaku)

IMDB: 8.0 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.1 | Average: 7.55


17. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Ghost in the Shell

Set in the year 2029 and following World Wars III and IV, a Japanese-led Asian block dominates world affairs. The alliance maintains its international supremacy through its elite security force whose cybernetically enhanced operatives tackle an array of hi-tech terrorists and other threats to international security. Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cybernetically augmented female agent, has been tracking a virtual entity known as the Puppet Master with her crack squad of security agents. (Directed by Mamoru Oshii)

IMDB: 7.8 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.3 | Average: 7.55


16. Pleasantville (1998)


Pleasantville is a 1950s sitcom enjoying cult status on a contemporary cable channel. David loves it, but his sister Jennifer is too hip. When a mysterious TV repairman gives them a new remote control, the pair are transported into the world of Pleasantville like it or not. They find themselves trapped in an alternate reality where the town exists in black and white–in a white bread world without passion or violence. (Directed by Gary Ross)

IMDB: 7.5 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.6 | Average: 7.55


15. Serenity (2005)


In the future, mankind has consumed planet Earth, called “Earth-that-was”, and moved to other planets and satellites. A new order is established with the totalitarian government of the Alliance, which fights and wins a war against their opponents, the independents. When Dr. Simon rescues his teenager telepathic sister River Tam from the claws of the Alliance, they are sheltered by a group of mercenaries and smugglers in the spacecraft Serenity, led by the former war hero Captain Malcolm ‘Mal’ Reynolds. (Directed by Joss Whedon)

IMDB: 8.0 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.2 | Average: 7.6


14. Twelve Monkeys (1995)

12 Monkeys

The year is 2035 and humankind subsists in a desolate netherworld following the eradication of 99% of the Earth’s population, a holocaust that makes the planet’s surface uninhabitable, and mankind’s destiny uncertain. A desperate group of scientists secure a reluctant volunteer, Cole, to embark on a dangerous mission back to the year 1996, where they hope he can help unravel this apocalyptic nightmare. (Directed by Terry Gilliam)

IMDB: 8.0 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.2 | Average: 7.6


13. Alphaville (1965)


An American private-eye is rocketed through space into a city run by a dictator scientist. Lemmy Caution arrives in Alphaville, a futuristic city on another planet and finds his very American character is at odds with the city’s ruler, an evil scientist named Von Braun, who has outlawed love and self-expression. (Directed by Jean-Luc Godard)

IMDB: 7.2 | Rotten Tomatoes: 8.0 | Average: 7.6


12. The Trial (1962)

The Trial

Josef K wakes up in the morning and finds the police in his room. They tell him that he is on trial but nobody tells him what he is accused of. In order to find out about the reason of this accusation and to protest his innocence, he tries to look behind the facade of the judicial system. But since this remains fruitless, there seems to be no chance for him to escape from this nightmare. Based on a novel by Franz Kafka. (Directed by Orson Welles)

IMDB: 7.9 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.4 | Average: 7.65


11. Sleeper (1973)


In 1973, health food store owner Miles Munroe enters the hospital for a routine gall bladder operation. When he expires on the operating table, Miles’ sister requests permission to cryogenically freeze her brother’s body. After 200 years, Miles is unwrapped by a group of scientists and awakens to a Brave New World of deadening conformity, ruled with an iron fist by a never-seen Leader. (Directed by Woody Allen)

IMDB: 7.2 | Rotten Tomatoes: 8.1 | Average: 7.65



10. Delicatessen (1991)


Set in the indeterminate future, a landlord who happens to be a butcher starts slaughtering humans to feed his starving tenants, a practice which outrages a guerilla group living in the sewers beneath the city streets. (Directed by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet)

IMDB: 7.9 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.7 | Average: 7.8


9. Minority Report (2002)

Minority Report

In Washington, D.C., in the year 2054, murder has been eliminated. The future is seen and the guilty punished before the crime has ever been committed. From a nexus deep within the Justice Department’s elite Pre-Crime unit, all the evidence to convict–from imagery alluding to the time, place and other details–is seen by “Pre-Cogs,” three psychic beings whose visions of murders have never been wrong. (Directed by Steven Spielberg)

IMDB: 7.7 | Rotten Tomatoes: 8.0 | Average: 7.85


8. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

The Road Warrior

The first sequel to Mad Max takes place after nuclear war has destroyed Australia. Max lends his aid and protection to a small band of survivors who are losing their struggle to protect an oil refinery under siege by a band of savage, mohawked marauders. (Directed by George Miller)

IMDB: 7.5 | Rotten Tomatoes: 8.3 | Average: 7.9


7. The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix

Neo is a young software engineer and part-time hacker who is singled out by some mysterious figures who want to introduce him into the secret of ‘the matrix’. The cops also seem to be after him, and he takes a chance on discovering what he has always suspected: that the world is not quite what it seems to be and a sinister conspiracy is at work. (Directed by Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski)

IMDB: 8.6 | Rotten Tomatoes: 7.4 | Average: 8.0


6. Children of Men (2006)

Children of Men

A futuristic society faces extinction when no children are born and the human race has lost the ability to reproduce. England has descended into chaos, until an iron-handed warden is brought in to institute martial law. The warden’s ability to keep order is threatened when a woman finds that she is pregnant with what would be the first child born in 27 years. (Directed by Alfonso Cuarón)

IMDB: 8.2 | Rotten Tomatoes: 8.0 | Average: 8.1


5. Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner

In a cyberpunk vision of the future, man has developed the technology to create replicants, human clones used to serve in the colonies outside Earth but with fixed lifespans. In Los Angeles, 2019, Deckard is a Blade Runner, a cop who specialises in terminating replicants. Originally in retirement, he is forced to re-enter the force when five replicants escape from an offworld colony to Earth. (Directed by Ridley Scott)

IMDB: 8.3 | Rotten Tomatoes: 8.2 | Average: 8.25


4. Wings of Desire (1987)

Wings of Desire

Two angels wander in a mixture of post-war and modern Berlin. Invisible to humans, they nevertheless give their help and comfort to all the lonely and depressed souls they meet. Finally, after many centuries, one of the angels becomes unhappy with his immortal state and wishes to become human in order to experience the joys of everyday life. He meets a circus acrobat and finds in her the fufillment of all his mortal desires. He also discovers that he is not alone in making this cross over, and that a purely spiritual experience is not enough to satisfy anyone. (Directed by Wim Wenders)

IMDB: 8.1 | Rotten Tomatoes: 8.4 | Average: 8.25


3. Brazil (1985)


In an Orwellian vision of the future, the populace are completely controlled by the state, but technology remains almost as it was in the 1970′s. Sam Lowry is a civil servant who one day spots a mistake in one of the pieces of paperwork passing through his office. The mistake leads to the arrest of an entirely innocent man, and although Lowry attempts to correct the error, it just gets bigger and bigger, sucking him in with it. (Directed by Terry Gilliam)

IMDB: 8.0 | Rotten Tomatoes: 8.5 | Average: 8.25


2. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

A Clockwork Orange

Based on Anthony Burgess’s disturbing novel about England in a totalitarian future. The film follows Alex, a Beethoven-loving, head-bashing punk who leads his gang of “droogs” on ultra-violent assaults until he is captured by authorities and subjected to nasty behavior-modification therapy. (Directed by Stanley Kubrick)

IMDB: 8.5 | Rotten Tomatoes: 8.3 | Average: 8.4


1. Metropolis (1927)


A futuristic look at the schism created in mankind as industrialization and technological advancement serves to alienate the humans from one another. People are divided into two groups: the thinkers–who make plans, yet don’t know how to operate machinery, and the workers–who forward production without having any overview vision. Completely separate, neither group is complete; however, together they make a whole. When one man, a “thinker,” dares to journey to the underground, where the workers ‘slave away,’ he’s surprised at what he sees. (Directed by Fritz Lang)

IMDB: 8.4 | Rotten Tomatoes: 8.8 | Average: 8.6


Here are some films outside of the Top 50, which we think deserve a mention. We’re quite sure that we’ve omitted some excellent films, some of which were intentional. The final list is a result of discussions on how well the films we examined meet the criteria of a dystopia.

Code 46 (2003)

Code 46

A love story set in an eerily possible near-future, where cities are heavily controlled and only accessible through checkpoints. People cannot travel unless they have “papelles,” a special travel insurance. Outside of the cities, the desert has taken over and shanty towns are jammed with non-citizens – people without papelles whose lives are severely restricted. (Directed by Michael Winterbottom)

IMDB: 6.3 | Rotten Tomatoes: 6.0 | Average: 6.15


The Omega Man (1971)

The Omega Man

Due to an experimental vaccine, Doctor Robert Neville is the only survivor of an apocalyptic war, with the exception of a few hundred deformed, nocturnal people who are also homicidal maniacs. They blame science and technology for their condition and they see Neville as the last symbol of science, therefore he must die. Neville uses everything at his disposal in an attempt to survive. (Directed by Boris Sagal)

IMDB: 6.8 | Rotten Tomatoes: 5.4 | Average: 6.1


The Running Man (1987)

The Running Man

Set in 2019, an ex-cop framed and convicted of mass slaughter, becomes a contestant on the most popular game show in which convicted felons race for their lives in decimated L.A. in hopes of a pardon. Adapted from a Stephen King novel. (Directed by Paul Michael Glaser)

IMDB: 6.3 | Rotten Tomatoes: 5.5 | Average: 5.9


Le Dernier Combat (1983)

Le Dernier Combat

In the post-apocalyptic future, only a few humans are left. No one is able to speak and people communicate non-verbally. A determined loner befriends a reclusive older man and these two battle against vicious thugs for food, shelter and life itself. (Directed by Luc Besson)

IMDB: 6.8 | Rotten Tomatoes: NA | Average: NA


Avalon (2001)


In a dark future, bored young citizens entertain themselves playing violent, illegal virtual reality games. In this realm, beautiful loner Ash is unrivaled as the champion of one computer fantasy game. But when Ash’s former lover becomes lost in the game, she makes the dangerous decision to follow him into a secret level, from which no player has ever returned. (Directed by Mamoru Oshii)

IMDB: 6.7 | Rotten Tomatoes: NA | Average: NA


No Blade of Grass (1970)

No Blade of Grass

A strange new virus has appeared, which only attacks strains of grasses such as wheat and rice, and the world is descending into famine and chaos. Architect John, along with his family and friends, is making his way from London to his brother’s farm in northern England where there will hopefully be food and safety for all of them. Along the way, they encounter hostile soldiers, biker gangs, and all manner of people who are all too willing to take advantage of travelers for a mouthful of food. (Directed by Cornel Wilde)

IMDB: 5.8 | Rotten Tomatoes: NA | Average: NA



First of all, thank you for reading and commenting on this list. From the amount of feedback we’ve received we can tell that you all share our passion for film. In light of the discussion that has taken place we thought we’d clarify a few things and respond to some of your comments.

When we began this article we put together a list of well over 100 dystopian movies. It was inevitable that many great movies would have to be excluded, some of which we were pained to see go. If a given movie is not on the list it is because of one of the following reasons.

  1. It’s average score wasn’t high enough to make the list. For example, many of you mentioned Zardoz and The Handmaid’s Tale. Their average scores were 5.2 and 5.25 placing them well outside the top 50.
  2. It had no Rotten Tomatoes rating. This is something we are going to rectify in the future by estimating an RT score. From memory there were only two films in the top 50 which we didn’t include because of this.
  3. We came to the conclusion that it did not satisfy the definition of a dystopia.
  4. We forgot to include it. Modern Times being the most glaring and embarrassing omission.

The most simple definition of a dystopia is as follows: An imaginary place or state in which the condition of life is extremely bad, as from deprivation, oppression, or terror.

In some instances we admittedly used quite a broad interpretation of a dystopia, but for the most part we think we were fairly consistent. We removed a few movies like Star Wars, which easily fit the dystopian model, because we didn’t want high profile science fiction movies to dominate the list. Instead we wanted to give films which may not have been as widely watched a chance to be discovered.

We never intended for this to be considered a definitive list. Our goal was to write something that would promote discussion and connect people with films they may have never seen or even heard of. In this I think we succeeded.


  1. Garry Ray

    Good job. I thought for sure you’d miss “A Boy And His Dog” (#40). Perhaps the only good movie Don Johnson ever made. And Jason Robards shines (as always) as the leader of the underground freakshow that needs Johnson’s … ahem… seed.

  2. Machine

    While I love Wings of Desire… I don’t think that post-war Berlin really counts as a dystopian society because the Wall and divisions were not imaginary. As for the angels… who can say?

    • Reelay

      The definition of “dystopian” in no way states that it must be fictional. There are many dystopian societies that exist in this time as we know it…

  3. Dysopian

    look dystopian up in a dictionary.

    • Gazongola

      Learn how to spell dystopian BEFORE you post.

      • mister e

        aeon flux? 28 days later?

        dune. ok?

        i watched logans run by your recommendation. i wasted two hours of my life. i kept watching for it to get better. but then when the water gardens in fort worth were the portal to the city and a 10 minute stroll from the washington monument and ran by “ocean currents” i realized that this was going to be as good as it gets. i think the girl kept me watching too. haha speaking of which “lets take these clothes off before we freeze” was an excuse to show some tits. absolutely cheap and terrible. its like they didnt even have a story board before they began filming.

        i like movies from the 70s and such, but that one was terrible. got a better rating from rotten tomatoes than soylent green. so i consider them from here on out to be a cheap organisation that panders to the crowd for advertising.

  4. ToBo

    It is stated that The Trial (1962) shows a “Kafkaesque nightmare”. That’s funny, because “The Trial” is in fact a story by Franz Kafka, originally titled “Der Process”.

  5. king

    Terminator (8.0/8.3) and T2 (8.6/8.5) both represent a dystopian earth after the machines take over, even though the action is in the 20th century. Should be on the list.

    • tyrial

      Terminator and T2 can’t truly be added to the list because they are not set in the future, now Terminator Salvation could be as it is set in that supposed future. That is usually the same reason they are also excluded from most post-apocalyptic movie lists.

  6. Ivan Minic

    Hm.. very heavy list…

  7. Jeff

    Great list!

    I was adding some of these to my queue and found a small discrepancy. Netflix says that the name of #32 is “District B13,” not “District 13.”

  8. anibal

    ·4 “Wings Of Desire”? c’mon, that’s not dystopian at all!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. val

    I think this list is a little eschew. I mean Children of men in the top 10???!!! And Idiocracy even making the list is kind of ridiculous – that movie was terrible! Judge Dredd was better than that piece of turd. My 2.

    • HBean

      Are you crazy?? Idiocracy is an amazing!

    • boohoo

      you must be one of the sheep this movie was meant to mock.

    • Christopher Potter

      “Children of Men” in the top 10? Absolutely! A brilliant study of a lamentation-wracked near-future. Why pick on this profound film when the list includes such jaw-dropping mistakes as “Sleeper” (a very funny film, but Top-10 dystopian? Puh-leeeze!) and “Alphaville” (Dystopian? Gumshoe noir? Art house special? Tedious drek no matter what classification). As far as notable exclusions go, what about Spielberg’s wonderful, egregiously underrated “War of the Worlds”? This wasn’t good enough to crack the top 50? Ludicrous. For that matter, “A-I” — a spellbinding, heartbreaking retro-future epic — deserved a far higher ranking than it received.

  10. Spacebat

    Then there is BBC’s “Threads” (a film about nuclear war so bleak they effectively self-censored it for years), and the weaker hollywood equivalent “The Day After”. Also listworthy:
    “Reign of Fire” – dragons wake up and burn the world
    “Brave New World” – (this film is hard to get hold of)
    “The Body Snatchers” – alien pods take over (original and 1970s remake)
    “28 Days Later” – rage virus takes over
    “Dawn of the Dead” – zombies take over (I prefer the remake)
    “Land of the Dead” – zombies took over ages ago
    More would come to mind if I’d had coffee already…
    BTW your pic of Mad Max is actually from Mad Max 2. this is a better choice:

    • Christopher Potter

      Actually, “28 Weeks Later” was a more grievous omission than its predecessor. The unique depiction of a kind and generous America attempting to resuscitate plague-devastated England — and despite their best intentions having their efforts backfire into a more widespread epidemic — was one of the most terrifying and despairing films I have ever seen. It absolutely merited Top-10 ranking. I hope someday fans of this genre will realize that.

  11. Clinton Labombard

    Yeah, Zardoz should have been included.

  12. omnivore

    Solaris (Tarkovsky). Omitting it is impossible, and there are a half dozen others by him that should be on the list.
    La Jetée (Marker). If you have 13 Monkeys, you have to have it.
    Quatermass and the Pit (Baker). Arguably a primary source for Children of Men.
    WestWorld (Crichton).
    Modern Times (Chaplin). How can this be omitted?

  13. Drone

    Wow, great list!

    And yet…no mention of “A Handmaid’s Tale”? Bizarre.

  14. Will McCracken

    Hey, what about Demolition Man (1993)? I love when Sandra Bullock says …”Now all the restaurants are Taco Bell.” Now if that’s not a dystopia, I don’t know what is!

    Then, there is also The Clonus Horror (1979) The theme of an isolated community being formed to farm body parts for the rich is just too real. Most recently, this theme was addressed again in the film The Island (2005).

    The, how can we miss The Stepford Wives (1975) and the remake in (2004)? I’m convinced that Laura Bush is one of those.

    Oh yea, and if Mad Max addressed Oil depletion, how can we miss Waterworld for Global Warming? Well, maybe it wasn’t that great of a movie, but it had it’s moments. Especially moving that supertanker!

  15. Manly

    “The Handmaids’s Tale” should be in the top ten.

  16. dinah

    I was looking forward to this list by its title but was pretty disappointed. Only about 1/2 of these are dystopian. Not every sci-fi and cyberpunk film counts. And just a detail: your picture for the 1st Mad Max movie is a still shot from the 2nd.

  17. Serge

    Stalker – Russian movie from 1979 – amazing really.

  18. xterramatt

    How is “the 5th element” not on this list???

    Is it too much Sci Fi?

  19. willem zissou

    WTF no Logans run!

  20. Matthew

    Wonderfully, fascinating look at the possible future. But maybe the future is of a New Heaven and a New Earth as seen in the last few chapters of the book of Revelation. Do you have a top list of Utopian movies?

  21. Sal

    I don’t think a lot of you understand what “dystopian” means. It does NOT mean sci-fi, or cyberpunk, or anything like that. It refers SPECIFICALLY to a political or social state. That means it could take place in the future OR the past. A movie about the nazi germany could by some be considered a dystopian movie. A movie that just has robots, etc in it does NOT make it a dystopian movie.

    • Josh

      from the 11th edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary:

      dystopia – 1. an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives 2. ANTI-UTOPIA

      to be fair, this is not what I understood the word to mean, per se. Still, I was never under the impression that it referred specifically to a political or social state, so much as simply the opposite of utopian in a general sense. ie: a really shitty, fucked up society/lack of society. I would agree that it does not suggest sci-fi or a particular chronological period (past,present,future)…

  22. Mel

    Without quibbling over your use of dystopian to describe movies that aren’t quite dystopian (plenty of others have taken issue with that already…) what’s with using an uncredited screenshot of Rapture (from the videogame Bioshock) to head up the article?

    Granted, Rapture is indeed a dystopian society, but it’s a video game, not a movie. (Yet anyway.)

  23. steven

    Matthew- I don’t think the story of a Utopian future would make for an entertaining movie. Where’s the conflict? I can’t think of *one* utopian story outside the Bible.

  24. William of Urbana

    Colossus: The Forbin Project

    This is not a list I will reference.

  25. Pablo

    (featuring Mick Jagger hehe)

  26. Big Gav

    Why wouldn’t “Children Of Men” be in the top 10 ? That was a great movie – probably the best of last year.

    All in all a great list – though I too am unsure “Wings Of Desire” counts as a dystopian movie…

  27. Chris Coyier

    Love to see Childen of Men and Gattaca on the list, great flicks.

  28. jack

    You forgot Akira, which i thought was better than metropolis

  29. Wykah

    Akira is there, it’s number 20.

    What about Cube?

  30. Will Knott

    The fact that you include “Idiocracy” in this list destroys any credibility this website might have. The key word being, might.

  31. Erik

    Starship Troopers was not a dystopia. If you read the book, the setting is a pretty stable world after veterans from all the constant warring took over and stopped civilian politicians from starting wars. As portrayed in the movie is was a fascist utopia, but it apparently wasn’t a racist one.

    • tyrial

      You need to read the definition of dystopian; A dystopian society is often a planned structured society in which the conditions of life are deliberately made miserable, characterized by poverty, oppression, violence, disease, scarcity, and/or pollution for the benefit of a select minority or some unnatural societal goal. The last part of the definition is why Starship Troopers is dystopian. Now if I have to explain how a fascist utopia is a dystopia then there is a much deeper problem.

  32. Isa

    Anime rendition of Metropolis..?

  33. Todd

    Nice list, but I disagree with the order…I mean, planet of the apes not in the top ten?

    Serenety? It wasn’t horrible but better than robocop, v for vandetta, and total recal???

    • Josh

      i would debate that Planet of the Apes was even a dystopia. just my $0.02

      • Steve

        Planet of the Apes was a dystopia movie.

      • tyrial

        I swear some people must smoke crack before commenting on this again as I have said to others read the definition of dystopia; A dystopian society is often a planned structured society in which the conditions of life are deliberately made miserable, characterized by poverty, oppression, violence, disease, scarcity, and/or pollution for the benefit of a select minority or some unnatural societal goal. Apes over Men, need I explain further?

  34. hiddnfox


    No Kin-Dza-Dza (1985) from Russia?

    you are forgetting a VERY important film in the genre

  35. mike

    everyone who feels the need to comment about how you forgot a movie and yet doesn’t bother using ctrl+f to realize that it is in fact there should be shot

  36. mike

    also, no one can bitch about the order since it was very clearly stated how the ranking was calculated (without mentioning the slight bias towards higher rotten tomatoes scores)

  37. Dominick

    One of my favorites — Series 7: The Contenders — is probably under everyone’s radar. It’s scores would put it at #38. Sadly, it’s hard to get on DVD.

    By the way, I could be wrong but isn’t your “Escape from New York” still actually from “Escape from L.A.”? I’m sure someone can verify this.

  38. ANDY


  39. psychomuse

    I don’t think the list is complete until “The Andromeda Strain” graces it.

  40. Tex Batmart

    Zardoz, anybody?

  41. Matt

    I have to agree with Will Knott about “Idiocracy”. It’s more adequately categorized as farce than a dystopian nightmare, but what really disqualifies it from consideration in any credible “Top” list is simply how truly awful the acting, plot, etc. was. If I had access to a time machine, I’d go back in time and choose to spend those two hours of my life doing something else instead of watching that film. “Starship Troopers” doesn’t belong on anybody’s Top 50 list either. I’ve been told that the original novel was good (I haven’t read it). However, the film was plagued by a shoddy script and abysmal acting performances, making it a complete waste of celluloid.

    I’m rather surprised that nobody has mentioned Gore Vidal’s “Caligula”. A dystopia is, by definition, “a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding.” Rome, under the rule of Caligula, certainly qualifies. The film is, at it’s core, a thoroughly shocking exploration of the abuses of absolute power.

    As others have already said, “Cube” deserves to be on this list. I’d also nominate: “Harrison Bergeron”, “The Island”, and “Videodrome”.

    • tyrial

      Oh my, guess what this means? Maybe you should go make your own list and stop complaining about this one and offer something more than a single paragraph crying that your favorite movies didn’t make it on the list. Try actually presenting an argument rather than whining.

  42. Admiral

    What about ‘The Island’ and ‘Red Dawn’?

  43. DNA

    Network? Hello?

    You need to replace Pleasantville with The Omega Man, I mean really, Pleasantville? WTF? How is getting sucked into a 50′s TV show equal dystopian future??? HELLO?????

  44. Aaron

    Insofar as dystopias are invoked, “Apocalypse Now,” the film version of Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” defined that genre for numerous other film-makers. It fits the bill more than perfectly.

    The horror, the horror.

  45. Hank Fox

    Pleasantville and I, Robot are hardly dystopian.

    Pleasantville is a story of conflicting social forces and personal tranformation set in a 1950s-era small town.

    I, Robot is just an SF story with a robotic villain.

    Neither of them qualify for this list.

    • tyrial

      I agree with you on Pleasantville but I Robot was not just a SF story with a robotic villain. The dystopian parts of the film where in the fact that the robots where used as slaves and treated as second class life forms.

      Picture it this way replace Humans over Robots with another race (i.e. Latinos over Asians) and it’s a bit easier to see.

  46. Shibbshabba

    Kinda funny all this talk about “kafkaesque” movies and yet no mention of Kafka: Always overlooked, but wonderfully dark. I loved it – check it out if you can find it.

  47. renaissance

    Would have liked to see Renaissance mentioned somewhere. Stunning work of art.

  48. david r


    great list, but you should also mention “malevil”, a french movie from the early eighties with michel serrault and jean-louis trintignant, about a quiet countryside city being devastated by a nuke and the fight for surviving for its inhabitants… a truly great movie.

  49. Kristjan

    Tank Girl!

  50. Gordon

    Great list! Some I haven’t seen, but now want to!
    Years ago (about 1976 or so) I saw a short film about a small family trying to survive in a dystopian future where everything was regulated and controlled. Somehow their food ration ticket had been mangled and bureaucratic red tape delays them getting another ticket for a month. They fight, the husband agonizes over what to do. They make it, but they don’t look too happy. Oh, and now the guy is mysteriously missing an arm. Does anyone know the name of that short movie?

  51. JJman

    I was ready to kill you when I saw Blade Runner at #5, ’cause I figured for sure you would miss Metropolis.
    Major kudos.

  52. lindsay

    what about Quiet Earth????

  53. coodie

    i’d echo all the others who criticized the list for having such a loose definition of dystopia…serenity? come on, that’s just straight sf, along with a significant portion of the rest of the list

    as for all the others pointing out that dystopias could be in the past: true enough, but i think when anyone sees this phrase they imagine some future totalitarian state or brave new world type situation. if you open the gate to the past, there are just too many candidates. last year’s oscar winner for best foreign film, “the lives of others,” works perfect for instance. it’s about life in the surveillance state in east germany ca. 1987. it’s a terrific movie, but i don’t know if i’d call it a dystopia movie :P

    and what’s with all the hate on idiocracy? acting is so so, sure, but it’s supposed to be hammy! as far as dystopias go that one is frighteningly believable to me. call it unsophisticated and crass if you want, but when i laughed at “ow my balls!” i wasn’t laughing at the nut shot, but how that was such a logical offshoot of where tv is today. i’m not going to say all of you haters just “don’t get” the movie, but give it another chance in 10 years. if anything i think it should be higher on the list. that and minority report much, much lower

  54. james

    15-20 seem definitely fanboy/otaku driven, otherwise a moderately ok list. Glad to see the limits of Serenity/Anime fandom.

  55. Terry

    Starship Troopers was deliberately munged by the filmmakers for political reasons.

    Proof is in several events in the movie.

    1 – no Power Armour. They did that on purpose to un-cool the movie.

    2 – The ‘kill em all’ scene at the end. A total dis to the disciplined professionalism Heinlein repeatedly write that the Mobile Infantry had.

    3 – whereas Heinlein in the book stated repeatedly that there was no fraternizing between the genders on duty, they put that co-ed shower scene in.

    He wrote that the bulkhead to the women’s section of the ship was actually guarded by two Mobile Infantrymen in Power Armour!

    The co-ed shower scene was a deliberate ‘fuck you’ to Heinlein by a post-Vietnam generation writer.

    If they did Starship troopers TODAY, they’d be all for it – the Hollywood elite SUPPORTS this war! I wonder why?

  56. Entropy

    Harrison Bergeron…?

  57. gagravaar

    Great list, well done and agree with most of it, there’s a few films in there I’ve never heard of, so I’ll be trying to find these to experience them.

    Glad to see you’ve included ‘They Live’, one of my favourite movies – great concept, well delivered. The scene where he looks at the dollar bill and it says, “This is your god” has to be one of the greatest scenes in sci-fi films.

    I agree that Children Of Men should be in the top ten, this film really moved me, the scene where the soldiers stop fighting when they hear the baby crying – wow.

  58. Fingerling

    Thanks for the list! I’ve bookmarked it.

  59. Live TV

    Seen a lot of those, but there’s so many on there that I want to see!

  60. Kragshot

    This is an interesting list. However, I think that the author slightly missed the mark with including “Wings of Desire (which is still an excellent film).” The Wenders film he should have chosen is “Until The End of the World (” Despite the world being in an economic depression, international travel is an easy proposition where anyone can travel anywhere and the entire world is easily accessible and humanity has begun to commercialize space. Enter our lead character (William Hurt) with a device that allows the wearer to record their memories and convert them to video, allowing the user (or others) to see their memories. Add to this a potential war between India and Pakistan (sounds real doesn’t it) and you have a perfect fit for this list.
    Speaking of dystopia, how about these other gems:
    “Surf Nazis Must Die (”
    “Split Second (subtract the demonic monster and look at London)”
    “Hokuto No Ken (Fist of the North Star)”

    There’s more, but it’s 5:21AM where I am at, so …I’m done.

  61. Robert Rossney

    Kind of hard to figure Wings of Desire, one of the most joyous and hopeful movies ever made, as dystopian. An angel falls in love with a trapeze artist and descends from heaven to live as a mortal with her. That’s dystopian? What is so wrong with contemporary Berlin?

    And really, 12 Monkeys and no La Jetee? Raising a mediocre remake above what JG Ballard has called the best science-fiction movie ever made? (And speaking of Ballard, there aren’t a lot of movies more dystopian, or less watchable, than Crash.)

  62. David

    I mostly agree with the list, despite what others say! I thought Serenity was OK and rightly so, not above classics like Robocop.

    It comes down to preferences at the end of the day. There’s always a critic, or several in most cases when it comes to top of whatever lists.

  63. Ryan

    No Kin-Dza-Dza???? Criminal!

  64. Johnnie Q

    How can you have missed Stanley Kubrick’s classic Dr. Strangelove: or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. A dark comedy about how it all ends if there ever was one. Certainly, with the people now in power, a metaphor for our times.

  65. Ricardo

    THX 1138 should be in the top 5

  66. Foo

    How about a distopyan movie based on real facts?

    “City of God” (“Cidade de Deus”, Brazil, 2002)

    If you’re unlucky to be born into a socially, economically and racially isolated community that has poverty, crime, drugs and violence as its everyday realities, the odds are stacked incredibly high against you. It literally takes so much effort, strength, struggle and plain ol’ good fortune to simply avoid becoming a gangster, let alone do anything more with life. Most who find themselves in the situation described above never even enter this fight and out of those that do – only the rare ones succeed.

    “City of God” depicts this conundrum masterfully.

  67. Antique

    Everybody that’s just posted a complaint that movieX should be higher or lower on the list, or that movieY is missing/shouldn’t be in the top 50 please scroll back up to the top and read the introduction. I’ll wait . . . . . .

    Finished? See how the placement on the list was based on an average of the reviews at IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes? The writers of this list didn’t arbitrarily rank their choices, as is often the case, but relied on these two indicators of ranking among the public and the professional movie reviewers. If you disagree with a ranking, you best go tell the movie-going public and the professional movie reviewers that THEY are wrong in their opinions of the films. . . .

    I do think there’s some room for valid criticism in films that may not have made the list because the writers didn’t consider them “dystopian” and therefore didn’t take their scores into account (The Handmaid’s Tale, probably) or conversley, films that shouldn’t have been scored because they don’t rightly belong to the dystopian genre (Idiocracy, in the opinions of many posters. Can’t comment, haven’t seen it.)

  68. Carrington Vanston

    Enjoyable list. There were a few errata:

    The Trial isn’t “Kafkaesque,” it’s Kafka.

    In Le Dernier Combat it is not established that people are *unable* to speak; it is simply a film in which nobody speaks.

    As mentioned by others, a number of the films on the list are not strictly speaking dystopian, and a few (like Wings of Desire) are not dystopian by any stretch of the definition. Dystopian and post-apocalyptic are not interchangeable adjectives. (However, a number of comments pointing out non-dystopian films are incorrect in their too-narrow definition of dystopia. Then again, many people have commented on the order of the list without seeming to read the explanation of the order at the top of the article.)

    I’d argue that Omega Man is heavy-handed tripe compared to its source material (I Am Legend) and I’d recommend the earlier, and far superior, adaptation The Last Man On Earth starring Vincent Price. (It’s soon to be made into yet another film version, this time starring Will Smith.)

    Similarly, I think inclusion of 13 Monkeys at least warrants mention of La Jetée (but not inclusion on the list because it’s a short rather than a feature). Similarly, it might be worth mentioning the Watchdog of Hell trilogy, specifically The Red Spectacles.

    Some additional dystopian films worth seeing:

    Modern Times
    The Handmaids’s Tale
    Harrison Bergeron

  69. Milander

    Reading the comments above males me realise how anal retenive some people are. Bottom line is I’ve been a Sci-Fi fan for more than 20 years and only a few of these 50 films (including the honorable mentions) are missing from my DVD collection. Good list, well done.

  70. Mattzees

    One very serious, but totally understandable, omission from this list is “The Last Chase” starring Lee Majors. I know, I know… Lee Majors. But this is truly a great film. It takes place in a post-oil totalitarian society where there are no more cars and no more travel. An ex-race car driver has been given the job of educating young children about the evils of the automobile. Finally, when he starts losing his mind, the government comes after him, and he takes off across the country in a race car that he has kept hidden away. Because there are no other cars on the road, nothing can stop him… Except an old jet fighter piloted by Burgess Meredith! Awesome low-budget sci-fi flick. Shot in Canada. Way before it’s time, and completely prophetic, given the current state of world events.

  71. Joel

    great list – those who think certain movies should be in different places must not have noticed they’re ranked by average rank.

    The “Mad Max” still is from “The Road Warrior”

  72. Corey Cotta

    Great list of movies

    Corey Cotta, Author of All of Yesterdays Tomorrows

  73. Franz Kafka

    My heart is laid bare, and I get nothing in return but passing comparisons. If I weren’t dead I’d sue you.

  74. Calon

    Hey “coodie”, Serenity is not just “straight sf”. Maybe not classic dystopia, but also not “straight sf”. By the way, it makes it kind of difficult to take a comment seriously when you can’t even make the tremendous effort necessary to use capital letters at the start of your sentences.

    Idiocracy was underfunded and the studio bailed on it when they saw that Judge was using actual corporate names and logos. Still, I don’t think it would’ve been worthy no matter how much funding it was originally supposed to have. The script was just too “loose”. More like an overlong SNL skit.

    The Omega Man doesn’t even belong on the honorable mention list — classic Heston cheese that could’ve/should’ve been so much more.

    And Code 46 was classic Winterbottom, chillingly close to actually happening. I would swap it’s position in the “unrated” afterthought category with the overwrought and heavy-handed Gattaca, which is nothing but a highly-stylized and unrealistic snorefest.

  75. Tranced0nline

    CLASS OF 1999

    Should have made this list.

  76. Michael Llaneza

    What ? No “Handmaid’s Tale” ? That’s the sort of movie that makes you understand why some people keep extra rifles and crates of ammo buried in the hills. Well acted, well-directed and very creepy.

  77. Frank Johnson

    You forgot “Pollyanna” that movie freaked me out.







  81. johnbronson

    the noah as well

  82. True Movie Fan

    no Zardoz? WTF!!!!!11111one!!!!!! and probably brave new world as well, I can live without the zombie movies , thats really another list .. but if you add zombie/distopian then Army of Darkness!!!!!!! grooovy!

  83. Ryan

    Seriously, Where is La Jetee?

    If you haven’t seen this film…NOW.

  84. Steven

    I’m going to have to check out a few movies on this list. I also have two additions:

    - Barbarella, Queen of the Galaxy (also ranks very high in the category ‘best soft-porn sci-fi’)
    - Hamlet, the version with Ethan Hawke. Set in the 21st century you suddenly notice how dystopian this classic really is

    Stalker and Solaris have already been mentioned I see.

  85. Babw

    I came here after seeing this mentioned on Whedonesqe, since you mentioned his feature film, “Serenity.”

    Great choice for the list, and if you don’t already know, the series “Firefly” really paints the picture of this possible future .

    But seriously, don’t you guys have copy editors?

    “they are sheltered by a group of mercenaries and smugglers in the spacecraft Serenity, leaded by the former war hero Captain Malcolm ‘Mal’ Reynolds..”.

    I would have gone with “led” rather than a word that pronounced one way, doesn’t really exist, and pronounced the other, is more commonly used as a transitive verb regarding the dense metallic element, lead.

  86. Rageon

    What about Event Horizon?!?!! C’mon!

  87. Nem

    What? Not even an honorable mention for “Things To Come?”

  88. steez

    Six String Samurai!!!11

  89. desert_rider

    What about “Seconds” by director John Frankenheimer and staring Rock Hudson?

  90. Andrea

    Absolutely awesome! Although I’ve seen at least a third of these films, I’ll be putting most of the rest on my shopping list.

    I suggest that “Animal Farm” and “Westworld” could be included in the list. Maybe even “Lord of the Flies”, although that might come under a grey area.

    I would love to see a “Novels” version of this list also. I’m currently o book three of “The Amtrak Wars”, which I think would be a good candidate for such a list. Would probably make a good film series too.

  91. palinode

    I’m pretty sure we’re living in a dystopia these days anyway.

    • Josh

      just about. i’d say, whenever they get around to broadening the use of the patriot act and similar b.s. legal loopholes, we can call it official.

  92. FrozenOrb

    Good list, bookmarked. Would have like to have seen The Salute of the Jugger (aka Blood of Heroes) on the list, and Robot Jox, and Equilibrium higher than #50.

  93. Babs

    Andrea suggested,
    “I would love to see a “Novels” version of this list also.”


    Stephen King’s Dark Tower series is amazing.
    And it paints a frightening image of a distant future.

    And then there’s the seriously dysfunctional The City, inhabited by the Tick and his friends and enemies.

  94. michael

    I hate to be that guy, but describing a movie based on Kafka’s novel The Trial as Kafkaesque is ridiculous.

  95. michael

    im an idiot. just searched for “Kafka” on the page and realized many, many people noticed this already.

  96. doug

    Wings of Desire IS a dystopia. Not really for the reason selected I’m sure, which is “hey this is kind like Fritz Lang’s metropolis! And its black and white and everything,” but because it is literally a paradise lost. The angel falls from heaven into a less than utopian world, and has to struggle with it. Just because its the same as our present dystopia, doesn’t mean its NOT a dystopia. The beauty of the film is that heaven seems so cold and empty, and we’re left wondering “well, which is worse?”

    Really, the article would have more properly been titled something like “dystopian futures” or some such, would have been a lot less complaints.

  97. mattzilla

    Waterworld, anybody?

  98. Kumchacta

    watch Blue Gender sometime, great anime series, way scary distopia

  99. xc

    I know this has been mentioned, but no dystopian film list would be complete without La Jetee, one the greatest films ever.

  100. beajerry

    Your favorite dystopian movie sucks.

  101. Peter Thomas

    The picture you have for RoboCop is from RoboCop 3. The sequels were not as good as the original and not directed by Paul Verhoeven either. So as a true RoboCop fan I must recommend that you change the image please :)

    Great list!

  102. Chris

    Epic post my friend. Stumbled and bookmarked for the greater good of mankind.

  103. jonbronson

    i’m suprised no one got this absolute beauty of a dystopian film
    land of the blind
    natural city

  104. Ryan of the RSL Music Blog

    Tremendous List.

  105. YEAR ZERO

    Starship Troopers isn’t really dystopian. Granted, the government’s military, but it seems like they’re okay with free speech. The people who enter the military know that they’re getting into a war, too(in fact, the main character only stays in the military so that he can fight the aliens), so they’re not really being deceived. It’s not exactly a great future, but it’s not any worse than the world that we live in now.

  106. Mr. Peabody

    xterramatt: because it’s soda pop entertainment.

    But hey, you know? this is like 50 movies here. Funny that it could be 100 and there would still be “what about? “

  107. fizzure

    I would think Fight Club would be mentioned due to what happened at the end.

  108. Slacker

    wow, quedé impresionado con la calidad del contenido. para todos los que apreciamos este tipo de cine de verdad es una muy buena referencia.

  109. Stephanie

    Fuck to the yes Six String Samurai should have been on this list. While it is a comedy in a lot of parts, the movie is totally brilliant in portraying post-Nuclear War America, and how Death has total rule over everything.

    And Pleasantville can definitely qualify to be on this list in my book. You can’t tell me a place where they teach you that when Maple Street goes off the edge of the map, it just circles right back around to the beginning of the same street, and that anything else is wrong, is utopian.

  110. J.

    Heh: “Black radioactive crowd.”

    My father bought me On The Beach to watch. I opened it to find one of those Support Our Troops magnetic ‘ribbons’ inside.

  111. Brian

    Great list – not sure if I think Children of Men should be listed THAT high in light of some of these other movies. Otherwise, like I said – awesome list!

  112. Misty Dean

    not a bad list per se, however the rankings were definitely off. Top 3 should have been Gattaca(#3), V for Vendetta (#2), and Blade Runner (#1),
    as for Starship Troopers, the book was excellent, truly excellent, however the movie – due to Paul Verhoeven’s direction (a man who actually NEVER read the book so as not to corrupt his “creative vision” of the film) – is the worst, most awful desecration of a good novel EVER to have been created. Paul Verhoeven should be castrated and thrown off a cliff, and then set on fire and run over by a steam roller to ensure his demise. His children, nephews, distant cousins, etc. should be banned by law from directing ANY movie based on a novel lest his evil “complete rape of someone else’s art” gene enable any of his kin or progeny to perpetuate the same sort of crime against humanity that Paul Verhoeven did with Starship Troopers. The Robert A. Heinlein book really is excellent, i recommend it to everyone, also check out Stranger in a strange land. Great author, all the more pity, this Dutch douchebag and Columbia tristar pictures enabled its lampooning with this film.
    Scanner Darkly, They Live (with Rowdy Roddy Piper), and Equilibrium also should have made the top 10. You didn’t even list them in the top 20. I take it back, your list sucks (to whoever made this list)!!! A.I. and I, Robot both sucked balls. Plus you added a bunch of gay foreign films to round out your list while excluding the good ones from the higher echelons. If a film isn’t made in the U.S., its CRAP appreciated only by people with body odor, mustaches, clove cigarettes and berets, or fine arts and RTF graduate students. same difference.


  113. p1LL


  114. Joey Profit

    Who ever came up with this list is a colossal moron. Pleasantville? It’a s good movie, but dystopian future? Do you even know what that means?

    Here, I’ll help:

  115. Gillian

    Glad to see some of my favourites on the list, like Akira. But I agree with others that A Handmaid’s Tale and Lord of the Flies should be included. And how about The Time Machine ( Sure, it seems corny now. But the story of the Eloi and Morlocks is classic and seems a likely influence of other distopian movies, like The Island.

  116. LoStNoZ

    I think “The Island” should have made the list at some spot toward the top. I mean come on a world where full clones are being harvested. Need I say more.

  117. az james

    I was also looking for waterworld.

  118. david t

    Don’t forget about “Cafe Flesh”, a porn / sci-fi movie with a great plot and also dystopian

  119. Dyrim

    You forgot “Lathe of Heaven”!


  120. Tineke

    Sleeping Dogs (1977) should be on that list.

  121. Rhea

    I second “Quiet Earth.” Incredible.

  122. Drsimmons

    THANK YOU!! for changing the pictures.

    Mad Max is correct and so is Escape From New York.

    EFNY, that scene rules!

  123. javan

    Am I the only one who likes Johnny Mnemonic…? I was hoping to see that one on this list! :)

  124. Al

    Great list. I will bookmark it and share it.

    I may disagree with the rankings a bit but not with the contents.

    A country without dystopia science fiction is a country without a future.

    Thank you very much.

  125. Joe Schembrie

    Idiocracy is the best dystopian movie of all time. Buy it and view it before it comes true!

  126. Tommy

    Great job, the mixed tomato-imdb ratings seem to give a good balance.

    I’ll check out many of those offered but the list could include a bit more “world” films (eg Solaris was a good point). I’m glad though that Lang’s Metropolis got its deserved 1st place.

  127. Jankan

    Sometimes you can find a great irony in there, e.g.,
    the synopsis of “On the Beach” says “With a black radioactive crowd fast approaching the only surviving continent..”
    Boy! It is a black radioactive CLOUD, not a crowd!

  128. Dave

    Quiet Earth. Glad to see it was mentioned a couple times already.

    This list isn’t perfect by any means, but decent enough.

  129. Bongo Ululation

    Your list totally forgot CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. Those shows just creep me out! Its like the US lost the war to the Germans and now the Boys from Brazil are running the government, but the people are too dazed by entertainment and fluff to see what is going on. Weirder than Philip K. Dick ever managed to write down.

  130. DJ

    How about “Screamers?”

  131. accattone

    Glad to see Alphaville and The Trial listed; two of my favourite films…

  132. Tudo

    How in the world did you miss “Harrison Bergeron” ?
    “Harrison Bergeron” is a dystopian science fiction short story written by Kurt Vonnegut and first published in October, 1961. The theme of the story is egalitarianism and is set by the first line: “The year was 2081, and everyone was finally equal.”

    Starring: Sean Astin,
    Christopher Plummer,
    Eugene Levy,
    Miranda de Pencier,
    and Howie Mandel

    We’re already there

  133. ASF

    What about “Panic in Year Zero”? It’s certainly better than the unwatchable “THX 1138.”

  134. Big Roo

    No Harrison Bergeron? Even including They Live can’t make up for that.

  135. Dennizzz

    How about “Last night” (1998)? A very nice movie about the different things people are doing when they know the world is going to end in about 6 hours. It has a 7.35 average. ( )

  136. mark

    I can give you 50 reasons why this list is terrible. pleasantville? are you kidding me? you should see other peoples reviews of these movies, get a collective perspective.

  137. william-holden-caulfield

    Idiocracy belongs in the top-ten.

  138. Il Ragno



    QUINTET (1979)


    LA JETEE (1963)

    FIVE (1950)

  139. Damian Begley

    Ayn Rand’s We the Living

  140. dan

    You’re all missing the point about Starship Troopers. Granted, it should not be on this list and has nothing to do with the book. Also the director is a jerk and the shower scene was unnecessary. However, the movie is clearly an homage/parody of what they used to call the “West Point” genre from the 20′s, 30′s, and 40′s. All the elements are there: honor, loyalty, friendship, patriotism, romantic rivalry, etc. It’s so obvious!
    Also, thanks to Alan for mentioning Damnation Alley—that movie rocks!

  141. Chris G

    Thank you for an excellent list… many expected, others I look forward to seeing for the first time.


    Sure there are lots of movies we would like to see make the list — Judge Dredd anyone? — but 50 is the limit.

    Personally I always thought that just about any movie with Chuck Heston circa 1967-73 would belong and voila!

    One last thing… the opening photo looks to be a screenshot from BIOSHOCK… now there is a project for (fill in your favorite director)

    I too am a Zardoz fan but must argue that the movie is hardly dystopic: with the exception of the civilian “brutals” — not the “chosen,” a la Zed — everyone gets what they ask for in the end.

    Immortals get death “sweet death”

    Terminators get to rape and kill the willing.

    May et al. get some seed.

    Zed gets Consuela and vice versa.

    Everyone wins!

  142. 2shka

    waterworld is not enough rating for list..actually only good idea,but everything else is not so good:)
    anyway lots of films from list need to see maybe not in dystopian future :)
    thanks for list!

  143. SarcasmIsFunny

    Pleasantville?! Really?!

  144. B Yoakam

    I agree that FIGHT CLUB should be added to the list. And c’mon! where is WATERWORLD.

  145. Accattone

    Lists are stupid, especially this one. Look up the definition of the word “dystopia”, you’ll discover that half these movies don’t even qualify. Once again, people like this are proving that the ‘cult of the amateur’ will be the downfall of man. Thanks.

  146. Alex Stockwell

    I don’t know if this would count as it’s essentially a mockumentary about a dystopian alternate history, but I think Confederate States of America should be on this list.

  147. consuelo

    I stopped reading comments about halfway through. So if this has already been mentioned, my apologies.
    Why not AMERIKA, a TV movie that was shown over several nights about 15 years ago and has gone down the memory hole.
    I have a very bad copy. It had Kris Kristofferson and some other notables in it. And the situation was much like America is becoming today.

  148. A.O.M.

    Anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of what “dystopian” means could tell you that Pleasantville, I Robot, and Wings of Desire are not dystopian.

    And given the fact that current movies have 10-100 times the number of reviews on RT than movies released prior to the website’s creation and that mainstream and modern films have 10-100 times the number of votes on IMDB as movies released prior to that website’s creation or independant/foreign films, you’re actually weighing modern mainstream films much more than you realize.

    Case in point: 1984 has a total of 12 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and less than 10,000 votes on IMDB. V for Vendetta has a total of 215 reviews and over 100,000 votes on IMDB.

    You can compare the averages, but you cannot assume that the average votes for 1984 would stay the same if the numbers were equal. If 1984 had an additional 202 positive reviews and an additional 90,000 positive votes on IMDB, then it’s placement would obviously be much higher on your list.

    And I simply cannot take any list of dystopian films seriously that doesn’t have 1984 at #1. Aside from the fact that it’s a perfect adaptation of the most well known dystopian novel of all time, the film’s images have influenced and been co-opted by nearly every thematically similar movie that followed. ESPECIALLY by V for Vendetta.

  149. James

    Great idea for a list – but how, HOW can you leave off Wim Wenders’ “Until the End of the World”?

    An epic oddessy that re-defines the genre..

  150. Lou

    This list is awful. Besides the fact that many of these are terrible movies, a good number of them aren’t even dystopian!

  151. Maerj

    Here’s one that everyone has missed, Z. P. G. or Zero Population Growth. Thats the movie where people aren’t allowed to reproduce and they get these really creepy robot kids to take care of. Of course someone reproduces which leads to all sorts of fun!

  152. Fritz Groszkruger

    Idiocracy is here. I laughed. My wife cried. Go Ron Paul!

  153. Genoman

    BRAVE NEW WORLD didn’t make the list? It’s a classic dystopic film.

    I really don’t believe some of the films on the list are dystopic films. Gattaca, 1984, Rollerball, Logan’s Run would certainly fit the parameters. But WAR OF THE WORLDS???

  154. Grant

    I think that V for Vendetta definitely should be above Minority Report and Mad Max 2….I would argue that V deserves a top 5 spot…I have mixed feelings about 1984 though. The book was nothing short of genius..The movie however, I wasn’t as impressed with…But, 39th is waaayyy to low for 1984

  155. bobo

    I feel for the people who want to make this a “perfect” list, but the criteria were explained up front. The whole thing falls down in that many of these films are simply not dystopian (most of these have already been mentioned in other user comments) and in that the descriptions are in dire need of editing and proofreading. I also champion some of the titles “left out” (I second “CSA”, but am sure it didn’t rank because it’s not well-known, as are “Alternative 3″ and “The War Game”) and personally would prefer that only the German live-action “Metropolis” and not the anime remake be included, but again, the writer of the list was basing his choices on composite ranking by other sources (perhaps it would have been more satisfying if he’d done his own poll, or had stuck to the critics rankings excluding the “anyone can crap it up” rankings at IMDb). Those of you complaining about “incorrect” photos need to watch the films again or get your eyes examined: the “Mad Max” photo is NOT from “Mad Max 2″ (Gibson looks quite a bit older in 2, the leather jacket in 2 was much more worn and he wore it differently), and Harry Dean Stanton was not in “Escape from L.A.”

  156. paranoido

    Glad to see I wasn’t the only reader muttering ” Where’s ZARDOZ?” at their screen. Of course it is a dystopian image of the future (albeit the future according to the 1970′s) as society has fractured into irreconcilable parts. I have to say though, that I love the film for it’s kitchness rather than the chilling warning of a possible future shown in say THREADS or V FOR VENDETTA.

    Perhaps distinction should be made between films adapted from graphic novels/comics (V FOR VENDETTA, JUDGE DREDD) books, (1984, anything by Phillip.K.Dick, STARTSHIP TROOPERS) and original screenplays (BRAZIL, MAD MAX) because surely it is more challenging to create the future than to convert it from a written source and easier still to take inspiration from classic visual images.

    My top five in reverse order:


    Let’s here it for big men with big moustaches in big red nappies!!!!!

  157. jbd3492

    Cafe Flesh…yes,I know it’s a XXX porn film,but there’s an R-rated version too.A post-nuke future society where 99% of the population are Sex Negatives(they become ill) and only 1% are Sex Positives(they are forced to perform in nightclubs for the Negs).The best-acted porn film ever.

  158. Scarlet

    Fantastic list, was fun to read

  159. Bryan

    I Robot was explicitly set in a Utopia, not a distopia, so I think it should be disqualified from this list. Yes, it wasn’t a perfect utopia, but it was utopian.

    What really surpises me is that Judge Dredd didn’t rank above Idiocracy.

  160. Bryan

    Oh, and for previous commentors, 5th Element was an Apoctolipic movie, not a distopia. Though the movie doesn’t really discuss the state much, I’d imagine that it was built to resemble modern realities, just set in the future.

  161. Bryan

    And War of the Worlds was also an apoctolipic movie, not a distopia. The world was “normal”, not a distopia or a utopia.

  162. Terry

    Even though it is not set in a SciFi future, Blood Simple fits the definition of dystopian better than many of these films. No single character knows what is going on, all of them are stumbling around assuming that their own incorrect perceptions represent truth and reality, and there is no government representation at all. “In Texas, you’re on you’re own.”

  163. CppThis

    Relatively good list, but I’m really confused on why you included Minority Report, Planet of the Apes, Serenity, Starship Troopers, and a couple of others, as they’re not dystopian at all! Heck, Serenity is basically a slicked-up version of Star Wars (the 1977 original), which ranks higher than just about anything on this list.

  164. sad

    Great list. I like movie lists that teach me something. I had not heard of some of these films, now I have some new (to me) movies to check out – thank you!

    I suggest including “The Monitors” under your “honorable mention” category. It’s one of the more humorous and inventive movies. Like “Soylent Green” it’s based on a classic Harry Harrison Science Fiction novel. “The Monitors” stars Avery Schriber and Larry Storch as some of the most inept rebels in movie history. “Benevolent” Aliens from another world take over Earth and non-violently impose peace. It’s very obscure but in the spirit of bringing people’s attention to unique and enjoyable movies they may not have heard of, I wanted to mention this one. The list could do with more comedies, (I was glad to see “City of Lost Children,” “Delicatessen,” and “Sleeper” made the list).

  165. Jon Paul Henry

    There was a film produced in the early 70s called Z.P.G., standing for Zero Population Growth. In this future it’s illegal to have a child, and a couple that does so is forced to flee from the polluted landscape of their society and try to find a peaceful place of their own. Not very interesting, though some good visuals.

  166. random

    Hey, man. Where’s Fortress?!?!?! Or any films from Mamoru Oshii’s live action Kerbero Panzer Cop series? Also, how the hell did They Live beat THX-1138? WTF?

    “This is an unauthorized thought process.”

  167. Abhishek

    WTF! V for Vendetta should be no. 1 but the others are ok.

  168. Chris Bieber

    Very good list…though some of the rankings were VERY subjective…

    good to see They Live..and Harrison Bergeron…and Gattica…

    the cinematic dystopians of the past unfortunately showed examples and images of the culture, the technology and the imposition of a mankind-centered society that are TODAY.

    Just look at the political(1984) economic (MadMax) and technological(Brazil)….

    and the images of the tyrannical governents of the future and thier actions(Brazil 1984 Minority Report and the rest..)

    all eerily prescient and accurate images of today….

    not to be dismissed so flippantly by the readers..or others…

  169. efb

    Overall, great, provocative list. Thanks very much for posting it. Here’s another vote for “A Handmaid’s Tale” to at least be mentioned in the honorable mentions; it’s movie about a society completely based on old-testament morality, including rape and slavery, if that doesn’t count as dystopia, I don’t know what does.
    Also another vote for “Starship Troopers” to be much higher – yes it’s different from the book, that’s why it can be included in this list in the first place – the movie’s dystopian, the ook isn’t. They’re different beasts. People who wonder what the movie is about, or why it was made the way it was made, shoudl listen to the director/writer commentary available on the DVD.

  170. Viv

    hey just a question for people who have seen Children of Men. That shot in Bexhill where Kee shows the baby to an old man looking out from behind a door and the swelling classical music – does anyone know what film that’s quoting? I’m pretty sure it’s a reference to something, but I don’t know what and it’s bugging me.

  171. Chris

    28 Days Later should definitely be on this list and “Pleasantville” seems a bit of a stretch to qualify for a dystopia.

  172. Michael K. W.

    Good God…as many have pointed out but noone seems to notice, most of the films on this list ARE NOT dystopian.

  173. Rick

    No Modern Times? Chaplin needs some representation.


  174. Joe

    a couple missing

    1) 5th Day
    2) Judge Dread

  175. shelly dweller

    I am shocked at where THX 1139 is on the list..

  176. chris

    It’s appearent the authors dont really know what a dystopia is. logans run is a utopia, with 1 ‘bad’ rule. that doesnt turn it into a dystopia.

    there is nothing about ghost in the shell that is a dystopia, its a healthy future. they call it dystopia cause its about a crime fighting unit?

    how is war of the worlds a dystopia? its our reality, just happens to have some aliens invading it. to say this movie is a dystopia is to say the world that we all live in today is a dystopia.

    i could go on and on. maybe 30% of these movies are real dystopias.

    other than the fact that most of the movies arnt dystopias, its a pretty cool list of movies.

  177. wtf?

    “In some instances we admittedly used quite a broad interpretation of a dystopia, but for the most part we think we were fairly consistent.”

    in fact its so broad youve lost all the meaning behind the word.

    why dont you update with your definition of dystopia? i think either you guys wouldnt be able to do it, or the definition would be so embarrassing you wouldnt post it either way.

    how can you claim planet of the apes is a dystopia? im sure to the apes, whos society it belonged to, it was a great place to live. sure there were human slaves, but that wasnt there society. its like saying America before the civil war was a dystopia because black people were slaves.
    if we ever find intelligent life outside of earth, it will by default be a dystopia because its not a human society!! awesome!! who cares how much the actual inhabitants of the society like it.

  178. Gregory Baker

    Miracle Mile.

  179. michael toye

    Good to see someone mentioned Quintet and Zardoz

    Excellent list otherwise

  180. Nicolas

    Excellent list! I now added some fine titles to my ‘to view’ list. I think the Truman Show could also be added to this list. When scratching beyond the surface of humor, the Truman Show is extremely tragic, and scaringly realistic.

  181. John Sumisu

    Maybe, what so many here find objectionable, is the fact how much the definition of a dystopia really resembles the United States of America today.

    Millions of people without healthcare, living in powerty, no respect for human rights from either the police or othe government, more or less open torture and advocacy of torture, the individual potential and freedom struck down by corporations and unequal chance for education only to those who can afford it to their children. Unequal domination by incredibly rich individuals and megacorporations making laundering of money from the government and killing people a virtue.

    If USA isn’t a dystopia for the majority of the people in the world, I don’t know what is.

  182. Glynne

    One I remember when I was a kid…
    Damnation Alley

    Starring George ‘I love it when a plan comes together’ Peppard and Jan-Michael ‘Airwolf’ Vincent.

    Nice all terrain vehicle…

  183. Chuck Cosimano

    Metropolis dystopian?? A perfect society where those of us with brains and money can live unburdened by the smelly proles with their noisy brats.

    Ok, some fool gets horny and wrecks everything and there is the scene where the mob is attacking the gates and you wonder why they forgot to release the nerve gas (isn’t that why God created machine guns?), but it all ends happily with the workers back to marching in lockstep before being sent back to “where the belong, In the Depths!”

    And of course, 1984, where you can wear nice, black clothes (which are de riguer at the local BDSM club) and torture fools like Winston Smith.

  184. Kyle

    Nearly-perfect list. Great job.

  185. vinny boombots


  186. thesquirrelkiller

    what the hell happened to the terminator 1,2,3?!

  187. Steve

    Awesome list.


  188. Marcia

    It probably doesn’t totally qualify according to your strict definition, but I’d like to suggest SILENT RUNNING.

  189. scashworth

    Gattaca is based on the book Brave New World. VERY based on and adapted from. Kafka wrote The Trial. It wasn’t “like his style” it was his. Everyone seems to forget some of these great flicks were great books first. Not a bad list though.

  190. scashworth

    Also wanted to mention Vonnegut’s ‘Harrison Bergeron’.

  191. Bailey

    Is the image at the top of the page from Bioshock? Bioshock is dystopian, but surely not a movie. Did I miss something?

  192. K

    Several people picked up on Kafka being Kafkaesque(sp?). Yes, that was funny.

    IMO saying the War Of The Worlds could be better understood by thinking of the Cold War was far funnier.

    The film of 1953 – not the Cruise remake – was actually a very good adaptation of a popular story written long before the Cold War.

    Please add the great film “The Bible. In The Beginning” from about 1960 to the list. The story of Noah and the Ark should be understood as a warning about the seas rising as global warming melts the icecaps. And the mocking of Noah is a disguised forecast of how Al Gore is ignored by the ignorant.

  193. Rich

    I agree with questioning the inclusion of “War of the Worlds,” “I, Robot,” “Blade Runner,” and “Minority Report” as distopian. in IR, BR and MR the societies are normal, healthy and functioning. Okay, there is that segment that has problems (replicants in BR, those abotu to commit a crime in MR and robots in IR), but isn’t htat true of all that choose (or are forced) to live outside of any particular society.

    If “War of the Worlds” qualifies then shoudln’t “Independence Day” be on this list as well?

  194. Marc Villa

    Did you notice, the story tellers vision of the future is mostly a police state, totalitarian, central controll of commerce and reality, you could say this is predictive programming for groupthink propaganda, to many synchronicities, science fiction eventually becomes reality.

  195. Bill

    You totally missed the point with ‘Starship Troopers.’ Read the book, doofus.

  196. Edgar Wilson III

    Sorry but District B13 doesn’t belong on a best of anything list, let alone above Soylent Green, Equilibrium, A Scanner Darkly, or A Boy and His Dog. That movie stinks. The formula for it was “Cliche. Le Parkour. Cliche. Cliche. Cliche. Cliche. Cliche. Cliche. Le Parkour. Cliche. End.” and it fails as an entertainment. Also Blade Runner should be that high on a list of the best movies of all time, not the best dystopian movies.

  197. murky

    dystopia? or perhaps un-topia as there is no longer any society;
    The Quiet Earth (geoff murphy, 1985)
    a fine movie about a future with almost no-one in it

  198. brian

    “Eraserhead” belongs on this list!

  199. michael

    i’m kinda new to the term “dystopia”,,,but would’nt Stephen Kings “The Stand” fall into the catagory somehow ?

  200. Alan Moskowitz

    If you’re including Children of Men, you should also list Barb Wire and Android as all three have the same darn plot.

  201. Courtney

    Children of Men was definitely my favorite one!! Actually just got done watching it.. :)

  202. Stephen S

    i agree with most of theese but seriously… idocracy 45th? that should totally be like 5th it is great!

  203. Steve

    What about the Fifth Element?

  204. Mike Scott

    All things considered, this is an excellent list. I’m sure you spent a lot of time compiling it. Thank you.

    Like many others, I was both surprised and pleased to see so many of my favorites on this list. I guess that fits the universal rule: “That which is like me (or I like) must be good.” :-)

    My candidate for a “missing” film: The Dark Backward. A nice satire made all the better for reflecting the dystopian realities of our time. Bill Paxton should have received an Oscar for his performance.

    After reading the many comments/additions, I couldn’t help but notice that many of the comments reflect a need for a clearer definition of “dystopian movie”. Do you mean to list films about dystopian societies or films set in a dystopian society or films about dystopian people living in an otherwise neutral society?

    Finally, what happened to “The Day The Earth Stood Still”? Just because it plays against our dystopian society as a”normal” background, doesn’t mean that it should have been omitted.
    I feel fairly certain that Klatu found our world extremely dystopian. Wasn’t that, after all, the purpose of his visit?

  205. Kaydenmacg

    Closetland should be on this list. At the very least an honorable mention.

  206. Movie Reviews, Movie Trailers and Movie Clips Resources

    Good Stuff here in your blog. You had an interesting post.

  207. Ramjet1964

    Utopia and Distopia are in fact the same thing but only how you get there (to misery, suffering, pain, all that is bad) is reversed. That is what people forget. The closer you get to creating an actual utopia the more miserable everyone becomes. The harder you try to create a world of perfection, the worse the world becomes. This lesson has been taught over and over again by the greats of science fiction like Harlan Ellison, and Ursula K. LeGuin. It is taught in “The Road to Science Fiction” by Dr. James Gunn. It’s the irony of all of this, so when people say the movie is a Utopia, they really mean it is to some degree or the other a distopia too.

    So, remember, the term distopia really is broader than you might think and many of these movies I saw criticized as not being distopia movies, are indeed just that. I do agree some are really stretching it to be in the list. I think in the end any utopia movie could be classified a distopia movie and vice versa. I think the most obvious distopia movie is 1984. I think the most obvious utopia movie is Logan’s Run. I don’t like either movie over the top, (maybe 1984 has some merit), but Logan’s Run is a pretty weak movie, still it is a true in your face utopian movie. They are attempting to make the perfect world, but have a end up with a horrible flaw, everyone ends up dieing by the time they are 30 years old.

    I have challenged people to make a perfect world that is now flawed, and so far no one has ever made a world I could not shoot down and show is horribly flawed in some way.

  208. alienbinary

    I think the core of the debate here can be settled if we accept that a) this is a matter of opinion and b) the word dystopian has few synonyms, but many phrases that describe a situation quite like it. And no, Nazi Germany should not be considered as a dystopia since it already happened. Utopia and Dystopias are hypothetical by nature.

    I do however think Equilibrium should be much higher on the list. Generally movies that are blacklisted are blacklisted for a reason and even Dimension seemed uncomfortable keeping it in theatres for too long, despite a cult following that has acumulated in only a few years.

  209. Ben

    Great list! This could give my Netflix queue some life again.

  210. frank


    Children of men would have been a much better movie if there were no overt production flaws. A key example of this are frequent boom microphones appearing within shots.

  211. k31v1n

    IDIOCRACY???!!! Got to be one of the worst films i’ve ever seen!

  212. sithlord

    what about star wars, oh wait it has nothing to do with the topic at hand.sorry! but it was a decent list except for the zombie flicks.

  213. Lace

    Was the movie ‘Westworld’ considered?

  214. Dennis

    Excellent list, and a great way to rate them. Not sure how people could argue about the order except perhaps to dispute the math. I somehow doubt that Event Horizon could manage a score to get on there. The exclusion of the obvious sci fi hits (Star Wars, Terminator, Alien) does kinda invalidate the list, but you can’t make everyone happy, if anyone would want to.

  215. Deodatus

    Tarkovsky’s “Stalkers” is one to add to your list. A movie that has been used by many directors as inspiration. One of the biggest (unknown) classics about a post apocaliptic future with many different layers of philosophy. Tarkovsky shows us a dark visual poëm filled with rays of light.


  216. Dan F

    I think my favorite movie on this list is Equilibrium, but I should probably see A Clockwork Orange and Soylent Green too.

  217. Geoff

    To everyone bagging idiocracy I have 1 word for you – electrolytes! That was the one redeeming feature of this movie – the scene in the boardrooom. I liked the idea however it was a pretty terrible movie.

  218. Gman

    Pretty disappointed in the list. Half those movies should not even be on the list. Like Total Recall!? That movie was terrible. Not all sci fi movies that take place in the future need to be on there. I’m dissappointed that Equilibrium isnt higher on the list. That movie kicked ass. Any why is Minority report #9?! I could go on and on about all the things wrong with this list.

  219. John

    Great list – My thought is that “V” is the most appropo for the current situation, but Matrix tells things more like they REALLY are (metaphorically).

  220. yuri

    love these movies, great list!

  221. T-BAG

    Gman SAID… “Pretty disappointed in the list. Half those …… Not all sci fi movies that take place in the future ….. on about all the things wrong with this list.”

    Hey Tard read topic… says “dystopian” films. Not all scifi is dystopian.

  222. shannon

    The original Stargate with Kurt Russell would be good as a part of this list. Maybe the Abyss too.

  223. marida

    I know “The Stand” was a made for TV miniseries (1994), but it is the definition of dystopian and is available on DVD.

  224. Rent Movie Reviews

    Having enjoyed almost all of these movies in the theater we feel this is one of the best “Top 50 Dystopian Movies of All Time”. These movies are in short supply and the industry should take notice.

  225. Seth

    What about the Blood of Heroes?

  226. Glen

    I love your list but: I disagree with your rankings. The top 10 do not deserve their places.

  227. Izabael DaJinn

    Great job. Now I have some cool new movies to add my to my netflix queue.

  228. Tiger Tiger

    Great attempt and great talking point.

    Here’s an oddball flick “Ciao Maschio” (Goodbye Monkey?) 1980 Gerard Depardieu and Marcel Mastrionni live in a virtually empty New York City. Walking along a beach (in NY?) Marcel finds a Giant Ape corpse (Planet of the Apes?) He then finds a “Maschio” – a baby chimp and gives it to GD to look after. There’s plenty of sex from an 80′s Porn Star and a really whacked ending. Dystopian? – well I don’t know what happened to this version of NYC but maybe King Kong fell on top of humanity and only the ratbags were left alive.

  229. honk

    A mostly good list, although I disagree with some of the rankings, In particular the top 10. It’s a pet peeve of mine to see A Clockwork Orange and Brazil always mentioned in lists of great films, because they just aren’t. Personally, I’ve never been able to sit through the entirety of Brazil in one sitting.

  230. Folken

    Why not Existenz?

  231. Movie fan

    amazing list..ive seen a couple of em

  232. Ktulu

    Great job, many of my favorite movies appear here. Hey, if you can find it people, try “Hardware” as well, the story of a futuristic world overpopulated by people. The government institutes a new population control bill, labled Mark XIII, which is actually a battle robot programmed to kill all it meets, and set forth on the world. Genrally a B movie, but worth a look if you like the genre. Dylan McDermott stars, directed by Richard Stanley. 1990. Impossible to find for most people, especially in America.

  233. Railgun

    Someone else already mentioned it, but an omission from this list, in my opinion is The Blood Of Heroes (rutger hauer, joan chen, and a very young vincent denafrio).

  234. Rabid Bibliophile

    I think the list is great BECAUSE it’s incomplete, and there’s definitely room for argument! My teenaged son and I enjoy comparing movies we’ve liked/hated, but I’ve long since given up arguing the theme of utopia vs. dystopia; when he was thirteen he told me, quite assuredly, that “Beneath any utopia is a dystopia; we just have to be LOOKING for it.”

    Which, of course, makes me proud of my future Libertarian! *G* (And we laughed for weeks over his discussions with a group of rabid Star Wars fans about the topic!)

  235. Jack Randall

    I saw a comment that states that “Children of Men” should not be in first 10… I agree, it should be in first 5!

    Aside of this, “28 days later” deserves it’s place in top 15.

    Great list and nice to have all these great movies at one place.

  236. Tercüme bürosu

    No Harrison Bergeron? Even including They Live can’t make up for that…

  237. travors

    Great work, great list, much appreciated but now I must watch every single one!
    Grumble, grumble.

  238. fan of the genre

    In all, I think this is a pretty good list. There are plenty of movies here I expected to see (though I’m disappointed about the Handmaid’s Tale), and plenty I definitely want to check out.

    But this list has started a discussion in my household at to what a distopian movie actually is. You’ve got it defined here as…

    ‘The most simple definition of a dystopia is as follows: An imaginary place or state in which the condition of life is extremely bad, as from deprivation, oppression, or terror.’

    Which is fine, and holds up to most of the list. But if you think about dystopia as the opposite of Utopia, the perfect society, you start to sharpen the idea of what a dystopian movie or novel is supposed to be.

    Society goes to hell for one of three different reasons:

    1. By accident: The global pandemic, the post-apocolypse, the oil suddenly runs out, the aliens take over, the machines have decided they’ve had enough, or any other natural disaster/extinction-level-event that turns the world mad in an instant. Movies based on this definition of dystopia specifically deal with the aftermath of such an event, of which The Road Warrior, A Boy and His Dog, 12 Monkeys and Children of Men (hey, all the sudden we can’t make any babies) are perfect examples.

    2. On purpose: or the false-Utopia, where society has deliberately engineered itself into a demented state. In order for a movie to be of this dystopian color, it has to make a statement about the society itself. 1984, Brazil, The Handmaid’s Tale, all examples of the type, but you could also say the same for The Killing Fields or Schindler’s List (except for the imaginary part as defined above). Based on this sub-type I would not admit Starship Troopers into the list. Granted it parodies a self-imposed militaristic oligarchy but nobody in the movie seems too concerned about it. In the false-Utopia, characters are labeled criminals by the state, corporation, or whatever by doing something people would to do naturally, e.g. read a book, fall in love, form an opinion, or try to get more out of life. The false-Utopia movie is a statment against those external forces that try to suppress what it means to be human, in one form or another.

    3. The third form could be considered a corrolary of the second form, that is to let society as we know it today run it’s course. These movies are statements to our society now and what could happen if we just let it be: don’t let the oil run out, don’t piss off the guys with nuclear weapons, don’t make the machines too smart, don’t let xenophobia put a fascist in the prime minister’s office. This type puts some movies on the list that I wouldn’t normally think of as dystopian, like your cyberpunk variety films (Blade Runner, Ghost in a Shell, etc), but a lot of the value of these films comes from where they take place: city-settings so over-developed that they become backdrops of skyscrapers and neon lights.

    Thanks for putting together this list. It’s been fun thinking about it.

  239. Dmitri

    nirvana with Lambert

  240. Nokturnis

    I appreciate most of the films on this list – I find some of your ranking quite disturbing however… Minority Report (a P.K.Dick story – ish) ranking over some of the beauties, the originals (1984, Fahrenheit 451) seems a bit misguided. While I agree that those older stories were ultimately unrealized, they deserve quite a bit of respect for their current uses in politics and diplomacy in the real world. I LOVE William Gibson and Philip K. Dick – And sadly I’ve yet to see a really GOOD film depicting their world and visions (the closest would be in my mind “New Rose Hotel” – still a far shot away). I actually own most of these movies but I’d personally put V for Vendetta, In the Mouth of Madness, and quite a few others before your top 10. The most accurate ranking I found however, would be The Matrix. I greatly admire you taking the time to assemble this list, and understand that it wasn’t meant to be definitive. I could recommend that perhaps giving them #’s is less effective than simply making the “top 50″ and leaving the reader to define which he puts as #1. I honestly can’t tell you my number 1, but I know it isn’t Metropolis and Clockwork Orange is probably one of the few films I truly hate. It could be that perhaps I just can’t seem to find a film as satisfying as “real life” or the nightly episodes of my dreams where I see a less filtered version of what an Apocalyptic world is.

    I must be spoiled. If you were to see the world end every night for 16 years then you too would find most of those dysutopian films to be rather pleasant.

    Thanks for letting me comment!


    “Life is Worth Dying For”

  241. Reverend

    Kin-Dza-Dza russian film that illustrate what dystopia is

    The Stand TV film by Stephen King

    Stalker russian film by Strugtsky bros

  242. circut

    Yeah i agree atleast one Alien should be up there compared to others theres more dystopia movies if you look for them, Soldier and Tetsuo, etc.!! it seems like they ran out of true dystopian movies, threw in a lot of sci-fi movies with little problems! love the top ones though! how can u not like the violent Clock orange…a lot o/f, and limit the movies to actualy good movies that have been analyzed to death in film classes :D

  243. dfsd

    Wow, val, I think you mean ASKEW not ESCHEW. And wait! Children of Men is one of the greatest dystopian movies of the millenium.

  244. Marcus

    Could “Final Cut” be considered?

  245. Blahz

    Final Cut???? C’mon now? Robin Williams? Don’t make me laugh!

  246. ron kendricks

    One of my favorites is ” Liquid Sky”….all time great!

  247. Pat

    Equilibrium is among the most laughably bad movies I’ve ever seen. So is They Live, but at least that was intentionally crappy. Equilibrium thinks its being cool and relevant, but it’s just being pathetic and inane the whole way through. That part where the dog licks his face and he starts to feel feelings is hilarious.

  248. Yorick

    What about The Island?

  249. elgunjduts

    Eat the Rich should be on the list, but it is the impossible to view movie. If you try to buy it you get the wrong movie.

  250. Leo

    The Matrix should be # 1.
    What is more dystopian than all of us living in a simulation, but actually used as batteries?
    Too much FX is not everybody’s cup of tea, I understand.

    Great list, thanks!

  251. Icarus

    Many people have stated that the picture for Mad Max is actually from Mad Max 2: Road Warrior. This is incorrect. The picture for Mad Max is from Mad Max, just check out Spacebat’s post. In it he said that the picture wasn’t from Mad Max and used this as proof and a better photo. Obviously he didn’t go to any of the other photos because image 6
    the image used on the list is clearly from Mad Max, not Road Warrior. People would know this if they had actually watched the film. Also, there are two versions of the film, the original, harder to find version,complete with Mel Gibson and his Aussie accent, and the more common version dubbed over into American accents, what a tragedy.

  252. Jordan

    What about The Island? Some may say it’s utopian but it’s really not because when the clones find out they are being killed it’s really dystopian. It was a pretty decent movie I thought, though its Rotten Tomatoes rating is 39%. But it was a lot like THX 1138 which made your list.

  253. Anonymous

    Rotten Tomatoes has the WORST ranking of movies I can think of. It’s purely shitty reviews made by only the people who hate the movies, I think they should have gone by IMDB alone. I mean, come on Equilibrium deserved at least 25

  254. some1

    Why brazil?!?
    that movie is total crap, a mixture of several other movies, including 1984 and battle ship potemkin

    if u want to see a truly great dystopian movie watch the chumscrubber

  255. BNW

    Surely Animal farm deserves to be on the list

    I also agree that the film starship troopers should be banned from ever being shown again. Robert Heinlein must be turning in his grave.

  256. GotbettertastethanU

    Starship Troopers
    I Robot
    Artificial Intelligence: AI
    A Scanner Darkly (the novel possibly, but not the movie)
    War Of the Worlds
    Total Recall
    On The Beach
    Ghost in the Shell
    Minority Report
    Blade Runner
    Wings of Desire

    Should NOT have been on a list of DYSTOPIAN movies.. (hands author a dictionary.. or at least a new brain)

    It’s really hard to take you seriously when you add movies like those.. I mean COME ON…Serenity, I robot, AI, Total Recall, DELICATESSEN?!?!?!?!?!?…FFS!

    I’m not saying the movies aren’t good (well most of them) but they certainly don’t fit the list.

  257. delgado

    Wouldn’t Naked Lunch fit?

  258. 103408this021is023evil

    What no Tron,or Tank Girl,and The Fifth Element?

  259. GotbettertastethanU

    Delgado… NO.

    103408this021is023evil.. WTF!!!!!!!!!….do you even have HALF A CLUE as to the genre that’s being critiqued?

    TRON?????????!, just…NO..
    Tank Girl???? Apocalyptic is not another word for dystopian and Mad Max strictly speaking shouldn’t even be on his list.
    The Fifth Element… don’t be stupid.

  260. TJ

    very suprised “The Stand” didn’t make this list

  261. meow

    what about renaissance paris 2054

  262. Alex

    Nice, I love those sort of movies, and theres some I dint know about and will deffenetly be cheking out. But I think WaterWorld deserves to be on the list.

  263. Neopatra

    The Truman Show
    The Stepford Wives (the 1975 original, not the remake)
    The Stand

  264. Neopatra

    …and Neon Genesis Evangeleon (sp?)

  265. Hitman9188

    Where is waterworld?? WTF?

  266. Ben Murphy

    Waterworld???!?!!!?!? HELLO?!?!!!??!

  267. GotbettertastethanU

    Neopatra.. you are another idiot who doesn’t have a clue to the genre.

  268. The Blade Runner

    An excellent list, though there are some technical difficulties (stated above by numerous users). The original “Solaris” is a must (though I prefer Kubrick over Tarkovsky), as is “The Andromeda Strain.” I’d like to see “The Fifth Element” on the list, though it’s not absolutely crucial, and the placement of “Planet of the Apes” deserves a higher spot (though I respect your ranking process).

    Great effort! Thanks for the list!

  269. The Blade Runner

    GotbettertastethanU… your list of movies that aren’t Dystopian is flawed. Just because you may find them dull or you may not have a taste for them doesn’t qualify them for removal. If Minority Report or Blade Runner are not Dystopian films, you’d be hard-pressed to find films that are MORE Dystopian in nature. You seem to be following some rulebook of Dystopian lore that has a preference for some FORMS of the Dystopian genre. Trust me: it’s not a black and white thing, as you seem to be making it.

    You seem to make a lot of critiques but don’t suggest any films yourself.

  270. The Blade Runner

    I can’t understand the hate for “A Clockwork Orange” either. Love it or hate it, it IS genius.

  271. The Blade Runner

    Possibly add “Dr. Strangelove.”

  272. chuck

    what about brave new world?

  273. anon

    I think the list doesn’t work particularly well as a definitive list but it’s very interesting. It’s also given me a few more ” movies to watch in the future” suggestions (though I’m surprised at how many movies on the list I’ve seen…)

    For anyone looking for else to watch along these lines I’d suggest Nigel Kneales’ 1979 Quatermass miniseries (also edited into the slightly inferior movie Quatermass: Conclusion). It’s rather bleak and has late 70s BBC production values but it’s still worth watching.

  274. jef

    fist of the north star anyone?

  275. bertha

    i like your movie list

  276. bertha loves miguel

    i like how you potray all the movies and you have a great choice of movies that deal with distopia thats a great help keep up the good work lol bertha and miguel

    i love miguel

  277. bertha loves miguel

    i ment dystopia

    i love miguel

  278. another

    The Holy Mountain by Alejandro Jodorwosky.

  279. Elvis bling laden

    A couple of really good films on this list. Escape from new york is a weird pick, I think, and the same goes for War of the Worlds from 53. Horrible movies.

    You should have Kevin Costners two flops in there instead; waterworld and the postman. Two brilliant dystopias, as I see it.

    What I REALLY miss is Lord of the Flies (1990)

    The way I see dystopias, is like a sort of warning of what can come of horrible things. And mostly political, too.

    When it comes to Utopian films, I can only think of the beautiful K-Pax, where the hero comes from a utopian society and tells about it.

    There are parts of The Beach, but it turns and turn out dark, so it is questionable.
    Other than that, I can only think of children stories with utopian elements, like in the film The Brothers Lionheart (1977), the heroes dies and comes to a good organized utopian society, and must struggle the evil Katla to save it. The novel is more known.

    Utopian films would probably have been a horrible “50 best..” list. I guess that tells us something about our view on the future?

  280. Blok

    As a young film maker who is interested in making films like these I really appreciate the list as well as all of the comments that have been made about it. No list is definitive because they are all the subject of one person or a group of people’s perspective. I think that this list is a good place to start. Many of these films I’ve never heard of but since I’ve seen this list I will want to find them and others like them. I will also try to watch the ones that have been repeated in the comments.


  281. Tato

    DE NINGUNA MANERA es imposible que haya alguna mejor pelicula que C.O.M, en mi humilde opinion C.O.M ES y SIEMPRE sera la mejor distopica de TODOS los años, deberia de estar en el numero 01 obligatoriamente

    desde COSTA RICA

  282. Peter

    911 was an inside job.1984 is probably the best novel written and the movie should have been no 1.

  283. Nikola

    Why ’13 floor’ is forgotten?

  284. steve

    No Time Machine? This list isn’t bad, but some of these such as Starship Troopers and Idiocracy should be replaced with better ones.

  285. IamtheTopp

    Nem is correct about “Things to Come”.
    ImDb 6.8 RT 7.5 = average of 7.15 (about 31st place)
    Doesn’t start dystopic, but certainly gets their quickly.

    I love “Himmer uber Berlin, Der” and “War of the Worlds”, but not sure of the dystpoian reference.

    Please consider in a future update.

    Otherwise, I love the list!!!! Found several movies that I haven’t seen yet that are now on my must see list.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  286. Mel

    I think Thirteenth Floor would be a good’n for this list.

  287. IamtheTopp

    The 13th floor (i’ve not seen it)
    ImDb 6.3 RT 4.6, avg 5,45, not close.

    I’m only going by the definition given here.

    additionally, i would add:
    By the argument that Star Wars is SCI-FI and world renowned, thus it would add several to this, and bump several other great dystopian flicks that are overlooked, “Starship Troopers” isn’t dissimilar. Where’s the dystopia? be a citizen, or don’t be, join the army if you want to be…bugs attacked earth. NOT dystopian! Sci-Fi action adventure…duh.

    How about “Wonderful Days: Blue Sky”? ImDb 6.8 RT 5.6 avg 6.2, that should qualify it. as well with “Casshern” ImDb 6.3 RT 6.0 avg 6.15 (barely qualifies).

    I found both movies just referenced on you tube in so so quality, and would still suggest they belong in the top 50. Since viewing this list I found Idiocracy and THX 1138 on youtube, and liked/loved them. Idiocracy…OMG, LOL, a dystopian satire.

  288. IamtheTopp

    oh, btw…not on this list, nor in the blog…

    “Punishment Park”

    ImDb 8.1, RT 7.0 not the dystopian future, but the dystopian now(?)

    also on youtube, not great for movie quality, but good for research.

  289. IamtheTopp


    “Fantastic Planet”

    ImDb 7.6 RT 7.2 avg 7.4

    in the public domain

    viewable at

  290. IamtheTopp

    I also agree with others, though I DON’T like it, that Eraserhead belongs.

    Don’t like it a bit…it belongs

    7.55 average rating

  291. collector

    Also “The Lost Room”, IMDB 8.4

  292. [red]hi[/red]

    :) very good list !

  293. Zornickcon

    I see that my man Hesston has 3 references on this page. Most of you dislike him because he was the president of the NRA. By the rolls he picked you can see that he was trying to warn us. With his presidency he was trying to protect us. Now the poor Bastard can’t remember his name.

    So in remembrance I say “GET YOU’RE HANDS OFF ME YOU DAMN DIRTY APE!!!!” Charlton Hesston Plaint of the Apes 1968.

    Let’s remember him for the forward thinker he was. Even if he can’t

    GOO’ 08

  294. Nick

    Dear author. Thanks for this very nice list. I like it all.

  295. satyavrat

    Where the heel is Sin City?

  296. satyavrat

    Where the hell is Sin City?

  297. VernVermon

    you did not just go after all the big names you actually put

    good movies that can be completely revisited and rewatched with great context there are some movies I like that have not come out on dvd yet…like wired to kill..

    please check out my crude dystopian performance:\

    or -seamstress scavengers on you tube

  298. dude

    the people who’ve put this list togheter are big time losers. take your head out of your asses

  299. Becky

    I personally think that this is a great list… Some of the movies I don’t personally like, such as “A.I.”, but that’s not the point of the list.
    The point of the list, as I understood it, is to expose people to great movies that they may not have seen. In that, I think that the list fulfilled its goal. I will be renting quite a few movies this week.

    Idiocracy is ridiculous in its attempts to be outlandish, but there are aspects that deserve the label of dystopian. The need for bar-code tattoos, and imprisonment without a (real) trial doesn’t strike anyone as a bit of an issue?

    And finally, I would LOVE to see a dystopian book list! =)

  300. Hurley

    I think maybe Aeonflux should have been on this list, as it fits the criteria :]

  301. Nano

    Equilibrium is much better than Matrix without any doubt! Number 50… I can´t believe it.
    Very good list… and you’ve discovered me two or three films I haven´t seen. Thanks!

  302. Adonis

    What about Stalker? One of the finest dystopian movies ever. And I think a lot of those wouldnt really qualify as “dystopia”… Starship Troopers springs to mind, as does Serenity.

  303. chloe

    you have the same background as suicide girls, just sideways. hah!

  304. Tyr

    Harrison Bergeron would be my addition to this list. I would dearly love for it to be released on dvd! Maybe now that Vonnegut is dead the powers that be might do a philip k dick on him.

  305. Notorious-P

    I have to come to the defense of Verhoven and Starship Troopers. I admit I haven’t read the book, and I’m not a huge SF fan, but I love that movie, it’s supposed to be funny. It drips with irony and sarcasm. It’s like a mix of Full Metal Jacket and an Archie comic set in space. Maybe it doesn’t do the book justice, but that’s irrelevant because, well, it’s not a book, it’s a film and should be judged on its own merits (or lack thereof). History ultimately will probably not be kind to the films of Verhoven, but in my opinion they are, for the most part, very watchable and entertaining(a couple others of his made this list as well). Who the hell is going to complain about a co-ed shower scene…sheesh

    I would include on this list Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. Now THAT is dystopian . Remember, a documentary is a film in which the actors don’t get paid.

  306. Jim

    Some of you sure whine a lot. Isn’t it time for you to watch “American Idol”?

  307. Davey

    Thank you for your work making the list, and including those that did not make your list (what are the two that did not have RT ratings???). However I am surprised to not see Immortel anywhere on the list(s) or in the comments… shocking! Hope you have seen it:

    I would also suggest The Girl from Monday:

    Both of these movies look at Dystopic Futures, one where vanity has made the medical industry all-powerful and the other where… now what was it… ah yes, where consumption becomes our very reason for living.

  308. iamthetopp

    dude from 2/7/08 you’re a TROLL, piss off

    hurley from 2/12/08 aeon flux does NOT meet the criteria, because it sucks! check the criteria, an average between imdb and rotten tomatoes, af’s average is about 4…not even close…pahhhhlease.

    adonis from 3/13/08 i haven’t seen stalker, but because of your post i am going to seek it out. based on reviews that i have read you are correct…it looks great!

    notorious p from 2/15/08 you maam haven’t a clue.

    jim from 2/16/08 well…i will never underestimate the predictability of YOUR stupidity. endeavor to persevere.

    becky from 2/12/08 wikipedia has a very good list of dystopic books. i like the way you think;-)

  309. Matt

    Children of Men was boring, plain and simple. It is one of the few movies in my life I have ever stopped watching halfway through and had not a care how it ended.

  310. Mr Stump FL

    Dawn Of The Dead ’79 D.O.T.D. ’04 …

  311. Kyle

    This list has wrongfully omitted Waterworld. This should be fixed. Because if Waterworld misses, then so should “The Matrix” What a crock of a movie. It was terrible, but not as bad as the crap they shoved down our throats with the two sequels

  312. mike

    Howbout “Kafka” or howbout Brazil?

  313. Daniel Richmond

    It seems to me that dystopian, like utopian imagery, is mostly reliant upon the actions of humans. That is, if utopian imagery can be understood as possible propaganda for an ideal, and dystopian imagery is a possible warning against such propagandistic, totalizing ideals, then I would say that some of the movies on your list have nothing to do with dystopia, i.e. War of the Worlds, and They Live. These films introduce an alien species as the source of a failed world, and not the tragic failings of good human intentions. The basis of of any dystopia is this: failed best intentions, or successful “good” intentions with bad consequences. In both, there is a sense that human hubris is the cause for dystopia, and not some alien source. In this sense, Dark City is also questionable, especially sense he (as symbol of humanity) overcomes alien forces in the end.
    Also, I would think twice about Kafka’s The Trial, Pleasantville and Wings of Desire (Der Himmel Über Berlin). If one is to allow that The Trial has some form of social commentary, this social commentary is not necessarily established in the future. In fact, if I was to venture a guess at what time period Kafka was writing about, if at all his intention, it would be about his present. Arguably, Kafka’s bureaucratic nightmares (The Castle, The Trial) are more a statement of Modernist/[Post]Modernist angst, and not social commentary of future failed or failing human intentions. Wings of Desire is a tragedy of love and suspended unity, but no dystopia. It is set in then contemporary Berlin. It is filled with despair AND hope of unity, not failure of human intentions that have vast social repercussions. Dystopia is failed unity, or failing attempts at unity (between humanity and nature, between humanity and technology, between humanity and our own souls, etc) but not suspended unity. Ao long as unity is still possible (East Germany with West Germany) than utopian reconciliation or redemption is possible.
    Pleasantville is no dystopia. If it is allowed any dystopian imagery at all it is only in the beginning as we see the origins of our current [Post]Modern dilemma: the ideals of the 50′s. However, this is by no means dystopian. The film resolves its dilemma in a positive light. In short, the future is the rescue of the failed ideals of the past; the future is redemption.
    The rest of the list is nice.

  314. Name That Jesus

    I think it’s a good list overall. Sure there are some films omitted or the ranking could be different, but no one will agree on the order no matter how they did it. Maybe some of the movies aren’t “pure” dystopias but all have dystopic elements. They say that one man’s dystopia is another’s utopia. Anyway, kudos

  315. FauxNixon

    Fabulous list. It’s reminded me of a lot of the movies I’ve seen that I still need to write reviews for.

  316. Khristian Rainford

    Sky Blue, one of the best underated gems that deals with the issue of Dystopia. A great anime film.

  317. Eric Melin

    Wow. Very complete list–nice! “Wings of Desire” a dystopian future film, though? Hmmm…interesting. Is it dystopian because Peter Falk still has a film career? I especially like some of your runners-up that I’ve never heard of. Also, it’s nice to see “Alphaville” on here. I made a list of Top 10 Movies That Prove the Future Will Suck and have many of the ones you’ve mentioned here (including “Alphaville”), but not all..check it out if you’d like. Great post.

  318. billy bob

    like you mives they are pefty cool.
    i think that there are some ok movies but they are not all good.

  319. help me remember

    There is this sci-fi movie I saw as a kid and I need to know what it was. It’s driving me crazy!?
    I think it was made in the 70s or early 80s. It was set in a dystopic future where no one uses money. Instead, everyone has these little handheld computers and they are given “credits” at birth. The credits are just like money, except when you run out, you die. The main scene I remember was this guy in a casino, and he’s freaking out b/c he’s losing, and he tries to buy a drink from a hostess, but when she swipes his device, it doesn’t go through. She says “this one’s on the house….you’re dead”, and the guy drops dead. There’s this other guy in the movie who’s mother ran a store, and she never checked how many credits she had, and she was always helping people out. When he finally made her check, they realized that she only had a few weeks to live, so he sets off on this journey to find some forbidden city where there are some people who can give him permission to give his credits to his mother. any ideas?

  320. why always me

    was hoping equilibrium, dark city and the city of lost children would be placed higher, but it’s still a good list. even with artificial intelligence and i, robot on it.

    how about the 1981 version of heavy metal? more outlandish than dystopian, but that can be said for quite a few movies on the list.

  321. neantropus

    Phase IV.
    I’m a legend
    28 days later
    The island

  322. Firefly Fan

    The only major complaint I have is that Serenity is even on the list….Since when does a movie about a Government coverup qualify as being dystopian? Have the makers/raters of this list actually watched all these movies from beginning to end? Or do they just scan them to see if the movies fit their WIDE definition of dystopia?

  323. little ol' me

    I think what’s important when dealing with Dystopias is to remember that every genre digresses. As it see it there are five types of dystopias.

    Political eg 1984
    Technological eg The Matrix
    Biological eg 28 Days Later/Children of Men
    Ecological eg Deep Impact
    Sci fi/ Fantasy eg Battlefield Earth

    The trouble with categorizing them like this is that there are a lot of cross overs. Like biological could be considered political too as in a virus is man made. However for the sake of clarity its worth having these five sub titles as then it clears it up a bit. However i only write this as i’ve read a lot of people arguing about which are dystopias or not. i like a dystopia to make a comment on society, possibly with the intention of social change through warning ‘what could be’. as that is what most dystopias are used for to warn us of the perils of our ways if they stay unchanged. others look to see how we’d survive or live on in extreme circumstances. either way i see the Dystopic Genre or Speculative fiction as a modern genre thats coming into light more and more. It’s fascinating and i cant wait to see what’s going to come out of it in the next ten years or so!
    Anyway a good list that has brought some lesser known titles to light, maybe just the grading system should be reassessed, and the definition be specified but all in all a good read!

  324. Daniel Richmond

    I disagree with the idea that there are five types of dystopias. This is probably a mere semantic issue, but the five types presented above are really five expressions/examples of two types of dystopia. The basis of these dystopias is the relationship between humanity’s actions and their intentions; that is to say, whether or not they are in alignment with one another. When in alignment, then there is success, when not, failure. Both of these become the bases for dystopian imagery. Either humanity has been successful in its intentions and actions, and therefore the dystopian imagery points to a flaw in the intentions or the underlying ideology. This type of imagery usually comes across superficially–ironically– as utopia (Logan’s Run, Demolition Man, Brave New World) but it ultimately points to a failing (lack of freedom or lack of individuality for example). The other, where there has been failure, presents itself as it is. There is no attempt at irony, but a mere presentation of the failure that occurs between intentions and actions. This type of dystopian imagery attempts to locate the problem, the disconnect between intentions and actions, and clearly present it for consideration. Both, like utopian imagery, are critiques of contemporary culture (what should or should not be/exist), but the second dystopian image attempts to locate the failure and not warn against the success. These films, of late, are usually related to scientific advancement and hubris. (The Sound of Thunder, Waterworld, Roadwarrior, The Quiet Earth). The first dystopian image asks the viewer to question their values, the intentions, and how they are expressed in one’s actions. The second presents the results of the failures in actions, which can eventually point to the underlying fallacies in intentions.

  325. GypsyArizona

    For the record,
    I actually came to this site looking for “The Handmaid’s Tale”, I had confused the title with “Herland”. And I appreciate it being mentioned & ending my confusion.

    However, I fail to see why a list would exclude a movie simply based on its RT rating. What would be the opinion of the masses of dystopian movies? It hardly seems likely to match that of true afficienados. Moreover if I just wanted a RT list, I’d just go their site & search for it.

  326. Tyler

    Maybe you guys should also may a list of dystopia type tv series. If you do make one or already have this one should be on the list.


  327. Newt

    I like Escape from L.A. better than Escape from New York better, because of the ending. Everyone being thrown back into the Dark Ages is way more dystopian!
    I disagree with Pleasantville and I, Robot. Don’t belong.
    I love Serenity, V for Vendetta and Children of Men, but where is Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome? That was the best one! 28 Days Later, The Day After, Westworld, The Stand, Aeon Flux and both Fortress movies belong as well.
    You didn’t add blockbusters, so Matrix and a few others should be removed to make room for more obscure titles.
    I agree with Idiocracy and A Clockwork Orange even though I haven’t finished either, yet. Haven’t seen Zardoz, will add to my shopping list.
    When’s Stephen King’s ‘The Long Walk’ gonna be made into a movie?
    Waiting for Top 100 list, so I can add more to my collection! Thank you everyone!!!

  328. joost janmaat


    i am editor with Volume Magazine (, and we are currently making an issue on Engineering Society. i would really like to use the image from They Live: would you have that in hi-res?

    hope hearing from you, Joost

  329. Joe Blow

    To Brian above: You’re not sure Children of Men should be so high on the list!? WTF!? Probably the best dystopian film ever made, fits the description to a T, excellent acting and cast and sets, highly relevant, even original. Maybe you were having an off evening.

    I know you guys said you wanted to avoid blockbuster SF movies dominating the list, but given the RELATIVE lack of familiarity so many have with The Island, and its overall excellence and dystopianism, seems kind of a no-brainer to me.


  330. pragmatist

    It says something about human nature that comments of this sort are heavily weighted toward the whining and nitpicking masses who miss the big picture, as they’re too busy wallowing in their own shielded arrogance to admit the obvious. So there.

    The compiler of this list has done a great service to the minions, yes, even the trolls, by providing a framework for the genre we (presumably) all love. And I’m willing to bet, even if they would never admit, that the naysayers learned something and have loaded up their Netflix queue.


  331. Jon Kapp

    I have to agree with what another poster stated…a Dystopian story by nature has to be a future world that is oppressive or negative due to the work of MAN.

    They Live is a fricking awesome movie, but I wouldnt call it Dystopian for that reason…the cause for the oppressive society is aliens.
    I guess, in some ways, the Matrix series, as well as the Terminator series, do point the finger at man, because it was man who invented the machines,…but in both series the ultimate villian in both films are thinking computers that create killing machines to wipe out humans. Once again, both of these series are personal favorites, but they are not strictly dystopian.

    For sure, 1984, Brazil….these DO fit because the dystopian world was created by man…

    I have still never seen Akira and I for sure want to get ahold of it.

    Two great works of film that dont necessarily qualify as “movies” in the strict sense, but are great Dystopian styled works of film, in my opinion…

    1. The classic Apple Macintosh commercial that is based on “1984″…directed by Ridley Scott, that to me still is one of the best and most cool looking visual adaptations of the Orwellian construct I have seen (and it was just a commercial)

    2. Pink Floyd “The Wall”…many visual elements of a dystopia showed up in this one as well

    3. Most laughable dystopia- “Mr Roboto” ha ha ha ha!

  332. Jon Kapp

    One more comment, regarding “Idiocracy”…

    While this film had a lot of “bathroom humor”, to me, the underlying idea of this movie was actually very disturbing.

    One thing that Mike Judge did NOT add to the plot of this film, which IMO he should have, would be the Luke Wilson character discovering a secret, small group of highly intelligent people, who have become rich by their easy manipulation and exploitation of the unintelligent masses.

    Otherwise, it stretches even the “suspension of disbelief” that technology would still exist in a world of such stupidity.

    However, I wont necessarily call “Idiocracy” a terrible film…it raises a lot of subterranian ideas that Judge could have explored more, uh, intelligently….but Judge chose to shoot from the hip and the end result is the film as is…but it is still, to me, pretty disturbing in many real ways, for a comedy

  333. HoldenCaulfield

    Not a bad list….applaudable
    However, some major ommissions…
    My top 5 would look like this-

    5) Solaris (Tarkovsky version)…brilliant mood piece

    4) A Clockwork Orange…kubrick is god…and his vision is hell

    3) Videodrome…the whole concept of human as a technological animal…screen as a retina of the mind’s eye

    2) Dr Strangelove : Or How I Learnt To Stop Worrying and Love The bomb…how could u forget this my friend ?? Its the greatest black comedy ever…

    1) Bladerunner….the most beautiful dope trip i’ve been on…

    Btw, V For Vendetta, according to me, doesn’t deserve a place on this list (among many others)…the film ain’t nowhere close to the graphic novel…we’re talking genius here ppl…allan moore…I would replace it with The Matrix…

  334. tori

    is that first pic from Bioshock?

  335. Shasti

    “Brave New World” deserves a mention I think. It’s a well-thought-out dystopia.

  336. Ares23

    Interesting list. I’ve seen most of them and added a couple to my own Netflix queue.

    I think, perhaps, a somewhat better way to categorize and narrow down the field, would be to use only films whose focus is a dystopian society, as opposed to any film that has a dystopian society in it. “Brave New World,” “Brazil,” “Clockwork Orange,” “Fahrenheit 451,” “Harrison Bergeron,” etc. are great examples of dystopian films, where the society as a whole is the major antagonist.

    While “Serenity” and “Blade Runner,” along with many others listed here, may well be among my favorites, they’re not, specifically, dystopian films. The societies depicted in them may have dystopian elements, but that is not the point of the stories. The societies merely serve as a backdrop.

    Anyway, that’s how I would have done it, for what that’s worth.

    BTW: Many of the posters here need to learn to differentiate between a good movie, and a movie you enjoy. For example, I found “Equilibrium” very entertaining. But it is an awful movie: poor casting, bad acting, (I’ve seen Christian Bale in much better performances) and the writing is just plain silly. But, I still enjoyed the movie…quite thoroughly. Just liking it, however, does not make a movie good.

    That’s my $.02 worth. :)

  337. Gojko

    Great list, and interesting comments.

    I would like to mention 28 Days Later & 28 Weeks Later.

    Also Dawn of the Dead [1978, 2004], and The Invasion [Invasion of the Body Snatchers]: both originals and remakes are good.


  338. mechanoid

    great list! i’d say that all of the important movies have been included but I would have put them in a different order. (blade runner #1!) here’s a site on dystopia: their list of dystopias is pretty long but i don’t know if everything on it really is dystopian.

  339. C Meez

    I have to think Wall-E might be making an appearance on these types of lists soon.

  340. Nancy

    Seconding C Meez here. “Wall-E” should be added to your list of dystopian films if you ever get around to updating it. Its vision of an Earth that’s literally been trashed by the human race — which is now obliviously ensconced on a cruise starship, fattened up by junk food, and having its every physical need met by robots — more than qualifies. And it’s beautifully animated and kid friendly, too!

  341. ATOzTOA

    It is the first time I have heard about Dystopia… lol

    Nice list you have got there… I don’t understand how some of the movies got into the list at all.

  342. suijuris

    Did anyone mention Closetland or Trouble in Mind?
    Also, the black and white version of 1984 should come before the 80s remake.

  343. Chuck Jones

    Everyone always forgets the greatest dystopian film series of our time… The fall of the Old Republic and the rise of The Galactic Empire under the insidious demagogue, Emperor Palpatine. THE STAR WARS FRANCHISE!


    Very good list!
    i’m goign to try and find some.
    i’m interested in a boy n his dog looks good.
    my faviorite off that list was the mad max’s…. not just coz i’m aussie but because i’m a rocker. and man those glam cats in the film are fucking nuts.

    Was WATERWORLD on there? i may have missed it but Kevin Kostners water world is another one that is just as good as if not better than MAd MAx…

    dig eeefs…. contact me on motherlickas


    Great list….
    got some trailers of some of these movies at didoman.. have to search for them

  346. Johnson Reboot

    Blade Runner not dystopian??? Did you notice that all other species have been wiped out (replaced with artificial animals) and the world is dying? And the poor have been left on earth to die in the pollution, while the rich have fled off-world and have android slaves?

    Ditto Starship Troopers. I assume that the people who think this future is fine are right-wing gun-nuts. You have no rights unless you join the military so you can imagine the kind of decisions that are made. Like starting a genocidal war against the bugs.

  347. Johnson Reboot

    Probably ‘android’ was not accurate but hey it’s late here on my colony world.

  348. erik

    what about beyond thunderdome, waterworld, terminator, the island and the sixth day? Half the movies in there were merely good books, but ruined when they were made into films. Equilibrium, mad max, and V for Vandetta should definitely be pushed closer to the top 10 as well

  349. Greg

    Hi! About 1999, I was watching UPN, and there was a series with a sexy, big-bosomed computer-animated woman (from a video game I think) who was the “host” of this weekly sci fi movie series.

    One week, there was one of the most amazing sci fi movies I had every seen, and I am still wondering what it was, and if I can get a copy of it.

    It was not particularly well made, and it was a little cheezy. But the metaphors it used were so powerful, I have always wished I could refer back to it, and show people.

    If you have any idea about what this movie is, I would be very grateful!

    Plot summary. (Note: This is definitely a “spoiler” of a great surprise plot. I am trying to see if anyone can tell me the name of this movie.)

    A happy, Leave It To Beaver, 1950′s world. A handsome youngish family man leaves his house and goes about town. He shops for a car at a car lot. The prices of the cars are alarmingly cheap — even for the 1950′s — like, $150 for a brand new shiny big car. Everyone is sickeningly nice and “happy” and your first impression of this world is that the filmmaker was a hack and is totally overplaying a stereotype.

    The man comes into his workplace — not 1950′s, actually. More 1980′s. A corporate building somewhere. Lots of people working at desks, maybe in low cubicles. Everyone says “mornin!”, etc. Happy happy.

    Then, as the man looks out on the office floor, something surprising happens. On top of some things, glowing green letters display the name of the thing. “Desk”. “Woman”. “Chair.” This is very disturbing to the man.

    It starts to happen more. He gets really freaked out. And then, the whole world starts to look this way. It starts to appear that rather than an illusion, he may be seeing something about the way the world is. He runs home. Now, the whole world is like this, covered with glowing green descriptors. The whole world is a grid of glowing green lines — no more the reality he thought he knew.

    Then, he starts to experience a lower layer of reality! All of a sudden, underneath the reality he thought he knew, there’s a disgusting, creepy reality. His beautiful clean house is now grey, covered with a hundred years of dust, cobwebs, and rats. The pantry full of food is now empty, or a little bit of rotting food. Is this what he’s actually been eating all this time? Is this the house he’s been sharing with his family?

    He gets really freaked out and runs out of the town (perhaps something it’s never seemed necessary to do before). He runs into some other refugees. They discover a domed city with a big satellite dish thing on the top. They break in, and infiltrate the city. It turns out there’s this mind control ray that was set up a long time ago, and it’s been blasting these layers of unreality, and keeping these people in illusion. They break the ray.

    They return to their home town. Now, it turns out there’s a layer underneath the “rats” layer: It’s all cardboard boxes! All the furniture, cars, houses, are made of plain, generic cardboard boxes. Their clothes are simple neutral burlap sack cloth. There’s a parade going on.


    • Luke

      Hi Greg, just came across your post while trying to find out the name of the very same movie! A really great dystopian future flick. I think it was a made for tv movie called “Virtual Nightmare”.

      All the best.

      • Mari


        thank you so much!
        It has been more than 10 years that I have been searching for the name of this movie. I saw it on TV when I was around 14 years old and loved it and couldn´t get it out of my head!

        Thanks a million.

  350. Dante

    what about I Am Legend? that movie was a spectacle, to say the least, and definitely worth a spot in this list.

  351. edel

    “Last Night”. A simple Canadian low budget film but one of the most realistic and memorable dystopian movies I have ever seen.

  352. Karthik

    I think a very thin line of differnce has been drawn between sci-fi and dystopia. I would have liked to see ’28 Weeks Later’ up there

  353. yemek tarifi

    watch Blue Gender sometime, great anime series, way scary distopia

  354. Dom Pafundi

    There’s this movie called Time of the Wolf written by Michael Haneke that is possibly the most psychologically disturbing post-apocalyptic movie I’ve ever seen. Think of the kind of psychological lines that John Waters crosses in movies like Pink Flamingos, but then change the subject matter to meaning, existence, and bare survival and so on… By the middle of the movie I felt I should take a walk to preserve any good feelings I had about life.

  355. engellenmi? siteler

    I think a very thin line of differnce has been drawn between sci-fi and dystopia. I would have liked to see ‘28 Weeks Later’ up there

  356. puzzle

    8 Weeks Later

  357. Gothic

    Gothic says: thanx for all

  358. Pachion255

    Nice list, but i don’t believe that Pleasantville should be on that list. Other movies that would have been great for this list would be

    I am Legend
    The Stand

    But that is my opinion.

  359. Tim M

    I would receommend a Sean Connery movie called Outland about a good cop on a mining world being driven into chaos by an insanity causing amphetamine.

  360. rodneyj43

    completely missed the best Sci-Fi of the 20th century: “The Lathe of Heaven” (1980)

  361. Bransby

    For the record, and just to add to what is quite an interestind debate, according to the OED:
    Dystopia: An imaginary place or condition in which everything is as bad as possible; opp. UTOPIA (cf. CACOTOPIA). So dys{sm}topian n., one who advocates or describes a dystopia; dys{sm}topian a., of or pertaining to a dystopia; dys{sm}topianism, dystopian quality or characteristics.

    Great list. Am going through those I haven’t seen. Watched Soylent Green last night, interesting concept but the ending’s a bit disappointing. The dystopia in that is pretty much definitive, but the actual plot and the “big secret” were a bit naff.

  362. ruadhri padraig

    Has anyone mentioned “Things to Come”? It’s an oldie (1936) but a fascinating, classic dystopian film based on an H.G. Wells story. I’m surprised it’s not on this top 50 list.

  363. G. Walker Bush

    Cute list. Wrong though on several occasions. Better luck next time.

    P. S. Most of the commentaries must have been written by complete morons.

  364. Z

    Just wanted to say thanks to those who compiled this list, for I discovered a gem.

    Based on this list, I ended up watching Dark City, and I thought it was absolutely great, I really did. I’m really surprised by how much I liked it. I’m normally underwhelmed by many films.

    I watched the 2008 director’s cut. Having read that the original blew a large part of the mystery away with a narration at the start (that the director was forced to include), I’m very glad I saw the director’s cut!

    This is one of the best films I’ve seen for a while, thanks for the recommendation.

  365. asmodeus

    scanner darkly and 1984 into 15 or top 10, madmax/2, robocop off the list.
    Matrix and the sleeper not really dystopias.
    Bit dysapointed (ooh pun)
    could be a very good list instead included poor action films.
    Dystopias in general act as a warning as possible and plausible future scenarios, many films in the list fail to do this.
    1984 should really be in top 5 one of the best dystopias in film or literature.
    not bad list.

  366. asmodeus

    really nothing with arnie in it should be here.
    post-apocalyptic does not a dystopia make.

  367. Brandon

    Six String Samurai counts too.

  368. JoKeR

    Great list it comes close to my library.

    v for vendetta is way overated.

    Trouble in mind

  369. jdutton

    What, no Eraserhead?
    All well, great list.

  370. Tommy.N.Ireland

    Well first of I would like to say thanks for the list, it helped me find films which I have great interest in.

    Secondly, I think the name is “Misty Dean”. I would just like to say how much of a great big twat you are, read things before you write them, you complain about a director not reading the book before making the film, then you don’t notice it is not the writers list it was made by comparing two sites, one which comes from film critics and one from normal film watchers like you and I, so obviously being the hypocritical idiot that you are you didn’t read what it said at the top.

    Also to complain about foreign films being in the list is just selfish and arrogant. You say if it is not American you don’t like it, just plain and simple, you’re an idiot. Just goes to prove why the rest of the world have problems with a lot of Americans(and wrongly) call them arrogant and stupid, because there are so many idiots like you living there.

    Kin Dza Dza was a great Russian film, it also had a lot of hidden concepts, for example one guy says he is one race and another is another race so he must do certain things which the other doesn’t have to do, a guy asks him are you different colour? No. Do you look differently? No. Do you speak a different language? No. So why are you different? Can’t you see he glows orange and I glow green when(can’t remember the name of it) I shine this machine on him? It is trying to convey the message that people are the same no matter what small differences they have and should not be fighting, in my opinion. Great film and very funny.

    Thanks again for the list mate :)

  371. Nic

    Wooow!!Nice list.Congratulation…

  372. Buck

    Dystopian does not refer to a future where something is extraordinarily bad, it is a statement against a Utopian society. Often, these statements show a utopia and how it crumbles because of its ideals (the book Brave New World by Aldous Huxley). While some of these are dystopian, many of them, nearly half I would guess, are simply movies which project bad futures. Did you never have High School senior English? Your list is severely lacking.

  373. Gene

    @ Buck.
    Just because one novel represents the dystopia in a certain way doesn’t mean that must apply to all other representations.
    Dystopia isn’t always a statement against a utopian society – “1984″ is a statement against dystopian societies IRL (Spanish, Russian, German totalitarianism). You obviously just finished the dystopia topic in English, though your definition is severely lacking. There are many movies in the list though that I wouldn’t consider dystopian either, all discussed in the thread already. (rofl Star Ship Troopers)
    I generally see a dystopian world as severely socially unfair and dilapidated, due to an oppressive and powerful government or ruling group.
    Overall I like the list.

  374. Rachael

    all these are great movies and this is a fantastic list… but if you wanna get technical, most of these are post apocalyptic/ the future really sucks movies and not true dystopian. in order for it to be dystopian, it must have the illusion of being a perfect society, that in reality really sucks.

  375. EO

    Chris Marker’s “La Jette” should be on the list as well as Trakovoskys “The Sacrifice” and Kurasawa’s “Dodesukaden”

  376. tor

    nice list, great read.

    sad to see stalker (tarkovsky) and eraserhead (lynch) missing thou.

  377. Amy

    I think Cube should definitely be on this list, same with The Island.

  378. Michael

    There is a great book by Cormac McCarthy which I have read a while back called “The Road”. It is an eerie look at a post-apocalyptical world where a father and his young son are seeking the safe zone. It is a great book and there is a movie in the works. This is undoubtedly going to be a movie worth a look.

  379. Touji Suzuhara

    I believe “George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead” would appeal to this category and has a 6.6 average… What do you think?

  380. Mike

    First of all, War of the Worlds and Wings of Desire are not dystopian films…. If you want to define a “Dystopia” simply as a context in which people are unhappy, then you will have to include virtually every film ever made. The distopian situation tends to be a result of human action, typically the result of a failed utopian vision. If aliens were to conquer and enslave us, and the film started while this social order was already in place, I might be willing to call that a dystopian film. But fighting off an invasion is not a dystopia. To include this on the list would open up all films about aliens and war… Speaking of which, this film could easily be replaced with the Alien movies or the Fifth Element, both of which involve alien aggression and a dystopian human society. I cannot believe these to films were not considered…

    To label Wings of Desire a dystopian film is a huge misunderstanding. The film is set in the present (then Cold War Berlin), and it comments on depression and human suffering as a result of the past and the present (in this case the real dysopias of Nazi Germany and the GDR), but the point is much more universal… and in the end happy. Dystopian visions tend to comment on the here and now, or at least trends in contemporary society (if they continue), but they tend to take place some time in the future or in clearly fictional present. The point tends to be we need to reevaluate and change our ways. Wings of Desire is more about accepting the good with the bad and overcoming the lasting effects of our past and present tragedies. In the grand scheme of things, it is much better to be alive and experience!!

    The last thing I want to say is that many of the comments above talk about how these films are adapted from or loosely based on novels. This is a good point, and I think there should be a list of novels too… But that list would be very different. Adapting a novel to film involves a team of people interpreting the novel from their own perspective and finding a way to present that interpretation to a contemporary audience. It often involves their own twists or comments on their own times. This is why the film War of the Worlds can easily be understood as Cold War film… it clearly propagates the Us-Them mentality of the era. Regardless of the actual intentions, such an interpretation is fair given the context in which it was released: THE BEGINNING OF THE COLD WAR AND NOT THE END OF THE 19TH CENTURY!! Furthermore, any film adaptation of a Kafka text needs to be critically viewed… it is hard to maintain the plurality of meaning that we call “Kafkaesque” in any film that would actually make money. I have never seen the film version of the Trial, and maybe it is a dystpopia… that is certainly a valid interpretation of his fragment, but it is by no means the only interpretation. Dystopian films tend to be a little more trivial and/or straightforward than Kafka… not that this discredits the genre; it is just an aspect.

  381. Mike

    Also note that a dystopia can appear utopian on the surface…

  382. Vlatko


  383. Joel

    Very thorough, but I feel that if you are going to include the Omega Man you really need to include it’s predecessor, The Last Man on Earth, with Vincent Price

  384. araba oyunlar?

    araba oyunlar? kids oyun good admin

  385. Luis

    Somebody already said “Existenz” is missing?

  386. Franki

    You’re kidding me!? Minority Report and the Matrix are HIGHER than Alphaville and Serenity? Who wrote this list? And I have to admit that not being of the generation, Clockwork Orange has always left me cold. The book was far, far better. Dissapointing.

  387. Dean125

    What about the movie Dark City???

  388. Abe

    Didn’t see if it was mentioned, but there’s an anime called Darkside Blues that falls into this category and is worth a look.

  389. dublin_dave

    how have i never heard of death race 2000, that film sounds fantastic… bonus points for hitting grannys… LOVE IT!!

  390. Raeanne

    what about “the Island” ?!?!

  391. Sorlak

    ¿¿The Crow??

  392. Rap

    Great list. I like movie lists that teach me something. I had not heard of some of these films, now I have some new (to me) movies to check out – thank you!

  393. maya


    futuristic, dominated by private corporations, human life controlled by a computer

  394. orangecrush1010

    bs. i robot should be way higher. and minority report sucked

  395. Kyle

    Fritz Lang was a genius, very deserving spot at #1!

  396. Asg

    The minute I realised this list was biased toward Rotten Tomatoes scores then it lost all credibility…

    I have seen some shite-arsed movies just because RT ranked them 10/10……Especially some crappy movie about oil and religion that my husband and I spent 2 days watching (2 days because it was so painfully boring but we kept thinking it must get better if RT says its a classic movie, jesus f christ, how wrong we were)……

    Wtf is 1984 doing at No. 39? Are you taking the piss…that movie should be in the top 10.

  397. b-relaxed

    Cypher should definitely be on that list. Great list btw.

  398. aclichename

    Where is 2001 a space odyssey? That deserves to be on there, definitely.

    And Fritz Lang was a genius.

  399. Grady Smith

    What a great list! I know that this was published before the summer started, but do you know what would be at the top of my list? Wall-E!

  400. Sergio

    Great Lost, but where is Wall-E?

    Given the ratings on IMDB and rotting Tomatoes, it should be on top of your list.

    Wall-E is definitly top of this entire list.

  401. Gus

    What about Lord of the Flies?

  402. DStopian

    Demolition Man wasn’t really all that dystopian, sure there was those guys underground, but the citizens on the surface were pretty content with things as I recall. The cops were nutty for that “armoured hotdogs” jingle, so fair do’s if it wasn’t on the list.

    IMO the Ghost in the Shell world isn’t really a dystopia either. All the stuff that goes on is top secret stuff, there’s no real opression or hardship on the citizens, all the shady stuff is going on at a top-secret government level, and that shit goes on all the time.

    A bunch of other people have already made good points on which other films don’t have any real significant dystopian settings. I was sceptical that a top 50 could have been made in the first place. You’d have had an easier time writing a list of the handful of dystopian films you’d have left out!

    Oh, and even if it was a top 100, if ‘A Handmaid’s Tale’ got in, I’d dig myself a grave so I could start spinning in it.

  403. DStopian

    Demolition Man wasn’t really all that dystopian, sure there was those guys underground, but the citizens on the surface were pretty content with things as I recall. The cops were nutty for that “armoured hotdogs” jingle, so fair do’s if it wasn’t on the list.

    IMO the Ghost in the Shell world isn’t really a dystopia either. All the stuff that goes on is top secret stuff, there’s no real opression or hardship on the citizens, everyone loves having iPods for brains, and all the shady stuff is going on at a top-secret government level, and that shit goes on all the time. It’s like saying James Bond novels are dystopian.

    A bunch of other people have already made good points on which other films don’t have any real significant dystopian settings. I was sceptical that a top 50 could have been made in the first place. You’d have had an easier time writing a list of the handful of dystopian films you’d have left out!

    Oh, and even if it was a top 100, if ‘A Handmaid’s Tale’ got in, I’d dig myself a grave so I could start spinning in it.

    Grady Smith is dead on the money.

  404. latest hindi movies

    WOW! What an amazing and exhaustive list…Surprisingly, you guys have collected links of movies from a huge variety of cinema, making it one hell of a detailed list..some worthy movies i still thinkcould have been added but what the heck!

    thanks guys.

  405. Kat Renee Kittel

    I am looking for the name of a dystopia movie where everyone has to wear these high tech headsets, yet everything else looks like the 1950′s.

    The main character winds up being “trained” by the authorities to carry on the control of society. He is allowed to view all the violent history on tape and old television programs. Yet he rebels and locks himself into the TV control room and starts showing all the tapes he was shown.

    However the authorities get through to the control room and “reprogram” him. On a live talk show, he lies that everything he had aired was a hoax… then he shoots himself. The last scene shows the underground telling folks where to go to see the video of his death, thus igniting the revolution…

    Has anyone heard of this film? I saw it within the last ten years on aired on television.

    Katie Kat

  406. Scott

    This is one insane list of awesome movies…well done!

  407. Murat

    What about “Gerry” or “About a boy”.

  408. Sam

    Fight Club should be very high on that list come on especially ahead of anime shit

  409. Abe

    Great list :)

    Several movies Ive not even heard of.

  410. Fanuilos

    further movies:

    Time Machine
    Truman Show
    Aeon Flux
    13th Floor
    Zeit am Draht
    Aufstand der Alten
    The Net
    Judge Dread
    Deus in Machina


    Is there anybody interested in dystopian audio dramas?

  411. liviu

    Incredible list, good job.

  412. Gil

    I’m slightly angered that Fight Club wasn’t mentioned. I believe that to be a perfect example of a corrupt world being led into revolution. Also, what is Securities Concepts Inc. in the Robocop spot? The company that built him was Omni Consumer Products (OCP), unless SCI is the division that built him.

  413. Doug

    my favourite movie of all time is ,and i think it should be included is- (1987) ( cherry 2000.)
    it fits all the categorys, and is an all round great movie.

  414. wtf

    children of men at 6.
    man what the hell is wrong with you. such a good idea so f**ed up in the execution.

  415. Steve

    How did 28 Days Later not make this list? Starship Troopers made it and 28 days later didn’t??! What a crock…
    “Kill ‘im, Jim, Kill ‘im!”

  416. Jasmine

    What about (2007) I Am Legend movie starring Will Smith? I believe that movie is a Dystopian themed movie and there rating was 7.1 out of 10 isnt that good enough?

  417. ada

    yeah – your list kindda sucks , man!
    you failed to consider that some movies like “Equilibrum” for ex. , became cult! and RT is usualy wrong about the rattings!
    you had a lot of old-borring slow paced half-interesting movies ….. and failed to take all sides in account. It the list is about the “best 50″ ever…..don’t you think most of us today would rather consider “better” something new and fast-paced filmed? can’t tell me that you like the old “planet of the apes” instead of the new!!!! common sence dicates that something superior in stile is 90% prefered by general public.

    interesting ideea
    maybe you should make a 100 list and ask people to vote
    it will be closer

  418. James Veverka

    Whats sad is I have seen most of these movies. Loved them as well.

  419. David Key

    I have seen most but not all…As with all lists they are a matter of opinion… but Equilibrium,Starship troopers and Soylent Green near the bottom of list??? they are different but should be or are classics !!! Sleeper with Woody Allen number 11.. it could have been written by child.. boring and child like! Children of Men #6.. it wanted to be good movie but just could not pull it off… Plus as have been said you left of Terminator … one of the best movies of any type !! Well as said before just a matter of opinion !!

  420. CDinSeattle

    How could you leave out Tank Girl!!!

  421. Ray Mutchler

    I disagree with how broad of a definition for “dystopian” was used for this list, but at least the makers at least somewhat recognize how broad they’ve thrown the net. To me it’s not enough that the *setting* is a dystopia or dystopia-like but the dystopia must be the actual *subject* of the work.

    Take for example the three novels that form the foundation of the genre: A Brave New World, We, and 1984. All three of these works have their oppressive societies as the primary subject matter in a way lacking in many of the above movies such as Starship Troopers and I Robot. I especially disagree with the statement that Star Wars easily fits the dystopian model for this very reason.

    Nonetheless, a good list of movies. There are a few that I’m now interested in checking out.

  422. Niki

    Actually, Mirriam-Webster defines dystopia as “an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives”, and Britannica, under “dystopian sci fi novel”, it gives us “The counter to utopia is dystopia, in which hopes for betterment are replaced by electrifying fears of the ugly consequences of present-day behaviour.” In which case, a few more of the movies offered DO embody dystopia. But none of the official definitions talk of privation, misery that most of the commentors used to describe a dystopia: “state in which the condition of life is extremely bad, as from deprivation, oppression, or terror.”

    Under Dostoyevski dystopia, it says “Above all, his works continue to enthrall readers by combining suspenseful plots with ultimate questions about faith, suffering, and the meaning of life”…now THAT could be valid to Serenity, but I don’t think that’s what most people think of when they think of dystopia…

    I enjoyed the list, and found many movies on it which I have seen, most of which I appreciated, too. But far too few of them represent either the common understanding of dystopia OR the official ones. In actuality, a definitive listing would include a number of those suggested by other commentors far more than it would any number of those on the list, and would PREclude many of those on the list.

  423. Niki

    I see numerous others have argued with the definition of “dystopia” as well, and noted the one person saying we were so preoccupied with minutae that we missed the point, and were nitpickers. I disagree wholeheartedly; comment posts such as these are invited to DISCUSS the posted article, and this has been a lively and interesting discussion, in my opinion. I also find it interesting the various interpretations we all garnered of “dystopia” and what it represents. I think it reflects a lot about us as moviegoers and the impressions movies gave us.

    I find nothing wrong in debating which movies reflected dystopia and which didn’t, and having people offer other suggestions they think apply. Would the commentor have preferred to have us all just post “great list!” “I liked __ but didn’t like ___” and so forth? What a boring discussion that would have made!

    Perhaps it is that I find it more offensive to have someone come in and trash debaters rather than join in with a useful offering, but that’s just me…

  424. Dan J

    OMG, thank you thank you THANK YOU for putting this entire list on one damn page!!!!! NO one does it anymore

  425. 1337Sluss

    the Resident Evils should have been included!!!!!

  426. bill allen

    Where is “Wild in the Streets”! Come on, Richard Pryor, Shelly Winters et. al.. A musical score by Steppinwolf (sic).
    Everybody over 30 in prison!

  427. Chris

    I find it amusing that your picture in the opening paragraph is from Bioshock. That would be a video game, not a movie.

  428. Petra

    In my opinion “Animal Farm” is one of the best destopian films.

  429. Molly

    I REALLY hope these aren’t supposed to be ranked in any kind of order!!

  430. Dells

    Soylent Green is People!!!!

  431. professor shadoe

    hey Kat Renee Kittel … the movie you are looking for is called “harrison bergeron” based on a story by kurt vonnegut. awesome movie.

  432. billy

    equalibrium should be higher up,and the new farenheit movie in 2010 will be number 1

  433. shut up!

    you people who argue about what ranks should be what are stupid, he explains how he ranked them, by averaging critics and regular folks votes from two sources. seeing as the masses are asses, and most critics are jaded pretentious douche bags no wonder most people have objections to the list. the real issue is that many movies have little or nothing to do with a dystopian societies. but it doesn’t matter because this is the internet and nobody that matters cares about our silly self indulgent comments….damn.

  434. BOMTRAK

    Well I realize no one will really care about any of this but still…

    You made a list of movies that other sources thought were good or bad. Critics are not the masses. Starship Troopers was a joke of a movie – but the book was great. The lack of key movies like Fight Club or The Warriors tells me you didn’t quite think things through (or thought about other factors too much). Like War of the Worlds, which had nothing to do with a dystopian society and everything to do with a race of beings wanting to have what we have to survive – which is dystopian if you wanna stretch it that far. I mean you could then say that Star Wars is a dystopian movie.

    BTW that pic of Mad Max IS from the first movie.

  435. Art

    This might be the most criticized and lowly rated movie, but I think “The Postman” with Kevin Costner should qualify to be in the category……..

  436. James

    Wowee the world is small.
    Or maybe I have no independent opinions and only repeat what I forget I read somewhere, thinking it’s original.
    Which is it? How can I tell?

    The story:
    For a discussion of sorts I was putting together a list “5 dystopian movies”
    And they’re all here.

    Although I have some quibbles:

    - Soylent Green I wouldn’t have included: It’s just a hellish society, not a dysfunctional paradise?
    - Starship Troopers? That’s a good swashbuckling space-bugs movie.
    - War of the Worlds – belongs even less, it’s got nothing to do with society (except the lone man in the ruined house).
    - And most other films: Not dystopias either.

    To conclude:
    - Is original thought possible?
    - Why is this list so divorved from it’s title?
    - Ranking is foolish: All I’ll say is my favourites in no order are

    Fahrenheit 451
    Soylent Green
    Logan’s Run for pure weirdness
    2001 Space Odyssey (unlisted)
    Scanner Darkly

  437. CT Blake

    While a nice list, it is poorly ranked, and several films don’t belong at all (the oft mentioned “Wings of Desire” and “Pleasantville”, being two of them.

    There are an awful lot of more recent, poorly made films that out-rank more classic, better made, scripted and acted that also happen to fit the dystopian label far better. My guess is, the list producer is in their 20′s.

    It need to be re-ordered, to be a valuable tool for people to get a good idea of what a true dystopian film IS.

  438. Kput

    One of the old movies that I think it’s missing that fits in the same gender is one called “A Perfect World” (If I remembered it well) from Aldous Husley’s book .

  439. name

    most of these movies really sucked

    i fell asleep after watching at least a handful of them

  440. V

    Two mentionable movies in my opinion would be Waterworld and Postman… excellent concepts, but okay movies. Oh and a newer movie… 10,000 B.C.! It took a narrative about a caveman having to deal with hierarchical enslaving tyrants who captured humans and… wait for it… “mammoths!” to build their so-called holy pyramids! Fuck yeah! Oh wait, this list was generated before it came out, my bad.

    Some of the good movies like Equilibrium, Soylent Green, and 1984 were placed really high, WTF? Those should’ve been at least top twenty!

    Scanner Darkly shouldn’t have been placed here because it came out in a time period that had relevant issues to contrast it already… nothing new to present. Starship Trooper is totally not a dystopian movie, it was purely sci-fi. War of the World shouldn’t be on there too, for the aliens never had control of earth (just like Starship Troopers)… they were merely conducting military exercise’s on their new weaponry systems only hehe.

    Man, you forgot like a huge ass dystopian animation… Heavy Metal anyone! That shit was a trip and had like beaucoup breasts everywhere! And Terminator 1 because it set the storyline that man in the near future were overruled by robots.

    Lastly, update this list already man!

  441. MattW

    You are all idiots. The ranking is formulaic.

  442. Igipopp

    Most likely you’ve not seen some of the films. Like Delicatessen…
    V is ranked lower than 1984? Wtf? I robot is an dystopian movie? No it not! It is only a very bad movie…

  443. Hank

    I was hoping Children of Men would be on this list – sure didn’t expect a top ten though! A pleasant surprise indeed. That’s become a new favourite of mine, not just story-wise and for the plausibility of the world its story is set in, but also because it has some simply brilliant, yet quite subtle, cinematography (check the firefight at the end).

    Quite a few of my favourites are on there and it’s interesting to note that with a few I’ve only read the novels that inspired them (eg The Trial, 1984, Fahrenheit 451) and with others I really think I should have read the books as well (Minority Report, Starship Troopers, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? [Bladerunner], A Clockwork Orange).

    I, Robot, however, is a great example of a film I shouldn’t have bothered seeing after I’d read the book. The Asimov novel is of course superior and the plot and atmosphere of the film deviated way too much from Asimov’s, as did the characters. There’s a lot to be said for presenting films in a different way to their source material, especially if you make something that just rules (The Shining) but there’s an equal amount to be said for staying as faithful as you can to the story and mood of that material, even if it’s not possible to replicate every detail for the screen (The Watchmen, Lord Of The Frakkin Rings).

    Anyway, nice work. You’ve reminded me of many a film that I’ve meant to watch over the years but have never got around to seeing (eg Soylent Green, Metropolis [1927], The Omega Man) as well as bringing a bunch to my attention that I’d not heard of. You’ve also rekindled great memories of films that I love like Death Race 2000 and I especially love that the only films from a series are Mad Max 1 & 2 (go Aussie – we loved Mel down here, but after Lethal Weapon IV and that torture-p0orn thing about Jesus we’re happy to give him back to the US). Nice to see an appearance from the anime Metropolis as well as Akira and Ghost In The Shell, possibly my two favourite anime flicks ever.

    Just one note: The Running Man was indeed written by Stephen King, but under his pseudonym Richard Bachman.

  444. Jeff-TVQC

    Great list
    thank you
    here is a few others

    I Am Legend
    Jericho (TV series)

  445. Zed

    Can anyone help me find the tittle of a dystopian movie/tv program? I don’t know if it’s a full-length movie nor it’s a TV-movie, but it’s quite remarkable to be a great film.

    It’s about a dystopian future where there is no vegetation, and there is a very poor life quality, and every man and woman have a plugged device in their hands. That device “speak” and told them how many years, months, days and even hours and minutes have left until they die. When the counter reachs zero, they REALLY die.

    Another particularity about this film is the fact that the society uses time (lifetime) as a currency. Even a tree worth a thousand years of lifetime.

    If you can guide me in the right direction to watch again this strange but reflexive piece of art, I would be very grateful. My mail is

  446. Orlin

    what about Renaissance 2006? 6.8 on imdb..?

  447. whitegreyblack

    I love venturing back to this webpage every few months to get more suggestions from you folks on dystopian (and non-dystopian) films. Thanks everyone.

  448. Ben

    I feel I should add my two penn’orth, having read most of the comment and the list…
    Waterworld should be included, as should Tank Girl. I’d like to put forward a vote for Demolition Man too, as well as Judge Dredd… If they qualify, which I realise they may not, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Titan AE and Tron should be here too.

    That’s me done. Oh, and the original Bodysnatchers, though I’m not really sure it qualifies for this list, I do love it.

  449. Danji

    Love the list many much. Thanks so much – have already enjoyed beginning to explore this stuff!

    The Cube series are for sure deserving; fit right in.

    Hmmm….many of my favorite movies fit on this list….should I be concerned? :)

  450. Danji

    Also, how about Howl’s Moving Castle for some Miyasaki? Maybe not dystopian worlds entirely but definitely some dystopian realities portrayed in some of the most beautiful and effective ways ever, imho.

  451. Stephanie

    What about Cherry 2000?

  452. Stephanie

    To Dominik or who ever it was ? The pic they have for Escape from New York is correct! Its not from Escape from L.A.! Snake has his foot planted on the chest of, Brain. This is from the first movie. What about Videodrone?

  453. Bo-Jangles

    It would be good if all the movies on this list portrayed a dystopian future. This is not the case. Total Fail.

  454. Amy

    The Handmaid’s Tale should be there!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Great book!!!!

  455. Kevin


    Before another one of you idiots posts about how the list author should have ranked “this” or “that” higher than “the other” will you take 5 seconds to read the “RANKING THE LIST” section at the beginning. It isn’t too difficult to figure out the methodology.

    After reading comments from some of you, I’m beginning to think “Idiocracy” is the most plausible film on the list.

  456. ClaudioX

    Dark city and Batman the movie is kinda dystopian would´nt you say??

    just a thought..

    batman could be set in a future where all mindkinds only hope are “superhumans” to save the day.
    contrary Superman whom have a glee look over it.
    even though the caracteres in the comic is at same timeline..
    am i stretching this abit?.. :)

  457. ClaudioX

    Batman the movie is kinda dystopian would´nt you say??

    just a thought..

    batman could be set in a future where all mindkinds only hope are “superhumans” to save the day.
    contrary Superman whom have a glee look over it.
    even though the caracteres in the comic is at same timeline..
    am i stretching this abit?.. :)

  458. Carmen

    I am legend (with will smith) should be in top 10. And it is not even in the top 50. That’s a good movie and a possible ending of our world , made by our own hands

  459. Feller

    Great reminder. Enjoyed viewing your list.

  460. Josh

    I find this list to include many good classic films as well as a few favorites. I am looking forward to watching a few that I have not seen before. Great job on that!
    That being said; I think that the ranking might reflect a certain bias to certain subcultures. Mainly the ones who do spend copious amounts of time on the internet rating their favorite movies. For example: all those anime films that made it so close the the top.

  461. Robert

    Wow, what a great list, thanks! stumbled…

  462. cinephile

    The Great Silence (1968) belongs in the top 10 with its well deserved rating of 7.9. Allow me to quote from a review on IMDB:

    “”The Great Silence” is Corbucci’s definitive movie, powerful to the point of sadness. It can and it will shock it’s viewer, with it’s unforgiving nature, and themes.”…

    “This score is, haunting and sad, like the movie itself it has an emotional effect on the viewer.”…

    “A uniquely dark voyage into the brutal reality of human nature, concealed as a western.”…

  463. Fabricio

    Blade Runner / Metropolis should be shown at high schools. Period.

  464. Gareth

    The Illustrated Man?

  465. Cynthia J. Pirl

    Please forgive if someone else left this same comment, but why no Fight Club?

  466. Adam

    “The Noah” should definitely be up there.

  467. Jambug

    Not such a bad collection, but as others have mentioned, certainly not without it’s observational flaws: Zardoz – cheezy and faux-fantasy as it sometimes comes across as, should in fact, be included; it’s freakin’ Sean Connery flying around in a floating head in a loincloth shooting a revolver, fercrissake – there’s no other slot to put it in other than “dystopian future”. Starship Troopers is clearly space-opera and should be omitted. The 5th Element, however scifi-esque, truly is dystopian despite the overwhelming humor element and should be in the top 5. The original “I Am Legend” (The Last Man on Earth) starring the ever-masterful Vincent Price captures more of the dystopian feel of the novel than either of it’s predecessors and should be included. Idiocracy and Strange Days should both be knocked off. War of the Worlds is strictly scifi. A Boy and His Dog should be top 10. Pleasantville and Wings of Desire – no, sorry – add your alternatives here. Yes to La Jete. Planet of the Apes is pretty much about as dystopian (anti-utopian) as a society can get, yet you missed that.

  468. Dennis

    I would have submitted “Threads” as well.

  469. Acheron

    This list isn’t perfect.
    But you can find real lost gems in the comments.

  470. Adam

    You forgot “The Noah” that very few have seen, as it was never released theatrically, but definitely belongs in this list.

  471. jarock

    Good list, congrats. To all of you nay-sayers, realize that the idea of dystopia is a means to show flaws within current day society through portrayal of a usually futuristic place in which social class is often strictly enforced and accomplishments are often suppressed. Because dystopia is only an idea, though, we may see any fictional society as a dystopia. Truth be told, though, I would say that War of the Worlds if far from a dystopian world, mainly because extra-terrestrial life doesn’t eloquently point out any flaws within our own society, and if you recall it was the invaders who brought diseases to the new world to kill them, not the other way around.

  472. jarock

    Good list, congrats. To all of you nay-sayers, realize that the idea of dystopia is a means to show flaws within current day society through portrayal of a usually futuristic place in which social class is often strictly enforced and accomplishments are often suppressed. Because dystopia is only an idea, though, we may see any fictional society as a dystopia. Truth be told, though, I would say that War of the Worlds if far from a dystopian world, mainly because extra-terrestrial life doesn’t eloquently point out any flaws within our own society and, if you recall, it was the invaders who brought diseases to the new world, killing them, not the other way around. Ya know, Mayans and shit?

  473. Ian

    What about “Dune”, “Dune 2000″, or “Children of Dune”? Why more dystopic.

  474. XiaoGui17

    Harrison Bergeron has to be one of my favorites.

  475. void

    waterworld is underrated. i think it should be on this list.

    and what about Dune its a classic.

    anyway, nice list.

  476. RDean

    I think a lot of the commenters who are up-in-arms about the rankings seem to not realize that the order is not based on the list-makers’ personal opinions, but rather their numerical ratings on the two sites.

    Personally, I would have rearranged the rankings a bit, but I think this is a good list, with many great dystopian movies. And the list creators were clearly trying to be unbiased here, by basing their ranks on what could be considered a large consensus, since both RT and IMDb build ratings from many user inputs. The only potential issues people should have should be whether certain movies should be in the list at all, because of their questionable status as “dystopian”.

    And yeah, Strange Days IS a dystopian film, and it is VERY cool.

  477. trsev

    “The Book of Eli” definitely should now be included.

  478. pondicherry times

    very useful posts, thank you

  479. Jodie

    Do you have something against the Alien Series? Especially the first and second.

  480. SkrimSkram

    …say… wheres 2001 a space odyssey? probably doesnt even fit..
    utter that that… this list is tops! im seein alot of my favourites.. and the ones i dont recognize look damn interesting..

    much appreciation!!


    technically clockwork orange isn’t set in england, it could be but the book say it could be any major European city

  482. garlandb

    This list probably should have been cut down to 25 if the makers were so desperate they had to include District 13. What’s even more disturbing is that it outranks films like Idiocracy and A Scanner Darkly!?

  483. alex

    Id like to nominate Pasolini’s ‘ Salo:120 Days of Sodom’
    as perhaps one of the most searing, terrifying visions of hell on earth

  484. Alex

    I nominate ‘Salo:120 Days of Sodom’
    -hell on earth

  485. whitegreyblack

    Keep the suggestions coming!

    I’m surprised to see no calls for The Road to be added (despite it being post-apocalyptic rather than dystopian). : )

  486. rik hulme

    Ive not heard of most of the films on the list, but my last pay day i bought a few of the films listed, and i must say ” thank you very much without you guys i would have never seen films like this. great job. hope you have more lists like this”its almost payday”

  487. Charlotte rampling


  488. watch dexter online

    the movie from tim burton is still on the best way…like Edward scissord hand and another dark movie

  489. vesti srbija

    Love the list many much. Thanks so much – have already enjoyed beginning to explore this stuff!

  490. vesti srbija

    Love the list many much. This 47. Rollerball (1975) is hillarious!!!

  491. Deckard

    Impressive list, i only have one disagreement. Whilst Metropolis is an INCREDIBLE movie and probably the first dystopic film…. id say Blade Runner is by far the best… but then id say Blade Runner is the best FILM of any genre in the world ever. but thats just me. im a sucker for it.

  492. Blah

    The Cube!!!!

  493. Trace

    I saw pieces of a dystopian style movie several years ago in which all the inhabitants wore clothing that bore a patch that stated their social/intelligence status, such as A+, B-, etc. I do not remember the title of this flick. Does anyone have any guidance here? I’ve love to catch rent this movie and watch it all the way through.


  494. movielover

    is that one?

  495. JackBDead

    The Book of Eli (2010)

  496. izrada web sajta

    Definiteley The Book of Eli …

  497. vesti srbija

    I agree.The book of Eli

  498. Pascal Delacroix

    Matthew (Sep 8, 2007, 9:15 pm) List of Utopian movies in response to Logan’s Run.

    Perhaps the total lack of candidates for this kind of list … simply highlights people’s inability to think outside the box .
    We harp on the ultimate dysfunctional society rather than get to grips with a better more perfect ideal. Conflict and mortality is the stuff of life and the universe itself.

    True immortality simply ‘spoils the party’ in our present paradigm of life, death (begin, end) and all the rest .

  499. hZ!

    yes, great list. to sum up regarding all the also great films that missed out, this should be a greatest 100 rather than 50

  500. hZ!

    @ Trace

    that would probably be ‘brave new world’. also a book by aldous huxley, not to be missed.

  501. ????? ??????

    yes i agree with u …this the top 50 movies ..thx

  502. ????? ??????

    yes i agree with u …this the top 50 movies ..thx

  503. hunglikejesus

    To all of you who don’t see Idiocracy as a viable dystopian film (because it aims for over-the-top farce), you’re probably a bunch of hip, urban scenesters who just don’t get to see on a daily basis what Sarah Palin country is like to live in. Idiocracy was made in, what, 2005? Seriously, if tomorrow the local fairgrounds announced they would be showing public executions with a “dildozer” monster truck, I’d bet my eyeteeth fully 50% of the tri-county area’s population would be in attendance.

    Very nice list, btw. Two cents’ worth:
    Omission: Goodbye, 20th Century (Zbogum na dvaesettiot vek! 1998)
    Could do without: I, Robot (2004)

  504. Hashfish

    Very nice site. I did not realize that “dystopian” was a genre, but many of my favourite movies are on here.

    I will bit hitting the video store for the top 10, most of which I haven’t seen. Many thanks!

    (And Idiocracy deserves recognition, even though it is over the top, and I know many people who hate it, I think it is very funny, that opening scene is brilliant!)

  505. Luc

    Very good Idea, eventhough I strongly disagree with some rankings…

  506. apnea

    A fairly weak list, all things considered. You specifically omit to define your category of dystopia, and settle for arbitrary judgment calls along with the unjustified metric of averaging online ratings for movies (some very) old and (some very) new.

    All around pretty poor show. Or pretty good if you were intent on creating controversy in the comments and inflating your “hits”.

    I did enjoy many of the much more original suggestions in the comments, however. Thanks to everyone who participated.

  507. Gene

    I am pleased that Code 46 made the list. If you ranked dystopian films by the odds of predicting the true future, Code 46 would have be be near the top, along with “Children of Men”, and some aspects of “Blade Runner”.

    “Idiocracy” does not belong on the list for same reason that “Jesus Camp” doesn’t…because those are both documentaries:-) Otherwise “Jesus Camp” would rank #1.

    I would have thrown out “Starship Troopers”, because in my opinion it is a low-quality film and doesn’t meet my definition of “dystopian”. Mad props for the whipping scene though..that was hot; almost as hot as the bondage scene at the end of “Code 46″. I just don’t think “Starship Troopers” is “smart” enough for this list. Yes I am an elitist.

    I think that Handmade’s Tale is rightly NOT on the list, because again, I judge that film as being of low quality (regardless of the cast).

    I think “Brazil” is over-rated but it does (grudgingly) belong on the list. If you are going with “Brazil” then where is “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover” ? That’s my main issue with including “Brazil”. If you include it, then you almost have to add some others.

    Same reason for why not including the “The Truman Show”. Because if you include it, then why not a superior film like “Blue Velvet”? (both are ‘dystopian suburbia’, but BV is clearly superior). I am not suggesting that either of these belongs on this list.

    I object to Robocop on principle. Ditching Robocop would have left open a spot for “Splice”..which isn’t out yet:-)

    2001 (mentioned in the comments section) was not a dystopian film so it does not belong on the list. 2001 is about the development of of human consciousness, and has nothing much at all to do with the theme of a degraded future.


  508. Fritz Smith

    Will smiths the last man on earth was a racist peice of crap and book of eli sucked these should not be on any list. vincent price is the man. better list than any of you put up. most of you are stupid!

  509. Terry

    I loved Wings of Desire but it was not a dystopian film. It took place in the present (80′s, not some future) and was about an angel falling in love. It should be under “drama” or “romance”

  510. IamInappropriate

    You forgot the movie “One Ball, One Rooster, Two Bearded Clams, Three Sideways Smiles, Five Pink Tacos, Eight Camel Toes, and Thirteen Fibonacci Sequences”! If that’s not dystopian, then I have no clue what is!!!

  511. Çak?rTürk

    thanks for movies. I’m gonna watch in this summer.

  512. OZ

    metropia should be here, too.

  513. kasd;

    what about demolition man?!!

  514. Shelby

    HEY GUYS!!! i’ve only seen like 4 of these movies! :D lol

  515. Riccars

    Thank you for putting the entire list on one page. It’s getting harder to find that these days. Blasted ad whores.

  516. madd

    wowww its great … i was know if dystopian is opposite from utopia …

  517. diogenes

    You have an improper definition of dystopia. Dystopia isn’t just some place that’s bad or oppressive, it has to have the veneer of a utopia. Star Wars doesn’t represent a dystopia because there is no pretense to utopia. Starship Troopers isn’t even close to dystopic. Nothing in the movie makes reference to how bad their society is.

    Still, good list mostly.

  518. Momo

    Great list and useful comments, thanks! I recently saw Mr. Nobody. Maybe not a life-changing movie, but a really amazing one.

  519. Bill Getas

    Please look into
    Vigilant Citizen .Com
    East Ghost .Com
    Davesweb .Cnchost .Com

  520. Commenter 0298420029384203948

    Wow, how is Soylent Green on this list? That was literally one of the worst films I have ever seen. The concept of the plot was good but the movie itself was painfully bad. The script and the acting were terrible, and I only watched this movie all the way through because I was being made to watch it at school.

  521. karl

    what about millennium? A future world of people time traveling into the past because they are all sterile?? That should be here!

    And this looks like a list of old movies… deathrace 2000 sucks, and is barely reverse utopia. The new version of it is better as you can see the mega corporations and so forth.

    F451 and 1984 should be here (and are) so… yeah. This list kinda stinks.

    P.S. Zardox, cube, …

  522. EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Instead of posting … this list is not dystopian….. STFU!!!!


    What’s your top 10??

  523. Chris - Atlanta

    Great idea for a list – thanks for the memories – definitely “Brazil,” the motion picture that, with “Tron,” best approximates my recurrent nightmares, trapped in some manmade hell. I don’t see “The Stepford Wives” which I’d place high on your list with its relentless love-the-burbs and-conform-or-else message. Woman in the Dunes (Japanese 1964) was suffocatingly claustrophobic but ended with an odd form of happiness. Low on the list might be “Strange Days” (1995), set in futuristic L.A. One favorite memorable and stylish romp into the future is “The Tenth Victim” (Italian, 1965) with chic killers fighting boredom by playing a deadly game – with charming results.

  524. Jim

    Why would War of the Worlds be on this list? It’s just a movie about an alien invasion! Please update so I can share it with others as a credible source of information.

  525. Jim

    “A Christmas Carol” with its “Ghost of Christmas Future” is more dystopian than War of the Worlds!

  526. Jim

    see: “Dystopian Films” on facebook.

  527. Scott

    Judge Dreed, Terminator, Star Trek, Avatar, Renaissance Man, Land of The Dead (the original), Cube, WATERWORLD, The Road, Soylent Green, many many more. Watch MOVIES!! It’s great! =)

  528. aaron

    I have to admit that rollerball is awesome I had never seen it before and for an old film it is great, along with a few others there such as irobot and artificial intellegence.

    To be honest I didn’t like Clockwork Orange it was too much in your face for me and something that I would not like to watch again.

  529. whitegreyblack

    Excellent suggestions, people. I love coming back here to find more.

  530. James

    Great list but totally forgot Harrison Bergeron. Probably one of my favourite films on dystopian futures. Also The Island could probably be classified in this list.

  531. teuntje

    You definately forgot Taxandria (1994) from Raoul Servais!

  532. Kegran

    I don’t understand the hate for Idiocracy personally. Sure it was stupid, and left tons of plot holes (like if everyone was so stupid where did the hi-tech elements come from, and who maintained them?), however, I think anyone who doesn’t feel it should be on this list just didn’t get it. It was more of a social commentary on where society is/may be heading. Maybe Beavis and Butthead was a deeper movie than this in the minds of some, but beneath the surface I think it had a way deeper meaning than casual viewers grasped, and maybe it even belittles it’s own fans with it’s message… It’s hard to watch and not laugh at “Ow My Balls”, and in doing so, you might just be an idiot yourself for laughing.

    Anyway, good list. I’m glad Zardoz didn’t make it.

  533. zakkandrachoff


    Terminator 2
    District 9
    The silence of the lambs
    Robocop 2
    American psicho
    Der Untergang
    No country for old men
    The X files – movie 1 & 2
    Black Hawk down
    Grand Torino
    miami vice
    Howl’s Moving Castle

  534. clockstalker

    how is blackhawk down a movie related to this list? That movie was based off an event that happened in 1993..

  535. clockstalker

    okay.. zachandrachoff, grand torino.. really?

  536. watchbeforebeingsmartass

    Those smartasses saying the mad max 1 still is “actually” from mad max 2 should have watched the last 30 minutes of mad max 1 before commenting

  537. Catherine Collins

    Awesome site! Thank you!

  538. zakkandrachoff

    yes clockstalker, really !

  539. Jamie

    There is a difference between “dystopian” and “set in the future and something bad happens”

  540. faiz shafie

    I just watched “Dark City” for the first time – the great 1998 movie from director Alex Proyas. I can’t believe I hadn’t come across it sooner – its fantastic (Ebert named it the best film of 1998) and it deals with two of my favorite subjects: Dark Cities and Dystopic Societies. In fact I came across it while scanning a list of the “Top Dystopian Movies of All Time”

    I will watch it again


    Faiz Shafie

  541. OpuS1138

    City of Ember!

  542. OpuS1138

    Dystopian refers to a society that appears to be ideal or at least functional but in reality hides something terribly wrong like Equilibrium, Brazil, Matrix, 1984, Dark City, THX1138, Metropolis, V, A Scanner Darkly, Zardoz, and so on. It doesn’t have anything to do with post-apocalyptic landscapes or the problems of a particular person in a futuristic strange world or a future society facing the same challenges we face like corruption, pollution, etc or a society that is downright ruined.

    • Wesley

      Wrong. A “dystopia” is the idea of a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian. Often, but not always, nor necessarily. Dystopian future is not the same as dystopian society, either, and neither define a dystopian movie.
      def Dystopia – wiktionary
      1. A vision of a future that is a corrupted (usually beyond recognition) utopian society.
      2. A miserable, dysfunctional state or society that has a very poor standard of living.

  543. OpuS1138

    Great movies though.

  544. ryan

    what about THE HUNGER GAMES?

  545. James

    coudl I suggest 5th Element?

  546. Ben

    A dystopia does not have to be imaginary. In fact, those societies are real. North Korea… It is simply a society or group living in a repressive or controlled state… often leaving the people with a degraded form of living. Mad Max is loosely a dystopia. It is more accurately a post-apocalyptic world where life is dog eat dog.

  547. Zorbas

    Nice to see that Logan’s Run and Soylent Green made it. And Clockwork Orange that high is so well deserved. However as so many here i miss:
    - “Zardoz”
    - “Moon” (as of 2009, so not included here but currently with very high IMDB rating)
    - If nuclear war-stories are included “The day after” is missing. However it may be slightly too realistic but disturbingly realistic.

    Great list anyway!

  548. saima

    hi for my coursework piece i need to write a 1750 words essay on ther theme od dystopia? caan you please suggest some ideas on what is hould do it on please thank you

  549. Maya

    I didn’t see The Island anywhere :/

  550. Julie

    Six-String Samurai should be on your list.

  551. Steve

    I would consider this movie Dystopia although some of you probably really disliked it. I liked it a lot. The Postman. Kevin Costner. It was a bit long and drawn out but I liked it a lot.

  552. tc

    why didn’t barb wire make the list?

  553. Harry

    I’ve searched and searched for the title of that short film but I’ve not been able to find it. Hitchcock, Twilight Zone, Outer Limits .. I’ve looked at a lot of plot descriptions and can’t find it. I wish I could. Can anyone else help.

    As I recall from the story their voucher was missing. They wind up begging some rations from neighbors to stay alive. Eventually the agency in charge corrects their mistake but they also find out that the family has been begging, which is against the law. The fine for begging is 1 months worth of rations. At the end of the month of no rations the man returns to the agency to pick up his ration voucher. He is thing and drawn and nearly starved. As he is turning away the
    clerk at the agency remarks Mr. (Smith? ), what happened to your arm! As the camera shot pulls back we are allowed to see that the man no longer has his left arm. Presumably he sacrificed it to keep his family alive.

    September 29th, 2007 at 2:46 am

    Years ago (about 1976 or so) I saw a short film about a small family trying to survive in a dystopian future where everything was regulated and controlled. Somehow their food ration ticket had been mangled and bureaucratic red tape delays them getting another ticket for a month. They fight, the husband agonizes over what to do. They make it, but they don’t look too happy. Oh, and now the guy is mysteriously missing an arm. Does anyone know the name of that short movie?

  554. mac

    In fact, dystopia is the opposite of utopia, that is, anything fictional contrary to the ideal. In this particular case, contrary to the “ideal society”.

    All the movies listed here are dystopias; maybe Modern Times also could be considered that way… and also a movie based in our days, showing something awful of our “western society” could be considered a dystopia. Or something based in an alternative past, like “Watchmen”…

    But generally dystopias are set in the future (it’s de easiest way to make a fictional society and make it look real), so if it is not in the future, it’s not considered dystopia.

  555. Mike

    Why don’t you make a 100-list out of it?

    What’s about “Renaissance (Paris 2054)”?

  556. dat

    good list but “starship trooper” sucked.
    should of had “city of God” on there

  557. sonya

    Anyone seen The Road??
    that’s a great one. I’m surprised its not mentioned.

  558. Barb

    Doomsday with Malcolm McDowell

  559. Christine

    If the post-apocalyptic Mad Max is on the list, then I think The Road should be included. It’s better than many on this list, including Mad Max. Maybe it’s too new?

  560. kaconka

    You fuckers are all losers!
    Get a fucking life and watch some real movies.
    Every piece of shit on this list wasted time of your life for pure end garbage results!

  561. rebecca

    i loved the island. i agree with maya.

  562. Tom Caracash

    Wow, a new list of “must see’s”. Thanks for taking the time to put this noteworthy project together.

  563. brian

    I think ‘Westworld’ needs to be on this list! What’s more dystopian than computers running amok!

    have you considered using metacritic as another data point?

  564. Cylon

    Never Let Me Go is a preety good new dystopian movie and not on the list (since it wasn’t on at the time the list was made)

  565. Jeff

    Can’t quite see why some of the movies are on the list (Starship Troopers???), but Aeon Flux should be on there.

    Its too bad that there aren’t more (good) dystopian movies.

  566. Xex

    Look up Time of the Wolf or Le Temps d’ Loupe, its a French film and well deserving of being on your list, or at least a special mention.

  567. John Smith

    Phase IV.
    Simply THE bleakest vision of the future possible. Controlled by ants.
    I was itchy for WEEKS after watching it, it literally gets under your skin.
    If it doesn’t meet the criteria of this website, the criteria are wrong. ;-)

  568. houston

    What about The Postman?

  569. Jessica

    How can The Running Man be an honorable mention?
    I just cannot grasp that.

  570. school

    I think some of these people on here who leave long comments complaining about this has way to much time on there hands!:)

  571. JACK

    what up with wall-e??? when will you re-make this list with actual films and new ratings??

  572. Puffy

    I can see great care has been taken to compose this list,and i love the discussions about rankings and inevitable omisions. considering the still frequent comments almost four years after the original posting, perhaps updating the list is an idea?

  573. Shark

    I don’t see Videodrome on this list.

  574. Katie

    I love children of men, has to be my number one choice.

  575. CruZControL

    Nice list… but I swear I was confident I’d see Watchmen somewhere in the top-10 – and it’s not mainstream by any stretch of the imagination. Oh well…

  576. CruZControL

    Ok, apologies. Just noticed that this list was first posted on 2007, so many of the late dystopian films such as Watchmen could not have been included. Maybe it’s time to update the list! :)

  577. Siv Österlund

    Looking for an old film, horror, “Experiment Q” it´s the swedish title. I saw the movie 1950, I was not 15 years yet, I was 14.
    Siv Ö.

  578. Markus

    Thanks guys, went through a lot of ‘best of lists’ but your’s has by far the best collection. A lot of movies I never heard about or just forgot about. Well done, would be great if one day you extend it to 100 :D …and very happy that Brazil is so far up the list, my absolute favorite.

  579. David

    A fabulous movie not on the list is The Truman Show starring Jim Carrey.

  580. Chelsea

    Umm how did you miss La Jetee? 12 monkeys is based directly from it and half of the movies on the list reference it in some way. Nice job.

  581. London escort

    AI was a great film. Should be much higher up!

  582. Spyderwoman, TA

    Lathe Of Heaven, Animal Farm, Slaughterhouse 5, every Zombie film ever made; Dahlgren, but I don’t think it was ever made into a movie…too close to 100%porn

  583. "The Price Of Life"

    “Zed” and “Help me remember” the movie you are looking for is “The Price of Life.” It was a short (

  584. paul

    im sorry but the Running Man does NOT deserve a mention.. not on any list lol

  585. lolo341

    Great list that proves can’t please everyone at the same time. Would love to see an update. Meanwhile, here are some of my suggestions:

    Time of the Wolf (Haneke, 2003)

    Night Watch (Lukyanenko, 2004)

    Liquid Sky (Tsukerman, 1983)

    The Road (Hillcoat, 2009)

    eXistenZ (Cronenberg, 1999)

  586. Giovanni

    About 20 years ago I watched a film that caused a great impact on me, but with the run of time I forgotten of the title and the director. I believe the film is from the 60´s or 70´s. I don´t remember the argument, however, I have flashbacks of the scenes. On the story the govern have a extreme control on the society trough the police and the technology, I remember an eye-fly that watching the people constantly. Each person need carry a folder with its documents. The books has been forbidden so the police burn them on the streets. On the final scene the people wake up against the system and are running naked across the streets. I hope somebody can help me to find the information and details of the film. I will be very happy if I can watch it again.

  587. Sean

    Great list; very useful in finding movies to watch. There are still quite a few I haven’t seen yet, or even heard of, so I’ll be using this page as a reference point.

  588. John Grabowski

    Pleasantly surprised by many of the entries here, and of course, there are at least a couple that I think don’t quite belong (Starship Troopers comes to mind).

    A dystopian film that’s come out since this list was first published that may have slipped under many people’s radar is “Never Let Me Go.” Excellent.

  589. Kristina

    Loving that Artificial Intelligence, Gattaca, and The Road Warrior made the list. I think I may have a found a few new ones I’d love to watch.

  590. Paul

    Sorry mate, but many of these films aren’t set in a dystopia, they’re just general science fiction. Also, you seem to use quite unfitting adjectives to describe them. Apart from that, they also seem to be in no particular order, or you simply have a terrible taste in films.

  591. Thiellus

    Fantastic list, I can not wait to check out many of these selections. My one suggestion – move A Clockwork Orange to no. 1 spot.

  592. Paul Baines

    Almost all my faves – best dystopian movie list I’ve seen in ages

  593. Eduardo

    Thanks for this blog. I am looking for the title of a movie I saw for 10, 15, can not remember. I remember one scene, “a conversation on the street between two or three people, are observed by a camera mounted high on the street. From the control center and utilizadando a device in the camera shoots a bullet and kill one of them, “I remember good and interesting. I thought it was Wim Wenders, but can not find in his films. Can you help? Thanks again.

  594. GLOCK

    Just to say that one has to discriminate between a dystopian film and a postapocaliptic film. A dystopian film would be V for Vendetta or 1984, a postapocaliptic film would be Resident Evil or Mad Max, I think. Have nice day.

  595. disappointed

    Hold on. How is Woody Allen’s “Sleeper” score above Godard’s “Alphaville” AND Welles’ “The Trial”?

    What. a. jip.

  596. disappointedlady

    Hold on. How does Woody Allen’s “Sleeper” score above Godard’s “Alphaville” AND Welles’ “The Trial”?

    What. a. jip.

  597. BG mail

    Great website. A lot of useful information here. I am sending it to several friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks in your effort!

  598. bobtown

    What about 9, the animated movie based off the short film with elijah wood in it that came out a few years ago. That’s one of my favorite films of the decade.

  599. Broke9207

    Fight Club gets number one, for depicting present day society as the dystopia it is.. and then tearing it down.

  600. Bytor

    Nice list, can’t say I agree with all of them and their placement in the list but still like it

    One thing i have to say is no Brave New World????

    That is one of the best and all time classics, how could it not be in the list? (no seriously, I’d honestly like to hear why its not there)

  601. Mazzu

    Max Headroom (the movie)!

  602. Bonjour Tristesse

    I don’t think I would call 1980′s West Berlin dystopian.

  603. Vlad

    Shoking that The Terminator (and/or it’s sequel) is not on the list

  604. Holley Wironen

    I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an impatience over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again since exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this increase.

  605. Chaneski

    Please change the “Robocop” entry. He does not “set his sites” on anything. He sets his “sights.” Please.

  606. Yellow

    Starship Troopers is like some kinda co-ed college romp to help promote military recruitment and the war in Iraq.

    It’s like watching 90210 or something. Maybe the book was different but as the movie stands it’s nothing more then bubble-gum.

  607. Slakpad

    Five years after the making and this is still my go-to list when I’m looking for a nice movie to watch. However, since 2007 several new dystopian movies have come out (‘The Road’ for instance).

    Perhaps it is time for an update of the list? I’m sure it would be well recieved by everyone.

  608. Knewkid

    Another recent film worthy of consideration is Never Let Me Go.

  609. elena

    You, people, don’t know what to write!!! Do you know which is the best film ever made? The lord of the rings! How could you not listed it there? This 50 are the most horrible films and I think that the writer should download something better than that-how about “the green mile”,for example. Do you know, I hate reading stupidities, so for me this list is nothing. Bye!!!

  610. tony

    and also Quintet

  611. Fran

    Abre los ojos. Amenabar

  612. DONA I. MYERS

    Looking for movie of boy looking for his father in a future technological world. Finds female that helps him.
    It came out in late 2011.

  613. Action Jackson

    Where the hell is Zardoz?
    Why isn’t Logan’s Run in the top 10?

  614. Action Jackson

    Uh, Terminator 1. 2. and on and on….?

  615. Amyb

    From 1965, The 10th Victim pits hunters and human prey in lethal elimination games, all filmed for general viewing. Dysto, and funny.

  616. summersville tourist

    Where’s Waterworld and the Jetsons?

  617. Derek Elder

    For dystopian look and feel, the Tim Burton ‘Batman’ movies would qualify.

  618. Tom

    Equilibrium should definitely not be 50th. Excellent movie, brilliant plot.

  619. L-mo

    Gamer should be in here! It is a great movie with a great plot. definitely dystopic.

  620. Chelsey

    The Fifth Element should be on herel.

  621. James W

    This list should have had 1984 with John Hurt (1999) and maybe the 1956 version as well.

    The list can’t be taken seriously without it.

    Through A Scanner Darkly was terrible movie and shouldn’t be on the list.

  622. Scott L.

    Great job!

    Quiet Earth. Was that mentioned. Soon to add…World War Z.

  623. Bahcuss

    Sorry, but more than half of the movies on your list are NOT dystopian.
    Not every bleak sci movie falls under this category.

    ~Bahcuss the Drunk

  624. CC Coleman

    If Pleasantville is listed… where is The Truman Show?

  625. DoomLad

    Around and around like the Head forever and ever: Zardoz!
    One of the most original sci-fi movies made and a prime example of a utopia gone rogue. Whether or not the list catches on, check out this obscure gem first chance you get!

  626. Eliot

    How about The truman show? It’s a utopian as well as a dystopian film, agree? I mean it’s got a ‘perfect world’ as well as an ALL controlling leader as well as a critique on real-life shows out of control.

  627. Konrad

    Y U NO add Blade runner!?!?!?!

  628. Rick

    Most of these are not Dystopian. They are just SciFi!

  629. L

    Six-String Samurai failing to appear on this list makes this entire list invalid.

  630. L

    Furthermore, Six-String Samurai’s average score does allow it to be in the Top 50 with an Average of 6.25, so please kindly make room for a TRUE MOVIE set in a dystopian alternate timeline.

  631. isolator

    What about Fortress?

  632. Taru

    What about ‘Never let me go’? I really liked the book and the film adaptation is not bad at all

  633. BUDA20

    Zardoz (1974)
    Brave New World (TV 1980)

  634. KaBe

    I was about to share your list on fb, twitter… Then I saw what you’d said about AEon Flux and also realized you missed all the Russian and European movies.

  635. Wasim

    There’s a movie that’s set in the future, i can’t remember the name of it but there’sa scene where they go into a library and the books just fall apart because people have just stopped reading and the people have lost all sense of creativity and curiousity and are left with no enthusiasm. On guy can’t understand it and tries to wake these people up but no one listens.

  636. PeterB

    It’s an admirable list, to which any revision would have to of course, include Melancholia.
    My favorite dystopian film is the little known The Tenth Victim by Carlo Ponti starring Marcello Mastrionni and Ursula Andress.

  637. Jeliza

    Thanks for the good list! No idea what people like so much about children of men, but who cares.
    I would add ‘Moon’ (Duncan Jones) to the list if I could. Just watched Brazil, and I think it is by far not Gilliams best movie. Tideland (not dystopian) and Twelve Monkeys (one of my top 3 favorite movies) are faaar better in my eyes.
    Ps. would be great to have a list with all the films you guys proposed here in the comments. Your tipps are very helpful to find less known movies in this genre.

  638. Jeliza

    And I forgot to mention ‘The Day After’ (Nicholas Meyer, 1983)

  639. Post Script

    What a shame No Blade of Grass is a bag of poo. The book itself (AKA Death of Grass) is up there with the best alongside Day of the Triffids.


    Almost 5 years?


    One of the best films ever made.


  641. Lisa Thomas

    Moon – was very good as it dealt with future bioengineering and notorious companies.
    Revolver – About a high stakes con game, money, power, & deception. I never learned how to play chess well but this movie is really insightful .
    Capricorn One – Faked mission to mars (Esoteric parallels our faked man on the moon).
    Prometheus – space journey and finds creator of man kind (Esoteric Lucifer hates humans)

  642. Wesley

    You forgot Cyborg, Jean Claude Van Damme, and Both Time Machines.

  643. Dom

    To update your list, better add The Hunger Games.

  644. cher

    What about “In Time” or “Hunger Games”?

  645. Bev

    Looking 4 movie where last scene is people looking thru fence at last piece of land. People live in pods rather than apartments. Go to machine w/card to see if can have children. Food in pill form. Water contaminated. Some people live in cars. Any help appreciated.

  646. Bev

    How long does moderation take. I have been waiting.

  647. Add this film

    Hi, i think the films The Island and In Time more recently have to be on this list, thanks for it. There are some that I don’t have

  648. god bless dumberica

    its really funny how most of plots involve humans that are controlled by the system in order to establish society stripped off the basic rights. contrary to that view,, today we have almost all the rights. we can do whatever we want. sexual racial individual etc freedoms are peaking, but humans choose to watch sitcoms, reality shows, listening to retarded (RE-TAR-DED) music and act like morons.

    if 20000 leagues under the sea showed us technological future, (as any fiction should cause thats closest thing to being clairvoyant)
    then what is to be expected from generations that are to start working on those space ships, hovering vehicles, robots instead of jersey shore 3.0 and next supermodel..

    honestly idiocracy is the only movie that shows what will happen to humanity.

  649. Add this film

    Also Class of 1999

  650. Add this film

    I’m reading the comments after I leave mine and I think that people just wait for somebody to do something to start the critics. People, if you don’t like something you just turn and go away. This behavior is getting worst every day and I think is what makes violence and in one last point it will be the responsable of our end. Do it yourself if you are so perfect.

  651. col.G

    V for Vendetta…..anyone?

  652. Alex

    The missed the Hand Maids Tail. Amazing movie!!

Leave a Comment