Table of contents:

20 dystopian movies that will make you think
20 dystopian movies that will make you think

If nothing is changed in the present, the future will be very sad.

20 dystopian movies that will make you think
20 dystopian movies that will make you think

1. Metropolis

  • Weimar Republic, 1927.
  • Dystopia, drama.
  • Duration: 147 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8, 3.

The huge futuristic city of Metropolis is divided into two levels according to the social classes living there: Paradise for the rich and Hell for the proletariat. The son of the ruler of Metropolis Freder falls in love with a girl from the working class. And it changes his life forever.

In this silent large-budget production, the German director Fritz Lang managed to create an organic synthesis of such trends as expressionism and new materiality. Therefore, "Metropolis" is still considered one of the greatest film productions. And images from this film can even be found in Blade Runner and Star Wars.

2. V is for vendetta

  • USA, UK, 2006.
  • Action, science fiction, drama, dystopia.
  • Duration: 132 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8, 2.

In an alternate future, Britain is ruled by a neo-fascist party. But amid the general chaos, a freedom fighter emerges who simply calls himself "V".

An iconic dystopia based on the iconic comic that turned Guy Fawkes' mask into an easily recognizable symbol of protest. An ironic detail: the legendary John Hurt, who fought against the regime in 1984 as Winston Smith, plays the main antagonist here.

The role of Ivy Hammond became one of the most notable in the career of the then very young Natalie Portman. And behind the V mask is the face of Hugo Weaving, who is also known as Agent Smith from The Matrix and the elf king Elrond from The Lord of the Rings.

3. Blade Runner

  • USA, 1982.
  • Thriller, dystopia, neo-noir.
  • Duration: 117 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8, 2.

In an alternate future, androids, also called replicants, do the dirty work. Outwardly, they do not differ from people, but they surpass those in physical strength and intelligence. And not all replicants are willing to put up with the situation of slaves.

To destroy the rioters, there are special forces of law enforcement agencies - "Blade Runners". The plot revolves around the replicant hunter Rick Deckard. He prepares to retire, but is forced to return to service in order to catch a dangerous gang of androids who have escaped from the colony.

One of the most beautiful films in history, based on the book by the great-grandfather of all cyperpunk Philip Dick "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" This tape has never been a "popular" movie, like "The Matrix" and at one time even failed at the box office. But in the end, she found her loyal audience, became iconic and influenced many paintings in the neoir and cyberpunk styles.

4. Blade Runner 2049

  • USA, 2017.
  • Science fiction, action, cyberpunk.
  • Duration: 163 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8, 0.

A direct sequel to Blade Runner. In 2049, androids are still being exploited to do hard and humiliating work. In the center of the plot this time is the replicant detective Kay. And to prevent a conspiracy that could lead to a war between humans and robots, he must find Rick Deckard, who disappeared many years ago.

Doom Runner is pursuing the Blade Runner franchise. The sequel, directed by the talented Canadian director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival), flopped at the box office, despite critical acclaim and two Academy Awards. But that's okay: the sequel is still delightfully beautiful. Except that a leisurely plot takes away points for the film.

5. Brazil

  • Great Britain, 1985.
  • Tragicomedy, drama, dystopia.
  • Duration: 142 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8, 0.

Petty clerk Sam Lowry lives in a society shackled by total bureaucracy. Once the case brings the protagonist with a girl whom he constantly sees in his dreams. And in order to meet her again, Lauri is ready for a lot. But it turns out that the bureaucratic system is trying to literally grind the heroine to powder because of her complaints about the mistaken arrest of a neighbor.

An exemplary retrofuturistic dystopia. After its release, Terry Gilliam had real success for the first time. And this movie, full of great black humor, adequately inherits the traditions of the comic group "Monty Python", in which Gilliam was for more than one year.

6.12 monkeys

  • USA, 1995.
  • Science fiction, thriller, drama, dystopia.
  • Duration: 129 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8, 0.

The future after a nuclear explosion. Most of humanity has been destroyed by the virus. The survivors have made their way underground and travel back in time to retrieve food and medicine.

The protagonist - criminal James Cole agrees to participate in a dangerous experiment in exchange for amnesty. And he is sent to 1996, in which the first outbreak of the virus was recorded.

Full of humor and absurdity, a non-linear story with an unexpected ending. Here Terry Gilliam successfully returns to his favorite themes of dystopia ("Brazil") and time travel ("Time Bandits"). It seems that it cannot be better already. But no, maybe! After all, Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt are starring here. And such a picture definitely cannot be ignored.

7. Ghost in the Shell

  • Japan, 1995.
  • Cyberpunk, action movie.
  • Duration: 80 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8, 0.

Distant future. Transhumanism is more popular than ever, and the line between humans and robots is becoming increasingly blurred. However, technology carries with it danger: an international hacker, nicknamed the Puppeteer, hacks and subjugates other people's minds. And Major Motoko Kusanagi is sent to capture him.

Ghost in the Shell is often compared to Blade Runner. They do use common methods of creating a cyberpunk atmosphere. Therefore, feel free to advise "Ghost …" even to those who are far from anime.

Mamoru Oshii's monumental and contemplative work has long been a classic. But the American film adaptation of 2017 is strongly discouraged for viewing.

8. Child of man

  • UK, USA, 2006.
  • Science fiction, adventure, thriller, drama, dystopia.
  • Duration: 114 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 9.

Humanity is slowly dying out from mass sterility. The world has plunged into chaos, and the semblance of order remains only in Great Britain, which lives by the laws of the military camp. The authorities here deport migrants using the most brutal methods.

Former political activist Theo is indifferent to everything that happens until the need to urgently deliver a young refugee to a safe place rushes into his life.

There are two important reasons to watch Child of Man. The first is directed by Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarona. He seems to be capable of handling any creative challenge, be it dystopia, black and white intellectual drama, Harry Potter, or a space technotriller.

The second reason is Emmanuel Lubezki's camera work, which is always a real feast for the eyes.

9. Gattaca

  • USA, 1997.
  • Drama, fantasy.
  • Duration: 106 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 8.

In the future, the breeding of genetically flawless people is put on stream. Society has split into two classes: those born artificially “fit” and those born in the usual way “unfit”.

The protagonist - "worthless" Vincent, suffers from myopia and congenital heart disease. But he dreams of flying into space and for this he makes a deal with a representative of the "fit" class.

Andrew Niccola's directorial debut (The Truman Show, The Terminal) is one of the most underrated dystopian films ever since its release. But for today's viewer filmed in the spirit of retro-futurism, "Gattaca" can be a real discovery.

10. Battle Royale

  • Japan, 2000.
  • Drama, dystopia.
  • Duration: 114 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 7.

Reflection on the topic of alternative history. Japan, which won the Second World War, is suffering from a severe economic crisis. In the course of a government project, a group of students are kidnapped and brought to a desert island. There they are explained the rules: they must kill each other for three days, until the only one who gets freedom remains.

Director Kinji Fukasaku's farewell work has become iconic not only in Japan, but also in the West. Comparison with The Hunger Games is inevitable, but Battle Royale is more suitable for movie fans and niche movie lovers.

11. City of Lost Children

  • France, Germany, Spain, 1995.
  • Adventure, drama, fantasy.
  • Duration: 112 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 6.

A creepy professor kidnaps children in the hope of learning to dream. Meanwhile, the kind strong man, with the help of a serious little girl, is looking everywhere for his missing brother.

For those who only know Jean-Pierre Jeunet from Amelie, City of Lost Children can be a culture shock. This dystopian tale turned out to be commercially unsuccessful and lacking in awards at the time. And it took a while for the film to gain a few but loyal fans. A must-see for everyone who breathes unevenly towards surrealism.

12. Equilibrium

  • USA, 2002.
  • Dystopia, post-apocalyptic, drama, post-cyberpunk, noir.
  • Duration: 107 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 5.

Human emotions become the main enemy of a totalitarian government. For the sake of controlling the senses, the widespread compulsory intake of the drug "Prosium" is practiced. The main character - cynical and tough John Preston serves in the unit for the prevention of "emotional crimes". But one day circumstances force him to miss another "Prosium" pill.

The film speaks to the viewer on the extremely interesting topic of a sterile, emotionless society. True, he does it with such adolescent maximalism that it becomes even a little embarrassing.

Nevertheless, sometimes we really need such naive and sincere films. Even if they fail miserably at the box office, as happened with Equilibrium. Thanks to director Kurt Wimmer anyway!

13.451 ° Fahrenheit

  • France, Great Britain, 1966.
  • Dystopia.
  • Duration: 109 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 3.

In the totalitarian society of the future, reading is prohibited by law. Hereditary worker Guy Montag serves all his life in the fire brigade, burning books. And he blindly obeys orders until he meets the young girl Clarissa.

The 1988 film is interesting primarily as the only film in the career of the French director Francois Truffaut, filmed in English. It will definitely appeal to fans of the "new wave" and disappoint those who are waiting for a literal film adaptation of the novel.

14. 1984

  • Great Britain, 1984.
  • Dystopia.
  • Duration: 113 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 2.

Winston Smith lives in a totalitarian society of the future and works for the Ministry of Truth, which ironically falsifies history. He develops feelings for a girl named Julia, but the state machine makes love a crime.

The second adaptation of the novel by George Orwell "1984", one of the darkest among the book dystopias. Michael Radford's film follows the plot of the novel exactly (as opposed to the more free-spirited first film adaptation) and is often cited in world culture.

15. Through the snow

  • South Korea, Czech Republic, 2013.
  • Action, dystopia, post-apocalyptic, drama, thriller.
  • Duration: 126 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 1.

Post-apocalyptic future. After a man-made catastrophe on Earth, a new ice age began. And for 17 years now, the round-the-world train express has not stopped moving, in which several hundred people have found refuge. The rich live in the first grade, and the poor have got the "tail".

The modest rental did its job: "Through the Snow" is practically unfamiliar to a wide audience. And in vain: for all its madness and absurdity, this is a fantastically good film.

The cast alone is a reason to watch it. Here and Captain America Chris Evans, and John Hurt, mystically appearing in every second dystopia, and the magical Tilda Swinton.

16. Time

  • USA, 2011.
  • Science fiction, action, dystopia, cyberpunk.
  • Duration: 109 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6, 7.

In the future, a way has been found to stop aging. People always look twenty-five years old, but their life is controlled by a timer that counts down how much is left to death. Money is abolished, and time becomes the main currency.

The main character, Will, comes from a ghetto where everyone is concerned with the issue of survival. And he, like the others, lives one day until he meets a stranger who gives him 116 years.

Another charming dystopia directed by Andrew Nikkola. The film's universe is structured in such a way that phrases like "time is money" or "give me a little time" take on new meaning.

And although critics scolded the film, you can watch it at least in order to drown once again in the eyes of Cillian Murphy, who had not yet had time to star in Peaky Blinders.

17. Idiocracy

  • USA, 2006.
  • Dystopia, fantasy, comedy.
  • Duration: 84 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6, 6.

Military librarian Joe was selected to participate in a secret experiment to freeze people. But by chance, the main character spends in suspended animation for 500 years. And when he wakes up, he realizes that the world has changed a lot, not for the better.

Humanity has become incredibly stupid, culture and industry have degraded, the country is drowning in garbage. Unexpectedly for himself, Joe becomes the smartest person on the planet. And now he has to solve the pressing problems of America.

The funniest film in the collection, which was sold to quotes and memes. Unsophisticated, shameless and, alas, true comedy about the influence of natural selection on intelligence.

18. Metropia

  • Sweden, 2009.
  • Science fiction, drama, thriller, dystopia.
  • Duration: 86 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6, 3.

The cities of Europe are linked by a cyclopean metro network. The world is dirty and dull as never before, the difference between the seasons is erased. The main character Roger works in a call center and does not ride the subway, because he loves a bicycle more.

He lives with an understandable and prosaic Anna, but dreams of a blonde girl from a shampoo ad. One day Roger finds his bike broken. He is forced to go down to the subway, where he meets that very blonde at one of the stations …

Metropia's plot is clearly inspired by Terry Gilliam's Brazil, while the visuals are influenced by Soviet animator Yuri Norshtein. Few noticed outside of festivals, this painting is unique in its own way.

Real photographs were used here to create the characters, which were later animated. And the "models" were ordinary people, whom the studio staff found literally wherever it was necessary. As a result, the cartoon characters are balancing on the brink of the "sinister valley" effect. And looking at them is both scary and interesting.

19. Theorem Zero

  • USA, 2013.
  • Science fiction, drama.
  • Duration: 107 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6, 1.

Computer genius Cohen Leth is tired of the noisy and annoying world. His mysterious boss allows him to work from home, but stipulates that Cohen must find a solution to the mind-boggling Zero Theorem.

A colorful existential parable of late Gilliam set in cyberpunk. Some ardently scold, others equally ardently love this simple story that everything in the aggregate gives zero. One thing is for sure: the director cannot be denied the imagination.

20. High-rise

  • UK, 2015.
  • Dystopia, drama.
  • Duration: 119 minutes.
  • IMDb: 5, 6.

London, 1975. Young Dr. Robert Lang moves into an elite high-rise complex. The house seems to be perfect: its own supermarket, swimming pool, roof garden. But there is also an unpleasant seamy side: the skyscraper lives according to the principle "the lower you live, the less you pay." Therefore, the "upper" tenants despise the "lower" ones.

At some point, power outages begin in the house, and the mutual dissatisfaction of neighbors with each other develops into a real war.

An ironic Kafkaesque dystopia. It is strongly recommended to take note of the "high-rise" for everyone who is able to appreciate the luxurious visual range (every single shot can be savor here endlessly) and the elegant atmosphere of the 70s.