Fifty Films About Ruined, Totalitarian Futures

This is making the rounds about the web, but in case you haven’t seen it, it’s a list entitled Top 50 Dystopian Movies of All Time. There’s no original commentary–just plot summaries from other sites. That’s a bit lame, but it’s neat to see all these movies in one place, as dystopian worlds are a favourite setting of mine.

Here are a few less popular films from the list which I enjoyed and are worth mentioning:

  • Equilibrium – It’s not a very good film, but it has its charms. Plus, I’m a fan of Christian Bale–I think he’s a little under-appreciated.
  • District 13 – A French film, and only remarkable because of its excellent fight and chase scenes.
  • Dark City – A head-wrecking, visionary film that mixes a beef stew of influences into something new and deeply weird. Plus, I could watch Jennifer Connelly watch paint dry.
  • The City of Lost Children – I don’t remember much about this movie, but I do remember being impressed.
  • Code 46 – This is a wonderful film that hardly anybody saw. Do yourself a favour and rent it. The leads–Samantha Morton and Tim Robbins. I wrote a review when I saw it in the theatre.

I think the fan-boy (and fan-girl) factor has pushed V for Vendetta and Serenity too far up this list. And I’m not even sure if the latter qualifies–where’s Star Wars, then?. They’re both good movies, but they certainly don’t merit their placings at #23 and #15 respectively.


  1. While I’m sure that you’ll get your fair share of anal retentive Serenity (and for that matter Star Wars) fans chiming in, let me be the first of them to take the bait 🙂

    Serenity qualifies because, unlike Star Wars, it is about a dystopian future of people from Earth. So while it is set on different planets and has spaceships, it’s still about Earthlings.

    I don’t think it belongs on the list, myself, but that’s the reason why SW isn’t on the list 🙂

  2. Right off the bat I thought this list was lame. Equilibriam? An obvious rip off of Brave New World.Now that would make a good movie. There was that was made for TV that wasn’t bad.

    But the absolute worsed choice I saw was Pleasantville. Pleasantville has nothing to do with the future. Not only is it miscatergorized it beats out the Ghost in the Shell, Planet of the Apes and THX 1138?

    Just a terrible list.

    1. It’s not a rip-off of BNW It’s a montage homage of the THREE great dystopic novels: BNW, Farenheit 451 and 1984. The equilibrium drug is from BNW, Bale’s job as the bruner of culture is from F451, and ‘Uncle’ is clearly Big Brother from 1984. IT’s this attempt to combine the three that makes it an interesting film, worthy of its place on the list. In terms of cinematography, it’s a complete rip-off of the Matrix.

  3. Joey: While my title suggests otherwise, ‘dystopian’ doesn’t have to refer to the future. From the Random House Dictionary:

    “A society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding.”

    And from Wikipedia:

    “It is usually characterized by an oppressive social control, such as an authoritarian or totalitarian government.”

    So, by those definitions, Pleasantville is questionable, but one could make a case for its inclusion.

  4. gotta respect the gun-fu of Equilibrium… plus there’s an admirable amount of underlying meaningfulness for substance’s sake

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