Skip to content
Do you have adblock enabled?
 
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Paste Magazine)   The 50 greatest dystopian films of all time. Come for the cyberpunk, stay for even more of the cyberpunk   (pastemagazine.com) divider line
    More: Misc, Dystopia, apocalyptic films, sci-fi, recognizable world, dystopian films deal, fears of the future, dystopian movies, Running Man  
•       •       •

1630 clicks; posted to Fandom » on 19 Jul 2021 at 3:25 AM (10 days ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



47 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2021-07-18 10:22:10 PM  
No Mad Max?

Also, Ideocracy is way, way too low.
 
2021-07-18 11:12:49 PM  
"We'll toss 100 movies into this hat and draw 50 names out one by one"
 
2021-07-18 11:40:34 PM  
On The Beach
A Boy and His Dog
The Last Man On Earth
Things To Come
The World, the Flesh and the Devil
The Bed Sitting Room
 
2021-07-19 12:14:28 AM  
Don't get me wrong, I loved Battle Angel Alita, and Rosa Salazar just knocked her performance out of the park, and Rodriguez poured a lot of love into the film, but it's a little early to call it one of the classics. The original anime was pretty good, but as much as I love this movie, it doesn't really belong on the list just for being so recent.

The inclusion of Strange Days on this list feels more like, "I'm running out of dystopian movies to run with," than, "boy howdy this film was amazing." Kind of like putting The Truman Show on the list.

I will say that Battle Angel is one of the best live action adaptations of anime put out there, and will remain so for a while. But you got to give this one some time to set into being a classic for dystopian settings. Might have gone with Hardware instead for this list.
 
2021-07-19 2:09:49 AM  
Sleeper is dystopian? I thought The Orb was the goal
 
TWX
2021-07-19 3:01:02 AM  
I've probably seen around 70% of those.  It's a little fuzzy on some that I probably saw as a kid or ones that I know a lot about because they've become common pop-culture references.

Don't get me wrong, the original Total Recall is a fun movie, but it's total and complete camp.  It's also a little bit a stretch to call it dystopian when it looks like life on Earth is decent, it's only the failing corporate colony on Mars that's in serious trouble.

I also don't see how X-Men: Days of Future Past qualifies but movies like 12 Monkeys or The Terminator and its first sequel don't.

Similarly we see Sleeper, so by that same logic the feature-film that launched the 1979 version of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century should qualify.

And we don't see The Handmaid's Tale, the 1990 film version starring Natasha Richardson, Robert Duvall, and Faye Dunaway.

I do like how high on the list Brazil is though.
 
2021-07-19 3:46:35 AM  
Fark user imageView Full Size


Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century is pointing and laughing at all of you nerds.
 
2021-07-19 4:21:26 AM  
A list of the usual suspects. Which means Avalon is missing.
 
2021-07-19 4:34:06 AM  
The list does a lot of stretching and contorting for the term "dystopian."

The Matrix should be excluded by one of their own definitions for eliminating "post-apocalyptic" films ("where society hasn't been rebuilt to the point of a functioning government"). The real world hasn't recovered/retained enough of society, and the virtual world isn't in a dystopian state.

But it's ultimately a semantic argument for a setting that tends to be more about tone and feeling (dictated strongly by the perspective of the protagonists and audience) than a specific societal state.
 
2021-07-19 4:56:30 AM  

RolandTGunner: On The Beach
A Boy and His Dog
The Last Man On Earth
Things To Come
The World, the Flesh and the Devil
The Bed Sitting Room


The Road
 
2021-07-19 5:18:09 AM  
Some of the best dystopias are the background of sci-fi action movies, whether they are about sports/gladiators designed to distract the increasingly desperate populace from their miserable lot, such as,

Deathrace 2000
Rollerball (Classic and New)
The Running Man
The Death Race franchise
Network "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore" seems to fit this category.

or the dystopia is revealed to be overpopulated by how cramped and dirty the living quarters are, such as in

The 5th Element
Judge Dredd (classic)  A messenger robot rolls down the hall of the mega block endlessly repeating, "Eat Recycled Food for a Happier, Healthier Life. Be Kind and Peaceful to each other. Eat Recycled Food. It's Good for The Environment and OK for You!"
Eat recycled food for a happier healthier life --- (Judge Dredd movie)
Youtube PNw95c75g7o
 
2021-07-19 6:09:29 AM  
I would say the 2012 Dredd was the exact thing tgat comes to mind when the word dystopia is used for movies. Shoulda been far higher on the list
 
2021-07-19 6:36:19 AM  
WALL-E wasn't dystopian.  It was a tragedy about how a poorly programmed leftover robotic A.I. destroyed humanity's fully realized utopian dream.
 
2021-07-19 6:36:50 AM  
No Johnny Mnemonic? That's like the pinnacle of cyberpunk dystopia, and you can't convince me otherwise.

At least Stalker made the list.  Which reminds me, I'll have to grab a hard copy one of these days since I don't think any of the streaming services have it and I'm due for a rewatch.
 
2021-07-19 6:54:04 AM  

freakdiablo: No Johnny Mnemonic? That's like the pinnacle of cyberpunk dystopia, and you can't convince me otherwise.

At least Stalker made the list.  Which reminds me, I'll have to grab a hard copy one of these days since I don't think any of the streaming services have it and I'm due for a rewatch.


Get the Criterion version. Well worth the cost.
 
2021-07-19 6:58:43 AM  
Fark user imageView Full Size


Odd not seeing this on there.
 
2021-07-19 7:04:50 AM  
The English dub for Battle Royale is one of the worst English dubs ever dubbed.
 
2021-07-19 7:07:04 AM  

Pop and Miracle Whip: freakdiablo: No Johnny Mnemonic? That's like the pinnacle of cyberpunk dystopia, and you can't convince me otherwise.

At least Stalker made the list.  Which reminds me, I'll have to grab a hard copy one of these days since I don't think any of the streaming services have it and I'm due for a rewatch.

Get the Criterion version. Well worth the cost.


Thanks.

Good thing too. I took a quick look at Amazon and it looks like the Criterion version is the only one that's region free/US based.
 
2021-07-19 7:50:21 AM  

homeless_need_help: No Mad Max?

Also, Ideocracy is way, way too low.



That because Idiocracy has been be shifted to a documentary.
 
2021-07-19 8:55:09 AM  

freakdiablo: No Johnny Mnemonic? That's like the pinnacle of cyberpunk dystopia, and you can't convince me otherwise.

At least Stalker made the list.  Which reminds me, I'll have to grab a hard copy one of these days since I don't think any of the streaming services have it and I'm due for a rewatch.


All of the buy/rent services have Stalker. Vudu, Amazon, YouTube, etc.
 
2021-07-19 9:16:13 AM  
If you really want to get into it, meaning in a way that you feel disturbed for days if not weeks afterwards: 

Grave of the Fireflies
Threads

No pop culture list will list everything, this one was pretty, pretty, pretty good. 

Yeah, I was a bit surprised Mad Max wasn't there, not sure if A Boy and his Dog was on it either. 

As for Logan's Run, that's one of my faves. Just jumped into reading the book for the first time, and I wish I'd done that 30 years ago. It's *fantastic*.
 
2021-07-19 9:26:44 AM  
Cafe Flesh (1982)
Directed by Rinse Dream

THE TIME...Five Years After The Nuclear War.
THE SURVIVORS...Post-Nuke Thrill Seekers Lookin' For A Kick.


Overview
In the aftermath of nuclear apocalypse, 99% of the survivors are Sex Negatives - they become violently ill if they attempt it. The minority Sex Positives engage in carnal theater for the entertainment of the Negatives at Cafe Flesh. Everyone is excited about the arrival at the club of the famous Positive Johnny Rico, and one Negative woman is beginning to question her negativeness as she and her boyfriend grow more distant from each other.
 
2021-07-19 9:37:06 AM  

freakdiablo: No Johnny Mnemonic? That's like the pinnacle of cyberpunk dystopia, and you can't convince me otherwise.


I can't forgive what Johnny Mnemonic did to the female lead. They turned Sally Shears (aka Molly Millions, or Rose Kolodny), one of the most bad-ass women in sci-fi, into a forgettable mallrat. There were also several iconic scenes in the short story that were left out and replaced with dreck. I did enjoy Ice T's performance, though. He plays a rebel leader well.
Fark user imageView Full Size

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-07-19 9:48:23 AM  

homeless_need_help: No Mad Max?

Also, Ideocracy is way, way too low.


RTFA.  Dystopian, not post-apocalyptic.
 
2021-07-19 9:56:06 AM  
agree with most of the films on the list, but like other think the ordering is all out of whack

also, swing and a miss not including

media-amazon.comView Full Size
 
2021-07-19 10:03:19 AM  
Omega Man hits a few points.
 
2021-07-19 10:37:16 AM  

dittybopper: homeless_need_help: No Mad Max?

Also, Ideocracy is way, way too low.

RTFA.  Dystopian, not post-apocalyptic.


The first film takes place pre-apocalypse, and should definitely count.
 
2021-07-19 10:48:19 AM  
Come to think of it, I don't believe there's any singular "apocalyptic" event in the Mad Max universe, although the timeline of humanity's and the environment's decay seems overly accelerated.
 
2021-07-19 10:49:45 AM  

dittybopper: homeless_need_help: No Mad Max?

Also, Ideocracy is way, way too low.

RTFA.  Dystopian, not post-apocalyptic.


Mad Max is set before the 'poxyclips. There is still a society, but apparently a society that has abandoned designated areas to the outlaws because fuel shortages limit their ability to patrol them. This is another one of those dystopias where the background details and set design tell the dystopia's story.
Fark user imageView Full Size

Fark user imageView Full Size

Fark user imageView Full Size

Fark user imageView Full Size

Give Frank Miller his due, the droopy "u" in Justice is better exposition than the narrated intro to The Road Warrior. It is obvious to the viewer that the justice system has been degenerating for some time now. The studio heads forced the narrated introduction to The Road Warrior on Frank Miller. His version of the Road Warrior would have started with the car chase, no introduction.
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior - Meet The Road Warrior Scene (1/8) | Movieclips
Youtube zdr-f3MZgqo

In two minutes, with no dialog, the viewer learns, that Max is the good guy, because he has a dog. Is it a tired trope? Sure, but it works. We also learn that hauling ass over the desert is a normal part of life for this dog and his Max, because the dog is relaxed until Max kills the supercharger to save fuel, at which point the dog takes shelter. From the demolition derby look of the pursuit vehicles, to the mohawked Wez and The Golden Boy's openly Gay presentation, we learn that a lot has changed since the AIDS phobic '80s the movie was filmed in. In the aftermath of the wreck, as Max scrambles to sop up every drop of gas, we learn just how scarce gas is, and from the graffiti on the truck we learn that "The Vermin have Inherited the Earth.", which sums up the theme of the movie. All in all a master class in visual storytelling.
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-07-19 10:50:44 AM  
The secret to getting on the list seems to be spending a lot of money on sets and costumes.
 
2021-07-19 10:52:30 AM  

Jack of All Games: Come to think of it, I don't believe there's any singular "apocalyptic" event in the Mad Max universe, although the timeline of humanity's and the environment's decay seems overly accelerated.


Peak Oil
 
2021-07-19 11:45:14 AM  

Cache: Omega Man hits a few points.


I've made several posts in this thread about visual story telling instead of providing exposition via narration, but I will give a shout out to the corpse of Vincent Price for his steady descent into despair delivered via internal monologue in The Last Man on Earth. What could easily have devolved into a campy schlockfest is elevated by Vincent Price's world weary demeanor and inner monologues.
The Last Man on Earth (1964) [Science Fiction] [Horror]
Youtube POZw9ZptMcw

This version resonated with my experiences bunkering down for COVID better than Charlton Heston's version. Vincent Price captures the boredom and dull routine that would accompany the Apocalypse very well, as he makes his daily rounds, hanging fresh garlic on his door, and brews his morning coffee. Charlton Heston's swinging bachelor pad/bunker set the wrong tone, for me anyway.
 
2021-07-19 12:41:34 PM  

RolandTGunner: On The Beach
A Boy and His Dog
The Last Man On Earth
Things To Come
The World, the Flesh and the Devil
The Bed Sitting Room



I found it very sad that the list had X-Men Days of Future Past (which isn't really all that dystopian, though it tries to be for about 8 minutes) but they totally skipped on A Boy and his Dog, which is arguably the inspiration for Fallout games and most dystopian films that followed it.
 
2021-07-19 12:42:35 PM  

Psychopompous: Cache: Omega Man hits a few points.

I've made several posts in this thread about visual story telling instead of providing exposition via narration, but I will give a shout out to the corpse of Vincent Price for his steady descent into despair delivered via internal monologue in The Last Man on Earth. What could easily have devolved into a campy schlockfest is elevated by Vincent Price's world weary demeanor and inner monologues.
[Youtube-video https://www.youtube.com/embed/POZw9Zpt​Mcw]
This version resonated with my experiences bunkering down for COVID better than Charlton Heston's version. Vincent Price captures the boredom and dull routine that would accompany the Apocalypse very well, as he makes his daily rounds, hanging fresh garlic on his door, and brews his morning coffee. Charlton Heston's swinging bachelor pad/bunker set the wrong tone, for me anyway.



This one's the closest to the book, but still goes off on a tangent.

I'd love a proper adaptation of I Am Legend, but I've determined that Hollywood's egos are too fragile to ever do it justice.
 
2021-07-19 12:45:15 PM  

Jack of All Games: dittybopper: homeless_need_help: No Mad Max?

Also, Ideocracy is way, way too low.

RTFA.  Dystopian, not post-apocalyptic.

The first film takes place pre-apocalypse, and should definitely count.


Nope.  It happens during the apocalypse.
 
2021-07-19 1:13:45 PM  

dittybopper: Jack of All Games: dittybopper: homeless_need_help: No Mad Max?

Also, Ideocracy is way, way too low.

RTFA.  Dystopian, not post-apocalyptic.

The first film takes place pre-apocalypse, and should definitely count.

Nope.  It happens during the apocalypse.


It still fits the style of "dystopian" better than some of the other films they crammed in.

Cyberpunk does not necessarily equal dystopian.
 
2021-07-19 1:26:17 PM  
Meh list, but I am happy with the inclusion of Battle Royale...the first time I ever said "Wow, Japanese culture is farked up. ;)
 
2021-07-19 1:26:41 PM  

Jack of All Games: dittybopper: Jack of All Games: dittybopper: homeless_need_help: No Mad Max?

Also, Ideocracy is way, way too low.

RTFA.  Dystopian, not post-apocalyptic.

The first film takes place pre-apocalypse, and should definitely count.

Nope.  It happens during the apocalypse.

It still fits the style of "dystopian" better than some of the other films they crammed in.

Cyberpunk does not necessarily equal dystopian.


Ghost in the Shell immediately stands out to me. Cyberization has had a major impact on society, but most of it seems for the better or at least no worse than any other modern technological advance.

I've never read the manga and my memory of the original film is lacking detail, but in the SAC series the world doesn't seem any worse off than our current one.
 
2021-07-19 3:05:42 PM  
(cough)

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-07-19 5:40:18 PM  

moike: (cough)

[Fark user image 850x478]


What is that from?
 
2021-07-19 6:17:23 PM  

Contrabulous Flabtraption: moike: (cough)

[Fark user image 850x478]

What is that from?


Hardware. Some people liked it. I saw it in the theater and hated it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardwar​e​_(film)
 
2021-07-19 7:55:47 PM  
A third of those dont even belong on the list.
They missed some crucial ones.
The order is all out of whack.
Did I get everyone?
Wait, whats this list about?
 
2021-07-19 10:44:21 PM  

Jack of All Games: The list does a lot of stretching and contorting for the term "dystopian."

The Matrix should be excluded by one of their own definitions for eliminating "post-apocalyptic" films ("where society hasn't been rebuilt to the point of a functioning government"). The real world hasn't recovered/retained enough of society, and the virtual world isn't in a dystopian state.

But it's ultimately a semantic argument for a setting that tends to be more about tone and feeling (dictated strongly by the perspective of the protagonists and audience) than a specific societal state.


Society has 100% been rebuilt to a functioning form of government in the matrix.  It's just an AI/robot controlled government.

And, to be fair, the actual exposition for that might not be in the original?  It's kind of a blur for what happened when in those movies.
 
2021-07-19 11:49:26 PM  
Pre- +dystopia maybe?
David Bowie - When the wind blows
Youtube Td0PohHn2BE
 
2021-07-20 6:03:54 AM  
Am I the only one who didn't care for 'Alita' and 'Children of Men'? They were both just meh.

Funny how 'The Road Warrior' gets mentioned in the number one choice yet doesn't make the list.
 
2021-07-20 11:24:54 AM  
Oh, and list fails without Metropolis.

/If it's not there, that is. I'm not going back to TFA to check.
 
2021-07-20 5:35:04 PM  

WilderKWight: Oh, and list fails without Metropolis.

/If it's not there, that is. I'm not going back to TFA to check.


#6
 
Displayed 47 of 47 comments

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking




On Twitter


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.