The 50 “Greatest” Apocalyptic and Dystopian Films of All Time (#50-41)

Distopia Blue In the interest of continuing to explore humanity’s perceptions of its own innate goodness through the lens of contemporary film, Blood Stained Ink has compiled a list of the 50 “greatest” movies to explore apocalyptic and dystopian themes.  Of course, any such list is bound to be highly subjective in nature, and thus somewhat limited in usefulness. 

Nevertheless, in an attempt to fashion a fair and balanced perspective, I have taken the films that are most commonly cited as being influential in this genre, and I have ranked them by developing a composite score using both the Internet Movie Database and Rotten Tomatoes. [1]  The first website captures public perceptions of the film, while the later attempts to track critical evaluations.  In cases where there were sequels and remakes, I have scored only the original film, as it was the source of the initial “vision” that is being examined.  And now, on to the countdown …    

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The+Island+poster50.  The Island  (2005) – After discovering that he is a clone kept alive solely for the purpose of being “harvested” for others’ use, Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) goes on the run in search of an identity and a home that he can call his own.  A surprisingly enjoyable entry by director Michael Bay of Armageddon and Transformers fame.

Average Rating: 6.1     IMDB: 6.8     RT: 5.4 

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equilibrium_2002_349.  Equilibrium  (2002) –  In a futuristic world, a facist regime has risen to power and has eliminated global warfare by suppressing the emotional instinct in human beings.  When agent John Preston (Christian Bale) misses his daily dosage of a mind-altering drug, he suddenly becomes the one man capable of fighting the powers he once enforced.

Average Rating: 6.2     IMDB: 7.7     RT: 4.7

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MV5BMTYwNDk5Mzc4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzM2MTcyMQ@@._V1._SX450_SY642_48.  One Point O  (2004) –  After receiving a number of mysterious packages, a young computer-programmer begins to investigate their origins.  As his search leads him into an increasingly sinister world, his grip on reality begins to slip, even as he grows ever more dependent on “Nature’s Fresh,” sweet milk.

Average Rating: 6.2     IMDB: 5.9    RT: 6.5 

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Starship-Troopers-movie-poster47.  Starship Troopers  (1997) –  In the far distant future, high school students are encouraged to become citizens by joining the military to fight against an alien invasion.  Filled with subversive humor designed to question everything about the modern day military-industrial complex, Starship Troopers is the first of three Paul Verhoeven films to make this list.

Average Rating: 6.25     IMDB: 6.8     RT: 5.7 

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rollerballonesheet46.  Rollerball  (1975) –  In a dark, futuristic world, corporations have eradicated the need for national boundaries; and the violent game of “Rollerball” is used to control the masses. But when a beloved player, Jonathan E. (James Caan), sees what is happening around him, he begins to fight to take down the system.

Average Rating: 6.25     IMDB: 6.4     RT: 6.1 

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idiocracy-759-poster-large45.  Idiocracy  (2006) –  An admittedly debatable choice for a list such as this, I maintain that Idiocracy has earned its place.  By the creator of Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill, this is the story of an average man who awakens in the future to discover a world so dumbed-down, he is now the resident genius.

Average Rating: 6.35     IMDB: 6.4     RT: 6.3 

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strange-days-poster44.  Strange Days  (1995) – Set in the year 1999, Strange Days easily captures the fears that gripped many at the turn on the new millennium.  While the film is more of a neo-noir crime thriller, it’s environment is so thoroughly dystopian that it can’t help but find its way onto a list such as this.

Average Rating: 6.45     IMDB: 6.9     RT: 6.0 

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logans_run43.  Logan’s Run  (1976) –  In 2274, life under the dome is as perfect as it could possibly be.  But there is one catch. When people reach the age of 30, they are terminated without cause.  When Logan journeys to the outside world to find other “runners” seeking to evade termination, he encounters a world rife with possibilities.

Average Rating: 6.45     IMDB: 6.7    RT: 6.2 

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i_robot42.  I Robot  (2004) –  The first film on this countdown to explicitly address our collective admiration of technology, it is also the first film to express our fears of the same.   This, of course, is a well-established theme amongst films of this genre.  In my honest opinion, I Robot is an overrated entry that is inferior to every other movie that scored lower on this list.

Average Rating: 6.5     IMDB: 7.0     RT: 6.0 

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936full-soylent-green-poster41.  Soylent Green  (1973) –  In 2022, the Earth has become massively overpopulated and our food supply has become dangerously overtaxed.  Just how far will our government go to meet the growing needs?  If you haven’t seen the film, don’t let anyone tell you about it on your way to rent it at your local library this evening.

Average Rating: 6.5     IMDB: 7.0     RT: 6.0 

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[1]   In cases where two or more films were tied, I have given primacy of ranking to the Rotten Tomatoes score, as it represents the opinions of people who make a profession by evaluating the cinema.

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