Home > Uncategorized > Top 10 Dystopian Films

Top 10 Dystopian Films

Having recently finished Lars von Trier’s visually stunning directorial debut, The Element of Crime, a film that deals with crime, psychology, and crime solving in a crumbled, dystopian version of Europe, I got to thinking of other dystopian-set films I’ve seen and enjoyed.  While this may be a fairly small sub-sect of films, the quality that pervades the genre is impressive when you think about it.  The form itself is a very useful tool for film-makers in constructing allegorical versions of current and future society since they have at their disposal the freedom to create an entire society that can conform to any laws and rules they deem necessary in which to paint their allegorical tale.  For the most part, they fall under the umbrella of science-fiction since they usually employ  elements very common to the genre.  These films paint a bleak futuristic portrait of a world torn apart by government, war, politics, and/or industry, and in most cases feature a grotesquely restructured version of our environment due to a common theme of impending environmental melt-down.  These portraits generally serve to portray the director’s views of society as a whole or a particular country or region, as von Trier’s film does with its less-than-pleasant depiction of Europe.

Here is a selection of 10 favorites from my viewing history:

The Trial


Dir. Orson Welles


V For Vendetta


Dir. James McTeigue

Blade Runner


Dir. Ridley Scott

La Jetee


Dir. Chris Marker

The Matrix


Dir. The Wachowski’s

A Scanner Darkly


Dir. Richard Linklater



Dir. Jean-Luc Godard



Dir. Terry Gilliam

Children of Men


Dir. Alfonso Cuaron



Dir. Fritz Lang

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Alex Withrow
    August 21, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Great picks. The Trial, Children of Men and Metropolis are some of my favorites. And damn, do I need to see Alphaville again. Godard nailed it there.

  2. August 21, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Godard really did so many genres well. Alphaville didn’t grab me right away, like most of his films generally do, but once I got into it I really enjoyed it.

    They’re truly great films, despite being a small sub-genre. It’s such a useful tool for filmmakers to create their own vision of society. I need to revisit a few of these myself, Alphaville included, but I love all of them.

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Alex!

  3. August 31, 2012 at 4:35 am

    Man,your list almost forms a top 10 greatest sci-fi movie list! Alphaville and Brazil are my personal faves here.

  4. September 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Yeah, lots of sci-fi classics in there. It would be hard for me to rank these films in order, but I’d probably put Metropolis at the top. Love that one.

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