Classic Dystopian Films for the Sci-Fi Geek

Above (clockwise): Metropolis (1927), Mad Max (1979), Planet of the Apes (1968), Gattaca (1997)
Above (clockwise): Metropolis (1927), Mad Max (1979), Planet of the Apes (1968), Gattaca (1997)

A dystopia is defined as “an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.” What makes dystopias so interesting—and a corner stone of the sci-fi genre—is the fact that they are often the representation of a path our current world could take. If the wrong person is in power, what might happen to the world we now know? If we run out of resources, how will we cope? Here are just a few classic dystopian films every fan of the genre should watch.

Blade Runner

A loose adaption of Philip K. Dick’s Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep?, Blade Runner depicts a dystopian version of Los Angeles in the year 2019. The world is full of genetically engineered “replicants” which are androids that are visually identical to human beings. If a replicant escapes the off-world colony where it’s supposed to world, it will be hunted down and “retired” by special police operatives called Blade Runners. Harrison Ford plays a burnt out Blade Runner named Rick Deckard who is beginning to question the humanity of the replicants. With the sequel Blade Runner 2049 starring Ryan Gosling about to come out in October, now is the perfect time to brush up on what is considered one of the best science fiction movies of all time.

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Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on,,, and  When she isn’t writing about relationships, and the best TV shows and books you should really already know about, she is working on her novel. She hopes to have it published by 2025. You can follow her on Twitter @Courtooo.

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