My Top 5 Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian Movies

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Today Mad Max: Fury Road hit the theatres, and wow... what a film! I managed to see it last night and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I also made sure to marathon the three previous Mad Max movies in preparation, so I'm very much in a post-apocalyptic mood. And that's why today's post is dedicated to my favorite post-apocalyptic and/or dystopian films. This was actually a tough list to make, as this topic is one of my favorites across all types of media, and I had MANY options to pick from. In the end, I feel very good about this list and I can wholeheartedly recommend every single one of these movies—they are all my favorites.

Blade Runner (1982)

I loved this movie before I even watched it. For years, my favorite quote has been: "All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain..." I had no idea where it was from, but throughout my teenage years it was something I wrote on the first pages of my diaries because for some reason it spoke to me. It wasn't until my early 20s that I've actually watched Blade Runner for the first time, and as I was bawling my eyes out during Rutger Hauer's monologue—there it was. If you've never seen it, Blade Runner is directed by Ridley Scott and takes place in LA in 2019 (that's coming up soon!), when androids indistinguishable from humans are banned and hunted. It's not quite a post-apocalyptic world, but it's definitely a dystopian one, and the neo-noir style of this film is mesmerizing. It's also based on a 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.

Dark City (1998)

This is another neo-noir film (clearly, I'm a fan of those) that takes place in a questionable future. Written and directed by Alex Proyas, the same guy who directed another favorite of mine—The Crow, this movie centers around a man who has lost his memory and is accused of murders. It's set in a really strange futuristic city with no sunlight, where the poor guy is on the run from the police and a strange group of people with mysterious powers. Dark City has a brilliant cast, including Rufus Sewell (whom I love), Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, and William Hurt. Though we never find out where and when the events take place, the story certainly has a nightmarish dystopian, and post-apocalyptic look and feel to it.

28 Days Later... (2002)

Moving on to a zombie apocalypse, 28 Days Later... is definitely one of the best zombie films out there. Directed by Danny Boyle and written by Alex Garland (who recently wrote and directed Ex Machina), this movie should be a staple of your zombie thriller education. I'm not the biggest fan of the sequel, but the original film had my heart racing from beginning to end. If you've somehow managed to avoid this film, definitely check it out—you're in for a crazy ride. You may also fall in love with Cillian Murphy.

Snowpiercer (2013)

You may remember me gushing about this movie last year—I posted about it here, and also included it in my list of Top 10 Movies of 2014 (because it actually wasn't released in the US until 2014). Of course, I had to include it here as well. The entire film takes place on a train that circumnavigates our planet after humanity's attempt to stop global warming resulted in an ice age. The train carries the only people left alive, and has a very familiar class system: the small population of the rich is living in luxury at the head of the train, while many poor people are crammed at the tail. Snowpiercer has quite a few standout performances, but Chris Evans is a particularly long way from Captain America.

Mad Max (1979 - 2015)

And finally, I couldn't leave out the Mad Max franchise. All of the films, including the newest one, are directed by George Miller and take place in a post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland. Though things get a bit questionable in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, the rest of the films are great. In Mad Max we meet a young reckless cop who ends up seeking revenge against a dangerous motorcycle gang. In Mad Max 2: Road Warrior he is a much more detached and cynical guy, who faces another group of bandits, and decides to defend a settlement with a large gasoline supply. Each of the films paints a unique picture of the society descending into a chaotic future. As for Mad Max: Fury Road—I just watched it last night, and I highly suggest you do the same after watching the first three. If you want to know my thoughts on the film, check out my review:

Do you enjoy post-apocalyptic and dystopian movies? What are some of your favorites?

FilmMarianna Neal