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The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies

Updated January 7, 2021 38.2k votes 2.6k voters 28.9k views94 items

Some of the best films depict a bleak future. Lucky for movie-goers, this type of dystopian despair has led to some of the best action movies of all time. The top dystopian action movies feature characters not only fighting for themselves, but also fighting for the future of mankind. This is a list of dystopian action films featuring everything from The Hunger Games to The Running Man to Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

What movies will you find on this list of the best post-apocalyptic action films? Maybe you'll vote The Matrix has to the top. This modern classic by the Wachowskis makes audiences rethink their very existence while watching Neo learn the truth, fight the machines, and discover that he is “The One.” Mad Max: Fury Road is another exciting dystopian action movie. Hope is all but lost when a pregnant woman joins a group of rebel refugees to save her unborn child and the species at large in Children of Men. Other good post-apocalyptic action movies include District 9, Demolition Man, and Snowpiercer.

Which thriller dystopian movie is your favorite? Give the best films a thumbs up and please add any good movies that are missing.

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  • Logan26
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    Logan

    Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart

    Directed byJames Mangold

    Logan is a 2017 American superhero drama film featuring the Marvel Comics character Wolverine....  more

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  • Demolition Man27
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    Demolition Man

    Sandra Bullock, Sylvester Stallone

    Released1993

    Directed byMarco Brambilla

    Demolition Man is a 1993 American science fiction action film directed by Marco Brambilla in...  more
  • Snowpiercer28
    424
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    Snowpiercer

    Chris Evans, John Hurt

    Released2013

    Directed byBong Joon-ho

    Snowpiercer is a 2013 South Korean-Czech dystopian science-fiction action film based on the...  more

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  • Gattaca29
    329
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    Gattaca

    Uma Thurman, Jude Law

    Released1997

    Directed byAndrew Niccol

    Gattaca is a 1997 American science fiction film written and directed by Andrew Niccol. It...  more

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  • Dredd30
    460
    301

    Dredd

    Lena Headey, Karl Urban

    Released2012

    Directed byPete Travis

    Dredd is a 2012 science fiction action film directed by Pete Travis and written and produced...  more
  • The Book of Eli31
    252
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    The Book of Eli

    Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis

    Released2010

    Directed byAlbert Hughes, Allen Hughes

    The Book of Eli is a 2010 American post-apocalyptic neo-Western and action film directed by...  more
  • Equilibrium32
    404
    232

    Equilibrium

    Christian Bale, Sean Bean

    Released2002

    Directed byKurt Wimmer

    Equilibrium is a 2002 American dystopian science fiction film written and directed by Kurt...  more
  • The Hunger Games33
    463
    355

    The Hunger Games

    Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson

    Released2012

    Directed byGary Ross

    The Hunger Games is a 2012 American dystopian science fiction adventure film directed by Gary...  more

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  • Akira34
    273
    181

    Akira

    Takeshi Kusao, Mami Koyama

    Released1988

    Directed byKatsuhiro Otomo

    Akira is a 1988 Japanese animated cyberpunk action film directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, written...  more

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  • Logan's Run35
    309
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    Logan's Run

    Farrah Fawcett, Peter Ustinov

    Released1976

    Directed byMichael Anderson

    Logan's Run is a 1976 American science fiction film directed by Michael Anderson and starring...  more
  • Blade Runner 204936
    165
    105

    Blade Runner 2049

    Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling

    Directed byDenis Villeneuve

    Blade Runner 2049 is a 2017 neo-noir science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve. It is...  more

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  • The Road37
    248
    144

    The Road

    Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall

    Released2009

    Directed byJohn Hillcoat

    The Road is a 2009 American post-apocalyptic drama film directed by John Hillcoat from a...  more
  • Ghost in the Shell38
    258
    184

    Ghost in the Shell

    Maaya Sakamoto, Akio Ōtsuka

    Released1995

    Directed byMamoru Oshii

    Ghost in the Shell is a 1995 anime science fiction film based on manga of the same title by...  more

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  • Watchmen39
    162
    88

    Watchmen

    Malin Åkerman, Carla Gugino

    Released2009

    Directed byZack Snyder

    Watchmen is a 2009 American neo-noir superhero film directed by Zack Snyder and starring Malin...  more

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  • Planet of the Apes40
    153
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    Planet of the Apes

    Mark Wahlberg, Helena Bonham Carter

    Released2001

    Directed byTim Burton

    Planet of the Apes is a 2001 American science fiction film directed by Tim Burton and starring...  more

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  • Ready Player One41
    175
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    Ready Player One

    Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke

    Released2018

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Ready Player One is a 2018 American science fiction adventure film directed by Steven...  more
  • Waterworld42
    268
    232

    Waterworld

    Kevin Costner, Jack Black

    Released1995

    Directed byKevin Costner, Kevin Reynolds

    Waterworld is a 1995 American post-apocalyptic science fiction action film directed by Kevin...  more

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  • In Time43
    166
    129

    In Time

    Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried

    Released2011

    Directed byAndrew Niccol

    2070, Dayton, Ohio. Humanity stop aging on at 25 years old, all people then develop a green glowing digital clock on their forearm with a year to spend, and everything cost time, litteraly. Food, bus etc... Gathered in areas with tolls more and more expensive, most of people live with less than day to spend. A billionnaire give the hero more than a hundreth of years before suicide after reveling that there's enough time for all to live. So he decides to play Robin Hood and to give back the time to people.

  • Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome44
    146
    89

    Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

    Tina Turner, Mel Gibson

    Released1985

    Directed byGeorge Ogilvie, George Miller

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  • Dark City45
    128
    66

    Dark City

    Jennifer Connelly, Kiefer Sutherland

    Released1998

    Directed byAlex Proyas

    Dark City is a 1998 neo-noir science fiction film directed by Alex Proyas. The screenplay was...  more
  • The Island46
    245
    188

    The Island

    Scarlett Johansson, Ewan McGregor

    Released2005

    Directed byMichael Bay

    The Island is a 2005 American science fiction action thriller film directed by Michael Bay,...  more

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  • Elysium47
    168
    137

    Elysium

    Matt Damon, Jodie Foster

    Released2013

    Directed byNeill Blomkamp

    Elysium is a 2013 American dystopian science fiction action thriller film written, directed,...  more
  • The Last Starfighter48
    118
    82

    The Last Starfighter

    Wil Wheaton, Robert Preston

    Released1984

    Directed byNick Castle

    The Last Starfighter is a 1984 American space opera film directed by Nick Castle. The film...  more
  • A.I. Artificial Intelligence49
    125
    110

    A.I. Artificial Intelligence

    Meryl Streep, Robin Williams

    Released2001

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    A.I. Artificial Intelligence, also known as A.I., is a 2001 American science fiction film...  more

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  • Battle Royale50
    206
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    Battle Royale

    Beat Kitano, Chiaki Kuriyama

    Released2000

    Directed byKinji Fukasaku

    Battle Royale is a 2000 Japanese action thriller film adapted from the 1999 novel of the same...  more