Entertainment

The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies  

Ranker Film
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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.

list ordered by
1
The Matrix is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss
The Matrix is a 1999 American-Australian science fiction action film written and directed by The Wachowskis, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, and Joe ...more
2
Terminator 2: Judgment Day is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton
Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a 1991 American science fiction action thriller film written, produced and directed by James Cameron. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert ...more
3
Mad Max: Fury Road is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Hugh Keays-Byrne
Mad Max: Fury Road is a 2015 action film directed by George Miller. In a post apocalyptic desert wasteland where gasoline and water are scarce commodities, Max Rockatansky (Max Hardy) joins ...more
4
Blade Runner is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Jason Price added Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young
Blade Runner is a 1982 American neo-noir dystopian science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos. The screenplay, ...more
5
Aliens is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Jason Price added Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn
Aliens is a 1986 American science-fiction action horror film written and directed by James Cameron, produced by his then-wife Gale Anne Hurd, and starring Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael ...more
6
V for Vendetta is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Natalie Portman, John Hurt, Hugo Weaving
V for Vendetta is a 2006 American political thriller film directed by James McTeigue and written by the Wachowski Brothers, based on the 1988 Vertigo graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore ...more
7
The Terminator is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Paxton, Linda Hamilton
The Terminator is a 1984 American science fiction/horror action film directed by James Cameron, written by Cameron and the film's producer Gale Anne Hurd. Schwarzenegger plays the Terminator, a ...more
8
Edge of Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
pratiksharma added Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton
Edge of Tomorrow is a 2014 American military science fiction thriller film starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. Doug Liman directed the film. The film takes place in a future where Earth is ...more
9
The Fifth Element is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Milla Jovovich, Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman
The Fifth Element is a 1997 English-language French science fiction action film directed and co-written by Luc Besson. It stars Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman and Milla Jovovich. Mostly set in the ...more
10
Dredd is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Lena Headey, Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby
Dredd is a 2012 science fiction action film directed by Pete Travis and written and produced by Alex Garland. It is based on the 2000 AD comic strip Judge Dredd and its eponymous character ...more
11
District 9 is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Sharlto Copley, Jed Brophy, Vanessa Haywood
District 9 is a 2009 science fiction film directed by Neill Blomkamp, released August 13, 2009. It takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa. District 9 is based on Alive in Joburg, a short film ...more
12
Serenity is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Summer Glau, Morena Baccarin, Nathan Fillion
Serenity is a 2005 American space western film written and directed by Joss Whedon. It is a continuation of Whedon's short-lived 2002 Fox science fiction television series Firefly and stars the ...more
13
Ghost in the Shell is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Jason Price added Maaya Sakamoto, Akio Ōtsuka, Kōichi Yamadera
Ghost in the Shell is a 1995 anime science fiction film based on manga of the same title by Masamune Shirow. The film was written by Kazunori Itō, directed by Mamoru Oshii, animated by ...more
14
The Hunger Games is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
The Hunger Games is a 2012 American dystopian science fiction adventure film directed by Gary Ross, based on the novel by Suzanne Collins. In a dystopian post-apocalyptic future in the nation of ...more
15
Children of Men is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Michael Caine
Children of Men is a 2006 science fiction thriller film directed and co-written by Alfonso Cuarón. The screenplay, based on P. D. James's 1992 novel of the same name, was credited to five ...more
16
12 Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Christopher Plummer
12 Monkeys, also known as Twelve Monkeys, is a 1995 American science fiction film directed by Terry Gilliam, inspired by Chris Marker's 1962 short film La Jetée, and starring Bruce ...more
17
RoboCop is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Jason Price added Alex Van Halen, Peter Weller, Leeza Gibbons
RoboCop is a 1987 American cyberpunk action film directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner. Set in a crime-ridden Detroit, Michigan, in the near future, RoboCop ...more
18
Akira is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Jason Price added Takeshi Kusao, Mami Koyama, Tesshō Genda
Akira is a 1988 Japanese animated cyberpunk action film directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, written by Otomo and Izo Hashimoto, and featuring the voices of Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, and ...more
19
Logan is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Christian William Frates added Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant
Logan is a 2017 American superhero drama film featuring the Marvel Comics character Wolverine. It is the 10th installment in the X-Men film series and the third and final Wolverine solo film ...more
20
Mad Max is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Mel Gibson, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley
Mad Max is a 1979 Australian dystopian action film directed by George Miller, produced by Byron Kennedy and starring Mel Gibson. James McCausland and Miller wrote the screenplay from a story by ...more
21
Total Recall is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside
Total Recall is a 1990 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, and Sharon Stone. The film is loosely based on the Philip ...more
22
I Am Legend is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Niels Madsen added Will Smith, Emma Thompson, Salli Richardson
I Am Legend is a 2007 American post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Will Smith. It is the third feature film adaptation of Richard Matheson's ...more
23
Equilibrium is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Christian Bale, Sean Bean, Taye Diggs
Equilibrium is a 2002 American dystopian science fiction film written and directed by Kurt Wimmer and starring Christian Bale, Emily Watson, and Taye Diggs. The film follows John Preston, an ...more
24
Starship Troopers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Jason Price added Neil Patrick Harris, Denise Richards, Amy Smart
Starship Troopers is a 1997 American military science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Edward Neumeier. The story follows a young soldier named Johnny Rico and his ...more
25
Gattaca is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Jason Price added Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Ethan Hawke
Gattaca is a 1997 American science fiction film written and directed by Andrew Niccol. It stars Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, with Jude Law, Loren Dean, Ernest Borgnine, Gore Vidal, and Alan ...more