Total Nerd The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies  

Ranker Film
9.9k votes 867 voters 11.4k views 55 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 dystopian thriller is your favorite? Give the best films a thumbs up and please add any good movies that are missing.

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The Matrix is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
The Matrix 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

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The Fifth Element is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
The Fifth Element 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

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Serenity is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Serenity 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

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Blade Runner is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Jason Price added Blade Runner 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

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V for Vendetta is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
V for Vendetta 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

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Terminator 2: Judgment Day is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 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

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The Terminator is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
The Terminator 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, and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, ...more

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Mad Max is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Mad Max 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

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Mad Max: Fury Road is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Mad Max: Fury Road 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

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12 Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
12 Monkeys 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

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Dredd is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Dredd 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

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Children of Men is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Children of Men 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

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Total Recall is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Total Recall 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

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Equilibrium is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Equilibrium 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

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District 9 is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
District 9 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

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Aliens is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Jason Price added Aliens 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

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Escape from New York is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Escape from New York Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine Escape from New York is a 1981 American science fiction action film co-written, co-scored, and directed by John Carpenter. The film is set in a then near-future 1997 in a crime-ridden United ...more

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Akira is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Jason Price added Akira 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

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Logan is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Christian William Frates added Logan 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

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Snowpiercer is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Snowpiercer Chris Evans, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton Snowpiercer is a 2013 science fiction, drama, action film written by Bong Joon-ho and Kelly Masterson and directed by Bong Joon-ho.

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Ghost in the Shell is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Jason Price added Ghost in the Shell 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

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Logan's Run is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Logan's Run Farrah Fawcett, Peter Ustinov, Jenny Agutter Logan's Run is a 1976 American science fiction film directed by Michael Anderson and starring Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Richard Jordan, Roscoe Lee Browne, Farrah Fawcett and Peter Ustinov. ...more

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Starship Troopers is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Jason Price added Starship Troopers 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, originally from an unrelated script called Bug Hunt at ...more

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The Running Man is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
The Running Man Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Brown, Jesse Ventura The Running Man is a 1987 American science fiction action film loosely based on the 1982 novel The Running Man, written by Stephen King and published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. ...more

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RoboCop is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Jason Price added RoboCop Alex Van Halen, Peter Weller, Leeza Gibbons Sergeant Warren Reed is a fictional character from the film series RoboCop, RoboCop 2, RoboCop 3.

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Gattaca is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Jason Price added Gattaca 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

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The Hunger Games is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
The Hunger Games 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

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Demolition Man is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Demolition Man Sandra Bullock, Sylvester Stallone, Jack Black Demolition Man is a 1993 American science fiction action film directed by Marco Brambilla in his directorial debut. The film stars Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes. The film was released in ...more

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Battle Royale is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Battle Royale Beat Kitano, Chiaki Kuriyama, Kou Shibasaki Battle Royale is a 2000 Japanese action thriller film adapted from the 1999 novel of the same name by Koushun Takami. It is the final film directed by Kinji Fukasaku, the screenplay written by ...more

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Johnny Mnemonic is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Johnny Mnemonic Keanu Reeves, Ice-T, Henry Rollins Johnny Mnemonic is a 1995 Canadian-American cyberpunk action thriller film directed by Robert Longo in his directorial debut. The film stars Keanu Reeves and Dolph Lundgren. The film is based on ...more

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The Road is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
CenturionLizzy added The Road Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Viggo Mortensen The Road is a 2009 American post-apocalyptic drama film directed by John Hillcoat from a screenplay written by Joe Penhall, which is in return based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2006 novel of ...more

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Waterworld is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
sunil1 added Waterworld Kevin Costner, Jack Black, Dennis Hopper Waterworld is a 1995 American post-apocalyptic science fiction action film directed by Kevin Reynolds and co-written by Peter Rader and David Twohy. It was based on Rader's original 1986 ...more

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Æon Flux is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Æon Flux Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand, Jonny Lee Miller Æon Flux is a 2005 American science fiction spy action film directed by Karyn Kusama. The film is a loose adaptation of the animated science fiction television series of the same name, ...more

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Elysium is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
kotbayun added Elysium Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Alice Braga Elysium is a 2013 American dystopian science fiction action thriller film written, directed, and co-produced by Neill Blomkamp, and starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Alice Braga and Sharlto ...more

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Priest is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Priest Maggie Q, Lily Collins, Christopher Plummer Priest is a 2011 American post-apocalyptic dystopia science fiction action horror film starring Paul Bettany as the title character. The film, directed by Scott Stewart, is loosely based on the ...more

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Edge of Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
pratiksharma added Edge of Tomorrow 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 based on a screenplay adapted from the 2004 Japanese ...more

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Push is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Jason Price added Push Dakota Fanning, Camilla Belle, Chris Evans Push is a 2009 American science fiction superhero thriller film directed by Paul McGuigan. The film stars Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Camilla Belle, Cliff Curtis, Joel Gretsch, Djimon Hounsou, ...more

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The Book of Eli is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
pratiksharma added The Book of Eli Mila Kunis, Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman The Book of Eli is a 2010 American post-apocalyptic neo-Western and action film directed by the Hughes brothers, written by Gary Whitta, and starring Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, ...more

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Surrogates is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Surrogates Bruce Willis, Rosamund Pike, Taylor Cole Surrogates is a 2009 American science fiction action film, based on the 2005–2006 comic book series The Surrogates. Directed by Jonathan Mostow, it stars Bruce Willis as Tom Greer, an FBI agent ...more

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The Island is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
The Island Scarlett Johansson, Ewan McGregor, Steve Buscemi The Island is a 2005 American science fiction action thriller film directed by Michael Bay, starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson. It was released on July 22, 2005, in the United States ...more

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Chappie is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Chappie Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley Chappie is a 2015 American science fiction film directed by Neill Blomkamp. The screenplay, written by Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, is based on Blomkamp's 2004 short film Tetra Vaal. The film ...more

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In Time is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Alex BlackSmith Lavé added In Time Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried, Justin Timberlake

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.

Now (originally titled I'm.Mortal) is an upcoming film starring Amanda Seyfried, Justin Timberlake, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Matt Bomer and Alex Pettyfer. The film is written and directed ...more

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Escape from L.A. is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Escape from L.A. Kurt Russell, Steve Buscemi, Pam Grier Escape from L.A. is a 1996 American science fiction action film co-written, co-scored, and directed by John Carpenter, co-written and produced by Debra Hill and Kurt Russell, with Russell also ...more

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Rollerball is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Rollerball James Caan, Maud Adams, Ralph Richardson Rollerball is a 1975 dystopian sports action science fiction film, which Norman Jewison directed from a screenplay dramatized by William Harrison, who adapted his own short story, "Roller ...more

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Divergent is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Divergent Kate Winslet, Shailene Woodley, Ashley Judd Divergent is a 2014 American science fiction action film directed by Neil Burger, based on the novel of the same name by Veronica Roth. The film is the first installment in The Divergent Series ...more

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Turbo Kid is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
pratiksharma added Turbo Kid Munro Chambers, Laurence Leboeuf, Michael Ironside

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Judge Dredd is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Judge Dredd Sylvester Stallone, Diane Lane, James Earl Jones Judge Dredd is a 1995 American science fiction action film directed by Danny Cannon, and starring Sylvester Stallone, Diane Lane, Rob Schneider, Armand Assante, and Max von Sydow. The film is ...more

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RoboCop is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Jason Price added RoboCop Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton RoboCop is a 2014 action science fiction film written by Michael Miner, Edward Neumeier, Nick Schenk and 2 others and directed by José Padilha.

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The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
the_maze_games added The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is a 2015 American dystopian science fiction action thriller film directed by Wes Ball, based on the novel by James Dashner. Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) and his fellow ...more

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RoboCop 2 is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Jason Price added RoboCop 2 Peter Weller, Leeza Gibbons, Nancy Allen RoboCop 2 is a 1990 American cyberpunk action film directed by Irvin Kershner and starring Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy, Belinda Bauer, Tom Noonan and Gabriel Damon. Set in the near ...more