Total Nerd The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies  

Ranker Film
11.5k votes 962 voters 14.1k views 57 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.

list ordered by

1
329 103
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
372 129
The Fifth Element is listed (or ranked) 2 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

3
184 36
Blade Runner is listed (or ranked) 3 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

4
318 111
Serenity is listed (or ranked) 4 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

5
310 116
V for Vendetta is listed (or ranked) 5 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

6
244 82
The Terminator is listed (or ranked) 6 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

7
269 100
Terminator 2: Judgment Day is listed (or ranked) 7 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

8
242 89
12 Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 8 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

9
269 108
Mad Max: Fury Road is listed (or ranked) 9 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

10
225 82
Mad Max is listed (or ranked) 10 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

11
209 90
Children of Men is listed (or ranked) 11 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

12
131 42
Aliens is listed (or ranked) 12 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

13
222 104
Dredd is listed (or ranked) 13 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

14
211 98
Total Recall is listed (or ranked) 14 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

15
224 112
District 9 is listed (or ranked) 15 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

16
193 98
Equilibrium is listed (or ranked) 16 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

17
174 85
Escape from New York is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
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 distopian United States ...more

18
186 101
Snowpiercer is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Chris Evans, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton
Snowpiercer is a 2013 science fiction, drama, action film directed by Bong Joon-ho.

19
143 69
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
98 38
Akira is listed (or ranked) 20 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

21
109 47
Starship Troopers is listed (or ranked) 21 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

22
96 40
RoboCop is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
Jason Price added Alex Van Halen, Peter Weller, Leeza Gibbons
Sergeant Warren Reed is a fictional character from the film series RoboCop, RoboCop 2, RoboCop 3.

23
135 72
Logan's Run is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
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

24
157 93
The Running Man is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
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

25
88 41
Ghost in the Shell is listed (or ranked) 25 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