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The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies

Updated July 13, 2020 33.8k votes 2.5k voters 27.3k 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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  • 1
    The Terminator is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
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    The Terminator

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Paxton

    Released1984

    Directed byJames Cameron

    The Terminator is a 1984 American science fiction/horror action film directed by James... more on Wikipedia

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

    Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving

    Released1999

    Directed byAndy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

    The Matrix is a 1999 American-Australian science fiction action film written and directed by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 3
    Blade Runner is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
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    199

    Blade Runner

    Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah

    Released1982

    Directed byRidley Scott

    Blade Runner is a 1982 American neo-noir dystopian science fiction film directed by Ridley... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    Terminator 2: Judgment Day is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
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    Terminator 2: Judgment Day

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong

    Released1991

    Directed byJames Cameron

    Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a 1991 American science fiction action thriller film written,... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    Aliens is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
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    169

    Aliens

    Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton

    Released1986

    Directed byJames Cameron

    Aliens is a 1986 American science-fiction action horror film written and directed by James... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    Alien is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
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    51

    Alien

    Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt

    Released1979

    Directed byRidley Scott

    Alien is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott. The crew of the... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    The Fifth Element is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
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    The Fifth Element

    Milla Jovovich, Bruce Willis

    Released1997

    Directed byLuc Besson

    The Fifth Element is a 1997 English-language French science fiction action film directed and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 8
    Total Recall is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
    499
    202

    Total Recall

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone

    Released1990

    Directed byPaul Verhoeven

    Total Recall is a 1990 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven. In... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    12 Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
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    12 Monkeys

    Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis

    Released1995

    Directed byTerry Gilliam

    12 Monkeys, also known as Twelve Monkeys, is a 1995 American science fiction film directed by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    Edge of Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
    358
    155

    Edge of Tomorrow

    Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt

    Released2014

    Directed byDoug Liman

    Edge of Tomorrow is a 2014 American military science fiction thriller film directed by Doug... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Mad Max is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
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    200

    Mad Max

    Mel Gibson, Hugh Keays-Byrne

    Released1979

    Directed byGeorge Miller

    Mad Max is a 1979 Australian dystopian action film directed by George Miller, produced by... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    V for Vendetta is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
    652
    345

    V for Vendetta

    Natalie Portman, John Hurt

    Released2005

    Directed byJames McTeigue

    V for Vendetta is a 2006 American political thriller film directed by James McTeigue and... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    Mad Max: Fury Road is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
    646
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    Mad Max: Fury Road

    Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron

    Released2015

    Directed byGeorge Miller

    Mad Max: Fury Road is a 2015 action film directed by George Miller. In a post apocalyptic... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    Minority Report is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
    195
    60

    Minority Report

    Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise

    Released2002

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Minority Report is a 2002 American neo-noir science fiction mystery-thriller film directed by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 15
    Escape from New York is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
    411
    191

    Escape from New York

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell

    Released1981

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

    Escape from New York is a 1981 American science fiction action film co-written, co-scored, and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 16
    District 9 is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
    511
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    District 9

    Sharlto Copley, Jed Brophy

    Released2009

    Directed byNeill Blomkamp

    District 9 is a 2009 science fiction film directed by Neill Blomkamp, released August 13,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 17
    RoboCop is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
    350
    136

    RoboCop

    Alex Van Halen, Peter Weller

    Released1987

    Directed byPaul Verhoeven

    RoboCop is a 1987 American cyberpunk action film directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 18
    Serenity is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
    536
    267

    Serenity

    Summer Glau, Morena Baccarin

    Released2005

    Directed byJoss Whedon

    Serenity is a 2005 American space western film written and directed by Joss Whedon. It is a... more on Wikipedia

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  • 19
    Children of Men is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
    460
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    Children of Men

    Julianne Moore, Clive Owen

    Released2006

    Directed byAlfonso Cuarón

    Children of Men is a 2006 science fiction thriller film directed and co-written by Alfonso... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    I Am Legend is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
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    150

    I Am Legend

    Will Smith, Emma Thompson

    Released2007

    Directed byFrancis Lawrence

    I Am Legend is a 2007 American post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film directed by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 21
    Starship Troopers is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
    353
    160

    Starship Troopers

    Neil Patrick Harris, Denise Richards

    Released1997

    Directed byPaul Verhoeven

    Starship Troopers is a 1997 American military science fiction action film directed by Paul... more on Wikipedia

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  • 22
    Interstellar is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
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    93

    Interstellar

    Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey

    Released2014

    Directed byChristopher Nolan

    Interstellar is a British-American 2014 science fiction epic film directed by Christopher... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    Mad Max 2 is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
    195
    67

    Mad Max 2

    Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence

    Released1981

    Directed byGeorge Miller

    Mad Max 2 is a 1981 Australian post-apocalyptic action film directed by George Miller. The... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    The Running Man is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
    348
    189

    The Running Man

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Brown

    Released1987

    Directed byPaul Michael Glaser

    The Running Man is a 1987 American science fiction action film loosely based on the 1982 novel... more on Wikipedia

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  • 25
    Snowpiercer is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies
    392
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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 on Wikipedia

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