20 Best Dystopian Movies Like Divergent

Dystopian movies have recently become a popular genre thanks to the success of franchises like “Divergent.” These movies portray a futuristic world where society has collapsed, and government systems have failed, leading to chaos and oppression.

If you’re a fan of dystopian movies like “Divergent” and looking for more movies in the genre, we’ve compiled a list of the 20 best dystopian movies to watch.

1. The Matrix Trilogy

The Matrix Trilogy is a science fiction film series that explores the concept of a simulated reality. The story follows a hacker named Neo who discovers that the world he lives in is nothing but an illusion, and he is actually living inside a simulated reality called “the Matrix”. Neo is soon recruited by a group of rebels who have been fighting against the machines that control the Matrix, and he becomes the only hope for humanity to break free from their grasp.

The Matrix Trilogy stars Keanu Reeves as Neo, the main protagonist of the series. Laurence Fishburne plays the role of Morpheus, the leader of the rebels who helps Neo understand the truth about the Matrix. Carrie-Anne Moss plays Trinity, a skilled fighter and love interest of Neo. The films also feature Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith, the main antagonist of the series who is a rogue program within the Matrix. Other notable cast members include Joe Pantoliano, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Monica Bellucci.

Throughout the trilogy, the filmmakers explore complex themes such as the nature of reality and the relationship between humans and technology. The Matrix (1999) was widely praised for its groundbreaking special effects and innovative storytelling. Its sequels, The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003), received mixed reviews for their convoluted plotlines and underwhelming conclusion to the series. Nevertheless, the Matrix Trilogy remains a significant cultural phenomenon in the world of science fiction and action cinema, paving the way for numerous imitators and dazzling audiences with its breathtaking visuals.

For those who want to watch the movies in order, check out our ultimate guide on “The Matrix Movies In Order.”

2. The Hunger Games

In a dystopian future, the Capitol selects two children from each of the twelve districts to participate in a televised game where they must fight to the death until only one participant remains. When her sister is chosen for the brutal competition, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her place. With the help of her fellow tribute, Peeta Mellark, Katniss navigates the treacherous world of the Hunger Games, fighting for survival and inspiring a rebellion against the tyrannical Capitol.

Starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, and Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne, The Hunger Games is a thrilling adaptation of the popular young adult novel by Suzanne Collins. With a talented ensemble cast, including Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, and Donald Sutherland, the film expertly captures the heart-wrenching struggles of the participants in the gruesome game and the political unrest simmering beneath the surface of Panem society. As Katniss becomes a symbol of hope for the oppressed people of her district, she must navigate between her loyalty to her fellow tributes and the power-hungry forces controlling their fate in a game where only one can survive. With breathtaking visuals and dramatic action sequences, The Hunger Games is a cinematic triumph that delivers both heart and spectacle.

3. Elysium

In a future where the wealthy live on a sleek, orbiting space station called Elysium, the rest of humanity is left to suffer on an overpopulated and polluted Earth. When a factory worker named Max gets irradiated on the job and is given only days to live, he hatches a plan to get to Elysium, where he can receive life-saving medical treatment. With the help of a smuggler named Spider, Max sets out on a dangerous mission that could change the balance of power between the haves and have-nots forever.

Starring Matt Damon as Max and Jodie Foster as Delacourt, the tough-as-nails secretary of defense on Elysium, the film is a thought-provoking social commentary on the growing divide between the rich and poor. Blomkamp’s vision of the future is strikingly realized, with dazzling special effects depicting both the pristine, high-tech space station and the grimy, overcrowded slums of Earth. The stakes are high for Max and his fellow Earth-dwellers, who risk everything to gain access to the life-saving technology available on Elysium, even as the privileged few on the station close ranks to protect their way of life. Sharply scripted and expertly paced, Elysium is a pulse-pounding action thriller with a conscience.

4. Blade Runner 2049

Thirty years after the events of the first Blade Runner film, a new blade runner, K (Ryan Gosling), uncovers a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. His discovery leads him on a quest to find the former blade runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who holds the key to the mystery he has uncovered. Along the way, K must navigate dangerous foes and a society on the brink of collapse.

Featuring stunning visuals and a haunting score, Blade Runner 2049 is a worthy successor to the original film. Ryan Gosling delivers a powerful performance as K, a complex character struggling to find his place in a world that doesn’t accept him. Harrison Ford returns as Rick Deckard, bringing his signature gruff intensity to the role. The film’s themes of identity and humanity are explored in thought-provoking ways, challenging viewers to consider the implications of a world where artificial beings have the potential to be more human than their creators. Blade Runner 2049 is a masterful sci-fi epic that asks big questions and delivers stunning answers.

5. V for Vendetta

In a near-future dystopian England, a freedom fighter known only as V (Hugo Weaving) stages a bold terrorist attack on the government in order to rouse the people to recognize their own power and fight against tyranny. Along the way, he meets Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman), a young woman who becomes his protégé and even takes up his mask to continue his work. As their actions escalate, they face off against the oppressive system, led by the ruthless Chancellor Sutler (John Hurt).

Hugo Weaving delivers a tour-de-force performance as the enigmatic V, a man with a dark past and a fierce dedication to his cause. Natalie Portman shines as Evey, who undergoes a transformation from timid victim to bold freedom fighter. John Hurt brings a chilling malevolence to the role of Sutler, creating a villain who is all too believable in his desire for control and dominance. The film’s themes of individualism, freedom, and the power of ideas resonate deeply, making it a powerful and timely work. With thrilling action sequences and sharp political commentary, V for Vendetta is a stirring call to action for audiences everywhere.

6. The Maze Runner

Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) wakes up in a strange, dystopian maze with no memory of his past life. As he and his fellow “runners” explore the ever-changing maze, they begin to piece together the truth about why they are there and what they must do to escape. Along the way, they must outwit the deadly “Grievers” and confront their own inner demons.

Dylan O’Brien leads a talented cast of young actors in this gripping sci-fi adventure film. As Thomas, he is a force to be reckoned with, displaying both physical prowess and emotional depth. The film’s central mystery is compelling and is masterfully revealed through a series of twists and turns. Thomas Brodie-Sangster is a standout as Newt, a thoughtful and vulnerable member of the group. With a strong ensemble cast and a well-crafted script, The Maze Runner stands as one of the most exciting entries in the young adult dystopian genre.

7. Snowpiercer

In a world that has become an icy wasteland due to a failed climate-engineering experiment, the last bastion of humanity is a perpetually moving train called the Snowpiercer, which circles the globe on a never-ending journey. Within the train, a strict caste system is enforced, with the wealthy elite living in luxury at the front, and the lower classes crammed into the squalid tail section. But when Curtis (Chris Evans) leads a revolt, the rebels advance car by car toward the engine, encountering a series of obstacles that force them to confront the truth about their world and themselves.

Bong Joon-ho’s masterpiece is a thrilling and thought-provoking allegory that explores issues of class, power, and revolution. Chris Evans shines as Curtis, a reluctant leader whose journey resonates with audiences as he struggles with the moral complexities of his actions. Tilda Swinton is a standout as Mason, a train official who embodies the cruelty and absurdity of their society’s ruling class. Snowpiercer’s vivid and imaginative imagery is unparalleled, from the filthy, overcrowded tail section to the sumptuous dining cars of the elite. With unforgettable set pieces and a surprising narrative, Snowpiercer is an unforgettable film that delivers both excitement and food for thought.

8. The Giver

In a seemingly perfect world where pain and suffering have been eradicated, and emotion is suppressed, a young boy named Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is chosen to be the next Receiver of Memory. As he learns about the world’s dark past from the Giver (Jeff Bridges), he becomes increasingly disenchanted with the society he lives in and sets out to reclaim the full spectrum of human experience. Along the way, he discovers the disturbing secrets that underpin his utopia.

The Giver is a poignant adaptation of the classic young adult novel with a talented cast, including Jeff Bridges as the eponymous Giver, and Meryl Streep as the Chief Elder. Brenton Thwaites delivers a believable and empathetic performance as Jonas, capturing the character’s growing disillusionment and outrage. The visual design of the film is stunning, with a stark contrast between the sterile monotony of Jonas’ world and the vivid, colorful experiences he discovers. The Giver is a moving exploration of the value of individuality and the human need for both love and pain. With powerful themes and unforgettable performances, The Giver is a must-watch film for audiences of all ages.

9. The Handmaid’s Tale

Based on Margaret Atwood’s seminal novel of the same name, The Handmaid’s Tale is a chilling dystopian series that explores the subjugation of women in a totalitarian society known as Gilead. After a series of environmental disasters leads to widespread infertility, a fundamentalist regime takes over the government and assigns women to specific roles based on their perceived worth. Elisabeth Moss portrays Offred, a “handmaid” who must bear children for her assigned “master” in a world where any form of dissent can lead to severe consequences.

Elisabeth Moss delivers an Emmy-winning performance that is both heart-wrenching and empowering. The ensemble cast is superb, including Ann Dowd as the cruel and pious Aunt Lydia, and Joseph Fiennes as Commander Waterford, the ambiguous man in charge of Offred’s fate. The desolate and oppressive world of Gilead is brought to life with stark cinematography and hard-hitting themes, including the role of religion in controlling women’s bodies and the power dynamics between different classes of women. The Handmaid’s Tale is a powerful indictment of patriarchal oppression that remains relevant to this day.

10. Children of Men

In a world where humanity faces infertility and society has disintegrated, the youngest person alive has just been murdered. Enter Theo (Clive Owen), a cynical bureaucrat who is tasked with escorting the only pregnant woman in the world to safety. As he navigates a dangerous landscape of militant groups and corrupt governments, he develops a growing sense of hope in the face of a seemingly hopeless situation.

Clive Owen delivers a nuanced and poignant performance that perfectly captures the character’s disillusionment and eventual transformation. The visually stunning cinematography immerses viewers in the gritty reality of a world on the brink of collapse. The supporting cast is superb, including Julianne Moore as Theo’s ex-wife and Michael Caine as a sympathetic and eccentric former political cartoonist. With a gripping story, compelling characters, and intense action scenes, Children of Men is a powerful work of science fiction that remains a timely commentary on social and political issues.

11. The City of Ember

The City of Ember is a dystopian film that is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the only city, Ember, is powered by a mysterious generator. The city is falling apart with power outages becoming increasingly frequent, and supplies running low. The main characters, two teenagers, find a box that holds the key to a way out of the city. They must decipher the clues and escape before the city is plunged into darkness forever.

The City of Ember stars Saoirse Ronan as Lina Mayfleet, a resourceful teenager who takes it upon herself to unravel the mystery of the city. Harry Treadaway plays Doon Harrow, a clever and determined young man who joins Lina on her quest. Bill Murray stars as the corrupt Mayor of Ember, who is determined to keep the city in the dark ages. Tim Robbins plays Loris Harrow, Doon’s inventor father, who left the city shortly after the generator was built. With an all-star cast and a thrilling plot, The City of Ember is a must-see for fans of dystopian fiction.

12. A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange is a groundbreaking film directed by Stanley Kubrick. Set in a futuristic society, the film follows the life of a young man named Alex and his involvement in a series of violent crimes. After being caught and imprisoned, he is subjected to an experimental treatment that is meant to cure him of his aggressive tendencies. The film explores themes of free will, morality, and the power of conditioning.

A Clockwork Orange stars Malcolm McDowell as Alex, the charismatic and violent protagonist. The film also features Patrick Magee as the writer who becomes Alex’s victim, and Adrienne Corri as Mrs. Alexander, an elderly woman who is beaten by Alex and his gang. With its innovative cinematography and haunting soundtrack, A Clockwork Orange is a deeply unsettling and thought-provoking film that challenges our notions of what it means to be human.

13. Equilibrium

Equilibrium is a science-fiction action film set in a future where emotions are outlawed and the government enforces its rule with a drug that suppresses them. The main character, played by Christian Bale, is a high-ranking official who undergoes a change of heart after stopping the son of a resistance leader from being executed. He decides to fight against the government’s tyrannical rule and helps to bring change to society.

Christian Bale plays John Preston, a skilled enforcer of the government’s emotion-suppressing laws. Taye Diggs plays Brandt, a loyal government official who becomes suspicious of John and works to bring him down. Emily Watson stars as Mary O’Brien, a woman who introduces John to the power of emotions and helps him break free from his indoctrination. Equilibrium is a thrilling ride filled with stunning action and thought-provoking themes about the nature of freedom and identity.

14. The Island

The Island is a science-fiction thriller that takes place in a future society where human clones are grown to provide replacement organs for their wealthy counterparts. Two clones, played by Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson, discover the truth about their existence and attempt to escape to the outside world. The film explores themes related to the ethics of human cloning and the value of human life.

Ewan McGregor plays Lincoln Six Echo, a clone who begins to suspect that the nature of his existence is a lie. Scarlett Johansson plays Jordan Two Delta, a fellow clone who joins Lincoln on his quest for freedom. Michael Clarke Duncan plays Albert Laurent, a clone who is hired to capture the escaped clones. The Island features a talented cast and amazing action sequences, making it a must-see for fans of science-fiction and thriller movies.

15. The Fifth Element

The Fifth Element is a science-fiction film set in the 23rd century, where a cab driver named Korben Dallas, played by Bruce Willis, is reluctantly drawn into a mission to save the world from a great evil. He is joined by a beautiful and mysterious woman, played by Milla Jovovich, who is revealed to be the Fifth Element, the only thing that can stop the evil force from destroying the universe. The movie is a non-stop action ride with amazing special effects and an original plot.

Bruce Willis plays Korben Dallas, a former special forces soldier who now drives a cab. Milla Jovovich plays Leeloo, the Fifth Element, who teams up with Korben to save the world. Ian Holm plays Father Vito Cornelius, a priest who helps Korben and Leeloo in their mission. The movie also features memorable performances by Chris Tucker as the flamboyant Ruby Rhod and Gary Oldman as the corrupt industrialist Zorg. The Fifth Element is a classic sci-fi film that is beloved by fans for its humor, action, and breathtaking visual effects.

16. Dredd

Dredd is a dystopian action film that takes place in a future where society is divided into Mega-Cities, vast urban areas that are beset by crime and chaos. The main character, Judge Dredd, played by Karl Urban, is a no-nonsense lawman who patrols the streets, dispensing justice with his own brand of violence. When he and his rookie partner are trapped in a high-rise building controlled by a ruthless drug lord, they must fight their way to the top to stop him.

Karl Urban plays Judge Dredd, a gruff and uncompromising lawman who never takes off his helmet. Olivia Thirlby plays Cassandra Anderson, a rookie psychic judge who joins Dredd on his mission. Lena Headey plays Ma-Ma, a ruthless drug lord who controls the high-rise building where Dredd and Anderson are trapped. The movie features amazing action scenes and a dark aesthetic that perfectly captures the bleak world of the Mega-City. Dredd is a must-see for fans of action movies and comic book adaptations.

17. The Lobster

The Lobster is a unique and darkly humorous film set in a dystopian society where single people are sent to a hotel and given 45 days to find a mate or be turned into an animal of their choice. The main character, played by Colin Farrell, is a recent arrival at the hotel who must navigate its strange and often arbitrary rules about dating and relationships. The film is a biting commentary on modern relationships and the desperation and absurdity that can come with the search for love.

Colin Farrell stars as David, a man seeking a romantic partner in a society where being single is not an option. Rachel Weisz plays the short-sighted woman, a fellow hotel guest who David falls in love with. John C. Reilly plays Robert, a man who becomes David’s friend and confidant during his stay at the hotel. The Lobster features an outstanding cast and an inventive and thought-provoking story that is both funny and poignant.

18. Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 is a film adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s classic dystopian novel. Set in a future society where books are banned and “firemen” are tasked with burning them, the film follows a “fireman” named Guy Montag, played by Michael B. Jordan, who begins to question his work and his society. He becomes involved with a group of outcasts who seek to preserve knowledge and rebel against the oppressive regime.

Michael B. Jordan plays Guy Montag, a fireman who begins to question his role in a society that suppresses knowledge and free thought. Sofia Boutella plays Clarisse McClellan, a woman who introduces Montag to a forbidden world of books and ideas. Michael Shannon stars as Captain Beatty, Montag’s boss and a staunch supporter of the government’s policies. The film features stunning visuals and a powerful message about the importance of knowledge and free speech in a society that values conformity over individuality.

19. Ready Player One

Ready Player One is a science-fiction adventure film set in a future where the populace spends most of their time in a virtual reality world called the OASIS. The story follows the young protagonist Wade Watts, played by Tye Sheridan, as he competes in a game that is designed to find the hidden Easter Egg left behind by the OASIS creator. The winner of the game will inherit his massive fortune and control of the OASIS.

Tye Sheridan plays Wade Watts, a teenager who goes by the avatar name Parzival in the OASIS. Olivia Cooke plays Samantha Cook, a fellow gamer who becomes an ally and love interest to Wade. Simon Pegg plays the co-creator of OASIS, Ogden Morrow, who helps Wade in his quest for the Easter Egg. The movie features a dizzying array of pop culture references and an exciting storyline filled with action and suspense.

20. Repo Men

Repo Men is a science-fiction action film set in a future where artificial organs are available for transplantation. The main character, played by Jude Law, is a repo man who specializes in repossessing organs from people who can no longer pay for them. After suffering a heart attack, he himself becomes in debt for an artificial heart and must go on the run from his former employer. The film raises questions about medical ethics and the morality of corporate greed.

Jude Law plays Remy, a tough and unscrupulous repo man who must confront the consequences of his actions. Forest Whitaker plays Jake Freivald, Remy’s longtime partner in the repo business. Alice Braga plays Beth, a singer whom Remy starts to fall in love with after she is implanted with an artificial heart. Repo Men is a stylish and thrilling film with a lot of heart, both literally and figuratively.

Max Roberts

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