These are some of our favorite utopian movies that depict seemingly perfect societies, usually with a major flaw. For more bleak fiction, check out our dystopian movie list.
Back to the Future Part II is the second movie of the Back to the Future trilogy. Although strictly not a classic utopian movie, it has unique comedic perspective on how people of the 1980s thought optimistic future could look like.
Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) is a science fiction thriller film, which was adapted from the novel "Colossus" by Dennis Feltham Jones. This classic SF movie describes the events that happened when the powerful supercomputer (which controlled military defense capabilities of both Soviet Union and the USA) became sentient and held the entire world as a hostage in its quest to secure world peace.
Demolition Man is a utopian, science fiction, an action film directed by Marco Brambilla, starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes. It follows the adventures of two late 20th century convicts (wrongfully sentenced ex-cop and a super criminal) who were transported to the futuristic dystopian society. There, they became involved in the power struggle between utopian evil ruler, guerilla anarchist group and the violent ambitions of the 20th-century crime lord.
Forbidden Planet (1950) is a movie directed by Fred M. Wilcox, which is today regarded as one of the most influential science fiction movies of all time. Its story revolved around Commander John J. Adams (Leslie Nielsen) in his quest across the stars to find an expedition colony that disappeared 20 years ago. By the end of the movie, he discovered those colonists were killed by the technology created by the long extinct race of aliens, called Krell. They managed to create a machine, which was able to materialize their every dream and help them in establishing perfect utopia. However, same technology led to their extinction when their subconscious fears and monsters also became real.
Gattaca is a science fiction film directed by Andrew Niccol, starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, and Jude Law. It depicts the life in the futuristic dystopian Earth society, in which quality genetic makeup controls the destiny of every person. The main protagonist Vincent was born in an old-fashioned way. He is seen as genetically inferior and is doomed to a life of servitude. He tries to change his destiny by buying identity of Jerome Eugene Morrow, a potential swimming star whose career ended in a car accident.
Her is 2013 American romantic science fiction movie directed and written by Spike Jonze and starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. Lonely writer purchases new intelligent operating system, that can meet the user's every need. An unusual love story develops between the user and the computer.
In time is a utopian movie directed by Andrew Niccol and starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried. In the mid 22nd-century, people turn off the aging gene at their 25th birthday. To avoid overpopulation, when people stop aging, their clock begins to count down from 1 year. When their clock reaches 0, that person dies. However, this remaining time can be transferred from person to person. Classes of people form, with "time rich" who has centuries on their clock, to individuals who are trying to make ends meet, by just having a next day to live.
Logan's Run (1976) is a science fiction film based on a novel of the same name by writers William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. One of the most celebrated dystopian movies of all time depicts theme that was explored in many literary and film projects – a seemingly idyllic futuristic society encased in a dome in which entire human civilization lives a pleasant life without any limitations or hardships. But this world has a single dark flaw – everyone’s lifespan is limited to 30 years, and the majority of people willfully accepts this fact. The film follows Logan 5 (played by Michael York), one of the enforcement officers that captures “runners” - fugitives who decided to run away from the government so that they could be live longer. His normal life is turned upside down when he is tasked to infiltrate a group of runners and their hidden sanctuary, but instead of illegal operation he expected to find, he discovers the entrance to the beautiful untouched outside world.
Lost Horizon (1937) is an American drama-fantasy film directed by Frank Capra. It follows the life of wise diplomat who after the plane crash in uncharted regions of Himalayas discovers the perfect utopian city of Shangri La. There he and his crew members struggle with the fact of will they stay in this utopia or return to the real world. This movie adaptation of the novel starred Ronald Colman, Jane Wyatt and John Howard.
"Metropolis" (1927) is a German science fiction film that describes futuristic urban dystopia and the social power struggle between worker and ruler class, as was outlined by the capitalism teachings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Heavily praised for the initial premiere, this movie received numerous restorations and re-releases over the years. Final restored version was released to the public in early 2010.
The film depicts the life in the futuristic and idyllic utopian society where wealthy people live very comfortable lives. Carefree life of one of those citizens - Freder Fredersen, comes to an end when he discovers that below the residences of the wealthy is located an underground world of the poor who work their entire life on maintaining the machinery that makes the Utopian civilization on the ground functioning. He becomes involved in the attempt of the underground leaders to unite the two societies, bringing equality among two classes.
Minority Report is a movie about a dystopian society in the year of 2054 in Washington D.C. The story is about a "Pre-Crime" police force unit, which revolves around three psychics, "Pre-Cogs", with special power to see into the future and predict crimes. Police manipulates these visions and arrest criminals before the offenses are even committed. Main protagonist, "Pre-Crime" Chief John Anderton (Tom Cruise) has the tables turned on him when he is accused of murder in the future. He must find a way to prove his innocence, for the thing he has yet to do.
Minority Report is yet another masterpiece of Steven Spielberg.
Our Daily Bread is 1934 American movie. It follows a group of people during the Great Depression who live the city a flee to the country to set up a farming community - a small utopian like society.
Pleasantville is a New Line Cinema utopian/dystopian movie from 1998 with Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon, William H. Macy, Joan Allen, and Jeff Daniels. The main protagonist, two teenagers are transported into a black and white TV show called Pleasantville. As they are integrated with the people of Pleasantville community, they slowly brought some new values resulting with red rose growing in this black and white world.
Rollerball is 1975 cult British-American dystopian movie, based on a short story - "Roller Ball Murder". In 2018, in corporate-controlled states, rollerball a full-contact violent sport is a substitute for all current sports and warfare. When one of the star athletes refuses to retire, corporations will try everything to take him out, because they see his repetitive success as the strength of individualism.
Slaughterhouse-Five (1972) is a utopian science fiction film which was adapted from the Kurt Vonnegut's novel of the same name. It follows the Billy Pilgrim, a human prisoner on alien planet Tralfamadore, who during the interrogation re-lived the events of his past life (especially experiences from World War II).
The Giver is American utopian science fiction movie, directed by Phillip Noyce and starring Jeff Bridges and Brenton Thwaites. The film is based on Lois Lowry's novel of the same name. In a seemingly ideal world without pain and suffering, in a society of conformity, a young man spends time with The Giver, an elderly man who teaches him about the "real" world.
The Host is American science fiction utopian movie, based on the Stephenie Meyer's book of the same name. After an alien invasion of Earth, a young woman, Melanie, bonds with a parasitic alien soul injected into her body and set out to try to help other humans.
The Island is Michael Bay's 2005 science fiction movie starring McGregor and Scarlett Johansson. Lincoln Six-Echo struggles with life in a carefully controlled environment, with a hope that he will win a lottery and be chosen to go "The Island", the last contagion-free place on the Earth.
The Time Machine is cult 1960 American movie, based on the 1985 H. G. Wells novel of the same name. An Englishman from the beginning of the 20th century travels into the far future to find out that humanity has divided into two species - peace loving Eloi and cannibalistic Morlocks.
The Truman Show is American utopian satirical comedy drama directed by Peter Weir and starring Jim Carrey. "The Truman Show" is 24-hour a day reality TV show about Truman Burbank, who doesn't know that his entire life is perfectly set up tv show. After several strange incidents, Truman starts to question everything.
Among the many films of Woody Allen, Sleeper managed to distinguish itself by being one of the funniest comedies he has created in his long career. The story of Sleeper follows the adventures of clumpy ordinary man Miles Monroe (played by Woody Allen) who goes after simple medical procedure finds himself awoken from cryostasis 200 year later. There he starts exploring the weird dystopian world in which oppressive government rules the working class, entering into many misshapes during his struggle to help a small group of anti-government radicals.
Things to Come (1936) is a British science fiction film, made as a loose adaptation of several novels of famous English science fiction authors H. G. Wells. It describes the generational saga of the fictional British city of 'Everytown' and its citizens, who try to rebuild their war-torn city and create new utopian society.
Tomorrowland is 2015 American science fiction utopian movie, directed by Brad Bird and starring George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, and Britt Robertson. To save the world a gifted teenage girl and a former boy-genius embark on the adventure in the technological paradise - Tomorrowland.
Your favorite utopian film missing? Perhaps we have classified it as dystopian fiction? Check out our dystopian film list or contact us with your suggestions!