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Top 10 British Dystopia Movies

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Jessica Nosal
It’s chaos, carnage and complete social upheaval. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 British dystopia movies. For this list, we’re looking at British feature films set in a dystopian world. We’re excluding short films, though. Which means “The War Game” isn’t here – no matter how remarkable it was! Special thanks to our user Freemantle_uk for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 British Dystopia Movies



It’s chaos, carnage and complete social upheaval. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 British dystopia movies.

For this list, we’re looking at British feature films set in a dystopian world. We’re excluding short films, though. Which means “The War Game” isn’t here – no matter how remarkable it was!

#10: “The Lobster” (2015)

A depiction of dystopia quite unlike any other, “The Lobster” deals primarily with a tense and unpredictable quest for love – because anyone who doesn’t find legitimate romance will be turned into an animal. Colin Farrell takes the lead, as his character arrives at ‘the hotel’ after his wife leaves him. From there, he has 45 days to find the right partner – who may or may not be Rachel Weisz – or else he’ll transform into the movie’s titular crustacean. The toast of film fest critics everywhere, it’s an offbeat comedy that gets more and more sinister with every passing second.

#9: “Dredd” (2012)

While Sly Stallone in the 1995 adaptation was all kinds of disappointing, this 2012 revival of everyone’s favourite comic book cop struck precisely the right tone. With Karl Urban bringing the Judge back to life for the big screen, the story unfolds amidst a drug epidemic in Mega-City One – with the ultra-addictive Slo-Mo causing plenty of problems. With Pete Travis in the director’s chair and Alex Garland as writer and producer, this movie forced us allto stand up and take note – while the calls for a sequel have barely abated ever since.

#8: “Things to Come” (1936)

Penned by the legendary science fiction writer H.G. Wells, “Things to Come” is the earliest film to make today’s countdown – and a standard setter for sci-fi dystopias everywhere. Inspired by Wells’ own work, the film foresees a nation and entire planet ravaged by endless war – with some parts providing an eerily close resemblance to how 20thcentury history actually panned out. From the initial fighting to biological weapons to twenty-first century space exploration, it’s a film that boldly goes where few others could even imagine.

#7: “Fahrenheit 451” (1966)

Of course, the novel on which this film is based was written by an American, Ray Bradbury. But the British were the driving force behind the adaptation – which was filmed at Pinewood Studios. However, with a French director and an Austrian lead, the film does have a global feel to it, which works especially well given the scope of the story. In it, an oppressed society is kept under control by the burning of all books and literature. Envisaging an attack on our freedom and an ensnaring of our imaginations, this particular future is very far from bright.

#6: “V for Vendetta” (2006)

Few films have carved their own niche into popular culture quite as effectively as this one. “V for Vendetta” sees Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman take the fight to a totalitarian state, with Weaving playing the eponymous, Guy Fawkes-inspired freedom fighter. And, as anarchy is gradually unearthed, V’s mask becomes a symbol for ruthless, determined protest. Based on the comic series by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, and written for the screen by the Wachowskis, it’s two fingers to authority and a tour de force of bellicose brilliance.

#5: “Brazil” (1985)

With Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam in the director’s chair, you might expect this to be a bright, breezy and comedic careen through the concept of dystopia. But, no. In fact, “Brazil” is the polar opposite. Following Jonathan Pryce’s Sam Lowry as he strives to survive within a corrupt and paranoid bureaucracy, the film tackles wide-ranging issues including government, the police, plastic surgery and treason. It’s arguably a movie remembered most for its ending, but barely a scene passes when the tension isn’t at top notch.

#4: “A Clockwork Orange” (1971)

A difficult watch but a definite cult classic, Stanley Kubrick’s inspired adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ novel is still held as one of the finest and most frightening dystopic creations out there. Charting the rise and fall of its ultimate anti-hero, Alex DeLarge, “A Clockwork Orange” brings to life a world of ultra-violence, intimidation, indoctrination and Beethoven. With left and right wing influences seen throughout the film, this is a future society that at times doesn’t seem a million miles away from our own – which makes it all the more troubling.

#3: “28 Days Later” (2002)

A discussion on dystopias just wouldn’t be complete without at least a passing reference to zombies, would it. “28 Days” more than hints at the undead, however… it’s a full-on, bloody barrage of ‘risen again’ anarchy! Amidst an outbreak of a rage-inducing virus, it’s survival of the fittest, fastest and luckiest. Jim and his friends band together to try and stay safe, but this particular visualisation of societal collapse offers very little hope for escape. Forget the walking dead, these things can run. And once they have you in their sights, there’s not much you can do about it.

#2: “Children of Men” (2006)

Taking place 18 years since the birth of the last child, “Children of Men” pitches global infertility as the reason for the downfall of humanity. Without new lives being brought into this world global governments fall, and violence and corruption has spread. However, there is some hope in the form of the miraculously pregnant Kee. While she and her child are forever at risk of capture, Clive Owen does his damndest to ensure that they are safe. But can he really defy such eye-watering odds? And will the human race ever re-emerge from the deep-set war it’s waging with itself?

#1: “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (1984)

An adaptation of perhaps the most influential dystopian novel of all, “Nineteen Eighty-Four” delivers a chilling but unforgettable look at what an oppressed future might be like. George Orwell created Airstrip One, Oceania and Big Brother back in 1949, but John Hurt steps into the role of Winston Smith 35 years later – with the story still striking home with the same unrelenting hopelessness. Winston and his illicit lover Julia briefly believe they’ve beaten the system, and enjoy a secret affair. But love is outlawed in this world, and there’s no escaping the all-seeing eye of the powers that be.
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