Dystopian futuristic landscapes, cybernetic implants, and posthumanism or dehumanization are all hallmarks of the best cyberpunk movies.
Furthermore, the majority of good cyberpunk films strongly rely on philosophical or psychological allegories.
A poor metropolis where an evil company governs and oppresses the regular inhabitant is a common scenario in the cyberpunk genre.
Despite the physical and spiritual deterioration, the atmosphere is brightened by a vibrant color palette of pinks, blues, and reds.
Typically, the plot of these movies revolves around a protagonist who is motivated to act by the loss of a loved one.
They rise against their corporate rulers, only to be swept up into a complicated plot that ponders humanity’s fundamental nature.
Table of Contents
- 1. Elysium (2013)
- 2. Tron (1982)
- 3. Dredd (2012)
- 4. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
- 5. Code 46 (2003)
- 6. Ghost In The Shell (1995)
- 7. Upgrade (2018)
- 8. Minority Report (2002)
- 9. Blade Runner (1982)
- 10. Robocop (1987)
- 11. Videodrome (1983)
1. Elysium (2013)
- Director: Neill Blomkamp
- Stars cast: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, and Alice Braga
- IMDB ratings: 6.6
This is one of the best cyberpunk movies. In the cyberpunk genre, an economic imbalance is a key issue.
Those with the power to help others are not always generous in giving resources, as is the case in real life. “Elysium,” a 2013 science fiction action movie directed by Neill Blomkamp, examined the extremes to which disadvantaged people must go to stay safe. Earth has become an overpopulated wasteland in the twenty-first century.
The rich elite lives in “Elysium,” a space station with superior medical technology and technological achievements. In their dirty homeworld, the underprivileged are allowed to decay and suffer.
A toxic chemical poisons construction worker Max Da Costa (Matt Damon) on Earth. Elysium is the only place where you can get the cure.
2. Tron (1982)
- Director: Steven Lisberger
- Stars cast: Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, and Cindy Morgan
- IMDB ratings: 6.7
Tron is one of the best cyberpunk movies because of its early usage of computer animation and video game-inspired graphics.
It tells the story of a video game developer who becomes stuck in a digital world while trying to prove his previous employer’s software plagiarism. He needs to play life like a computer game to find his way out and halt the system’s renegade AI.
Tron is a PG-rated version of The Matrix in many respects, posing similar themes about virtual reality while staying thrilling and action-packed till the conclusion. Tron: Legacy, a sequel, was released in 2010, and a third movie is in the works.
3. Dredd (2012)
- Director: Pete Travis
- Stars cast: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, and Rachel Wood.
- IMDB ratings: 7.1
The Judge Dredd comic book character was created as one of the earliest cyberpunk heroes in the comic strip “2000 AD.” The sophisticated anti-hero who served as judge, jury, and executioner in the future was complex.
Unfortunately, Sylvester Stallone’s 1995 picture “Judge Dredd” failed to capture the tone of the original source material.
The Stallone movie was campy and didn’t reflect the Dredd character’s more subtle moral concerns. Thankfully, the 2012 movie “Dredd” did a good job of adapting the comic.
Karl Urban played the title role, who is one of many judges on the streets of the dystopian planet of “Cursed Earth.”
4. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Stars cast: Haley Joel Moment, Jude Law, Frances O’Connor, and Sam Robards
- IMDB ratings: 7.2
This is one of the best cyberpunk movies. Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence is a thought-provoking science fiction movie.
It follows a robot teenager who is trained to love unconditionally, a feature that renders him unfit for any environment.
The film is dedicated to Stanley Kubrick, who spent many years developing the story before handing it to Steven Spielberg.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence, starring Haley Joel Osment in a career-best performance, is a special drama that combines the best qualities of two of history’s greatest filmmakers.
5. Code 46 (2003)
- Director: Michael Winterbottom
- Stars cast: Tim Robbins, Samantha Morton, Om Puri, and Togo Igawa
- IMDB ratings: 6.1
In cyberpunk movies, romantic relationships are frequently doomed. “Code 46,” directed by Michael Winterbottom and released in 2006, envisaged a cyberpunk world in which government-approved DNA couplings predetermine relationships.
The totalitarian state creates “perfect” relationships through genetic modification. This implies that falling in love spontaneously is suddenly impossible and unlawful.
These laws are laid forth in a set of codes, the most famous of which is “Code 46,” which prohibits genetically related persons from having “incestuous” relationships.
William Geld (Tim Robbins) is an insurance fraud investigator who works behind the scenes to help businesses figure out which of their workers are posing as someone else. This is one of the best cyberpunk movies.
6. Ghost In The Shell (1995)
- Director: Mamoru Oshii
- Stars cast: Atsuko Tanaka, Lemasa Kayumi, Akio Otsuka and Koichi Yamadera
- IMDB ratings: 7.9
Ghost in the Shell is one of the best cyberpunk movies as well as one of the finest cyberpunk anime movies.
Apart from being cyberpunk, it is widely regarded as one of the greatest animated movies ever created. Period. This seminal Japanese animated movie is based on Masamune Shirow’s manga of the same name.
The movie’s influence has inspired a massive franchise of television shows and movies, including a 2017 remake.
Ghost in the Shell is set in Japan in 2029, in a futuristic future where bodily parts may be exchanged for cybernetic ones.
Furthermore, the movie shows a future in which ordinary people are neutrally connected to the internet, with cyborgs assimilated into society.
7. Upgrade (2018)
- Director: Leigh Whannell
- Stars cast: Logan Marshall-Green, Melanie Vallejo, Steve Danielsen, and Abby Craden
- IMDB ratings: 7.5
True friendships are uncommon in the uncertain future of a cyberpunk movie. “Upgrade,” a 2018 vengeance thriller, is about an odd friendship that develops after a catastrophe.
Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green), a mechanic, has a strong aversion to technology. He wants to construct things with his own two hands, even though robotic innovations have taken over much of the globe.
Grey is proud of a car he created, but it crashes as he and his wife Asha are driving it (Melanie Vallejo). The pair is trapped on the perilous streets, where Asha is murdered, and A vicious criminal group breaks grey’s back.
Grey, now a quadriplegic in a wheelchair, is compelled to combine his paralyzed body with the artificial intelligence software STEM (Simon Maiden).
8. Minority Report (2002)
- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Stars cast: Tom Cruise, Collin Farrell, Samantha Morton, and Max Von Sydow
- IMDB ratings: 7.7
During the twenty-first century, Steven Spielberg’s filmography darkened. “Minority Report,” his cyberpunk picture from 2002, is a bleak, strangely prescient neo-noir that poses a tough question: how much of the future is fixed in stone?
In the year 2054, the police department’s “Precrime” division employs psychic precogs to catch criminals before they commit a crime.
While this appears to put a stop to crime for good, some critics doubt whether a person’s innocence or guilt can be judged based on future occurrences.
According to the Precogs, Precrime commanding commander John Anderton (Tom Cruise) is expected to murder a guy called Leo Crow (Mike Binder) in 36 hours.
9. Blade Runner (1982)
- Director: Ridley Scott
- Stars cast: Harrison Ford, Rutgers Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos
- IMDB ratings: 8.1
It’s hardly surprising that cyberpunk and noir fiction regularly collide. The classic noir films of the 1940s and 1950s featured lone private eyes solving crimes in cold, desolate cities.
As these detectives or anti-heroes decipher clues, they uncover truths that expose humanity’s darkest qualities.
They still feel alone, even amid a big and expanding metropolis. The visionary science-fiction masterpiece “Blade Runner” by Ridley Scott propelled the noir genre into the not-too-distant future.
“Blade Runner” is based on legendary sci-fi novelist Phillip K. Dick’s short tale and explores the role of technology and the potential of humanity in creating sentient artificial intelligence.
Although “Blade Runner” is far from the first sci-fi film to include android characters, the replicants in the movie start to doubt their mortality. Rick Deckard is the titular “Blade Runner” (Harrison Ford).
10. Robocop (1987)
- Director: Paul Verhoeven
- Stars cast: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O’Herlihy, and Ronny Cox
- IMDB ratings: 7.6
Multiple subgenres can be combined in cyberpunk movies to create distinct experiences. Just because a picture is set in a bleak future doesn’t mean it can’t simultaneously be humorous, interesting, and controversial. Many of the best cyberpunk movies are entertaining as well as pose deeper philosophical themes.
Few directors are as adept at combining commercial pleasure with profound social insight as to Paul Verhoeven.
Verhoeven includes societal satire in his movie, which requires many viewings to understand properly. “Robocop,” directed by Paul Verhoeven in 1987, is the best example of this.
11. Videodrome (1983)
- Director: David Cronenberg
- Stars cast: James Wood, Debbie Harry, Sonja Smits, and Peter Dvorsky
- IMDB ratings: 7.2
The unknown is terrifying, and cyberpunk movies’ fear of the future is a significant motif. In his terrifying 1983 cyberpunk thriller “Videodrome,” David Cronenberg encapsulated these fears.
The movie is a sociological satire on the media’s desensitization to violence and depicts gruesome body horror.
Max Renn, the conceited president of Toronto television station CIVIC-TV, is played by James Woods. Harlan (Peter Dvorsky), the station’s operator, shows Max an unusual broadcast signal that is infiltrating their network broadcast.