There is an entire library of movies that try to predict the future and another library of books that predict the future that has been made into films. “The Matrix Resurrections,” which is the fourth movie in its series, will be released on December 22. It is among the most successful film franchises of all time.
One attraction of movies about the future is that they give writers and directors extreme artistic license. They do not need to be tethered to what viewers believe is real at all. That may be one reason they have been around for decades and, in at least one case, nearly a century. The seminal “Metropolis” was released in 1927.
To determine the best sci-fi movie of all time, 24/7 Tempo developed an index using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, as of November 2021. All ratings were weighted equally. Only movies that were tagged with the keyword “future” on IMDb and depict an imagined future for human civilization were considered. Directorial credits also are from IMDb.
Science fiction, at its best, gives people a window into what could be possible and allows people to project their hopes and fears for the future. Many futuristic films imagine incredibly advanced technology, like space travel and artificial intelligence. Others are less optimistic, predicting that the future will be crime-ridden and the Earth will run out of natural resources.
Hollywood continues to churn out futuristic films in large part because they are in high demand. Big-budget, CGI-laden, sci-fi blockbusters often do well at the box office. In fact, many of the films we considered have grossed hundreds of millions of dollars.
The best movie about the future is “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” directed by James Cameron and released in 1991. Here are the details:
- IMDb user rating: 8.5/10 (1.0 million votes)
- Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 94% (749,360 votes)
- Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 93% (84 reviews)
The future, according to “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” is taken over by artificial intelligence, which has control of U.S. nuclear missiles and triggers a nuclear holocaust.