Cyberpunk

Cyberpunk is a sub-genre of science fiction which typically deals with issues related to new technology in the not-so-distant future. It often utilizes a film noir style of storytelling, similar to old black and white detective movies with shadowy settings and tragically flawed protagonists. Other common themes in cyberpunk include post-apocalyptic and/or dystopian environments, new technology such as cybernetics and digital media, new phases of human or AI (artificial intelligence) evolution, and strong femme fatales. Cyberpunk began as a literary genre with such classics as William Gibson's Neuromancer, Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, and Shirow Masamune's Ghost in the Shell. Some have even argued that Mary Shelly's Frankenstein was the first cyberpunk story ever.
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1.
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
When the brilliant, but unorthodox scientist, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, rejects the artificial man that he has created, the Creature escapes, and later swears revenge. (123 mins.)
Director: Kenneth Branagh
“ Though more often considered a horror story, Frankenstein shares many cyberpunk themes, such as the use of science and new technology and the morality of their application. From the monster's point of view, it also deals with issues related to self-identity and humanity, much in the same way that films like Ghost in the Shell and Blade Runner do with cyborgs and AI. ” - guilderdirk
 
2.
Ghost in the Shell (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A cyborg policewoman and her partner hunt a mysterious and powerful hacker called the Puppet Master. (83 mins.)
Director: Mamoru Oshii
“ Classic story, amazing artwork. Clearly a source of inspiration for the Matrix films. Set about 20 years in the future, this prophetic tale looks at the ramifications of technology merging with humanity. It raises such philosophical question as what defines a person as human? Are we simply the sum of our memories? Will machines one day think and feel for themselves? Is there such thing as a soul, or ghost? ” - guilderdirk
 
3.
Blade Runner (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator. (117 mins.)
Director: Ridley Scott
“ Based on the Philip K. Dick short story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Similar to Ghost in the Shell, this story considers the evolution of consciousness and self-identity in man-made cyborgs. It also makes excellent use of the classic film noir style, complete with femme fatale Sean Young and anti-hero Harrison Ford. ” - guilderdirk
 
4.
Brazil (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A bureaucrat, in a retro-future world, tries to correct an administrative error, and becomes an enemy of the state. (132 mins.)
Director: Terry Gilliam
“ A surreal and fantastic film from the brilliant mind of Terry Gilliam. ” - guilderdirk
 
5.
THX 1138 (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
In the twenty-fifth century, a time when people have designations instead of names, a man, THX 1138, and a woman, LUH 3417, rebel against their rigidly controlled society. (86 mins.)
Director: George Lucas
“ This brilliant film envisions a future ruled by science where every detail of one's life is controlled. It shares some similarities with books like 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. ” - guilderdirk
 
6.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In the future, a sadistic gang leader is imprisoned and volunteers for a conduct-aversion experiment, but it doesn't go as planned. (136 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ A graphic, brutal, and literally mind-bending film. ” - guilderdirk
 
7.
Akira (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A secret military project endangers Neo-Tokyo when it turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psychic psychopath that only two teenagers and a group of psychics can stop. (124 mins.)
“ Tetsuo! Akira! One of the greatest anime films of all times, hands down. This film really encapsulates the "punk" aspect of cyberpunk. It takes place in a near-futuristic setting after a nuclear bomb has destroyed most of Tokyo. It also deals with the theme of evolution as related to human consciousness, and the risks therein. ” - guilderdirk
 
8.
The Matrix (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers. (136 mins.)
“ A modern myth based on the traditional formula of a hero's journey of self-discovery. Clearly inspired at least somewhat by Ghost in the Shell, the Matrix includes such cyberpunk themes as a film noir atmosphere, post-apocalyptic setting, new technology, highly evolved AI, and a sexy but tough femme fatale leading lady. ” - guilderdirk
 
9.
Inception (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
A thief, who steals corporate secrets through use of dream-sharing technology, is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO. (148 mins.)
“ Concerns such cyberpunk themes as memory, perception, and consciousness, and the manipulation thereof. ” - guilderdirk
 
10.
Avatar (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A paraplegic marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home. (162 mins.)
Director: James Cameron
“ I don't consider this one an entirely cyberpunk film, although it shares some themes. The director's cut version of this film includes a few scenes early on which show a very cyberpunk/film noir version of the Earth in the future. The main portion of the film also deals with the idea of having one's consciousness transferred to a different body. ” - guilderdirk
 
11.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (2002 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
The futuristic adventures of a female cyborg counter intelligence agent and her support team. (24 mins.)
“ Incredible series, really expands upon the themes of the original Ghost in the Shell while introducing entirely new ones, such as Internet memes and cyber-brain disorders. ” - guilderdirk
 
12.
Serial Experiments Lain (1998 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Strange events begin to occur as a withdrawn girl named Lain becomes obsessed with interconnected virtual realm of "The Wired". (316 mins.)
“ This girl has some major identity issues. This bizarre anime show follows the young girl Lain as she learns more and more about the online world, and in the process, is introduced to another version of herself. ” - guilderdirk
 
13.
Ergo Proxy (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In a post-apocalyptic future humans live in peace with androids in a domed city. However, a strange series of murders has intruded into bored inspector Re-l Mayer's life. (25 mins.)
Director: Shûkô Murase
“ Fascinating and very well made anime series. It contains a plethora of interesting information about science, philosophy, art, etc. complimented by amazing animation. Features the Radiohead song Paranoid Android in the closing credits, need I say more? ” - guilderdirk
 
14.
Hackers (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
This movie is about hackers who are blamed for making a virus that will capsize 5 oil tankers. (107 mins.)
Director: Iain Softley
“ Hack the planet! I had to include this film because not only is it very good, it embodies the cyberpunk style of hacker subculture (at least as it was in the mid-90s). ” - guilderdirk
 
15.
Strange Days (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A former cop turned street-hustler accidentally uncovers a conspiracy in Los Angeles in 1999. (145 mins.)
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
“ Perfect example of a cyberpunk movie. The overall feel of this film is dark and gritty, very film noir. It concerns the near future in which people's memories can literally be bought and sold like a drug. The main character is an anti-hero who ultimately finds redemption thanks to a bad-ass femme fatale. ” - guilderdirk
 
16.
Johnny Mnemonic (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
A data courier, literally carrying a data package inside his head, must deliver it before he dies from the burden or is killed by the Yakuza. (96 mins.)
Director: Robert Longo
“ Loosely based on William Gibson's classic book Neuromancer, this film is about a mnemonic courier who uses an illegal storage device implanted in his head to smuggle secret information for his clients. This tragically flawed hero is protected by a femme fatale bodyguard played by Dina Meyer. Contains many cyberpunk themes from film noir setting to issues of memory and self-identity. It even has a computer hacking dolphin and Japanese ninja-assassins. ” - guilderdirk
 
17.
Surrogates (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots, a cop is forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others' surrogates. (89 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Mostow
“ Like Ghost in the Shell, this film explores the social and political ramifications of a society in which people can transfer their living consciousness into ageless, perfect cyborg bodies, that is, if they can afford it... ” - guilderdirk
 
18.
Repo Men (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Set in the near future when artificial organs can be bought on credit, it revolves around a man who struggles to make the payments on a heart he has purchased. He must therefore go on the run before said ticker is repossessed. (111 mins.)
“ Heart disease? Lung cancer? No problem! We've got brand new shiny cybernetic organs waiting to reinvigorate your life. Just don't miss a payment... ” - guilderdirk
 
19.
The Fifth Element (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
In the colorful future, a cab driver unwittingly becomes the central figure in the search for a legendary cosmic weapon to keep Evil and Mr. Zorg at bay. (126 mins.)
Director: Luc Besson
“ Multipass? Awesome cyberpunk movie through and through. ” - guilderdirk
 
20.
eXistenZ (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A game designer on the run from assassins must play her latest virtual reality creation with a marketing trainee to determine if the game has been damaged. (97 mins.)
“ Matrix-like story which involves a fully immersive, 3-d video game. ” - guilderdirk
 
21.
Gattaca (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel. (106 mins.)
Director: Andrew Niccol
“ Great film which does a fantastic job of using the film noir style. Though it does not contain any cyborgs or AI, it does deal with issues of identity, social control, genetic stratification, and new technology in the not-to-distant future. ” - guilderdirk
 
22.
The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The affair between a politician and a contemporary dancer is affected by mysterious forces keeping the lovers apart. (106 mins.)
Director: George Nolfi
“ Another Philip K. Dick adaptation dealing with the nature of memory and emulating film noir style. ” - guilderdirk
 
23.
Black Mirror (2011 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
A television anthology series that shows the dark side of life and technology. (60 mins.)
“ 3 excellent and thrilling short stories related to new technology, authoritarianism, social control and inequality, and other cyberpunk themes. ” - guilderdirk
 
24.
Equilibrium (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In an oppresive future where all forms of feeling are illegal, a man in charge of enforcing the law rises to overthrow the system and state. (107 mins.)
Director: Kurt Wimmer
“ Set in a dystopian future in which religion and science have become one. ” - guilderdirk
 
25.
District 9 (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly finds a kindred spirit in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology. (112 mins.)
Director: Neill Blomkamp
“ This raw and gritty film has the feel of a reality show as it explores issues of humanity, social order, and alien technology. ” - guilderdirk
 
26.
V for Vendetta (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
In a future British tyranny, a shadowy freedom fighter, known only by the alias of "V", plots to overthrow it with the help of a young woman. (132 mins.)
Director: James McTeigue
“ This film was a big inspiration for the real-life hacker group Anonymous. ” - guilderdirk
 
27.
A Scanner Darkly (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
An undercover cop in a not-too-distant future becomes involved with a dangerous new drug and begins to lose his own identity as a result. (100 mins.)
“ Based on the book by Philip K. Dick by the same title, this dark tale of surveillance, paranoia, depression and drug abuse was a bit autobiographical, reflecting some of Dick's own personal struggles. ” - guilderdirk
 
28.
Pi (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A paranoid mathematician searches for a key number that will unlock the universal patterns found in nature. (84 mins.)
“ A bizarre and phenomenal film about a brilliant but somewhat disturbed mathematician searching for God in numbers. ” - guilderdirk
 
29.
The Final Cut (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Set in a world with memory recording implants, Alan Hakman is a cutter, someone with the power of final edit over people's recorded histories. His latest assignment is one that puts him in danger. (95 mins.)
Director: Omar Naïm
“ Very good but very underrated film. Robin Williams plays a type of futuristic mortician who creates video eulogies for the families of people who die thanks to a new technology that allows people to record every second of their lives. ” - guilderdirk
 
30.
New Rose Hotel (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  
Maas and Hosaka are two large Corporations in the future world. They are fighting to get control over the best minds of the world... (93 mins.)
Director: Abel Ferrara
“ Great cast including Christopher Walken, Willem Defoe, and the beautiful femme fatale Asia Argento. Based on a short story by William Gibson, this film is a bit slow-paced but contains some very interesting ideas and cyberpunk themes. ” - guilderdirk
 
31.
Total Recall (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
When a man goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real - or does he? (113 mins.)
Director: Paul Verhoeven
“ Based on the Philip K. Dick short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, this film is set about 70 years in the future, and mostly takes place on a human colony on Mars. It contains some cyberpunk elements from the original story, such as the nature of memory and self-identity, but it was more geared as an action movie. I can't wait for the new 2012 remake to be released. ” - guilderdirk
 
32.
Minority Report (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder. (145 mins.)
“ Also based on a Philip K. Dick short story by the same title, this story explores issues related to precognition, memory, self-identity, and fate. I think it would have been a much better film if Tom Cruise was not in it, though. That guy weirds me out. ” - guilderdirk
 
33.
Paycheck (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
What seemed like a breezy idea for an engineer to net him millions of dollars, leaves him on the run for his life and piecing together why he's being chased. (119 mins.)
Director: John Woo
“ Based on a Philip K. Dick short story by the same name, this is one of the most terrible films I have ever seen. The acting is atrocious. Which is a shame because the story it is based on is quite good. Avoid this film, read the story instead. ” - guilderdirk
 
34.
Sigma (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Without a moment to think, and no time to question, Dr. Adam Lemay is suddenly forced into a conspiracy... (85 mins.)
Director: Jesse Heffring
“ Innovative use of technology to control a person's actions. ” - guilderdirk
 
35.
Total Recall 2070 (1999 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
In a dark, multi-cultural mega-city on earth in 2070s, David Hume, a smart dedicated human and Ian Farve... (44 mins.)
“ This really should have been called Blade Runner the series. It basically merges the stories of Blade Runner and Total Recall into one. It's interesting, but it could have benefited from a higher budget. ” - guilderdirk
 
36.
Dark Angel (2000 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A group of genetically-enhanced children escape from a lab project. Years later we meet Max, one of the escapees who now works for a messenger service in the post-apocalyptic Pacific Northwest. (60 mins.)
“ Short-lived cyberpunk series starring Jessica Alba as the ass-kicking femme fatale. ” - guilderdirk
 
37.
Dollhouse (2009 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A futuristic laboratory has erased the identities of lost young people, and now imprints them with the temporary identities they need to fulfill assignments for clients. (44 mins.)
“ Very good cyberpunk show about "dolls" who are implanted with artificial memories in order to carry out covert operations. ” - guilderdirk
 
38.
Exaella (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
Having completely exhausted resources of the planet, millions of people were placed in automated underground complexes of "artificial sleep and life support". And few of them were awakened. (90 mins.)
Director: Andrew Oudot
“ Haven't seen it yet but it is being advertising as a new cyberpunk anime series. ” - guilderdirk
 
39.
The Animatrix (2003 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The Animatrix is a collection of several animated short films, detailing the backstory of the "Matrix" universe, and the original war between man and machines which led to the creation of the Matrix. (100 mins.)
“ 9 short anime stories related to the Matrix. Covers the whole gambit of cyberpunk themes. My personal favorite is the film noir style "Detective Story." ” - guilderdirk
 
40.
Metropolis (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Kenichi and his uncle Shunsaku Ban must find the mystery behind robot girl Tima. (108 mins.)
Director: Rintaro
“ Visually stunning anime film based on the 1927 sci-fi classic by the same title. Deals with issues related to cyborgs and AI. ” - guilderdirk
 
41.
RoboCop (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories. (102 mins.)
Director: Paul Verhoeven
“ Old school cyberpunk, deals with themes of cybernetics, memory and personal identity in a near-future Detroit. ” - guilderdirk
 
42.
The Running Man (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A wrongly convicted man must try to survive a public execution gauntlet staged as a game show. (101 mins.)
“ Who loves you, and who do you love? Screw The Hunger Games, this is the original reality tv death match. Richard Dawson was perfect as the evil game show host, although I could do without Arnold's cheesy one-liners. ” - guilderdirk
 
43.
Videodrome (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
When he acquires a different kind of show for his station, a sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a terrifying new reality. (87 mins.)
“ Technology merging with biology. And James Woods naked. ” - guilderdirk
 
44.
The Lawnmower Man (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
A simple man is turned into a genius through the application of computer science. (108 mins.)
Director: Brett Leonard
“ My birth cry will be the sound of every phone on this planet ringing in unison. ” - guilderdirk
 
45.
Virtuosity (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
When a virtual reality simulation created using the personalities of multiple serial killers manages to escape into the real world, an ex-cop is tasked with stopping its reign of terror. (106 mins.)
Director: Brett Leonard
“ AI crossing over into RL. ” - guilderdirk
 
46.
Brainscan (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
A teenager is part of an interactive video game where he kills innocent victims. Later, the murders become real. (96 mins.)
Director: John Flynn
“ Evil video game unknowingly turns an innocent gamer into a serial killer. ” - guilderdirk
 
47.
Freejack (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
Bounty hunters from the future transport a doomed race car driver to New York City in 2009, where his mind will be replaced with that of a dead billionaire. (110 mins.)
Director: Geoff Murphy
“ I really liked this movie. It includes time travel, memory and identity issues, dystopia, and other cyberpunk themes. Most of all, the banter between Emilio and Mick Jagger is hilarious! ” - guilderdirk
 
48.
Heavy Metal (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A glowing green orb - which embodies ultimate evil - terrorizes a young girl with an anthology of bizarre and fantastic stories of dark fantasy, eroticism and horror. (86 mins.)
“ What can possible be said about this? It's basically a merger of all things fantasy, sci-fi and cyberpunk mixed with lots of cocaine and large breasts. In other words, it's the 80s. ” - guilderdirk
 
49.
Brave New World (1998 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
In a futuristic totalitarian utopian society, babies are created through genetic engineering, everyone has a predestined place in society and their minds are conditioned to follow the rules. A tragic outsider jeopardizes the status quo. (87 mins.)
“ Not the best film adaptation, but not terrible either. I liked this film well enough though the storyline departs significantly from the book. Like Huxley's masterpiece, it brings up issues of social control, drug use, sex, classism, consumerism, genetic manipulation, and so on. ” - guilderdirk