The Hunger Games (21 Films That Preceded It)

***Strictly for entertaining, educational purposes, and those looking for more films to watch with similar themes and storylines to "The Hunger Games" (2012).

Here's a list by filmmaker and film curator Jeff M. Giordano for similar films that existed in the collective unconscious prior to "The Hunger Games" (2012). They are probably more, but 20 feels sufficient.

In 2008, "The Hunger Games" novel was released.

NOTE:
In several interviews, Suzanne Collins cites the ancient Greek myth of "Theseus and the Minotaur" as a significant influence on the world of Panem.

Since the early 2000's, reality television has heavily featured numerous physical competitions. And thus may have been the most direct (or subconscious) influence on Suzanne Collins when she wrote "The Hunger Games."

Special Thanks:
The author of the IMDb list "Hunting Humans":
http://www.imdb.com/list/2AqJ43Isyb4/

The author of the website "Like The Hunger Games":
http://like-the-hunger-games.blogspot.com/

Check out Jeff's other lists:
http://www.imdb.com/user/ur14886407/lists

***http://www.jeffmgiordano.com***
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1.
The Most Dangerous Game (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
An insane hunter arranges for a ship to be wrecked on an island where he can indulge in some sort of hunting and killing of the passengers. (63 mins.)
“ In 1924, the short story by Richard Connell was published under the title "The Hounds of Zaroff" in Collier's Weekly. ” - JMG_Films
 
2.
Bloodlust! (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.1/10 X  
A crazed hunter kidnaps people and turns them loose on his private estate, where he hunts them for sport. (68 mins.)
Director: Ralph Brooke
“ Hollywood B film with similarities to "The Most Dangerous Game." ” - JMG_Films
 
3.
Lord of the Flies (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Lost on an island, young survivors of a plane crash eventually revert to savagery despite the few rational boys' attempts to prevent that. (92 mins.)
Director: Peter Brook
“ In 1954, the novel by William Golding was published. ” - JMG_Films
 
4.
The 10th Victim (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Some people like violence so much, that they decide to create a club in which human hunts are organized - members being alternately hunters, and prey, until they end up dead. (92 mins.)
Director: Elio Petri
“ Based on the 1953 short story "Seventh Victim" by Robert Sheckley.

This Italian film that takes place in Manhattan as a sci-fi, dark comedy 1960's satire via legalized murder through a game called "The Big Hunt."

Sheckley published a novelization of the film in 1966, which could have influenced subsequent books and films. He died in 2005. ” - JMG_Films
 
5.
They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The lives of a disparate group of contestants intertwine in an inhumanely grueling dance marathon. (129 mins.)
Director: Sydney Pollack
“ In 1935, the novel by Horace McCoy was published. ” - JMG_Films
 
6.
Das Millionenspiel (1970 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A candidate in a game show is hunted by three men. He will get a Million DMark, if he survives for a week; the hunters will get the money... (96 mins.)
Director: Tom Toelle
“ Based on the 1953 short story "Seventh Victim" by Robert Sheckley.
"Das Millionspeil" was remade as "Le prix du danger" (1983).

According to IMDb trivia: when the film was released hundreds of young men didn't realize that the movie was fiction, believing it to be a real TV game show. Several applied as contestants for the show, either as future candidates or manhunters. ” - JMG_Films
 
7.
Punishment Park (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
"Punishment Park" is a pseudo-documentary purporting to be a film crews's news coverage of the team of soldiers escorting a group of hippies... (88 mins.)
Director: Peter Watkins
“ A gem of a film on its own...a full-blown political and social satire concerning American political problems during a time of crisis.

Hollywood studios refused to distribute "Punishment Park" because it was viewed as an indictment against America.

See it for yourself and decide! ” - JMG_Films
 
8.
Quintet (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  
During a future ice age, dying humanity occupies its remaining time by playing a board game called "Quintet." For one small group, this obsession is not enough; they play the game with living pieces ... and only the winner survives. (118 mins.)
Director: Robert Altman
“ Revolves around an odd board game called "Quintet," which is a twisted version of backgammon. When a player loses the game, they also lose their life. ” - JMG_Films
 
9.
Le prix du danger (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
In a futuristic society, contestants pit their survival skills against each other in a fight to the death for cash prizes, and the contest is aired live on television. (100 mins.)
Director: Yves Boisset
“ Based on "Das Millionenspiel" (1970), a German made-for-TV movie. Both are based on a short story by Robert Sheckley, called "The Prize of Peril" (published in 1958).

Written about a man who goes on a TV show in which he must evade people out to kill him for a week in order to win a large cash prize, it is perhaps the first-ever published work predicting the advent of reality television.

There are many similarities between Sheckley's story and Stephen King's novel, "The Running Man," published in 1982, of which a film adaptation was made in 1987. ” - JMG_Films
 
10.
The Running Man (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A wrongly convicted man must try to survive a public execution gauntlet staged as a game show. (101 mins.)
“ In 1982, the novel by Stephen King was published.

An interesting side note: King released a similar novel "The Long Walk" under a pseudonym in 1979. Set in a dystopian future, the story concerns a gruelling walking contest held annually by a totalitarian USA for 100 teenage boys.

King claims he started writing "The Long Walk" while a freshman at the University of Maine (1966 - 67), and that it was in fact the first novel he ever wrote -- preceding "Carrie" (1974).

Frank Darabont (director for "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Green Mile") wants to make a film version of "The Long Walk." ” - JMG_Films
 
11.
Death Ring (1992 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  
Ex-Green Beret Matt Collins is kidnapped along with his fiancée, Lauren Sadler, by crazed hunter extraordinaire Danton Vachs... (90 mins.)
Director: R.J. Kizer
“ Similar to "The Most Dangerous Game." ” - JMG_Films
 
12.
Surviving the Game (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
A homeless man is hired as a survival guide for a group of wealthy businessmen on a hunting trip in the mountains, unaware that they are killers who hunt humans for sport, and that he is their new prey. (96 mins.)
“ Ice-T co-stars again. ” - JMG_Films
 
13.
The Pest (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  
A Miami con man agrees to be the human target for a Neo-Nazi manhunter, in order to collect $50,000 if he survives. (84 mins.)
Director: Paul Miller
“ Hollywood comedy with a similar setup.

Released in February 1997. ” - JMG_Films
 
14.
Mean Guns (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
A gangster boss (Ice-T) has a list of about 100 people who have screwed up at one point or another. Rather than outright killing them... (104 mins.)
Director: Albert Pyun
“ The premise is close to "The Running Man" and "The Most Dangerous Game."

The tagline: "Sparks fly when real killers collide."

Released in July 1997. ” - JMG_Films
 
15.
Battle Royale (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary "Battle Royale" act. (114 mins.)
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
“ In 1999, the novel by Koushun Takami was published in Japan -- an English version followed in 2000.

In response to similarities to "The Hunger Games," Koushun Takami said he appreciated fans "standing up" for his book, but stated that he thinks "every novel has something to offer," and that if "readers find value in either book, that's all an author can ask for."

The film sequel "Battle Royale II: Requiem" was released in 2003. ” - JMG_Films
 
16.
Series 7: The Contenders (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A TV program selects people at random to kill one another for fame and their freedom. (86 mins.)
Director: Daniel Minahan
“ Made before reality television became dominant programming. ” - JMG_Films
 
17.
The Eliminator (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.6/10 X  
Former LAPD cop, Dakota Varley (played by UFC champion Bas Rutten), enters a power boat race seeking the prize of $250,000... (90 mins.)
Director: Ken Barbet
“ Similar to "The Running Man" and "Mean Guns." ” - JMG_Films
 
18.
The Condemned (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Jack Conrad is awaiting the death penalty in a corrupt Central American prison. He is "purchased" by a wealthy television producer and taken to a desolate island where he must fight to the death against nine other condemned killers from all corners of the world, with freedom going to the sole survivor. (113 mins.)
Director: Scott Wiper
“ The premise is close to "The Running Man" and "Mean Guns." ” - JMG_Films
 
19.
The Tournament (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Every seven years in an unsuspecting town, The Tournament takes place. A battle royale between 30 of the world's deadliest assassins... (95 mins.)
Director: Scott Mann
“ The premise is close to "The Running Man" and "Mean Guns."

First released theatrically in August 2009. ” - JMG_Films
 
20.
Gamer (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
In a future mind-controlling game, death row convicts are forced to battle in a 'Doom'-type environment. Convict Kable, controlled by Simon, a skilled teenage gamer, must survive thirty sessions in order to be set free. Or won't he? (95 mins.)
Director: Neveldine, Taylor
“ Similar to "The Running Man" and "Mean Guns."

First released theatrically in September 2009. ” - JMG_Films
 
21.
The Hunger Games (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games, a televised competition in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death. (142 mins.)
Director: Gary Ross
“ Based on the 2008 novel. ” - JMG_Films
 
22.
Turkey Shoot (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
Deviants are held at a rehabilitation fortress until they're set into a deadly game of survival, in the hopes of returning to world society. (93 mins.)
“ Also known as "Turkey Shoot." The premise seems inspired by "Punishment Park" (1971). ” - JMG_Films