18 Films That Correctly Predicted the Future

Rob Leung

Sometimes, the line between fiction and reality blurs in the world of cinema. Over the years, several movies have eerily predicted future events, technological advancements, and societal changes long before they became reality. Here’s a look at some films that proved to be prophetic in their insights and imaginations:

Hackers (1995)

Photo Credit: MGM

While much of the technology shown in Hackers might feel outdated today, its portrayal of virtual reality gadgets was surprisingly prescient. The film features a character using glasses that bear a striking resemblance to modern VR headsets like the Oculus Rift, highlighting an early vision of the immersive tech experiences that have become commonplace today.

The Matrix (1999)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros

The Matrix introduced audiences to a world where humans connect to a digital reality through physical hardware, a concept that seems increasingly plausible with developments like Elon Musk’s Neuralink.

Contagion (2011)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros

Maybe we should have paid more attention to this movie back in 2011. Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion showcased a situation similar to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic with its plot, and it was so spot on. Some of the parts of the film that really resonate after the pandemic include the spread of fake news and the acceptance of fake cures.

The Terminator (1984)

Photo Credit: Orion Pictures

Killer robots, military drones, global surveillance—you could say the Terminator was in 2023 already. James Cameron’s The Terminator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, depicted the future of military interactions and weapons as of 1982. How cool!

Metropolis (1927)

Photo Credit: UFA

Science fiction is a genre that never disappoints: 95 years later, this sci-fi movie still hits the mark. Fritz Lang’s Metropolis was already showing skyscrapers and big highways in 1927. What is incredible is that all of these things were not actively in use at that time, a testament to the expansive imagination involved in the movie’s writing.

Soylent Green (1973)

Photo Credit: MGM

The climate change conversation is one that’s been buzzing lately, and for good reason. This was not the case some years ago. However, Soylent Green highlighted the dangers of climate change. Today, we can visibly see the effects of the earth’s depletion on our environment.

I Am Legend (2007)

Photo Credit: Warner Brothers

I Am Legend spoke of legendary movies to come. In the background of the scenes, there was an ad for a Superman and Batman movie that would be released eleven years later. That’s some prediction!

Super Mario Bros. (1993)

Photo Credit: Hollywood Pictures

Super Mario Bros. eerily predicted the collapse of the World Trade Center. Although completely unrelated to the 9/11 attack, in the movie, the World Trade Center is burned, with a hole in one side of the building and another being half destroyed.

You’ve Got Mail (1998)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros

Online romances were not popular in 1998, but one was portrayed in You’ve Got Mail. Today, dating sites, dating apps, online matchmaking, and online ‘love’ are the in thing. Shoutout to Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks for showing the way in this film!

The Running Man (1987)

Photo Credit: Tri-Star Pictures

The Running Man reminds me of Squid Games, which was Netflix’s most-watched show of 2021. The film gave a prediction of our modern world’s addiction to violent and competitive entertainment. The Running Man is considered to be one of the best sci-fi films of the ‘80s.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Stanley Kubrick’s A Space Odyssey gave us a little insight into Siri and Alexa-esque technology in 2001. Although HAL, the AI in the movie, did go a little nuts, it communicated with the crew ship and received commands similar to what AIs do today.

Blade Runner (1982)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros

Nobody was thinking about targeted digital ads in 1982, but the minds behind Blade Runner clearly were. In the movie, there were futuristic billboard ads in the clouds. Today, digital ads are sprinkled all around us, from public billboards to our phones.

Face/Off (1997)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

In Face/Off, a police officer and a criminal swap faces through a surgical procedure. Thirteen years later, in March 2010, a group of Spanish doctors successfully performed a full face transplant. Following up in 2011, a group of French doctors performed a face surgery, including tear ducts and eyelids.

Woman in the Moon (1929)

Photo Credit: UFA

When Woman in the Moon was released in 1929, nobody could have envisaged space travel. Today, humans have not only gone to space but are living in space. In the movie, a group travels to space to see if its atmosphere can sustain human life.

The Truman Show (1998)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

In 1998, a movie predicting the popularity of reality TV hit our screens. The Truman Show had a hunch about where entertainment was headed, the way our privacy would be jeopardized in the digital world, and how much modern media would revolve around the entire lives of certain people.

Smart House (1999)

Photo Credit: Alan Sacks Productions

Disney could see AIs becoming a part of our households in Smart House. In the movie, the home AI begins to take her role a little too seriously and then decides to ‘be a mother’ and locks everyone inside. That hasn’t happened yet, and hopefully it won’t.

Death Race 2000 (1975)

Photo Credit: New World Pictures

Roger Corman’s Death Race 2000 accurately predicted the United States oil collapse of 1979 and the recession in the early ‘80s. While these events might seem coincidental, we can credit the movie for giving us a heads-up.

Demolition Man (1993)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros

The concept of social distancing, which became a major thing during COVID, was demonstrated in this 1993 film. In Sylvester Stallone’s Demolition Man, the characters were released from a frozen prison and practiced social distancing on their return. The people were also introduced to video calling.