25 Best Cyberpunk Movies That are Amazing

25 Best Cyberpunk Movies That are Amazing
"Anything that can be done to a rat can be done to a human being. And we can do most anything to rats. This is a hard thing to think about, but it's the truth. It won't go away because we cover our eyes. THAT is cyberpunk." — Bruce Sterling

There's Something Beautiful About Cyberpunk Films

Is it the dystopian worlds within them? Is it the elements of a dark future, that always seem ever so accurate to the path we're going, in the current world we're in? Or, maybe it's the exploration of virtual worlds, cyber-augmentations and society.

What i know for sure, is that these 25 cyberpunk films have bits of all of that within them, as well as fantastic story. Let me show you.

 

25) Equilibrium

Released in 2002, directed by Kurt Wimmer, Equilibrium takes place in a futuristic world where emotion is illegal and punishable by death.

Yes, you read that right. Books, art pieces, music, and pretty much anything emotion-inducing must be destroyed. And the ones to enforce this regime are Clerics, who are essentially head officers who specialize in a fighting style called “gun-kata”.

And, if you aren’t already sold, I want you to try to think of anything better than Christian Bale and “Gun-fu”. 

Equilibrium is a tasteful dystopian revenge story at its heart. What keeps it beating is its gun-toting batman, Christian Bale.

 

24) Ghost in the Shell, The GOOD one

If you hated the live action remake as much as everyone else did, I urge you to give the original anime movie a try. See Maj. Motoko in her full glory, as she slaughters and solves crimes in her best form. and, if it wasn’t as good as many people credit it to be, Hollywood wouldn’t have recreated it.. It wasn’t the best, but I suppose it’s better than a lack of trying.

If you liked to see something close to the cyberpunk aesthetic, this is definitely it. Female cyborgs with guns. Nothing is more cyberpunk than that.

 

23) Alita Battle Angel 

Based in the far future, an abandoned android with an epic history named Alita is found by a scientist named Ido. As she awakens and begins her new life, she realizes the evils of the higher-class and the criminals around her, and decides to act on it. Upon her quest to be savior, she starts to uncover the truth about her past. It's also worth mentionig that fan favorite Dua Lipa released her song, "Swan Song" as part of the movie's soundtrack.

If you were a fan of the manga this movie is based on, you’ll definitely love watching it. God bless your directing, Robert Rodriguez.

 

22) Upgrade 

Equilibrium isn’t the only revenge story on this list. Upgrade’s main character, Grey Trace, has his life turned upside down when a group of gang members paralyze him and murder his wife. But everything spins on its head once Grey is offered a chance at vengeance, as long as he becomes the host for an AI implant called STEM. The implant not only gives him superhuman reflexes, but also makes him just as strong. With STEM, Grey rips his way through to revenge.

The gore and brutal action of Upgrade is definitely up there with the gore in Cyberpunk 2077. So, if you're anticipating that, watching this will definitely have you pumped up for that aspect of the game. 

 

21) Dredd

Very much similar to Night City (Cyberpunk 2077) is Mega City, where Dredd takes place. An overpopulated, violent dystopian metropolis, policed by what are called “judges”. When put on a mission to stop crime warlord, Ma-ma, Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) and rookie Cassandra (Olivia Thirlby), stop at nothing to put her down. Not even at being locked in a fortress with thousands of crazy gang members.

When it comes to crime and drugs in a futuristic world, this movie could definitely fit right into the world of Cyberpunk 2077. Creators of Dredd, CD Project Red, make this happen!

 

20) Elysium

In the year 2154, the earth is left to ruins. And, instead of working to fix our world, the rich and wealthy leave to live in a space station where life is prosperous, leaving everyone else behind on a poverty-stricken planet. With a purpose and nothing left to lose, Max (Matt Damon) suits up with an exoskeleton and goes on a mission to bring equality to humanity. And, to fight him and preserve the life of the rich on the space station, Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) throws her entire arsenal at him to ensure nothing changes.

Given that District 9 and this movie shares the same director, the lead actor from District 9, Sharlto Copley, makes an appearance here as well. 

 

19) Tron (1982)

With a higher Rotten Tomatoes score than its successor, Tron: Legacy, I found it more fitting to put Tron (1982) on this list, instead. Regardless of scores, it would still be infinitely better to go to where Tron began. With  Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) joining the resistance in a simulated world created by the very executive that stole work from him. Since its from the 80s, you’ll get even more of that cyberpunk aesthetic, seeing as both Tron and the aesthetic itself rose from that era.

It’s almost pointless to say that Tron: Legacy’s CGI is a whole lot better, so I still suggest that you watch it, if that’s more your thing. But, if you’d rather have the 80s synth and pop music, and prime Jeff Bridges that the original Tron has to offer, you’ll be very satisfied.

 

18) Robo-Cop (1987)

Continuing our time-travel back to the 80s with Cyberpunk movies, here’s where we take a look at Robo-Cop. In a crime flooded Detroit, the evil corporation, Omni Consumer Products, partners up with law enforcement to create the ultimate crime fighting cyborg. What makes it evil is that, in order to create this cyborg, they tricked and essentially murdered street police officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) and made him into this thing, with no memory of who he was before. 

While it may not be an obviously cyberpunk movie, what fits it in the category is cyber-modifications of the main character, and few more futuristic details embedded within the film. As well as the synth soundtrack, which sends chills down my spine every time.

 

17) Total Recall

Starring Arnold Schwazenegger, Total Recall centers on a construction worker named Douglas Quaid, in the year 2084. Exhausted of his mundane life, he visits “Rekall”, a company that specializes in providing people with false memories of them being on mars. Once he commences with the procedure, something unlocks Quaids truth; that he was never living his real life all along. 

Follow Quaid on a mind-bending, action packed and slightly grotusque ride to discover his truth! Okay, maybe it's very grotusque.

 

16) Akira

Akira, released in 1988 in the US, is still regarded as one of the best anime movies of all time. It’s story follows a bike gang who gets thrown into the middle of a paranormal fiasco, as one of their members encounters extraordinary powers and poses an existential threat to humanity. With how people still praise this move, there’s a wonder why no one has created a live-action adaptation of it for so long. Knowing Hollywood’s track-record for anime films, we’re probably all glad that they haven’t.

If the body-mutilation and gore of Total Recall didn’t bother you, you definitely have a treat coming your way with Akira. It may look like a cartoon, but I do NOT recommend this one for children.

 

15) Ready Player One

Taking a quick trip back to current-gen movies, let’s take a look at Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One. In 2045, our planet is basically on the brink of collapse. So, to run away from it all, James Halliday creates the OASIS: a VR world for humanity to be whoever and do whatever. When Halliday dies, he promises his large fortune to the first person to find an easter egg hidden within the game. This is where we meet our hero, Wade Watts (Tye Sherridan). He bands a team together to aid him in finding the egg, and saving the OASIS from the wrong hands.

Watching this movie will give you more of a feel for Cyberpunk’s Braindance VR technology, as both Braindance and the movies VR tech work in very similar ways. That’s what makes this movie cyberpunk, after all.

 

14) The Matrix

If you like the Virtual Reality aspect of the cyberpunk aesthetic, as well as slow-mo action scenes, this cult-classic will be a goodie for you. Directed by Lana and Lilly Wachowski, The Matrix centers on Neo (Keanu Reeves), commonly referred to as “the One” by Morpheus(Lawrence Fishburne). Neo’s task is to uncover the truth within the Matrix and save humanity from an army of intelligent secret agents. Did i mention it’s got slow-mo action sequences?

Being the first of its own trilogy, the Matrix sets the standard very high, for its sequels and action sci-fi film alike. And fortunately the second movie holds up.

 

13) The Fifth Element

Going as far into the future as the 23rd century, Five elements must gather together to defend the world from great evil. When the Fifth element, taking the appearance as a woman named Leeloo (Milla Jovovich), comes in contact with a cab driver named Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), the fate of earth hangs in the balance. And it is up to Korben to get Leeloo to the other four elements and save it. That is, not without Leeloo being pursued by Zorg (Gary Oldman), a crazed industrialist.

Fifth offers a lot of cyberpunk vibes with its vehicles, futuristic home appliances and clothing styles. The hairdo and outfits Chris Tucker wore in this movie definitely wouldn’t be accepted anywhere else. I promise you that.

 

12) Looper

Filled with cyberpunk elements, Looper takes place in a modern world where time travel exists. People from the future hire hitmen from the present to eliminate people they want wiped from time. That’s pretty much how it works, until looper hitman Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is ordered to assassinate his future self (Bruce Willis). Which, needless to say, sets the whole at a discourse, and leaves both Joes fighting for their lives.

Given that this is his second appearance on this list, it should be known that Bruce Willis truly does justice to the Cyberpunk aesthetic. And what’s better than seeing him fight his past self in the past, to save his future? 

 

11) Altered Carbon: Resleeved

Created after seasons 1 and 2 of the show, Altered Carbon: Resleeved continues Takeshi Kovacs’ story, as he’s tasked with protecting a tattoo artist while also investigating the murder of a yakuza boss. Faced with cyber-ninjas and angry gang members, Takeshi realizes that he isn’t the deadliest thing in this new world. Planet Latimer may just be his final resting place, if he isn’t careful enough.

For those that are unfamiliar with the series, it takes place in a world where our conscious minds are uploaded to these carbon chips called “stacks”. With stacks, people can essentially live forever, and switch bodies (“sleeves”) like a snake sheds its own skin. Cool, right?

 

10) Minority Report

Based on Philip K. Dick’s book with the same name, Minority report is a Futuristic action crime movie, where the police use a psychic machine to arrest and convict murders before they do the killing in the first place. When The head of the pre-crime unit is accused of commiting a pre-murder, John Anderton (Tom Cruise) runs the race against time to prove his innocence. All the while fighting off his own men. 

Witness a futuristic Washington D.C in all its glory, as well as Colin Farrel in an actually good cyberpunk movie! Sorry, Colin, but the Total Recall remake was bad.

 

9) The Animatrix 

Produced by the Wachowski sisters, The Animatrix is an anime style anthology film. It features nine short-films that take place within the original Matrix trilogy, from the same people. Each short film has almost a different artstyle from the others, and the film even inspired the creation of Netflix’s animated anthology series, “Love, Death and Robots”. Which also features cyberpunk elements.

True fans of the Matrix series will love this anthology collection. It features new characters and also adds more extension on the war outside of the simulation.

 

8) Sleep Dealer 

Taking place in a degraded Mexico in the future, Hacker Memo (Luis Fernando Pena) uses his skills to get ahead. That is, until he’s found by the military and pushed farther into hiding somewhere in Tijuana. When in Tijuana, he finds Luz (Leonor Varela), a female Journalist who sells her memories online. From there, both Memo and Luz dive deeper into the tech world, and discover deadly secrets that may cause them their lives.

While a lot more subtle with the cyberpunk aesthetic, its futuristic setting and plot still fit in the category. Winning an award at Sundance Film Festival, and receiving high acclimations from sophisticated movie reviews, Sleep Dealer will definitely win over your heart as well. 

 

7) Dark City 

This one has a more noir vibe to it. Dark City’s main character, John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell), wakes up in a hotel, wanted for multiple murders he doesn’t remember committing. Upon unraveling the mystery of if he did it or not, he uncovers an underworld city, inhabited by beings known collectively as the Strangers. 

From the same director that created “The Crow”, Alex Proyas created a classic gem for cyberpunk fans to watch, far past the release of this film. And it’s still just as good as it was in ‘98.

 

6) Demolition Man

In the future, according to this film, Criminals are put in cryo-sleep for as long as their sentences are, as per the government's new way of prison time. Among those in cryo-sleep prison is violent thug Simon Phoenix (Wesly Snipes) and a wrongly committed police officer, John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone). But when Phoenix escapes his prison, the police force has no choice but to free Spartan in order to stop his carnage on the new world. 

Demolition Man also features a VR technology that shares similarities with the Braindance VR in Cyberpunk 2077. Gotta love the future, right?

 

5) Terminator 

Coming from the future, where a cyborg army, powered by what’s called “Skynet”, the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) travels back to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), the future mother of the Man that will lead the resistance. To protect Sarah from the T-800, Kyle Reese (Micheal Biehn), a member of the resistance, travels back to that same year. With T-800 always in constant pursuit, Sarah and Kyle struggle to escape, but eventually decide that the only way to be safe is to fight back.

What makes this a great cyberpunk movie to watch is not only Legendary cyborg played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, but its story and the true fear this movie was for kids in the 80s. I’m not even an 80s baby and it scared me half to death.

 

4) Appleseed

Deunan Knute (Ai Kobayashi) is a female soldier who survived the global war. When she finds her long lost love, she discovers that he has become a cyborg in order to live after his fatal injuries. When Bioroids start to emerge and attack the city of Olympus, Deunan ventures to find a weapon she could use to kill the cyborg race. 

This movie offers excellent action sequences and visually stunning VFX. Also a super-sweet cyber love story. You can try, but you can beat that.

 

3) Johnny Mnemonic

In a world where pretty much every form of technology is too vulnerable to trust, Meet Johnny Mnemonic (Keanu Reeves), a data courier who holds and delivers data through his own mind. When his live hangs in the balance because of a piece of data in his head that he can’t get out, but needs to be retrieved with 48 hours, He elects the help of a cyber-enhanced bodyguard, Jane (Dina Meyer) to accompany him while he seeks the password needed to save his life. The quest gets harder for him as he discovers that a gangster and a businessman want what’s in his head, and are willing to chop it off so they can have it.

Johnny Mnemonic was based on a story with the same name, written by William Gibson. And here’s another fun fact: Mnemonic isn’t the only Johnny from the future that Keanu Reeves gets to play. I’ll give you a hint, his last name’s Silverhand.

 

2) Ghost in The Shell: ARISE

Cyber hacker, Motoko Kusanagi finds herself wrapped up in the investigation of a devastating bombing. However, she isn’t the only one searching for answers. As she delves deeper into the mystery of who may be behind this attack, a specialized team unlike any other begins to take shape. 

With this being the second time on this list, the Ghost in The Shell series is a must-watch in a cyberpunk movie binge. Just ask the millions of GITS fans world-wide.

 

1) Blade Runner 2049

Coming in at #1 is the most popular cyberpunk movie of the last few years, Blade Runner 2049. Taking place Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner and LAPD officer K (Ryan Gosling) unearths a long-buried secret. This secret has the potential to drive what’s left of society into calamity. Upon solving this case, K finds former blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) to assist him in saving the last bit of society the world has left.

The Bladerunner series has been a huge staple for the cyberpunk genre, among a few other movies. And what really did justice to both the genre and this series was its latest entry, 2049. Being as though this is the first sequel I put on this list, I just had to put it at #1. 

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Before he learned to tie his own shoes, or tell the time on a clock, Khy was gaming. Slaying monsters and playing gun games before he grew teeth. I wish that last one was inaccurate, but it isn't.
Gamer Since: 2004
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Whatever keeps me busy for 4 hours out of the day
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Life is Strange, Sleeping Dogs
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