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Throughout sci-fi's existence as a genre, the subject of utopias and dystopias has been a major theme among writers. In fact, there are entire genres of dystopian literature that play off those concepts—and how surreal utopias seem to be.
Of course, there are utopias that are just superficially delved into and seem awesome, and utopias that make you really wonder what life would be like if you were a citizen of that world...or highlight the horrors of the dystopia others exist in.
Over the years, there have been many famous utopias in sci-fi movies that have made us want to live there. Here are some of the most iconic utopias ever put into science fiction movies, and why they captured our attention for years.
Metropolis from Metropolis
Perhaps one of the most famous utopias in sci-fi movies to ever be made also happens to be one of the oldest. In the 1927 movie, Metropolis, the super-rich lived in a happy, healthy utopia filled with luxuries. The poor, though, lived in squalor—and existed in a serious dystopia.
That being said, the creators of this classic had a pretty good idea of what a utopia looks like. But, would you really want to live in a utopia that forces others to suffer?
The Eloi from The Time Machine
H.G Wells's classic story, The Time Machine, has a very similar utopia-dystopia dynamic going on. The Time Machine has been made and remade into movies several times over, and in each time, there are two worlds that seem to act as foils to one another.
The Morlocks are a vicious underground-dwelling race that hunts and eats the Eloi, a beautiful race of people who live in a nice utopia. The Eloi's utopia is one that looks so idyllic, but it has a serious dark side. The fact is that it's so pleasant, it made the Eloi totally apathetic to the fact that they're the Morlocks' food.
This is one of the most famous utopias in sci-fi movies, primarily because of the way it warns against complacency and being lure into "bread and circus." As such, The Time Machine also is one of the best utopian books out there.
The Domed City from Logan's Run
Logan's Run was a film that created one of the most famous utopias in sci-fi movies—and interestingly enough, it's also a pretty horrifying dystopia. In the domed city that the film takes place in, people get to enjoy their entire existence, party their lives away, and everyone is beautifully young.
So, you're probably wondering why this is a dystopia, right? Well, it's because everyone in the domed city gets killed after 30 years of age. It's a pretty dystopian world once that reality sets into place.
San Angeles from Demolition Man
Imagine being in a society that's so peaceful and placid, no one knows how to react to a criminal. Such was the case with the city of San Angeles in Demolition Man.
In San Angeles, life is lush, plush, and great for everyone. The only problem with it is that the people in charge outlawed everything that could be considered even remotely dangerous—including kissing, booze, normal newspapers, and even listening to music. It's a much scarier dystopia than you'd think.
In its own weird way, San Angeles is a perfectly dystopian utopia, and its bizarre quirks make it one of the most famous utopias in sci-fi movies. After all, no other utopia has as many Taco Bells, or a newspaper service that's replaced by three seashells.
Gattaca's Society from Gattaca
This is one of the most famous utopias in sci-fi movies to tackle the issue of a shallow society. Simply put, the society in Gattaca has everyone getting genetic modifications that make them look like a perfect human being. The genetically unmodified people in Gattaca's society are regularly discriminated against.
Basically, this is a utopia that's been purged of imperfections—and in that sense, it's a beautiful world. However, it quickly becomes a very ugly society the moment you're an unmodified human. Worth it? Probably not. It's probably not a utopia for anyone involved.
The Society from In Time
Perhaps one of the newest famous utopias in sci-fi movies comes from the fairly new flick, In Time. This film boasts a future society where time is literally money, and where the rich regularly buy the lifespans of the poor, which leads to nearly-immortal people on the wealthy side, with very short-lived people in poverty.
Sure, people stop aging here, but that's not always a good thing. Would you really want to be in a world where your life could literally be stolen from you...or sold? It's hard to tell.
The Truman Show from The Truman Show
Okay, seeing The Truman Show on a list of famous utopias in sci-fi movies might not make much sense at first—but hear us out! The Truman Show was a seriously low-key dystopian movie. This was literally a movie about a man who was born and raised in a real-life reality TV show that was constantly filming him.
Truman Burbank had a perfect childhood, all of which was scripted to be as great as possible. Most people would have thought this life to be a total utopia compared to most other people out there. However, finding out your life was a total fraud would make anyone flip out.
Pandora from Avatar
Pandora is one of the most famous utopias in sci-fi movies to ever feature sexy giant blue catpeople, and I'm sticking to that. But what makes Pandora so unique is the fact that it legitimately is a great place to live, with a healthy society, and beautiful planetscapes.
There's really nothing that seems that jarring or terrible about Pandora. So, at least with Avatar, they may have actually nailed what a utopia would look like.
America in Back to the Future II
Marty McFly's re-entry into the future had one of the most famous utopias in sci-fi movies, even though it's more of a dystopian world than a utopian one. Back to the Future II had a ton of cool gear that would have been amazing.
Flying skateboards, self-tying laces, and tons of gear made this a utopia. Unfortunately, the tech and economy ended up making this a dystopian nightmare. So, it's a strange utopia-dystopia.
Elysium from Elysium
This has a dynamic you're probably familiar with right now. Elysium is a movie that has a wonderful utopia above Earth that's filled with luxurious lifestyles of every kind for the rich. The Earth, on the other hand, is dying—and people there live terribly.
Elysium is one of the most famous utopias in sci-fi movies to hit movie theaters in the last decade. Sadly, it really seems like we're headed in that direction, making this one of the most realistic sci-fi dystopias on this list.
Tomorrowland from Tomorrowland
Disney has a knack for having a ton of talent for creating famous utopias in sci-fi movies. Tomorrowland, one of the lesser-known releases by this movie company, is known for having one of the nicer utopia worlds out there.
The utopia itself seems clean, happy, and friendly. It's gorgeous, and the thing is, it only seems to exist in the collective memories of everyone around them. The overarching message of the movie is about building a better tomorrow—and that sometimes, you have to create your own utopia.