For the curious cinema-goer, some of the most intriguing movies are those that predict the future. We’ve all seen the futuristic sci-fi flicks that anticipate what society is destined to look like. But there are also those that go beyond wild speculation to predict very specific events and inventions with pinpoint precision. From online dating to space tourism, these 20 movies run the gamut when it comes to prophesying future events. There are even a few that foretold tragedies with uncanny accuracy…
20. Jetsons: The Movie (predicted robot vacuum cleaners)
Who says that cartoons can’t make uncanny predictions too? Jetsons: The Movie proved this all too well when it foresaw the invention of the robot vacuum cleaner. Released in 1990, the film’s depiction of an automated cleaner that would take over the role of humans became a reality in 2002, when the Roomba was introduced to homes throughout the globe.
19. Game of Death (predicted the death of Brandon Lee)
The tragic death of Brandon Lee was eerily forecast in the ’70s kung fu flick Game of Death. Even more disturbing, though, is that it was prophesied by his own father, Bruce Lee. In the movie, Bruce Lee’s character is shot with a real gun that is supposed to be fake. This is almost exactly how his son died 15 years later on the set of The Crow.
18. The Cable Guy (predicted multiplayer gaming and smartphones)
It’s fair to say that The Cable Guy was one of the most peculiar comedies of the ’90s. However, it also turned out to be way ahead of its time. For example, it accurately predicted the invention of smartphones, as well as the onset of online multiplayer gaming. In the words of Jim Carrey, “You can do your shopping at home or play Mortal Kombat with a friend in Vietnam.”
17. The Net (predicted online identity theft)
Cyber crime wasn’t nearly as well-established when The Net was released in 1995 as it is today. However, this didn’t stop the thriller from predicting the threats it could pose in the future. Sadly, the theft of bank details, emails, and other personal information is all too real now. On a happier note, it also predicted the ability to order pizza online. Yes!
16. WarGames (predicted cyber warfare)
Thought The Net was creepily accurate in its foreshadowing of the online world? How about the prediction of cyber warfare in a movie released 12 years earlier? Not only did WarGames prophetically sound the alarm bell about that, but it also predicted the dangers of hacking long before such issues became common knowledge among the general public.
15. You’ve Got Mail (predicted online dating)
Online dating is all the rage in the modern age, and one movie in particular predicted this phenomenon with stunning precision. Released in 1998, You’ve Got Mail featured some awkward online communications between Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. Fast-forward almost two decades, and these anonymous interactions are commonplace in today’s society.
14. Airplane II: The Sequel (predicted airport body scanners)
Despite not being installed in airports until 2007, 1982’s Airplane II: The Sequel featured a sequence that included a full-body scanner. During the scene, a lady is subjected to patting down by security after going through the device, suggesting that the film also foresaw the invasiveness of the TSA. Spooky!
13. 2001: A Space Odyssey (predicted tablet computers and space tourism)
It’s no surprise that Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey has stood the test of time, if only due to its scarily accurate portrayal of future inventions. The most substantial premonitions include the use of tablet computers, holidays in space and the International Space Station. Talk about trailblazing.
12. Poltergeist (predicted the death of its star)
This one is too freaky for words. In the cult horror Poltergeist, there’s a poster advertising Super Bowl XXII in 1988. Sounds normal? Well, not really, considering the movie was released in 1982. But it gets much stranger. On the day of the real Super Bowl XXII years later the film’s star, Heather O’Rourke, was hospitalized in San Diego where the game was being played. She died a day later.
11. Metropolis (predicted androids)
In terms of sheer creativity and foresight, the dystopic 1927 silent movie Metropolis is up there with the very best. It also helped to introduce the world to the concept of androids, which are becoming a reality in the modern world. Robots designed to look like humans have been in development for a while now, featuring astonishingly lifelike appearances and mannerisms.
10. Enemy of the State (predicted mass surveillance by the NSA)
Surveillance isn’t a new concept, but the sheer scale of it was put on full display in the 1998 Will Smith-led thriller Enemy of the State. With a story centered on the mass data collection of the NSA, this one was eerily precise with its predictions. In 2013 whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the true extent of surveillance that had been conducted in the name of national security.
9. Super Mario Bros. (predicted the 9/11 attacks)
As with Poltergeist and Game of Death, the most disturbing movie predictions tend to be the coincidental ones. 1993’s Super Mario Bros. is a prime example. During the movie’s climax, there’s a scene that depicts the disintegration of the Twin Towers in New York. Eight years later, it was a scenario that became tragically real.
8. Total Recall (predicted self-driving cars)
Do you remember that weird little robot that manned the self-driving car in Total Recall? Well, thankfully it’s just the automated cars that have become a reality. Not only do automobile giants such General Motors and Ford already have driverless cars in development, but the likes of Google and Uber have also become involved in the industry.
7. The Truman Show (predicted the intrusive nature of reality TV)
This century has witnessed the rise of an ultra-invasive form of entertainment: reality television. One movie that foreshadowed the polarizing effect of this genre was 1998’s The Truman Show. It befuddled many viewers at the time with its themes of voyeurism and obsessiveness. However, in light of subsequent shows such as Big Brother and Keeping Up with the Kardashians, it’s quite astonishing just how on point The Truman Show really was.
6. Dick Tracy (predicted the smartwatch)
Remember a time when every device wasn’t “smart”? So did the team behind 1990’s big-screen adaptation of Dick Tracy. But that didn’t stop them from foreseeing the creation of the smartwatch decades later. And in 2015, with the commercial sale of systems such as the Apple Watch, their vision became a reality.
5. The Dark Knight Rises (predicted Donald Trump’s inauguration speech)
Don’t go thinking that these movie predictions are a thing of the past, because just this year we had another one come true. Yes, President Donald Trump’s inauguration speech sounded uncannily similar to one made by The Dark Knight Rises villain Bane. The 2012 film’s masked madman says, “We give it back to you… the people”: almost the very same words uttered by Trump in January 2017.
4. Minority Report (predicted personalized advertising)
Steven Spielberg’s 2002 sci-fi action flick predicted various things that have since come true, such as gesture-driven user interfaces and facial recognition software. But perhaps the most relevant of the lot is personalized advertising. Anyone who goes on Facebook or buys items online knows how creepy it is to have something directly pointed at you based on your interests, and Minority Report portrayed this with unsettling accuracy.
3. Demolition Man (predicted virtual reality sex)
We know pornography was around in 1993, but virtual sex? That was new. Which brings us neatly on to entry number three – the misunderstood ’90s gem Demolition Man. In it, Sylvester Stallone’s and Sandra Bullock’s characters engage in some rather steamy computerized sex. Of course, in 2017 such interactions are a reality.
2. Thunderball (predicted jetpacks)
James Bond is known for his multitude of gadgets, but one in particular has proved extremely prescient. The sort of jetpack seen in the 1965 classic Thunderball looks like it will be available for commercial use some time in 2017, with several different companies looking to bring the technology to market.
1. Back to the Future Part II (predicted a plethora of things)
Perhaps no movie has seen so many of its predictions come true than 1989’s Back to the Future Part II. It’s not even that the movie goes for safe bets – quite the contrary, in fact. Chicago Cubs winning the World Series? Donald Trump as president? Self-lacing trainers!? All prophecies that have unexpectedly come true. There can really be no other choice for our number one spot than this crystal ball-esque motion picture.