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Magazine picks 'The 10 Most Prophetic Sci-Fi Movies Ever'

Posted Monday, March 31, 2008 at 1:04 PM Central

by Tim Briscoe

Science fiction writers have a tough job. Not only must they write a compelling plot but they also choose to set it in an unknown world. They devise futuristic worlds which very often look like nothing that we've seen before.

To mark the passing of Arthur C. Clarke, one of the genre's biggest stars, Popular Mechanics (yes, the publication is still around), has listed their "The 10 Most Prophetic Sci-Fi Movies Ever." These are the movies whose circumstances and technology became true. Their futuristic science has become part of our current society.

  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey

    Released in 1968, set in the year 2001. According to Popular Mechanics, the science which author Clarke got (or is getting) right: space tourism.
  2. Short Circuit

    Released in 1986, set in same year. The science prediction it got right: military ground robots like star-of-the-show Johnny 5.
  3. Soylent Green

    Released in 1973, set in the year 2022. PM says it successfully predicted climate change at a point when very few scientists were discussing it. Thankfully, it got the substance in the title wrong.
  4. Blade Runner

    Released in 1982, set in the year 2019. The gritty, urban development and strained infrastructures like roads are among the things this sci-fi landmark got right.
  5. The Running Man

    Released in 1987, also set in the year 2019. Despite not having the same stakes as in this movie, author Stephen King did successfully predict reality TV game shows.
  6. Destination Moon

    Released in 1950, set in an unknown year. The magazine calls this "the most boring movie ever made about space travel" but commends it for accurately showing spaceflight and getting the look of the moon right.
  7. The Truman Show

    Released in 1998, set in an unspecified year. This film predicted and simultaneously ushered in the advent of reality television. If only they could do a sequel and usher the junk back off our TV sets.
  8. The Road Warrior

    Released in 1981, set in an unknown year. Gas prices sure do suck these days but at least we aren't fighting each other for fuel. This movie is prophetic in that it predicts battles over scarce resources.
  9. Minority Report

    Released in 2002, set in the year 2054. This Steven Spielberg film made a lot of projections about our future world. We're just at the outset of the display technology and self-driving cars that are referenced in the movie.
  10. Gattaca

    Released in 1997, set in an unknown year. Ethical questions about biotechnology are with us today. This movie amplifies the subject with discussion of genetic profiling.

I've only glossed over the subjects discussed in the Popular Mechanics list. I encourage you to see the entire article online for all of their evidence and, just as interestingly, see what each of these films got wrong.