9 Revolution Movies for When You Feel Like Burning It All Down

Clockwise from left: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Fahrenheit 451, V for Vendetta, and Divergent.
Clockwise from left: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Fahrenheit 451, V for Vendetta, and Divergent.
Photo: Lionsgate, HBO, Warner Bros., Summit Entertainment

There are times when everything sucks and you just want to rage against the machine—sometimes literally, as is the case with one of the movies on this list we’ve compiled. Check out some of our favorite films to watch when you’re craving a good old fashioned revolution against a tyrannical system that exploits the lower classes in service of themselves. No relation.

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The symbol that became a worldwide phenomenon.
The symbol that became a worldwide phenomenon.
Photo: Lionsgate
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The Hunger Games series

Who would’ve thought a society that forces almost every region to surrender two of its children for televised murder couldn’t last? Hunger Games survivors Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) help lead an uprising against the Capitol and the evil President Snow—who’s oddly getting a prequel story that’s already been picked up for a movie. Sure, let’s humanize the mass murderer. Why not. The important thing to remember is, he lost.

After being tortured by V (Hugo Weaving), Evey (Natalie Portman) is awakened to the horrors of the government.
After being tortured by V (Hugo Weaving), Evey (Natalie Portman) is awakened to the horrors of the government.
Photo: Warner Bros.
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V for Vendetta

Remember, remember the fifth of November. This comic book adaptation from the Wachowskis takes place in a totalitarian theocracy where so-called morality is used as a cover for persecution and genocide. Evey (Natalie Portman) joins forces with the mysterious “V” (Hugo Weaving) to bring it all crashing down. His methods may be controversial—to say the least—but they definitely get the job done.

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All revolutionaries walk in slo-mo.
All revolutionaries walk in slo-mo.
Photo: Warner Bros.

The Matrix

Speaking of the Wachowskis, the sisters cut their revolution teeth with The Matrix trilogy, all about a human insurgence against the wave of machines that had enslaved them. The first film was the classic “awakening” story, with one man realizing his destiny to save the human race. The later films got a little, umm, let’s just say convoluted (with way more orgies). Luckily, the story’s not over yet as a fourth film is on the way.

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Caesar (Andy Serkis) leads an uprising on the Golden Gate Bridge.
Caesar (Andy Serkis) leads an uprising on the Golden Gate Bridge.
Photo: 20th Century Studios

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

It’s not always humans who lead the insurgence. The latest journey into the Planet of the Apes franchise started with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the story of Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his fellow apes gaining human-like intelligence, which leads to a rebellion against the humans who’re mistreating them. It set in motion the titular rise as told through the apes’ point of view. It made you understand their side of the story and kind of root for the destruction of humanity.

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The Broom Boy is inspired to lead the charge—good thing he’s such a prominent character in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
The Broom Boy is inspired to lead the charge—good thing he’s such a prominent character in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Photo: Disney
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Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Greatness can come from anywhere. That was the message of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The Resistance was on its last legs and it seemed like nobody was coming to their aid. That’s because the galaxy was gripped by fear, and didn’t know if they had the strength to fight back against the First Order and Kylo Ren. But then they rose up, fighting hate with love and everything else they had left. This movie showed that you didn’t need a family dynasty or grand prophecy to stand up against tyranny. Anyone can become a hero.

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Tris (Shailene Woodley) prefers the cool kids.
Tris (Shailene Woodley) prefers the cool kids.
Photo: Summit Entertainment

Divergent series

Look, I didn’t say they all had to be good. The Divergent trilogy is about a young woman named Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), who grew up in a futuristic but dystopian version of Chicago where every person is divided into one of five factions. Tris discovers that she is a Divergent, meaning she’s a little bit of everything and cannot be controlled by the government. She takes it upon herself to help wake the people up to the dangers of a faction-filled world. Also, there’s the fact that their whole society is a scientific experiment, but let’s not get into that right now.

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“Nada” (Roddy Piper) finds the infamous sunglasses that expose the truth.
Nada” (Roddy Piper) finds the infamous sunglasses that expose the truth.
Image: Universal Pictures
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They Live

He died so that we may live without being ruled by aliens wearing human faces. They Live is about a drifter (Roddy Piper; his character’s never named, but the credits call him “Nada”) who discovers that Earth is being controlled by aliens who have filled the world with subliminal propaganda to keep the masses complacent. Nada joins an anti-alien movement that seeks to expose their extraterrestrial overlords, eventually sacrificing his life to destroy the transmitter and show humanity the truth. Thank you, Nada.

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Guy Montag (Michael B. Jordan) burns some books. Or maybe a bird. There are birds in this.
Guy Montag (Michael B. Jordan) burns some books. Or maybe a bird. There are birds in this.
Photo: HBO

Fahrenheit 451

The 2018 HBO adaptation may have not been the best version, but Fahrenheit 451 is a great example of seeing how a revolution begins. It takes place in a future ruled by a theocracy where reading has been banned, with “firemen” like Guy Montag (Michael B. Jordan) responsible for burning all contraband literature. However, thanks to a few secret readers, Guy learns the beauty and value of books and starts his own secret collection. It’s all about how a spark can ignite a wildfire of revolution. You’ll just have to look past the DNA birds.

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ARE YOU NOT REVOLUTIONIZED???
ARE YOU NOT REVOLUTIONIZED???
Photo: Summit Entertainment
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Robin Hood

Of course I was going to mention the Hood, the greatest revolutionary leader of all time. This bizarre adaptation of Robin Hood turned Robin of Loxley and his followers into Medieval Antifa, rising up against the tyrannical Sheriff of Nottingham to free the people from, well, I guess it was the religious oligarchy? The movie was kind of all over the place. If you’re looking for style over substance—I mean a lot of style, and it’s weird style—this one has all the trappings of a revolution with none of the purpose or value.

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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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Arcanum Five

You’re flying blind on a rocket cycle if you think you can make list like this without including Flash Gordon. He united the warring races of Mongo to rise up against an emperor who showed no mercy. DIVE!