2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
What it predicted: Tablet computing, space tourism, Siri, the International Space Station
The timeframe might have been a little off, but looking back now Stanley Kubrick’s Oscar Winning sci-fi epic looks suspiciously like the cinematic equivalent of Nostradamus. Alongside tablet computing, a Siri-like computer and an International Space Station; Kubrick’s movie also accurately predicts the concept of space tourism decades before Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic made it a reality.
Weird Science (1985)
What it predicted: 3D printing.
Okay so 3D printers aren’t actually able to create the Kelly LeBrock-shaped woman of your dreams out of a Barbie doll and an archaic looking computer (yet). But the concept is still very much the same, kinda.
What it predicted: Military drones.
We were only given the briefest of glimpses of hunter killer aircraft in the first Terminator film. Back then the idea of robotic planes that rained fiery death down to forces on the ground seemed like the stuff of science fiction. Today however drones are everywhere, playing a prominent part in conflicts across the globe. Did you know the British military also have a satellite system called Skynet? Now we’re not saying that it’s going to go rogue and do a Judgement Day. But come on guys, why even tempt fate?
The Truman Show (1998)
What it predicted: Reality TV.
It may seem strange at a time when approximately 67% of all TV output is reality orientated, but back in 1998 the idea of voyeuristic programming was strange enough to be considered fiction. And whilst The Truman Show didn’t quite predict the invention of Ghost Hunting with Girls Aloud, it did prove to be spot on when it came to audience’s obsession with watching other peoples’ lives unfold on the idiot box.
Blade Runner (1982)
What it predicted: Digital billboards.
They were the stuff of science fiction back in 1982. But depending on where you live today, digital billboards have become a ubiquitous part of modern-life. In fact, give it a few years, and you might just be watching the trailer for the oft-touted Blade Runner sequel on one.
Starship Troopers (1997)
What it predicted: The red button.
“Would you like to know more?” Paul Verhoeven’s vision of interactive TV proved spot on in Starship Troopers . Fortunately however, an invasion by bug-like aliens shows no sign of happening anytime soon.
What it predicted: Hacking / cyber warfare
Back in 1983 a fresh-faced Matthew Broderick took a break from bunking off of school to show us what the future of hacking and cyber warfare might look like. The film's slightly light on actual details but given that it was released years before the Internet even became a ‘thing’ we're willing to cut it some slack.
Short Circuit (1986)
What it predicted: Military robots
They might not rap badly or recreate Three Stooges skits that they’ve seen on TV. But the modern day military’s use of robots looks a lot like the crackpot ideas conjured up in this 80s classic.
Back to the Future Part II (1989)
What it predicted: Skype
We may not be riding hover boards or watching a holofilm of Jaws 19 , but Marty McFly’s jaunt into the future wasn’t completely off of the mark. After all the movie gives as glimpse at the kind of video calling technology that’s now an everyday part of people’s lives. A bold bit of future gazing given that people hadn’t really even begun to use mobile phones at the time.
Demolition Man (1993)
What it predicted: The Governator.
Okay so it predicted that Arnold Schwarzenegger would become the President and not just the Governor of California. But hey, there’s still time.
Minority Report (2002)
What it predicted: Personalised advertising, gesture-based interfaces
Steven Spielberg hired a team of futurologists for his adaptation of Philip K Dick’s short story; so it’s perhaps no surprise that his vision of 2054 is on course to become disturbingly accurate. After all the gesture based interfaces Tom Cruise and co. use in the movie aren’t a million miles away from the X-Box’s Kinect system, whilst personalised advertising has also become an everyday occurrence for people who use the Internet.
Total Recall (1990)
What it predicted: Self-driving cars
Three breasted women may still be the stuff of fantasy. But if the boffins at Google have anything to say about it then the self-driving cars we see in the Arnie-starring Total Recall might not be such a flight of fancy.
Airplane II: The Sequel (1982)
What it predicted: Airport body scanners
In real life: It’s an eminently silly film, but Airplane ’s sophomore outing proved remarkably prescient when it came to matters of airport security.
Dick Tracy (1990)
What it predicted: Watch phones.
Dick Tracy is probably a movie we’d all like to scrub from our collective consciousnesses. But the Madonna-starring mess should stick in the memory for one thing, and that’s the wristwatch radio that Dick (giggle) uses to catch the bad guys. Sure today’s models are a little more complex, but Dick (tehe) and co. still had dibs on the design.
What it predicted: YouTube
More than 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. There are also a lot of sick people in the world. Look hard enough and you can find beatings, torture, killings and all manner of snuff that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Cronenberg’s uber-creepy classic.
Forbidden Planet (1956)
What it predicted: Mobile phones
A superb slice of 50s sci-fi, Forbidden Planet predicted a world where people would use small handheld communicators that look suspiciously like mobile phones.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
What it predicted: Bluetooth headsets, hyposprays, Universal Translator.
Okay so Scotty’s not going to be beaming us up anytime soon, but the first Star Trek movie featured a remarkable number of ideas that have managed to make their way into reality.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
What it predicted: Memory wiping.
There’s no fancy machine, but Dutch scientists have found that common heart-medicines can have a similar effect when it comes to erasing traumatic memories.
Woman in the Moon (1928)
What it predicted: Space travel
Decades before NASA had even dreamed of putting man on the moon, this German film made some startlingly accurate predictions about the future of space exploration. It not only features a multi-stage rocket that used liquid fuel to escape the atmosphere but also a lift-off countdown that runs from 10 to zero; something that wouldn’t make it on to actual launchpads until a few years later.
Jetsons: The Movie (1990)
What it predicted: Robot vacuum cleaners.
We may not be commuting to work in flying cars or popping pills for dinner – well, we hope you're not anyway. But the Jetsons did get one thing right: Robot vacuum cleaners are a thing now and at Total Film we’re more than happy to welcome our new automated overlords.
The Cable Guy (1996)
What it predicted: Home shopping, online gaming.
During his ‘Future is now’ rant, Jim Carrey’s cable guys yells: “Soon every American home will integrate their television, phone and computer. You'll be able to visit the Louvre on one channel, or watch female wrestling on another. You can do your shopping at home, or play Mortal Kombat with a friend from Vietnam. There's no end to the possibilities!” And do you know what? Apart from the Mortal Kombat bit, it’s proved to be a scarily prescient prediction about the future of home entertainment.
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
What it predicted: Resource wars
It wasn’t even that outlandish at the time of its release, but as time goes on this Mad Max sequel starts to look more and more prophetic about impending resource wars. In fact Governments have already admitted that a full-scale war over natural resources is possible and the UN has pointed to the scarcity of natural materials as the fuel behind conflicts in places such as Darfur and the Ukraine. But whilst Road Warrior is worryingly accurate, whether anything from Thunderdome actually comes to pass remains to be seen; unless of course you know of a seedy Tina Turner-run outpost that is.
Enemy of the State (1998)
What it predicted: The surveillance state
After Snowden-Gate and the revelations about Western governments spying on their citizens, this late nineties conspiracy thriller is starting to look a lot less like a barrel of paranoid mumbo jumbo and more like a strangely accurate prediction of the current day surveillance state.
Super Mario Bros. (1993)
What it predicted: The fall of the World Trade Center.
This one has to go down in the conspiracy theory column. But there’s a clip from the disastrous Super Mario Bros . adaptation that freakishly foreshadows 9/11. The action occurs towards the end of the movie when the dimensions collide, forcing the twin towers to dissolve one after the other.
What it predicted: Tabloid TV
Despite the fact that it’s almost four decades old now, the Oscar-winning Network is as fresh today as it was when it was first released back in 1976. That’s thanks largely to how accurate its subject matter has proven to be; especially the stuff about sensationalist television and news networks grabbing ratings by any means necessary.
What it predicted: America’s economic hardships, demise of the Soviet Union and the rise of China.
This oft-overlooked satire features a bankrupt American Government that must run a telethon to raise cash for its ailing economy. It also features hybrid vehicles, the end of the Soviet Union, China turning to capitalism and becoming a superpower, Vietnam becoming a major tourist attraction, smoking being banned and a future where The Beach Boys are still recording. All in all it’s an absurdly accurate take on the world we call home today.
The Net (1995)
What it predicted: Identity theft, online pizza ordering
The identity theft on display in this wonky thriller might have seemed far-fetched in the mid-nineties – let’s remember the computers we see Sandra Bullock using in the film still use floppy disks! But fast-forward to our internet-enabled age and identity theft is something so commonplace that even your gran’s heard about it.
Youve Got Mail (1998)
What it predicted: Internet dating.
If it were remade for today’s altogether more web savvy audiences You’ve Got Mail would probably feature a semi-naked Tom Hanks cruising for chicks on Chat Roulette. But this was the 90s, a more innocent time before internet dating had even invented yet. So instead of trolling the web he decides to meet the woman of his dreams via this newfound thingamajig called Electronic Mail. Trust us, it will never catch on.
The Man (1972)
What it predicted: President Obama
This 1972 film managed to predict the game-changing political event a full 36-years before America got its first black President.