Wouldn’t it be fun to know what comes next? Sure, it would take some of the surprise out of life, but think of all the failures you could avoid: dating people you wish you never met at the end of the relationship, horrible investments that costed you a fortune, soups of the day you wish you’d never tried among other things. Many of us would have made different decisions if we knew the outcome ahead of time, and unfortunately in some cases a wrong decision will haunt us for the rest of our lives. Still, we ask the question: Can we predict the future with any real accuracy? According to science the answer is no, and in most cases predictions about what to expect decades from now will fail miserably, but of course that‘s not a reason to stop making them. This is where the following films come in. Though more than likely the following films didn’t intentionally seek out to predict the exact events of the future, they undoubtedly illustrated something that didn’t come into reality until years later. You can almost say that these movies where somewhat prophetic without even trying to be with prophecies that include the 9/11 tragedy, medical technology, and even military technology.
To be fair, you could argue that some of these “prophecies” were more like self-fulfilling prophecies, inspiring visionaries to actually bring the illustrated fantasy to reality. You can even argue that the depicted events would eventually happen due to the natural progression of technological advancements. You would probably be correct. Nevertheless, this doesn’t take away from the incredible futuristic insight these films possessed and it’s fun to look back and realize their surprising portrayals. But enough bantering, take a look at these 25 movies that predicted the future with creepy accuracy. And if prophecies are your thing, you might want to also check out these 25 incredible predictions that actually came true.
The Man (1972)
When the president and Speaker of the House are killed in a building collapse, and the vice president declines the office due to age and ill health, Senate president pro tempore Douglas Dilman (James Earl Jones) suddenly becomes the first black man to occupy the Oval Office. To be perfectly accurate here, Barack Obama became the first black president through democratic elections but one way or another, the fact remains that The Man predicted the first black president in 1972.
You’ve Got Mail (1998)
When this film came out, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan attempted something that not many (if any) had attempted in the real world until that time: an online romance. Almost eighteen years later, the real question is: Is there anyone out there who won’t try online dating at least once?
The Net (1995)
In this nineties thriller a computer programmer (Sandra Bullock) stumbles on a conspiracy, putting her life and the lives of those around her in danger. Even though we’re pretty sure this wasn’t a major concern of the writers, they still predicted online pizza ordering.
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
In Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior a global war has decimated the world’s resources supply. Gasoline is so limited that vicious biker gangs stalk people on the outskirts of civilization in order to hijack their precious cargo. A simple look at the state of Africa and the Middle East for the past twenty-five years unfortunately proves how sadly correct this film was about our future.
The Cable Guy (1996)
In this horrible film starring Jim Carrey as a disturbed cable guy who tries to make friends there is a scene that predicted future with creepy accuracy. Jim’s character screams in the rain how every American will have a mix of cable TV, computer, and phone all in one. He even says you will play Mortal Kombat with a friend in Vietnam, predicting online gaming and Google TV at the same time.
Forbidden Planet (1956)
Forbidden Planet is remarkable for two reasons: it may have beaten Star Trek to the punch in predicting the rise of mobile-phone technology, though the 1956 film didn’t quite nail the “smart” part as accurately, but more importantly it’s one of the very rare cases where you will see Leslie Nielsen in a serious role. To be honest, I busted out laughing just seeing him so young and acting all serious.
Some say that there are two types of movie fans: those who have been freaked out by the 1983 cult classic Videodrome, and those who have never heard of it. The cult movie, starring James Woods and Debbie Harry, is about a cable TV executive who becomes addicted to a secret “pirate” video channel that broadcasts a late-night torture-porn program called Videodrome. We warn you: the film is totally creepy and gross but truth be told it predicted YouTube. Well, sort of!
Airplane II: The Sequel (1982)
Most of you are probably laughing right now wondering how this comedy could predict anything serious, right? Well, don’t be too surprised when you learn that this satire (that wasn’t nearly as good as the original) proved remarkably prescient when it came to matters of airport security since it was the first movie to ever show body scanners.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a procedure to have each other erased from their memories. This is pretty much the plot of this beautiful film starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. Almost eleven years later a team of researchers in cooperation with the American Psychological Association proudly announced that memory erasure for people who suffer from post-trauma stress and similar conditions that derive from bad memories will soon be a reality.
Minority Report (2002)
In 2014 when the FBI announced the completion of its new facial-recognition technology the world moved one step closer to Steven Spielberg’s vision of 2054 (through his film Minority Report), but that wasn’t the only thing this film predicted; personalized advertising was another thing that has come true, since personalized retargeting makes up most of the Internet ads you see today.
Total Recall (1990)
Total Recall with Arnie predicted a few things that failed to come true in the real world but it got one thing right: driverless cars.
In case you thought The Terminator was the first movie to predict androids, we’re sorry to burst that bubble. Metropolis predicted them back in the twenties.
Woman in the Moon (1929)
Okay, space travel might sound like a joke to most of us since we achieved that goal back in the sixties but keep in mind that when Woman in the Moon predicted this (back in 1929), ninety percent of the human population didn’t even have a car (let alone a space rocket).
Back to the Future Part II (1989)
When Marty McFly was sent thirty years into the future as part of the plot in Back to the Future Part II, he arrived in a time when there were hoverboards zipping around, people wore self-lacing shoes, and flying cars were the norm. The date? October 21, 2015. Sure, there was a lot the film got wrong about 2015, but some things it got right, like flat-screen TVs and Skype-like communication.
Short Circuit (1986)
Short Circuit wasn’t a great film by any means but its silly plot predicted the future with more accuracy than many great sci-fi films of its time. If you’ve seen the film you probably remember robot Number 5 is part of a group of experimental military robots. An electrical accident suddenly gives Number 5 intelligence, and he (not “it”) escapes the lab. In this fashion, the movie predicted military robots, even though the ones floating around today are remote controlled and crude compared to the movie.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Network, you probably remember the epic scene in which TV news anchor Howard Beale (portrayed by Peter Finch) has a mental breakdown while on air, in one of the greatest soliloquies of American cinema. But more to the point, Network predicted a number of things about modern media in the twenty-first century, most important, the current state of tabloid TV and yellow journalism.
Do you remember this awesome eighties film that gave us a young, fresh-looking Matthew Broderick? Well, this silly, low-budget flick predicted hacking and cyber warfare during a time when the Internet as we know it didn’t even exist. Quite impressive if you think about it: Matthew Broderick as the first hacker in pop culture, no?
Blade Runner (1982)
Digital billboards were nothing more than part of science fiction when Ridley Scott made Blade Runner but nowadays—especially if you live in a city like Tokyo or New York—you are so used to them that you can’t imagine your city without them.
The Truman Show (1998)
This might sound strange to some, but in 1998 reality TV was a mere fantasy scenario in films, or, to be more specific, in one film titled The Truman Show with Jim Carrey.
Αmericathon is one of those cult movies that hasn’t been properly rereleased since the days of VHS. In spite of not being the most popular film out there, it managed to predict many political and socioeconomic things such as the declining state of U.S. oil production and the rise of China as a global economic force by moving toward capitalism following the fall of the USSR.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Many consider it the greatest space movie ever made. The Oscar-winning masterpiece by Stanley Kubrick has turned out to be the cinematic equivalent of Nostradamus since it predicted not one or two things about the future but several, including tablet computing, the International Space Station, space tourism, and Siri—yes HAL, we’re talking about you. (One of the most fascinating movie villains of modern cinema is this evil voice-controlled computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey.)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
We could honestly write a list of all the things Star Trek (both the series and the films) predicted but the one that stands out the most is the Bluetooth headsets. Does the name Uhura ring any bells? You know, the pretty black lady who was the Enterprise’s communications officer at some point? Do you remember her wearing a giant silver earpiece while sitting at the communications station? Didn’t this piece look exactly like Blaser and other Bluetooth headpieces from today?
Super Mario Bros. (1993)
Even though one can claim that a few films predicted 9/11 one way or another, this completely absurd movie predicted the collapse of the World Trade Center more accurately than any other. From minute 2:08 of the film you can clearly see the World Trade Center being destroyed in an eerily similar way.
The Matrix (1999)
Well, Super Mario Bros. might have predicted the tragic 9/11 event, but The Matrix might have predicted something even more impressive: its exact date. Keep in mind that the Matrix takes place in the future and the present at the same time. Inside the Matrix, the year is 1999 but outside the Matrix its about 2199. This means that the robots know and have already programmed in major historical events in human history such as natural disasters, mass murders, and other atrocities. Also keep in mind that Neo worked in one of the World Trade Center buildings. Taking all of this into consideration, do you recall a specific scene where agent Smith is interrogating Neo and proceeds to flip through his file? It only appears for a quick second but thanks to freeze frame, we are able to see a copy of Neo’s passport with an familiar expiration date. Coincidence? You be the judge.
The ridiculous but highly entertaining premise of this movie, starring John Travolta and Nicolas Cage under the direction of the legendary John Woo, is that a cop and a bad guy swapping identities and fooling everyone around them via a surgical procedure that switches their faces. In March 2010, a team of thirty Spanish doctors performed the first successful full face transplant on a patient injured during a shooting mishap, while a group of French surgeons followed up that accomplishment later in the year with a full transplant that included functioning eyelids and tear ducts, thereby making the film prophetic.