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The Top 30 Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian Movies of the 1970s

A Boy and His Dog

The 1970s was an amazing time for sci-fi films. The subject of an apocalypse was heavy on the minds of filmmakers; The Vietnam War was going strong through half the decade and the Bay of Pigs was not quite a distant memory yet.

Those kids who spent their childhoods doing Duck-and-Cover drills in the ’50s grew up to let their wildest end-times fantasies play out on film, and we’ve all benefitted from it.

This list contains the very best post-apocalyptic and dystopian movies made between 1970 and 1979. I’m hoping that this list can remind you of some of the greats while possibly introducing you to a few films you’ve not yet seen.

My criteria for the list was fairly simple, yet specific: the movie must represent an apocalyptic future on Earth and most of the movie must take place in an apocalyptic setting, including a dystopia.

This means that Battlestar Galactica, which is technically post-apocalyptic, isn’t on the list because it’s mainly a space movie. Mad Max is often argued to not even be post-apocalyptic at all. And some of the ’70s Planet of the Apes movies are post-apocalyptic except for Escape from Planet of the Apes because it takes place on a modern Earth (in 1971). Yeah, that whole franchise is crazy.

So let’s take a look at my list of the top 30 post-apocalyptic and dystopian films of the ’70s in reverse order.

#30 Ravagers

Ravagers | May 1979 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

#29 Black Moon

Black Moon | September 24, 1975 (France) Summary:
Countries: France, West GermanyLanguages: English, French

#28 The People Who Own the Dark

The People Who Own the Dark | 1980 (United States) Summary:
Countries: SpainLanguages: Spanish

#27 Genesis II

Genesis II | March 23, 1973 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

#26 It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It (AKA Gas-s-s-s)

Gas! -or- It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It. | September 1970 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

#25 Strange New World

Strange New World | July 13, 1975 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

#24 The Ultimate Warrior

The Ultimate Warrior | November 25, 1975 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

#23 Glen and Randa

Glen and Randa | June 9, 1976 (France) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

#22 Quintet

Quintet | April 11, 1979 (France) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, Latin

#21 Where Have All the People Gone?

Where Have All the People Gone | October 8, 1974 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

#20 Idaho Transfer

Idaho Transfer | June 15, 1973 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

#19 Rabid

Rabid | April 8, 1977 (United States) Summary:
Countries: CanadaLanguages: English

#18 The Noah

The Noah | April 10, 1975 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

#17 Deathsport

Deathsport | April 1978 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

#16 Battle for the Planet of the Apes

Battle for the Planet of the Apes | June 15, 1973 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

#15 Rollerball

Rollerball | June 25, 1975 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United Kingdom, Canada, United StatesLanguages: English

#14 Wizards

Wizards Animation, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi | February 9, 1977 (United States) Summary: On a post-apocalyptic Earth, a wizard and his faire folk comrades fight an evil wizard who's using technology in his bid for conquest.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, German

#13 THX 1138

THX 1138 | March 11, 1971 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

#12 Damnation Alley

Damnation Alley | October 21, 1977 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

#11 Death Race 2000

Death Race 2000 | November 28, 1975 (West Germany) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, Brazilian Sign Language, Spanish

#10 No Blade of Grass

No Blade of Grass | October 23, 1970 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United Kingdom, United StatesLanguages: English

#9 Zardoz

Zardoz | February 6, 1974 (United States) Summary:
Countries: Ireland, United States, United KingdomLanguages: English, Italian, Swedish, Latin, German, French, Irish Gaelic

#8 A Boy and His Dog

A Boy and His Dog | November 14, 1975 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

#7 Beneath the Planet of the Apes

Beneath the Planet of the Apes | May 26, 1970 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

#6 Dawn of the Dead

Dawn of the Dead | 1979 (United States) Summary: Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge i... Read all
Countries: United States, ItalyLanguages: English, Spanish

#5 The Omega Man

The Omega Man | August 1, 1971 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

#4 Logan’s Run

Logan's Run | June 23, 1976 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

#3 Soylent Green

Soylent Green | May 9, 1973 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, Spanish

#2 A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange | February 2, 1972 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United Kingdom, United StatesLanguages: English

#1 Mad Max

Mad Max | March 21, 1980 (United States) Summary:
Countries: AustraliaLanguages: English

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Shawn has been infatuated with the post-apocalyptic genre since he wore out his horribly American-dubbed VHS of the original Mad Max as a child. Shawn is the former Editor-in-Chief at Joystiq's Massively.com, creator of the Aftermath post-apocalyptic immersion event, and host of the Through the Aftermath podcast for over 11 years. He currently resides on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere with his wife and four children.

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