Since movies look into the future so often, they are bound to show some moments that come true every so often. When Star Trek predicts Bluetooth headsets or Total Recall predicts driverless cars, it’s neat but we’re not impressed. Are we? That may sound harsh, but compared to the predictions on this list, they are a bit underwhelming. Androids, space travel and technology, these are all really cool predictions, but they’re not really the most exciting. There are cases, like the ones on this list, when a film predicts future events with such precision that it’s a little eerie, even if we write it off as a coincidence immediately afterward. We shouldn’t do that though. It’s not as magical.
This list isn’t about conspiracy theories. It’s about bringing to light the best of the best, the predictions that were so close that they made us freak out a little. The bigger the event predicted, the crazier and more alarming it is. Even as coincidences, the odds that some of these predictions came true are so insane, it can be tough for people to accept them as random. No matter what, looking back on these movie scenes makes them so much more interesting, so much more than just a piece of trivia. These are the births of some of the craziest movie moments ever, the ones that send chills down your spine. These movies are the reasons why some people wear tinfoil hats and think the movie industry is in cahoots with the government or aliens. To what end, no one knows. Heck, I want to believe.
It doesn’t matter how or why these movie predictions happen. Sometimes coincidences and the wonder of random occurrences is more than enough. These are such strange accidents that they have to be discussed. They force us to run outside and scream out loud, “What are the chances?” How could it be that these filmmakers were so accurately able to predict the future, what does it all mean? The table is set. Here are 15 movie scenes that eerily predicted the future.
15. Cable Guy - Communications
It’s possible that a bit too much has been made of Jim Carrey‘s predictions in The Cable Guy. Some would argue that much of what he projected for the future of communications in the film was already underway, but, for the general public, that’s about as good of a prediction as we’re gonna get. Either way, at the end of the film, the prophetic Carey screams, “The future is now. Soon every American home will integrate their television, phone and computer. You’ll be able to visit the Louvre on one channel and watch female wrestling on another. You can do your shopping at home or play Mortal Kombat with a friend in Vietnam.” Ok, so many of these things existed on their own in some way already, but the point of the prediction here is how easy and accessible this will all be. Carey’s foresight for online gaming is also pretty convincing, a staple in almost all homes today but inaccessible in 1996. I’m sold.
14. Airplane II: The Sequel – Airport Security
Airplane II: The Sequel, the sequel to Airplane! (if you didn’t already work that out) was not necessarily the greatest movie ever, but it did have some foresight in regards to the future of airport security. Several of the jokes in the movie were at the expense of the TSA. The filmmakers put in some security measures that were unheard of at the time, like a body scanner which shows anything hiding underneath someone’s clothes—standard in airports post-9/11. Now, the airport staff in the film use it pretty much exclusively to see underneath women’s shirts of course, but it predicts a technology that wasn’t even invented until 1992, 10 years after the movie was released.
13. Back to the Future II - Telecommunications
So Back to the Future II predicted a lot of things that didn’t come true, like the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series in 2015, hoverboards and time travel. But there were a few things that they saw in the future that were pretty much bang on. One thing is Skype—sure, it’s not exactly the same, but it’s still a pretty big deal. Conversations displayed on the TV from anywhere in the world is a big idea for 1989. They could have gone way futuristic with it, like holograms or something, but remember, they’re not just predicting the future, they’re predicting life in 2015. The other big one in the film is the flat-screens. Again, you may say that’s not so crazy to think TVs will get thinner, but again, they just tried to picture 2015, and, in 2015, we have flat screens.
12. Demolition Man – Names A True Criminal
Ahh, Demolition Man. What a wonder. Outside of the fact that Demolition Man is amazing, it was also a psychic of sorts. Even though many of the futuristic elements in the film have yet to come true (I’m still waiting on the three seashells), there were two in particular that did. The one, more unfortunate, realization was that of real life Scott Peterson, a California man who killed and was sentenced to death for murdering his wife and unborn child. A computer in Demolition Man, which takes place in 2032 shows Scott Peterson’s name in the Los Angeles death row inmate list, a place he might actually find himself in reality at that time. The film was released nine years before the murder took place in the real world. The other prediction is that Arnold Schwarzenegger would become president at some point. Sure, he never made it that far, but his Governor position was close. Sly Stallone has a good chuckle about his pal Schwarzenegger getting into politics in the 1993 film, 10 years before he actually did in real life.
11. Wag the Dog – Clinton Scandal
In Wag the Dog, the President of the United States gets caught up in a huge sex scandal that jeopardizes his career. To cover it all up, a team sets out to create a fake war, leading the media to cover the war instead of the sex scandal. Cool idea, but it’s pretty far-fetched. Right? This film was released at the end of 1997. The next year, Bill Clinton, then President of the United States, had his own sex scandal with Monica Lewinsky. Right after, while the media was going crazy over the scandalous events—three days later actually—the United States bombed targets in Afghanistan and Sudan. Was it a pressing issue or was it all in an effort to wag the dog? Do we still care?
10. Computers – 2001: A Space Odyssey
The 1968 version of Stanley Kubrick saw a lot of things off in the distant future of 2001 when he was making 2001: A Space Odyssey, things like tablet computers and talking computers. He felt that these would be commonplace in 2001 and he was right on the money. Well, technically, since Microsoft launched their tablet in 2000. Tablets weren’t necessarily the most popular things until about 2010, and similar products were developed back in the late 80s early 90s, but he was pretty darn close. He also, in a way, predicted the prevalence and villainous nature of talking computers. Now Siri won’t shut up.
9. Woman on the Moon – Space Rockets
In 1929, director Fritz Lang (Metropolis) released Woman on the Moon, one of the first science fiction movies, and it was groundbreaking. Space travel has long been foreseen, but it is the specifics in this film that make it so interesting. Woman on the Moon has several elements of a rocket launch that were largely unheard of prior to the film, only to be later picked up by actual rocket launches in the space race later on. The innovations predicted by Fritz Lang (and his advisor) in Woman on the Moon include a rocket being built first and then transferred to the launch spot, the launch countdown starting at 10, the use of foot straps and horizontal beds to resist G-forces, and the use of the multistage rocket.
8. Enemy of the State – NSA Surveillance
In 1998, the idea of cellphones and electronics being tracked by the government was a joke. In fact, that was the entire plot of Enemy of the State, a man trying to convince others that the National Security Agency is corrupt and they are illegally monitoring its citizens, something similar to what George Orwell liked to talk about. Sure, its not the most revolutionary concept, but the execution of it all was quite accurate. Move forward into the future by about 15 years to 2013, and the NSA scandal reveals that they do, in fact, monitor the U.S. people in almost the exact same way that Enemy of the State suggested. I guess Will Smith and Gene Hackman weren’t crazy after all.
7. Game of Death – Brandon Lee’s Death
Many conspiracy theories surround the 1972 film The Game of Death, but there is one crazy coincidence that needs to be discussed. After the film was filmed, the star, Bruce Lee, would die. The movie would be reconfigured using scenes that were already shot. In the remade film, there is one scene that stands out because of how accurately it mirrors events that would happen later on in real life. In that scene, Lee is an actor shooting a scene for a movie. The scene requires him to be shot by a gun filled with blanks. After the shot, however, it is revealed that Lee has been shot for real. The scene would mean nothing for years, until, in 1994, Lee’s son, Brandon Lee, was filming The Crow. During filming Brandon was shot and killed by a gun that was believed to be filled with blanks. Crazy.
6. Super Mario Bros. – 9/11
When the Super Mario Bros. movie came out in 1993, people absolutely hated it. Today, almost 25 years later exactly nothing has changed. There is, however, one scene in the film that has generated quite a bit of discussion over time. Near the end, as Koopa’s world and the real world start to merge, something shocking happens. As people look up to the New York skyline, the twin towers of the World Trade Center start to disappear, but it’s the way they disappear that is creepy. The towers black out a little bit, the south tower crumbles from the top and a hole burns through the north tower, all eerily reminiscent of the way the towers were actually destroyed on September 11, 2001, eight years after Super Mario Bros. was released. It’s weird, that’s for sure.
5. The China Syndrome – Three Mile Island Disaster
There is still a discourse surrounding the film, The China Syndrome, that suggests it is a response to the public’s hysteria surrounding nuclear power, but that just isn’t the case. The reason the two worlds are so intimately connected is because The China Syndrome, a film about a nuclear reactor malfunction and the cover ups leading up to it, actually predicted real-life events. After the film’s release, the nuclear power energy folks lambasted the film, suggesting it made baseless claims and should be pulled from theaters. Unfortunately, 12 days after the film’s premiere, the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania went into partial meltdown, still the largest accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant history. Well played The China Syndrome, well played
4. The Lone Gunmen – 9/11
Ok, so this one isn’t a movie, but it is way too good to leave out. In the X-Files spin-off that never went anywhere, The Lone Gunmen, there was one (and only one) reason to talk about the show. In the pilot episode that premiered in March of 2001, there’s a terrorist plot to hijack a 747 airplane and fly it into the World Trade Center. Not only that, but the plot also involved a potential government cover up that would lead to a war overseas. Several shows and movies have shown or foiled plans to destroy the twin towers in the past, but none ever came this close to the actual specifics of how it all went down on September 11, 2001. The episode was so close to reality that it was pulled from the airwaves after 9/11 in fear of looking opportunistic.
3. Above Suspicion – Christopher Reeve’s Paralysis
In the 1995 film, Above Suspicion, actor Christopher Reeve stars as a police officer who was shot in his spine, unfortunately paralyzing him. The HBO film premiered on TV on May 21, 1995. Then, just six days later, Reeve was thrown from a horse leaving him a quadriplegic in real life. Leading up to the release of the film, Reeve had stated that his research on paralysis led him to understand just how easy it can happen to someone, certainly an eerie statement to make in hindsight.
2. The Matrix – 9/11
When Agent Smith is interrogating Neo in the 1999 film, The Matrix (you may have heard of it), something really, really eerie happens. Smith opens up Neo’s file and reveals something crazy. We know that the real world is actually in 2199 and the Matrix is a manufactured world that takes place in 1999. So the real world is well ahead of the simulated events of The Matrix. We also know that Neo is a computer programmer that worked in one of the World Trade Center buildings. Now, in Neo’s file is his passport. Zoom and enhance. Look at the expiration date on the passport; September 11, 2001. Now ask the question, is that the expiration date of Neo’s passport or of Neo himself?
1. Poltergeist – Heather O’Rourke’s Death
This is one of those movie moments that is just really, really strange. Remember Heather O’Rourke? She played the little girl Carol Anne in Poltergeist? Sadly, this little sweetheart died tragically at the age of 12 from septic shock. Here’s the creepy part. In the movie, we can see quite clearly that Carol Anne’s brother, Robbie, has a hand-drawn poster of 1988 Super Bowl XXII hanging on the wall over his bed. This by itself is a bit weird because the movie was released and takes place in 1982. That game was eventually played in San Diego on January 31, 1988. On that same day, in San Diego, Heather O’Rourke became seriously ill. The next morning, she collapsed and was airlifted to hospital where she died. Some have connected this death to the Poltergeist curse, whereas others just say it’s a coincidence. No matter what, it is weird, creepy and quite sad.