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14 Movies Like Divergent That You Need To Watch Next

The "Divergent" series of films were based on the novels of the same name by Veronica Roth. The series explore a post-apocalyptic world where a dystopian new world order keeps humanity divided into various factions that can be monitored and controlled. The lead character of Tris Prior, played by Shailene Woodley, is a "Divergent" who shows qualities suited to multiple factions, and is deemed a threat by the government due to her ability to think independently. 

The stage is set for an audacious uprising engineered by Tris and her allies, who seeks to reveal the dictatorial nature of the regime to the world. "Divergent" was followed by two more movies in the franchise which expanded the lore of the original film with new characters and backstory.

Much like Tris embarking on a journey to bring down an oppressive regime in a grim future setting, there have been a number of movies in the "Young Adult" genre that deal with disenfranchised youths rising up against a system that demands blind obedience. Here are some movies similar to "Divergent" that explore similar themes of the "one" against the "many" in a dystopian society with crumbling morals.

The Hunger Games

The "Divergent" movies have been frequently compared to "The Hunger Games" films, and with good reason. The two franchises see a great deal of overlap, and fans who enjoy the world of "Divergent" will see many similar themes running through "The Hunger Games" and its sequels. 

Much like the main plot in "Divergent," "The Hunger Games" offers plenty of social commentary. It tells the story of a young, rebellious girl — Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) — who struggles to survive in a dystopian society where freedom is a rare and precious commodity. Katniss lives in one of the 13 impoverished "districts" of her country Panem, where an annual pageant known as the Hunger Games is organized. Two "tributes" from each district are required to participate in the games, which can only be won by eliminating all the other tributes.

Katniss starts out the series as an unwilling tribute, but soon sees her stock rise, first as a winner of the Games and later as a symbol of resistance against Panem's totalitarian government. Along the way, Katniss finds her resolve as a fighter tested by her feelings for her allies Peeta and Gale. "The Hunger Games" spawned an immensely popular franchise that shot Lawrence into the Hollywood stratosphere.

Dune (1984)

Earth isn't the only planet where oppressive regimes can exist, or plucky, attractive young lead characters seeking to overthrow them. Frank Herbert's seminal sci-fi novel "Dune" tells a similar tale of a dystopian world in the farthest reaches of the galaxy, and the young promised savior prophesied to bring peace and justice to society. 

While the novels are occasionally considered "unfilmable" due to the dense mythology of Herbert's work, David Lynch took a stab at "Dune" in 1984 with interesting results. The central character of Lynch's film is Paul Atreides, heir to the wealth and power of House Atreides — one of the most powerful houses in the known universe. The power commanded by House Atreides is such that even the emperor of the galaxy fears their might, and determines to kill every person associated with the Atreides lineage before they can threaten his rule.

But Paul is not so easily killed. He is prophesied to be the "Kwisatz Haderach," a new form of intelligence that can lead the universe on the path to enlightenment. As Paul embarks on a journey towards realizing his destiny, he forms alliances with unexpected parties, and comes to accept some horrifying truths about the world he is supposed to save. 

The 5th Wave (2016)

Not every totalitarian regime is made up of humans. Sometimes, visitors from outer space can come to Earth hoping to set up shop as the planet's new alpha species. That is what happens in "The 5th Wave", based on the novel of the same name by Rick Yancey. 

The story unfolds from the perspective of Ohio high-schooler Cassie Sullivan. One day, an enormous alien spaceship piloted by a species known as "The Others" comes into Earth's orbit. From space, the aliens send four waves of immensely destructive attacks against the planet, crippling humanity's resources, and turning the world into a dystopian nightmare. 

In this grim new reality, Cassie is one of the few survivors. She must use her wits to keep her little brother safe, so they both can reach one of the last remaining human settlements that offers some security. Even as the two manage to reach the settlement, they discover a horrifying new plan orchestrated by the Others: they will launch the fifth, and final wave of attack against humanity and bring an end to the species once and for all. It is now up to Cassie to warn the others of the "fifth wave" in time to avert the coming catastrophe.

The Host (2013)

While Stephenie Meyer is best known for her supernatural teen romance novels, the "Twilight" series, she also dipped her toes in sci-fi with her 2008 novel "The Host". Naturally, Hollywood jumped in to buy the rights to the book, and released its movie adaptation in 2013, featuring Oscar-nominated actress Saoirse Ronan in the lead role. 

"The Host" explores a reality where an alien parasitic species known as "Souls" have come to Earth. They have enslaved humanity by inserting themselves into the bodies of humans and taking control of their bodies. Most of humanity has fallen victim to the Souls, but a few pockets of free men and women still exist and plot to overthrown the alien regime. 

This brings us to Melanie Stryder, a human with a Soul parasite that is actually sympathetic to humanity's plight. Together, Melanie and her Soul come to an understanding, and embark on a journey to get back to a human settlement before a contingent of militant Souls can discover their escape. In keeping with Meyer's style, the sci-fi plot is supplied with plentiful doses of romance and teen angst, and there are more than a few echoes of "Twilight" in the way the story's love triangle works out. 

The Circle (2017)

The last few decades have seen pop culture's imagining of an oppressive social machinery turning away from government institutions towards privately-controlled conglomerates. "The Circle" is an apt example of this trend. The movie is an adaptation of Dave Eggers' novel of the same name, and has an eclectic cast featuring Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, John Boyega, Karen Gillan, Ellar Coltrane, Patton Oswalt, Glenne Headly, and Bill Paxton in his last role.

Young call center intern Mae Holland feels thrilled to discover she has secured a customer service position under The Circle, the world's foremost social networking company. Despite the misgivings of her friends and family, Mae rises through the ranks of the company, becoming privy to The Circle's plans for a world of "full transparency" — where every aspect of your life is recorded and can be viewed by everyone else. 

As Mae comes to understand what complete transparency would require, and how it would leave no space for personal privacy, she begins to revolt against The Circle. But her warnings might be too late, as the world prepares to embrace the company's tech to create a world where computers see everyone, everything, all the time.

City of Ember (2008)

Based on the novel of the same name by Jeanne DuPrau, "City of Ember" is a science fiction film that doubles as a dystopian allegory about the dangers of trusting leaders blindly in a time of crisis. It also happens to be an entertaining romp for younger audiences that adults can enjoy as well. 

When an unspecified global catastrophe is close to ending all life on Earth, construction begins on an underground city called Ember. The mayor of Ember is entrusted with a special box, said to hold instructions for a new generation of Emberites. The box is handed down from one mayor to the next, until the chain is unexpectedly broken. 

The box is lost to the city for some time, until it ends up in the hands of teenager Lina Mayfleet, the descendant of one of the mayors of Ember. Lina embarks on a quest to discover the meaning of the contents of the box, a quest that takes her far beyond the confines of the underground land she had always called home, and which brings her into conflict with the scheming new mayor of the city.

Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

There are a lot of entries on this list of movies with young, female leads who must fight against impossible odds using nothing but their wits and the support of their friends. "Alita: Battle Angel" bucks the trend by featuring a female lead who is perfectly capable of destroying the competition all by herself, which becomes her main source of grief. 

The movie, based on the manga and anime series of the same name, tells the story of a future Earth devastated by a catastrophic war known as "The Fall". The remnants of society that has gathered itself into a colony called "Iron City," where a doctor scavenging for spare parts in the scrapyard comes across a female cyborg with intact human brains. The doctor transfers the brains into a new metal body, and names his creation Alita. 

Over time, Alita discovers the rules and expectations that come with being a cyborg in Iron City, even as she struggles to recover her past memories. But while she has no knowledge of who she was before meeting the doctor, Alita shows formidable physical skills that make her a huge favorite at the Motorball racing tournament. As Alita comes closer to understanding the dark mystery of her past, she realizes that her future lies elsewhere, perhaps in the city of Zalem that floats among the clouds. 

Battle Royale (2000)

Ever wondered what "The Hunger Games" would be like if it didn't bother with all the Katniss-Gale-Peeta romance or the running commentary on reality television, and instead focused exclusively on the "children killing each other" aspect of the tale? Look no further than Japanese auteur Kinji Fukasaku's grisly and most controversial movie "Battle Royale".

The movie's premise is simple. In the future, following a drastic recession, a totalitarian government has enacted a new tradition to curb juvenile delinquency. A group of middle school students are transported to a remote island. There they are given rations, a map, supplies, and a random weapon, and instructed to fight each other to the death for three days until a victor emerges.

Failure to comply results in automatic death. But many of the students do comply, taking to the torment and killing of their classmates with an abandon reminiscent of "Lord of the Flies". The film was so controversial that it faced bans and censorship threats in several countries, all of which added to the movie's mystique and cult status, and didn't get an official DVD release in America until over a decade after it debuted.

Chaos Walking (2021)

Once again, we turn our attention to the sci-fi realm, this time for a movie based on the first part of Patrick Ness' popular book trilogy "Chaos Walking". Starring the winning lead duo of Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley, "Chaos Walking" puts a gender-related twist on dystopian themes by imagining a future world where women are no longer around.

 A couple of centuries into the future, young Todd Hewitt lives on a planet called New World in a town where there are no women. The tales being told about their absence have to do with the native aliens inhabitants of the planet, who orchestrated a coup that took down half the male and all the female human colonists who arrived on the planet.

The surviving men all suffer from a condition known as "The Noise", which makes it impossible to keep their thoughts hidden from each other. The arrival of a young woman named Viola threatens to rip apart the foundations of Todd's home. But despite his better judgement, he chooses to help Viola escape the wrath of the other townsfolk, as the two embark on an adventure that takes them far beyond the confines of the world Todd thinks he understands.

The Giver (2014)

Based on the 1993 novel of the same name by Lois Lowry, "The Giver" saw celebrated actor Meryl Streep in a leading role. Like many other stories that tell of a dystopian future, "The Giver" imagines a world where freedom of choice is seen as a dangerous thing that must be curtailed. 

The movie follows the story of Jonas, an 18-year-old who has grown up in a world that was rebuilt in the aftermath of a cataclysmic event referred to as The Ruin. In this new society, a council of elders, led by The Chief Elder (Streep), protect the population by way of suppressing their emotions and removing their memories of the past. 

Every new generation has a person called the Receiver of Memories, who is tasked with holding on to the memories of all of humanity to pass on to the next generation. Jonas discovers he has been chosen to be the new Receiver. Along with a flood of memories, Jonas comes to realize the importance of emotions, and how people need to have the ability to make their own decisions, good or bad. But the Council of Elders disagrees, and soon Jonas must rise up against them and remind society of the memories that have been locked away from them. 

Ender's Game (2013)

Orson Scott Card's 1985 Hugo-award winning novel "Ender's Game" received a solid adaptation in the 2013 movie of the same name. While initially reluctant to let anyone turn his book into a film, Card eventually relented, and even worked on a half dozen screenplays before it got picked up by writer/director Gavin Hood.

Set many years in the future, the movie focuses on an intergalactic war between humanity and a species of aliens called Formics. The Formics have already launched one attack against Earth that resulted in the death of millions of people. Now the human military is preparing to launch a final attack on the Formic home world and, to that end, have been rigorously training new cadets in the art of space warfare.

Andrew "Ender" Wiggin is one such cadet, singled out due to his special aptitude for improvising novel methods of winning simulated battles. Ender finds the military higher-ups are taking a special interest in his training, as he is put through increasingly more difficult simulation tests. Even as work becomes harder and Ender tries to make sense of his relationships with his fellow cadets, he discovers that all is not as it seems with regards to Mankind's war against the Formics. 

Mortal Engines (2018)

"Steampunk" is a genre of sci-fi dystopia that does not get the attention it deserves anymore. 2018's "Mortal Engines" sought to change that, with a live-action retelling of the 2001 novel of the same name by Philip Reeve. Like in a lot of other dystopian tales, "Mortal Engines" is set some time after a cataclysmic conflict known as the Sixty Minute War.

After the war, the face of the Earth has been rearranged, with the continents having been literally reshaped into new landmasses. In what used to be the continent of Europe, cities are built on mobile platforms that can move the entire city across vast distances. Bigger cities consume smaller cities for their resources across giant plains of the continent known as the "Great Hunting Ground".

In this giant free-for-all between cities, a young assassin named Hester Shaw is plotting to kill Thaddeus Valentine, Head of the Guild of Historians who killed Hester's mother after she discovered a secret that could disrupt the balance of power between cities forever. Once the secret is in danger of being exposed, the gripping finale sees Hester and her allies race against time to stop a second, even more cataclysmic great war that could doom the entire planet.

Never Let Me Go (2010)

Based on Kazuo Ishiguro's 2005 novel of the same name, "Never Let Me Go" imagines a world where a medical breakthrough now allows people to live beyond 100 years. Tommy, Kathy and Ruth live in a boarding school called Hailsham that places a special emphasis on artwork that the students create and an use to express themselves. 

As Tommy and the other two grow older, they begin to develop feelings for each other. While Kathy is in love with Tommy, he starts a relationship with Ruth. The three also discover that they have been raised with one purpose: to become organ donors as adults, whose healthy organs will allow others to live longer. 

As the three main characters move into adulthood, the prospect of their looming demise forces them into desperate actions. A rumor of certain donors being exempt from service if they can prove they are genuinely in love drives Tommy and Kathy together, as they strive to prove they are worth saving. Moving, reflective, and melancholy, "Never Let Me Go" isn't the usual action-packed Y.A. offering that the genre is known for, but it offers meaningful variety and an intriguing new take on loss and love.

The Maze Runner

Much like "Divergent" and "The Hunger Games," "The Maze Runner" series spawned a popular Young Adult franchise that combines sci-fi dystopia with healthy doses of action and adventure. Based on the book series by James Dashner, the "Maze Runner" trilogy offers a fresh take on the Greek myth of the Minotaur in the labyrinth.

An unnamed youth finds himself waking from unconsciousness as he travels in an underground elevator. He is deposited in a large grassy area called "The Glade", where he finds other young men like himself. The unnamed youth learns that he is trapped inside the Glade, which is surrounded by an elaborate maze filled with deadly, half-cyborg creatures called Grievers.

The youth discovers his name is Thomas, but he and the others are unable to remember anything else. As the trilogy unfolds, Thomas and the others win a hard-fought battle to get out of the maze, only to discover their troubles are far from over, and they are trapped in a post-apocalyptic world where the future of humanity rests on their shoulders.