Which movies depict the USA with an alternate history?
September 6, 2007 2:23 PM   Subscribe

Which movies portray an alternate history of the USA?

There are some threads on mefi already dealing with alternate histories in novel form, but I am specifically looking for movies that deal with the US as if its history were fundamentally altered in some way (e.g. the south won the civil war, Kennedy wasn't assasinated, etc).
posted by bryanboyer to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
posted by ND¢ at 2:26 PM on September 6, 2007

Obvious, but CSA.
posted by box at 2:26 PM on September 6, 2007

posted by ND¢ at 2:30 PM on September 6, 2007

More of an alternate present (at the time it was released), but Red Dawn now presents an alternate history.
posted by bove at 2:33 PM on September 6, 2007

Alternate History Films on Wikipedia.
posted by ND¢ at 2:34 PM on September 6, 2007

  • Planet of the Apes (1968)
  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)
  • Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)
  • Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)
  • Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

  • Planet of the apes 2: Electric Boogaloo

  • posted by blue_beetle at 2:34 PM on September 6, 2007

    A number of the movies on the Wikipedia link are like Red Dawn in that now, the appear as alternate histories, but at the time they were not.
    posted by bove at 2:36 PM on September 6, 2007

    This one sounds pretty weird:

    Nothing So Strange is a film shot in the style of an "independent documentary" directed by Brian Flemming. It centers on the fictional assassination of Microsoft chairman Bill Gates on December 2, 1999.
    posted by ND¢ at 2:37 PM on September 6, 2007

    Yeah I dont think movies like Escape from New York which was set in 1997 but released in 1981 count as alternate histories since they were released as alternate futures, but perhaps the OP can elaborate....
    posted by vacapinta at 2:39 PM on September 6, 2007

    Back to the Future
    posted by blue_beetle at 2:42 PM on September 6, 2007

    Death of a President : A pseudo-documentary focused on the assassination of our sitting president during a fund raiser in Chicago, and its aftermath. Not a good film by any means, but its right up your alley.
    posted by chicofly at 2:45 PM on September 6, 2007

    Sliders focused on such Americas each week for its first and second season. It began "sliding" into crapville towards the end of the second season, and third season and beyond are nigh-unwatchable. But the first season was quite interesting.

    If they are anything like their respective novels, the movies based off of Stephen King's Long Walk and Running Man take place in alternate Americas, although I'm not sure they are branched off from a decision point.
    posted by WCityMike at 2:55 PM on September 6, 2007

    White Man's Burden (1995).

    Interesting concept, poor execution.
    posted by uaudio at 3:01 PM on September 6, 2007

    Red Dawn? C'mon -- check the original, if you can find it: Red Nightmare.
    posted by Rash at 3:17 PM on September 6, 2007

    Yes, jpdoane, that book might make an interesting film, as would PKDick's Man in the High Castle, but this question's specifically about movies.
    posted by Rash at 3:19 PM on September 6, 2007

    How about Forrest Gump? I mean he wasn't in ANY of those scenes, yada yada. Taken to the extreme, any hollywood fiction movie dealing with the U.S. is an alternate history.
    posted by Max Power at 3:59 PM on September 6, 2007

    The Handmaid's Tale if not exactly alternate history (ie., US never joined WWII or sided with the Germans) but it depicts what the US could end up resembling...
    posted by porpoise at 4:06 PM on September 6, 2007

    Six-String Samurai. [imdb] [wiki]
    posted by churl at 4:16 PM on September 6, 2007

    Wild in the Streets?
    posted by doctor_negative at 4:37 PM on September 6, 2007

    Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
    posted by brundlefly at 4:51 PM on September 6, 2007

    posted by poppo at 5:17 PM on September 6, 2007

    Independance Day.
    posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 6:12 PM on September 6, 2007

    Fido - what if comet radiation turned the dead into zombies during the '50s. It's like Leave it to Beaver with zombies.
    posted by porpoise at 7:58 PM on September 6, 2007

    Escape from New York and Escape From LA

    (both of which I watched last night).
    posted by mrbill at 9:00 PM on September 6, 2007

    thanks for all of the suggestions so far. to clarify, I am looking more for films where the alternate is not catastrophically different in terms of nuclear attack or the like... though "catastrophic" is up for debate. am also looking more for films that rewrote history rather than propose what was at the time of filming a new possible future.
    posted by bryanboyer at 7:17 AM on September 7, 2007

    Although not premised on an altered history, Back to the Future explores what happens if history is altered...

    If you've never watched it Sliders even though it's a TV show and not a movie, as recommended by WCityMike, it sounds like it fits your requirements very very well.
    posted by porpoise at 8:30 AM on September 7, 2007

    I can't believe I didn't think of this right off the bat: IMDB's "alternative history" and "alternative timeline" keywords.
    posted by WCityMike at 9:31 PM on September 9, 2007

    I second porpoise on Fido, although it's more Lassie than Leave it to Beaver.

    mrbill, EFNY and EFLA were not alternate history when they came out. EFNY came out in 1981 and was set in 1997. EFLA was 2012 or something, I think.
    posted by brundlefly at 3:43 AM on September 11, 2007

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