The dystopian world of Panem will return to movie theatres this November in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. And if you’ve already rewatched the original quartet of films in preparation, you might be looking for some movies like The Hunger Games to help further pass the time.
The good news is that we’ve compiled this list of nine movies that should catch your eye if you enjoyed watching Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Gale (Liam Hemsworth) fight against the might of the ruthless Captial and its tyrannical ruler President Snow (Donald Sutherland). There’s even a movie on this list that The Hunger Games was once accused of having “ripped off” by iconic director Quentin Tarantino.
If you can’t wait to see The Hunger Games prequel novel get the big screen treatment in a few months' time, these nine movies like The Hunger Games should be on your watchlist. And we’ve also got all the details on where to stream them down below as well.
Released the same year as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Divergent is also a dystopian sci-fi movie franchise based on a widely popular series of young-adult novels. Shailene Woodley plays Tris, a 16-year-old who lives in a society that is split into factions based on an individual's personality traits and virtues. However, when Tris discovers that she is Divergent — meaning she has attributes of multiple factions — she must hide her true identity. A sinister plot orchestra by the rulers of this seemingly perfect society is soon unearthed and Tris must work with a band of allies to protect those around her. Oh, and Tris also meets a hunky guy named Four (Theo James), no prizes for guessing that things get steamy between them.
Rotten Tomatoes: 41%
Stars: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Kate Winslet
Director: Neil Burger
Sequels: The Divergent Series: Insurgent (2015, Max), The Divergent Series: Allegiant (2016, Max)
Battle Royale (2000)
Widely regarded as one of the best thrillers ever made, Battle Royale is set in a near future Japan where economic downturn and high unemployment have led to increasing youth delinquency. To curb the issue, the government introduces the Battle Royale Act, which sees a randomly selected class of ninth graders sent to a deserted island each year. They are given a map, food and a selection of weaponry, and then let loose on the island with a singular mission: be the last one standing. Escape is impossible as each student is fitted with an explosive collar that will detonate if they attempt to leave the island. This brutal movie is often cited as a clear inspiration for The Hunger Games but the author of the original novel, Suzanne Collins, maintains that she hadn’t seen the film before completing her book.
Streaming: The Roku Channel
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Stars: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Tarō Yamamoto, Masanobu Andō, Kou Shibasaki, Chiaki Kuriyama
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Sequels: Battle Royale II: Requiem (2003, Amazon Freevee)
The Maze Runner (2014)
The Maze Runner opens with a teenage boy named Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) awakening in a clearing with no memory of his past life. He soon learns that his new home is at the center of a giant labyrinthine maze and it’s his job, along with the other youths dumped in this strange place, to solve the puzzle by mapping a route through the concrete structure. Unfortunately, the maze is filled with nightmarish creatures, and the subsequent appearance of a young girl named Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), the first female to arrive in the "Glade", only complicates matters further. Can Thomas and his fellow Gladers find a way out of the maze, and who put these teenagers in this strange place and for what purpose?
Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Stars: Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Patricia Clarkson
Director: Wes Ball
Sequels: The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015, Amazon VOD), Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018, Tubi)
Ender’s Game (2013)
Based on the classic Orson Scott Card novel of the same name, Ender’s Game centers on Andrew “Ender” Wiggins (Asa Butterfield), a gifted child who is drafted into an advanced military academy where they are preparing for an anticipated alien invasion. Ender makes friends with fellow academy cadet Petra Arkanian (Hailee Steinfeld) and sets about proving his worth by competing in a zero-gravity battle simulation. Soon enough Ender impresses legendary war hero Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) and gruff trainer Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) and is offered the chance to prove himself capable of preventing the annihilation of humanity itself.
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)
This feature adaptation of the Percy Jackson series from author Rick Riordan didn’t enjoy a warm reception from book readers. But it’s still a fun fantasy flick if you can tolerate its extreme deviation from the source material. The movie sees troubled teenager Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) discover he is the son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. Soon whisked away to a training ground for children of deities, Percy begins to learn how to harness his divine powers. But trouble soon brews when Zeus's lightning bolt is stolen and Percy is blamed for the theft. With just two weeks to find the real thief before war breaks out on Mount Olympus, the young demigod sets out on a quest to clear his name with some help from the daughter of Athena (Alexandra Daddario) and his best friend, Grover (Brandon T. Jackson).
Streaming: Disney Plus
Rotten Tomatoes: 49%
Stars: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Rosario Dawson
Director: Chris Columbus
Sequels: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013, Disney Plus)
Snowpiercer is set on a massive train that is continually circling a frozen Earth after an attempt to prevent global warming via climate engineering went disastrously wrong. On the train are the last surviving humans, but things are not equal among the passengers. The lower-class citizens are housed towards the tail end of the train and live in poverty, whereas the elite first-class passengers enjoy carriage-loads of luxuries at the front of the train. Chris Evans plays Curtis Everett, a member of the former group, who leads a revolution against this unjust system. This excellent post-apocalyptic action movie comes from Bong Joon-Ho, the Oscar-winning director behind Parasite.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Stars: Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, Ed Harris
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Sequels: Snowpiercer (TV show) (2020, Spectrum TV)
Winter’s Bone (2010)
While Winter’s Bone isn’t exactly a movie like The Hunger Games when it comes to its narrative or themes, it’s another film with a captivating leading performance from Jennifer Lawrence at its core. Lawrence earned her first Oscar nomination for her role as Ree Dolly, a 17-year-old girl forced to take care of her two younger siblings in a small community located in the Ozark Mountains. After discovering her absentee father has put their home up for bond and then disappeared, Ree sets out on a dangerous mission to locate him. But her quest has unforeseen consequences and could put her very life in danger.
The 5th Wave (2016)
Much like The Hunger Games this sci-fi action movie also features a strong female heroine at its core. In The 5th Wave, Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz) is one of the few remaining survivors of a devasting alien invasion that has come in increasingly deadly waves. With a fifth, and seemingly final, wave on the way, Cassie must risk everything on a dangerous mission to locate her young brother. Based on the popular novel series by Rick Yancey, this feature film adaption was (being blunt) not well received by critics upon release. It was particularly criticized for being too derivative of movies like The Hunger Games and Divergent, but if you can tolerate a sense of familiarity you might find The 5th Wave enjoyable.
Circle also sees a group of unwilling participants forced to compete in a deadly game where only one will emerge alive. The movie opens with 50 strangers waking up in an empty room. Every two minutes one of them is randomly killed, but they soon learn they have the ability to decide as a group which person is selected to die. Naturally, this leads to all sorts of alliances forming, as well as several dramatic betrayals as everybody tries to argue why it shouldn’t be them who is selected next. This horror-thriller is seriously tense, and it will have you pondering what you would do in a similar situation yourself. Circle also runs a very lean 85 minutes which makes it a great watch when you’re looking for something quick that will grip you from the very start.