List of films featuring surveillance
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There is a significant body of films that feature surveillance as a theme or as a plot arc.
List of films
|1971||2014||The documentary film features the Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI and how it broke into a satellite FBI office. The group discovered and released documents about COINTELPRO, a secret domestic surveillance program that targeted "dissident groups, civil rights leaders and anti-Vietnam War activists".|
|1984||1956||The film is set in a totalitarian society in the future where the population may be monitored at any time.|
|23||1998||Hackers sell their research to Russians, but because the Russians want military data instead, the hackers have to elude them.|
|Aelita: Queen of Mars||1924||Surveillance is used by the upper class to oversee the working class.|
|American Pie||1999||In the comedy film, a key scene has the teenage protagonist setting up his webcam so his friends can see a girl changing clothes. The webcast is shared publicly to his peers.|
|The Anderson Tapes||1971||Burglars use a luxury apartment's surveillance technology to break in but are unaware of being under surveillance themselves.|
|Antitrust||2001||The protagonist learns that his company has an extensive surveillance system to observe and steal code.|
|Bad Times at the El Royale||2018||Circa 1968, several strangers, most with a secret to bury, meet by chance at Lake Tahoe's El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one night, everyone will show their true colors - before everything goes to hell.|
|Bedroom Eyes||1984||A young businessman and avid jogger finds a prime voyeurism spot on his nightly route. After some time spying he witnesses a murder instead.|
|Blow Out||1981||A sound technician inadvertently records a murder and learns that it is part of ongoing political corruption.|
|Blowup||1966||A fashion photographer unwittingly takes photographs of a murder and investigates the circumstances.|
|Blue Thunder||1983||The film features a military helicopter with high-tech surveillance equipment.|
|Body Double||1984||The protagonist, staying at a friend's apartment, is able to spy on the neighbor but winds up witnessing her murder.|
|The Bourne Identity||2002||Amnesiac spy Jason Bourne eludes people from his program trying to track him down.|
|The Bourne Supremacy||2004||Amnesiac spy Jason Bourne eludes people from his program trying to track him down.|
|The Bourne Ultimatum||2007||Amnesiac spy Jason Bourne eludes people from his program trying to track him down.|
|Jason Bourne||2016||Amnesiac spy Jason Bourne eludes people from his program trying to track him down.|
|Brazil||1985||The science fiction fantasy film follows a government clerk who works for a totalitarian and bureaucratic government of Orwellian proportions.|
|The Cabin in the Woods||2012||A group of college students who retreat to a remote forest cabin where they fall victim to backwoods zombies, and two scientists who manipulate the ongoing events from an underground facility.|
|Caché||2005||A couple finds on their front porch videotapes of them in their home and tries to find out who is recording them.|
|Cape Fear||1962||A released criminal follows the family of the man who testified against him.|
|Captain America: The Winter Soldier||2014||The superhero Captain America, resurrected in the 21st century, combats a conspiracy in the surveillance state of his country.|
|The Circle||2017||A powerful Internet company attempts to create a utopian society by deploying widespread surveillance accessible to all.|
|Citizenfour||2014||The documentary features Edward Snowden and his initiation of global surveillance disclosures in 2013.|
|Closed Circuit||2013||A pair of lawyers in Great Britain discover "an unsavory alliance" between its secret service and the criminal justice system and have to evade the surveillance state.|
|Code 46||2003||In the near future, personal travel between countries is limited and controlled by technological means, but counterfeiting allows circumvention of these controls.|
|Cold Eyes||2013||A South Korean surveillance unit attempts to track down a criminal leader in Seoul.|
|The Conversation||1974||A surveillance expert is hired to combine wiretapped recordings of a couple and tries to interpret their conversations.|
|The Dark Knight||2008||The vigilante superhero Batman hacks every cell phone in Gotham City to set up a sonar system to find the criminal the Joker.|
|Death in the Terminal||2016||A reconstruction in so-called Rashomon style, with several eyewitnesses offering their own perspectives on a single tragic event, a terror attack in the Beer Sheva bus station after which a bystander assumed to be the perpetrator was lynched.|
|Death Watch||1980||In the future, the protagonist has a camera implanted in his brain and is enlisted to probe a dying woman's subconscious.|
|Déjà Vu||2006||A detective tries to save a woman's life by utilizing advanced surveillance equipment.|
|Demolition Man||1993||The science fiction film depicts a 2032 "San Angeles" where everyone's behavior is under surveillance.|
|The Den||2013||In the found-footage horror film, a teenage girl witnesses a murder via webcam, and the killer tracks her down. The film is shown through different screens including that of surveillance cameras.|
|Disturbia||2007||A teenager under house arrest spies on his neighbor and suspects him of being a killer.|
|Eagle Eye||2008||Two strangers meet via a strange phone call and are then tracked by someone using everyday technology.|
|Echelon Conspiracy||2009||An American engineer gets a cell phone that gives him unlimited wealth, but he is then pursued by security agents.|
|EDtv||1999||Ed is a video store clerk whose daily life is broadcast by a company trying to save its cable channel.|
|The End of Violence||1997||A film producer is targeted to keep secret a satellite surveillance program to combat crime.|
|Enemy of the State||1998||The main character is pursued by the National Security Agency, which uses an array of surveillance technologies.|
|Equilibrium||2002||In a futuristic city where emotions are suppressed through surveillance and control, a law enforcement officer begins experiencing emotions himself.|
|Das Experiment||2001||A journalist joins a curious psychological experiment and records the experiment in secret.|
|Eye in the Sky (2007)||2007||In Hong Kong, a police surveillance unit monitors a master criminal without realizing the criminal is watching them as well.|
|Eye in the Sky (2015)||2015||Complications arise when a lieutenant general (Alan Rickman) and a colonel (Helen Mirren) order a drone missile strike to take out a group of terrorists in Nairobi, Kenya.|
|Eyeborgs||2009||In the United States, the "Freedom of Observation Act" is passed allowing for the creation of ODIN (Optical Defense Intelligence Network). This leads to "eyeborgs" being created, a mobile camera drone administered by the Department for Homeland Security.|
|The Final Cut||2004||An editor cuts together footage from a device implanted in one's body that can record an entire life, and he finds footage that has a connection with his own past.|
|Firewall||2006||A technology executive is coerced to rob a bank by criminals holding his family hostage.|
|Fortress||1993||The science fiction film follows a couple with an illegal second child through a panopticonal society.|
|The Fortune Cookie||1966||A private eye secretly films a man who is feigning an injury in an attempt to collect a large amount of money through a lawsuit.|
|Freeze Frame||2004||The protagonist is acquitted from the wrongful accusation of killing his wife and children, but due to the media's portrayal, he maintains video surveillance of his own life to ensure having an alibi.|
|Furious 7||2015||In the action film, a team of drivers tracks down a hacker to recover a surveillance device called God's Eye that can locate anyone in the world within seconds.|
|Gattaca||1997||In the near future, an aspiring astronaut uses a cover identity in training and has to evade genetic screenings used as a surveillance mechanism.|
|Giant||2009||A security guard at a supermarket watches a cleaning woman through video surveillance and begins stalking her outside work.|
|Hackers||1995||A group of hackers break into a company's supercomputer and have to evade the U.S. Secret Service.|
|Halloween: Resurrection||2002||A group of college students are trapped inside a home with a serial killer, and the killer broadcasts the subsequent events online through multiple cameras.|
|Headhunters||2011||High-tech surveillance is used in a showdown between a headhunter who moonlights as an art thief and a potential recruit with a military background.|
|Hi, Mom!||1970||A Vietnam War veteran attempts to make "peep art" by filming people who live across from his apartment building.|
|I Love You All / Aus Liebe Zum Volk||2004||This is a film about surveillance and blindness, about faith and disillusion.|
|Infernal Affairs||2002||A cop works undercover in a triad, and a triad member works undercover in the police department. Each is ordered to track down the mole in the very organization he infiltrated.|
|The Listening||2006||An art gallery employee discovers a briefcase of classified documents about surveillance technology made by one of the NSA's suppliers, and the supplier goes after her to protect its secrets. A NSA operative blows his cover to protect the woman.|
|The Lives of Others||2006||In East Germany in the 1980s, a Stasi officer spies on a playwright.|
|Logan's Run||1976||Citizens of a futuristic city are controlled by the use of a crystal on their right palm|
|Lost Highway||1997||In part of the film, a couple receives videotapes recording the outside then the inside of their home.|
|Look||2007||The film shows surveillance camera footage of events surrounding San Fernando Valley denizens.|
|Loving||1970||George Segal as a philandering husband trysts with a pick-up in a child's playhouse in the back yard of the upscale house where he and his wife are attending a party, unaware that a group of men are watching with interest over a closed circuit TV monitor.|
|M||1931||A city in pursuit of a child murderer has both cops and criminals engaging in surveillance and snooping on one another.|
|Meine Daten und ich||2009||Mix of feature and documentary film that discusses surveillance policies in Germany in interviews with members of parliament and experts.|
|Menace II Society||1993||A shopkeeper keeps close surveillance on two young black men.|
|Metropolis||1927||The master of the city, Fredersen, keeps close surveillance on the city's workers.|
|Minority Report||2002||The science fiction film depicts a futuristic society under total surveillance.|
|Modern Times||1936||A factory worker is demented by the sped-up assembly line and the constant video surveillance.|
|My Little Eye||2002||In the horror film, five twentysomethings live together to win a prize but are subsequently targeted by a serial killer.|
|The Net||1995||A computer programmer in unknowing possession of secret software is tracked by assailants.|
|The Net 2.0||2006||A computer technician who takes a job in Istanbul finds herself in pursuit by criminals who try to erase her identity from the Internet.|
|Nineteen Eighty-Four||1984||The film is set in a totalitarian state where citizens are under complete surveillance.|
|One Hour Photo||2002||An employee at a photo processing department processes a family's photos and imagines himself to be their uncle.|
|The Osterman Weekend||1983||A television host allows the Central Intelligence Agency to wire his home for video surveillance since his visiting friends are suspected to be spies.|
|Overheard||2009||The Hong Kong Police Force's Commercial Crime Bureau uses surveillance to monitor for suspected price fixing.|
|Panic Room||2002||A woman and her daughter use closed-circuit television to follow the movements of criminals invading their home.|
|Paranoia||2013||A technology expert infiltrates a company to spy on it, but the company begins to spy on him.|
|The Parallax View||1974||A journalist investigates the assassination of a United States Senator and infiltrates the responsible corporation.|
|Peeping Tom||1960||A photographer hunts down women and records their reactions as he kills them.|
|The Perfect Dictatorship||2014||Recordings made by hidden cameras and microphones are used to both expose and perpetuate political corruption in Mexico.|
|Pi||1998||A mathematician finds out that a new 216 digit number is the key to the stock market and religion and is targeted by several organizations.|
|The President's Analyst||1967||In the satire film, an analyst for the President of the United States becomes expendable and teams up with two allies. Meanwhile, a telephone company seeks to implant electronic devices in people's brains.|
|Rear Window||1954||The wheelchair-bound main character spies on people in his apartment complex and thinks one of them is a murderer.|
|Red Road||2006||In Scotland, a woman who is paid to watch a dangerous corner of North Glasgow tracks a former criminal and begins stalking him.|
|Le Samouraï||1967||The film's hit man resides in a flat that is bugged by the police who suspects him of being responsible for a contract killing.|
|A Scanner Darkly||2006||An undercover cop is ordered to spy on his associates as a paranoid government monitors its citizens.|
|The Secret Cinema||1968||A woman is manipulated by people around her so a director can film her to screen the results in a theater.|
|Sharky's Machine||1981||A detective spies on a high-end prostitute through her apartment windows, develops an attraction and witnesses her murder.|
|The Simpsons Movie||2007||The Simpsons are on the run from the law, but the National Security Agency is able to eavesdrop on everyday conversation and locate them.|
|Sliver||1993||The main character is spied on by one of her fellow apartment tenants.|
|Snake Eyes||1998||A homicide detective investigates an assassination attempt at a boxing match.|
|Sneakers||1992||A team of computer hackers is contracted by the government to steal a code-breaking machine.|
|Snowden||2016||A biographical film on Edward Snowden.|
|Spectre||2015||In the spy film featuring James Bond, the secret agent in pursuit of a villain learns that he is responsible for funding the multinational surveillance program to use for his criminal organization.|
|Surveillance||2008||Two FBI agents hunting a serial killer come across a mass shooting in a small town, and they use video surveillance to uncover the truth of the shooting.|
|Surveillance 24/7||2007||Filmed through surveillance cameras, a teacher takes home a lover and wakes up to find him murdered.|
|Sweet Bunch||1983||A group of four misfits live together in a house and, disillusioned with life, experiment in crime. They are put under surveillance by the authorities, who wait for a misstep.|
|Takedown||2000||The story is based on the search for computer hacker Kevin Mitnick.|
|Thelma & Louise||1991||Surveillance cameras record Thelma and Louise as they commit crimes.|
|The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse||1960||German police investigate unsolved murders at a hotel, which is rigged with a sophisticated TV system.|
|Thegidi||2014||The Tamil film features a rookie detective sent to collect daily activities of a set of people, soon realizes that people are being killed using details of the surveillance report he submitted. He tries to save the next targets and eventually tries to trace the killer.|
|THX 1138||1971||The film is set in a dystopian society where citizens are drugged and under surveillance.|
|Timecode||2000||The experimental film displays a split screen of four cameras following different people in a film production office.|
|The Truman Show||1998||The main character is unaware that his small-town life is constructed and is recorded 24 hours a day and aired to TV viewers.|
|V for Vendetta||2006||The film is set in a future England ruled by a totalitarian regime that uses surveillance to monitor the citizens.|
|Vacancy||2007||A couple staying at a motel begin watching low-budget horror movies available on tape and realize the movies were filmed in their own motel room.|
|We Live in Public||2009||A film about the internet pioneer Josh Harris and his experiment: placed more than 100 artists in a human terrarium under New York City, with myriad webcams following and capturing every move the artists made.|
|World Without a Mask||1934||An engineer invents technology that can see through walls. The technology is pursued by criminals from the underworld.|
|La Zona||2007||A group of disadvantaged teenagers break into a gated community that is heavily under surveillance.|
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- Ebiri, Bilge (June 13, 2013). "NSA, CIA, FBI, Everyone — A Timeline of Surveillance in the Movies". Vulture.com. New York Media LLC. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
- Gray, John Seaborn (January 24, 2011). "Top Five: The Lives of Others and More Great Surveillance-Themed Movies". Houston Press. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- Orr, Christopher (April 4, 2014). "A Somber, Super Captain America: The Winter Soldier". The Atlantic. Retrieved April 4, 2014.
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- Taylor, Ella (August 28, 2013). "'Closed Circuit' Targets Big Brother, But Swings Pretty Wide". NPR. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
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- Staff (October 8, 2016). "Film Series: Art of Surveillance: Eye in the Sky". The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
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- Stewart, Garrett (2015). Closed circuits: Screening narrative surveillance. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-20149-8.
- Turner, John S. (October 1998). "Collapsing the Interior/Exterior Distinction: Surveillance, Spectacle, and Suspense in Popular Cinema". Wide Angle. 20 (4): 93–123. doi:10.1353/wan.1998.0042.
- Zimmer, Catherine (2015). Surveillance cinema. New York University Press. ISBN 978-1-479-83667-3.