United Nations in popular culture

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The UN building from the trailer for the 1959 film North by Northwest

Popular culture references to the United Nations organization and its buildings have been made in film, books, video games, and other media. In many instances, the United Nations, or a fictional agency thereof, figures in a storyline.

In film[edit]

In television[edit]

  • In a 1962 episode of The Twilight Zone, "To Serve Man", United Nations delegates host and interview an alien race seemingly interested only in helping humanity.
  • In the series seaQuest DSV, following the growing colonization of the world's oceans, the world is brought into conflict over underwater territories which eventually leads to the collapse of the United Nations. The United Earth Oceans is formed to take its place.
  • In the made-for-television films Death Train and Night Watch, Pierce Brosnan plays an agent of the fictional United Nations Anti-Crime Organisation (UNACO).
  • In Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, network president Jordan McDeere purchases the rights to a television show entitled Nations, to be set behind the scene in the United Nations.
  • In the 1969 movie of the week Gidget Grows Up, "Gidget" Lawrence moves to New York and becomes a UN tour guide.
  • In the 1983 science fiction miniseries V, the UN Secretary General makes first contact with the aliens known as the Visitors when their transport lands on the UN headquarters' rooftop.
  • In the science fiction series Space: Above and Beyond, the colonization of deep space and the war against an alien race called the Chigs are done under a United Nations banner.
  • The UN plays a prominent role in the eighth season of television series 24, when terrorists carry out a political assassination plot targeting a Middle Eastern leader who is signing a peace treaty at the UN Headquarters with the President of the United States.
  • The United Nations serves as the setting for most of the second half of "The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay", the pilot episode of the animated series The Venture Bros.
  • The Australian series Answered by Fire is about 1999 East Timor conflicts and the United Nations Mission in East Timor.
  • The British series Warriors is about the British forces part of the United Nations Protection Force during the Yugoslav Wars.
  • On the animated show Animaniacs, the Warners sing a song about the UN to the tune of Down By the Riverside, referencing the building's location on the shore of the East River.
  • The United Nations exists in the Defiance universe. In 2015 the United Nations grants land in Brazil to build a Votan colony, and in 2023 the Votan diplomat is killed outside the UN building in New York. This leads to war, and the Earth Republic government established after the war is led by remnants of the United Nations.
  • In an episode of Family Guy called "E. Peterbus Unum", Peter Griffin creates his own small nation within the United States. After becoming a member of the United Nations, he asks for a seat at the front because he can't hear or see. Kofi Annan and the other member states ridicule him.
  • In the science fiction series The Expanse, the United Nations is the governing body of a united Earth, competing with the Mars-based MCR over asteroid belt resources.
  • In the political drama series House of Cards, Claire Underwood then First-Lady, becomes UN Ambassador in a recess appointment. The UN plays a large role in the third season of the show as the Underwood couple goes head-to-head with the Russian President in a peacekeeping resolution.
  • In the cyperpunk science fiction series Altered Carbon, the United Nations is the unified government of all of humanity, which has since established a hundred-light-year interstellar empire.
  • In The Blacklist season six episode, "The Corsican" (2019), Raymond "Red" Reddington arranges for a bombmaker to defuse a building-destroying bomb in the United Nations Security Council Chamber. Since the UN building has been cleared as the defusing is taking place, Remington takes the opportunity to walk into the empty General Assembly hall and give a speech from the podium to his associate, Dembe Zuma, about the actor Cary Grant and the potential medical and life-enhancing benefits of LSD.

In novels[edit]

  • Dr. Arthur M. Keppel-Jones' 1947 novel When Smuts Goes, a dystopian future history of South Africa foresaw a future when apartheid would be dismantled by a military invasion and conquest by United Nations troops. The UN troops in the book are depicted as flying a fictional "Four Freedoms Flag", as the actual United Nations flag had not been adopted at the time of writing.
  • Srivijaya by Raymond G. Trombley is a novel about a terrorist group that attempts to coerce the UN Security Council into a resolution.
  • United Nations International Critical Response and Tactical Team (UNICRATT) appears in the novel Sahara by Clive Cussler.
  • In the Seafort Saga by David Feintuch the United Nations is the government of Earth and its colonies, which exercises control through the United Nations Naval Service.
  • In All-American Girl, Samantha Madison is the teen ambassador to the United Nations.
  • The United Nations appears as the governing body of Earth in The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, while its military arm is the United Nations Exploratory Force.
  • In Larry Niven's Known Space universe, the UN is the government of Earth and is involved in a long-standing cold war with the independent Asteroid Belt, which nearly turns into hot war in A World of Ptavvs. The Amalgamated Regional Militia began as a UN agency, and by the time of the books has become the de facto Earth government.
  • One of the novels in the Choose Your Own Adventure book series is called UN Adventure, where the reader is a Model United Nations delegate who can be tasked to handle diplomatic assignments. One of them is verifying the existence of nuclear weapons inside the fictional former Soviet republic of Arkistan.
  • In Arthur C. Clarke's 1953 novel Childhood's End a major character is Rikki Stormgren, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, a native of Finland who is chosen by the mysterious alien "Overlords", who took over the Earth, as their only liaison with the human race.
  • A recurring phrase in the CHERUB series of books is "Why don't you write a letter to the United Nations?", upon someone claiming unfair treatment or a breach of the rules of a training exercise.
  • In Isaac Asimov's 1951 short story, "Shah Guido G.", the United Nations becomes a tyrannical and oppressive world government, with a dynasty of hereditary Secretaries-Generals ruling the Earth from a levitating island called Atlantis.
  • Poul Anderson's The Psychotechnic League starts in the aftermath of a devastating nuclear war in 1958 (a future date at the time of writing). The United Nations is re-founded at a conference in Rio de Janeiro.The UN creates a special corps of "Un-Men", the name having the double connotation of their being "UN Men" and of having superhuman powers. The UN is the unequivocal good guy of the series, reflecting Anderson's liberal views.[citation needed]
  • In the Left Behind series of novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, based on the Christian eschatological viewpoint of the end of the world, a major villain is the Romanian UN Secretary General Nicolae Carpathia, who turns out to be the Antichrist.
  • The plot of Philip K. Dick's Martian Time-Slip (1964), set in a human colony on Mars, begins with a character trying to stake a claim to the seemingly worthless Franklin D. Roosevelt mountain range after receiving an insider tip that the United Nations plans to build a huge apartment complex there.
  • In the dystopian future of Philip K. Dick's The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965) temperatures are so high that in most of the world it is unsafe to be outside without cooling gear. The UN is the government of Earth and has initiated a "draft" for colonizing the nearby planets.
  • Emmanuel De Paolo, UN Secretary General, is a major character in Ben Bova's Millennium. In 1999 (a future date at the time of writing) the Secretary General watches helplessly as Americans and Soviets escalate towards a seemingly inevitable nuclear war when suddenly, the American and Soviet Moon colonists join forces and capture their respective countries' anti-ballistic missile satellites - giving them the power to interdict missiles and thus prevent the war. The Secretary General teams up with the rebels and gets many smaller nations to join, encouraged by the promise of effective weather control from orbit. Angry New York mobs set the UN Headquarters on fire.
  • In Robert Van Kampen's novel The Fourth Reich, Adolf Hitler's spirit is released from Hell and enters an embryo created from his cloned DNA. He's then born in Russia and grows up to become that country's dictator, eventually revealing his true identity to the world before the UN Assembly General and takes up the role of the Antichrist predicted in Christian eschatology.
  • In James S. A. Corey's The Expanse series of science fiction novels, the United Nations is the governing body of a united Earth, competing with the Mars-based MCR over asteroid belt resources.

In music[edit]

  • In "Summertime Blues", Eddie Cochran sings "I'm gonna take my problem to the United Nations", appealing the decisions of a school-age boy's boss and parents that interfere with his summer social life.
  • In Megadeth's 2007 album United Abominations, The United Nations is described as "a blot on the face of humanity".[citation needed] On the cover of their album Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? the band's mascot Vic Rattlehead is seen standing in front of the UN building after a devastating nuclear war, with a sign "For sale".
  • In "Operation", from Jamie T's 2007 album Panic Prevention, he repeatedly sings "Take your problem to United Nations. Tell old Kofi about the situation", referring to Kofi Annan, who was Secretary-General of the United Nations at the time Jamie T wrote the song, but not by the time the album was released.
  • In "The Words That Maketh Murder", from PJ Harvey's 2011 album Let England Shake, Harvey sings "What if I take my problem to the United Nations?", referring both to Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" and the United Nations' stated mission to promote peace.

In video games[edit]

  • The World Assembly in the online game Jennifer Government: NationStates was originally called the United Nations, until a cease-and-desist letter from the real life UN forced the creator to rename it.[citation needed]
  • In Overwatch, the UN forms the eponymous international team of heroes to combat a robot uprising.
  • The Ghosts, a fictional black ops special forces unit in Ghost Squad are established under an organization funded by the UN.
  • In the Halo series, the United Nations Space Command is the military branch of the unified government of all humankind.
  • The Global Defense Initiative in the Command & Conquer series is a branch of the United Nations.
  • The Chimera, one of the three playable factions in the real-time strategy game Act of Aggression, is a covert multinational task force formed by the UN.
  • A large part of Deus Ex revolves around the United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition, phonetically pronounced UNATCO for short.
  • The United Nations is a World Wonder in Sid Meier's Civilization series. In later games the organization activates diplomatic victory.
  • In Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, the Unity exploration mission was started by the UN, and they are one of the factions that emerges shortly before Planetfall in the form of the Peacekeepers.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, the protagonist's involvement in the story is at the request of the United Nations.
  • In Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere, a futuristic version of the UN exists, called the Neo United Nations (NUN), with Gabriel Clarkson as Secretary General.
  • In Ace Combat Infinity, United Nations Forces is the formal armed forces formed by the United Nations, to maintain global stability in the aftermath of an impact event called the Ulysses Disaster
  • In Surveillance Kanshisha, the UN establishes a counter-terrorist unit called Shadow Sword in order to safeguard the Earth-Mars space travel route and the people using it from a mysterious terrorist group called Neo-Kleit.
  • In SimCity 3000, the UN building can be built as a landmark.
  • In the grand strategy science fiction game Stellaris, one of the fates of the human race is to become the United Nations of Earth, which is most likely the successor to the UN of modern times.
  • In Deus Ex the protagonist works for UNATCO, the United Nations Anti Terrorist Coalition.
  • The Civilization Committee in Grand Theft Auto IV is a parody of the UN and has an headquarters identical to the UN's.
  • Tom Clancy's The Division about the aftermath of a pandemic in New York City features the United Nations Headquarters.
  • The UN was disbanded on July 27, 2052 in the Fallout series. This led to rising international tensions over the coming decades and eventually to a global nuclear war in 2077, destroying civilization across the globe.

In anime[edit]

  • United Nations Cosmo Force, a space military branch administrated by the UN in the anime Space Battleship Yamato 2199, in which the Yamato sails as a UNCF. However this affiliation is only in the remake, and there is no mention of the UN in the original run of Space Battleship Yamato.
  • U.N. Spacy, a fictional military arm of the Earth U.N. Government (地球統合政府 Chikyuu Tougou Seifu) from the Japanese anime series Macross.
  • The Gutsy Galaxy Guard (A.K.A. "GGG"; pronounced "Three-G"), a branch of the United Nations Earth Defense Force in The King of Braves GaoGaiGar. The Secretary General of the UN in this show's universe is identified by name and visage as the character Rose Approval
  • The United Nations Special Agency NERV has a significant role in Neon Genesis Evangelion. The United Nations in the series is powerful and has a standing army (unlike in the real world, where UN Peacekeepers are small numbers of troops donated by countries). They directly control NERV, an organisation whose purpose is to defend humankind from the children of Adam.
  • FLAG, a documentary-style anime series from 2006, is about a fictional war in central Asia and the UN flag that is raised above the battlefield which may be the key to peace. United Nation peacekeepers involved in the anime are known as UNF (United Nations Forces) peacekeepers.
  • UN peacekeepers participated in the Central/South American wars and in the Second Korean War in Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, the United Nations leads a large-scale UN Peacekeeping Army formed by the World Economic Union, the Human Reform Alliance, and the Advanced European Union, to defeat the paramilitary organization Celestial Being. In the series' second season, the UN is reformed as the Earth Sphere Federation, designed to unite all countries as one real entity. The UN General Assembly hall was shown in the last episode of the first season.
  • In Muv-Luve Alternative: Total Eclipse, the fight against the human-eating BETA is conducted under the banner of the UN, which possesses its own military and military installations.

In comics[edit]

  • S.H.I.E.L.D. is a planetary defense/intelligence service often depicted as UN-affiliated in the Marvel Universe line of comic books.
  • T.H.U.N.D.E.R., the eponymous organization from Tower Comics' T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, stood for The Higher United Nations Defense Enforcement Reserves.
  • During the Bronze Age, Wonder Woman worked for a short time as a secretary at the UN.
  • In the Wildstorm universe the UN, through its top-secret Special Security Council, takes an active role in monitoring and dealing with posthumans and formed both the superpowered Stormwatch - overseen from a satellite by their director "The Weatherman" - and the non-superpowered Team Achilles as a response. Stormwatch's leader Jackson King is often portrayed in the UN buildings in New York. When King walks out and forms The Monarchy, the UN assign special agent Morro to monitor his activities.
  • In several issues of Superman, he is mentioned as having coordinated his activities with the United Nations.[citation needed]
  • The UN is a recurring character in the Polandball universe, often portrayed as a teacher, a judge or as a mediator, often ignored by the other countries.
  • In issue 9 of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comic, the "Chameleon" double agent character steals top secret UN weapon plans.[citation needed]

Similar fictional organizations[edit]

Similar-themed world or galactic bodies that are modeled on the UN in some way include:


  1. ^ Coleman, Herbert (2007). The Man Who Knew Hitchcock: A Hollywood Memoir. Scarecrow Press. pp. 282-284.