United Nations in popular culture

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Popular culture references to the United Nations have been made in several media, including film, books, video games, and others. In many instances, the United Nations (or a fictional agency thereof) will figure in a storyline. In the case of science fiction, for example, the humans are united under one government that is descended directly from the UN.

In film[edit]

In television[edit]

  • In the television 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 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 tour guide at the United Nations.
  • Similarly, in the 1983 science fiction miniseries V, the UN Secretary General (in this case depicted as Swedish) makes first contact with the aliens known as the Visitors inside their transport, which lands on the UN headquarters' rooftop.
  • The World Council takes the place of the UN in the Centurions animated series.
  • 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 U.N. to the tune of Down By the Riverside, referencing the building's location on the shore of the East River.
  • The United Nations exist in the Defiance universe. On May 27, 2015 the United Nations granted land in Brazil to build a Votan colony and on March 8, 2023 the Votan diplomat was killed outside the UN building in New York and led to war. 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 couldn't hear or see. Kofi Annan and the other member states ridicule him. During lunch, he is approached by another ambassador, who informs him that his country faced similar ridicule by the same leaders until it invaded Kuwait.
  • 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.
  • The television series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman features the Congress of Nations which is very similar to the real-life United Nations.

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 meant it had to be renamed.[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 2: Sons of Liberty the protagonist is part of an NGO officially recognized by the UN.
  • 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 Zero, the Assembly of Nations is an organization very similar to the real world UN.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 Ace Combat Joint Assault, the UN is depicted as the International Union, although the plot is set in the real world.
  • In the Gernsback timeline of GURPS Infinite Worlds, Nikola Tesla married the daughter of millionaire and philanthropist J. P. Morgan, and with his father-in-law's help made many of his inventions reality. This eventually helped Germany to stabilize and avoid falling under the control of Adolf Hitler and Nazism, and strengthening the League of Nations, avoiding World War II. When, in 1951, Andrei Sakharov managed to defect to the West and tell of Stalin's plans to create atomic weapons, the League of Nations declared war on the Soviet Union, which fell on April 30, 1953, with the death of Joseph Stalin. In "current year" 1965, the World Science Council and the League of Nations are putting down all threats to the techno-utopia that has resulted from the inventions derived from Tesla's work. However, this is a world where race and sex discrimination still run rampant.

In anime and comics[edit]

  • S.H.I.E.L.D., 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.
  • 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.
  • During the Bronze Age, Wonder Woman worked for a short time as a secretary at the UN.
  • Checkmate began filling a similar role to S.H.I.E.L.D. in the DC Universe line of comic books in 2006.
  • U.N.C.L.E., the fictional organisation featured in the television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was based in New York with an international staff, and has often been presumed to be at least UN-related, in spite of objections made by the series' production company on legal grounds.[citation needed]
  • 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 extremely powerful and has a very strong standing army (unlike in the real world, where UN Peacekeepers are small numbers of troops donated by countries). They also directly control NERV, an organisation whose purpose is to defend humankind from the children of Adam.
  • In the Wildstorm universe the UN, through its top-secret Special Security Council, has taken an active role in monitoring and dealing with posthumans and, to this end, formed both the superpowered Stormwatch - overseen from a satellite by their director, "The Weatherman" - and the non-superpowered Stormwatch: Team Achilles. The team's leader Jackson King is often portrayed in the UN buildings in New York and when he walks out and forms The Monarchy the UN assign special agent Morro to monitor his activities.
  • 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. UN peacekeepers involved in the anime are known as UNF (United Nations Forces) peacekeepers.
  • UN peacekeepers had participated in the Central/South American wars and in the Second Korean War in Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG. However, they have white ballistic helmets instead of blue helmets.
  • 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 several issues of Superman, he is mentioned as having coordinated his activities with the United Nations and got the permission of UN member-states to fly through their airspace.[citation needed]
  • The UN is also a recurring character in the Polandball universe, often portrayed as a teacher, a judge or as a mediator, while being often ignored by the other countries.
  • In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comics, the "Codename: Chameleon" story the "Chameleon" double agent character steals top secret UN weapon plans.[2]

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 of South Africa 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 was not yet adopted at the time of writing.
  • Srivijaya by Raymond G. Trombley is a novel about a terrorist group which attempts to coerce the UN Security Council into a resolution.
  • United Nations International Critical Response and Tactical Team (UNICRATT) 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, and exercises control through the United Nations Naval Service.
  • In Meg Cabot's book series 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, with its military arm being the United Nations Exploratory Force.
  • Also 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 government of Earth.
  • 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 that could 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 Shah Guido G., the United Nations becomes a tyrannical and oppressive world government, with a dynasty of hereditary Secretaries-General, the title shortened to "Sekjen", acting as global absolute monarchs and ruling the Earth from a levitating island called Atlantis. The one under whose rule this tyranny is ended is Sekjen Guido Garshthavastra.
  • 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 and sets to work to transform itself into an effective world government, so as to prevent a recurrence of war. This is violently opposed by nationalists in various countries, and all over the world politics polarize into "pro-UN" vs. "anti-UN" parties. 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 very clear and unequivocal "good guy" of the series, reflecting Anderson's Liberal views at the time.
  • 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, quite literally, the Antichrist.
  • The plot of Philip K. Dick's Martian Time-Slip (1964), taking place in a human colony on Mars, is set in motion by 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. The complex would be called "AM-WEB", a contraction of the German phrase "Alle Menschen werden Brüder" (All men become brothers) from Schiller's An die Freude (Ode to Joy).
  • In the dystopian future of Philip K. Dick's The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965) global temperatures have risen so high that in most of the world it is unsafe to be outside without special cooling gear. The UN has initiated a "draft" for colonizing the nearby planets in a desperate bid to preserve humanity and ease population burdens on Earth. Under UN authority humankind has colonized every habitable planet and moon in the solar system and people are forced to serve in colonies on other planets such as Mars where conditions are so horrific and primitive that many colonists have fallen prey to a form of escapism involving the use of an illegal drug.
  • In one of the alternate timelines depicted in Frederik Pohl's The Coming of the Quantum Cats, there had been no Second World War and therefore the League of Nations survived as a major international organization through the end of the 20th Century, precluding the formation of the UN. In this timeline, there was also a Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union – which eventually got hot and resulted in a nuclear exchange which came close to destroying the world; thereupon, the League of Nations took over and completely disarmed both superpowers to prevent any future escalations.
  • 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 unite with each other, declare the independent new nation of Selene, and capture their respective countries' orbital stations and anti-ballistic satellites - giving them the power to interdict any launching of missiles and thus prevent the impending war. The Secretary General teams up with the Selenite rebels in order to make the UN an effective world government and gets many smaller nations to join, seduced also by the promise of effective weather control from orbit. Angry New York mobs set the UN Headquarters on fire; nevertheless, the President of the US realizes that the UN-Selenite alliance has the upper hand and agrees to cooperate in creation of the new World Government.
  • 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 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.

Similar fictional organizations[edit]

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