This article contains spoilers for House of the Dragon season 2 episode 2. The Game of Thrones franchise features no shortage of compelling twin characters. George R.R. Martin’s source material A Song of Ice and Fire, HBO’s epic series Game of Thrones, and its spinoff House of the Dragon are all full of siblings who […]

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The 1970s was not just a prime decade for science fiction movies but an era in which those movies carried even more urgent messages about the many problems facing humanity on Earth. Sure, the sci-fi outings of the 1950s and early ‘60s carried warnings about nuclear destruction and radiation too, while the latter half of the ‘60s began delving into sociological examinations of race, youth culture, and radical politics. But the ‘70s introduced a whole new set of crises into the genre, in tandem with the growing awareness of such issues in the real world.

Climate change, unchecked population growth, lack of food, heavy pollution—all of those were prevalent in the science fiction cinema of the ‘70s, along with monsters, nuclear holocausts and other holdovers. But the messages seemed to hit harder, at least in the moment, because they were ripped in many cases right from the headlines. Decades later, the same problems are still nipping at our heels with some of them, like climate change, beginning to take real, measurable tolls on human civilization. Yet even though we were warned, in many instances we’re still not listening enough to take action. In some instances, we’re even on the brink of going catastrophically backwards.

Here are nine sci-fi movies of the 1970s that tried to warn us about the direction we were heading in, with those warnings going unheeded even as we enjoyed these movies at the local drive-in, in a second-run theater, or in later years, on home video. We may have ignored these films’ messages at our peril, and we may yet pay a price far steeper than that of a movie ticket.

No Blade of Grass (1970)

Based on a 1956 novel by John Christopher called The Death of Grass, this film from director-writer-producer Cornel Wilde stars Nigel Davenport as a man trying to lead his family out of London and to a place of safety in a remote part of northern England. This migration occurs after heavy pollution gives rise to a new disease that strikes at grass, wheat, rice, and other plants. The resultant loss of crops worldwide causes mass starvation and anarchy as continent after continent falls to food riots, genocide, and even cannibalism.

It’s a grim if familiar scenario (think Ray Milland’s Panic in Year Zero), with Davenport’s John Custance and his small band of survivors doing whatever they must to survive, including killing, as they battle vigilantes, rapists, and gangs along their increasingly desperate journey. While Wilde’s film is more gratuitous and exploitative, famine—and the threat of societal collapse it brings—has been a growing danger for humanity. According to the World Food Programme, in regions including Central America, Haiti, Central Africa, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Gaza, “conflict and climate shocks are driving millions of people to the brink of starvation.”

The Omega Man (1971)

This second adaptation of Richard Matheson’s classic novel I Am Legend (also filmed in 1964 as The Last Man on Earth and in 2007 under its original title) alters the nature of the virus that wipes out most of humanity, leaving only Charlton Heston alive alongside a smattering of other survivors. In this version, the plague is caused by a biological weapon that is deployed during a war between the Soviet Union and China; the virus spreads unchecked throughout the rest of the world, killing off billions and turning most of the survivors into albino mutants with a distaste for technology (not vampires as in the book).

Heston’s Robert Neville, a scientist, injects himself with an experimental vaccine just as the plague spreads, possibly rendering him the only immune person on the planet. While the mutants behave unnervingly like our current anti-vax crowd, biologi

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