Maybe when the NSA data-mining scandal broke last week, you weren’t too surprised. Not just because you had already assumed that the government was keeping track of all of our electronic communications, warrant or no warrant. But also because the movies have conditioned us to be all too familiar with the idea of living in a state of constant surveillance.
In fact, depictions of the Surveillance State have been common in movies since long before the Internet and satellite phone technology existed to make it a reality. It was there in the paranoid spy thrillers of the 1970s, which right away assumed collusion between government and corporations that the Edward Snowden leaks have confirmed. Even before that came low-tech thrillers like Rear Window and Peeping Tom that indicted us all as both voyeurs and targets. Indeed, in the movies, it’s never been necessary to create an Orwellian dystopia in order to assume a state of constant surveillance. Big Brother exists, not because some sinister entity is out there watching us all, but because we’re all watching each other.
Here are 10 movies that prove it, starting with the granddaddy of all Surveillance State movies…
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