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The Best Movies That Are Set in Factories

When used as movie sets, factories provide an instant sense of solidity, futurism, and thrill that manufactured movie sets can only hope to achieve. With massive photogenic machinery, clinking and clanking noises, bright lights, and strange emissions, a factory’s biggest output during a shoot is mood.

Here are the best movies that are set in factories.

The Terminator
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen (Actors)

The Terminator (1984)

We all know the story by now: John Connor saved humankind in the far future after machines achieved sentience and took over the Earth. Then, Skynet sent back a T-800 robot to assassinate John’s mother, Sarah Connor, and prevent him from ever being born.

Plenty of chase scenes and high-powered gun battles ensue before the T-800 is lured to a factory filled with smoke steam and glowing furnaces before (37-year-old spoiler ahead) being squashed by a hydraulic press. 

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Alien 3 Special Edition
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance (Actors)

Alien 3 (1992)

Alien 3 is among the best movies that are set in factories. Protagonist Ellen Ripley, who survived the horrors of the previous two movies, wakes from cryo-sleep to discover she’s landed on a planet-sized, factory-like prison called Fiorina “Fury” 161.

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Inhabited by hardened criminals and prison guards, Fiorina is the perfect breeding ground for the alien xenomorphs. Fortunately, Ellen is an experienced alien-fighter by now, and she helps the inmates and guards make a valiant last stand.

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Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Peter Ostrum (Actors)

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Willy Wonka’s candy production company stretches the definition of a factory. With chocolate mixed by the river, giant chocolate bars reduced by TV cameras, and geese laying chocolate eggs, the place is hugely different from the average mill, appointed with conveyor belts, industrial silo tanks, and similar equipment.

However, the average real-world factory would face far fewer OSHA violations than Wonka’s.

To continue learning, check out the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Movie Study.

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Dancer in the Dark
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Björk, Catherine Deneuve, David Morse (Actors)

Dancer in the Dark (2000)

Icelandic singer, songwriter, and all-around eccentric artist Björk Guðmundsdóttir (better known as simply Björk) plays a Czech immigrant named Selma who works at a Washington State factory.

Truly a downer film to end all downer films, Dancer in the Dark charts Selma’s slow descent into blindness as she loses her job. She knows her son will suffer from the same condition and is eventually accused of a murder she didn’t commit.

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The film is also a musical(!) featuring Björk’s tunes, often inspired and given percussive effects by the hisses, clinks, clanks, and clatter generated by the factory’s machinery and goings-on.

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Speaking of factories, check out these movies about the labor movement:

  • Labor Day Movies are not just movies about workers, but movies that are featuring the struggles, victories, and enterprising endeavors of workers.  – 5 Best Labor Day Movies
  • Kid-Appropriate Movies about Labor may be hard to find since labor movies illustrate the struggles, triumphs, and entrepreneurial endeavors of workers and some content that is not good for kids to look at.  – Kid-Appropriate Movies About Labor
  • These are all great movies that happen in a work environment, or where “the job” is a central part of the film. If you’re looking for a way to spend the Labor Day holiday weekend, you can’t go wrong here. – 16 Labor Day Weekend Movies on Netflix

Other location-based lists:

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