Things to Come (1936) - Rotten Tomatoes

Things to Come (1936)



Critic Consensus: Eerily prescient in its presentation of a dystopian future, Things to Come's special effects may be somewhat dated, but its potent ideas haven't aged at all.

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Movie Info

It's Christmas 1940, and Everytown resident John Cabal (Raymond Massey) fears that war is imminent. When it breaks out, the war lasts 30 years, destroying the city and ushering in a new dark age of plagues and petty despots. But there is hope in the form of Wings Over the World, a group of pacifist scientists and thinkers lead by Cabal. Their dream is to build a utopian society on the ruins of the old. But first they'll have to unseat the latest ruling tyrant (Ralph Richardson).

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Raymond Massey
as John Cabal, Oswald Cabal
Edward Chapman
as Pippa Passworthy/Raymond Passworthy
Margaretta Scott
as Rowena, Roxana
Cedric Hardwicke
as Theotocopulos
Maurice Braddell
as Dr. Harding
Sophie Stewart
as Mrs. Cabal
Derrick De Marney
as Richard Gordon
Allan Jeayes
as Mr. Cabal
Ann Todd
as Mary Gordon
Anthony Holles
as Simon Burton
Pearl Argyle
as Katherine Cabal
Kenneth Villiers
as Maurice Passworthy
Patricia Hilliard
as Janet Gordon
Ivan Brandt
as Morden Mitani
Patrick Barr
as World Transport Official
Charles Carson
as Great Grandfather
John Clements
as The Airman
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Critic Reviews for Things to Come

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (6)

Things to Come is an unusual picture, a fantasy, if you will, with overtones of the Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon comic strips. But it is, as well, a picture with ideas which have been expressed dramatically and with visual fascination.

May 31, 2007 | Full Review…

This is England's first $1 million picture. It's an impressive but dull exposition of a bad dream.

May 31, 2007 | Full Review…

Spookily prescient in many of its ideas, this is fascinating whilst being a little clumsy and dated, even for its time.

May 14, 2007 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

In the realm of 'prophetic science fiction', it is a genre landmark.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

[An] imaginative, only occasionally naive forecast of the age of nuclear warfare in 1936.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

The speculative qualities of this epic sci-fi drama are worth seeing, particularly due to the early year in which it was theatrically adapted.

July 29, 2020 | Rating: 6/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Things to Come

Things To Come is an interesting, historical curiosity. Viewing it is more an intellectual exercise than it is entertainment. The production is this odd mixture of the quaint, intellectual, and melodramatic and it gets to be grating at times (to the extent that one may not finish the film). Contrary to other reviewers, I did not find the film particularly prophetic but rather a projection of the views at the time it was made. I would recommend it only to those with an intellectual bent and an interest in subjects such as sociology, politics, history.

Robert Brogan
Robert Brogan

Super Reviewer

There is quite a discrepancy between the RT Critic Score and the Flixster User Score for this one. I'd read good things about this film in lists of great sci-fi pictures. The title is often printed as H.G. Wells' Things to Come, but this is not just an adaptation of his work. When watching the short lived and mediocre TV series Prophets of Science Fiction, I was pleasantly surprised to see H.G. Wells in home movie footage from the '30s. Wells lived to 1946. H.G. Wells himself wrote this screenplay. His late-19th century sci-fi vision lived into the era of motion pictures and he was able to contribute his vision of the future to this "seeing is believing" medium. Menzies, who was also an accomplished Art Director, leads the whole team in creating some fantastic sets. Unfortunately, the costumes often leave something to be desired. Story-wise Wells is astonishingly prescient in predicting WWII. The aftermath of the war with a zombie-like disease and medieval-like warring fiefdoms seems a little silly despite the extremity of nuclear fallout. Next Raymond Massey as Cabal, a descendant of a character we met earlier, shows up with an Airforce that is trying to promote science and unite all mankind. Then we jump further in the future, where there are some fun visual effects with an advanced society rebuilt on Cabal's principles. I appreciated the plot of scientific advancement vs. reactionary doubts, progress vs. status quo, however, the execution of the ideas in action is a bit too didactic. The words coming out of the mouths of the characters are stiff and not so engaging.

Byron Brubaker
Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer


I do give this movie credit for being one of the only sci-fi movies of the thirties, seriously I couldn't find that many, there were about two or three others I found. Anyway. I think H. G. Wells' story of Things To Come was probably much better than this movie. Most of the film is montage of footage of so-called future wars and the progress of mankind, which got really boring after a while. in between that, there are three stories of how war and violence are destroying the world, and the last story doesn't end any different from the other two. It does have good special effects, but other than that it isn't a great movie.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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