''Things To Come'' is a 1936 film based upon the novel ''Literature/TheShapeOfThingsToCome'' by Creator/HGWells. Adapted for the screen by Wells himself, the film follows a concept and plot similar to the book, and is seen mostly through the eyes of cynical but visionary John Cabal (Raymond Massey) or one of his descendants ([[IdenticalGrandson also Raymond Massey]]) and centered on a fictional English city called "Everytown".

The film is divided into three distinct segments of history (similar to the novel's division into discrete sections). The first, set in [[NextSundayAD 1940]] Everytown, juxtaposes the looming threat of war with a peaceful Christmas celebration, contrasting a bleak outlook with optimism for the future. And then the military is mobilized in response to an enemy incursion, and Everytown is devastated by bombers; the Second Great War has begun.

The war [[TimePassesMontage drags on for decades]], plunging human society into a MadMax-style AfterTheEnd state and unleashing a deadly, contagious and incurable [[ThePlague plague]]. When next we catch up with the residents of Everytown, in the then far-flung year 1970, it has become a shanty, all but overrun by plague-ridden citizens and ruled by a CorruptHick who has taken [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim an extremist method for dealing with said plague-ridden citizens]] -- in stark contrast to a young doctor who, despite the now primitive conditions, is striving for a cure. Into this arrives a stranger: John Cabal himself, who reveals that human society has not been completely wiped out and is in the process of rebuilding itself. The Corrupt Hick, however, is interested only in holding onto his own niche of power, and so Cabal must call down his military allies on the town.

Another [[{{Montages}} montage]] carries us farther into the future, showing mankind [[HardWorkMontage rebuilding his society]] into a [[CrystalSpiresAndTogas shiny plastic]] underground city. Now, in 2036, John Cabal's equally visionary great-grandson Oswald is spearheading mankind's [[FailedFutureForecast first expedition to the Moon]]. However, a radical dissident opposes the expedition on the basis that human technology and knowledge are advancing too fast [[GoodOldWays (or something to that effect)]]. The dissident's plot to stop the launch fails, and Cabal [[PatrickStewartSpeech waxes on about mankind's eternal quest for knowledge]]. The End.

Wells had intended the film to be a [[SpiritualAntithesis response]] to Creator/FritzLang's ''Film/{{Metropolis}}'', and he hoped to do everything he felt Lang had gotten wrong in envisioning the future. To that extent, the whole thing can basically be looked at as an extended author filibuster, with characters who are little more than two dimensional ciphers who don't do anything but talk earnestly about how self destructive and brutal the world is and how great the world would be if only it were governed rationally along socialist/modernist lines. Because, y'know, progress! Unfortunately for Wells, the movie bombed, and a lot of the ideas that informed his vision turned out to have severe defects that make the movie look really dated, and not just for aesthetic and historical reasons. But on the other hand, there's tons of SceneryPorn and the cinematography is pretty well done. It's also impossible to overstate how influential the movie was. Its ideas and general feel influenced Science Fiction writers well into the '70s. For example, Creator/GeneRoddenberry's [[Franchise/StarTrek Federation]] and Creator/IsaacAsimov's Literature/{{Foundation}} are more or less expanded versions of Wells' future.

!!This film provides examples of:
* AdaptationDistillation
* AfterTheEnd: Eventually morphs into a TropeCodifier for CrystalSpiresAndTogas.
* CoolPlane: The giant flying wings of Cabal's air force, Wings Over the World.
* CrystalSpiresAndTogas: Everytown in the future.
* CorruptHick: The "Chief" of Everytown in the second segment.
* DeadlyGas: Played straight during the war, but the 'gas of peace' only knocks people out, except for The Chief who conveniently dies of a heart attack.
* DeathByIrony: Harding, after he crashes his plane during a bombing raid, [[WouldNotHurtAChild gives his mask to a little girl fleeing from his own gas bombs]].
-->'''Harding''': I dropped the gas on her. Maybe I've killed her father and mother. Maybe I've killed her whole family... *[[IncurableCoughOfDeath cough]]* ...and then I go and give up my mask to save her. [[GallowsHumour That's funny! That's a joke!]]
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: A [[AdamAndEvePlot young man and woman are sent to start life on a new world]]; the seed of mankind shot into space from a [[NotCompensatingForAnything huge gun]]. Ummm...
* FilmOfTheBook
* ForeverWar: The war starts in 1940 and continues until 1970 when no-one can remember why it started in the first place. It's ruinous enough that society collapses almost entirely.
* GoodOldWays: The dissident, Theotocopulos, in the third segment, who opposes any and all advancement of human society, apparently purely on the basis that it '''is''' advancement.
* TheGreatPoliticsMessUp: As with the novel, double-subverted: the film predicts the onset of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, which proceeds to go on for a couple decades.
* IdenticalGrandson: Raymond Massey plays multiple generations of the Cabal family tree. Other roles in the film are treated similarly.
* InfantImmortality: Averted. At the start of the film a child is marching the streets, playing Boy Soldier with his toy drum and pith helmet; after the city is bombed we see the boy among the rubble. Making it worse, he was the son of one of the main characters.
** Played straight when a crippled Harding gives his gas mask to a girl whom he'd just dropped gas bombs on.
* LeaveBehindAPistol: Cabal leaves his service revolver to a stricken friend who is mortally wounded and stuck in a field of poison gas.
* LostTechnology: Almost everything during the war. There are no spare parts to repair machines and oil is extremely rare.
* MoodDissonance: The opening scene showcases people preparing for a joyous holiday while placards and billboards proclaim the threat of war. Even the carols on the soundtrack have a decidedly dark cadence.
* NextSundayAD: The first segment, set in 1940. The rest of the movie takes place ExtyYearsFromNow.
* OneSidedBattle: Justified as The Chief's decrepit biplanes are no match for Wings Over the World.
* PatrickStewartSpeech: Cabal gives one to the audience at the end of the movie.
* PuttingOnTheReich: The Chief makes a stab at this with what he has available to him.
* ThePhilosopherKing: The finale shows a world governed entirely on principles of scientific progress.
* ThePlague: The so-called "wandering sickness", implied to be some form of biological warfare.
* RaygunGothic
* RidiculousFutureInflation: An appallingly set single-sheet newspaper is shown costing £4 in 1966 (an average weeks wage in the 30's).
* ScavengerWorld: The setting during the war; probably the earliest example in cinema.
* TimePassesMontage: Used to link the film's three segments. The first instance is combined with a war-themed ApocalypticMontage; the second blends with a HardWorkMontage.
* WhyDontYouJustShootHim: Invoked almost word-for-word by The Chief concerning the plague-ridden populace. The fact that he alone thought of this is apparently what begins his rise to power.
* ZombieGait: While they're not technically dead, the shambling, cadaverous victims of the walking sickness definitely look like zombies. One could say Wells unintentionally invented the modern zombie.