[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/waterworld_1995_10_5737.jpg]]

->''Dry land is not just our destination, it is our destiny!''

Starring Creator/KevinCostner and directed by Kevin Reynolds, jointly released with a tie-in novel and video game. It used a then record-breaking budget of $175 million, but was a massive flop in the U.S., only grossing $88 million at the box office. However, it did quite well at the box office elsewhere, where it managed to make $176 million, saving it from becoming a financial failure, or not; [[http://io9.com/5747305/how-much-money-does-a-movie-need-to-make-to-be-profitable it's complicated]].

Set InAWorld [[AfterTheEnd where the polar ice-caps have melted]] (due to a havoc caused by a geomagnetic reversal) the world is covered by water. What's left of humanity is surviving on ramshackle crafts tied together to make Atolls (villages). The Mariner (Costner) enters one of these Atolls to trade, but is discovered to be a mutant and sentenced to death. After a group of pirates known as the Smokers attack the Atoll, a woman named Helen (Jeanne Tripplehorn) and her adopted daughter Enola (Tina Majorino) bribe the Mariner to take them to Dryland, the legendary last remaining island. Conveniently, Enola's back has been tattooed with a map indicating the way to Dryland. However, with The Smokers hot on their tail, their journey encounters more than a few bumps along the way.
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!!Contains examples of the following tropes:

* AdaptationDistillation: Not for the movie itself, but the Universal Studios show based on it is actually quite good and has been going on for seventeen years.
* AfterTheEnd
* AllHailTheGreatGodMickey: The Deacon every so often mentions "Old Saint Joe" with the same reverence as an actual saint. [[spoiler:Near the end of the movie it's revealed that the Smokers' base is the remains of the Exxon Valdez and "Old Saint Joe" is a portrait of the ship's disgraced captain, Joseph Hazelwood.]]
* AllOfTheOtherReindeer: Don't like Kevin Costner's [[LamarckWasRight gills]].
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The Smokers seem to fit this to a T.
* AntiHero: In typical [[NinetiesAntiHero '90s fashion]].
* ApocalypseHow: Class 2.
* TheApunkalypse: Civilization has collapsed humans are adrift and the [[OceanPunk punkish]], [[DisasterScavengers scavenging]] Smokers play the part of a large jet ski gang.
* ArtisticLicenseBiology:
** Somehow, the Mariner can inhale water with his gills and exhale breathable air indefinitely to allow Helen to breathe underwater. Um... gills do not work that way.
** Even if we accept the Mariner's gills, has it really been long enough for a giant, three-jawed vertebrate mutant like the one he catches to eat to have evolved?
* ArtisticLicenseGeology:
** If you melted all the ice on the planet, you would cause a 60 metre (about 190 feet) rise in sea level, which is not nearly enough to create the ocean planet depicted.
** Not to mention the shores of the island at the end had sandy beaches. It takes a long time to erode rock to sand...
** And if there '''were''' enough ice to cover the world to the extent depicted, the ocean salt water would become diluted enough to be drinkable. (And kill everything that's adapted to live in salt water.)
** And if the underwater city he visits is indeed UsefulNotes/{{Denver}}, there should be any number of islands within spitting distance. Not to mention Everest towering six miles above the sea. Not to mention that they fly TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD in that balloon to get to Everest.
* ArtisticLicensePhysics: Even if the world were totally flooded in water, the moon would not appear as huge as it does in the movie.
* BarbarianLonghair: Pretty much everybody has barbarian hair, with the notable exception of the Deacon's BaldOfEvil.
* BigBad: The Deacon
* BrutalHonesty: The Mariner, who at first glance sounds like a DeadpanSnarker, but each of his comments is proven real and dead-serious.
* BulletHolesAndRevelations: The knife-fight variety, when [[spoiler: the Mariner killed the drifter after cancelling their deal]].
* ButNowIMustGo
* CityOnTheWater: Atolls and the Exxon ''Valdez''.
* ChangedMyMindKid: Played straight.
* CharacterDevelopment: Kevin Costner's character changed from {{Jerkass}} to JerkWithAHeartOfGold halfway through the movie and lost his "jerk" persona by the end of the movie.
* ConflictBall: Helen, listen, first of all, when you've just blackmailed a man into saving your life, expecting trust is a little much. On top of that, in the middle of a firefight when that someone is trying to save your life ''and'' his is a really stupid time to answer any random question he asks you with "Can I trust you?!"
* CoolBoat: The Mariner's Trimaran, and the Exxon ''Valdez''.
* CoolPlane: The Smokers' seaplane. Cool by virtue of being ancient, rust-colored, and probably the last of its kind.
* CrapsackWorld: All that appears to be left is small communities on the edge of genetic extinction, traders, slavers, pirates and marauders.
* TheDragon: The Nord
* DullSurprise: Costner, a notorious contrast to Dennis Hopper's HamAndCheese. Which is kind of justified, as he's spent most of his life alone on the ocean, keeping away from people to hide his mutation. Some people deal with that much solitude by going [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} bonkers]] (like the sailor they encounter at the halfway point of the film), and others react by emotionally shutting down.
* EpicMovie
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: The Mariner. Subverted in the extended edition, wherein after the heroes reach Dry Land, Helen gives the Mariner a real name just before he heads back out onto the ocean. [[spoiler:It's Ulysses, the Latin name of the main character of Homer's ''Odyssey''.]]
* EyepatchOfPower: The Deacon gains one during the movie.
* FantasticRacism: You'd believe that being able to breathe underwater would be quite a desirable asset in a ocean world, but [[WhatAnIdiot people seemed to think otherwise]].
* FullFrontalAssault: Subverted when Helen strips naked[[note]]Tripplehorn's approved body double was the nude woman in that section[[/note]], appropriates the Mariner's weapons and threatens to kill him, only for the Mariner to lower his sail directly onto her.
* FutureImperfect: While going through the Mariner's belongings, the Atoll's citizens assume that a yo-yo, flute, and exercise machine are garrote wire, a spy listener, and a torture device.
** Well, the last one isn't completely wrong...
* GreenAesop: Surprisingly averted, considering the film's [[AfterTheEnd portrayal of a ruined Earth]] and the bad guys' use of an oil tanker, which would have been a perfect opportunity to exploit an environmental message about pollution.
* HumanResources: How the residents of the Atoll dispose of their dead... they need the organic material for sustained growth. They call it "recycling," and it's done to the dead as well as to prisoners they want to execute.
* IncestIsRelative: When the residents of the Atoll ask the Mariner to impregnate one of their women, one of the men comment that they can breed with each other but the results are sometimes "undesirable", implying that the Attollers have resorted to incest to keep the population going.
* {{Jerkass}}: The Mariner. He tossed a little girl overboard to drown. Justified in that he didn't know she couldn't swim. He even lampshades it.
* LamarckWasRight: Kevin Costner has evolved gills behind his ears. The comics imply that the mutation may have been brought about by deliberate engineering.
* LargeHam: Dennis Hopper as the Deacon, the leader of the smokers.
* LogoJoke: The Universal Pictures globe floods to the levels seen in the movie proper.
* LongRunner: While the film bombed, the stunt show based on the film has been running at Universal Studios Hollywood since 1996. The parks in Japan and Singapore opened with the attraction in 2001 and 2010.
* MacGuffinGirl: Enola.
* MadeOfExplodium: A WronskiFeint between two smokers on jet skis creates a giant fireball explosion. What fuel they used to create the massive, towering fireball is still unknown. There are also traces of OutrunTheFireball, [[DieHardOnAnX but on a bungee]].
* MoodWhiplash: So the world has gone crap, few survivors left are squabbling against each other and there's tension between the protagonist and two females he saved... Suddenly, over-the-top Smokers hijinx!
* MoreDakka: The Smokers' idea of a siege weapon is a four-barrel antiaircraft machine gun emplacement trained at your enemy's floating citadel. It gets hijacked by the good guys, and shows itself very effective against ships too.
* NoIndoorVoice: "Maybe he has some '''''FOOD!'''''"
* OceanPunk
* OfCorpseHesAlive: The Smokers make the residents of a small trading post, whom they've recently killed, appear to be waving to the Mariner as the latter approaches, intending to draw him into a deadly trap.
* OrphansPlotTrinket
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: "MU-TA-TIOOOON!" "HE'S-A-MU-TAAAANT!"
* RasputinianDeath: The Deacon.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: One of the leaders of the atoll does what he can to give the Mariner a fair trial and the benefit of the doubt, and is genuinely sorry when he is sentenced to be recycled anyway. Regardless, it's enough for the Mariner to save his life when the Smokers attack.
* RecycledINSPACE: It's ''Film/MadMax''... on JET SKIS!
* ReligionOfEvil: In the extended edition, The Deacon refers to the Smokers as the Church Of Eternal Growth when talking with Enola.
* RuinsOfTheModernAge
* ScavengerWorld
* SceneryGorn
* SdrawkcabName: Enola is "alone" spelled backwards. Fitting considering she was orphaned.
* SpentShellsShower: A Smoker operating a Maxon Mount four-machine gun chassis in the atoll assault scene showers the boat it is mounted on and his crew with hundreds of .50 calibre brass shells.
* SteamPunk: All over the place. Actually, it's more like Man-Power Punk, but visually and thematically it's very similar.
* TechnologyPorn: Done for {{Padding}}.
* ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman
* ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks: When the Smokers raid the atoll, the Mariner impales one of them with a thrown machete.
* TitleDrop: "Nothing's free in Waterworld"
* TokenRomance: The Mariner and Helen.
* TooDumbToLive:
** Enola, who lives in a world covered in water and doesn't know how to swim.
** The people who persecute "mutants" who can breathe under water.
* TraumaticHaircut
* UnderwaterRuins
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