[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/classified_information_5013.gif]]
[[caption-width-right:300:We could show you a picture, [[ButThenIdHaveToKillYou but then we'd have to kill you.]][[note]]Go look for it on Google Earth yourself.[[/note]]]]

->''"You are here. We are not."''
-->-- As seen on a directory map of Area 51-A, '''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'''

''[-For the arcade game, see VideoGame.{{Area 51}}. For the later FirstPersonShooter with the same name, see VideoGame/Area51FPS.-]''

A top-secret United States Air Force base in the Nevada desert... until 2013, when it was [[http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/15/us/area-51-documents/ revealed to be a test site for spy planes.]] (Unless that's what They want you to think, of course.)

In fiction, this is usually associated with the otherworldly and all manner of government conspiracies. The most popular theory is that aliens and spacecraft (particularly those recovered from [[RoswellThatEndsWell Roswell, New Mexico]]) are being [[AlienAutopsy held and studied]] there. If any of this tech has seeped into common human use, the assertion may be made that ETGaveUsWiFi. Characters will often out-right deny the existence of the base, despite its existence and uses prior to Roswell being relatively well-known and even documented.

In RealLife, Area 51 is an Air Force base of some kind (in the middle of another base's bombing range, no less), officially known as the US Air Force Flight Test Center, and also known by the nicknames Groom Lake (for the dry lakebed the runways are on), Dreamland and Neverland. The more popular nickname stems from the naming system for areas involved in the Nevada atomic weapons testing; "Area-XX" was the default system for naming regions within or near the testing range, and the base was located in "Area 51" according to this system. The location was chosen due to the lakebed, which made an ideal landing strip when Lockheed Martin needed to relocate its Skunk Works; the base has the longest purpose-built runway in the world, though it appears to have been partially decommissioned following the U-2 spyplane project. It's been used in the past to test [[CoolPlane extremely secret experimental aircraft]][[note]]It was part of AQUATONE, the U-2 spyplane program; OXCART, the early stages of the A-12[=/=]SR-71 project; and HAVE BLUE, the project that ultimately created the F-117 Nighthawk.[[/note]], which is probably the source of some of the rumors. What's going on there now (if anything) is way beyond your security clearance, and US maps as well as Google Maps (but not Google Earth, oddly enough) just show a big blank over the area. The closest anyone has gotten to revealing what goes on at Area 51 was a lawsuit brought by workers at the base due to unsafe conditions -- apparently, Area 51 has NoOSHACompliance -- but the suit was thrown out of court when the state secrets privilege was invoked. It has been pointed out by many that the government has to develop secret (from other governments) projects ''somewhere'', even if those projects have nothing to do with otherworldly things.

The secrecy surrounding the base makes it a tempting subject for real-life conspiracy theorists and SpeculativeFiction writers alike. Some stories make an important plot point of the true goings-on in Area 51, while others just allude to it as a HistoricalInJoke. Proof of how evil and devious the complex is can be seen in how intruders are dealt with; using a system of buried motion sensors and guys in jeeps, they, um...Well, they [[BoringButPractical call the Lincoln County Sheriff, who escorts the intruders back outside]]. Most likely the aliens thing is a cover story to disguise how amazingly boring government bases actually are.

There is also an "Area 52", the Tonopah Test Range. This was home to a now-declassified UsefulNotes/ColdWar program called "Constant Peg", involving American pilots training against real [=MiGs=], small numbers of which had been delivered by defectors.

[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dulce_Base Dulce Base]], a similar underground government base in northwestern New Mexico, has begun to take the place of Area 51 in the conspiracy theorist/UFO enthusiast circles as the shroud of secrecy surrounding the latter has faded. Indeed, some go as far as to claim that Area 51 conspiracy theories are all just disinformation designed to focus people's attention on a fairly non-exotic facility. So far, it's presumed that Dulce is actually just an urban legend. Then again, Area 51 was thought to be an urban legend, right up until the Soviet Union released satellite taken photographs of it...

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!!Examples

!!!HistoricalInJoke
[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* Lot 51 (Army Corps of Engineers Secret Base, Nevada) makes a brief appearance in the DCComics {{Elseworld}} ''[[JusticeLeagueOfAmerica JLA]]: Age of Wonder'', as an excuse for making [[Comicbook/GreenLantern Hal Jordan]] a test pilot when ''officially'' airplanes haven't been invented yet. And they ''do'' have an alien corpse there; the previous ringwielder, who looks more like a [[TheGreys Grey]] than Abin Sur.
** The Elseworld ''SupermanRedSon'' also has Abin Sur's ship held in Area 51. And it was Sur who crashed in Roswell.
* ComicBook/{{Hellboy}} apparently spent his childhood there, but seems to have enjoyed it.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* Area 51 is apparently among the secrets in the Presidents' Book in ''Film/NationalTreasure: Book of Secrets''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''The39Clues'': [[spoiler: Lucians]] have control of Area 51, and store the clue [[spoiler: calcium carbonate]] there.
* In ''Literature/ArtemisFowl: The Time Paradox'', Area 51 is said to have been made solely to cover for a senator who crashed a jet into a mountain.
* In the StarTrekExpandedUniverse WhatIf story ''Seeds of Dissent'', the facility (known only as "Groom Lake") was sold off by the US government to an eccentric investor to cover their debts. He then developed it into a rocket launch facility and used it to construct several cryogenic transport ships, including the ''SS Botany Bay'' [[spoiler: which a small crew used to escape [[BigBad Khan Noonien Singh's]] empire just before it finished [[TakeOverTheWorld taking over the world]]]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* In ''Series/StargateSG1'', the Asgard are more or less the classic [[TheGreys Grey aliens]] associated with the site. Furthermore, the base is referred to often as one of the USAF's primary R&D bases regarding captured/acquired alien technology.
** It does become a major plot point in some episodes. In the series finale of ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' [[spoiler:the Wraith kamikaze Area 51 to keep humans from fighting back with the technology stored there.]]
** It is also implied that prior to the Stargate Program, Area 51 was simply a top secret Air Force R&D base.
** Additionally, the SGC is once referred to as Area 52.
* ''Series/TheXFiles'' (more important place in the MythArc; also visited in episodes "Dreamland I & II", where we learn it's just a testing ground - "they build 'em up in Utah.")
** However, the planes being tested there are powered by [[AntiGravity gravity manipulation]] and, as a side effect, cause bystanders on the ground to either [[FreakyFridayFlip swap bodies]] or get [[AndIMustScream trapped phased partway through the nearest object]]... [[BodyHorror or person]].
* An episode of ''Series/{{CSI}}'' has the agents uncovering what appears to be an alien corpse, later revealed to be a guy in a costume, buried in the desert just outside Area 51.
* On ''Series/NewsRadio'', Joe claimed that Area 51 was just a cover-up for the even-more-secret Area 52.
* In the ''Series/MurdochMysteries'' episode "The Annoying Red Planet", UFO sightings in 19th century Toronto turn out to be an airship being constructed by the Canadian and American governments, based in a plot of land registered with the city as "Concession 51". At the end of the episode the characters conclude that the governments will move their experiments to somewhere more out of the way, probably somewhere in the US desert.
* On ''Series/{{Eureka}}'' the surveillance balloon debacle is still [[NeverLiveItDown something they never got over]] for the guys from Area 51. The Eureka bowling team mocks theirs about it.
** In the pilot, when Allison is taking Jack to Global Dynamics for the first time, he asks, jokingly, if she's taking him to Area 51. She laughs and tells him that Area 51 people wish they had GD security.
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'':
** In the "The One Who Got Away", while flying for the {{CIA}}, Harm is detailed to fly the Aurora spy plane from a secret location, which even the usually reliable TitleIn names as "Diamond Lake, Location classified".
-->Harm: So what is this place, anyway?
-->Allen Blaisdell: The Directorate for Development Plans Area.
-->Harm: I thought that was ''Area 51''.
-->Allen Blaisdell: DDP hasn't been there for years.
-->Andy Watson: It's kind of difficult to do top secret flight ops, huh, on a base surrounded by tourists with telescopes and video cameras.
** However, in a later scene we do see on a flight map that the base is located somewhere around the Nevada Test Site.
** In "Impact", although the story is set around Twenty-Nine Palms, California, the secretive Bradenhurst Corporation test area exhibits many subtropes commonly associated with Area 51, such as: ''use of deadly force authorize'' signs, armed private security guards, mysterious unidentified aircraft originating from that area, and blanket security cover for the whole operation. And Clark Palmer when interrogating Harm also says:
-->''Listen, since when did top secret become everybody's business? Do you have any idea how many nutcases we have trying to break onto this site because they think we have crashed spaceships and aliens on ice out here?''
* On ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' during an episode involving conspiracy theories, Eliot and Hardison convinces [[NoSocialSkills Parker]] that there isn't an Area 51 (or at least that any conspiracies about it aren't true), but Area ''52'' on the other hand...

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Other ]]

* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nevada_State_Route_375 Nevada State Route 375]] is a random dusty road that runs near the base. The state playfully dubbed it "The Extraterrestrial Highway" and post signs to that effect.
* And there's the FunTShirt: ''What happens in Area 51 stays in Area 51''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''AlienHominid'' had a row of buttons on an FBI spacecraft; Area 50, Area 51, Area 52, Area 53, etc...
* The ''[[VideoGame/BackyardSports Backyard Soccer]]'' series has a DummiedOut field called Area 51 (also known as [[TheTropeWithoutATitle A Nameless Field]]).
* ''VideoGame/SimCity 4'' gives us Area 5.1. Constructing the facility grants the player the ability to pilot an attack jet and [=UFO=], in addition to a small monthly income.
* The Rail Shooter, ''VideoGame/{{Area 51}}'', obviously.
* ''WorldOfWarcraft'' has Area 52, a goblin outpost in Netherstorm complete with MenInBlack guards at the entrances.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* A pair of guys in the web comic ''Webcomic/DragonTails'' worked in Area 52 and complained of never getting anything interesting.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* The SCPFoundation lists [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-1051 SCP-1051]] as an alien organism that apparently replaced the hangar at Groom Lake as camoflague. The [=UFO=] from Roswell was its larval form and the conspiracy theories about it are its attempts to lure in prey, namely humans.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* In the ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' episode "RoswellThatEndsWell", when Truman is shown Zoidberg and the remains of Bender recovered from Roswell:
--->'''President Truman:''' Take this to Area 51.\\
'''Soldier:''' But sir, that's where we're building the fake moon landing set.\\
'''President Truman:''' Then we'll have to really land on the Moon! Invent NASA and tell them to get off their fannies!
* At the beginning of ''Disney/LiloAndStitch'', one of the aliens mentions that Earth is in a region of space known as Quadrant 51.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'': Lisa Simpson, after accidentally getting on bus 22a instead of the 22, finds Area 51. Her excitement is squashed, however, when she's told it's actually Area 51-A.
** "You are here. We are not."


!!!Plot-Crucial
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/IndependenceDay'', unbeknownst to the president for reasons of PlausibleDeniability. He begins to reassure a conspiracy theorist that the government has never captured a UFO and really had no idea an invasion was coming, only to be told by his Secretary of Defense that "that's not entirely accurate".
* ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheKingdomOfTheCrystalSkull'' opens in [[ShoutOut Hanger 51]], including mention of Roswell. Additionally, we find out that the Ark of the Covenant is also stored there. It turns out this was the same warehouse it was brought to at the end of ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk''.
* In ''Film/ZeroDarkThirty'', Area 51 is where the stealth helicopters for the raid on OsamaBinLaden are being tested. Notable in that there is no mention of aliens whatsoever - it's just another wetworks base.
* In the direct-to-TV Creator/WilliamShatner film ''GroomLake'', a government official arrives to Area 51 to shut down the facility after the end of the Cold War, laughing that their fake [=UFO=] rumors successfully prevented the Russians from discovering the secret aircraft testing that has been really going on there. He finds out, though that the base commander is hiding a real-life spaceship and an alien.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* "Crucial" is stretching it, but ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' has the FictionalCounterpart Zone 91. #14 revolves around the protagonists and the antagonists trying to figure out if the government is really trying to cover up evidence of an alien crash, because the antagonists depend on the idea of an AlienInvasion being utterly unbelievable to the average guy on the street. The book is pure comedy, especially when SixthRanger Ax reveals that the piece of alien technology is just [[spoiler:an Andalite toilet, but "only the most primitive model."]]
* ''Literature/IceStation'' by MatthewReilly mentions that UFO storage facilities have been built in the Nevada desert. [[spoiler: They've remained completely empty.]]
* Robert Doherty's ''Area 51''. Of course....
* Most novels by DaleBrown involve HAWC, the High Technology Aerospace Weapons Center, located at Groom Lake. No aliens, just top secret Air Force projects.
* In {{Literature/Adaptation}} by Malinda Lo, Reese's car crashes in Area 51. She [[WakingUpElsewhere wakes up in a hospital]] where she gets a mysterious operation [[spoiler: performed by aliens. The aliens have been doing testing on many people in Area 51.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* In ''Series/SevenDays'', The Sphere operates out of Area 51, and is reverse-engineered from alien technology.
** They do have several alien bodies stored there, as well as one comatose alien, who was knocked out by a scared soldier. Turns out, [[spoiler:he's a criminal who's pissed off at humans and in 2 episodes ends up causing the EndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt]]. Luckily, Frank is there to fix things.
* ''Series/{{Tracker}}'' had an episode called "Area 51" (aka "Roswell") that centered on breaking into Area 51.
* The "Little Green Men" episode of ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', where the Ferengis end up at Area 51 due to a time-travel mishap.
* ''Series/WarOfTheWorlds''. Another piece of UFO conspiracy mythology, Hanger 18 at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, is referred to as military disinformation to cover up for the real hanger where Martian technology is kept.
* Featured in the ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "Day of the Moon".
** Area 5''2'' shows up in The Wedding of River Song. Inside a pyramid.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Music ]]

* The song "Faaip De Oiad" by Music/{{Tool}} features the real audio of a man who called the Art Bell radio show on Sept 11, 1997, claiming to be a former worker at Area 51, on the run because he wanted to expose the terrible secret held there. Curiously enough, the power at Art Bell's radio station was cut during the phone call, and someone claiming to be the caller called Art Bell two weeks later to declare that the call was a hoax.
** The same call audio appears in "It's Out There and It's Gonna Get You" by Music/ThePaperChase.
* ''Music/{{Megadeth}}'', having ConspiracyTheorist leanings in their music, naturally references this in "Hangar 18."

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* The final mission sequence of ''VideoGame/DeusEx'' takes place in Area 51.
** Also it's alluded to that the so-called alien 'Greys' were being used to distract the conspiracy theorists from something even worse, although that does raise the question as to where they got the anti-matter reactor, if not the aliens...
* ''Franchise/TombRaider 3'' has a level where an artifact is stored in Area 51.
* The Area 51 appears in the park known as "Witchyworld" in ''Banjo-Tooie''.
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas'' had one mission where you had to [[spoiler:steal a secret jetpack known as the Black Project]] by infiltrating a military base that is considered not to be on the map by a few people, known as Area ''[[DoubleEntendre 69]]''. Before or after this mission, your warrant level would instantly shoot up to 5 stars if you wandered too close to the base. Try to do this by air and the base would ''shoot missiles at you.''
* ''HydroThunderHurricane'' features a level set in Area 51. [[spoiler:A portion of the level involves racing through an alien world.]]
* ''VideoGame/PerfectDark'' has three levels that take place at Area 51. [[spoiler:In a genre shift from industrial espionage to straight-up sci-fi, you wind up rescuing a captured alien who's a friend of your boss, and proceed to escape in a captured UFO]] There's also a multiplayer left called Area 52 which is based on the single player level.
* In ''VideoGame/DestroyAllHumans'', the Majestic agents operate out of Area [[Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy 42]].
* ''{{Freelancer}}'' has a FantasyCounterpartCulture Zone 21, which is also the subject of many conspiracy theories. It's a massive minefield that contains a jump gate to the Alaska System, which is where all the top-secret testing actually takes place. The Alaska system is visited once in the storyline.
* Area 51 is a field in ''[[VideoGame/BackyardSports Backyard Baseball]]''. [[spoiler: It actually belongs to the CIA!]]
* The arcade games ''VideoGame/{{Area 51}}'' and ''Area 51: Site Four'' take place at - where else? - Area 51. (They also deal with an AlienInvasion that starts from the aforementioned location.)
* A 2005 first-person shooter, not to be confused with the above, was also titled ''Area 51''.
* Adding an additional 15, Area 66 is ''VideoGame/MadWorld'' space theme level, featuring aliens, robots, spatial decompression, flashfreeze guns, and bunch of Star Wars references.
* There's an Area 51 level in the fourth episode of ''VideoGame/DukeNukem3D: Atomic Edition''.
* In ''[[VideoGame/TexMurphy The Pandora Directive]]'', Tex travels to Area 51 and infiltrates the underground facility, long since shut down. He finds dozens of bullet-ridden corpses there, indicating that the soldiers opened fire on the scientists. The corpses then get up and start chasing the detective. He barely makes it out without being killed or [[WorseThenDeath infected]]. Also, Area 51 is where the Roswell spaceship was reverse-engineered into some of the technology used in this world. Among these was anti-matter, which the military used to build bombs that they dropped on the Middle East, starting [[WorldWarThree WWIII]].
* In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid 4'', it is revealed that the Patriots stored Big Boss's comatose body in Area 51. The leader of the Patriots Zero was somewhat of a UFO enthusiast and even thought that he had been abducted by aliens at one point in his life, so storing his friend's body in such a top secret place may be a subtle nod to this aspect of his character. Raiden eventually does break Big Boss's body out of Area 51 though is captured by the Patriots in the process and is subjected to cybernetic experiments that morph his body into the Cyborg Ninja we see him as in [[MetalGearSolid4 MGS4]].
* Area 51 is one of the places you can visit in the desert in ''VideoGame/ChampionsOnline'', which has apparently been taken over by the terrorist organisation VIPER.
* In Treyarch's continuity of the ''[[NaziZombies Call of Duty Nazi Zombies]]'' series Area 51 is talked about and even showcased a couple of times. The first mention of Area 51 comes in the Nazi Zombies mini-game where the various radio transmissions that expand upon the background story of the Zombies makes a reference to a, "remote base in Nevada." and even gives exact coordinates of where it would be located on a map. Later on in the storyline of Nazi Zombies in the map "Five" John F. Kennedy makes references to Groom Lake, which is talking about the lake that Area 51 is situated on, and the various technological achievements made there. Finally in the Nazi Zombies map "Moon" Area 51 is being assaulted by Zombies and you have to escape them by teleporting to the surface of the Moon but you can come back later if you want though it won't contribute to ending your current round as all rounds can only be fought on the Moon. Beyond the Nazi Zombies universe Area 51 is also a multiplayer map called "Hanger 18" which is a reference to conspiracy theorists who believe that at Area 51 all of the most top secret Military Air-Crafts are all tested there. Also the Element 115 that is constantly referenced in the Nazi Zombies storyline is based off the account of a former Area 51 employee who is stated to have witnessed the substance in action and who said it had reality warping qualities to it.
* In ''UFOAftermath'', after you establish a solid foothold of reclaimed territory, you get the mission objective to check out what the former US government knew about the alien invaders that have killed off the vast majority of humanity. While it turns out that it was a world-wide initiative to investigate and research the Roswell crash, the first location you raid is Area 51.
* ''VideoGame/BrokenHelix'' is [[DieHardOnAnX Die Hard on]] {{Area 51}}.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* Jix and Lauren in ''Webcomic/{{Jix}}'' travel to Area 51 to recover Ambis technology.
* In ''Webcomic/EscapeFromTerra'' the United World government hides a cloned neanderthal girl in Area 51, prompting a Belter raid to rescue her when she is scheduled to be terminated.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* ''Literature/FineStructure'': Not ''the'' Area 51, but the base where the Power experiments are carried out is certainly the next best thing.
-->A desolate air base smack in the North American heartland, surrounded by a sixty-kilometre ribbon of electric fence and razor wire hung with intimidating red, yellow and white signs warding off photographers, trespassers and enemies of the state respectively, plus incomprehensibly secret experiments going on within? It's a little greener, vegetation-wise, but Kuang Ching-Yu thinks you might as well call it Area 51 and save yourself five pages of description.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/GodzillaTheSeries'' had the aptly titled "Area 51". Turns out that atomic weapons testing in the US desert had created a bunch of giant mutant, Godzilla-esque desert creatures that were being kept secret at the base, with the media having stories about aliens leaked out to cover it up.
* In ''Film/LooneyTunesBackInAction'', the protagonists wander into a high-tech science lab through a portal in the desert, run by "Mother". When Bugs ask her if they're in Area 51, she says Area 51 is just a conspiracy theory, and that they are in fact in Area 5''2''. Bugs promptly pulls out a [[TalkingWithSigns "Screw Ball" rebus sign]] when her back is turned.
-->'''Mother:''' [[LampshadeHanging Don't quote me on that!]]
* ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooAndTheAlienInvaders'' centers around Area 51, or at least a spoof of it. [[spoiler: Yes, there are aliens.]]
* Area 52 is where the monsters in ''MonstersVsAliens'' are being kept. It's not refered to as such in the film: Gen. Monger refers to it as "a place so secret the mere mention of it is a federal offence", and when one aide starts to say "Area Fifty..." he gets a tranquilizer dart to the neck. In the TV series spin-off, it's refered to as Area Fifty-Something.
* ''XMenEvolution'' features Area 51 as the area where the army hold the incapacitated mutants they kidnapped after the fight with the [[KillerRobot Sentinel]] in the season 2 finale.
* As the name suggests, the ''Series/DoctorWho'' animation "Dreamland". (They don't have a grey corpse there - [[spoiler: she's still alive]].)
* In ''[[PixarShorts Unidentified Flying Mater]]'', we get to see Parking Area 51.
* The animated film ''WesternAnimation/{{Planet 51}}'' (the title is an obvious reference, though it is never referred as such in the story) shows the alien version, Base 9.
* In an episode of ''TheAdventuresOfJimmyNeutron'', Cindy, Sheen, Libby, and Carl are taken to "Area 86" after they develop superpowers from contact with space radiation.
* An episode of ''MegasXLR'' involved 'Area 50', an abandoned US military base near Las Vegas, in which an experimental [[HumongousMecha battle robot]] was being developed.
* An episode of ''KimPossible'' has Kim and Ron taken inside Area 51, and they are told that every story of [=UFOs=] and other unexplained phenomena was made by the government as part of a disinformation campaign - while every word was actually true.
* One episode of ''TotalDramaWorldTour'' has the contestants infiltrate Area 51, which was presented as a huge warehouse full of alien artifacts, most of which were broken. The fact that aliens were shown to be real [[UnusuallyUninterestingSight caused surprisingly little reaction]] among the contestants.
* ''JohnnyTest'' features Area 51.1.
* ''WesternAnimation/RoswellConspiracies'': Area 51 features in a number of episodes, usually with nasty surprises being found there.
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