There are some movies that are a flash in the pan and fade from collective attention almost as quickly as they arrive. Even relatively popular blockbuster hits can struggle to have staying power, and sci-fi and action flicks — which often depend on the latest and quickly-outdated special effects — have a particularly hard time retaining their relevance. 

That’s definitely not the case for The Matrix, a film that has become an important cultural touchstone since its 1999 release. It helped define Keanu Reeves’ career and has kept conversations going everywhere from casual debates among friends to professional philosophy conferences. 

If you’re a fan of The Matrix and are looking for more films that will keep your attention, check out these six films.

Catch these earlier flicks for even more nostalgia

If part of what draws you to The Matrix is the nostalgia factor, you may find yourself enjoying Reeves’ even earlier action flick Speed. Now the source material for plenty of jokes, the over-the-top plot features Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock as the stars of a ridiculous situation. They’re trapped on a city bus with a bomb, and if the speed decreases below 50 mph, they — and the bus full of innocent passengers — will explode. What could easily go off the rails is kept just this side of serious by stellar performances from the leading co-stars. 

If you want to go back even further, check out The Terminator. Released in 1984, it’s a full 15 years older than The Matrix, but it shows that we were already facing anxieties about a potential robot uprising and what the future would bring. Arnold Schwarzenegger put on a career-defining performance, and the franchise produced numerous sequels — with varying degrees of success. 

Enjoy more writing from the Wachowskis

The Matrix is probably Lana and Lilly Wachowski’s most famous work, but it definitely is not the only time these sisters paired up to bring fans mind-boggling entertainment.

If you’d like to see more of their craft, make sure you check out V for Vendetta. The 2005 film is a political dystopian work that has the masked freedom fighter “V” (played by Hugo Weaving, who was also Agent Smith in The Matrix) working alongside a young woman named Evey (Natalie Portman) to overthrow a tyrannical government. It’s definitely worth a watch or a rewatch!

The Wachowskis also teamed up to write the 2015 space adventure Jupiter Ascending. Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis headline this ambitious adventure that sees an intergalactic heiress newly aware of her destiny and the important task of protecting Earth from looming threats. The idea of finding out one’s chosen fate and using it to stand up to larger-than-life power systems should ring familiar with The Matrix fans! 

Question what you know and send your mind spinning

Part of what makes The Matrix so enduring is the way it twisted viewers’ minds and kept them thinking long after the credits rolled. The same can be said of Inception, the 2010 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Elliot Page as dream-sharing thieves who take on a task to implant a false memory. As their world comes crumbling down, the film asks everyone — including viewers at home — to figure out what’s real and what’s not. 

District 9 is another sci-fi flick that will leave you with as many questions as answers. The 2009 film flips the typical notions of an alien invasion on their head and brings viewers face-to-face with deep questions about morality. As a race of intergalactic visitors have been confined to a slum on Earth, the film invites us to consider what it really means to be human. 

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