In contexts the name refers to a purported conspiratorial organization which is alleged to mastermind events and controls world affairs through governments and corporations to establish a New World Order. In this context the Illuminati are usually represented as a modern version or continuation of the Bavarian Illuminati.
In addition to the supposed shadowy and secret organization, several modern fraternal groups claim to be the "heirs" of the Bavarian Illuminati and have openly used the name "Illuminati" in founding their own rites. Some, such as the multiple groups that call themselves by some variation on "The Illuminati Order", use the name directly in the name of their organization, while others, such as the Ordo Templi Orientis, use the name as a grade of initiation within their organization.
Illuminati in popular culture covers how the secret society of the Illuminati founded by Adam Weishaupt in Bavaria in 1776 has been manifested in popular culture, in books and comics, television and movies, games, and music. A number of novelists, playwrights, and composers are alleged to have been Illuminati members and to have reflected this in their work. Also, early conspiracy theories surrounding the Illuminati inspired a number of creative works, and continue to do so.

TV and film

  • In Simon West's 2001 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, a group of high-society villains call themselves Illuminati, developing a plan to rule the world. They and Lara Croft's father claim that the Illuminati have existed four millennia for this purpose.
  • In several episodes of the Walt Disney animated series Gargoyles, one of the major antagonists of the series, David Xanatos, was revealed to be a member of the Illuminati. Other individuals revealed to be Illuminati members in the Gargoyles series were former FBI agent Martin Hacker, NYPD detective Matt Bluestone, and Quarrymen founder John Castaway.
  • The History Channel series Decoded featured Illuminati author Mark Dice, who met with the show's investigators to discuss the Illuminati and their operations today.
  • The protagonist group in the film G-Saviour from Gundam franchise is called "Illuminati", a secret society loosely based on Illuminati.
  • In one episode of Justice League Unlimited, The Question, a conspiracy theorist, exclaims several theories under torture, one of them being that Illuminati mystics forged the Magic Bullet to 'stop us from learning the truth'.
  • In several episodes of the modern television show "Bones", the cannibalistic serial killer referred to as "the Gormogon" is revealed to act and behave under the doctrines of the Illuminati.
  • The Illuminati are parodied in an episode of American Dad called Black Mystery Month; the "Illuminuti" is a secret organization revolving around the devil.

  • Several games from Steve Jackson Games are based on the mythos: the card game Illuminati and its trading card game reincarnation Illuminati: New World Order, and the role-playing game GURPS Illuminati. By appearing in video games like Deus Ex, in which the player is a United Nations agent pitted against conspirators that include the Illuminati, Illuminati conspiracy theories are kept alive partly by "the fertile imaginations of computer game creators and their players."
  • In the role-playing game Paranoia the Illuminati is a secret society so secret that all its members are undercover, pretending to be members of one of the other, less secret, secret societies and presumably attempting to influence their activities for some greater purpose.
  • The 'Oro' in the Condemned video game series is highly reminiscent of the Illuminati, as it is a secretive organization consisting of members in lofty political positions (including the President of the United States) seeking to influence society.
  • On the radio show in Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, a conspiracy theorist, Gomez, says that the Illuminati is in bed with the United States government to get traffic records. They then use these records to make coffee houses in the most profitable of locations. Also, the Illuminati controls the world's energy, so they know which people are watching TV and which are not, enabling them the know who is receiving their "subliminal messages" of keeping the "sheep" putting money in banks rather than their secret headquarters. Finally, Gomez says that recycling isn't real, existing only to get human DNA. They then use this DNA to create clones to assassination and assume the identity of those who go poking around in Illuminati business.
  • In the first person shooter series Call of Duty the Illuminati is mentioned several times in the zombies mode, which is playable in Call of Duty: World at War and Call of Duty: Black Ops. One of the four main playable characters, Edward Richtofen, is suspected to be a member of the Illuminati, due to how many times he references to them.
  • Street Fighter III, the final boss (Gill) is the leader of Illuminati. Also, in Assassin's Creed, Assassin's Creed 2 and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood the Illuminati is a theme of the many symbols revealed at the end of the game and also mentioned couple of times in game as "Masonic secret society".
  • "Deus Ex: Human Revolution", the events of the game are suspected to be carried out by members of the Illuminati and other such groups. This however is not revealed until most of the way through the game; however the main character has suspicions about such involvement from shortly after the beginning.
  • Published by Rockstar Games game L.A. Noire has Illuminati symbols in very beginning of the game.

Song and Music

  • Some composers had been members of the Illuminati itself, like Brindl, Benedikt Hacker, Gustav Friedrich Wilhelm Grobmann, and Christian Gottlob Neefe. One member, Karl von Eckartshausen included masonic references in his libretto "Fernando und Yariko." Some writers detect references to the Illuminati and its concerns in the music of Ludwig van Beethoven and in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, particularly his opera "The Magic Flute"
  • Rolling Stone noted in 1998 that there were at that time "dozens of songs" making use of conspiracy theories about the Illuminati, such as Dr. Dre's "Been There, Done that". Hip-hop music has continually returned to the theme of the Illuminati in songs and albums, like Tupac Shakur's final album The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, which was thick with references to the subject, Jay-Z's debut album, Reasonable Doubt, and Mr. Dibbs' album Outer Perimeter and Pop singer Rihanna has made references to herself as the "Princess of the Illuminati" several times in her music video for S&M.

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