A Science-Fiction film is that which uses any kind of alternate universe or science, or any scientific theory that is not taken as fact, such as the possibility of intelligent life forms on other planets. Time travel, cyborgs, super powers, all of these things and more falls under the genre of science fiction. These films are widely used to portray and explore philosophical, political, and social issues. Many science fiction films provide the viewer with a unique and unusual way in which to analyze important notions such as the human condition, and the purpose and standing of war.
The genre goes back to the dawn of cinema, long before computer generated images and modern special effects. In 1902, Georges Melies’ A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune), which used mechanical and simple camera tricks to create visual effects that opened the doors for special effects to evolve.
The genre has sense evolved, and films now can easily depict a realistic representation of a group on the moon, which would make the 1902 film look silly to most modern viewers.
We’ve compiled a list of what we find to be both the most influential and the most entertaining within the science-fiction genre.
Did your favorite sci-fi film not make the list? Tell us in the comments below!
Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
[ new page = 10: The Last Man on Earth ]
Starting off our list at number 10 is 1964’s The Last Man on Earth. The film features horror star Vincent Price in the lead role. The story takes place after a plague has turned the population into an unintelligent form of vampires. The films title comes from the memorable ending scene.
[ new page = 9: The Day the Earth Stood Still ]
At number 9 1951’s The Day the Earth Stood Still>. The film is based off of a short story titled “Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates. The film is a classic sci-fi film and is often cited and referred to in popular culture. In the film a humanoid alien comes to Earth, with a warning about our violence and newly gained atomic power.
[ new page = 8: Back to the Future ]
Coming in at number 8 is Steven Spielberg’s 1985 Back to the Future. The sic-fi comedy has been largely influential, and a consistent popular culture reference. The film won numerous awards, including an Academy Award. It was the most successful film of the year, and is considered by many as one of the top 10 science-fiction films of all time.
[ new page = 7: The Thing from Another World ]
At number 7 is 1951’s The Thing from Another World. The film was produced by Howard Hawks, with considerable directing influence from his as well. The film has been preserved in the National film registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically” significant. It was the most successful Science Fiction film of the year, surpassing The Day the Earth Stood Still.
[ new page = 6: Planet of the Apes ]
At number 6 we have 1968’s Planet of the Apes. The film is one of the best known science fiction films, and has been preserved in the National Film Registry. It featured groundbreaking prosthetics and makeup. The film received an honorary Academy Award for John Chambers’ makeup work in the film. It was also nominated for two other Academy Awards.
[ new page = 5: Invasion of the Body Snatchers]
Coming in at number 5 is the famous 1956 film, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The film is most famous for it’s ties to the Cold War and the anti-communist movement in America. One of the most influential science fiction films, it has been preserved in the National Film Registry as well. The film portrays an alien race that replaces humans with identical copies, however the copies are devoid of emotions or individuality.
[ new page = 4: Enemy Mine]
At number 4 comes 1985’s Enemy Mine. The film had mixed reviews, but was generally positive, and has as of recently been reevaluated and is being met with favorable opinions. The film didn’t make much money, and was a box office disappointment. However, the film is a moving work with underlying themes of peace. The story is that of two warring species, one from each of whom is eventually stranded on a desolate planet together, and must learn to live with each other.
[ new page = 3: Matrix]
At number three is 1999’s The Matrix. The film is one of the greatest and most influential science fiction films of all time. It is notable for it’s special effects and cinematography. The film popularized the “bullet time” visual effect, used in the scene where the protagonist dodges bullets that appear to be moving in slow motion. The film is highly philosophical, and is the winner of numerous awards and praises.
[ new page = 2: 2001: A Space Odyssey]
Coming at number two is Stanley Kubrick’s 1968, 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film is notable for its unique usage of sound and minimalistic use of dialogue. It also is praised for it’s scientific accuracy and special effects. The film gathered a cult following, until years later being well received by critics and the film industry. While not well received at first, the film is now generally considered to be one of the greatest and most influential films ever made. It has been preserved in the National Film Registry for its significance.
[ new page = 1: The Fly ]
And finally, at number 1, is the 1986 sci-fi horror film, The Fly. The film is the second to be based off of a 1957 short story of the same title by George Langelaan. The film stars Jeff Goldblum as Seth Brundle, a genius scientist who perfects teleportation. Unfortunately, during his first successful trial of his teleportation pods, the computer is confused by the presence of two living things inside the pod (a housefly had made it’s way inside) and merged the two on a genetic level upon teleporting. Brundle slowly transforms into a fly-like monster, to which he refers to as “Brundlefly”. The film won several awards, and was successful both financially and to critics. Both the film itself and memorable for Goldblum’s performance.