Science Fiction is a great genre of film and storytelling that really let’s us explore the possibilities of what is possible using the human imagination. They are often some of the most interesting movies to watch because they can take us to any setting in the universe real or not and let us see wonderful images that most of us would never even dream of. When selecting what I feel are the best sci-fi movies I wanted to take into account not only what movies gave me the most personal enjoyment from seeing them but also one’s that had a significant impact on other great works that followed them. I know that with only ten movies being chosen there were many other that missed out on being mentioned but that’s fine it doesn’t make them bad movies because this list could have easily been longer and even expanded past films that I have seen. So keep in mind that this is a personal list and yours will differ like anything involving opinion, so let’s get into the ten best science fiction movies.
Blade Runner- Blade Runner features some of my favorite visuals of any film that I have ever seen, the opening scene itself blew me away and I first watched this movie on my computer monitor. The story surrounds Rick Deckard taking on one last assignment as a Blade Runner to retire a group of replicants who have come back to Earth. When it was released in 1982 it wasn’t a very successful film but since then has gained lots of praise and fans for being a truly wonderful movie.
Star Wars- The original entry of George Lucas’ space opera was a landmark film when it was released in 1977 and is still great to watch today. A New Hope was both action-packed and imaginative with enough moments of light-heartedness to make you identify with the characters. I saw it when I was a kid on TV and soon became hooked demanding that I must have my own copy on VHS and somehow with the immense popularity of this movie I don’t think I was the only one.
Alien- Fresh off the success of Star Wars studios were looking to cash in on science fiction films and one of these scripts happened to be Alien. This is a total departure from the more kid friendly Star Wars and ventures into a true horror movie. Alien is one of those movies that can make people jump right out of their seats in terror but also has a depth to it that makes it a truly fantastic film.
2001: A Space Odyssey- This movie really splits it’s viewers into a love or hate type reaction because while it is visually beautiful it can be very boring. I know that sometimes I’m not really in the mood to watch it but I get sucked into it and ultimately enjoy the experience. Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 picture has been highly influential on the science fiction drama and in all likelihood is responsible for a complete shift in the genre.
The Day the Earth Stood Still- This 1951 movie is a classic sci-fi story about an alien visitor that comes to Earth but rather than being a menace to the human race he comes to warn of our warring ways. While it is a very old film it does still hold up today although the Cold War era fears are more a relic of the past.
The Empire Strikes Back- The second installment of the original trilogy the Empire Strikes Back is the darkest entry of the three. Starting off on the frozen planet Hoth and ending with the first showdown between Luke and Vader, Empire is one of the rare sequels that improved upon a great original.
Planet of the Apes- I never saw this movie until fairly recently and my only experiences with it consisted of the hilarious Planet of the Apes production on the Simpsons and the terrible recent remake. It is interesting to see that the apes developed a society along the lines of a human society that as we come to find out had preceded the apes own. The costumes and sets are great in this one and the story keeps you interested throughout.
The Terminator- Any movie that combines time travel, an army of machines, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as a cyborg assassin has a great base to start with but 1984’s installment of the Terminator series is the most compelling to watch.
A Clockwork Orange- The menacing music along with Alex and his droogs sitting in the Karova Milk Bar makes for a great opening scene which is quickly followed by their night of ultra violence. The film is pretty violent but also raises important questions about morality and the role of psychology as a cure for bad behavior.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind- A UFO sighting leaves Roy played by Richard Dreyfuss utterly obsessed with building models of a mountainous design that is stuck in his head even while his family life dissolves around him. The movie draws you into wanting to find out exactly what is going on with the wave of alien space craft that finally brings you to the peaceful conclusion and Roy leaving with the aliens toward the mother ship.