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Top 15 Science Fiction Movies

Jamie Frater . . . Comments

When you love Science Fiction movies, making a list like this is very difficult because you want to include every film you have loved. But I can’t. So, after a lot of culling, from best to good, here is my top 15. NOTE: In the case of sequels I have only included one of the set.

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1. Blade Runner [1982]


In a cyberpunk vision of the future, man has developed the technology to create replicants, human clones used to serve in the colonies outside Earth but with fixed lifespans. In Los Angeles, 2019, Deckard is a Blade Runner, a cop who specialises in terminating replicants. Originally in retirement, he is forced to re-enter the force when five replicants escape from an offworld colony to Earth.

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Read the mind-bending Philip K. Dick story that inspired the film: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep at!

2. 2001, A Space Odyssey [1968]


When a large black monolith is found beneath the surface of the moon, the reaction immediately is that it was intentionally buried. When the point of origin is confirmed as Jupiter, an expedition is sent in hopes of finding the source. When Dr David Bowman discovers faults in the expeditionary space craft’s communications system, he discovers more than he ever wanted to know.

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3. Alien [1979]


When commercial towing vehicle Nostromo, heading back to Earth, intercepts an SoS signal from a nearby planet, the crew are under obligation to investigate. After a bad landing on the planet, some crew members leave the ship to explore the area. At the same time as they discover a hive colony of some unknown creature, the ship’s computer deciphers the message to be a warning, not a call for help. When one of the eggs is disturbed, the crew do not know the danger they are in until it is too late.

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4. Star Wars [1977]


Part IV in a George Lucas epic, Star Wars: A New Hope opens with a rebel ship being boarded by the tyrannical Darth Vader. The plot then follows the life of a simple farmboy, Luke Skywalker, as he and his newly met allies (Han Solo, Chewbacca, Ben Kenobi, C-3PO, R2-D2) attempt to rescue a rebel leader, Princess Leia, from the clutches of the Empire. This eventually leads to the Rebels, including Skywalker and flying ace Wedge Antilles making an attack on the Empire’s most powerful and ominous weapon, the Death Star.

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5. The Matrix [1999]


In the near future, a computer cracker named Neo (Keanu Reeves) discovers that all life on Earth may be nothing more than an elaborate facade created by a malevolent cyber-intelligence, for the purpose of placating us while our life essence is “farmed” to fuel the Matrix’s campaign of domination in the “real” world. He joins like-minded Rebel warriors Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie Ann Moss) in their struggle to overthrow the Matrix.

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Or buy the whole action-packed trilogy! The Complete Matrix Trilogy at!

6. Solaris [1972]


The Solaris mission has established a base on a planet that appears to host some kind of intelligence, but the details are hazy and very secret. After the mysterious demise of one of the three scientists on the base, the main character is sent out to replace him. He finds the station run-down and the two remaining scientists cold and secretive. When he also encounters his wife who has been dead for seven years, he begins to appreciate the baffling nature of the alien intelligence.

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7. Terminator [1984]


A cyborg assassin called “The Terminator” is sent back through time to 1984 to kill the seemingly innocent Sarah Connor – a woman whose unborn son will lead the human race to victory in a bitter future war with a race of machines. If the Terminator succeeds, mankind is doomed. Sarah’s only hope is a soldier from that post-apocalyptic war, who has chased the Terminator back through time. The future of the human race depends on which one finds her first…

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8. Metropolis [1927]


It is the future, and humans are divided into two groups: the thinkers, who make plans (but don’t know how anything works), and the workers, who achieve goals (but don’t have the vision). Completely separate, neither group is complete, but together they make a whole. One man from the “thinkers” dares visit the underground where the workers toil, and is astonished by what he sees…

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9. The Day the Earth Stood Still [1951]


An alien (Klaatu) with his mighty robot (Gort) land their spacecraft on Cold War-era Earth just after the end of World War II. They bring an important message to the planet that Klaatu wishes to tell to representatives of all nations. However, communication turns out to be difficult, so, after learning something about the natives, Klaatu decides on an alternative approach.

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10. Frankenstein [1931]


An obsessed scientist creates a living being from parts of exhumed corpses. No longer so much a movie as it is a genuine part of popular folklore, the film itself shows its age, particularly in the absence of a musical score. But the performances by Colin Clive and particularly the great Boris Karloff are the whole show here, forgiving a multitude of creaks and groans and more than compensating for any lulls in the narrative. Truly a film everyone should see at least once

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11. War of the Worlds [1953]


H.G. Well’s classic novel is brought to life is this tale of alien invasion. The resisdents of a small town are excited when a flaming meteor lands in the hills. Thier joy is tempered some what when they discover it has passengers who are not very friendly. The movie itself is understood better when you consider it was made at the height of the Cold War – just replace Martian with Russian.

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12. Brazil [1985]


Sam Lowry is a harried technocrat in a futuristic society that is needlessly convoluted and inefficient. He dreams of a life where he can fly away from technology and overpowering bureaucracy, and spend eternity with the woman of his dreams. While trying to rectify the wrongful arrest of one Harry Buttle, Lowry meets the woman he is always chasing in his dreams, Jill Layton. Meanwhile, the bureaucracy has fingered him responsible for a rash of terrorist bombings, and both Sam and Jill’s lives are put in danger.

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13. The Thing [1982]


An American scientific expedition to the frozen wastes of the Antarctic is interrupted by a group of seemingly mad Norwegians pursuing and shooting a dog. The helicopter pursuing the dog crashes leaving no explanation for the chase. During the night, the dog mutates and attacks other dogs in the cage and members of the team that investigate. The team soon realises that an alien life-form with the ability to take over other bodies is on the loose and they don’t know who may already have been taken over.

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14. 12 Monkeys [1995]


When Cole, a convict volunteer, is sent back in time to find information on a deadly virus that will destroy 5,000,000,000 members of the human race in 1996-1997, he mistakenly arrives in 1990. After explaining his plea to Dr. Kathryn Railly, he is placed in a mental institution. In 1996, he kidnaps Railly, using her to find the 12 Monkeys, a group of revolutionists that are planning to release the virus into select cities.

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15. Close Encounters of the Third Kind [1977]


Planes reported missing in 1945 suddenly appear in the Mojave desert. A commercial flight is buzzed by a ‘bright’ object that the pilot ‘wouldn’t know how to describe’. Roy Neary, while working one night, has a Close Encounter… The US Government determine where the visitors plan to land and create an elaborate cover-up to keep people away. However, a group of people, including Neary, share a vision which draws them to the place and a meeting with new, and old, friends

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Bonus: The Fifth Element [1997]


Two hundred and fifty years in the future, life as we know it is threatened by the arrival of Evil. Only the fifth element can stop the Evil from extinguishing life, as it tries to do every five thousand years. She is helped by ex-soldier, current-cab-driver, Korben Dallas, who is, in turn, helped by Prince/Arsenio clone, Ruby Rhod. Unfortunately, Evil is being assisted by Mr. Zorg, who seeks to profit from the chaos that Evil will bring, and his alien mercenaries.

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Notable omissions: Star Trek movies, Planet of the Apes, Children of Men, Dark City, ET

Plot summaries courtesy of IMDB

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Jamie Frater

Jamie is the owner and chief-editor of Listverse. He spends his time working on the site, doing research for new lists, and collecting oddities. He is fascinated with all things historic, creepy, and bizarre.

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  • Where as I am a fan of the Treminator movies Trilogy (not so much the third), I don’t feel that the First in the series should have been on the list. For years I thought that “Judgment Day” was the first. There was enough of the necissary plot from the first to “Fill in the blanks”. Dare I say Terminator 2 Actually changed the way I think. Wierd? No kidding.

    True Trekkies would complain about not seeing Any of the Kirk era movies on the list. I however am a Trekker, I don’t feel the need to get all gussied up to go see a movie. That it isn’t on this list isn’t surprizing, It isn;t a movie. To the Jedi, don’t brag… We still have something in common, Industrial Light and Magic helped make Us possible too. One Big Old :P to you.

    Blade Runner is one of the reasons why I end up all night Dreaming about the Cyberpunk world. If you haven’t participated in the RPG, you wouldn’t understand. “New York City. So Great it had to be Nuked Twice.” Love that game.

    Close Encounters… One of the greatest SCI-FIs of all time. Masterful and Breathtaking in it’s Special effects. What if…? If you haven’t seen it, you have no Idea.

    I am the Matrix generation. Thats all I’m going to say. Well that and The Brothers really Screwed the second one.

    Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Resurection, AVP. Any alien is a good alien, Especially when you throw a Yautja in there. AVP: Requiem I will definatly be in line for.

    I’ll leave my comments on Brat Pitt, and my likness to him, to myself. I don’t/didn’t feel that there was anything to gain by seeing it. Unless you want to see a really screwed up looking Pitt. HaHa your’e not pretty anymore!

    As for the others, the Classics. I do approve of them, even though I haven’t had a chance to see them. I can’t even buy them, being strapped for cash all of the time. It’s all in the history… I don’t like the Beatles, but I’m still greatful of their existance.

    2001, Why watch it, I own all of the series. Nothing beats the book.

    Why the mini-review??? I need a copy of Metropolis for a movie marathon I’ve been trying to put together for years.

    Roudy Roddy Pipper Rocks!!!!

  • Crimanon: haha you don’t have to write a novel to enter :) I agree about the Alien series completely – that is my second favorite Sci-Fi series – after the Planet of the Apes which I own and love!

  • If I”m going to put my Two cents in, I might as well give you the other 98. No nonsense comments right. Iv’e got nothing better to do.

    nothing personal

  • Crimanon: hey – no complaints from me :)

  • I Love these movies, this is a great selection. 12 monkees is one of the best movies in my opinion. I think it is great that you posted, the original war of the worlds. I think the matrix was over rated (is that one word or two words?) It was boring to me the concept would have been much better in a book. If you want me to choose I pick… 12 monkeys, in advance. list universe you are awesome! I nominated you on the blogging to fame website.

  • Henry: thanks :) I did enjoy the first matrix but the rest went downhill I thought.

  • I love Sci-Fi especially combined with horror like the Alien movies. I agree with you on Matrix. I loved the The Thing when it came out, it was excellent – I would love to see that again.

  • Sayhuh78

    Great list. I’d have to to say that Brazil(or anything by Terry Gilliam) and The Fifth Element stick out as the better of the odd-style movies that i like to see on any Top Sci-Fi list. The rest are classics and have to be on the list. I’ve seen all of them, other than The Day the Earth Stood Still and Solaris. Im glad you Put John Carpenter’s version of The Thing on here when i was a kid it took me years to actually sit through the whole movie that one and Alien scared the living crap out of me.

  • Andre: I think that horror and sci-fi seem to quite often complement each other well. The same is true of fantasy as well.

    Sayhuh78: Thanks! I like the Fifth Element – especially the spaceship scene with the blue lady. Alien had the same effect on me as it did you :)

  • Sayhuh78

    I forgot Vanilla Sky thats a good movie also but most people don’t consider it to be a Sci-Fi movie the first time i saw it i was blown away at the ending. I think a lot of the best Sci-fi sneaks up on you at the end.

  • Sayhuh78: I actually quite enjoyed vanilla sky – despite the fact that it had Tom Cruise in it.

  • dalandzadgad

    these movies can also be categorized as surreal. these are the strangest movies i’ve seen.

    i’d definitely put ‘The Matrix’ up there. it warped my fragile little mind when i first saw it.

    also, i’d nominate ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ for this list. Sci-fi + love: the movie is just beautiful.

  • Another one I’d like to add is : Equilibrium

  • dalandzadgad: I like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind too, but I don’t think it ranks in the top 15.

    Andre: I haven’t seen Equlibrium – should I?

    • Jigs

      Whoa! Equilibrium is amazing!

  • Oh for sure – excellent movie, with a twist. Christian Bale plays his role pretty well, probably what got him into Batman. Now that I am busy I also remembered one of my other favorites with a twist – Dark City with Kiefer Sutherland and some other known actors.

  • Andre: I enjoyed dark city. I will check out Equilibrium – I didn’t realise it had Christian Bale in it – he is one of the best British actors around at the moment I think.

  • Joe

    Hello, Barbarela anyone?

  • Badjasper

    It’s hard to come up with the top Sci-Fi movies of all time. There are just too many to list although I agree that these movies should be on the top :)

  • Badjasper – thanks – it definitely was very hard :)

  • Joe: two problems: 1) Jane Fonda, 2: Awful film.

  • dazednconfused

    I love sci-fi.

    Blade Runner- groundbreaking film, great story, and considered one of the first modern sci-fi films.

    2001: A Space Odyssey- also pretty groundbreaking, great special effects for it’s time, but I liked A Clockwork Orange better.

    Alien- not really a fan of the movie, but it had its moments, and it’s still a pop culture icon to this day.

    Star Wars- probably the greatest sci-fi film of all time, good story, great special effects.

    The Matrix- the ending was pretty weak, but it had a good cast and story that always kept you guessing throughout all three movies. Great action fight scenes and special effects.

    Solaris- the remake with George Clooney was really, really bad. But the original had a pretty original story and decent acting.

    The Terminator- didn’t really like the first one, I prefer the sequel. But this movie is still remembered as Arnold’s greatest.

    Metropolis- AMAZING movie for its time. Had a good message that wasn’t seen in movies in that time period.

    The Day the Earth Stood Still- the acting and effects are pretty comical to the contemporary audience, but in the 50’s it scared the crap out of people.

    Frankenstein- one of the first monster horror movies. The costumes were terrific.

    War of the Worlds- again, one of those movies that seems pretty funny to us now, but back then it was a landmark piece.

    Brazil- meaningful message and view of the futuristic society.

    The Thing- pretty scary flick. One of the first survival horror films.

    12 Monkeys- crazy, psychological movie. It has to be one of my favorites on the list.

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind- a Spielberg masterpiece. Amazing special effects and cinematography.

    5th Element- on the lighter side of sci-fi, there’s this film. A great action/comedy with a great story.

  • dazednconfused – I totally hated the Clooney remake of Solaris as well. And Close Encounters was a favourite film of mine as a kid. Thanks for the comment :)

  • I hated the fifth element because it had chris tucker playing a weird woman thing.

  • Joe

    20. j

    Sure the film was bad, but she was hot :)

  • Joe: I don’t even think that that is sufficient grounds to consider the film in anything but the worst 100 sci-fi films :) It even only scores a 5 on IMDB!

  • Henry: oh – that’s right. He was a bit annoying – but the cool blue lady singing made up for it :)

  • RobS

    “The Thing”… “The Thing”… “The Thing”… Which one to choose? The remake with Kurt “Sombrero” Russell or the original, featuring James Arness as a 7 foot carrot?
    OK, even though Howard Hawks direction, which (In my opinion) makes for the most credible dialog I’ve ever heard in a movie (Listen to them talk over each other. Quite realistic), I’ll have to go along with you and pick Carpenter’s film as being WAY scarier.

    Good choices all around.

  • I sometimes have roublw atching the old old movies, I don’t know why. it sounds like an awesome movie, But I don’t think I could watch it through. am i the only one? I loved the signing blue lady!

  • JF: on dazednconfused: See I’m not the only one. Equalibrium!!!!! OH OH OH, I’ll make the pop corn.

  • e4zy

    NO way…Chris Tucker on the fifth element was HILARIOUS, without him it would of not been as good as it was now

  • It is amazing how diverse everyone’s preferences are. At least the list is not causing too much controversy :)

  • Kipster

    What about” the Time Machine”? A Clockwork Orange? Forbidden Planet? Planet of the Apes(the first one)? Serenity? Jurrasic Park?

  • Yes, Yes, Yes, Don’t know, Yes, Um… no, No. Serenity??? Really? A TV show with a falied atempt at a movie. If you didn’t know the series you won’t get the full effect of the movie. Jurrasic Park was fine but Top 15? Hardly. In my opinion it was better than the book, I couldn’t even read the first three chapters. Serenity??? Really?

    • Jigs

      Yes, Serenity was great. I had never even watched firefly and saw Serenity. On it’s own merit I thought it fantastic with an unusual story line. In a world filled with movies/shows that you change the cast and could be watching another movie/show, I think Serenity is quite unique.

  • Tjgrs

    this is a great list, but i think more than one star wars movie easily qualifies, considering return of the jedi is one fo the greatest sci fi movies of all-time. Total Recall is also a great one, and i was a big fan of Pitch Black with Vin Diesel.

    Crimanon: Jurassic Park was a great movie, definetly top 15. Look at what Spielberg did with the technology, which is what sci fi has always been about, the technology to make fantastic things seem possible. And it was a great story, granted that the book was much better than the movie, that saying something about the book isn’t it? I f the movie is that good then the book is jsut that much better.

  • Tj: Nothing against the movie. I’m just saying that in the Scheme of things , it was no more than a cinamatic fart in the wind. I like the movie but to place it next to so many cult classics seems a bit… of an over statement of it’s merits. Great movie. But it’s place is not here. Who still talks about Jurrasic Park??? Who still talks about Star Wars??? When I see someone standing in line for three days Just to see the sequal I don’t think “Gee, Lost World: Jurrasic Park must be Great!”

    Pitch Black Big THUMBS UP! Any word on a third?

  • I love debating!!!

  • Dave

    Iam a Trekkie.
    That being said…I dont see any reason for the Trek movies to be on this list.
    Star Trek revolutionized sci-fi on television but to be honest it did nothing to advance the genre on film. Star Trek 4 and 6 may be two of the best films ever made but even they did nothing new for sci-fi.
    The Matrix…Iam torn on.
    It was an amazing concept but the execution of that concept was flawed. It got bogged down by too many Alice in Wonderland refrences and psudo-intelectual one liners. Brilliant cimematography and an involving story saved this movie from being…well….crap
    12 Monkeys is one of the best movies ever made. Of course I love anything directed by Terry Gilliam…makes me wonder why I have yet to see Brazil…I must correct this oversight soon. War of the Worlds…Theres nothing I can say that hasnt already been said about this masterpiece. I loved it as a child I also loved The Terminator. I was 9 when this movie came out…scared me silly i spent the whole movie glued to the edge of my seat.
    The only addition I would make may be Donnie Darko.

  • Sci Bry

    How about “Event Horizon”?

  • jongleur

    I would probably swap 2001 with Blade Runner, and throw out Solaris, accepting either A Clockwork Orange or the original Jurassic Park as its replacement.

    But other than that, someone who wanted to see the best science fiction on film would be well advised to use this list when they start their project

  • Very good list, although there’s a few choices I would disagree with.
    2001, A Space Oddesy: maybe (ok, definitely) i didn’t get the movie. It was one of a hand full of movies that I actually fell asleep watching, more then once. It was a good movie, and changed the way alot of people looked at things, but, i don’t know if it deserved to be #2.

    Of the 3 major trilogies you included, you choose the correct movie from 2 of them. The incorrect one would be The Terminator
    Terminator 2: Judgment Day by far out-classed the first one. I even consider it the greatest sequel ever made. There was just alot more plot development, the acting was better (i thought), and 2 terminators going at it in battles for the death is really just awesome, espically when one is liquid metal, and never talks.

    The rest of the list is awesome, I wasn’t supprised that 12 Monkeys was on the list, it’s a great movie, one of my favorite’s. I’m glad you gave The Fifth Element an honorable mention. And Chris Tucker didn’t make the movie, Bruce Willis, and Gary Oldmen did, Tucker was a nice addition.

    There were a few missing from what i can see, at least in my mind:
    Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow Sure this movie basically tanked at the box office, but as soon as i saw the trailer in early 2004, i knew it was going to be a great movie. I think it could have been a great franchise, if only the public liked it more.

    Back to The Future While it’s on the fence as far as sci-fi is concerned, it remains one of the only movies to do time travel perfectly. Terminator was good, but BTTF did it better, and sooner too.

    and lastly, Titan A.E. sure it’s animated, but the story was there, and it was good, even if it did cause the the company that made it to go bankrupt.

    As you said though, it’s impossible to create a list of best movies without excluding your favorites.

    ps as for Star Trek, I love it, but the movies, (except for II, IV, & VIII) weren’t really anything to remember.

  • Kipster: I love Clockwork Orange and it would have been high up on a larger list :)

    Dave: I loved the original War of the Worlds – I watched it as a kid when they did some sci-fi stuff on TV from the old days – they also played the Day of the Triffids series which was excellent.

    Sci Boy: Event Horizon was a very good film – I can still picture the “libera me!” scene.

    jongleur: thanks :)

    Steve: I was very impressed with Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, but for some reason I just can’t seem to finish watching it. It seems to be lacking something that I can’t put my finger on.

  • RobS

    OK, is Frankenstein a Science Fiction movie? Or is it Horror? And if Frankenstein is Sci/Fi, how about King Kong? Should that be in this category, too?
    And sorry, but Sky Captain? SKY CAPTAIN???
    Forbidden Planet – definitely!
    Time Machine – If not on the list, assuredly an alternate.
    Same deal with Planet of the Apes (“It’s a madhouse! A MADHOUSE!!!”)

    How about a Bizarro list of Sci/Fi movies? What are the worst? You have 10 years of MST3K to choose from.

  • RobS: Planet of the Apes got a mention in the notable omissions :) I consider Frankenstein to be Sci-Fi because it involves a mad scientist (Dr Frankenstein) who uses technology of his time to create the monster.

  • Tokotiki

    Frankenstein is considered the first Sci-fi book ever written, considering it involves science not yet invented by real scientists, and the characters and events are fictional.

    But anyway, another Sci-fi movie I enjoyed that had some similarities to Frankenstein was Jurassic Park, after that movie came out, I was a fan, until the monstrosity that was Jurassic Park 3 came out.

    But I’m so glad you included Terminator, my parents watched that movie with me when I was but a little kid, one of the best movies of all time :)

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  • RobS

    Tokotiki. That’s right. I remember once reading that Frankenstein was considered to be the very first science fiction novel. I’d forgotten that.

    Your parents watched Terminator with you when you were a little kid?
    I watched the Time Machine when I was a little kid.
    In the theater.
    When it first came out.
    NOW I feel old!

  • Heh – one always has to be careful about what one says in case you give away your age :)

  • Morphy

    That list pretty much covers it. Blade Runner is probably my favorite sci-fi movie of all time, with 2001 and 2010 close behind. Time Bandits would have to be included as well (Mom! Dad! Don’t touch it! It’s EVIL!!!) Maybe Akira, too (does anime count?) Hard to make this list, so many good movies. The Thing and Alien are also favorites, and The Fly (both original and remake – how can you not love a guy running around wearing a fly-head?)

    I loved The Matrix (despite Keanu) but they really ruined that franchise with the two sequels. The Animatrix was the best of the follow-ups.

    Throw Cocoon in, too. Great movie with one of the greatest assemblages of actors ever.

  • jfrater: I have a few friends who also can’t make it through Sky Captain, but at the same time i have a few friends who think it was an awesome movie.

    RobS: I stand by my vote, Sky Captain is one of the best movies in the last 10 years.

    As far as the notable omissions go, good work on that, soon i think you will have enough for another list.
    However, Children of Men i didn’t like it, it had a good premise, but i just hated the movie.

  • My favorite sci fi movie is, star trek: first contact. Anyone like that one?

  • oh, yeah speaking of children of men. The book was way better.

  • RobS

    Henry, ST: First Contact was an excellent movie. My favorite of the ST:NG films.
    Hmmm… that doesn’t really say much, though, does it…

  • I haven’t read Children of men – does it differ a lot from the movie?

  • Star Trek: First Contact (Star Trek VIII) was the only really good TNG one, it’s a pitty too, TNG had some good story arcs, if only they got Q into a movie.

    as far as the book being better then the movie for Children of Men, thats nearly a given. First, Alfonso Cuarón directed it, and he butchered Harry Potter 3, but thats besides the point. It is nearly impossible to translate a book to the big screen very well.

    The movie i thought did it best was Sphere IMDb but that book was not very good, and neither was the movie. But, there were parts that were exact word for word book & movie.

    But that movie was bad, and in no way belongs on this list.

  • James

    Wow,I didnt know children of men was a book.Im gonna to have to read it,even though i didnt really like the movie.

  • Stephen11

    James: Lots of the time the book is unbelievably better then the movie. Granted, I haven’t read Children of Men nor have I watched the movie.

  • xasshern

    AWSOME, AWSOME, AWSOME! jfrater! one of the best lists you’ve done so far! i agreed with everything, can’t think of anything i’d change! hopefully one day children of men will be recognized enough to be on the list, but its so knew i wouldn’t dare put it up there with greats like that. and to the guy that mentioned equilibrium! one of my favorite movies ever! but, i wouldn’t put it on the list because its basically if you turned 1984 into an action movie! its one of the best action movies i’ve ever seen. it has the best shoot out scenes ever in a movie bar none, and beats the hell out of most of the action scenes in the matrix because it didn’t need any bullet time to accentuate the action. also, one of the best sleeper or cult hits of all time, considering it came out around 2000 and is just now gaining notariety! the scene where taye diggs’ character dies just grabs you by the balls and makes you scream uncle. but, one of the best sci-fi movies ever…no. thanks again man!!!

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  • zombiejorge

    Im personally putting my vote for 12 monkeys. Everyone is stellar in that.

  • Reading that list just showed me how lacking my movie watching is because I haven’t seen several of those movies before! I really should watch more movies, but I say that yearly! Funnily enough, the ones you left out are the ones that I have seen. Well, I have of course seen Star Wars and a few others. Maybe I will use this as my list if I ever do actually watch more movies… I am so far behind now, though, that I will never catch up! haha.

  • Thanks all for the comments. It is good to see that such great films have been so loved and appreciated by everyone.

  • morjana

    I agree with most of your list, however, my list would be this instead:

    1. Blade Runner [1982]

    2. 2001, A Space Odyssey [1968]

    3. Alien [1979]

    4. Star Wars [1977]
    5. Forbidden Planet [1956] – Robbie the Robot, Leslie Nielsen; and Anne Francis…
    6. Terminator [1984]
    7. Metropolis [1927
    8. The Fifth Element [1997]
    9. War of the Worlds [1953]
    10. Aliens [1986] – Alien was “the haunted house in space” movie; Aliens had the same characters in a totally different situation. Awesome.
    11. Close Encounters of the Third Kind [1977]
    12. The Thing From Another World [1951] – I prefer this version. Terrific dialog, wonderful casting, James Arness AND Dewey Martin (thud), and a nice romance.
    13. Invasion of the Body Snatchers [1956] – Very, very creepy.
    14. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home [1986] – SciFi and fun, with a a dash of ecology. Plus, Star Trek (the tv series) reinvigorated scifi on tv. This movie proved that humor and scifi do mix.
    15. Star Trek: First Contact [1996] – The best of the Next Gen movies.
    Bonus: Back to the Future [1985] – Just plain fun.

    I’m not a fan of the Matrix movies. Way too pretentious. Good special effects though.

  • RobS

    And another Dewey Martin fan makes the scene! Yeah, he was really good in that film. Shoot, everyone was.
    Hmmm… methinks I’ll have to re-read the story that inspired both movies, “Who Goes There”. It’s been awhile.

  • morjana: thanks for the list – what an effort :)

    RobS: I took your advice on the worst sci fi movies :) The list is now up.

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  • Rishtardo

    I believe that Star Wars is THE best sci-fi movie ever! No doubt about it!

  • jongleur

    An interesting interview with Sir Ridley Scott was published today at He directed both Alien and Blade Runner, yet he gives his highest marks to 2001: A Space Odyssey

    Sir Ridley said that 2001 was “the best of the best”, in use of lighting, special effects and atmosphere, adding that every sci-fi film since had imitated or referred to it. “There is an overreliance on special effects as well as weak storylines,” he said of modern sci-fi films.

  • jongleur: thanks for posting that. I did have a lot of difficulty deciding between 2001 and blade runner for top spot. In the end I looked around the net for a while to see what others thought and that helped me decide. Kubrick was definitely one of the greatest film directors and he deserves 2nd spot or 1st spot.

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  • jongleur

    I always have to wonder what Artificial Intelligence: AI would have been like if Kubrick had lived to finish it, rather than passing away and leaving that task to Spielberg.

    While Steven Spielberg is certainly one of the greatest filmmakers around, he clearly couldn’t grasp the vision that Kubrick had intended, and turned what might have been a truly great movie into something that lost both its focus and its bite.

    AI always ranks in my mind as one of the few movies “that should have been great, but…” Had Kubrick lived to finish the movie, I’m reasonably confident that you might have found a place for that movie on this list.

  • crazygal

    I love sci-fi movies,,,,,so….I
    m a sci-fi nut!!!I have seen a few of the remakes,such as,,,War of the Worlds but give me the originals,,,,,such as “the Thing” w/ James Arness(aka as Marshal Dillon)

  • Kyler325

    This list works for me on many levels, particularly Alien, which scared me silly as a 16 year old seeing it in the theater, but mostly for Brazil. What an incredible artistic achievement for Terry Gilliam, and perhaps the most under rated movie of the last 50 years. I realize with 12 Monkeys on there you already have 2 Gilliam films, but Time Bandits deserves an honorable mention

  • WearShades

    Interesting list, but I don’t see how the only Star Wars movie is episode IV. While my favorite is VI, the one that’s probably most deserving is V since few movies have a plot twist as crazy as Darth Vader being Luke’s father.

  • WearShades: I only selected one from a series – so I had to pick one Star Wars only.

  • axsylum

    I’ve watched waaaaay too much sci-fi over the years (I’m feeling older by the minute!) and really dug the list. A few other favorites of mine:

    Altered States, Dreamscape, Looker (Just for the weirdness of it), Star Trek (The Motion Picture), Dune.

    Thankfully, you don’t have a list on horror movies. My list would be like reading a book!

  • Phil

    I agree with morjana, the matrix is pretentious and pseudo-intellectual.

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  • WearShades

    jfrater: I understand, I would have picked V instead of IV, but, that’s why it’s your list and not mine.

  • For me… 2001: A Space Odyssey it’s probably the best science fiction movie out there, it combines incredible visual elements and even a deeper story that explores the mysteries of human evolution and the universe it self. The vision of Kubrick and the imagination of Clarke make this movie a classic cinema experience.
    Damn! April 6-2008… 40! Anniversary!

    This comment can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

  • I’ve always liked the music from 2001, A Space Oddesy but I’ve really only watched two (three if you count the re-make of War Of The Worlds, with the track star Tom Cruise) of these movies. I’m glad to say that I’m not a Star Wars nerd, but I think Star Wars is the best because it contains an entire background and aftermath of characters’ lives that weren’t shown in the movie. Star Wars isn’t just six movies that ended, they became an entire world for people to read about.

    Star Wars gets my vote, but so does anything else with Harrison Ford

  • bizzoony: that is why the Foundation series by Asimov was so successful I think (though it is a book series not a film series)

    Daniel: 2001 is great – even with the 20 minute psychedelic scene – it is still worth its weight in gold.

  • theshizzler

    I’m going to have to disagree with your choice of Terminator over Terminator 2. Terminator 2 was better on just about every level. It not only had amazing effects, but it did it with a well-integrated storyline – something many action films fail at today.

    Missing on this list? It depends on where you draw the line on science fiction, but I’d like to see Children of Men and Jurassic Park up there.

    sidenote to jfrater: Spot on with Foundation as an example. Sadly, its one of those concepts that works infinitely better as a book.

  • theshizzler: thanks :)

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  • I didn’t like any of the terminatrors, they had a good plot but the execution was horrible.

  • Henry: I am not a big fan either but the films rate very highly in all of the reviews and polls so I bowed to the pressure of my peers :)

  • watson

    You put “12 Monkeys” on the list at #14 but don’t even mention “Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension”

    i call “mulligan” on that

  • watson: 12 monkeys scores in the IMDB top 250 movies of all time with an 8.0 rating – Buckaroo Bonzai scores a 5.9 – a lot of people agree with my selection :)

  • Miguel

    Soilent Green
    Omega Man
    Buckeroo Bonzai
    Phase IV
    Andromeda Strain

  • Miguel

    Oh, yeah…
    Children of Men
    Lathe of Heaven (orig)

  • The original Terminator and not Terminator 2? I’m like the original just as much as the next person, but if I have to pick one I’ll take the second without hesitation. The first is good, but Terminator 2 is a SciFi classic.

  • miccas75

    Sorry, I’ma little late to the list. Blade Runner is hands down my favorite, and I respect the scope of every movie on the list. Every one of these entries have terrific arguments for placement, but a ‘best of’ movie list to me should indicate seminal works that beg repeat viewing and study. Now, how many times can you really watch The Matrix? Two Gilliam entries, fine, but you might as well throw in Time Bandits as well. The Thing evokes horror, but Escape from NY represents a dystopian world much better. The time-travel logic in Terminator blew. Empire vs. Star Wars, toss up, who cares at this point. The rest of the list rules. One addition I would make is The Iron Giant, for the kids.

  • miccas: you can never be too late on this site :) Thanks for the additions.

  • Bladerunner was and is the best yet. There were two versions of it though, the original and the director’s cut. The director’s cut was shown a few years earlier, why? Rent or buy the two versions to find out.

    I would also include The Andromeda Strain shown in the early 70’s which for some years later was evolved into “Outbreak” (remember Ebola Virus?). Metropolis had also evolved in Anime form .

    It’s a pity, that the film “I, Robot” did not truly interpreted the book of the same title by Isaac Asimov. It would have been in my list also.

  • Well – the competition is now over! We have selected 5 random commentors from this article and have emailed them all to congratulate them and get the name of the DVD they wish to receive.

    Congratulations to the winners: miccas75, axsylum, jongleur, zombiejorge, crimanon.

  • RobS

    Bummer. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride…

  • RobS: hehe, at least you got to enjoy the lead up :)

  • EricB

    How is it that Dark City isn’t on this list? It was one of the best science fiction movies made in the 90s. Of its 90s era competitors in this list only 12 Monkeys has a real edge on it. (The Matrix is weighed down by Keanu Reeves and Fifth Element by Chris Tucker)

    Is the 1972 Solaris actually watchable? I’ve never been able to sit through a Tarkovsky film without wanting to cut my own head off to relieve the boredom.

    Also, it should be Solyaris Your Amazon link goes to the 2002 remake, which is widely considered inferior.

  • Kevinv

    FYI: They’re releasing a new Blade Runner DVD. I believe Ridley Scott is removing all the stuff the studio made him put in, like the voice over narration.

    Also, there is a version of Solaris with George Clooney that I thought was pretty good. Judging by the date on the version listed I believe that is the Russian version, which I haven’t seen but have heard is better.

  • EricB: Thank you for pointing out the problem with the link – I didn’t realise.

    Kevinv: I will be buying the new Blade Runner if they do that

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  • vic druten

    Loved the list, but what about:
    1. ICE PIRATES; some really great moments in there.
    2. CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK;never understood why it didn’t score better???
    AND: I’m 64, and looking back at 1st Star Wars movie…well…it can look hokey. BUT…you have had to have been thar when…all of a sudden…SciFic took a gargantuan leap forward in movie presentation. I remember my friends and I looking at each other after the first minute and thinking…Whoa,Damn, Unbelievable! The opening of the first Matrix…if you all remember…was prety damn NEAT too!

  • vic: I haven’t seen Ice Pirates – thanks for mentioning it. Also, I agree about Star Wars – it does look a bit dated these days, but it was such an important film in its time!

  • Wolfe

    Two more for the mix …

    The Shape Of Things To Come. This movie made Francis Ford Copela want to be a director. An amazing piece of cinema from the 30’s.

    City Of Lost Children …Amazing Visuals and a great story. Ok one more, V for Vendetta, hurray! for subversive distopian films!!

  • So Sue Mee


    Ok, how about
    Mad Max 1 (B Gradish but wow).
    Mad Max 2
    Ghost in the Shell 1
    Planet of The Apes 1
    The Omega Man (yes, really)
    The War Game (ok not really Sci-Fi but….)
    Neon Genesis Evanglion movies.
    Quatermass (1979) (maybe an adapted TV show)
    Delicatessen (ok maybe not Sci-Fi)
    Avalon (Polish/Japanese version, wow).

    Some other good ones such as Dark City have been mentioned above.

    Trek and Star Wars is more Space Opera to me than anything else. Never been a fan. Fifth element, mmmm, so she is pretty and???(Aziz, the light!).

  • Wolfe, and So Sue Mee: great films – nice additions.

  • Apolodor

    Congratulations for a great list, Jamie. Still, giving E.T. only a “notable omission”… And nobody complaining… PEOPLE! COME! ON!

  • Eric Shunn

    In terms of what I look for in good movie(sci-fi or otherwise), primarily would be a good plot. Without a viable story line the point is lost. Most of the films listed here more than prove that point. In my opinion the best sci-fi film would have to be Gattaca with Blade Runner a very close second. Both have decent, witty dialog that doesn’t treat the viewer like a child, excellent acting and perhaps most importantly, both are morality tales and within the realm of possibility.

  • apolodor: heh :)

    Eric Shunn: Gattaca is a great film.

  • 2overpar

    the jodie foster movie, contact, is one of my favorites. the scene where they find the second signal and then hitler appears on the monitor was gripping!

  • 2overpar: that was a good film – I was surprised that it was not hugely popular.

  • Sean

    First of all, great site and great list.

    Being a huge science fiction fan, I take this list pretty seriously and can’t find any major complaints with it except one. How is Serenity not only not on the list but not even mentioned in anyones comments? This IS one of the best ever.

    Loved Dark City too.

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  • rj

    i kno its kinda late but…HOW THE HELL CAN YOU FORGET “Contact” with Jodie Foster?

  • rj:I was quite surprised when I watched Contact because I did not expect it to be all that good – but it was. I don’t think it ranks as one of the top 15 of all time though.

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  • Randall

    “Forbidden Planet”, the original version of “The Thing” (The Thing from Another World) and either version (or both) of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” should have been on here.

    Thank you, however, for only including the original, and only truly good Star Wars film. I was 13 years old when that came out, and went to see it 8 times. While corny and cheesy at times, there was no denying its impact; there had been nothing like it before–even though its influences were clearly showing. But the other films in the series…. well, “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” were okay… but the three latest films were execrable. “Phantom Menace” was godawful.

  • fabrulana

    I never saw the original “The Thing” but John Carpenter’s was excellent. I enjoyed the first “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” more then the new one – when Donald Sutherland suddenly pointed and screamed it sent chills down my spine.

    I loved the first 3 Star Wars films, and the fact that the new films with supposed better effects are worse, probably points to how good the story was in the first 3 films (which is obviously why they made them first). I think also the newness and diversity was the other attraction in the first 3 films, while the later films could only rehash stuff to cash in on the hype.

  • Sean the pyro

    Still no mention of Serenity. I know it’s by the Buffy guy but don’t hold that against this great film.

    “It’s been over a year and I aint had nothin twixt my nethers that don’t run on batteries.”

  • Mkadeus

    Whats with people coming down on the remake of Solaris? This was a great film, but not likely to be appreciated by the majority of clamheads. If you’ve ever truly loved and lost, you should be able to appreciate the interaction of Clooney with what initially seems to be his resurrected wife. I liked how artsy it was; it wasn’t hurried and chock full of over the top special effects. It was very real, and yet dreamy/surreal. If you are introspective and philosophical and have had times of great sadness in your life;;; You will very much enjoy this film. (Haven’t seen the original)

  • mishele

    I agree with you on 7 of your movies, but how could you forget the classic Liquid SkY? and Serenity? And Ice Pirates with the space herpes, Along with Anjelica Huston in this harness top lopping off heads with her big sword. And I loved 5th Element, Gary Olsen made the best villian I’ve seen in years.

  • mishele: Thanks for the comment – it is really difficult to get every great film on to a list like this without making it a top 50 or 100 – I did consider a lot more films than the ones that are on the list :)

  • Peggy

    Great picks.Keep up the good work.It keeps me from being sooooo bord at work.

  • MWB

    Great list, I am surprised that Logan’s Run hasn’t been mentioned. I will still watch it if it comes on TV.

  • Gort

    Forbidden Planet
    Dark City

  • Nightstalker

    I’m glad to see that the original War of the Worlds is on this list because it is, by far, the best version ever made.

    Other Great Sci-Fi’s that should be on here.
    1. Forbidden Planet
    2. The Thing From Another World
    3. The Andromeda Strain
    4. The Day The World Ended
    5. The Beast From 20000 Fathoms (Ray Harryhausen is a special effects god)
    6. Godzilla (Original 1951 version with Raymond Burr)

  • Lal

    In agreement with some above posts First Contact is my favorite sci fi movie as well.

    I obsessively love sci fi and am a big Terry Gilliam fan but I hated Brazil.

  • Damien

    Solaris was the most god-awful boring movie I have ever tried to watch

  • Jose Cohen

    Personally, I’d have put Star Wars a lot lower; most of George Lucas’ “vision” just comes out garbled, confused, and overblown. Actually, I don’t think I’d have had Star Wars on my list at all.

    I know we seek balance between eras (probably a good thing) but I thought Equilibrium could easily have made the list. It poses hard questions and demands hard answers in much the same way as The Matrix, Blade Runner, or 2001. Actually, I would say the same thing of Planet of the Apes, so why wasn’t that on the list too?

  • jbjr

    This Island Earth complete with commentary from the Mystery Science Theater characters.

    Pluto Nash (just kidding)

    Spaceballs was hilarious. Close Encounters was ahead of its time. E.T., Star Wars, et al. and a few of the Star trek movies. Did anyone read that Shatner was pissed that he wasn’t included in the new Star trek movie. Shat should be in that movie! Just a tidbit to throw out there.

  • Mkadeus

    Damien, you are soooo descriptive. I could ask a five year old for a response to a movie and get, “it was god-awful boring”. No offense intended, but I feel someone needs to come to Solaris’ defense. Maybe it’s ahead of its time, and thus will be appreciated as we grow into beings of compassion and spiritual substance.

  • Mkadeus

    How is it that Frankenstein made the list? And ‘The Thing’ movie itself would probably fit better under horror. I think ‘Mission to Mars’ easily bumps these two.

  • #1 first time to respond to one of these after years on the net…so on to it

    bladerunner is one of the best ever #1 i dont know but i still after all these years want to read the short story it was based on “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep”

    remake of the thing was good but original was better.

    would Dr. Strangelove count on this list . i dont know but it did get some people thinking.

    and what about The Blob. lol both were funny not really all that good though.

  • Shawn

    Where’s “A Clockwork Orange?” What about “Planet of the Apes?” I would have put either of these on the list instead of “The Fifth Element” which I didn’t like at all.

  • Alexandra

    How embarrassing. Out of all of these movies, the only ones I’ve seen are the ‘Star Wars’ movie. Haha. I do love them though!

  • swampsnake: I loved the blob – it was my favorite as a kid (even though it was made well before my time – I am thinking of the ’58 version).

    Shawn: planet is in the notable omissions – so it was close. I actually own all of the Planet movies on DVD – so the omission was not out of my personal feelings – I love them. Oh – and Planet and Clockwork orange are on other lists on the site – both excellent.

  • Jade

    Now that I have started commenting I can’t stop!

    “Planet of the Apes” I thought for sure would have made the list

  • copperdragon

    i would have included at least one Star Trek movie (Wrath of Khan was the best)

    ET brought warmth
    Spaceballs was the perfect parody
    Planet of the Apes
    The Time Machine (the original)
    Back to the Future

  • Polly Odyssey

    I heard that Blade Runner syncs with Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”. I have not seen the movie but I love Pink Floyd and am considering trying it.

    I think Gattaca should have been a Notable Omission, but I still like the list. I have seen most of these movies.

  • Polly Odyssey

    Oh, and Back To The Future should have been on the list. Definitely.

  • Well, I have to say – a few films have been lost in the shuffle here. How about…

    THX1138 – Anybody ever see this? Certainly it qualifies as sci/fi.
    The Andromeda Strain – Already cited in one of the comments, this is good “cerebral” sci/fi, like they used to make.
    Scanners – Yeah! A guy’s head explodes! Other Cronenberg films qualify too, like “Videodrome”. I saw the first part of “Rabid”. Creepy.
    Wavelength – A nice little alien contact film starring Robert Carradine and Cherie Currie. Nothing really deep but a good movie regardless.
    Silent Running – An environmentalist sci/fi movie. Kinda depressing.
    Them – Classic from the 50s.
    Serenity – Yeah, it was based on the series from the guy who created Buffy, but give it a chance anyway. I was very impressed.

    While we’re at it,…

    Why all the lionizing of “Blade Runner”? Sure, it’s good, but think how good it could’ve been if it had included Mercerism like in the book. And the fact that Pris and Rachel are the same model of replicant and look the same. They left out a lot from that book and the movie has little meaning for me because of it. It’s eye candy, nothing more.

  • Melonshoe

    Many wonderful movies discussed here, all of which bring back movieland adventures in my past. Here are a few notable films that have not been mentioned thusfar however:

    Fantastic Planet – French animated and intriguing.
    Zardoz – Sean Connery stars.
    Grand Tour: Disaster in Time – Jeff Daniels
    The Lorax – written by…. well, you know who :)

  • Nightstalker

    Classic examples as to why the Science Fiction genre just plain kicks ass. However, 15 movies is a severely abridged list. Here are a few other movies worthy of the list…

    1. Forbidden Planet – it’s called the grandfather of all science fictions for a reason.

    2. Godzilla – the 1951 japanese classic.

    3. The Beast from 20000 Fathoms – well all of Ray Harryhausen’s works are classics, but this one is my favorite.

    4. The Thing From Another World – the 1950’s precursor to John Carpenter’s classic.

    5. The Creature from the Black Lagoon trilogy – brilliant concept, excellent acting, science fiction gold.

    6. Jurassic Park – The original is still the best.

    I could ramble on about other science fiction classics, but I won’t bore you guys to death by doing so.

  • mllaneza

    Is “Children of Men” too recent, or just not that significant ?

  • das groß

    glad to see Metropolis is getting credit. Anyone who han not seen it should. Most sci fi movies have themes introduced in the movie. It even has a great dance(see it)

  • Jon H.

    It absolutely amazes me that “Colossus – The Forbin Project” never makes any ‘Best Science Fiction’ movie list. In my humble opinion, it is in my top 10.

  • joojoo


  • Jon H.

    Hey joojoo, thanks for the tip. I had not heard of Lexx, but now I’m going to check it out.
    By the by, another extraordinary film (probably the absolute best film to ever deal with time travel) is Primer.

  • Patrelcus

    I can’t agree with Frankenstein being dubbed as sci/fi….

  • Navik

    i used to think T2 was the best of the trilogy, probly cause i was younger and there was more action, but i now think the first one is the best, partially because it was pretty low budget and it was James Cameron’s 2nd movie that he directed and wrote the script for, plus Michael Biehn was the shit in that movie

  • Annunnakike

    Ehrm… Close encounters of the third kind? Jesus… I thought the only sci-fi list this one was going to be on, would be the “unbearingly boring sci-fi”-list!
    Just to be serious for a minute, even while I’m not a Trekkie, I thought that Star Trek Vger was incredibly stunning. The plot I mean.

  • Annunnakike: Sorry have to say this. STV (Voyager) is no where near the Idea of V(y)ger. Voyager Rocked, Vyger was cute idea from the Motion Picture. One is a Ship the other is a satellite.

  • DotSlash shawn

    Logan’s Run, Soylent Green, Planet of the Apes are super awesome too.

  • Jean in OK

    Not so sure Solaris would be on my short list, but…
    And you did leave out one of the best of all time, Forbidden Planet. So many later movies drew from that one, like Total Recall with the martian power plant.

  • Tom

    OK, some people may consider my comment downright blasphemous, but I have to do this anyway: There is no way The Matrix belongs on this list. It was an over-hyped, style-over-substance waste of time and money. Notwithstanding that Keanu Reeves hit his peak as an actor with “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”, the normally brilliant Lawrence Fishburn looked like he was sleepwalking through his role, and the oh-so-horribly-cliche “I love you” comment from what’s-her-name to bring Neo back to consciousness was so bad it would have had to be better just to bore me. It was all special effects and damn little else. The acting was abysmal, the script was worse, and it was one hackneyed and cliched plot device after another. An interesting premise done very, very badly.

    But, as H.L. Mencken once noted, “No one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American audience”.

  • rushfan

    Oh WiseOne, thank you for gracing us with your greatness.

  • jon

    what the hell, 2001 is shite

  • Kyle

    I feel that a lot of the classic sci-fi movies come off a bit cheesy to me. While I do enjoy movies like Star Wars which dealt more with creating an entire world beyond what we knew at that time. I was not born when theses films were created and when I watch them I don’t really have a true grasp of how grounding breaking the use of muppets and models really was especially by today’s standards. I think star wars is an over-rated classic if I may possibly say that with all dude respect and have my point understood that for me classic as it may be I feel that a true classic remains fresh. What I mean by that is that the effects and sound design in that movie where awesome for that time but unless you have at least a 5.1 system at home you can’t really enjoy that aspect. And I don’t think there was anything particularly innovative about the story or the cinematography.
    Besides that, I also really loved The Matrix but the story was by now means new. The idea that we are not experiencing the world as it is relates directly to several philosophical theories specifically Descartes “Evil genius” look it up! Besides that you might want to check out a movie that came out in 99′ called The Thirteenth Floor which had a very similar concept. There are many well know sci-fi films that are directly their story directly from philosophical texts. I think The Matrix was one of the most ground breaking because it took an almost 400 year old theory and brought it to life with new cinematographic techniques via cgi…I’ll stop…lmao

  • Kyle

    But yea…The matrix had its fair amount of cheese too

  • SuperHero3

    What! No love for The Empire Strikes Back!

  • zoe

    i'm surprised Gattaca is not on the list. while its not your typical brain dead sci-fi movies it is one of smartest sci-fi movies ever. i think its those sort of movies that should be on the list. the ones that are entertaining and thought-provoking at the same time

    • Julia

      i was surprised as well! it’s a great sci-fi movie even without action and it actually seems pretty realistic.

  • Bare Knuckle Brawler

    Who cares how long a posting is, jfrater? Good grief, have a cow will ya? Maybe some folks feel what they have to say matters and they explain more the firt time than having to post 20 times with one liners?

    I like this list though I didn’t care much for the 12 Monkeys and would rather have put “Planet of the Apes” on here if you have to have ‘monkeys’ involved. ;) I thought “John Carpenter’s The Thing” was more Horror than Sci-Fi. Never saw Solaris (nor Metropolis either) but I’ll remedy that. Brazil??? Never heard of it.

    My Fifteen:

    1. War of the Worlds (Original)
    2. Day the Earth Stood Still
    3. The Crawling Eye
    4. Forbidden Planet
    5. Tarantula
    6. Creature From the Black Lagoon
    7. Earth VS The Giant Spider
    8. Wasp Woman
    9. Incredible Shrinking Man
    10. Planet of the Apes
    11. Alien
    12. Empire Strikes Back
    13. Independence Day
    14. Plan 9 From Outer Space (Hey it’s a classic dud but funny!)
    15. Journey to the Seventh Planet
    Bonus: Island of Dr. Moreau (Marlon Brando version)

    Those’re my picks and I don’t recall anywhere stating they have to be ‘blockbuster’ movies either.

  • alanaiguana

    brazil is definitely one of the weirdest and most awesome movies ive seen…

  • Mendacity

    I am quite surprised I havnt see Children of Men on here more. I know it recieves an honorable mention, but I think it deserves a little more than that. As a movie, I thought it succeeded incredably well to draw the viewer in with extremely realistic shots, good characters, good dialogue, and above all long long camera sequences – that above all was the best thing. Although it does not really comment on society and only has the one idea that it develops (infertility), I thought that it succeeded excellently well with what it set out to do.

  • Pat Flannery

    Great list! I agree with it almost completely, except that I would put any one of the omitted films on the list in place of 5th Element, which I just found silly. Planet of the Apes has to have a spot, come on.

    Two Jeff Goldblum movies, The Fly and Jurassic Park, should have at least made the notable omissions list.

    This summer’s Dark Knight should be added to this list. It is a great movie that features a number of near-tech science fiction elements. Same with Iron Man.

    An interesting twist on this list might be to have a hard sci-fi list, that is, a list where science fiction is distinct from fantasy or speculative fiction in that the movie doesn’t use technology that is impossible (lightsabers, faster-than-light starships, teleportation, time travel). Our list above edited on that criteria would look like this:

    1. The Matix (the first one, before the Cohen bros violated their own milieu and allowed Neo to start using magical effects outside the matrix).
    2. Batman: The Dark Knight
    3. Metropolis
    4. Frankenstein
    5. Brazil
    6. The Thing
    7. Children of Men
    8. Dark City
    9. Jurassic Park
    10. Iron Man
    11. Strange Days
    12. Vanilla Sky
    13. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    Don’t beat me up on the order, because I haven’t given it much thought.

  • Dani

    SERENITY anyone?

  • Hayley

    I am legend

  • dm

    minority report

  • The Grey GOAT

    I think Alien should be higher on the list or even #1. I’ve only seen pieces of 12 Monkeys and Bladerunner and I can’t say I was all that impressed, but I have not given up on them I will watch them someday. If you forget the Matrix 2 & 3 were ever made then yeah 1 was great.

    You should also add:

    Predator (all time classic, can’t believe it’s not on here)
    Total Recall (Cheezy as hell but fun to watch)
    T2 (waaaay better than the 1st and probably the best sequel ever made)
    Alien(s)(another good sequel)
    Demoliton Man (Same as Total Recall)
    Event Horizon (Not the best movie per say, but a cool story)

  • kazorek

    I must admit about halfway down the thread I started skimming, but I didn’t see anyone mention Ropocop. I think its a horribly under-appreciated movie, now-a-days anyway. Maybe because its so often presented as a pair with the successful (but incredibly awful) sequel. Does anyone else feel the same? Or maybe a better question, has anyone bothered to watch it earnestly in the last 10 years?

    Its quite lovable and VERY well written. I’ve never heard of another movie that deals with the man/robot mind concept (a la Blade Runner), with such a humanistic “story of a man” kind of approach. Its very charming to see the man from the beginning of the movie slowly seep into the robot; ‘cybernetic or not, a good man is a good man.’ It nabbed a couple oscars and dominated the Saturn awards, I don’t know why its reputation has diminished so much.

    Its simple but its not dumb or shallow, its actually pretty stylish, humbly acted, and slick overall. [accidental alliteration :)]

  • Danny

    Solaris was horrible –

    Agree with earlier posts – Dark City & Demolition Man

  • alvare

    C’mon, I’ve seen all these, I want something to see on sunday :(
    BTW, when they release a movie based on Foundation by Isaac Asimov I’m outta here !

  • phil

    what about free jack, the running man, virtuosity and toy soldiers, i liked them at least,

  • Angeleno

    Great list… but C’MON!!! Where’s Akira? One of the best cyberpunk films of all time!

  • Troy McClure

    Star Wars (part 4-6) -1st thing you think of when sci-fi is topic

    12 Monkeys -best plot ever?
    The Thing -first of its kind

  • Ashaman

    Pretty solid list to say the least. But I would have bumped “Frankenstein” into the horror category and replaced it with “Forbidden Planet” – a very influential sci-fi classic. And I would humbly bump “Solaris” in favor of “THX-1138” – a very disturbing movie.

  • saber25

    It was my birthday when they selected the 5 winners of this article. SEPTEMBER 8! Sorry I am a schizophrenic so my other side has a birthday of his own

  • samad khan from swabi tordher 00923459296009

    i like science fiction movies which have the realities in the future to become a truth i like adventrous movies to,like pirater of the caribbean lords of the rings vanhelsing etc

  • Dawson

    I think Matrix is possibly one of the most overated films of all time. when it was released I reckon everyone got caught up in the moment but you look but back it and it’s soooo boring
    I agree with Bladerunner though; despite Harrison’s questionable acting abilities it is nothing less than stunning.
    2001 is in a league of its own too. I thought it was shame that Akira was nowhere to be seen though

  • Rissa

    I know this movie is not the greatest sci-fi movie of all time, it might even be the worse, but it was generally entertaining through out and had a kick ass ending “A Boy and His Dog”

  • Fenriz218

    Getting time to add AVATAR to this list. My recomendation is: take out MATRIX put in AVATAR.

    Anybody over the age of 10 and an IQ higher than 50 has to admit: MATRIX was truely aweful and well deserving the lead of Keenau-what’s-his-name …

  • klausekilski

    In spite of the worthy titles chosen,the absence of forbiden planet makes this this list incomplete…

  • klausekilski


  • Mike

    Colossus:The Forbin Project is a terrific sf film.Fantastic Voyage is fun too,even if it wouldn’t be considered a Top 15 SF Film.

  • Bob

    I would add Quest for Fire as well.

  • celsus1

    Blade Runner
    The Day the Earth Stood Still
    Foebidden Planet
    The Noah

  • Red5

    First time commenting on what has become one of my favorite all-time websites! There’s a lot of talk (when discussing Luc Besson’s 5th Element) about how Chris Tucker’s Character ruins the movie… Really? Look harder at the world/universe the movie is set in: over the top, commercialized and garish. It makes MORE sense that a pop star in that world would be completely obnoxious, doesn’t it? My personal opinion is that Ruby Rod is smartly written and played to perfection by Mr Tucker. Anything more sedate would be out of place in Besson’s well fleshed-out universe. Just my 2 cents. Great site!!

  • Will Trame

    I prefer the original “The Thing” from 1951. For the most part, remakes of old classics are a bad move, and we are seeing far too many of such. I hear that “The Incredible Shrinking Man” is in the remake/remodel process only this time as a comedy.

    “Serenity” wasn’t really that good, although I did like the premise of the short-lived “Firefly” series. The western/sci-fi motif was perhaps a decade ahead of its time, as the original “Star Trek” and “Kolchak the Nght Stalker” were.

  • mwaseem

    Contact is maybe number one. Its really annoying not to list it up there

  • ilvos01

    Literally, you forgot the best one ever.
    "The Man from Earth", 2007.

  • siddparkar

    2001: A Space Odyssey HAS to be ONE in all lists.That movie is life changing :D

  • Nadia

    Of course Fifth Element had to be on this list. 4 words…Gary Oldman as Zorg.

  • Perry

    “Silent Running” should be on this list.

  • Name

    is it 1 (lowest) to 15 (highest) or the other way around either way this list is very ODD??

  • nkc

    i like to prefer inception in this list

  • James

    Am I the only one with Dune in my top 10?

    My ten looks like this:

    10: Cube
    9: Dune
    8: Blade Runner
    7: Ghost in the Shell
    6: Sky Blue
    5: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (TV Series, movie was good too though)
    4: Akira
    3: T2
    2: Back to the Future
    1: Inception

    Runners up:

    15: 2001
    14: Girl Who Leaped Through Time
    13: Eraserhead
    12: The Matrix
    11: Reanimator

    Yep, never seen a Star Wars or Star Trek movie :P Might pick up the Star Wars Blu Ray for my first viewing.

  • Stefan Rousseau

    I agree with all the titles but not the order !! One thing though what does the 5th element have to with such good films ??

    Stalker also is really missing !!

  • Ryon

    Love by Angels and Airwaves!

  • Great list! Well done. I’m with you bam, bam, bam, bam, bam and then you get to The Thing. I mean, I dig that movie, I do. But the original is the true pioneer and it’s the first “we’re trapped with this monster and its trying to kill us” storyline. The great ending “Keep watching the skies!” Almost because you (rightfully) have The Day the Earth Stood Still on here, I’d put the first The Thing. In one the invading Alien was peaceful, and in one he wasn’t. They were two sides of the same coin that have yielded a lot of good things since.

    Some that should be in the conversation in case no one else mentioned them and I haven’t gone through all the comments to find out:

    THX 1138

    Invasion of the Body Snatchers

    Forbidden Planet

    Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (I’m sure they’re out there but I’ve never heard of anyone who doesn’t like this movie.)

    A Clockwork Orange

    The Road Warrior

    Planet of the Apes (1968 or whatever year that was)

  • peter8172

    “The Incredible Shrinking Man” (1957), “Mad Max” (1980), “Altered States” (1980), “Barbarella” (1968), “Death Race 2000” (1975), “Demolition Man” (1993), “The Empire Strikes Back (1980), “Escape From New York” (1991), “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), “Fahrenheit 451” (1966), “Fantastic Voyage” (1966), “The Fly” (1986), “Forbidden Planet” (1956), “Heavy Metal” (1981), “Independence Day” (1996), “Journey To The Center Of The Earth” (1959), “The Land That Time Forgot” (1975), “Logan’s Run” (1976), “The Man Who Fell To Earth” (1976), Mars Attacks ! (1996), “1984” (1984), “The Outer Limits : The Sandkings” (1995), “Planet Of The Apes” (The Original) (1968), “Rollerball” (1975), “Them !” (1954), “The Thing” (1951), “THX1138” (1971), “Time After Time” (1979), “The Time Machine” (1960), “Timecop” (1994), “Total Recall” (1990), “The Ultimate Warrior” (1975), “V” (1983), “Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea” (1961), “Waterworld” (1995), “Westworld” (1973), “When World’s Collide” (1951), “X : The Man With The X-Ray Eyes” (1963), “Zardoz” (1973). Finally, I must say that a sci-fi movie can also have humor to it as well. So I will add Mel Brooks’ “Spaceballs” (1987)

  • terrence

    worst. list. ever.

  • rob

    What about
    Demon Seed
    Man with the X-Ray Eyes
    Quatermass and the Pit

  • Julia

    I know it really blurs the line of what is considered “sci-fi” because there isn’t really any action, but Gattaca is one of my favorites.


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