I have been watching sci-fi movies since I was a kid, and I never get sick of watching them. The allure of space and aliens has always gripped me, even those old 50’s movies that paved the way for the term “special effects.”
This week I will present 50 0f my favorites, starting from my least favorite to my most. Some movies didn’t make the list because I haven’t seen them yet, such as “Gravity” and “Interstellar.” I am really looking forward to seeing “Interstellar” because it relates to wormhole theory, which is the basis for my novel as well. So please, if you know me and haven’t seen it, please don’t tell me anything about it!
Scroll down the page to see the next 10, starting with No. 40!
Technically, this is not a sci-fi film, it’s a monster film, but I loved the concept and the special effects were very good for the time. Radioactivity played a big role in movies back then, with all the testing going on at the time. It paved the way for others, such as “Tarantula”, “Godzilla” and “Black Scorpion.”
Sean Connery is one of my favorite actors, and in this movie it was a great refresher not to see him as James Bond. he plays a sheriff on a penal colony on a moon. A series of deaths leads him to a mysterious new drug. It’s kind of a sci-fi whodunnit. Great acting, but the idea kind of flopped at the box office.
Although you would think this movie with Jodie Foster would rank higher on my lists because it displays a more plausible approach to the wormhole theory, it doesn’t. I felt it dragged in parts of the movie, concentrating more on her relationship with her father than contact with extraterrestrial beings. I will give it an A for special effects, however.
Surely one of the most under-appreciated sci fi movies of all time! This interesting story about an alien robot sent to drain Earth of its resources is surely one of the most original and advanced ideas during the 50’s genre. And the special effects aren’t bad either!
46. JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH
The original, not the remake with Robert Downey, Jr! This well developed British movie was a great adaption from the book. Fair acting, and the story line kept it somewhat true to the novel. Even the dinosaurs were done well!
45. 5 MILLION YEARS TO EARTH(Quartermass And The pit)
Originally a British film, it was released in the US in 1967 under it’s new title. This thought provoking film is about an ancient Martian spaceship buried in London that transfers thoughts to all who come into contact with it, particularly one scientist who knows its real purpose and origin. It is another lost classic that isn’t shown much on TV.
44. THE LAWNMOWER MAN
Although this was dubbed a Steven King movie, it bared no similarity to his book, and he even sued the production company for using his title. This virtual reality thriller starring Jeff Fahey and Pierce Brosnon as the mad scientist responsible for unleashing virtual power is definitely a classic. It ranks up there with the likes of Tron, which I personally do not like, and Virtuousity.
This sci fi film with Kurt Russel turned series once again explores the wormhole theory, but through a stargate. He is sent back to change human civilization problems caused by a alien race seeking to dominate both Earth and the world at the other end of the stargate. Skillfully done, the series never lived up to the original, in my opinion.
42. SOYLENT GREEN
Charleston Heston has always been one of my favorites. From Planet of The Apes to Omega Man he was one of the great actors of the genre. In this one he’s no different, playing a police officer who suspects something is awry in the government’s food plan of an
overpopulated world. And the last line has become one of the classics…Oh my God! Soylent Green is made of people!
This 5o’s movie starring James Arness is another great classic of the genre. Later shortened to just “The Thing” is another great example of what happens when humans mess with something they don’t understand. The fact that people are trapped inside a polar outpost adds to the tension, and the climax is predictable, but it a fun extraterrestrial joy ride!
This classic HG Wells story was well done both as an original and a sequel. One thing that bothered me with the sequel was that
the professor traveled back in time, which is something that was not done in the original, or could be done theoretically. We are still pretty sure this is impossible, even with wormholes. It plays out how man cannot change their fate, even with the right catalyst to do so. One of my favorites!
39. THE THING WITH TWO HEADS
Yea, Yea, I know what you’re thinking! How could this travesty of a movie even make my list? Two reasons-Rosie Greer and Ray Millard! What a combination! This story about a white man who wants a new body and is put on a black man is totally hilarious!
the chemistry and bigotry between them makes the movie!
38. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
This Jules Verne Disney classic with Kirk Douglas was one of the best sci=fi movies ever made. The story of Captain Nemo is all too familiar in literature and on screen. Several spinoffs of the original were made, but none as successful as this original.
37. THE INVISIBLE MAN
This 1933 classic is an oldy but a goody. Claude Rains is superb with his eccentric personality as a scientist who creates a formula that makes him vanish before your eyes. It spinoffs were several, including a 70’s series of the same name starring David McCullen from Mission Impossible fame, and a movie starring Ken Bacon called “Hollow Man.”
36. THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
This incredible 1958 saga is about a man who is touched by a mysterious cloud that causes him to slowly shrink. Although the special effects were at time cheesy(Trick photography to make real animals look bigger than they actually were), it is still by far one of the best. It couldn’t be better at the end when he finds out he will shrink into a microbe. This movie also paved the way for the series “Land of The Giants” which is also one of my favorites!
This 1973 Western sci-fi thriller directed by Michael Crichton and starring Richard Benjamin and Yul Brynner as a gun-happy android is also a classic. It’s funny how he can go through the whole movie without making any facial expressions-great acting Yul! Only problem is, they forgot a way to hide his accent!
34. COWBOYS AND ALIENS
The best part of this movie is the acting. Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig are superb in this movie, even if the story line is stupid. How could a bunch of cowboys defeat aliens, even if they had a special weapon? I would think the aliens were a little smarter than that! It is still a fun movie anyway!
This classic starring a young Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer is a dark dismal view of the future where replicants or androids exist. The mere obscurity of this film makes it one of the best sci-fi movies ever made.
This is technically a tv mini series, and it really didn’t do justice to Ray Bradbury’s story, but I liked it just the same. It is about humans who meet Martians and have a bit of a culture clash.
There is talk of making it a major motion picture in the near future.
This is technically a vampire movie, but it is an interesting concept. In this British made film, astronauts discover an enormous spaceship behind a comet with two males and one beautiful but deadly woman, but they’re not exactly human. They are alien life forms who literally suck the life out of you! Part vampire, part zombie, part sci-fi!
Great movie if you’re tired of the usual vampire flick!
This ecological statement in space is purely a gem of science fiction. Bruce Dern is a environmentalist astronaut along with two others who are ordered to destroy the only forests left from Earth that are in enormous pods attached to the spaceship. He murders the other two and is left to fend on with two droids. One of the best space survival movies I’ve ever seen.
Another great space survival movie! Dennis Quaid stars as a human stranded on a faraway world with a survivor of an enemy hostile lizard-like race(No wonder I like it), Louis Gosset, Jr. They must learn to work together to survive the ordeal, which changes the human’s way of thinking. And the alien’s even pregnant too, but not from him!
I’ve mentioned Robby the robot recently on the blog. He was first introduced on this movie, starring Leslie Neilson (in a more serious role) and Walter Pidgeon as the crazy scientist who creates a copy of himself out of pure energy. The special effects seem cheap now, but they were state of the art back then. It paved the way for my next movie….
27. LOST IN SPACE
I thought this movie version of the series was done quite well. Apparently the producers didn’t feel this way because there never was a sequel. With John Hurt as Dr.Robison, and Gary Oldman as the sinsiter and slick Dr. Smith, it really turbocharged the idea. Even Matt LeBlanc as Major West was pretty good, and I loved the new Robby the Robot. The cyberspiders were also a nice touch!
This post apocalyptic thriller with Charleston Heston is a classic predecessor to the zombie genre movies, like Night of Living Dead and others. Although they are not technically zombies, they are similar, infected with a disease that prevents them from being out in the daytime. He is superb in his commando type style that keeps him alive-for a little while anyway. And he manages to have a good time with Rosalind Cash before he’s offed as well! Based on a novel called “I Am Legend.” The new movie of the same name is closer to the actual novel, however. It all depends with what’s in in Hollywood at the time!
I saw this movie a while back, and I really enjoyed it. What starts out as like a slow documentary turns into be a rather good space thriller. It is well crafted, taking into account all the perils of space travel. There is even some documentary by one of the top physicists of today, relating to the story. The best part of this story is that it could actually happen, and is not just merely a science fiction story. This one gets it right!
Another Steven King story,and also another mini series, this one is set near his home town. A town of people begin to act strange after a writer starts to uncover a large underground object. When it is finally revealed, it is an ancient alien spaceship which uses their minds to revive the aliens and re-power the ship. Good movie, but the novel is much better!
I like Tom Cruise as an actor, but it seems that he is always too full of himself. This movie is an interesting one, where people are cloned, and reused, supposedly by human’s higher power. He is an agent sent back to the Earth’s surface to survey it for any alien life, and attack if necessary. It turns out that the joke’s on him,when Morgan Freeman enters the picture. If you haven’t seen this one, you should, it’s very good science fiction!
22. WAR OF THE WORLDS
HG Wells has terrified audiences again and again this story of a Martian invasion, and their powerful death rays. The 50’s version was dubbed a “masterpiece of special effects innovation .” The new one with Tom Cruise was no different, adding CGI effects to the mix. The story lines are much different, but the result is the same. Even Martians get a cold sometimes!
This prequel to “The Chronicles of Riddick” is unique, with its night creatures that encompass the planet like roaches when the lights go out, and the main character who has night vision to see them with. Vin Diesel is purely ruthless in this film, willing to leave everyone there to save his own hide. He is a wasted talent in action adventure movies, he does science fiction really well and fits rights in with the settings. I hope to see more of him ion this genre!
20. TOTAL RECALL
Although There was a remake made of this with Colin Farrell, I still haven’t seen it. I do like the original, however, with Arnold Swartzenegger. This crazy mind blower of a lost alien civilization on Mars, where reality is never what it seems, is one my favorites.
With Michael Ironside and Tommy Cox as the villans you love to hate, and some space humor thrown in for extra measure. My favorite line in this one is where the one where Arnold says, “You’re me and I’m you, and I want my life back.” Talk about confusing, which leads me to another Arnold flick…
19. THE SIXTH DAY
This cloning adventure explores the idea of a man being cloned without his permission, and systematically erased off the face of the planet. What his pursuers don’t know, however, is that he gets his clone to work with him. Another Kirk Vs. Kirk scenario, and a wild ride into Earth’s possible cloning future!
This prequel to the Alien series is an interesting movie in its own right. Although it received bad reviews, it did a stupendous job at explaining how the aliens came into existence, and at how the beings in the film were connected to Earth. The ending was both suspenseful and thought provoking. Ridley Scott is one of the great directors of our time.
Although this one was more about the elderly humans involved, it still can not be ruled out as one of the best sci fi movies to display humanity at its best and worst. Steve Guttenburg, Dom Ameche, Hume Cronin and Brian Keith are wonderful in this heart warming story of older people who want to be young again. It’s a real gem of a movie directed by Ron Howard!
16. I ROBOT
Will Smith is relentless in his quest to find out if Sonny the robot has killed his owner, played by James Cromwell. When he finds out that it’s really the computer entity itself that is controlling the other robots, he must stop it, with the help of his unlikely new friend. Close to Asimov’s story, but still considerably different. What can I say other than Will Smith makes the movie, but it still makes my list! Great special effects!
15. PLANET OF THE APES
Again, one of the best sci fi movies ever made. Although the ape makeup is cheap by today’s standards, when I first saw this when I was a kid it was terrifying. I grew hooked to the movie series, and even dragged my Mom to an old night apeathon! God love her for putting up with me! Charleston Cheston is by far one of the best actors in Hollywood, and it was sad to see his passing. He never won an academy award for this role, but he should have. He is electrifying as Taylor, as Rowdy McDowell is made for the part of Corneillus. The remake, however, sucked a big goose egg!
14. MEN IN BLACK
Although the premise of this movie is way way out there, I really like the way that they find simple solutions to complex problems. Tommy Lee Jones is hilarious as Agent K and Will Smith is his usual bang-em up self. This one is more of a comic book type sci fi flick, and plays out accordingly so, and is much better than the new “Guardians of The Galaxy”, which isn’t even a fraction of believable. I also like the suits, especially after Agent J is spit out by the alien-classic!
This kid-friendly film about a lost alien trying to find his way home is both heart-warming and humorous. By the time the movie nears its end you’re rooting for the alien, which is unusual in an extraterrestrial movie. The frog scene has got to be one of my favorites, and when he makes the bike fly you begin to believe in magic. It also teaches us that all we have to do to communicate is just listen. Great movie!
You didn’t think I’d leave this movie off the list, did you?
Agent Mulder has always been one of my favorite fictional characters, as well as the often cynical Scully. This movie brings a great closure to the series. It was later followed up with a sequel, which wasn’t half as good. Sometimes it’s better to leave alone.
11.HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
This one reads like a how to to space travel. With Eric Idle, this one is both adventurous, fun, and comical. It’s like Dr. Who without the Taris. I loved the way this one flowed into a serious plot, but kept the jokes flowing! I even thought the special effects were amusing as well.
The reason I picked this one over the first of the series is obvious. The first one seems more like a documentary on how to clone dinosaurs and a video game. The second one is by far better, even though it goes completely off track from Cricton’s book. In the book, it is more about Malcolm’s relationship with his daughter and the peril that the group is in being chasing by Tyrannosauruses. In the movie, there are Ingen guys running all over the place, getting eaten and ripped apart at mealtime. And the dinosaurs make it to New York, which is never even mentioned in the book. Just the same, I love the fact that they took the storyline and ran with it to give it audience appeal.
9. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND
Every science fiction writer, reader, or movie buff has to have this one in their library. Part science fiction-part science fact, this interesting story of alien abduction and encounters, and the government cover up involved gives us something to think about. Richard Dreyfess is no less than perfect as a person affected by his experience of UFOs. One of my all time favorites!
8. THE MATRIX
One word for this movie-mindblowing! What is reality and what is make believe is explored in the world called the matrix. Of course we know that reality is really a world run by cybernetic beings that control everything we see and hear, until we learn the truth! My only disappointment in this cyber thriller is the fact that it is mostly fighting, and less focus on the real battle between men and the machines. I feel this would have made for a better story. That’s keuna Reeves for you!
One of the best of the Star Trek movies. I loved the use of the Earth cliches in this film, and the the story about the whales added a human element that is rare in science fiction films. I liked the whaling ship scene as well. The only problem with this is the premise of the film-Why would an alien race build a probe that answers to whales? Think about it!
6. STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI
What can I say? I’m partial to ewoks! Kidding aside, I felt out of all the Star Wars hype, this is the only one that holds the series together. The new movies are too CG obliterated, losing the characters in special effects. I liked the original Yoda, not the CG enhanced version. In this movie we learn the connection between Darth Vader, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker. Although the new movies explore the entire history of the star wars saga, this is the movie that binds them together.
This Arnold Swartzenegger movie about an efficient killing machine from the future is the classic that started the series. With Linda Hamilton as a young nurse trying to flee from the killer, this pre-post apocalyptic thriller is one that keeps you on edge, right up to the moment she is being chased by his torso. He also created a new trend in eyewear! Great action movie!
These two movies made me hooked on the series all over again. James Franco is superb as the scientist trying to cure alzheimer’s, and John Lithgow is excellent as his ailing father. The new series makes heroes of the apes, after some selfish humans use them for their own cruel purposes. There are also tie-ins to the original series, in both this one and the new one, such as Casear, Corniella, and an orangatang who writes “ape shall not kill ape”. The fight scene at the end of Dawn between Casear and his rival Boka is reminiscent of “Battle For The Planet of The Apes.”
This, in my opinion, was the best one of the series. It reunited James Kirk with his old rival Kahn, in a battle of the wits. It amazes me, however, how could leave him stranded on a planet that the federation failed to check on. It showed the colossal blunders humans can sometimes make. the battle scenes were well done(without CGI-it wasn’t invented yet), and the strength of the characters made the movie very cohesive.
This was a tough decision to choose which movie would be number one. I like this one equally as well as number one. Between the three of the series, the first one is the best, but all of them were very good. This no nonsense alien hunting flick introduced us to a whole new breed of alien-a thinking, reasoning creature with a taste for human trophies. Arnie is again a show stopping rival against the beast, ready to take him on with his own tactics. I instantly fell in love with this movie. The alien is the coolest one I ever seen, next to the number one…….
Sigorney Weaver thought she had it bad in Ghostbusters. That was before she met the creature with acid for blood. When she has to face them again on a man made mining colony, she’s a little more than pissed off. This one is the best of the series, where they launch an all out assault on the beasts. bishop is the first android we meet that actually has feeling for humans, and wants to help them, and not work for the company. They totally destroyed this franchise by combining it with the Predators, neither of the two they made were any good, in my opinion. The Alien series was one of the first sci fi movie to actually use the idea that aliens are not always human-like, and we as humans can be our own worst enemies, and sometimes we need to leave things alone… , because remember “In space, no one can here you scream!”
Well, that’s my picks for the best 50 movies. Join me Monday for a brand new series.