Best SF Film you have seen

Just looking at a thread about Star Trek actors in other shows. It got me thinking about SF movies, hench this thread

What are, in your opinion, the best science fiction films so far?

My list


Each of these movies have so many features that make them great it would take a very long post to explain them.

Briefly, I like these films for their originality, special effects pioneering and how much other, later films owe to them

So what’s your opinion and why?

In no particular order (chronological, I suppose):

Forbidden Planet: To my knowledge, the only Shakespearean adaptation that’s ever been able to improve on the Immortal Bard.

2001: Not only the best adaptation of any of the Grandmasters’ works, but the special effects blew away everything that had come before, and the story penetrated the popular consciousness in a way nothing previous had.

Star Wars: We can debate whether fantasy on spaceships counts as science fiction. But there’s no debating that it was great.

Alien and Aliens: A great horror movie, followed up by a great action movie, both of which also happen to be great SF.

12 Monkeys: Possibly the best time-travel story to ever see the Big Screen.

The Martian: A sterling example of the much-neglected near-future realistic space travel subgenre.

I’ll go with CE3K, because nostalgia, and because of the layers and layers of detail and worldbuilding.

Also, Blade Runner, ET, and Dark City.

I was four years old when my parents took me to see* Forbidden Planet*. You never forget your first.

Metropolis is one of my all-time favorite films.

I’ll concur with “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. It fit its time perfectly but holds up even today. There’s a reason it’s been remade three times, but as Dobie Gray said: “The original is still the greatest.”.

Primer is hands-down the best SF film I’ve ever seen.

Another innovative one. Vanishingly rate to see SF that uses, you know, actual science.


ohiomstr2, you might be unaware of our rule against altering the text in quote boxes. If you’re going to comment on multiple points in a quote, you can close the quote box before your comment and re-open it before continuing the quote, or you can put all of your comments at the end, after the box, or you can use some other kind of formatting instead of the quote box. Since you clearly didn’t intend it maliciously, I won’t discipline you for it, but be more careful in the future.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) A great early science fiction movie that holds up well.

Logan’s Run (1976) A personal favorite. I saw it when I was a teenager and it made a huge impression. And not just because of Jenny Agutter’s nude scenes.

12 Monkeys (1995) Gilliam is one of my favorite filmmakers and this is one of his best, even if he didn’t write it.

Galaxy Quest (1999) A really funny and spot-on comedy but it also has a solid story underneath the humor.

The Martian (2015) A great adventure story that relied on hard science.

Edge of Tomorrow (aka Live Die Repeat) is my favorite SF movie of the past 20 years.

Gattaca is one of the best - horrifying but realistic portrayal of the consequences of modern technology. And seems to be becoming more relevant every day.

Moon is also very good, it really is a story about technology and its use, not just using future tech as a prop for a drama.

If we ever encounter an alien life, it may be so alien that we don’t even recognize it as an alien life, let alone understand each other. On that theme, I think Solaris (the 1972 Russian version) is the best. (Though I may be a bit biased, being a big fan of Stanislaw Lem.)

Some of mine may not count as sci-fi to some people, but it’s what I see them as. I watch and enjoy a lot of shows. (I’ll probably see some on other poster’s lists and go “Oh, yeah!” )

Also, all are based on my personal taste, no need to explain taste: :slight_smile:

**Forbidden Planet

John Carpenter’s The Thing

Blade Runner

Star Wars

Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan


12 Monkeys

Planet of the Apes (1968)


Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Back To the Future

Jurassic Park

Mad Max 2 - The Road Warrior

The Terminator


Edge of Tomorrow

The Man Who Fell to Earth

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Frankenstein (1931)

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension

The Andromeda Strain (1971)


A Clockwork Orange


I’m going to jump on the bandwagon with 2001 and Forbidden Planet.

I would also like to mention It Came From Outer Space, a film that neatly subverts the “alien monsters invading our planet” trope.

It! The Terror from Beyond Space.

But interesting that if a movie lifts a lot of its plot and themes from Shakespeare, its a brilliant homage. If it lifts its plot and themes from a largely forgotten '50s sci-fi movie, it’s a rip-off. :smiley:

Whether a movie is brilliant is independent of whether it’s a homage, and whom it’s a homage of.

Agree with most of what’s been posted, so I’ll throw out Fantastic Planet? Really trippy movie, weird animation and music. I love the landscapes and creatures. One of the most otherworldly films ever.

Well then, if there’s no debating…

Among others not previously mentioned that come to mind:

Cosmic Journey (1936)
Incredible Russian flick is a VFX extravaganza boasting fantastic miniatures and (some) mindboggling stop motion depicting a trip to the moon, baby!

Clips -

The Invisible Ray (1936)
Karloff and Lugosi in the story of Radium X. “Janos! No!”

The Man from Planet X (1951)
I think this was the first Hollywood film with an extraterrestrial, beating* The Day the Earth Stood Still* to release by several months. Low-budget and saddled with some silly (fake-)Scottish sheepherders, but the alien has a unique (paper mache) look and overall it’s a serious and far less pretentious film than the better known Robert Wise one.

Unknown World (1951)
Scientists use the ultra-cool Cyclotram to find a new world in the center of the Earth.

The Magnetic Monster (1953)
A different kind of monster movie with a spectacular climax lifted from the German film Gold (1934).

This Island Earth (1955)
Good story, fine execution, some awesome VFX. This movie reveals why you can’t get good interocitors anymore these days.

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)
Classic sci-fi. “Look to your sun for a warning!"

Kronos (1957)
Another unconventional monster movie.

*Twenty Million Miles to Earth *(1957)
Ymir comes to Earth from Venus and humans totally fuck with him. Illegal immigration-based parable.

The Mysterians (1957)
Seminal Toho-produced sci-fi.

The Crawling Eye (1958)
Aliens in the Swiss mountains make the mistake of messing with (“only you can prevent…”) Forrest Tucker and his legendary large package. Well-paced and suspenseful with a shot or two of stop motion giant tentacled eyeballs (yeahhhhh!)

The Atomic Submarine (1959)
Alien design subsequently used on The Simpsons.

Creation of the Humanoids (1962)
Ridiculously low-budget and cheesy-looking, yet incongruously blessed with unusually intelligent script delving into Blade Runner territory.

Wild, Wild Planet (1966)
Dr. Nurmi’s experiments prove controversial.

Five Million Years to Earth (1967)
Alien corpse in the London subway ends up inconveniencing thousands.

Latitude Zero (1969)
Possibly the most entertaining film ever made.

The Final Programme (1973)
Possibly still ahead of its time.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Forbidden Planet
Blade Runner
Edge of Tomorrow