This movie is every teenage boy's dream. There's action, fighting, cutting-edge special effects, murderous robots, evil authority figures, an overriding pseudo-conspiracy theory and, most wonderful of all. No doubt this had to be on the top
James Cameron's first great sci-fi action thriller, which spawned a three-sequel franchise, a powerhouse directorial career, and made robotic, former iron-pumping Teuton Arnold Schwarzenegger an unlikely 80s superstar.
Like the rest of the movie, you could watch it with the sound off and completely follow what was going on. It's the purity of the story that has made this film endure, the classic themes handed down through the ages. Hence this movie had to be in the Top 10.
One of Steven Spielberg's most elegant films breathes life into a squished and stranded little alien -- among the greatest examples of movie magic. You might remember the cute and heartwarming aspects of E.T.; watch it again to appreciate just how amazing-looking and weird it can be.
From the beginning of his career, director David Cronenberg luxuriated in empathy for his mind's most bizarre creations.. Fly is all about a guy transforming into Brundle Fly is every bit as freaky and weird as you'd expect from peak Cronenberg. Yet the film's triumph is making us feel the pain of Seth's transformation, rather than turning him into a monster we'd love to swat.
Planet of the Apes
Planet of the Apes pitches one possible demise. Four astronauts leave Earth in 1972 and crash-land on an unknown planet. There, they find rudimentary human life and a ruling class of intelligent, warlike apes who believe themselves to be naturally elevated over the dumb, grunting humans. This film truly deserves to be in this list.
A Space Odyssey
A work of boundless inventiveness and imagination, Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film aims at nothing less than depicting the process of human evolution. Crafted in an era of crude special effects, the movie looks incredible, even now, with artificial images of spaceflight compelling enough to convince conspiracy theorists that Kubrick helped fake the moon-landing footage.
Both the original Tarkovsky version and the 2002 remake by Steven Soderbergh are chilling and compelling, but Tarkovsky's cinematic mastery makes the original a genre essential. The movie is all about scientists on a space station orbiting the planet Solaris are experiencing minor problems such as mental instability and death. When a psychologist arrives, he finds that the planet itself is exerting an influence on the station, creating "visitors" from memories of those on board. Those visitors include the psychologist's late wife and they're not quite exact copies of the original person, nor mindless clouds built from memory.
With a bunch of blue-collar stiffs just trying to get home, Ridley Scott's 1979 movie is, like many of the best sci-fi films, basically another genre kitted out with science-fiction elements. But what elements they are: that dingy ship, which suggests the future isn't so bright for regular slobs like the crew of the Nostromo, and the vicious killing machine found on a cold, dead planet.
Great science-fiction novels often have an air of irony; as great as new technology might seem to be, we're all pretty much screwed thanks to the unchangeable aspects of human nature. Paul Verhoeven tapped right into that spirit with RoboCop, awash with bleak comedy and gooey ultra-violence.
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