The Best SciFi Flicks

Sunshine.
Alien/Aliens.
Event Horizon.
Pitch Black.
The Matrix.
Dune.
Blade Runner.
Serenity.
Cowboy Bebop.
These are my favorite SciFi flix, all for the same reasons. They all have something in common.  They each create a new universe… Some, like Sunshine, do it in a very subtle manner… Others like Dune, do it overtly and hit you over the head with it.  I think if I was going to teach a class on Science Fiction, these movies would be foundational on “World Building”.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the end all of a movie list… These are just my favorites… And in my opinion, must see movies.  If you haven’t seen one of these movies, you are indeed wrong.  Clarification on Dune… It needs to be the Alan Smithee version.  The original director cut too much out. Aliens, has to be the extended version. And with Blade Runner, don’t get the Director’s Cut, get the Original, with Harrison Ford’s voiceovers.
I like the darker stories… That’s just me. Bright shiney ones, like the new Star Trek film… Just fine. But I prefer darker stuff.
I also like the SciFi to leave some things unexplained.  Like future technologies… Show them, but don’t try to explain it to the audience. Characters wouldn’t explain things to each other… Unless the tech was brand new to that universe and it being paramount to the telling of the story.
Give the technology some limitation.  See, SciFi has technology like Fantasy has magic.  I don’t want to see tech or magic being the answer for everything.  The future tech and universe is just the setting and framework a good story is written upon.

23 thoughts on “The Best SciFi Flicks”

  1. The original of The day the earth stood still- also Forbidden Planet comes to mind as well as Anne Francis!

  2. I agree with eight of your ten choices. Not bad.

    You’re right that SciFi movies too often use technology — or more accurately techno-babble — as a Deus ex Machina.

  3. Dudicle, I respect you a lot but what about:

    2001: A Space Odyssey
    Original Predator, Arnold at his best
    Original Terminator, even #2 too
    Equilibrium
    The Time Machine, the original
    Blade Runner
    Silent Running, showed my age there
    Logan’s Run, filmed a mere handfull of miles from where I sit
    I’d even throw Repo Man in there, but that’s just me ;)

    And that’s just off the top of my head.

    1. While these are all good movies, I don’t see them as being the top picks… Save for Blade Runner of course. Logan’s Run is interesting… but not one of my favorites. Equilibrium is awesome, but not quite making the cut for world building.

  4. Some of the best movies made in any genre are dark. Yet as I grow older I avoid going back to them. To much real life dark has happened and now I just want bubble gum for my mind. I was going to re watch Le Liaison’s Dangerous but I just couldn’t do it despite the stellar cast, Abramoff, Pfiefer, Close, and etc.

  5. Star Wars IV,V,VI. we may look down on them now because of the bad taste left in our mouths from the prequels, but they re-invented Sci-fi. created many new worlds and fascinating people to populate them. Star Wars deserves a mention…if you doubt, just watch Empire again….

  6. “Moon” and “Source Code” are some recent examples of good sci-fi. Both by Duncan Jones. The tech isn’t the focus, it’s how the tech changes humanity or maybe exposes a certain aspect of it in a startling way.

    Good stuff.

  7. I’d throw Soldier in there too as it’s an unofficial tie-in to Blade Runner as well (Event Horizon, Soldier and Blade Runner were all supposed to be from the same “universe” though the Aliens series society seems to have that same feel too); Soldier had a cool vibe all it’s own as well. The end of Soldier left it open for a sequel and I’m disappointed that it’s never happened.

    I think you’ve double dipped: Event Horizon is also one of the scariest movies for me and ranks high on any Horror list.

  8. After watching the “Firefly” series, I wouldn’t include “Serenity” as it’s pretty much garbage compared to the series. The movie is very polished and even the ship looks completely different. I did watch the movie first and liked it…but once I watched the series I changed my opinion on the movie. An * to your list would be to add the “Firefly” series and take down the movie because they are so night and day and the series is what you NEED to watch anyway.

  9. Dune?

    Which one? I liked them both and have both on DVD.

    I agree with all the ones on your list except the ones I haven’t seen so I will cue them up in Netflix. (Sunshine, Cowboy Bebop)

    Loved 5th Eliment.

    What about the original “Salem’s Lot”?

    1. I don’t see Salem’s Lot as SciFi, more in the horror genre. But +1 on 5th Element, that is a gooder ‘un.

      Nobody threw Farenheit 451 in there, I consider it golden.

      I don’t get the fascination with Event Horizon, meh.

  10. Kinda dates me, but I also liked The original “Planet of the Apes” and “War of the Worlds”. Have to give them props for using the tech of the day but then the same can be said for most of Star Wars back in the day.

    Stel

  11. Jason in space after about three pops….just cause it has two female leads from other Sc Fi series…
    Predator III for its never ending gun fights even if Glover is a left wing nut case…
    The Tremor’s series on a cold winter night, just seeing the hot desert lifts the spirits with snow outside.

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