This is a monumental moment. For the first time in the history of ever, we at Geek Insider are offering you our definitive list of the top 10 sci-fi films of all time. Although, for reasons of national security, I cannot detail exactly how this list was created; needless to say it involved a physic hamster and a half eaten tangerine, as well as lots of the usual blood, sweat, and tears. This list, compiled for your viewing pleasure, was a labour of love.
If you consider yourself any kind of geek/movie buff, you must have seen these films. Spaceships, aliens, super-galactic empires – these films have it all. If you haven’t seen them . . . well, I envy you. You still have it all to come. Now, go. Go now and revel in the amazingness.
#10: Terminator (1984)
Our list begins with a film about time-traveling robots. Which, as I’ve said countless times in the past, are awesome. Directed by James Cameron, Terminator was the beginning of one of the most important sci-fi franchises ever. I mean, without Terminator, we wouldn’t have T2: Judgement Day, which should probably be a part of this list in its own right, but I’m going to just mention it here instead. Am I allowed to do that? Yes, it’s my damn list. Anyway, both T1 and T2 deserve a mention here on our Top 10 Sci-Fi Films of all time list. The basic concept is that killer robots get sent from the future to kill future human rebels. This is also one of the few films which attempt to handle time-traveling paradoxes.
#9: Inception (2010)
Although this may be a controversial entry, Inception clearly deserves a place as one of the greatest Sci-Fi films of all time. It’s a newer film then many on this list, but that shouldn’t detract from the genius. Superb acting and an emotional plot are wonderfully held together by the incredible, original concept of ‘inception’ – the ability to enter the people’s subconscious. This is a film that you have to see more than once to catch everything; and so clever it will have you questioning your own reality. And the ending is brilliant.
#8: The Matrix (1999)
A combination of some neat philosophical ideas, evil robots, and tight leather costumes make the original Matrix film worthy of a place in Geek’s top 10 sci-fi films of all time list. I’m only talking about the 1999 film though; as the subsequent films never matched the original’s greatness. Directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski, The Matrix introduced interesting ideas about artificial intelligence and the nature of reality. It also had some pretty cool fight scenes.
#7: Close Encounters of a Third Kind (1977)
This film isn’t to everyone’s liking. It’s not exactly ‘action packed’, it’s characters lack depth and it’s overly long. But Spielberg’s epic still deserves a place on our list of top 10 sci-fi films of all time as a film of astonishing influence on the sci-fi world. The ways in which Spielberg imagined how the government would react to alien contact, and the ways in which the aliens attempt contact more or less defined the genre for several generations.
#6: Alien (1979)
I have to be honest. I nearly didn’t include Alien at all. And here’s why: if Alien had never existed, Alien vs Predator would have never existed, and Alien vs Predator 2 would have never existed. If those films hadn’t existed I might still have my sanity. But I’ve decided it’s unfair to blame Ridley Scott’s masterpiece for those two atrocious attempts at films. Alien is based in a Ridley Scott universe; this is not the sleek, shiny lines of the Enterprise, or the bright lasers of X-wings. Here, spaceships look more like oil rigs. It’s gritty and dirty and scary. Very scary. And full of Aliens exploding from stomachs.
#5: Solaris (1972)
Solaris, based on the 1961 novel by Stanislaw Lem, is, again, not to everyone’s tastes. It’s more a psychological drama than an action packed, adrenaline fueled, alien killing, adventure. Solaris examines the philosophical complexities raised by inter-species communication. This is a piece of clever, thoughtful cinema and doesn’t have time-traveling robots or many explosions. It’s well worth a watch though.
#4 Planet of the Apes (1968)
‘TAKE YOUR STINKING PAWS OFF ME, YOU DAMNED DIRTY APE!’ … That line. That line. Just … words fail me. I must have seen that film forty times and I still get goosebumps when I hear that. Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, the film sees Charlton Heston crash land on a planet where humans are enslaved by monkeys. This film had some huge ideas of religion and science, and was the start of one of Hollywood’s first proper franchises.
#3 Star Wars (1977, 1980, 1983)
As we reach the business end of our list, it’s time to talk star wars. I’m not talking about the new films. They’re terrible. I’m talking about A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. Yes, I can put three films in the same position on this list. It’s my list. I make the rules. This trilogy defined a generation’s childhood and inspired the greatest film franchise ever created. I don’t think there are many who would deny the importance of Star Wars. The only question would be how high up the list they should be.
#2 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Like the best science fiction, from Philip K. Dick to Huxley to Hamilton, this film is about big ideas. Directed by Stanley Kubrick, A Space Odyssey is a story which examines human evolution and the difference between humans and animals. Odyssey famously featured HAL; a revolutionary artificial intelligence which was extremely influential on the future depiction of AIs. The special effects in this movie have more than stood the test of time. It’s a moving, thought provoking piece of cinema.
#1: Blade Runner (1982)
Loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s novel, Blade Runner is a masterpiece of a film. Harrison Ford plays a bounty hunter tasked with tracking down and terminating ‘replicants’ – humanoids who have managed to replicate human behaviour too successfully. Again, like the best sci-fi, the film deals with big ideas – like what it means to be human. While it was difficult to place the other films in my list, I always knew that Blade Runner would come in at number 1. It’s an incredible film, and, like all great films, still sparks debate. Including Blade Runner on a list like this almost demeans it as to pigeon-hole this film as ‘sci-fi’ is far too simplistic. This film isn’t just the greatest sci-fi film ever made, but arguably the best film ever made. Period.
And there we have it; Geek Insiders top 10 sci-fi films of all time! I make something clear; this is not a definitive list. It never could be. I’ve missed out loads of films here. There’s no Mad Max (1979), for example. Or War of the Worlds (1953). Or The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). These are huge films to have missed, I accept that. Perhaps most unforgivably, I have failed to include a single Star Trek film. For that I can only apologise.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!