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Best sci-fi film the year you were born

1/
Warner Bros.

Best sci-fi movie from the year you were born

Looking up at the night sky, it’s easy to understand why science fiction exists. It can be a difficult genre to define, but at its core, each work of science fiction deals with a great unknown. Said unknown can probe the mystery of what resides alongside us in the universe, or it can pose the question of what we, as humans, are capable of with technology.

The art of speculative fiction was cemented with the publication of Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein” in the early 19th century. Science fiction began cropping up consistently in literature, but it didn’t really reach cinema until what many consider to be the first science fiction film: Georges Méliès’ “A Trip to the Moon,” released in 1902. From there, the genre spent many of its first decades mired in B-grade Hollywood classics as filmmakers struggled to visually depict the intricacies of many science fiction plots. While other genres such as fantasy can rely on absolute suspension of disbelief to produce a good story, science fiction is arguably unique in the demand it places on viewers and filmmakers alike: the viewer will only sacrifice what logic dictates if the world depicted by the filmmakers is somehow entirely believable.

We start our quest to find the best science fiction film the year you were born in 1920. Using genres defined by IMDb, Stacker combined a film’s IMDb score with their Rotten Tomatoes critic rating (where available) to rank all science fiction films in a given year. The film with the highest Stacker Score is what you see here.

A genre that reaches to put humanity in context with the makings of the universe, science fiction has spawned many of the greatest philosophical films the 20th and 21st centuries have to offer. As the popularity of the recent TV series “Black Mirror” suggests, we are more focused on the dark possibilities of technology than ever before. In this day and age, science fiction may be the closest thing we have to a prophetic work.

2/
Famous Players-Lasky Corporation

1920: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Stacker Score: 81
Language: English
Runtime: 49 min

A doctor driven to prove that evil and good exist in everyone accidentally unleashes his evil alter-ego: Mr. Hyde. Starring John Barrymore as both titular characters, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” is the first of many films inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

3/
Milano Film

1921: The Mechanical Man

Stacker Score: 61
Language: Italian (Silent Film)
Runtime: 80 min

One of the first science fiction films produced in Italy, “The Mechanical Man” is about a robot that ends up in the wrong hands; to counter his criminal activities, another robot is built. The film has somewhat of a cult following, as much of its footage is presumed to be lost.

4/
Cosmopolitan Production

1922: The Young Diana

Stacker Score: 61
Language: English
Runtime: 90 min

Starring Marion Davis in the titular role and directed by Albert Capellani and Robert G. Vignola, “The Young Diana” is about a young woman whose father pushes her to marry into British nobility, despite her feelings for a sailor. Throughout the story, Diana is also pursued by a scientist consumed with searching for the elixir of life.

5/
Frank Lloyd Productions

1923: Black Oxen

Stacker Score: 64
Language: English
Runtime: 80 min

“Black Oxen” is not considered a science fiction film in the strictest sense, but at the heart of its romantic conflict lies a twist futuristic enough to make it the best sci-fi film of 1923. A philanderer (Conway Teele) falls in love with a beautiful European countess (Corinne Griffith), before realizing that her timeless looks may be a clue to a much larger secret.

6/
Fox Film Corporation

1924: The Last Man on Earth

Stacker Score: 60
Language: English
Runtime: 70 min

As many of the earliest science fiction films did, “The Last Man on Earth” found its inspiration from Mary Shelley’s novel, The Last Man. Tapping into a timeless fear, The Last Man on Earth is about a plague that wiped out every fertile man on Earth over the age of 14 - until an aviator (Grace Cunard) finds a reclusive man in the woods (Earle Foxe). The film spirals into a comedy as women everywhere begin to fight over Foxe.

7/
Colonna-Film GmbH

1925: Our Heavenly Bodies

Stacker Score: 68
Language: German (Silent Film)
Runtime: 92 min

An experimental piece, “Our Heavenly Bodies” is a German, patchwork science fiction film that attempts the impossible: to explain human knowledge of the world and the universe in just 92 minutes. Directed by Hanns Walter Kornblum, the film combines documentary clips, historical documents, and underlying fictional elements to ultimately produce a piece unlike any preceding its release.

8/
Mezhrabpom-Rus

1926: The Adventures of the Three Reporters

Stacker Score: 70
Language: Russian
Runtime: 250 min

This Soviet spy film was released nearly a decade after WWI and the Bolshevik Revolution, serving as a compelling piece of political propaganda. The movie, also known as “Miss Mend,” focuses on a trio of reporters trying to defeat an evil Western enemy intent on launching an attack on the USSR.

9/
Universum Film (UFA)

1927: Metropolis

Stacker Score: 91
Language: German
Runtime: 153 min

There was no doubt in our minds which film would take the dystopian cake in 1927. “Metropolis” is considered by many to be a pioneering science fiction film, as one of the first feature-length releases of its kind. Firmly in the science fiction realm, “Metropolis” takes place in a dystopian, urban world where the city ruler’s son (Gustav Fröhlich) falls in love with a woman from the industrial working class who was forced to toil beneath the city (Brigitte Helm). “Metropolis” is still obsessed over to this day, and recent attempts have recovered most of the film’s lost footage.

10/
Helmut Schreiber

1928: Alraune (A Daughter of Destiny)

Stacker Score: 62
Language: German
Runtime: 108 minutes

“Alraune” (which makes our list twice, again as the remake in 1930) explores a german professor (Paul Wegener) as he seeks to validate an old German folklore that a root buried in the Earth is said to absorb men’s power as they die, and is used in love potions. He attempts to impregnate a prostitute in a strange, twisted experiment. 

11/
Gaumont British Picture Corporation

1929: High Treason

Stacker Score: 62
Language: English
Runtime: 95 min

Arguably inspired by the notable “Metropolis,” “High Treason” looks at a conflict on the scale of a World War: the "United States of Europe" (Europe, India, the Middle East, Canada, Africa, and Australasia) come into conflict with the “Empire of the Atlantic States” (the United States and South America). Dr. Seymour (played by Humberston Wright) desperately attempts to ease tensions between the two supernations alongside his daughter, Evelyn (Benita Hume).

12/
Richard-Oswald-Produktion

1930: Alraune

Stacker Score: 63
Language: German
Runtime: 103 min

Another German science fiction feat, “Alraune” (a remake of the 1928 version by the same name) is based off of the same old, German myth. A root buried in the Earth is said to absorb men’s power as they die, and is used in love potions; in “Alraune,” a scientist (Albert Bassermann) artificially inseminates a prostitute who then conceives a beautiful girl (Brigitte Helm) incapable of love.

13/
Universal Pictures

1931: Frankenstein

Stacker Score: 89.5
Language: English, Latin
Runtime: 70 min

The first of many film adaptations of Mary Shelley’s novel, “Frankenstein” is part horror, part cautionary tale of what happens when man tries to play God. A scientist (Colin Clive) is consumed by the desire to create human life; with his assistant, Fritz (Dwight Frye), he digs up a body and attempts to bring it to life. The result? A maybe murderous but certainly monstrous, and ultimately misunderstood, beast.

14/
Paramount Pictures

1932: Island of Lost Souls

Stacker Score: 85.5
Language: English
Runtime: 70 min

Give a mad scientist an island, animals, and some surgical equipment and you’ll have the plot of “Island of Lost Souls.” Edward Parker (Richard Arlen) finds himself on an isolated island after being thrown overboard, where he finds a scientist (Charles Laughton) accompanied only by a gentle girl, Lota (Kathleen Burke). Although the film was based off H. G. Wells’ novel The Island of Doctor Moreau, Wells himself felt the focus on horror in the film detracted from its underlying philosophical quandaries.

15/
Universal Pictures

1933: The Invisible Man

Stacker Score: 88.5
Language: English
Runtime: 71 min

Based off the H. G. Wells’ novel of the same name, “The Invisible Man” is about chemist Dr. Jack Griffin (Claude Rains), who discovers the secret of invisibility through experimentation with a dangerous drug. Struck by power, or perhaps just driven mad by the drug, Griffin begins committing a series of murders, intent on destroying the world.

16/
Universum Film (UFA)

1934: Gold

Stacker Score: 69
Language: German
Runtime: 120 min

As many early science fiction films go, “Gold” focuses on a scientist’s misguided quest. Werner Holk, played by Hans Albers, discovers how to turn lead into gold - and faces the consequences as evil powers fight to unlock his secret.

17/
Universal Pictures

1935: Bride of Frankenstein

Stacker Score: 89.5
Language: English
Runtime: 75 min

The first of many sequels to “Frankenstein,” “The Bride of Frankenstein” is actually considered a worthy counterpart to its predecessor: both score a whopping 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film picks up where “Frankenstein” ends, with Dr. Frankenstein (reprised by Colin Clive) being goaded into creating a mate for his original monster — thus is born the Bride of Frankenstein (Elsa Lanchester).

18/
London Film Productions

1936: Things to Come

Stacker Score: 79.5
Language: English
Runtime: 100 min

Another H. G. Wells-inspired science fiction film, “Things to Come” was the most expensive film produced in England in 1936, pushing past the million-dollar mark. It is especially noted for its bold cinematic design; perhaps why critics award it 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film stars Raymond Massey, who plays a pilot in a world thrown into madness by war.

19/
Moldavia Film

1937: Skeleton on Horseback

Stacker Score: 75
Language: Czech
Runtime: 78 min

A Czechoslovak science fiction drama, “Skeleton on Horseback” depicts a deadly plague breaking out in the midst of a war. Dr. Galen, played by Hugo Haas, attempts to find a cure — and some peace for his suffering nation.

20/
Universal Pictures

1938: Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars

Stacker Score: 74
Language: English
Runtime: 299 min

“Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars” is actually a serial film, with 15 chapters to enjoy. They were screened weekly in U.S. theaters until the series concluded. Inspired by a comic strip, the plot follows Flash Gordon (played by Buster Crabbe) on his adventures to try to save Earth from a mysterious, destructive light beam.

21/
Universal Pictures

1939: Son of Frankenstein

Stacker Score: 81.5
Language: English
Runtime: 99 min

Another sequel to “Frankenstein,” “Son of Frankenstein” is about Henry Frankenstein’s sister. Just kidding. Baron Wolf von Frankenstein (Basil Rathbone), the son of Dr. Frankenstein, travels to his family castle to try and redeem his father’s mistakes. His first step? Digging up the Monster. “Son of Frankenstein” is only the third installment in the “Frankenstein” film series, but it is the last to feature Boris Karloff as the Monster.

22/
Universal Pictures

1940: Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe

Stacker Score: 79.5
Language: English
Runtime: 220 min

The third of the “Flash Gordon” serial films, “Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe” brings extraterrestrial problems a little closer to home: a plague, known as Purple Death, ravages the Earth. Flash (played again by Buster Crabbe) takes to the stars to find a cure and figure out where the plague is coming from.

23/
Kinostudiya imeni M. Gorkogo

1941: Tainstvennyy ostrov

Stacker Score: 72
Language: Russian
Runtime: 75 min

“Tainstvennyy Ostrov” (also known as “Mysterious Island”) is, interestingly, a USSR-produced film set in the American Civil War. Five prisoners of war escape via hot air balloon and crash-land on an island in the South Pacific, where inexplicable things begin to happen.

24/
Universal Pictures

1942: The Ghost of Frankenstein

Stacker Score: 68
Language: English
Runtime: 67 min

The fourth film in the “Frankenstein” series, “The Ghost of Frankenstein” reunites us once again with the Frankenstein family. When Ygor (Bela Lugosi) finds the Monster, he brings the creature to Henry Frankenstein’s other son, Ludwig (Cedric Hardwicke). It is from this film that the Frankenstein Monster stereotype —the blinded creature walking with arms outstretched and bandages wrapped around his head — was born.

25/
Republic Pictures (I)

1943: The Fighting Devil Dogs

Stacker Score: 68
Language: English
Runtime: 69 min

Originally released in 1938, the serial film “The Fighting Devil Dogs” came out in 1943 as a feature version. Although not considered to be the greatest serial film ever made, “The Fighting Devil Dogs” is famous for its costumed supervillain, The Lightning (Hugh Sothern). Lieutenants Tom Grayson (Lee Powell) and Frank Corby (Herman Brix) spend the movie fighting the villainous, masked man, whose lightning-based arsenal make him a worthy opponent.

26/
Republic Pictures (I)

1944: Captain America

Stacker Score: 60
Language: English
Runtime: 244 min

The “Captain America” serial film brought one extremely significant thing to cinema: Marvel superheroes, who wouldn’t be seen again in theaters for another four decades. “Captain America” follows District Attorney Grant Gardner (played by Dick Purcell, who died from congestive heart failure shortly after the film’s completion) as he tries to thwart the insidious plotting of The Scarab (Lionel Atwill). Fans, be warned —“Captain America” differs from the original comic book strip in a number of ways.

27/
Republic Pictures (I)

1945: Manhunt of Mystery Island

Stacker Score: 72
Language: English
Runtime: 219 min

Another serial produced by Republic (who also did “Captain America” and “The Fighting Devil Dogs”), the “Manhunt of Mystery Island” centers around Claire Forrest (Linda Starling) in her quest to find and rescue her father (Forrest Taylor), trapped on a mysterious island, alongside private detective Lance Reardon (Richard Bailey).

28/
Stella Productions (II)

1946: L'ennemi Sans Visage

Stacker Score: 49
Language: French
Runtime: 105 min

A French science fiction film, “L'Ennemi sans visage” ( “Eyes Without a Face”) stars Louise Carletti, Frank Villard, and Roger Karl. The film follows a scientist determined to build an android whose intelligence could surpass that of humans.

29/
Columbia Pictures Corporation

1947: Brick Bradford

Stacker Score: 61
Language: English
Runtime: 257 min

A classic tale of the right technology getting into the wrong hands, “Brick Bradford” is a serial about a scientist (John Merton) whose invention, made to intercept and destroy incoming rockets, is thought by some to be more useful as a death ray. The titular character, played by Kane Richmond, works with sidekick Sandy Sanderson (Rick Vallin) to stop the weapon from being misused.

30/
Columbia Pictures Corporation

1948: Superman

Stacker Score: 72
Language: English
Runtime: 244 min

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s...the first live-action appearance of Superman! A 15-chapter serial film, “Superman” is the well-known story of a baby sent from his planet Krypton to Earth minutes before Krypton is destroyed. It isn’t long before the child’s adoptive parents realize he has great powers — and one key weakness. In this serial, Kirk Alyn stars as Superman, and Noel Neill as his love interest, Lois Lane.

31/
Twentieth Century Fox

1949: It Happens Every Spring

Stacker Score: 85
Language: English
Runtime: 87 min

If you don’t feel like watching a science fiction movie that takes place in space, “It Happens Every Spring” is the one for you. A college professor (Ray Milland) accidentally creates a formula that makes a baseball repellent to wood, and the antics commence.

32/
Columbia Pictures Corporation

1950: Atom Man vs. Superman

Stacker Score: 71
Language: English
Runtime: 252 min

Kirk Alyn reprises his role as Superman in “Atom Man vs. Superman,” joined by Lyle Talbot who plays Lex Luthor. Luthor tries to destroy the city, creating intricate plans that Superman has to foil.

33/
Ealing Studios

1951: The Man in the White Suit

Stacker Score: 87
Language: English
Runtime: 85 min

Perhaps the only satirical science fiction movie to make this list, “The Man in the White Suit” stars Alec Guinness as young chemist Sidney Stratton, who creates a fabric that repels dirt and can’t be worn down. A battle ensues between Stratton and the corporations trying to shut down his research.

34/
IMDb

1952: The Beautiful Dreamer

Stacker Score: 71
Language: Spanish
Runtime: 75 min

A Mexican comedy film directed by Gilberto Martínez Solares, “The Beautiful Dreamer” (“El bello durmiente”) is about a caveman (Germán Valdés) who has somehow managed to sleep for a thousand years.

35/
Jack Dietz Productions

1953: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms

Stacker Score: 80.5
Language: English, French
Runtime: 80 min

“The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms” is about a dinosaur unexpectedly released from its state of hibernation when an atomic bomb test is conducted in the Arctic Circle. Paul Christian stars as Professor Tom Nesbitt, a physicist who sees the dinosaur awaken and spends the rest of the movie trying to stop its path of destruction. The film was a hit, grossing $2.5 million at the box office.

36/
Warner Bros.

1954: Them!

Stacker Score: 86.5
Language: English
Runtime: 94 min

Hate ants? Try ants the size of cars. “Them!” is about giant ants in New Mexico that reveal themselves when a few leave to colonize new nests, stomping their way across the state and into neighboring areas. The movie stars James Whitmore and Edmund Gwenn.

37/
Exclusive Films

1955: The Quatermass Xperiment

Stacker Score: 80
Language: English
Runtime: 78 min

If you send a man into space in a science fiction horror film, chances are he’ll come back infected with an alien parasite. “The Quatermass Xperiment” is about a failed rocket experiment, where only one of three astronauts sent into space returns to Earth — but with something terribly, terribly wrong. Richard Wordsworth stars as the homecomer, and Brian Donlevy as the doctor who tries to treat him.

38/
Walter Wanger Productions

1956: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Stacker Score: 88
Language: English
Runtime: 80 min

Based off Jack Finney’s novel The Body Snatchers, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” makes sci-fi creepy with its most basic premise: alien life that looks just like us. Pods are dropped around the Earth, capable of making the aliens inside evolve to look and act just like the humans sleeping closest to the pod. Kevin McCarthy stars as the local doctor who attempts to stop the invasion.

39/
Universal International Pictures (UI)

1957: The Incredible Shrinking Man

Stacker Score: 84
Language: English
Runtime: 81 min

The winner of the first Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, “The Incredible Shrinking Man” stars Grant Williams as Scott Carey, a business man who begins inexplicably shrinking after a vacation off the coast of California.

40/
Twentieth Century Fox

1958: The Fly

Stacker Score: 83
Language: English, French
Runtime: 94 min

The only inspiration you’ll ever need for putting screens over your windows can be found in this movie. “The Fly” tells the story of a scientist who is in the middle of working on a molecular transporter when, unbeknownst to him, a fly wanders in. David Hedison stars as the unfortunate half-man, half-fly result.

41/
Stanley Kramer Productions

1959: On the Beach

Stacker Score: 74
Language: English
Runtime: 134 min

Directed by Stanley Kramer, “On the Beach” is a post-apocalyptic film that takes place after World War III, in the aftermath of nuclear war. With impending radioactive threats, the last pockets of humanity struggle to figure out a path for survival. The film stars Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, and Fred Astaire.

 

42/
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer British Studios

1960: Village of the Damned

Stacker Score: 84.5
Language: English
Runtime: 77 min

“Village of the Damned” is a British science-fiction horror film that opens with the residents of a village called Midwich suddenly falling unconscious. They regain consciousness just hours later, but two months later, all women of childbearing age suddenly discover they’re pregnant. The rest of the film unfolds as the children are born, and grow to reveal unnatural powers.

43/
Melina Productions

1961: The Day the Earth Caught Fire

Stacker Score: 79
Language: English
Runtime: 99 min

Another British contribution, “The Day the Earth Caught Fire” is about the orbit of the Earth being dramatically affected by the United States and Russia conducting nuclear bomb tests at the same time. Peter Stenning (Edward Judd) and his girlfriend Jeannie Craig (Janet Munro) work to discover exactly what the tests did, and if it’s too late to reverse the consequences.

44/
Goskino

1962: Amphibian Man

Stacker Score: 72
Language: Russian
Runtime: 96 min

Before Disney made “The Little Mermaid,” the Soviet Union made “Amphibian Man.” A fisherman’s daughter falls in love with a man who has gills, and together they fight to protect their relationship.

45/
Paramount Pictures

1963: The Nutty Professor

Stacker Score: 77.5
Language: English
Runtime: 107 min

A parody of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” “The Nutty Professor” is about a scientist (Jerry Lewis) who hopes to shrug off his socially-awkward ways by drinking a concoction that brings out his charming, womanizing alter-ego.

46/
Aubrey Schenck Productions

1964: Robinson Crusoe on Mars

Stacker Score: 80
Language: English
Runtime: 110 min

Stranded on Mars, Kit (Paul Mantee) must find water, food...and a way to help the escaped alien slave (Victor Lundin) he runs into. Although not a box office success, “Robinson Crusoe on Mars” has a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

47/
André Michelin Productions

1965: Alphaville

Stacker Score: 81
Language: French
Runtime: 99 min

Combining elements of both science fiction and film noir, “Alphaville” takes place in the future under a ruthless dictatorship that forbids love, poetry, or any sort of outward display of emotion. Eddie Constantine stars as a secret agent from outside the city looking to destroy the computer system in charge of Alphaville.

48/
Teshigahara Productions

1966: The Face of Another

Stacker Score: 90
Language: Japanese
Runtime: 124 min

When his face is damaged in a work-related accident, Okuyama (Tatsuya Nakadai) is given a mask to cover up his disfigurement. Slowly, the mask begins to take over his personality, changing the way he acts and views the world.

49/
Curtwel Productions

1967: The Sorcerers

Stacker Score: 82
Language: English
Runtime: 86 min

Whatever you do, don’t look them in the eyes. “The Sorcerers” is about an elderly couple (Boris Karloff, Catherine Lacey) whose penchant for hypnosis leads them to develop a mind-controlling machine they test out on young Mike Roscoe (Ian Ogilvy).

50/
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

1968: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Stacker Score: 88.5
Language: English, Russian
Runtime: 149 min

Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” is regarded as one of the most influential films ever made. The movie follows a voyage to Jupiter with a crew composed of scientists, pilots, and a sentient computer, HAL (Douglas Rain). If you haven’t already seen this film, be sure to watch it with someone who’s willing to explore questions of existentialism and other philosophical quandaries.

51/
Columbia Pictures Corporation

1969: Marooned

Stacker Score: 79
Language: English
Runtime: 134 min

Released four months after the Apollo 11 landing, “Marooned” is about three astronauts (Richard Crenna, Gene Hackman, and James Franciscus) who are on their way back to Earth when an engine fails, leaving them in orbit. A frantic rescue mission is launched as the crew’s oxygen begins to run out.

52/
Universal Pictures

1970: Colossus: The Forbin Project

Stacker Score: 80
Language: English, Russian
Runtime: 100 min

If nukes could talk, they’d probably be just as terrifying as we imagine. In “Colossus: The Forbin Project,” America’s advanced defense system begins to develop a mind of its own after being allowed to communicate with the Soviets’ intelligent counterpart. Eric Braeden stars as the designer of the computer, forced to deal with the impossible consequences of a machine dedicated to preventing war.

53/
Warner Bros.

1971: A Clockwork Orange

Stacker Score: 87
Language: English
Runtime: 136 min

Based on Anthony Burgess’ novel, “A Clockwork Orange” was directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick, and is one of his best-known works. Malcolm McDowell plays Alex, a thuggish, insidious delinquent who leads a small gang of equally unsavory characters. He is imprisoned, and is given psychological conditioning that dramatically affects his ability to react to violence.

54/
Mosfilm

1972: Solaris

Stacker Score: 88.5
Language: Russian, German
Runtime: 167 min

When a mission aboard a space station that orbits fictional planet Solaris is stalled because the crew members independently suffer mental breaks, psychologist Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) is sent to figure out what is plaguing each of them.

55/
Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions

1973: Sleeper

Stacker Score: 86.5
Language: English, Yiddish
Runtime: 89 min

Woody Allen directs this science fiction comedy, which begins with the owner of a food store, Miles Monroe (played by Allen), being brought out of cryostasis after 200 years. In a stark contrast to the 1970s, the 22nd century shows America being operated as some sort of police state, and Monroe joins a rebellion to try and fight the restricted way of life. The film currently holds 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

56/
Bryanston Pictures

1974: Dark Star

Stacker Score: 72
Language: English
Runtime: 83 min

Another comedy, John Carpenter’s “Dark Star” garnered a devoted cult following that helped it achieve some success following a tepid release. The movie is about a crew whose 20-year mission to destroy unstable planets starts to go terribly wrong.

57/
Canadian Film Development Corporation (CFDC)

1975: Shivers

Stacker Score: 76.5
Language: English, French
Runtime: 87 min

Originally titled “Orgy of the Blood Parasites,” “Shivers” is about a high-rise building whose residents are suddenly infected by a strain of parasites that turn their hosts into sex-crazed fiends.

58/
British Lion Film Corporation

1976: The Man Who Fell to Earth

Stacker Score: 74.5
Language: English
Runtime: 139 min

David Bowie’s first starring film role came in 1976 when he played Thomas Jerome Newton —an alien who crash-lands on Earth and begins trying to find a way to transport water to his home planet.

59/
Julia Phillips and Michael Phillips Productions

1977: Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Stacker Score: 86.5
Language: English, French, Spanish, Hindi
Runtime: 137 min

“Close Encounters of the Third Kind” is written and directed by Steven Spielberg; it was his second major project after “Jaws,” and the film enjoyed almost as much success. The movie follows UFO sightings, beginning with Roy Neary (played by Richard Dreyfuss) in Indiana. “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” was widely praised, receiving eight Oscar nominations.

60/
Solofilm

1978: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Stacker Score: 84
Language: English
Runtime: 115 min

A remake of the 1956 movie of the same name, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” is considered an extremely successful remake — made evident by its 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The starring cast includes Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, and Jeff Goldblum, and the movie takes place in San Francisco (where it’s all too easy to believe there are emotionless clones wandering around the city).

61/
Brandywine Productions

1979: Alien

Stacker Score: 91
Language: English
Runtime: 117 min

The first of a large, prolific franchise, Ridley Scott’s “Alien” follows a space crew haunted by a predatory extraterrestrial being. “Alien” won an Oscar for its visual effects, and was nominated for many more awards. Sigourney Weaver found her first leading role in the film,  joined on screen by Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, and Harry Dean Stanton to name a few.

62/
Warner Bros.

1980: Altered States

Stacker Score: 77.5
Language: English, Spanish
Runtime: 102 min

The road to consciousness is dark and long. In “Altered States,” a research scientist (William Hurt) decides to combine sensory deprivation with hallucinogenic drugs. As he gets deeper and deeper into his research, both his mind and body begin losing touch with reality.

63/
Kennedy Miller Productions

1981: The Road Warrior

Stacker Score: 87
Language: English
Runtime: 94 min

The second installment in the Mad Max franchise, “The Road Warrior” sees Mel Gibson reprising his role as “Mad” Max. Set in post-apocalyptic Australia, “The Road Warrior” features Max attempting to help a small group of settlers escape from the bandits that rule the roads. A movie more famous for its dramatic shots than its chit-chat, Gibson supposedly only has 16 lines of dialogue in the entire film.

64/
Universal Pictures

1982: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Stacker Score: 88.5
Language: English
Runtime: 115 min

It’s a fact: E.T. is everyone’s favorite alien, and possibly everyone’s favorite film. It was the highest grossing film of the 1980s, weighing in at almost $400 million in total gross (over $1 billion by today’s values). If you haven’t heard of “E.T.,” it is a story about a timeless friendship. A lonely 10-year-old (played by Henry Thomas) finds and befriends an alien stranded on Earth, and subsequently tries to get the creature back to its home planet.

 

65/
ABC Circle Films

1983: The Day After

Stacker Score: 85.5
Language: English
Runtime: 127 min

A television film that aired on ABC originally, “The Day After” focuses on families located near missile silos as tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union rise around them, escalating into nuclear exchange. Over 100 million people tuned in to watch “The Day After” during its initial broadcast.

66/
Hemdale

1984: The Terminator

Stacker Score: 90
Language: English, Spanish
Runtime: 107 min

It’s important to remember that before Arnold Schwarzenegger’s stint as the governor of California, he was a robot sent from the future to destroy humanity. “The Terminator” enjoyed massive success, and helped launch the career of director James Cameron.

67/
Universal Pictures

1985: Back to the Future

Stacker Score: 90.5
Language: English
Runtime: 116 min

Another time-travelling film, “Back to the Future” features Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, a young man who accidentally travels back in time to when his parents were in high school. Christopher Lloyd plays the outlandish scientist who tries to help Marty get back to the future and prevent too much interference.

68/
Twentieth Century Fox

1986: Aliens

Stacker Score: 91
Language: English
Runtime: 137 min

Sequel to “Alien,” “Aliens” begins as Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) wakes up from 57 years of hypersleep. She leads a team back to where her crew encountered the alien, in the hopes that they can destroy it for good. “Aliens” was lauded by critics and audiences alike, and was a box office hit.

69/
Orion Pictures

1987: RoboCop

Stacker Score: 81.5
Language: English
Runtime: 102 min

The basic premise of “RoboCop” is one that may be fast-approaching in the modern day: cyborg law enforcement. In the film, a detective (Peter Weller) murdered by a gang in Detroit is revived and turned into a robot cop to tackle crime in the city.

70/
Alive Films

1988: They Live

Stacker Score: 78
Language: English
Runtime: 94 min

In perhaps the most terrifying concept yet, “They Live” centers around a man (played by Roddy Piper) who one day finds out that the ruling class are actually aliens propagating their own agenda. It all hits a little too close to home.

71/
Twentieth Century Fox

1989: The Abyss

Stacker Score: 82.5
Language: English
Runtime: 145 min

James Cameron moves his vision underwater in “The Abyss,” a movie about a sunk American submarine that a SEAL team is sent in to try and recover. During their recovery, the team finds extraterrestrial beings that add pressure to an already tense situation. The movie was received well, but stars Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio both described the filming conditions as severe.

72/
Carolco Pictures

1990: Total Recall

Stacker Score: 78.5
Language: English
Runtime: 113 min

In “Total Recall,” Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) begins having strange dreams about Mars and a woman who lives there. After certain events unfold, Quaid begins to realize that these visions may be more than just dreams. Extremely pleasing visually, the movie is nevertheless considered by some to be overly violent.

73/
Carolco Pictures

1991: Terminator 2

Stacker Score: 89
Language: English, Spanish
Runtime: 137 min

Schwarzenegger returns in the sequel to “The Terminator” as a good robot, sent back to protect John Connor (Edward Furlong) and his mother, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). The movie was met with considerable success, as many felt the first film left plenty of room for a follow-up.

74/
Bird Studios

1992: Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13

Stacker Score: 73
Language: Japanese
Runtime: 46 min

“Dragon Ball Z” is a Japanese anime TV show that follows the adventures of Goku, an extraterrestrial being who uses his superhuman strength to defend the Earth against an array of villains. In “Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13,” Goku (Masako Nozawa) must defend himself from murderous androids.

75/
Universal Pictures

1993: Jurassic Park

Stacker Score: 86.5
Language: English, Spanish
Runtime: 127 min

Building a theme park and filling it with dinosaurs is, in theory, a good idea...until everything goes disastrously wrong. Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum star in this science fiction thriller, which received three Academy Awards for its technical achievements.

76/
Wolper Organization

1994: Without Warning

Stacker Score: 70
Language: English
Runtime: 100 min

A TV movie that originally aired on CBS, “Without Warning” shows anchor Sander Vanocur and reporter Bree Walker covering a breaking news story about meteorite fragments crashing into the Earth’s hemisphere. During commercial breaks, CBS made sure to inform watchers that the film was entirely fictional.

77/
Mayfair Entertainment International

1995: Richard III

Stacker Score: 84.5
Language: English
Runtime: 110 min

Based off the Shakespeare tragedy, the dystopian undertones present in “Richard III” breathe new, eerie life into the 16th century play. Ian McKellen stars as Richard, a power-hungry Duke intent on usurping King Edward IV (John Wood). The film received a 96% score on Rotten Tomatoes, and was praised for its visually striking shots.

78/
Best Brains

1996: Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie

Stacker Score: 77
Language: English
Runtime: 73 min

Adapted from the TV series, “Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie” features a plot-within-a-plot, as mad scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester (Trace Beaulieu) attempts the drive his subjects mad by making them watch terrible movies.

79/
Permut Presentations

1997: Face/Off

Stacker Score: 82.5
Language: English, Latin
Runtime: 138 min

FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) undergoes extensive facial surgery to impersonate domestic terrorist Castor Troy (Nicholas Cage), and in doing so opens up the possibility that Troy will, in turn, impersonate Archer. The battle then becomes one of mixed identity, with each man deploying violent resources to achieve his own means.

80/
Paramount Pictures

1998: The Truman Show

Stacker Score: 87.5
Language: English
Runtime: 103 min

Jim Carrey stars in this film about a man who one day realizes that his entire life is a TV show. “The Truman Show” was a high-grossing film at the time of its release, and the film is considered to be one of Carrey’s finest, most enjoyable performances.

81/
Warner Bros.

1999: The Matrix

Stacker Score: 87
Language: English
Runtime: 136 min

Speaking of simulated realities, “The Matrix” is about a computer programmer (Keanu Reeves) who figures out that everyone is living inside of a simulation. He joins a rebellion to try and fight the sentient machines harvesting human energy. As well as being a box office success, “The Matrix” received multiple awards, including four Academy Awards for its technical achievements.

82/
AM Associates

2000: Battle Royale

Stacker Score: 82
Language: Japanese
Runtime: 114 min

Before “The Hunger Games,” there was “Battle Royale.” A disturbing plot, the film features a dystopian world in which the Japanese government forces junior high students to fight to the death. The violence featured in the film was such that several countries banned its original release, but it gained widespread critical acclaim regardless.

83/
Pandora Cinema

2001: Donnie Darko

Stacker Score: 83.5
Language: English
Runtime: 113 min

Jake Gyllenhaal plays a young man, Donnie, who is tormented by visions of a giant bunny that tells him the world is going to end in 28 days. The movie also stars Jena Malone and Katharine Ross, and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival before being released to lukewarm box office success.

84/
20th Century Fox

2002: Minority Report

Stacker Score: 84
Language: English
Runtime: 145 min

In Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report,” an officer from a futuristic police unit that employs three psychics is accused of a murder before it happens. On the run for his life, John Anderton (Tom Cruise) forces the audience to consider if free will can exist when the future is defined in advance. The film received positive reviews, and is praised for the continued discussion and analysis it prompts in viewers.

85/
Warner Bros.

2003: The Matrix Reloaded

Stacker Score: 72.5
Language: English, French
Runtime: 138 min

The second film in the Matrix installment, “The Matrix Reloaded” returns to rebels Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) in their continued battle against the evil sentient machines that have taken over the world. Although not nearly as appreciated as the first movie, “The Matrix Reloaded” is considered a fun follow-up.

86/
Focus Features

2004: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Stacker Score: 88
Language: English
Runtime: 108 min

Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) feel immediately drawn to each other when they meet on a train. It later emerges that the two actually dated before, but chose to wipe their memories once the relationship ended. The film won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

87/
Universal Pictures

2005: Serenity

Stacker Score: 81
Language: English, Mandarin
Runtime: 119 min

In 2002, Fox put out a TV show called “Firefly” that was abruptly cancelled after one season. Cue the cult following. “Serenity” is the film adaptation, starring the same cast and following the crew of a spaceship known as Serenity. When a psychic messenger (Summer Glau) joins the ship, she brings danger with her.

88/
Universal Pictures

2006: Children of Men

Stacker Score: 85.5
Language: English, German, Italian, Romanian, Spanish, Arabic, Georgian, Russian, Serbian
Runtime: 109 min

When women become infertile, society falls apart. The last functioning government is in the United Kingdom, and refugees flood its borders seeking sanctuary. When Theo Faron (Clive Owen) is tasked with taking a pregnant woman (Clare-Hope Ashitey) to safety, it becomes an increasingly dangerous journey.

89/
Falling Sky Entertainment

2007: The Man from Earth

Stacker Score: 80
Language: English
Runtime: 87 min

“The Man from Earth” didn’t get a traditional start: writer Jerome Bixby completed the screenplay on his deathbed in 1997, but it wasn’t touched for years. It eventually premiered at the San Diego Comic Con, and is in part famous for being widely distributed across the internet. In the film, David Lee Smith plays an intellectual professor who, at his farewell party, tells his peers that he’s a 14,000 year-old caveman.

90/
Paramount Pictures

2008: Iron Man

Stacker Score: 86.5
Language: English, Persian, Urdu, Arabic, Hungarian
Runtime: 126 min

Robert Downey Jr. plays a philandering, billionaire superhero in “Iron Man,” a Marvel film. Tony Stark (Downey) builds the famous iron suit as a hostage in Afghanistan, and then improves upon it when he ultimately escapes imprisonment. The film was successful, grossing over $500 million dollars.

91/
Paramount Pictures

2009: Star Trek

Stacker Score: 87
Language: English
Runtime: 127 min

J. J. Abrams directs “Star Trek,” the eleventh installment in the franchise. It reboots the old characters, bringing Spock (Zachary Quinto) and James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) back to the screen. In this film, Kirk navigates through training before winding up on the USS Enterprise where he helps fight Nero (Eric Bana), a Romulan from the future. “Star Trek” won the Academy Award for Best Makeup, making it the first Star Trek film to win an Oscar.

92/
Warner Bros.

2010: Inception

Stacker Score: 87
Language: English, Japanese, French
Runtime: 148 min

Christopher Nolan plays with dreams and time in “Inception.” Leonardo DiCaprio stars as a professional thief who accesses information by travelling through levels of the subconscious. “Inception” grossed over $800 million worldwide, and it swept the technical Academy Awards.

93/
Summit Entertainment

2011: Source Code

Stacker Score: 83
Language: English
Runtime: 93 min

Jake Gyllenhaal plays a soldier who wakes up in someone else’s body. He soon realizes that he’s part of an experimental government program to find the bomber on a commuter train, in just eight minutes.

94/
Marvel Studios

2012: The Avengers

Stacker Score: 86.5
Language: English, Russian, Hindi
Runtime: 143 min

“The Avengers” features all your favorite superheroes in one place. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) all team up in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe to take down Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s pesky younger brother. It was a vast success, grossing a whopping $1.5 billion worldwide.

95/
Warner Bros.

2013: Gravity

Stacker Score: 87
Language: English, Greenlandic
Runtime: 91 min

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star in this thriller about a space mission that goes wrong when debris from a defunct satellite crashes into their space shuttle. With 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, “Gravity” garnered near universal acclaim.

96/
Marvel Studios

2014: Guardians of the Galaxy

Stacker Score: 86
Language: English
Runtime: 121 min

Another Marvel film, “Guardians of the Galaxy” follows a dysfunctional group that consists of a human (Chris Pratt), an alien, a humanoid alien and a raccoon as they begrudgingly try to save the world. Visually pleasing with a tight script, “Guardians of the Galaxy” was an instant success.

97/
Warner Bros.

2015: Mad Max: Fury Road

Stacker Score: 89
Language: English, Russian
Runtime: 120 min

A reboot of the “Mad Max” franchise, Mad Max is played by Tom Hardy as he teams up with Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) to escape bandits in post-apocalyptic Australia. The film won six Academy Awards for its technical achievements.

98/
Lava Bear Films

2016: Arrival

Stacker Score: 87
Language: English, Russian, Mandarin
Runtime: 116 min

When monoliths descend on Earth, a linguist (Amy Adams) is recruited by the Army to try and develop a means of communication with the extraterrestrial beings that are found. The result is a surprisingly emotional film, whose introspection forces the viewer to challenge their thoughts and beliefs.

99/
Twentieth Century Fox

2017: Logan

Stacker Score: 87
Language: English, Spanish
Runtime: 137 min

“Logan” is the tenth installment in the “X-Men” franchise and the last movie to feature gruff, self-healing, retractable claw-man Wolverine. Hugh Jackman has said the last movie came after a conversation with Jerry Seinfeld, in which Seinfeld explained why he left his titular show and Jackman realized it was better to leave before either he or the audience became sick of Wolverine. “Logan” finds the famous mutant taking care of a sick Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and struggling to regenerate himself.

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