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Best sci-fi film the year you were born

  • Warner Bros.
    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.

  • Famous Players-Lasky Corporation
    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.

  • Milano Film
    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.

  • Cosmopolitan Production
    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.

  • Frank Lloyd Productions
    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.

  • Fox Film Corporation
    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.

  • Colonna-Film GmbH
    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.

  • Mezhrabpom-Rus
    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.

  • Universum Film (UFA)
    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.

  • Helmut Schreiber
    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. 

  • Gaumont British Picture Corporation
    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).

  • Richard-Oswald-Produktion
    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.

  • Universal Pictures
    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.

  • Paramount Pictures
    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.

  • Universal Pictures
    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.

  • Universum Film (UFA)
    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.

  • Universal Pictures
    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).

  • London Film Productions
    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.

  • Moldavia Film
    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.

  • Universal Pictures
    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.

  • Universal Pictures
    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.

  • Universal Pictures
    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.

  • Kinostudiya imeni M. Gorkogo
    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.

  • Universal Pictures
    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.

  • Republic Pictures (I)
    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.

  • Republic Pictures (I)
    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.

  • Republic Pictures (I)
    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).

  • Stella Productions (II)
    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.

  • Columbia Pictures Corporation
    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.

  • Columbia Pictures Corporation
    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.

  • Twentieth Century Fox
    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.

  • Columbia Pictures Corporation
    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.

  • Ealing Studios
    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.

  • IMDb
    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.

  • Jack Dietz Productions
    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.

  • Warner Bros.
    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.

  • Exclusive Films
    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.

  • Walter Wanger Productions
    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.

  • Universal International Pictures (UI)
    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.

  • Twentieth Century Fox
    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.

  • Stanley Kramer Productions
    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.

     

  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer British Studios
    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.

  • Melina Productions
    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.

  • Goskino
    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.

  • Paramount Pictures
    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.

  • Aubrey Schenck Productions
    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.

  • André Michelin Productions
    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.

  • Teshigahara Productions
    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.

  • Curtwel Productions
    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).

  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
    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.

  • Columbia Pictures Corporation
    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.

  • Universal Pictures
    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.

  • Warner Bros.
    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.

  • Mosfilm
    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.

  • Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions
    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.

  • Bryanston Pictures
    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.

  • Canadian Film Development Corporation (CFDC)
    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.

  • British Lion Film Corporation
    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.

  • Julia Phillips and Michael Phillips Productions
    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.

  • Solofilm
    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).

  • Brandywine Productions
    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.

  • Warner Bros.
    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.

  • Kennedy Miller Productions
    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.

  • Universal Pictures
    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.

     

  • ABC Circle Films
    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.

  • Hemdale
    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.

  • Universal Pictures
    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.

  • Twentieth Century Fox
    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.

  • Orion Pictures
    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.

  • Alive Films
    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.

  • Twentieth Century Fox
    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.

  • Carolco Pictures
    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.

  • Carolco Pictures
    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.

  • Bird Studios
    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.

  • Universal Pictures
    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.

  • Wolper Organization
    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.

  • Mayfair Entertainment International
    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.

  • Best Brains
    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.

  • Permut Presentations
    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.

  • Paramount Pictures
    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.

  • Warner Bros.
    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.

  • AM Associates
    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.

  • Pandora Cinema
    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.

  • 20th Century Fox
    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.

  • Warner Bros.
    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.

  • Focus Features
    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.

  • Universal Pictures
    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.

  • Universal Pictures
    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.

  • Falling Sky Entertainment
    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.

  • Paramount Pictures
    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.

  • Paramount Pictures
    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.

  • Warner Bros.
    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.

  • Summit Entertainment
    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.

  • Marvel Studios
    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.

  • Warner Bros.
    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.

  • Marvel Studios
    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.

  • Warner Bros.
    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.

  • Lava Bear Films
    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.

  • Twentieth Century Fox
    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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