Source: Variety - Book of Movie Lists (1994) by Fred Lombardi

Best Science Fiction Films

Author's List

Metropolis (1926)
The Thing (1951)
The Man in the White Suit (1951)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Les Yeux Sans Visage (1959)
Alphaville (1965)
Solaris (1972)
Dark Star (1974)
Stalker (1979)

Honorable Mention: Blade Runner (director's cut, 1992), Silent Running (1971) and Quintet (1979).

The most common complaint about sf films is that most are not true representatives of their genre but crude horror films mounted on some pseudo-scientific babble to explain their phenomenon. At its best, sf is, of course, a more intellectual genre than horror. Very little of this often comes off on the screen, and the travails of the first cut of Blade Runner indicates the queasiness producers have with an even slightly poetic slice of sf.

Michael J. Weldon

Author of The Psychotronic Encyclopedia.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Solaris (1972)
The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
Videodrome (1982)
The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
Village of the Damned (1960)
They Live (1988)
The Time Machine (1960)

John Carpenter

Director of numerous sf films, including Dark Star (1974) and The Thing (1982).

Robert Bloch

Prize-winning author of numerous screenplay, radio plays, short stories and books, who wrote the original novel Psycho.

Metropolis (1926)
Frankenstein (1931)
Island of Lost Souls (1932)
King Kong (1933)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

As a young moviegoer who sought out such films for entertainment rather than education, I tended to prefer fantasy over factuality. Today the genre is generally judged by the visual impact of special effects, but to me the best films are those that also move me intellectually.

Phil Hardy

Author and editor of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction Films.

Blade Runner (1982)
Quatermass II (1957)
Alphaville (1965)
The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
The Thing (1951)
Dark Star (1926)

Arthur C. Clarke

Author of The Sentinel, on which the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010 were based.

Metropolis (1926)
The Thing (1951)
Things to Come (1936)
Frankenstein (1931)
King Kong (1933)
Forbidden Planet (1956)
The Thing (1951)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind - The Special Edition (1980)
Alien (1979)
Blade Runner (1982)

I would add to the list Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Return of the Jedi (1983), Jurassic Park (1993), Dune (1984), and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991).

Joe Kane

Author of The Phantom's Ultimate Video Guide and also publisher, editor, and writer of the bi-monthly newsletter The Phantom of the Movies' Videoscope.

The Terminator (1984)
Creation of the Humanoids (1962)
Seconds (1966)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Dark Star (1974)
The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
The Tingler (1959)
Blade Runner (1982)
X - The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963)

Danny Peary

Author and editor of Omni's Screen Fantasies: The Future According to Science Fiction Cinema.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
The Thing (1951)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind - The Special Edition (1980)
Blade Runner (1982)
Them! (1954)
E.T.: The Extraterrestrial (1982)
Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Metropolis (1926)
Alien (1979)
The Terminator (1984)
Brazil (1985)
Mad Max 2 (1981)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Nineteen Eighty-four (1984)

Frederik Pohl

Prize-winning author of Man Plus and Gateway, and editor of Astonishing Stories.

(in order of preference)

Philip Strick

Originator of sf studies at London University and author of Science Fiction Movies.

Forbidden Planet (1956)
Alphaville (1965)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Solaris (1972)
Star Wars (1977)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Alien (1979)
Blade Runner (1982)
The Terminator (1984)
Groundhog Day (1993)

This list is a celebration of the prehistoric. Film science in the 1990s has so far overtaken film fiction that we need no longer applaud the cinema simply for its fumbled attempts to create images of the imaginery. Now that film can do anything, it has only to think, like the Starchild, about what to do next. And as true sf is all about the thinking process, the best is yet to come.

Robert Wise

Director of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), The Andromeda Strain (1971) and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979).

Blade Runner (1982)
Frankenstein (1931)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
E.T.: The Extraterrestrial (1982)
Star Wars (1977)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1941)


Best Alien Films

Author's List

The Thing (1951)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Invaders from Mars (1953)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Quatermass II (1957)
I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)
Village of the Damned (1960)
Children of the Damned (1963)
God Told Me To (1977)
The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

Joe Kane

God Told Me To (1977)
Alien (1979)
The Thing (1951)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Invaders from Mars (1953)
Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Kronos (1957)
I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)
Stardust Memories (1980)

Michael J. Weldon

The Thing (1951)
The Thing (1982)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
War of the Worlds (1953)
Invaders from Mars (1953)
Alien (1979)
Quatermass and the Pit (1967)
God Told Me To (1977)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
The Blob (1958)


Best Apocalypse Films

Joe Kane

Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
The Terminator (1984)
Mad Max 2 (1981)
Miracle Mile (1989)
Fail-Safe (1964)
Panic in Year Zero (1962)
Testament (1983)
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Rocket Attack, USA (1959)

Philip Strick

Things to Come (1936)
War of the Worlds (1953)
On the Beach (1959)
Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Fail-Safe (1964)
The War Game (1965)
A Boy and His Dog (1975)
Mad Max 2 (1981)
Testament (1983)
Miracle Mile (1989)

Michael J. Weldon

Mad Max 2 (1981)
Weekend (1968)
Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)


Best Futuristic Films

Joe Kane

The Terminator (1984)
Mad Max 2 (1981)
The Time Machine (1960)
A Boy and His Dog (1975)
Night of the Comet (1984)
The Blood of Heroes (1990)

Philip Strick

Metropolis (1926)
Things to Come (1936)
This Island Earth (1955)
Forbidden Planet (1956)
Alphaville (1965)
THX 1138 (1971)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
Blade Runner (1982)
Dune (1984)
Brazil (1985)

Michael J. Weldon

Metropolis (1926)
Things to Come (1936)
Blade Runner (1982)
Brazil (1985)
Robocop (1987)
Flash Gordon (serial) (1936-1940)
Wild in the Streets (1968)
Escape from New York (1981)
Death Race 2000 (1975)


Best Mad Doctor/Scientist Films

Author's List

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1919)
Dr Mabuse, der Spieler (1922)
Metropolis (1926)
The Testament of Dr Mabuse (1933)
Island of Lost Souls (1932)
The Invisible Man (1933)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Flesh and the Fiends (Mania) (1959)
Les Yeux Sans Visage (1959)
The Creeping Flesh (1973)

The doctor of Flesh and the Fiends was not mad but a respected historical figure, Dr.Knox, whose experimental need for cadavers prompted the infamous deeds of the notorious Burke and Hare. Their murders were also chronicled in The Body Snatcher (1945), Burke and Hare (1971) and The Doctor and the Devils (1985). Knox was legally acquitted of any guilt. However, he is still listed here, having become the prototype (and role model?) for the fictional mad doctors that have followed his pursuit of corpses.

Michael J. Weldon

Island of Lost Souls (1932)
Mad Love (1935)
Frankenstein (1931)
The Devil Commands (1941)
Les Yeux Sans Visage (1959)


Best Monster Sci-Fi Films

Michael J. Weldon

The Beast from 20000 Fathoms (1953)
The Giant Behemoth (1959)
Them! (1954)
Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956)
Mothra (1962)


Best Robot Films

Joe Kane

The Terminator (1984)
Creation of the Humanoids (1962)
Blade Runner (1982)
Robot Monster (1953)
Robocop (1987)
Alien (1979)
Forbidden Planet (1956)
Android (1982)
Who? (1974)
The Phantom Creeps (1939)


Best Telekinetic Films

Joe Kane

Scanners (1981)
The Sender (1982)
Scanners III: The Takeover (1992)
The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1936)
The Fury (1978)
Carrie (1976)
Psychotronic Man (1980)