Worlds of Wonder: Sci-Fi Goodness (and a bit of goofy fun)by grendelkhan | created - 23 Jun 2013 | updated - 04 May 2016 | Public
I'm a sucker for worlds of imagination, so sci-fi has always been a favorite, even when it's been a bit cheesy (some of us have a sense of humor about this stuff). These are movie and tv show favorites; some are groundbreaking, some awe inspiring, some puzzling, and many are just plain silly. What's the point of having a future if it isn't at least fun? I'm skipping superheroes, if you don't mind, as I have covered them on another list.
Now, "Mr. Sulu, ahead warp factor 10!" "Aye, aye, Captain!" "If anyone needs me, I'll be in my parent's basement."
Some spoilers ahead...
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1. A Trip to the Moon (1902)
TV-G | 13 min | Short, Adventure, Fantasy
A group of astronomers go on an expedition to the Moon.
George Melies classic silent film about a group of scientists who travel to the moon, via a cannon-launched projectile. The film loosely adapts Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon, and was a wonder of special effects, for its time. Edison ripped him off before he could bring the film to the US.
2. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)
Passed | 105 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Captain Nemo has built a fantastic submarine for his mission of revenge. He has traveled over 20,000 leagues in search of Charles Denver - a man who caused the death of Princess Daaker. ... See full summary »
Votes: 1,254 | Gross: $8.00M
Early silent version of the Verne classic, with the ultimate science pirate, Captain Nemo. The title refers to the distance travelled, not the depth, for the smarty pants at Saturday Night Live (a sketch from the 90s).
3. Aelita (1924)
Not Rated | 111 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
A mysterious radio message is beamed around the world, and among the engineers who receive it are Los, the hero, and his colleague Spiridonov. Los is an individualist dreamer. Aelita is the... See full summary »
Early Russian sci-fi extravaganza. I've only seen photos; but, it looks amazing. It gets high praises from movie historians. Very imaginative look, right there with Lang.
4. Metropolis (1927)
Not Rated | 153 min | Drama, Sci-Fi
In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.
Votes: 126,074 | Gross: $0.03M
One of the true visual wonders of the silent era. Fritz Lang brings to life this tale of a monstrous city, where the elite live in grand towers, while the workers toil underground. One of the first uses of sci-fi cinema to make social criticisms, though there is plenty of that in Verne's work. The robot version of Maria would inspire the design of C3PO, which may explain why he acts that way.
5. Just Imagine (1930)
Passed | 113 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Musical
New York, 1980: airplanes have replaced cars, numbers have replaced names, pills have replaced food, government-arranged marriages have replaced love, and test tube babies have replaced ...... See full summary »
This is essentially a musical comedy, but it features some fantastic sets and interesting visuals. The main story is nothing to write home about.
6. Frankenstein (1931)
Not Rated | 70 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi
An obsessed scientist assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses.
Votes: 53,741 | Gross: $12.00M
This film straddles both the scientific and the horrific. The mad genius Dr. Frankenstein tries to creat artificial life, with tragic consequences. Boris Karloff made the monster human. The film departs quite a bit from Mary Shelly, but is probably the better known version. It would influence many things, both in the sci-fi and horror worlds.
7. Island of Lost Souls (1932)
Not Rated | 70 min | Horror, Sci-Fi
An obsessed scientist conducts profane experiments in evolution, eventually establishing himself as the self-styled demigod to a race of mutated, half-human abominations.
Charles Laughton is Dr. Moreau in this early adaptation of HG Wells' Island of Dr. Moreau. Wells' metaphoric tale of genetic experiments is ably brought to life.
8. The Invisible Man (1933)
Not Rated | 71 min | Horror, Sci-Fi
A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane.
Claude Rains stars in this adaptation of HG Wells. Again, this is as much horror as sci-fi, with Rains very effective as the scientist driven mad by his condition.
9. I.F.1 ne répond plus (1933)
Really two films, a German one and then an English one. An engineer designs and builds a masive floating platform (the FP1 of the title) that is to be a waystation in the Atlantic, for air and sea travel. However, from the start, there are people trying to sabotage it. Conrad Veidt plays a playboy aviator who lends a hand. The design is interesting and the plot is good, but much of the acting revolves around the pseudo-romance. May be a bit dull for modern audiences.
10. The Phantom Empire (1935)
Approved | 245 min | Musical, Sci-Fi, Western
When the ancient continent of Mu sank beneath the ocean, some of its inhabitant survived in caverns beneath the sea. Cowboy singer Gene Autry stumbles upon the civilization, now buried ... See full summary »
Gene Autrey stars in this serial, as himself. A group of mysterious marauders is chased by Autry, only to find an underground advanced civilization. Autry gets caught up in the intrigue, but has to keep cutting out to record his radio show, or he will lose his ranch. This silliness tends to pull the plot to a halt, which keeps an otherwise good serial from becoming great.
11. Things to Come (1936)
Not Rated | 100 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, War
The story of a century: a decades-long second World War leaves plague and anarchy, then a rational state rebuilds civilization and attempts space travel.
William Menzes directs this visually amazing tale of HG Wells' predictions of the coming future. Raymond Massey stars as John Cabal, a somewhat cynical man who is faced with man's stupidity as war breaks out. He joins together with a group of aviators and technocrats to bring about a new civilization, from the ashes of the old. Ralph Richardson is the "Boss," a petty tyrant with dreams of conquest. The acting is rather operatic and more than a bit pompous, but the visuals are stunning, from the Wings Over the World super bombers to the building of an underground utopia, to the moon launch at the climax. The film is a real triumph of modern design and imagination.
12. Flash Gordon (1936)
Approved | 245 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Flash Gordon, Dale Arden and Dr. Alexis Zarkov visit the planet Mongo to thwart the evil schemes of Emperor Ming the Merciless, who has set his planet on a collision course with Earth.
The first of Universal's Flash Gordon serials. This one sticks relatively close to the comic strips, as Flash, Dale, and Zarkov travel to Mongo to try and stop it from colliding with Earth. Neither the serial or the original strip ever address how they were supposed to do this and it is quickly forgotten. The acting is rather stiff, and some of the costumes are a bit clunky, not to mention, many of the actors weren't quite as athletic as Buster Crabbe, but it's a lot of fun and keeps you interested, once you get used to the rocket ships flying in circles. Universal gave this one a feature budget and it shows.
13. Undersea Kingdom (1936)
Approved | 226 min | Sci-Fi, Adventure
Crash Corrigan, a recent graduate of Annapolis, and Diana, a go-getting reporter, join Professor Norton for a search for the source of a string of earthquakes, Atlantis. They ride Prof. ... See full summary »
This was Republic Studios' attempt at duplicating Flash Gordon. It doesn't have the same budget or imagination, but it makes up for it in action and beefcake. Ray "Crash" Corrigan is the hero, who is part of a naval expedition to Lake Pahoe, I mean, find a lost world. They find dictators, super tanks, and clunky robots, and a lot of guys in bedsheets, though they don't appear to be part of the KKK. Silly fun for a while, but you are ready for it to end far sooner than it does. Try it in small doses.
14. Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938)
Approved | 299 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
When a deadly Nitron ray strikes Earth, Flash Gordon and his friends travel to Mars to battle Ming the Merciless and his new ally Queen Azura.
Flash and the gang are back, as they try to thwart Ming's new plan, while meeting Queen Azura. Lots of great action here, much of which would inspire Star Wars.
15. Buck Rogers (1939)
Approved | 237 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
A 20th Century pilot named Buck Rogers and his young friend Buddy Wade awake from 500 years in suspended animation to find that the world has been taken over by the outlaw army of Killer Kane.
Buster Crabbe also starred as the original sci-fi comic hero, Buck Rogers. In a slight deviation from the strip, Buck and Buddy Deering are frozen by gasses, after an airship crash, only to wake up in the future. There, they help stop the scemes of the evil Kane. Pretty good visuals here. George Lucas later used a clip at the beginning of THX 1138.
16. Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940)
Approved | 220 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure
Flash Gordon, Dale Arden and Dr. Zarkov return to the planet Mongo for an antidote to the Purple Death, which wreaking destruction on Earth. However, Ming the Merciless has other plans for them.
Flash and his friends help out Queen Fria and King Ronal, rulers of Frigia, as they fight the evil Ming's schemes. Plenty of daring do and the usual circling space ships. The title crawl at the start of each episode would find its way to Star Wars.
17. The Fighting Devil Dogs (1938)
Approved | 204 min | Adventure
The US marine corps must battle a would-be world conqueror who uses electricity as a weapon.
An evil villain, the Lightning, launches attacks on the world, from his flying wing, while he launches electric torpedoes. It's up to a pair of US Marines to try and stop him. Much of the footage is recycled from Dick Tracy (including the flying wing) but the villain is brand new. His black costume and helmet would inspire Darth Vader.
18. Brick Bradford (1947)
Approved | 257 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
An adventurer travels to the moon to stop a madman from getting hold of the Interceptor Ray, a weapon that could destroy Earth.
This was one of the rivals of Flash Gordon, an adventurer who travels through time in his Time Top. I have no idea how faithful the serial was.
19. Captain Video and His Video Rangers (1949–1955)
30 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure
"Guardian of the Safety of the World", private citizen-scientist Captain Video, assisted by his teenage helper The Ranger and an army of Video Rangers, preserves the peace in the far-off ... See full summary »
Another of the early sci-fi television series; one of the first, actually. This was a big hit with kids, back in the day.
20. King of the Rocket Men (1949)
Passed | 167 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
Jeff King in his experimental rocket suit battles the evil Dr. Vulcan.
Wonderful Republic serial about a scientist who fights saboteurs, using a rocket pack. The enemy uses all kinds of scientific devices to kill and wreak havoc. This is the best of the three serials.
21. Tom Corbett, Space Cadet (1950–1955)
15 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure
Four centuries into the future, Cadets Tom Corbett, Roger Manning and Astro are training to become Solar Guards. Their ship, the "Polaris" took them to numerous adventures, usually natural catastrophes rather than villains.
One of the early tv adventure shows, low on budget but not ideas. Its hard to take these things seriously, though.
22. Flying Disc Man from Mars (1950)
Passed | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
A single-handed hero sets himself against Martians trying to assume control of Earth.
Another sci-fi serial, though not felt to be in the same caliber as King of the Rocketmen or even the Phantom Empire. The budgets in these things don't lend themselves well to great visuals, apart from the Lyedecker Brothers.
23. Rocketship X-M (1950)
Approved | 77 min | Sci-Fi
An astronaut crew on their way to the Moon are unexpectedly propelled by gravitational forces and end up on Mars instead.
One of the early sci-fi films with a great eye towards scientific accuracy. It's still a bit laughable, and more than a bit plodding, but it tries for serious. The Mysties roughed it up a bit.
24. Destination Moon (1950)
Not Rated | 92 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi
One of the first science fiction films to attempt a high level of accurate technical detail tells the story of the first trip to the Moon.
Votes: 2,910 | Gross: $5.00M
Another early techno/sci-fi film, with ideas from Robert Heinlein. Unfortunately, they deviate a bit too much, but it's not a bad attempt.
25. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Approved | 92 min | Drama, Sci-Fi
An alien lands and tells the people of Earth that they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets.
One of the first truly serious sci-fi films, with an alien ambassador who comes to Earth to try to steer it from the path of war and destruction. He is aided by his robot Gort. Of course, some trigger happy earthling stirs things up. Great film from Robert Wise. Forget the Keanu version.
26. The Thing from Another World (1951)
Approved | 87 min | Horror, Sci-Fi
Scientists and American Air Force officials fend off a bloodthirsty alien organism while at a remote arctic outpost.
Classic sci-fi/horror tale of an alien that can take on other forms, who infiltrates a remote Arctic outpost. It would be remade by John Carpenter, in the 80s.
27. Radar Men from the Moon (1952)
Approved | 167 min | Action, Sci-Fi
Strategic targets on Earth are being destroyed by an unknown weapon. Government security head Henderson suspects it's an "atomic ray" originating from the moon! He assigns Commando Cody, ... See full summary »
This time, the hero is known as Commando Cody, as he fights an attack from the moon. It gets a bit ponderous and many of the props are recycled from other serials.
28. Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952)
Approved | 167 min | Action, Sci-Fi
The invaders come to Earth to create an H-bomb to blast Earth out of orbit so that Mars can take its place.
Last of the rocket man serials, with the rocket propelled hero fighting aliens, including a pre-Spock Leonard Nimoy. Things are pretty tired by this point, but the effects are good.
29. The War of the Worlds (1953)
Approved | 85 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
A small town in California is attacked by Martians, beginning a worldwide invasion.
Votes: 27,446 | Gross: $4.36M
HG Wells masterpiece is brought to life by George Pal. Things are moved up from the Victorian era to the present, though the tripods are replaced with flying ships, with heat rays. A flying wing (via stock footage) helps save the day, along with Dr. Clayton Forrester (not the mad scientist at Deep 13). Much more fun than the Tom Cruise remake.
30. Invaders from Mars (1953)
Approved | 78 min | Sci-Fi
A young boy learns that space aliens are taking over the minds of earthlings.
The Martians are coming, in this metaphor of Cold War paranoia. The acting is not quite Oscar calliber, but it's goofy fun.
31. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
Approved | 127 min | Adventure, Drama, Family
A ship sent to investigate a wave of mysterious sinkings encounters the advanced submarine, the Nautilus, commanded by Captain Nemo.
Votes: 24,073 | Gross: $28.20M
The classic version of Verne's tale, featuring James Mason as the definitive Nemo. Disney went to town here, creating the truly iconic Nautillus. Verne's social critique survives, amazingly.
32. Rocky Jones, Space Ranger (1954– )
26 min | Family, Sci-Fi
Cruising the galaxy in his space ship "The Orbit Jet" Space Ranger, Rocky Jones, Vena Ray, and 10 year-old Bobby defend the Earth and themselves against space-bound evil doers.
Another early tv sci-fi series. It's big on imagination but rather light on budget. It has a certain campy charm and the Mysties weren't too hard on it.
33. Flash Gordon (1954–1955)
30 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Space hero Flash Gordon and his crew of the Galaxy Bureau of Investigation patrol space, battling space monsters, power-mad alien dictators and other threats to the stability of the universe.
Steve Holland stars as the earth hero, with not much budget. The show did make use of footage of post war Berlin, complete with bomb damage. Harris would also serve as James Bama's model for his seminal Doc Savage covers for the Bantam paperback reprint series.
34. The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)
78 min | Horror, Sci-Fi
In 1950s England, professor Quatermass' manned rocket ship returns to Earth, but two of the astronauts are missing and the survivor seems ill and unable to communicate.
The British launch a mission into space, but what comes back isn't human, and it may be unstoppable. This is a feature adaptation of the first Professor Quartermass serial, also known as the Creeping Unknown. The character would serve to influence many future scientist heroes, especially Doctor Who.
35. This Island Earth (1955)
Approved | 86 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Aliens come to Earth seeking scientists to help them in their war.
This has some nice effects and interesting ideas, but its kind of a glorified monster movie, albeit a big-budget one. I kept waiting for Russel Johnson to whip up a death ray with coconuts and bamboo. Best view with Mike and the Bots, if you ask me.
36. Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)
Unrated | 83 min | Action, Sci-Fi
Extraterrestrials traveling in high-tech flying saucers contact scientist Dr. Russell Marvin as part of a plan to enslave the inhabitants of Earth.
Alien invaders menace the earth, but they aren't very good drivers, crashing into the US Capitol Building. One of the seminal "alien invasion" films of the 50s.
37. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Approved | 80 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi
A small-town doctor learns that the population of his community is being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates.
Adaptation of Robert Heinlein's "The Puppet Masters," though not much of Heinlein made it into the film. The original bunch of "pod people." This is pure 50s paranoia.
38. Forbidden Planet (1956)
Approved | 98 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
A starship crew goes to investigate the silence of a planet's colony only to find two survivors and a deadly secret that one of them has.
Votes: 37,793 | Gross: $3.00M
One of the transitional sci-fi films, where we start to move away from monsters and invaders into more abstract concepts. MGM put some serious money into the film and it is a feast for the eyes. The cast is great, too, with Walter Pidgeon and Ann Francis as the father and daughter duo on the planet, and Leslie Nielsen as the heroic spaceship captain. This was a huge influence on Star Trek and much of the sci-fi of the 60s. Hard to believe Leslie Nielsen as a straight hero, if you have only seen him in the Zucker Bros. spoofs (or in his various roles as heavies, in 70s tv shows).
39. Enemy from Space (1957)
Approved | 85 min | Sci-Fi, Horror
Professor Quatermass, trying to gather support for his Lunar colonisation project, is intrigued by mysterious traces that have been showing up.
Second Quartermass feature, with Brian Donlevy back as the heroic Prof. Quartermass. This is still very Americanized, compared to the tv original.
40. The Mysterians (1957)
TV-Y7 | 85 min | Action, Family, Sci-Fi
Aliens arrive on Earth and ask permission to be given a certain tract of land for their people to live on. But when they are discovered to be invaders, responsible for the giant robot that ... See full summary »
Votes: 1,062 | Gross: $0.98M
Toho-produced sci-fi film, in which aliens seem to come to earth in peace. It's all a cover and they unleash a giant robot weapon to wreak havoc. Toho couldn't quite leave the monster stuff behind.
41. From the Earth to the Moon (1958)
101 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
In 1868, American inventor Victor Barbicane develops a powerful military explosive that he also uses as fuel for a moon-bound rocket manned by himself and a motley crew.
Joseph Cotton stars in this adaptation of Jules Verne's tale of a moon mission, launched via cannon. The story is a bit bland, which mars the wonder of the thing.
42. The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
TV-PG | 51 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
Ordinary people find themselves in extraordinarily astounding situations, which they each try to solve in a remarkable manner.
Legendary anthology of sci-fi and horror tales, with iconic stories and performances. The worst episode beats most things today. features many episodes from noted authors, such as Richard Matheson and George Clayton Johnson, as well as Sirling himself.
43. The Time Machine (1960)
Approved | 103 min | Adventure, Romance, Sci-Fi
A man's vision for a utopian society is disillusioned when travelling forward into time reveals a dark and dangerous society.
George Pal brings HG Wells tale of a time traveller to life, with Rod Taylor as the inventor and pilot of the machine. It departs here and there but wonderfully captures the main story, with great visual flair.
44. Visit to a Small Planet (1960)
Not Rated | 85 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi
The weirdest alien of the galaxy pays a visit to Earth...
Jerry Lewis stars as an alien visitor to the Earth, in this comedy. More than a bit of a departure for Lewis, though it tends to follow the usual structure of his movies. This one isn't seen much, compared to his other films. It's a shame, as it is rather good.
45. Space Men (1960)
Unrated | 73 min | Sci-Fi
In the 22nd Century, Ray Peterson, reporter for the Interplanetary News, is assigned to write a story aboard a space station. Tension mounts between Peterson and the station commander, who ... See full summary »
Antonio Margheriti's first Gamma One film, featuring a reporter and a space station captain who but heads. Meanwhile, a spaceship is headed toward earth but it's radiation could kill everyone on the planet. Not up to his later Wild Wild Planet
46. Mysterious Island (1961)
Approved | 101 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
During the Civil War a group of Union soldiers and two Confederates escape the stockade using a hot air balloon and end up on a strange Pacific island.
Sequel to 20,000 Leagues finds a group of Union soldiers who escape from a Confederate prison in a balloon. They end up lost in a storm and land on a strange island, with giant animals. They eventially find Nemo and the wreck of the Nautillus. Known for its wild visuals, from Ray Harryhausen, there isn't as much science here.
47. Master of the World (1961)
Not Rated | 102 min | Sci-Fi, Adventure
In 1868, an American scientist and his team become hostages of fanatical pacifist Robur who uses his airship Albatross to destroy military targets on Earth.
Verne's other great science pirate threatens the world, if they can't throw away their arms and learn to live without war. The script is cobbled together from both Robur the Conqueror and Master of the World, but Robur is turned into Nemo. Charles Bronson is a rather stiff hero, but Vincent Price makes up for it. The airship looks fantastic.
48. Supercar (1961–1962)
30 min | Family, Sci-Fi
Gerry Anderson's first science fiction Supermarionation series. Super Car was a prototype vehicle that could travel in the air, on land or beneath the sea. Its test pilot was Mike Mercury, ... See full summary »
One of the early Gerry Anderson shows, centered around a fantastic vehicle, which would establish the premise for his shows for years to come.
49. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961)
PG | 105 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
When the Earth is threatened by a burning Van Allen Radiation Belt, U.S. Navy Admiral Harriman Nelson plans to shoot a nuclear missile at the Belt, using his experimental atomic submarine, the Seaview.
Irwin Allen's movie about a high-tech sub that has to find a solution to radiation poisoning from the Van Allen belt. the movie would spawn the tv series, though this has Walter Pidgeon as the Admiral, as well as Barbara Eden and Michael Ansara.
50. Battle of the Worlds (1961)
Unrated | 84 min | Sci-Fi
A runaway asteroid dubbed "The Outsider" mysteriously begins orbiting the Earth and threatens it with lethal flying saucers.
Claude Rains appears in this Italian sci-fi film from director Antonio Margheriti. An asteroid goes into orbit around the earth, instead of crashing into it, then launches a fleet of ships to attack the earth. Don't expect ILM effects work. Part of the director's Gamma One series.
51. Space Angel (1962– )
30 min | Animation, Family, Sci-Fi
Pure pulp sci-fi, with lush detail from Alex Toth and Doug Wildey. The stories were great, even if there wasn't much motion, apart from super-imposed lips. One of my favorites, as a kid
52. Fireball XL5 (1962–1963)
30 min | Family, Sci-Fi
Fireball XL5 was part of the fleet of interplanetary rockets protecting Sector 25 of the Solar System from alien invasion under the supervision of the World Space Patrol. In command of XL5 ... See full summary »
Gerry Anderson show about a rocket captain and his adventures. The Anderson shows tended to be a bit heavy on the gadgets, moreso than the characters.
53. The Day of the Triffids (1963)
Approved | 93 min | Horror, Sci-Fi
After an unusual meteor shower leaves most of the human population blind, a merchant navy officer must find a way to conquer tall, aggressive plants which are feeding on people and animals.
Superior alien invader film, based on the British sci-fi classic.
54. The Outer Limits (1963–1965)
TV-PG | 51 min | Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi
An anthology series of insightful science fiction tales.
Lesser series, only in the shadow of the Twilight Zone. It had a bigger penchant for monsters, but featured some excellent stories, especially a pair from Harlan Ellison (The Soldier and Demon With a Glass Hand) which would be swiped for a certain Terminator. Ellison didn't take it lying down.
55. The Jetsons (1962–1963)
TV-Y7 | 25 min | Animation, Comedy, Family
The misadventures of a futuristic family.
Really just a family sitcom, set in the future; but, what a future! There was sci-fi all around and some of the gadgets came to pass. Lots of fun, with a great cast and some excellent comedy.
56. Doctor Who (1963–1989)
TV-PG | 45 min | Adventure, Drama, Family
The adventures of a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey known only as the Doctor, who travels through time and space fighting monsters and other villainous megalomaniacs with companions.
The BBC launched this classic series, right after the assassination of John F Kennedy. Despite this, the series proved a hit and would last for about 25 years, before politics and penny pinching killed it. William Hartnell started as the mysterious and cranky old Doctor, who is less trustworthy than his successors. Patrick Troughton would follow, establishing his own, lighter personality, ensuring the series would live on. Jon Pertwee made the Doctor a man of action, while Tom Baker gave him a wicked sense of humor and a truly alien point of view. Peter Davison made hima decent guy, while Colin Baker gave him an inflated sense of ego. Sylvester McCoy brought back some of the moral grounding and eccentricity, but suffered badly due to politics (though Colin Baker got the worst of it). Thrill to Daleks and Cybermen, UNIT and the Master, and everything inbetween.
57. Atragon (1963)
TV-Y7 | 94 min | Adventure, Family, Sci-Fi
When an ancient underground civilization and their snake-like guardian plots to reclaim the surface world, those of the surface fights back.
Toho film, from Ishiro Honda (Godzilla), about a high tech sub that encounters people from the lost continent of Mu. Typical Toho monsters and model work, from Eiji Tsuburaya.
58. Jonny Quest (1964–1965)
TV-Y7 | 30 min | Animation, Action, Adventure
The Quest family and their bodyguard investigate strange phenomena and battle villains around the world.
Awesome adventure show, with many sci-fi themes and advanced technology. It was like Popular Science, crossed with Terry and the Pirates and John Campbell magazines.
59. First Men in the Moon (1964)
Approved | 103 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi
When a spaceship lands on the moon, it is hailed as a new accomplishment, before it becomes clear that a Victorian party completed the journey in 1899, leading investigators to that mission's last survivor.
Rather campy British film, based on the HG Wells story. It has a nice Victorian look and is played straight, but it is hard to take seriously.
60. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964–1968)
52 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi
The submarine Seaview is commissioned to investigate the mysteries of the seas. Usually it finds more problems than answers...
TV series that followed the movie, starring Richard Basehart and David Heddison. Full of monsters, spies, and other conflicts.
61. Stingray (1964–1965)
30 min | Action, Adventure, Family
The missions of the World Aquanaut Security Patrol, particularly the crew of its most advanced combat submarine, the Stingray.
Things are getting more sophisticated in the Supermarionation realm, as the model work evolves and the puppets are more mobile. The gang is still heavily in love with their model shots.
62. Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964)
Not Rated | 110 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi
Stranded on Mars with only a monkey as a companion, an astronaut must figure out how to find oxygen, water, and food on the lifeless planet.
Interesting little film about a spaceship stranded on Mars. There is ultimately only one survivor, who has a chimp as a companion and encounters an escaped slave, who is hunted by an alien ship. Rather dark film, though never boring.
63. The Wild, Wild Planet (1966)
Approved | 93 min | Sci-Fi
A deranged scientist is using his employer's top-secret bio-laboratory to engage in clandestine eugenics experiments. When he starts kidnapping leading citizens for use in his twisted tests... See full summary »
Italian sci-fi film (aka Wild, Wild Planet) about a scientist who kidnaps leading citizens for experiments. The designs are great and the film reflects the 60s pop-art style.
64. Thunderbirds (1965–1966)
TV-G | 50 min | Animation, Action, Adventure
In the 21st century, the Tracy family operate a unique private mechanized emergency response service.
Gerry Anderson's masterpiece, in most fans eyes. For once, their are some decent characters and each episode is a race against time. The model work is excellent, but be prepared for long launch sequences and the like. Nobody ever just climbs through a door to get into a Supermarionation vehicle. Popular enough for a couple of movies.
65. Lost in Space (1965–1968)
60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family
A space colony family struggles to survive when a spy/accidental stowaway throws their ship hopelessly off course.
The Robinson family get lost on the way to Alpha Centauri, and spend their time encountering aliens, monsters, and yet another excuse from Dr. Smith. The tv series is really a showcase for Bill Mumy, Jonathan Harris, and the robot. Everyone else was mostly window dressing. Still better than the 90s movie.
66. Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965)
Not Rated | 82 min | Adventure, Family, Sci-Fi
An eccentric inventor and his companions travel in his TARDIS to the Planet Skaro and battle the evil menace of the Daleks.
Peter Cushing stars in this feature version of Doctor Who, based on the third story and first Dalek adventure. This Doctor is an earthman who has built a time machine that can travel through time and space. Call me a heretic, but I like this more than the Hartnell original, especially the character os Susan. The young actress is more interesting than Carol Ann Ford and so is the character. Thankfully, she stuck around for the sequel.
67. Alphaville (1965)
Not Rated | 99 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
A U.S. secret agent is sent to the distant space city of Alphaville where he must find a missing person and free the city from its tyrannical ruler.
Votes: 18,511 | Gross: $0.05M
French New Wave film, mixing detective Lemey Caution with a supercomputer. I tried watching it once but got a headache. Very existential.
68. The Wild Wild West (1965–1969)
50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Two Secret Service agents, equipped with a wide array of gizmos, work for the government in the Old West.
This qualifies as an example of steampunk. James West and Artemus Gordon are a pair of Secret Service agents, who travel the west in a private railcar. They deal with various threats, many involving science fiction threats or advanced technology. It was a fun series, with clever plots and a great cast. The episodes with Michael Dunne, as the villainous but sympathetic genius Dr. Miguelito Loveless are true classics.
69. Star Trek (1966–1969)
TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Mystery
Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise explore the galaxy and defend the United Federation of Planets.
The seminal tv series, big on ideas, but not always on budget. It limped through 3 seasons on the network, thanks to fan-driven write-in campaigns, but would truly find its audience in syndication. There are big ideas and goofy ones, with liberal doses of action, humor, horror, drama, and just about everything else you could name. It would eventually launch an empire, though how no one had ever thought of seatbelts in the 23rd Century is beyond me. "Live long and prosper!"
70. Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966)
Not Rated | 84 min | Family, Sci-Fi
The Daleks' fiendish plot in 2150 against Earth and its people is foiled when Dr. Who and friends arrive from the 20th century and figure it out.
Peter Cushing is back in this second feature adaptation of Doctor Who. Once again, the script is aadapted from Terry Nation's original, with a bigger budget to add more scope. Ian is gone, replaced by Bernard Cribbins, as a police constable. Good stuff, with some fine comedic moments.
71. Fahrenheit 451 (1966)
Unrated | 112 min | Drama, Sci-Fi
In an oppressive future, a fireman whose duty is to destroy all books begins to question his task.
Francois Truffault directs this version of the Ray Bradbury classic. Oskar Werner stars as Montag, the conflicted fireman, whose job it is to burn books. Julie Christie plays both his wife and a young teacher who senses his conflict and nudges him until he reads a book. Interesting visuals, though the story is a bit obtuse, at times. The opening titles are done as a voice narration and no written words are seen until books are found. There are some gaps in logic, like how a society of people who have outlawed books can read (assuming this has gone on long enough that people don't know why books are banned). Still, it is a feast for the brain, though it doesn't fully capture the book.
72. The War of the Planets (1966)
Approved | 99 min | Sci-Fi
In the 21st century, aliens (weird, green, lights which sometimes manifest themselves as large clouds of smoke) invade the solar system. Using Mars as their base, they steal all of Earth's ... See full summary »
Sequel to the Wild Wild Planet. Nice ideas, but the effects aren't up to things. Aliens are stealing space stations, this time.
73. Fantastic Voyage (1966)
PG | 100 min | Adventure, Family, Sci-Fi
A scientist is nearly assassinated. In order to save him, a submarine is shrunken to microscopic size and injected into his blood stream with a small crew. Problems arise almost as soon as they enter the bloodstream.
A team of doctors and scientists, along with their sub, are shrunken down and injected into a man to perform a delicate surgical procedure. We travel along with them through the inner space of the human body, where they must fend off attacks by anitbodies and a saboteur within their midst. Very imaginative.
74. The Time Tunnel (1966–1967)
TV-PG | 60 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Two scientists with a secret time travel project find themselves trapped in the time stream and appearing in notable periods of history.
Irwin Allen production, with adventures throughout time. Not quite Doctor Who, at the writing level, but entertaining. Certainly an influence on Stargate; but, then again, who didn't Devlin and Emerich swipe from?
75. Five Million Years to Earth (1967)
Approved | 97 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi
A mysterious artifact is unearthed in London, and famous scientist Bernard Quatermass is called into to divine its origins and explain its strange effects on people.
aka Quartermass and the Pit. A crew digging a tunnel finds an alien wreck and trouble follows. Someone put in a call to Prof. Quartermass!
76. Those Fantastic Flying Fools (1967)
95 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Phineas T Barnum and friends finance the first flight to the moon but find the task a little above them. They attempt to blast their rocket into orbit from a massive gun barrel built into ... See full summary »
This had several titles, including Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon and Blast Off. Troy Donahue and Burl Ives star as a young inventor and PT Barnum, respectively, who join with a group of men to design and build a craft to reach the moon. Terry Thomas and Lionell Jeffries try to sabotage the project. It's all rather lighthearted, but it is mostly fun.
77. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967–1968)
TV-PG | 25 min | Animation, Action, Family
A literally unkillable agent leads an international intelligence agency's fight against an extra-terrestrial terror campaign.
This was the most mature of the Anderson shows, if you ask me. Explorers wake up aliens and cause them harm, leading to retaliation. The Mysterons can don other forms and use Captain Black as their agent. Heroic Captain Scarlet is practically invincible, and SPECTRUM operatesfrom a flying base. Great stuff.
78. Planet of the Apes (1968)
G | 112 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi
An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved.
Votes: 147,740 | Gross: $33.40M
True classic, based on the novel by Pierre Boulle, though greatly altered by Rod Serling. The ending has been swiped by everyone. "A planet where apes evolved from men?" "It's a madhouse, a madhouse!", etc, etc...
79. The Green Slime (1968)
G | 90 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi
A giant asteroid is heading toward Earth so some astronauts disembark from a nearby space station to blow it up. The mission is successful, and they return to the station unknowingly ... See full summary »
A group of astronauts destroy a dangerous asteroid, but bring back some kind of goo that turns into a tentacled monster. Japanese director and effects.
80. Fantastic Voyage (1968–1969)
30 min | Adventure, Animation, Sci-Fi
The government confronts mysterious incidents that threaten international safety and determines it must employ a team of experts who are shrunken to microscopic size to infiltrate and ... See full summary »
Taking its cue from the movie, this Filmation cartoon series featured a team of adventurers who would be shrunk down for their missions. Lots of repeated footage (a staple of Filmation) but it was imaginative.
81. Barbarella (1968)
PG | 98 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Barbarella, an astronaut from the 41st century, sets out to find and stop the evil scientist Durand Durand, whose Positronic Ray threatens to bring evil back into the galaxy.
Fairly campy adaptation of the comics by Jean-Claude Forest, about an intergalactic agent and her misadventures. Jane Fonda stars in this space romp, with plenty of sex and silliness to keep your interest, but it starts dragging before we get to the end. The designs are wild, but the effects seem rather primative today.
82. Joe 90 (1968–1969)
30 min | Adventure, Family
The adventures of a preteen secret agent who can have any useful skills downloaded into his brain.
Sci-fi mixed with spy-fi; as young Joe 90 can be programmed with various information. It proved a bit of a disappointment, ratings wise, but has its share of fans.
83. Land of the Giants (1968–1970)
60 min | Sci-Fi
A spaceship from Earth crash-lands on an Earth-like planet on which everything, including the human-like inhabitants, is twelve times the size of its counterpart on Earth.
Irwin Allen show, where a group of travellers find themselves on a planet filled with giants. Really just a ripoff of Richard Matheson's The Incredible Shrinking Man, though with a likeable cast.
84. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi
Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest.
Votes: 481,106 | Gross: $56.95M
Stanly Kubrick's visual masterpiece, based on a short work by Arthur C Clarke (The Sentinel). The film is a triumph of ideas and visuals, but is a bit light on the human element. It is fairly astute on technical details, but got video phones and the future of Pan Am wrong.
85. Captain Nemo and the Underwater City (1969)
G | 105 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
When Captain Nemo saves the passengers of a sinking ship and takes them to his Utopian underwater city he discovers that not all of his guests agree to remain there forever.
Lesser film with Captain Nemo (Robert Ryan) who has an underwater city from which to operate. Definitely not in the same "league" as the Disney film, but it has a bit of visual wonder itself.
86. Marooned (1969)
G | 134 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi
Three American astronauts are stranded in space when their retros won't fire. Can they be rescued before their oxygen runs out?
Votes: 3,834 | Gross: $4.35M
Film about an accident in space, which parallels Apollo 13. Jim and Marilynn Lovell didn't think much of it; but, it does have Gene Hackman and Gregory Peck.
87. Moon Zero Two (1969)
G | 100 min | Crime, Sci-Fi
A space salvage expert and his partner become involved with a group of criminals intent on hijacking a small asteroid made of sapphire and crashing it into the moon for later recovery. The ... See full summary »
Lightweight British sci-fi film about miners on the moon. This was the "Swinging London" era and the film reflects it. There's not much going on for the brain, which is probably why MST3K took it on.
88. Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (1969)
G | 101 min | Sci-Fi
The European Space Exploration Council sends two astronauts to explore a planet similar to the Earth but located on the opposite side of the sun.
Roy Thinnes stars in this live action film, from Gerry Anderson. Thinnes is an astronaut who ends up on an alternate earth, orbiting the sun 180 degrees opposite of his world. He soon learns that things work differently on this world, such as reversed writing. He tries to return home, but soon finds that its not as easy as he thinks. The film has some great ideas, but they don't all gel. It succeeds in the end, but it's a shaky ride.
89. Latitude Zero (1969)
G | 89 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
A journalist is saved by a giant submarine captained by a 200 year old man who takes him to an underwater paradise city where no one ages. That's when monsters and mutants sent by the captain's rival, a 200 year old scientist, attack.
Toho film about another sub and a mad scientist who has bred monsters. Features Cesar Romero as the villain.
90. Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)
M | 100 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller
Thinking this will prevent war, the US government gives an impenetrable supercomputer total control over launching nuclear missiles. But what the computer does with the power is unimaginable to its creators.
Eric Braden stars as a briliant scientist who develops a super computer that is tasked to run the US defense systems. It becomes self aware and discovers a Soviet counterpart. It begins dictating to the humans the changes it wants to bring man in line with its thinking, whether they like it or not. Braden and his team must work to try to stop the computer. James Cameron stole the Skynet idea from here.
91. Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)
G | 95 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
The sole survivor of an interplanetary rescue mission searches for the only survivor of the previous expedition. He discovers a planet ruled by apes and an underground city run by telepathic humans.
Votes: 36,114 | Gross: $19.00M
A new astronaut lands on the planet, looking for Charlton Heston. He discovers the truth about the world when he ventures underground, in the Forbidden Zone, where he finds mutants and A-Bombs. The apes aren't far behind. This one is a bit too uneven for me, though it has some great moments.
92. UFO (1970–1973)
45 min | Action, Sci-Fi
In the year 1980 the Earth is threatened by an alien race who kidnap and kill humans and use them for body parts. A highly secret military organization is set up in the hope of defending ... See full summary »
Gerry Anderson's first venture into live action sci-fi, with a paranoid tale of alien invaders and the secret organization who battles them. If they spent half as much time on the characters as they did the models and effects, it could have been remembered in the same breath as Star Trek.
93. Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)
G | 98 min | Action, Sci-Fi
The world is shocked by the appearance of three talking chimpanzees, who arrived mysteriously in a U.S. spacecraft. They become the toast of society, but one man believes them to be a threat to the human race.
Votes: 26,866 | Gross: $12.30M
The formula is reversed, as Cornelius and Zira travel in Taylor's ship, arriving on Earth, in the 60s. There, they are the oddity that threatens society. Eric Braden stars as the scientist who learns the horrible fate of humanity and decides to do something about it, for good or ill.
94. THX 1138 (1971)
R | 86 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
In the twenty-fifth century, a time when people have designations instead of names, a man, THX 1138, and a woman, LUH 3417, rebel against their rigidly controlled society.
Votes: 42,130 | Gross: $2.44M
George Lucas' first sci-fi film, which is an expansion of one of his student films. Robert Duval stars as a man in a controlled society, where everyone is kept under sedation to maintain a proper emotional state. The people fulfill a drone existence, where their leisure time is spent purchasing pointless consumer items. THX stops taking his medicine and starts questioning things. Very much influenced by the French New Wave, featuring 3 escapes, of both physical and metaphorical nature. Lucas actually is trying to convey something more than shoot-em-up entertainment, but he can't quite get the point across. This is his one film that benefitted from his later tinkering, as he was able to give the underground city a greater scope, on the dvd release.
95. The Andromeda Strain (1971)
G | 131 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller
A group of scientists investigate a deadly new alien virus before it can spread.
Scientists at a top secret underground lab try to figure out how to stop a deadly alien virus, while the clock s ticking. The premise is based around concerns related to the first moon landings, that alien virus could be brought back, for which we would have no immunity (in the reverse of War of the Worlds). The producers were smart enough to use good character actors, rather than stars, so the story is at the forefront. It does drag in a couple of spots, but the whole is fascinating.
96. City Beneath the Sea (1971 TV Movie)
G | 98 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
A group of 21st-century colonists inhabit the underwater city called Pacifica. They find they must defend the city against hostile alien forces.
Stewart Whitman stars in this pilot for an aborted Irwin Allen series. An advanced underwater city is being sabotaged and the hero is brought out of retirement to investigate. It has moments but is rather uneven.
97. Earth II (1971 TV Movie)
G | 100 min | Sci-Fi
Story of the daily operations of a space station called Earth II.
Gary Lockwood starred in this tv movie, about an independent space station, orbiting the Earth. No weapons are allowed on board the station, but they soon find themselves facing a trio of nuclear missles, which they must defuse. It's an interesting idea, with an idealistic slant, somewhat reflective of the peace movement of the time.
98. The Omega Man (1971)
GP | 98 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Army doctor Robert Neville struggles to create a cure for the plague that wiped out most of the human race.
Votes: 24,850 | Gross: $8.72M
Charlton heston is the last man alive, after a plague wipes out most of humanity, leaving only Heston and vampiric mutants. It's and odd one, to say the least; based on the novel I Am Legend, by the late Richard Matheson. The book also inspired The Last Man on Earth, with Vincent Price, and the film of the same title, with Will Smith.
99. Solaris (1972)
PG | 167 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
A psychologist is sent to a station orbiting a distant planet in order to discover what has caused the crew to go insane.
Epic Russian sci-fi film, based on the novel by Stanislau Lem. A crew orbiting a planet start experiencing strange phenomena. Very groundbreaking and later remade by Stephen Soderbergh.
100. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)
PG | 88 min | Action, Sci-Fi
In a futuristic world that has embraced ape slavery, Caesar, the son of the late simians Cornelius and Zira, surfaces after almost twenty years of hiding out from the authorities, and prepares for a slave revolt against humanity.
Votes: 25,974 | Gross: $9.00M
The series is floundering under thinner budgets, but tries to make use of a good idea and the Century City locale. It doesn't look very futuristic today, but it features a fine allegory, that is somewhat lost in lesser performance.