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Forbidden Planet (1956)
Yes, this IS the best sci-fi film ever made.
Well, of course, "Star Wars" defined the genre, and "Alien" and "Blade Runner" perfected it; but "Forbidden Planet" created it. Argue, if you must, that movies like "The Day the Earth Stood Still", "Them" and "Five Million Years to Earth" are the cerebral grand-fathers of the film genre (and I won't disagree with you), but for "science-fiction-as-plot-driven-action-epic," this is it. This is the one.
It's so unerringly on target, in fact, that it still plays very well even today. The modern audience has to overcome the "Leslie Nielsen Factor" (and it is difficult to watch him in a totally straight role), but once you do, the movie is pure enjoyment. Forget about dated plots and special effect. Robbie the Robot is a guy in a suit, yes, but he is thoroughly believable. He even adheres nicely to Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, a trick that the digital robots in this summer's "I, Robot" had a great deal of difficulty with.
And the monster! I defy anyone to avoid getting the willies when the monster first shorts the security fence. Great special effect, then and now!
Finally, the universal theme of man's (and Krell's) individual flaws inserting themselves into an otherwise perfect system and TOTALLY gumming up the works is as relevant today as it was then. More so.