Ancient astronauts

by Mighty_Emperor | created - 27 Jan 2012 | updated - 1 week ago | Public

The ancient astronaut theory as depicted on the big and small screen. These theory was popularised by Erich von Däniken and have been a strong influence on popular culture since.

Although a popular theme in early science fiction but it was first laid out[1] clearly by Charles Fort in 1919's Book of the Damned, where he said[2]:

I think we're property.

I should say we belong to something:

That once upon a time, this earth was No-man's Land, that other worlds explored and colonized here, and fought among themselves for possession, but that now it's owned by something:


I suspect that, after all, we're useful -- that among contesting claimants, adjustment has occurred, or that something now has a legal right to us, by force, or by having paid out analogues of beads for us to former, more primitive, owners of us -- all others warned off -- that all this has been known, perhaps for ages, to certain ones upon this earth, a cult or order, members of which function like bellwethers to the rest of us, or as superior slaves or overseers, directing us in accordance with instructions received -- from Somewhere else -- in our mysterious usefulness.

But I accept that, in the past, before proprietorship was established, inhabitants of a host of other worlds have -- dropped here, hopped here, wafted, sailed, flown, motored -- walked here, for all I know -- been pulled here, been pushed; have come singly, have come in enormous numbers; have visited occasionally, have visited periodically for hunting, trading, replenishing harems, mining: have been unable to stay here, have established colonies here, have been lost here; far-advanced peoples, or things, and primitive peoples or whatever they were

The films listed here draw on such themes - aliens visiting Earth in the past, people in the "present day" (which might include the future) find evidence for that aliens have been here before, etc.

Further reading: As you are reading this I'll assume you'll be familiar with Von Danicken's theories, so for some background and balance you might want to try: Space Gods Revealed and Guardians of the Universe? by Ronald D. Story and Some Trust in Chariots! by E.W. Castle and B.B. Thiering. There is also the more recent The Cult of Alien Gods by Jason Colavito which, along the lines of a 1982 piece "Chariots of the Old Ones?" by Charles Garofalo and Robert M. Price,[3] argues that Von Daniken's ideas are lifted from HP Lovecraft via Morning of the Magicians, so is a little more focused on how the theory developed (whereas the others focus on debunking specific claims) and I'd quibble that it downplays the influence of Fort, but it is definitely worth a read (as is Jason's blog, which does address the claims in a lot more detail). You can get a taste for the direction he goes in by reading his earlier piece "Charioteers of the Gods"[4] If you are only going to read one then go with Story's GotU? which was published at the tail end of the first big wave of interest and he was able to bring together all the arguments for and against.

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4]

Links: *Ancient Aliens, Part One and Two, a look at the topic in science fiction films: * Ancient Astronauts at the Movies: * Ancient Astronauts at Jason *Ancient Astronauts at the Secret Sun, where Christopher Knowles teases out AAT themes in pop culture:

See also: *Lovecraftian films, obviously. *They Live Amongst Us about aliens in disguise on Earth now.

Comments: As I don't have a Facebook account I cannot interact with the new comments system, so have switched it off. I will start a thread on the message board and link it in here shortly.

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1. Chariots of the Gods (1970)

G | 92 min | Documentary

Documentary based on the book by Erich Von Daniken concerning the ancient mysteries of the world, such as the pyramids of Egypt and Mexico, ancient cave drawings, the monuments of Easter ... See full summary »

Director: Harald Reinl | Stars: Heinz-Detlev Bock, Klaus Kindler, Christian Marschall, Aleksandr Kazantsev

Votes: 1,158 | Gross: $25.95M

Just for the thumbnail attached to the list - see the end for documentaries.

2. Quatermass and the Pit (1958– )

30 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Horror

A team of scientists search for the origin and purpose of a mysterious capsule found on a building site.

Stars: André Morell, Cec Linder, Anthony Bushell, John Stratton

Votes: 691

Martians arrived on Earth millions of years ago and may have influenced human evolution/development.

3. Hercules Against the Moon Men (1964)

Unrated | 88 min | Adventure, Fantasy

Hercules is summoned to oppose the evil Queen Samara, who has allied herself with aliens and is sacrificing her own people in a bid to awaken a moon goddess.

Director: Giacomo Gentilomo | Stars: Sergio Ciani, Jany Clair, Anna Maria Polani, Nando Tamberlani

Votes: 1,551

4. 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.

Director: Roy Ward Baker | Stars: James Donald, Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley, Julian Glover

Votes: 8,204

5. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: Who Mourns for Adonais? (1967)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

A powerful being claiming to be the Greek god Apollo appears and demands that the crew of the Enterprise disembark onto his planet to worship him.

Director: Marc Daniels | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Michael Forest

Votes: 1,971

This episode not only first introduce the idea to the Trekiverse that ancient gods were aliens but also the fact that almost all the aliens look like humans wearing cheap special effects make-up is because intelligent life was seeded across the galaxy in even more ancient times.

6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

82 Metascore

A space-opera spanning the dawn of man to humanity reaching the stars, 2001: A Space Odyssey tells the story of the Black Monolith, humanity's evolution and the rise of A.I.'s ultimate supercomputer HAL 9000.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter

Votes: 515,595 | Gross: $56.95M

At the start of the film we see what is essentially a Bracewell probe* amongst apemen boosting our evolution but humanity doesn't one until they visit the Moon, proving their intelligence and causing the alien machines to blow some minds (including my young mind when I first saw this on TV one Christmas with the family).


7. Star Trek (1966–1969)
Episode: Plato's Stepchildren (1968)

TV-PG | 51 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

After Dr. McCoy helps the leader of a planet populated by people with powerful psionic abilities, they decide to force him to stay by torturing his comrades until he submits.

Director: David Alexander | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Michael Dunn

Votes: 1,575

8. Star Trek (1973–1975)
Episode: How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth (1974)

TV-PG | 23 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

The Enterprise runs into a being which once visited Earth, and influenced the Mayan culture.

Directors: Bill Reed, Hal Sutherland | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, George Takei

Votes: 299

9. Doctor Who (1963–1989)
Episode: Pyramids of Mars: Part One (1975)

TV-Y | 25 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

The Doctor and Sarah are drawn off course and, instead of UNIT HQ, they arrive on the same site in 1911.

Director: Paddy Russell | Stars: Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, Bernard Archard, Michael Sheard

Votes: 452

First of four parts.

10. God Told Me To (1976)

R | 91 min | Crime, Horror, Sci-Fi

A New York detective investigates a series of murders committed by random New Yorkers who claim that "God told them to."

Director: Larry Cohen | Stars: Tony Lo Bianco, Deborah Raffin, Sandy Dennis, Sylvia Sidney

Votes: 3,591

A few people have pointed out Daniken-esque themes, although the incoherence of parts of the film do mean you can read plenty into this film.

Take the Charles Whitman inspired murders in Peter Bogdanovich’s Targets, the satanic cult conception of Rosemary’s Baby and toss in conspiracies from The Chariots of the Gods, a crazy Andy Kaufman cameo and sexual body horror that would make David Cronenberg blush and you’ll get a rough idea of what you’re in for with Larry Cohen’s 1976 unconventional exploitation insanity known as God Told Me To.


When the film introduces Richard Lynch (Scarecrow) as a hippie hermaphrodite alien offspring and connective link to Peter’s spiritual prophecy and has unraveled the flashbacks of their origins, there’s enough crazy alien abduction theories and themes that would similarly be explored to some extent in future episodes of the X-Files.

"God Told Me To" was released in 1976, when the book "Chariot of the Gods?" was all the rage, and author Erich von Daniken theorising that many of the religious beliefs and ancient technological advances on planet Earth may have extra-terrestrial origins. Cohen throws plenty of similar ideas into the mixture, as he tries to link UFO abductions, virgin births, mind control, biblical sacrifice, and messianic androgynous aliens, but fails to tie them up into a completely coherent whole.

11. Space: 1999 (1975–1977)
Episode: The Testament of Arkadia (1976)

60 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

The Alphans land on the planet Arkadia, where glyphs suggest it is the cradle of civilisation from which life on Earth began. Now it is desolate and Koenig feels it is unsuitable for ... See full summary »

Director: David Tomblin | Stars: Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Barry Morse, Orso Maria Guerrini

Votes: 136

12. Space: 1999 (1975–1977)
Episode: The Mark of Archanon (1976)

60 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

The latest extra-terrestials to be rescued by the Moon Alpha Base crew are Pasc and his young son Etrec. They are from the usually peaceful planet of Archaron and they claim that they are ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Crichton | Stars: Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Catherine Schell, Tony Anholt

Votes: 97

13. Doctor Who (1963–1989)
Episode: Image of the Fendahl: Part One (1977)

TV-PG | 25 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

Archeologists near a reputedly haunted woods use a time scanner to explore the history of a sinister 12 million year old skull, creating a hole in time that attracts the Doctor's attention.

Director: George Spenton-Foster | Stars: Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, Wanda Ventham, Daphne Heard

Votes: 212

It turns out that the mask has had an influence on human evolution and development.

14. The Tomorrow People (1973–1979)
Episode: The Heart of Sogguth: Beat the Drum (1977)

TV-PG | 23 min | Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

A stranger, Jake, offers to manage Mike's band, but when Liz learns that he is the leader of a religious group called the Hearts of Sogguth, she begins to wonder what his motives are.

Director: Vic Hughes | Stars: Elizabeth Adare, Nicholas Young, Mike Holoway, Philip Gilbert

Votes: 7

According to the Tomorrow People wikia:

The concept (and name) of Sogguth is reminiscent of H.P Lovecraft's short stories of ancient aliens whom early civilisations identified as gods. The idea of an ancient book that contains key information is also often used by Lovecraft.

15. The Tomorrow People (1973–1979)
Episode: The Heart of Sogguth: Devil in Disguise (1977)

TV-PG | 23 min | Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

Jake sends John to kill Liz, but forcing a Tomorrow Person against his nature breaks his possession. John and Liz realise that if Mike plays Sogguth's drum on live television, Sogguth (Satan) will be released into the world.

Director: Vic Hughes | Stars: Elizabeth Adare, Nicholas Young, Mike Holoway, Philip Gilbert

Votes: 7

16. Battlestar Galactica (1978–1979)

TV-PG | 60 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

After the destruction of the Twelve Colonies of Mankind, the last major fighter carrier leads a makeshift fugitive fleet on a desperate search for the legendary planet Earth.

Stars: Lorne Greene, Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict, Herbert Jefferson Jr.

Votes: 11,848

Heavily influenced by Mormonism:

17. Xenogenesis (1978)

12 min | Short, Sci-Fi

A woman and an engineered man are sent in a gigantic sentient starship to search space for a place to start a new life cycle. Raj decides to take a look around the ship. He comes across a gigantic robotic cleaner. Combat ensues.

Directors: James Cameron, Randall Frakes | Stars: William Wisher, Margaret Umbel

Votes: 908

James Cameron's first film and it is a bit confusing, as the folks providing the money yanked the funding so we are left with the middle part of the story. The opening narration sets up the story:

They made him, a machine, trained to deliver humanity from the final cataclysm. They built him a machine, the most awesome ship ever constructed, and with a mind of its own. She was raised by a machine, that alone knew the power of love. Together, they searched the wilderness of stars for a place where the cycle of creation could begin again. Xenogenesis - man's ultimate adventure.

However, the actual filmed story is a bit of a jump from that and finds the man on what appears to be an ancient (50,000 years since it was abandoned) alien starship. This, plus the title, suggest the larger story would be something to do with ancient astronauts.

Cameron released the short in a court case that accused him of ripping off the ideas Avatar from other sources and he wanted to make clear that he recycled a lot of his earlier ideas (which would fit with the possibility of an ancient astronaut link). Also he plans to use some ideas from the larger film idea that we don't see in Avatar sequels (so it might be interesting to keep an eye out for any AA subtext):

Oh and this is a piece in a larger conspiracy theory:

Watch on YouTube:

18. Life of Brian (1979)

R | 94 min | Comedy

75 Metascore

Born on the original Christmas in the stable next door to Jesus, Brian of Nazareth spends his life being mistaken for a messiah.

Director: Terry Jones | Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam

Votes: 319,202 | Gross: $20.05M

Brian bumps into aliens on his adventures. Of course, the issue of whether Jesus was an alien is one that has been tap-danced around by proponents (EVD tried to get it into CotG? but his editor thought it'd outrage pubic sensibilities. Note that the Marvel Comics Universe has a lot of other gods cropping up, some as ancient aliens, but not the Abrahamic God and certainly not Jesus).

19. Quatermass (1979– )

204 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

In the near future, civilisation has broken down to the barest fragment of recognisable life. Young people are forming gangs and dominating the wrecks of cities like London. But the ... See full summary »

Stars: John Mills, Simon MacCorkindale, Ralph Arliss, Paul Rosebury

Votes: 566

The aliens are associated with stone circles.

20. Hangar 18 (1980)

PG | 97 min | Action, Biography, Sci-Fi

Shortly after the launch of a satellite from a space shuttle the satellite collides with an UFO in front of the crew's eyes. Because of an election campaign some politicians try to hide the... See full summary »

Director: James L. Conway | Stars: Darren McGavin, Robert Vaughn, Gary Collins, James Hampton

Votes: 1,872 | Gross: $6.00M

The military have found a UFO and, while trying to keep it a secret, they discover a link between it and much earlier Mexican archaeology:

??: The ?Xokotil? plateau in Mexico. Now this portion of the markings are identical to the symbols we saw on the ship. No one has been able to work out what these ?Xokotil? markings mean or who made them or why. But they were made hundreds, may be thousands of years ago, and they can only be seen from the air.

HARRY: If this isn't the wildest coincidence, then what you are saying is that beings from another world have been here on Earth before.

??: The pyramid of Tepanapa. No one know who built it or why. Here's the best part - this pyramid is honeycombed with passageways and there are inscriptions on the walls. Here's some drawings of them. The put these, with these. [puts sketch of symbols from UFO next to diagram in the book] See what I mean? They're similar to the spaceship, too similar, Harry, for it to be any coincidence.

HARRY: Yeah, yeah.

??: Look. I think they have the same root, developed differently but from the same source.

HARRY: Yeah, yeah, so there's a connection.

??: If the symbol is part of the ?Xokotil? markings, then the Tepanapa inscription could be the key to the whole translation.

Jason Colavito discusses the background to the film (produced by the same company that pumped out documentaries based on CotG):

21. The Pumaman (1980)

90 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Low-budget film about a young man given a mystical medallion by an Aztec shaman, in order to become a puma-empowered champion like his father before him. In trying to initially locate the ... See full summary »

Director: Alberto De Martino | Stars: Walter George Alton, Donald Pleasence, Miguel Ángel Fuentes, Sydne Rome

Votes: 3,848

22. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981)

152 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

Arthur Dent and his friend Ford Prefect escape the destruction of Earth only to face incredible trials, tribulations and adventures in space and time.

Stars: Simon Jones, David Dixon, Peter Jones, Sandra Dickinson

Votes: 9,026

The Earth itself is a giant computer designed by aliens, although the actual aliens might not suit AA proponents.

23. The Phoenix (1981– )

60 min | Sci-Fi

An ancient and powerful human-like alien is pursued on modern Earth while he searches for his long lost partner.

Stars: Judson Scott, Richard Lynch, E.G. Marshall, Carmen Argenziano

Votes: 191

25. The Thing (1982)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

57 Metascore

A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Richard Masur

Votes: 314,746 | Gross: $13.78M

Not only did a spaceship crash a hundred thousand years ago but Chariots of the Gods gets a mention.

26. Time Walker (1982)

PG | 83 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

An alien, buried in King Tut's tomb, terrorizes a college campus.

Director: Tom Kennedy | Stars: Ben Murphy, Nina Axelrod, Kevin Brophy, Robert Random

Votes: 1,262

A fairly standard mummy movie, except the mummy is an alien trying to get home after a very long nap.

27. 2010 (1984)

PG | 116 min | Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi

53 Metascore

A joint U.S.-Soviet expedition is sent to Jupiter to learn what happened to the Discovery.

Director: Peter Hyams | Stars: Roy Scheider, John Lithgow, Helen Mirren, Bob Balaban

Votes: 45,584 | Gross: $40.20M

Nothing as explicit as 2001 but it expands on the setting.

There were plans to film the other two novels in the series, which give us more background about the monoliths, but nothing has yet emerged.

28. Children of the Dog Star (1984)

24 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

An alien lands on Earth and is taken in by Earth children.

Stars: Sarah Dunn, Jeison Wallace, Hamish Bartle, Roy Billing

Votes: 121

29. The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries (1984–1985)
Episode: Ghosts of the Ancient Astronauts (1984)

TV-G | Animation, Comedy, Family

The gang meets Velma's uncle and discovers a stone which leads them to discover the mystery of a temple made by ancient astronauts.

Directors: Oscar Dufau, Rudy Zamora, Ray Patterson | Stars: Marla Frumkin, Casey Kasem, Don Messick, Heather North

Votes: 21

I do like the juxtaposition of this and the previous entry.

30. Cocoon (1985)

PG-13 | 117 min | Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi

65 Metascore

When a group of trespassing seniors swim in a pool containing alien cocoons, they find themselves energized with youthful vigor.

Director: Ron Howard | Stars: Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn, Brian Dennehy

Votes: 50,584 | Gross: $76.11M

The aliens arrived here 10,000 years ago and pottered around Atlantis until it sank.

31. Star Knight (1985)

PG-13 | 90 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

Princess Alba is abducted by a dragon, and it's up to Klever to save her. But, it turns out that this dragon is an alien spacecraft, and Alba falls in love with the human-alien inside it.

Director: Fernando Colomo | Stars: Klaus Kinski, Harvey Keitel, Fernando Rey, Maria Lamor

Votes: 532

aka Space Knight

Picking up on the idea that Medieval descriptions of dragons are actually discussing alien spaceships.

32. Top Line (1988)

94 min | Sci-Fi

Author Ted Angelo discovers a U.F.O. in the Columbian jungle. When he tries to spread the word, he earns more than the usual disbelief. Suddenly he's hunted by almost every organization, ... See full summary »

Director: Nello Rossati | Stars: Franco Nero, Deborah Moore, Mary Stavin, William Berger

Votes: 261

A Romancing the Stone-style rip-off Italian movie in which a roguish adventurer finds a 500-year-old space ship in a cave and just about everyone tries to kill him to hide the truth, including a creature which justifies the international title: an Alien Terminator. That turning up about half way through does rather spice things up, before then it involved him doing running around and dodging bullets, however, there was a bit of ancient astronaut chat (the audio isn't the best and accents/effects really make it tricky figuring out some of the words, the ones I am unsure about are marked ?X?):

ANGELO: People have been found hundreds of miles away. Just like that. From one minute to the next. Without any logical explanation. How about those ?bumper? formations that vanished into thin air over Nevada? And the Bermuda Triangle, that's where the ?treasure? ship was last sighted.

MAN 1: The one inside the flying saucer, huh?

MAN 2: The one that was here for the last 500 years?

ANGELO: Yeah, that's the one. Flying saucers have been around for centuries. Pliny saw them in 83 AD.* But there was already talk in the Old Testament. Remember those references to blazing chariots in Sunday school? Hmm?


ANGELO: Deep in Peru, in the Amazon plateau, the Incas dug trenches hundreds of yards long. Seen on the ground, they are perfectly meaningless, just a lot of hard work for no reason. But from the sky, they take on the shape of a bird, with open wings, like a sacred message. Considering there are no mountains around, who were the Incas communicating with, huh?

Then towards the end:

ALIEN: We were here before you earthlings learned how to ?map?. We need your planet. It contains a rare element that's indispensable to our space ships. For 12,000 years, ever since we began exploring this solar system, the earth has been a our last supply stop. The first few centuries we had no problems, you were few, stupid. But then you multiplied. Your civilisations developed. Your ships began to explore even the most distant shores. Avoiding you became impossible. Your evolution was a threat. So we took measures. As you've seen we're ?mutants?, we have been infiltrating your ranks for centuries - we govern you, every key position on your Earth is occupied by one of us, we influence your decisions, we're the ones who are really in control and, when the time comes, we'll be the ones to push the button.

I am surprised David Icke hasn't seen this, it'd blow his mind!

* The Pliny date is probably 85 BC:

33. Red Dwarf (1988– )
Episode: Waiting for God (1988)

TV-PG | 29 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi

Lister learns he is the mythical god of Cat's people known as "Cloister the stupid" and Red Dwarf stumbles upon a Red Dwarf garbage capsule and Rimmer thinks it's a stasis capsule carrying a dormant alien woman.

Director: Ed Bye | Stars: Chris Barrie, Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules, Norman Lovett

Votes: 484

Rimmer finds out he is a god to the Cat's people then gets excited about the possibility of aliens, leading to this:

LISTER: What makes you think these aliens exist?

RIMMER: They must do, Lister! There's so many things that are strange and odd. So many things we don't have any explanation for.

LISTER: Like, um, why do intelligent people buy cinema hot dogs? Do you mean that sort of weird and mysterious thing?

RIMMER: No, Lister, I mean like the pyramids. How did they move such massive pieces of stone without the aid of modern technology?

LISTER: They had massive whips, Rimmer. Massive, massive whips.

34. Moontrap (1989)

R | 92 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

The Space Shuttle returns to earth, but some of the equipment brought back on it begins to behave strangely. Scientists are unsure what is happening, and decide to take all necessary ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Dyke | Stars: Walter Koenig, Bruce Campbell, Leigh Lombardi, Robert Kurcz

Votes: 2,468

Although they never really get around to explaining what is going on ad the new film might actually fill background there are 14,000 year-old people floating around a dead space ship and they don't duck the implication (even if we don't know where they or the robots came from):

GRANT: He's 14,000 years old. That's prehistory.

HASKELL: It's also absurd and ridiculous.

BARNES: Well you all saw the analysis, and we've run the carbon dating a number of times and always get the same results. Well, there's no mistake - he, and his ship, were on the Moon 14,000 years ago.


HASKELL: Doctor Barnes, do you really want me to report to the President that you believe that we may have some kind of ancient astronaut here?

BARNES: Well... urr that's not quite the way I would put it Mr Haskell, but that is the general idea.

The finding of one of these frozen ancient humans reminded me of Frozen (2002) as well as the "Mona Lisa" moon maiden mummy in the Apollo 20 hoax:

35. The Guyver (1991)

PG-13 | 88 min | Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi

A young man discovers a mechanical device that merges with his own body, turning him into a cyborg superhero. When strange creatures start appearing, trying to take the device back, he ... See full summary »

Directors: Screaming Mad George, Steve Wang | Stars: Greg Joung Paik, Jimmie Walker, Peter Spellos, Michael Berryman

Votes: 4,156

I'll let the opening crawl explain the background:

At the beginning of time, aliens came to the Earth to create the ultimate organic weapon. They created Mankind. By planting a special gene into man they created the ZOANOIDS - Humans who can change at will into super monster soldiers.

Eons later, the Zoanoid leader, called the ZOALORD, has awakened formed the Chronos Corporation to further develop the Zoanoid technology for world domination.

Among the alien remains, was found the "Unit" - a bio boosted alien armor. Worn by the aliens it serves as an ordinary shield. If the wearer is human it increases his natural powers a hundred fold - he becomes the "GUYVER." But how to activate it remains a mystery.

Dr. Tetsu Segawa, a research scientist at Chronos, senses danger if this "unit" is activated by the Zoalord. Now the doctor has stolen it and is on the run.

Then the chief baddie Fulton Balcus delivers similar exposition to Dr Segawa's daughter Mizuki. Note the idea that alien meddling led to a lot of our legends (something Ancient Aliens would get around to when they started running out of material):

BALCUS: Come with me. I want to show you a few things.

BALCUS: Here we are. The growth corridor.

MIZUKI: What are they?

BALCUS: These are Zoanoids, genetically altered human beings.


BALCUS: You see, my dear, a long time ago, when the planet was barren the aliens descended upon the Earth and created Man.

MIZUKI: The aliens?

BALCUS: That's right. Man was created as the ultimate organic weapon. And these are the next step in the evolutionary process. Warriors developed by the aliens from the human species. In times past, they were known as werewolves, minotaurs, vampires.

It is all a bit silly and more Power Rangers than the original manga.

36. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994)
Episode: Devil's Due (1991)

TV-PG | 46 min | Action, Adventure, Mystery

While answering a distress call, Picard finds himself not sure of exactly who he is dealing with, but he's sure he's not dealing with the planet's version of the Devil, as she claims to be.

Director: Tom Benko | Stars: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn

Votes: 1,586

The crew realise that a god on an alien planet is just someone using higher technology to convince the locals that they are a deity.

37. Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America (1992)

Unrated | 48 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi

In the year 1000, aliens from the planet Quetzalcoatl flee their dying planet and take refuge under the Earth's surface. Disturbed by 1950s American atomic testing, the aliens strike back ... See full summary »

Director: Craig Baldwin | Stars: Maurice Bishop, Jimmy Carter, Fidel Castro, John Foster Dulles

Votes: 267

38. Dazed and Confused (1993)

R | 102 min | Comedy

78 Metascore

The adventures of high school and junior high students on the last day of school in May 1976.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Jason London, Wiley Wiggins, Matthew McConaughey, Rory Cochrane

Votes: 141,938 | Gross: $7.99M

But of a minor passing mention, but it is interesting:


Cut to: Michelle is sat on a car playing her guitar. Slater is toking hard. Pickford and Stoner lie on a car getting heavily stoned.

PICKFORD: You guys know what that song's about? It's about aliens. We're the aliens, man. We're the savages.

STONER: Wait man that song's about that?

SLATER: Yeah man, that song's about that, man.

STONER: It's about aliens?

SLATER: Yeah man, you didn't know that? This country is founded, it was found by people who were into aliens man. George Washington, man, he was in a cult, and the cult was into aliens, man. You didn't know that? Oh man, they were way into that type of stuff.

You can watch the clip here:

Oddly that song is indeed about aliens, and it is Milla Jovovich own song:

Different from the script, presumably Milla preferred to include her tune (although the song wasn't released until a year after the film):


Near another truck with a stereo going, Pickford, Michelle, Slater. Stoner #2, and Stacy sic in a circle on the ground passing a reefer and listening to Neil Young's "After The Goldrush." No one says anything for a while but then Stoner #1*and Slater start in.

STONER #1: This song is about aliens landing.

SLATER: Of course, man. This country was founded by people who worshipped aliens - George Washington and them. They were all a part of some cult that was way into that.

There is a hoax about a vision George Washington was alleged to have:

Which, along with other equally trustworthy material, made its way into an episode of Ancient Aliens, but Dazed and Confused did it first and better (well it was shorter and more to the point anyway):

Although they were clearly so impressed with it, that they recycled the information in an episode about how aliens were interested in the American Civil War (the fact that they drop the "American" bit was clearly foreshadowing of the large dollops of American exceptionalism they threw in, really laying it on thick towards the end):

Oh and "After the Goldrush" was inspired by an unproduced screenplay co-written by Dead Stockwell (from Quantum Leap and later Battlestar Galactica) and does metion flying saucers:

Well, I dreamed I saw the silver Space ships flying In the yellow haze of the sun, There were children crying And colors flying All around the chosen ones. All in a dream, all in a dream The loading had begun. They were flying Mother Nature's Silver seed to a new home in the sun. Flying Mother Nature's Silver seed to a new home.

Although whether it actual refers to aliens is unclear:

39. The Gifted (1993)

101 min | Fantasy, Sci-Fi

Psychic descendents of an African tribe reunite to save Earth. 5000 years ago certain members of the Dogon tribe in West Africa were granted psychic powers by good aliens to counterbalance ... See full summary »

Director: Audrey King Lewis | Stars: Ed Cambridge, Julie Hampton, Julius Harris, Aaron Lewis

Votes: 10

40. The X-Files (1993– )

TV-14 | 45 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Two F.B.I. Agents, Fox Mulder the believer and Dana Scully the skeptic, investigate the strange and unexplained, while hidden forces work to impede their efforts.

Stars: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis

Votes: 176,866

After the initial Monster of the Week episodes, Chris Carter and co developed a "story engine" to keep the series going - an overarching and evolving alien conspiracy, that turned out to have been around a long time (as we'll see with the individual episodes below).

41. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994)
Episode: The Chase (1993)

TV-PG | 45 min | Action, Adventure, Mystery

The crew of the Enterprise must race against various rival powers to uncover an archaeological secret that explains the predominance of humanoid life forms in the galaxy.

Director: Jonathan Frakes | Stars: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn

Votes: 1,600

Picks up on the Adonais idea about why a lot of the species found in Star Trek are bipedal humanoids often with funny ears or a wrinkled nose. Apparently it is not because it saves on the special effects budget but an alien species seeded the galaxy with life.

CRUSHER: This fragment has been part of every DNA strand on Earth since life began there, and the other fragments are just as old. Someone must have written this programme over four billion years ago.

PICARD: So, four billion years ago someone scattered this genetic material into the primordial soup of at least nineteen different planets across the galaxy?

DATA: The genetic information must have been incorporated into the earliest lifeforms on these planets, and then passed down through each generation.


PICARD: It's four billion years old. A computer programme from a highly advanced civilisation, and it's hidden in the very fabric of life itself. Whatever information this programme contains could be the most profound discovery of our time. Or the most dangerous. And the Professor knew that.


HUMANOID: You're wondering who we are, why we have done this, how it has come that I stand before you, the image of a being from so long ago. Life evolved on my planet before all others in this part of the galaxy. We left our world, explored the stars, and found none like ourselves. Our civilisation thrived for ages, but what is the life of one race, compared to the vast stretches of cosmic time? We knew that one day we would be gone, that nothing of us would survive. So, we left you. Our scientists seeded the primordial oceans of many worlds, where life was in its infancy. The seed codes directed your evolution toward a physical form resembling ours. This body you see before you, which is, of course, shaped as yours is shaped, for you are the end result. The seed codes also contained this message, which we scattered in fragments on many different worlds. It was our hope that you would have to come together in fellowship and companionship to hear this message. And if you can see and hear me, our hope has been fulfilled. You are a monument, not to our greatness, but to our existence. That was our wish, that you too would know life, and would keep alive our memory. There is something of us in each of you, and so, something of you in each other. Remember us.

42. Stargate (1994)

PG-13 | 116 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

42 Metascore

An interstellar teleportation device, found in Egypt, leads to a planet with humans resembling ancient Egyptians who worship the god Ra.

Director: Roland Emmerich | Stars: Kurt Russell, James Spader, Jaye Davidson, Viveca Lindfors

Votes: 161,722 | Gross: $71.57M

Military science fiction with a very literal ancient astronaut storyline that could have come straight from the pages of one of Von Däniken's books.

43. The High Crusade (1994)

100 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

Roland Emmerich (Stargate, Independence Day, and Godzilla) brings you John Rhys-Davies in a Monty Pythonesque tale of a band of Crusaders who find themselves in possession of an Alien ship ... See full summary »

Directors: Klaus Knoesel, Holger Neuhäuser | Stars: John Rhys-Davies, Rick Overton, Michael Des Barres, Catherine Punch

Votes: 529

Produced by Stargate's Roland Emmerich.

44. Guyver: Dark Hero (1994)

R | 127 min | Action, Sci-Fi

Sean Barker became the unwilling host to an alien bio-armor known as the Guyver. A year ago he destroyed the Kronos Corporation, an organization of mutants who want the Guyver. Now he is ... See full summary »

Director: Steve Wang | Stars: David Hayter, Kathy Christopherson, Bruno Patrick, Christopher Michael

Votes: 2,794

The Guyver sequel that has better effects and is more faithful to the source material - one of those sequels that is better than the originals.

We also get a bit more back story as a father and daughter, self-described as "outlaws of science" (something I'm sure ancient astronaut proponents like to think of themselves when they aren't adding "real-life Indiana Jones" to their business cards), have been hunting for all sorts of anomalies and have focused on what turns out to be an alien spaceship. As the daughter explains:

CORI: We came here hoping to find anything... anything that would suggest an ancient alien visitation. I mean, we would've settled for alien beer cans. Instead we got...

We then get the Guyver himself explain that these creatures have been with us since the dawn of time, inspiring legends and myths:

SEAN: The monsters in the cave paintings and the skeletons you've been digging up, they're Zoanoids. The... the bears that killed those people are Zoanoids too. They've lived alongside us forever. All the stories you've ever heard about werewolves or Bigfoot, they're all...

Towards the end of the film Guyver has a lot of background information downloaded into his head - a strange seed-shaped of a ship landing on a volcanic earth and growing ape men in pods who transform into monsters. There is a suggestion that the Guyver bonding with an ordinary human is a mistake and the units were intended for the monsters.

45. Babylon 5 (1994–1998)

TV-PG | 45 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

In the mid 23rd Century, the Earth Alliance space station Babylon 5, located in neutral territory, is a major focal point for political intrigue, racial tensions and various wars over the course of five years.

Stars: Mira Furlan, Richard Biggs, Stephen Furst, Andreas Katsulas

Votes: 25,127

The older races visited many of the younger species in the past (for their own ends). This is demonstrated most obvious when a Vorlon is seen outside its containment suit an each alien race sees it in the form of an angel in their culture.

46. Babylon 5 (1994–1998)
Episode: The Fall of Night (1995)

TV-PG | 44 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

The command staff are caught between a rock and a hard place when Sheridan agrees to give sanctuary to a Narn warship, while EarthForce attempts to placate the increasingly aggressive Centauri Republic.

Director: Janet Greek | Stars: Bruce Boxleitner, Claudia Christian, Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan

Votes: 434

The episode in which the Vorlon's are revealed to appear as different divine beings to the different races because of their interference in all their pasts.

47. Star Trek: Voyager (1995–2001)
Episode: Tattoo (1995)

TV-PG | 46 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Finding a familiar cultural symbol on an away mission, Chakotay connects with an experience he had as a child and tries to contact his spirit people.

Director: Alexander Singer | Stars: Kate Mulgrew, Robert Beltran, Roxann Dawson, Jennifer Lien

Votes: 889

Chakotay's ancestors were visited by an alien race 45,000 years ago.

48. The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest (1996–1997)
Episode: The Secret of the MOAI (1996)

TV-PG | 22 min | Animation, Action, Adventure