Our expert panel votes for the top 10 sci-fi films:

  1. Blade Runner (1982) Dir: Ridley Scott
  2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Dir: Stanley Kubrick
  3. Star Wars (1977)/Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  4. Alien (1979) Dir: Ridley Scott
  5. Solaris (1972) Dir: Andrei Tarkovsky
  6. Terminator (1984)/T2: Judgment day (1991) Dir: James Cameron
  7. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) Dir: Robert Wise
  8. War of the Worlds (1953) Dir: Byron Haskin
  9. The Matrix (1999) Dir: Andy & Larry Wachowski
  10. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) Dir: Steven Spielberg

I think it’s a good list.


  1. The list is indeed good, but I think “2001” should be #1–“Blade Runner” is far more flawed, especially in its original release, although indeed very evocative.

    “2001” remains a singular film, with nothing else quite like it. Vast uses of absolute silence, with dialogue meant more to show people speaking than to indicate what they’re saying, so much that (as Roger Ebert noted) it could be a silent film. A real feeling of how lonely, strange, and terrorizing empty space can be. Prehistoric protohuman makeup so good that the film didn’t win an Oscar–because no one noticed it was makeup.

    Andrew O’Hehir in Salon nails it best: “a near-abstract art film disguised as a major Hollywood release.” Plus a computer as the most empathetic character in the whole show. It towers above anything else.

    “Alien” is Scott’s better film, and I’d put it #2, but “Blade Runner” should still be there. I thought “Dune” was a mess, and would not include it at all. And what, no “Godzilla” or (more seriously) “Frankenstein”? Or “Planet of the Apes” (watch it again; it’s better than you remember), “Brazil,” “Metropolis,” “Forbidden Planet,” “Minority Report,” or “The Iron Giant”?

    I guess we need a longer list.

  2. I have yet to see a ‘best of’ movie list that I agree with, but this one is probably as close as it gets. “Solaris” has yet to have any effect on me except put me to sleep, but I understand why it’s on the list. I was only recently able to view “2001” in widescreen, and it is in a league of its own. (“Star Trek: The Motion Picture” tried, sadly, to emulate “2001,” if you can believe that.) I like all the movies on the list, so it’s hard to complain too much.

  3. The list might have to be expanded, because there are certainly a few other science fiction movies that are equally noteworthy…

    Gattaca (1997) Dir: Andrew Niccol

  4. day of the triffids…I kinda liked that one..I really like watching the early scene in the hospital where a nurse lights up the patients cigarette…its great….I will have to watch solaris again….did not do it for me….

    I know people hated the movie dune..but I still liked it ..despite its difficulties…the original planet of the apes still scares me…sure wish I had the brothers planet of the apes tree house playset and action figures….

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