Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy Movies in the World ...ever! that you should watch

scrowe

Distinguished Member
Following on from the Action Movies thread, lets do Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Post your best, top3, top5, top10 ..whatever.

The rules are ....
1. you must justify each choice with a few words or sentences
2. They must be Sci-Fi & Fantasy ... no Horror in this thread.
3. If you have an edge-case - justify it, a thread mention is fine, even if it doesn’t ultimately make the list.
4. Sequels/Prequels/Trilogies can be mentioned but would prefer the individual films get a mention on their own merit
5. All mentions will build a TopX by order of first mentioned in this seed post.
6. Seed Post will list entries mentioned from same franchise grouped beside in order of mention, as fans of one often like the rest.
7. '*' denotes - other entries in the franchise are available

In order of mention :-

1. The Thing*
2. Dune (Original)*
3. The Fellowship of the Ring (The Two Towers) (Return of the King)*
4. Akira (anime)
5. Blade Runner (Blade Runner 2049)
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (2010: The Year We Make Contact)*
7. Metropolis
8. Alien (Aliens)*
9. Ghost in the Shell (anime)*
10. Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan (Star Trek: The Motion Picture) {Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)*
11. Captain America - The Winter Soldier*
12. Star Wars (The Empire Strikes Back) (Return of the Jedi)*
13. Contact
14. Transformers*
15. Jurassic Park*
16. Gattaca
17. Back to the Future*
18. Independence Day*
19. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.1*
20. Solaris (Remake)
21. Interstellar
22. Arrival
23. Oblivion
24. Edge of Tomorrow
25. Star Wars: Rogue One*
26. Dredd
27. The Matrix*
28. Inception
29. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (The Terminator)*
30. Sunshine
31. Ex-Machina
32. Tron Legacy*
33. Minority Report
34. Iron Man*
35. Thor: Ragnarok*
36. The Avengers*
37: Avengers: Infinity War*
38. Avengers: Endgame*
39. The Fifth Element
40. Robocop*
41. Total Recall
42. Brazil
43. Children of Men
44. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
45. Predator*
46. Moon
47. The Martian
48. Annihilation
49. The Abyss
50. Ad Astra
51. Her
52. I, Robot
53. AI: Artificial Intelligence
54. Planet of the Apes*
55. War of the Worlds (2005) and (1953)
56. Gravity
57. The Fly*
58. Under the Skin
59. Excalibur
60. Highlander*
61. Superman: The Movie*
62. The Man Who Fell to Earth
63. A Clockwork Orange
64. Stalker
65. Beyond the Black Rainbow
66. Dead Man’s Letters
67. 1984
68. Logan’s Run
69. They Live
70. InnerSpace
71. District 9
72. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
73. The Day the Earth Caught Fire
74. The Day the Earth Stood Still
75. Forbidden Planet
76. Electric Dreams
77. Fanboys
78. Galaxy Quest
79. Pacific Rim
80. Predestination
81. Safety Not Guaranteed
82. Silent Running
83. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
84. Tomorrowland: A World Beyond
85. Robot & Frank
86. Flash Gordon
87. Lifeforce
88. The Fountain
89. The Black Hole
90. The Running Man
91. Solaris (Original)
92. Stargate
93. Starship Troopers*
94. The Adjustment Bureau
95. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) (1978)
96. Surrogates
97. Looper
98. Melancholia
99. Serenity
100. Returner
101. The Incredible Shrinking Man
102. Demon Seed
103. Love
104. A Ghost Story
105. Signs
106. The Time Machine (1960)
107. Primer
108. Upstream Color
109. The Truman Show
110. Vanilla Sky (2001) (Abre Los Ojos (Spanish Original))
111. V for Vendetta
112. Cipher
113. Dark City
114. The Thirteenth Floor
 
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Tom Davies

Editorial Contributor
I'm going to circumnavigate Star Wars; no one needs to hear that The Empire Strikes Back is great.


1. The Thing

Primarily a horror so I'm going to have to justify it by saying the science fiction element is what makes it exceptional and leads to its most iconic moments: the blood test, the dog transformations, the mutations.
I honestly don't think it's outdone by a purer science fiction horror like Alien. Alien is tense and scary but it's a slasher movie. The Thing is more in its variety, invention and genre hopping.
All that and I didn't even need to mention the effects.

2. Dune

Covering both sci-fi and fantasy it's a glorious mess and I'm unapologetically in love with it for everything it is. I watch it at least once a year and I never like it any less.

3. The Fellowship of the Ring

Not a perfect translation of my second favourite book, but a perfect cinema experience. It hits highs and lows, triumph and torment, epic scale and touching character work.
Plus it's just frigging awesome.

4. Akira

5. Blade Runner

6. 2001

7. Metropolis

8. Alien

9. Aliens

10. Ghost in the Shell
 
Last edited:

scrowe

Distinguished Member
Starting with my Top 5

Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan
Never ever get tired of watching this, and ultimately saved Star Trek into the 80s and 90s. Truly captured the characters, and showed Star Trek at its best, and made it feel epic, without losing the small screen moments.

Captain America - The Winter Soldier
As a lifelong fan of the character, seeing Cap and supporting cast realised onscreen with tone-perfect character and scintillating action, with inspired updating of comic-to-film concepts, it still remains Marvel’s highlight in comics adaptations.

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Whilst Fellowship set the scene, the way the stakes and the drama, and the scale was raised in this entry was truly breathtaking. Film-making that at the time felt impossible, and introduced a massive audience to the fantasy genre.

The Empire Strikes Back
A mesmerising sequel that taught the filmmaking world that sequels could and should be their own story, expanding the universe, raising the stakes, evolving the characters, not just rinse-and-repeat with a bigger budget. And to end on a cliffhanger, truly groundbreaking.

Contact
A supremely well-crafted and well-acted movie, that tells a human story of first contact, whilst examining how the world would react, and change from the experience.
 

scrowe

Distinguished Member

scrowe

Distinguished Member
Transformers
Whilst the franchise overall gets deserved flak, I defy anyone not to have sat in the cinema for that first movie in disbelief at the seamless way we had giant fighting robots fighting and interacting in the normal world. A revelation at the time.

Jurassic Park
Another masterpiece of debuting and showcasing of technical achievement that you didn’t believe possible until you saw it. But everything else was just as incredible, the pacing, the scares, the concept. A deserved sci-if/fantasy classic.

Gattaca
Like Contact, another film that is so well crafted, and engages you intellectually and emotionally, dealing with resonant issues, and how they may be affected by future technology and possibilities.

Back to the Future
Has recently been heralded as the perfect movie. A sharp, tight, clever script, that still holds together, entwined with likeable characters, great set-pieces, great cast, great music, great humour, great ...ok it’s the perfect movie!

Independence Day
Will Smith became a movie-star, in this, the original end-of-the-world, show iconic places being destroyed, humanity fights back, USA is awesome, high-stakes, cool-action, humorous banter, heroic sacrifice, Summer Blockbusters.
 

scrowe

Distinguished Member

Casimir Harlow

Blu-ray Reviewer
Solaris - Clooney/Soderbergh nail the remake, for my money, with a sublime score to boot

Interstellar - Hits the emotional highs and nails on the tension with some spectacular sequence and visual traversing of fifth dimensional insanity

Arrival - Villeneuve, need I say more

Blade Runner 2049 - as above, few others could make comparably great sequels to all-time classics

Oblivion - Kosinski nails the visuals, Cruise is on form

Edge of Tomorrow - Groundhog Day updated by way of Starship Troopers

Rogue One - well, we mentioned Empire

Dredd - Where's the sequel?

Matrix - Still game-changing

Inception - another Nolan classic, possibly his best, for me

Terminator 2 - the first is better horror, Alien style, but the second is a tremendous sci-fi action-thriller, Aliens-style

Sunshine - another fabulous score carries this survival sci-fi thriller

Ex Machina - Garland, deeply atmospheric, sci-fi on a budget

Tron Legacy - the epitome of Audiovisual majesty transcending narrative restrictions

Minority Report - Cruise and Spielberg work their magic


I would say that superhero flicks arguably deserve their own thread, because otherwise we need to include, alongside Winter Soldier (agree, it's the best MCU entry), Iron Man 1, Ragnarok, Avengers, Infinity War, Endgame...
 

scrowe

Distinguished Member
I would say that superhero flicks arguably deserve their own thread
Hoping we can get to 100 on here as well, might struggle without them. I can always do a Superhero one later, but with less pickings we could try a ranked vote on them.
 

VisionMan

Distinguished Member
The Fifth Element

Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich, plus a host of others...

Gary Oldman
Ian Holm
Luke Perry (no, really)
Brion James
And Chris Tucker in some scene stealing scenes.

Totally camp, totally over the top and totally hilarious. Good special effects and great soundtrack.
 

bruce-leroy

Distinguished Member
Here is my list (a bit more difficult as you said no horror - I would have had JC’s The Thing as no.1):

1). The Matrix (1999)

It may have ripped off loads of ideas from cinema around the world (everyone steals!) but no-one had quite done it with such panache before 1999. Not so much stealing, rather daylight heisting, the thunder from The Phantom Menace; unleashing the majesty of Yuen Woo Ping’s masterful martial arts choreography to mainstream Hollywood. Keanu said “woah” (again) and everyone agreed with him. Exhilarating from beginning to end, and I’ve never heard two more crowd-pleasing lines than “I know kung fu” and “guns...lots of guns.”

2). Star Wars Orginal Trilogy (1977 -83)

I’m just going for the original trilogy rather Empire as we wouldn’t get the latter without Star Wars. ROTJ is still great fun without any of the depth of Empire, and one of my first VHS rentals that I remember being mesmerised by. Even before I understood what Leia in gold bikini was all about.

3). Back To The Future (1985)

The first film I saw in the cinema and it’s the perfect alchemy of premise, script and stars. I can’t believe it was nearly Eric Stolz as Marty McFly as I could never now imagine anyone else but Michael J. Fox in the role (nor Chris Lloyd as Doc Brown).

4). Robocop (1987)

Absolute sci-fi/action masterpiece from Verhoeven. I don’t need to wax lyrical as it speaks for itself.

5). The Terminator (1984)

See above except James Cameronn.

6). Total Recall (1990)

Arnie and Verhoeven in a match made in sci-fi heaven.

7). Avengers: Endgame (2019)

I know its a superhero movie but we travel to space and in time. And if The Winter Soldier is allowed... A culmination of amazing character and world building by Marvel encapsulated by THAT Captain America moment!

8). Brazil (1985)

Gilliam’s dark dystopian magnum opus is full of startling imagery and wonderful black humour. Just don’t watch the “Love Conquers All” cut.

9). Gattaca (1997)

The ultimate in cerebral science fiction from Andrew Nicol. This is way overdue a re-watch. Great performances from Jude Law and Ethan Hawke.

10). Children of Men (2006)

Absorbing tale of the near future. No spaceships or aliens but something that could really happen.

11). Jurassic Park (1993)

I had to get a Spielberg in and I prefer this over Close Encounters and ET

12). Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind (2004)

Most people talk about Truman Show but Carrey’s performance in this one is brilliant. He and Kate Winslet have rarely been better in Michel Gondry’s bittersweet romantic sci-fi. Another one that’s completely overdue a rewatch!
 

bruce-leroy

Distinguished Member
Bloody hell - how can I forget Interstellar! One of Nolan’s best. If superhero movies aren’t allowed, put this in place of Endgame.
 

scrowe

Distinguished Member
Here is my list (a bit more difficult as you said no horror - I would have had JC’s The Thing as no.1):
I definitely would assume The Thing as Sci-Fi no question, would expect the justification more in classifying as Horror. Same for Alien,
 

bruce-leroy

Distinguished Member
I definitely would assume The Thing as Sci-Fi no question, would expect the justification more in classifying as Horror. Same for Alien,

In that case, John Carpenter’s The Thing as my No.1 then and The Matrix in No.2!
 

bruce-leroy

Distinguished Member
Alien (1979)

Goes without saying If The Thing is allowed.

Predator (1987)

Will never tire of this. It’s mad how many seminal films in the sci-fi action category Arnie made in the 80s.
 

lucasisking

Distinguished Member
Such a broad umbrella genre I need to break it down. The ones in bold can count as my choices as some haven't been mentioned yet, or are outliers:

Hard Sci-fi/ alien contact:

2001: A Space Odyssey
2010: The Year We Make Contact-
often overlooked because its the sequel to the best sci-fi film of all time. But it stands on its own and has one hell of an ending. Its something wonderful.
Contact
Arrival
Moon
The Martian
Annihilation
The Abyss
Solaris
Ad Astra


AI Themed films:

Her- the best depiction yet of the effect of near-future AI effecting humanity. Simply brilliant on every level. No homicidal robots, no rogue AI declaring nuclear war, just a gentle, emotional, deeply thought provoking look at what might happen if the boundaries between people and technology start to blur. I adore this film.
Ex Machina
I Robot
AI: Artificial Intelligence


Space Opera:
Empire Strikes Back
Star Trek The Motion Picture- recently reviewed but I think its the best in the series both as Star Trek and as science fiction generally. TWOK is its only competition.
Dune
Oblivion


Action:
Aliens
Predator
Terminator 2
Rogue One
Dredd


Cyberpunk:
Minority Report
GITS
The Matrix
Robocop
Akira
The Terminator
Inception


Dystopia:
Blade Runner
Gattaca
Children of Men
Planet of the Apes


Disaster:

War of the Worlds 2005
Independence Day
Deep Impact
Sunshine
Gravity



[Sci-fi] Horror:

The Fly
The Thing
Under the Skin
Alien

Fantasy & Superheroes:

LOTR: Return of the King
Excalibur
Highlander
Superman The Movie
Avengers Infinity War/ Avengers Endgame: Put together, I think these two are as important to superhero films as The Lord of the Rings trilogy is to fantasy. The culmination of ten years and 20 films worth of story and character development paid off spectacularly.
Watchmen
 

bruce-leroy

Distinguished Member
Such a broad umbrella genre I need to break it down. The ones in bold can count as my choices as some haven't been mentioned yet, or are outliers:

Hard Sci-fi/ alien contact:

2001: A Space Odyssey
2010: The Year We Make Contact-
often overlooked because its the sequel to the best sci-fi film of all time. But it stands on its own and has one hell of an ending. Its something wonderful.
Contact
Arrival
Moon
The Martian
Annihilation
The Abyss
Solaris
Ad Astra


AI Themed films:

Her- the best depiction yet of the effect of near-future AI effecting humanity. Simply brilliant on every level. No homicidal robots, no rogue AI declaring nuclear war, just a gentle, emotional, deeply thought provoking look at what might happen if the boundaries between people and technology start to blur. I adore this film.
Ex Machina
I Robot
AI: Artificial Intelligence


Space Opera:
Empire Strikes Back
Star Trek The Motion Picture- recently reviewed but I think its the best in the series both as Star Trek and as science fiction generally. TWOK is its only competition.
Dune
Oblivion


Action:
Aliens
Predator
Terminator 2
Rogue One
Dredd


Cyberpunk:
Minority Report
GITS
The Matrix
Robocop
Akira
The Terminator
Inception


Dystopia:
Blade Runner
Gattaca
Children of Men
Planet of the Apes


Disaster:

War of the Worlds 2005
Independence Day
Deep Impact
Sunshine
Gravity



[Sci-fi] Horror:

The Fly
The Thing
Under the Skin
Alien

Fantasy & Superheroes:

LOTR: Return of the King
Excalibur
Highlander
Superman The Movie
Avengers Infinity War/ Avengers Endgame: Put together, I think these two are as important to superhero films as The Lord of the Rings trilogy is to fantasy. The culmination of ten years and 20 films worth of story and character development paid off spectacularly.
Watchmen

I think you’ve accidentally omitted Armageddon there... ;)
 

lucasisking

Distinguished Member
I think you’ve accidentally omitted Armaged..
72d7e3d661cd6e636810cbcda59b92a0.gif
 

systemsdead

Distinguished Member
Not really a big fan sci-fi fan but these are my faves in order.

The Man Who Fell To Earth - You're only welcome if it's beneficial to us.


Metropolis - Death to the machines.


A Clockwork Orange - Ready for a bit of the old ultraviolence.


Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind - Its all been wiped away.


Stalker - I won’t go into your room. I won’t pour the filth of my soul on to anyone’s head.


2001: A Space Odyssey - Open the pod bay doors, HAL.


Beyond The Black Rainbow - Welcome to Arboria.


Brazil - Put it on, big boy. I won't look at your willy.


Dead Man’s Letters - I loved mankind. I love it even better now that it no longer exists.


1984 - We are the Dead.
 

jockychan

Well-known Member
1 Logans Run
2 planet of the apes original
3 They Live
4 2001 A space odyssey
5 Inner space
6 District 9
7 children of men
8 sunshine
9 close encounter of the third kind
10 back to the future
 

Derek S-H

Distinguished Member
Just picking some films that are on my shelves and haven't yet been mentioned*:

The Day The Earth Caught Fire - minimal effects but superbly scripted, tense and gripping.

The Day The Earth Stood Still - the original and still the best. "Klaatu. Barada. Nikto"! NOT the truly terrible 2008 remake!

Forbidden Planet - groundbreaking, jaw-dropping, revolutionary. I still can't work out how they did some of the special effects.

Deep Impact - should be a cheese fest, instead it's deeply moving.

Electric Dreams - I still love this film even though it's completely implausible based on the technology of its time. Also has a wonderful 80's soundtrack too. And Virginia Madsen!:love:

Fanboys - yes, it takes the piss but it's also hugely entertaining too.

Galaxy Quest - more piss-taking, but it's also done with such warmth and affection and a great eye for detail.

Gravity - a magnificent technological achievement that never loses sight of the humanity in the story.

Pacific Rim - it's big, it's bold, it's stupid, it's just so much fun!

Predestination - clever, thought-provoking, intelligent.

Safety Not Guaranteed - an Indie gem with a very satisfying ending.

Silent Running - decades ahead of its time and still, sadly, relevant.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - looks and sounds amazing and is very enjoyable.

Tomorrowland: A World Beyond - I just really enjoyed this and it has some great visuals.

Beyond a few eternal classics, I'm not claiming that these are the best films ever, but they're definitely worth your time.

* Just spotted that Lucas has mentioned both Deep Impact and Gravity in his list. Sorry about that. At least we agree!
 
Last edited:

barnaby jones

Distinguished Member
Concur with virtually everyone else. Would like to add a vote for Contact & Deep Impact though, they’re brilliant and criminally underrated. Watch them both at least once a year.
 

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