Certain movies transcend themselves, and their genres, and we can feel their influence in all corners of cinema. There are certain movies that are rightly seen as being among the best movies of all time, and they have inspired new generations of filmmakers. Some of these are mainstream movies we’ve all seen and loved, while others are lesser-known but no less important.
The reason science-fiction is so important and impressive in cinema is that it shows us different visions of the future, and ideas of what our world could become. This is fascinating and occasionally terrifying as well. Some of the core essentials and themes of sci-fi movies have paved the way for later movies, as well as having an influence on the world around them as well. This is a list of some of the most influential sci-fi movies of all-time:
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
One of the most influential movies of all -time, helmed by one of the most influential directors of all-time, Stanley Kubrick. 2001 goes from the birth of mankind to the far reaches of space travel, as explorers uncover a strange monolith on the moon. Then we follow spacecraft Discovery One, and murderous AI, HAL, followed by a transcendent space-time experience. The movie is epic in every possible way and contains some of the most gorgeous and ground-breaking visuals ever in a movie. The strong influence of 2001 can still be felt today and ranks as one of the finest movies ever made.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
The entire movie is one big commentary on Communism and the wave of McCarthyism that was flooding the united States at the tie. This was a highly unique and inventive movie, and it still is when you go back and watch it. A complex film exploring the nature of autonomy, and the dangers posed to the individual in society, the movie was one of the most powerful, evocative, and wonderfully made movies of the ‘50s.
Star Wars (1977)
The original and best (controversial), George Lucas changed the world in 1977 when he released the original epic space opera Star Wars. Telling the tale of farm-hand Luke Skywalker who discovers the force, becomes a Jedi Knight, and faces off against the evil Galactic Empire is timeless. The world-building is the great strength here, and one of the reasons Star Wars continues to endure. With The Last Jedi looking likely to break box office records, it’s clear that Star Wars remains one of the world’s most influential films.
Simultaneously a sci-fi and slasher movie, Alien is one of the finest horror movies ever made. The crew of the Nostromo are hunted down and killed one-by-one, by a xenomorph creature from outer space. Groundbreaking upon initial release, Alien changed the way we viewed sci-fi and changed what science-fiction movies could do. It also made Sigourney Weaver a huge star and launched Ridley Scott’s career. Alien remains one of the biggest influences on modern sci-fi and is a film everyone should see.
These are just some of the most influential sci-fi movies ever made. There are also plenty that we haven’t mentioned that could have made the list, Blade Runner for one. But sometimes it’s good to give people a mixed bag and to look at movies that not a lot of people have seen, or are especially familiar with. These are incredibly influential, not to mention awesome movies, that have influenced and shaped the science-fiction landscape!