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Essential

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Time Out have a none more eclectic list of fifty essential science fiction films. For no reason at all they decided on this:

In order to restrict ourselves to 50 films, we opted to dismiss speculative films which deal with dystopian futures: as a result, great films like Blade Runner, Fahrenheit 451 and Hardware will not be found in this list.

Despite this baffling sentiment they have still managed to list 75 films. These are:

The Abyss (1989)
Alien (1979)
*Batteries Not Included (1987)
Cocoon (1985)

Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)
Battlefield Earth (2000)
The Black Hole (1979)
Cherry 2000 (1987)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
ET: The Extra Terrestrial (1982)

Contact (1997)
Sphere (1998)
Critters (1986)
Dark Star (1974)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Dune (1984)
Earth vs The Flying Saucers (1956)
Enemy Mine (1985)
Event Horizon (1997)
Explorers (1985)
The Fifth Element (1997)
Sunshine (2007)
Flash Gordon (1980)

Flesh Gordon (1974)
Forbidden Planet (1956)
The Fountain (2006)
Howard the Duck (1986)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
The Hidden (1987)
The Last Starfighter (1984)
The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976)
Mars Attacks! (1996)

Metropolis (1927)
Morons from Outer Space (1985)
Pitch Black (2000)
The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)
Planet of the Apes (1968)

Quatermass and the Pit (1967)
Red Planet (2000)
Mission to Mars (2000)
Repo Man (1984)

Brother From Another Planet (1984)
Serenity (2005)
Silent Running (1972)
Solaris (1972)
Solaris (2002)

Soylent Green (1973)
Spaceballs (1987)
Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983)
Ice Pirates (1984)
Solarbabies (1986)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Star Trek Generations (1994)
Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
Star Trek Nemesis (2002)

Star Trek (2009)
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Starship Troopers (1997)
Supernova (2000)
The Thing (1982)

Things To Come (1936)
This Island Earth (1955)
Total Recall
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

War of the Worlds (1953)
War of the Worlds (2005)
Independence Day (1996)
Zardoz (1974)

I’m not a fan of the concept of “so bad it’s good” because usually it is a lie. This means I am unlikely to be checking out a lot of these in the near future. However, there are some pretty big gaps there that I will be seeking to rectify. Any particular favourites?

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Written by Martin

15 May 2009 at 11:48

Posted in films, sf

Tagged with ,

6 Responses

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  1. It’s hard to imagine how Cherry 200, Battlefield Earth or Howard The Duck might be considered “essential”.

    Ian Sales

    15 May 2009 at 12:06

  2. I would say that these are all well worth seeing:
    The Black Hole (1979)
    Contact (1997)
    The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
    Silent Running (1972)
    Star Trek (2009)

    and that Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) is good fun, if very silly. It’s Seven Samurai, in space. I may be biased by having seen it when I was 12 :->

    Andrew Ducker

    15 May 2009 at 12:59

  3. Dark Star – the Spinal Tap of SF, and ridiculously influential – I love it

    Brother from Another Planet – I really liked it, and it’s nice to see a non-white alien-amongst-us

    Alison

    15 May 2009 at 13:44

  4. The last 5 minutes of Black Hole is some brilliant nightmare fuel for a kids movie.

    Hogg

    15 May 2009 at 14:33

  5. Seems like the Star Trek franchise is a bit over represented. If Batteries not Included and Cocoon can make it onto the list I think Back to the Future should be there too.

  6. […] have put together a very strange list of their 50 essential sf films here (with nods to here and here). It does not include dystopias, for some completely arbitrary reason – so no Blade Runner or […]


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