Lists, or the supposed 50 must see Science Fiction movies

Well first, I will give the link:

I can say that I’ve seen 44 of those 50 movies.  I’ve enjoyed most of them.  I also wouldn’t consider all of them science fiction and I don’t consider most of the “Must See” science fiction movies.  So I’m going to do a breakdown of all 50 and give my not so humble opinion of the films.  You don’t have to agree with me, but it will make your life much better if you do.

1)  12 Monkeys –

A time travel movie with an apocalyptic side as well.  Bruce Willis is a convict sent back in time to try to stop the release of a virus that wipes out most of humanity.  The only science fiction part of this movie is the time travel aspect.  Why it fails as a movie is that if a culture could create a way to time travel, they should be able to produce the cure for any disease, up to and including death. So that begs the question, why go back in time to stop the release of the virus? Why not just fashion an anti-virus? This one should not be on the list.

2)  2001: A Space Odyssey –

A Stanley Kubrick film that also has a novel that was written at the same time by Arthur C. Clarke and the two collaborated on the project while it was being done.  The movie is long but interesting, I doubt that many of the younger movie goers of today would enjoy the film.  I’ve seen the movie a number a times and I read the book.  As usual, the book goes into more detail that you don’t see in the movie.  This movie should belong the Must See list and I do consider it science fiction.  You have a enigma in the form of a monolith discovered on the Moon that is over 3 million years old.  Upon it’s discovery, it shoots a signal to Jupiter and a space ship is dispatched to investigate.  The ship is run by an A.I. named Hal-9000 that ends up going insane. Eventually the A.I. is disconnect and the sole remaining astronaut Bowman goes to investigate a monolith that is orbiting Jupiter.  It is revealed to be a doorway and Bowman undergoes a transformation.

3)  A.I. Artificial Intelligence –

This movie is based on Brian Aldiss’s short story “Super-Toys Last All Summer Long.  I have not read the short story so I can’t remark on that aspect of it.  Originally this movie was a Stanley Kubrick project.  I do wish that he would have been able to make the movie as I believe it would have been much better than it was.  Kubrick gave it to Spielberg in 1995 to run with.  It is science fiction but I can’t agree that it is one of the 50 Must See movies.  It is about an android and its adventures from the first moment it is activated and its A.I. goes online until the last, when aliens dig it out of a frozen Earth and reactivate it for a few moments.  Really, the movie is not worth the time, so don’t waste it watching it.

4)  Akira –

I remember seeing this animated film for the first time.  It was amazing.  It is based in a future Tokyo where people have psionic capabilities.  A secret military project goes wrong and endangers Tokyo and it is up to a biker gang of psionic youth to put a stop to it.  I recommend this title and agree to its place on the list.

5)  Alien –

In space no one can hear you scream.  The first movie in what has turned into a franchise with seven films so far.  This is science fiction.  In my opinion this is a pretty good science fiction movie.  You have a crew on a industrial space ship that discover an alien life form and then have to battle it as it slowly takes them out one by one.  I can still remember the scene in the dining room, when the young alien bursts from the guy’s chest.  Yes this one should be on the list and I recommend it.

6)  Alien Nation –

It has been a while since I’ve seen this movie but it is about an alien race known as the Newcomers, that is stranded on Earth and is eventually integrated with humanity.  The plot follows a human and alien who are partners in the police force as they investigate the Newcomer underworld.  While this is science fiction, I would not consider the movie one of the 50 Must See.

7)  Aliens –

My favorite of the Alien movies, this is a Must See for me.  Ripley is awoken a number of decades later after she goes into cryo-sleep at the end of the first movie.  She is tasked by the company she works for to go with a contingent of Colonial Marines back to the planet to investigate the crashed alien vessel.  The planet is now home to a terra-forming colony.  Chaos ensues as the Marines land and find the colonies base destroyed and empty with signs of battle.  The colonist discovered the alien ship and bad things have happened.  A great action sci-fi movie.

8)  Avatar –

I have not seen this movie and I refuse to ever see this movie.  While it can be considered science fiction, I would never put it in any list of movies to watch.  The premise of this film is complete crap.  The idea that a stone age culture would be able to defeat a culture that has developed Faster Than Light travel is ridiculous.  If you were to run into trouble with the natives on the planet, you pull your people back into orbit and drop KEWs on the natives until they give up.  End of movie.

9)  Back to the Future –

This is a funny, entertaining movie.  Michael J. Fox and Christopher Llyod star in this time travel comedy.  It is only science fiction because of the time travel aspect but it is a must watch movie for me.  I wouldn’t necessarily put it as one of the 50 Must See though.

10)  Blade Runner –

Based on the Philip K. Dick short story “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” this is a visually striking movie that is a must see.  It stars Harrison Ford as Deckard, a Blade Runner who hunts down rogue androids.  The film is dark, gritty and visually a masterpiece.  I would recommend it to friends.

11)  Brazil –

I haven’t seen it.

12)  Children of Men –

Based on the novel of the same name by P.D. James, we are transported to the future England where humanity has stopped having children.  This is a very distopian world that humanity inhabits.  It stars Clive Owen as Theo Faron who is hired to spirit away the first pregnant female since humanity went sterile to a safe place at sea.  The novel and movie are both wonderful and I recommend them.

13)  A Clockwork Orange –

Another Kubrick film based on the novel of the same name by Anthony Burgess.  I can kind of see how personality adjustment could be considered science fiction but I wouldn’t consider it so.  I also don’t consider this movie one of the 50 Must See.  It is an odd movie with some memorable scenes but it is not a Must See.

14)  Close Encounters of the Third Kind –

A Spielberg film about mankind’s encounter with aliens.  It is a feel good movie and I can agree with it being in the 50 Must See.  I would recommend this movie to those who have not seen it.

15) Cloverfield –

A movie that is shot from the perspective of a hand held camera, it centers around a group of friends at a party in New York City when a giant monster attacks the city.  It is vaguely science fiction though it does not belong in this list.  I do enjoy the giant monster movies, though you don’t really get to see this one until the end of the film.  Being shot from the perspective of a hand held camera, it can get quite annoying at times.  It was okay and I would only recommend it to fans of the giant monster type movies.

16) Contact –

Based on the novel of the same name by Carl Sagan, this could be considered science fiction and is a pretty good movie.  I have not read the novel but I do enjoy the movie.  Dr. Ellie Arroway played by Jody Foster intercepts a signal from another star.  In that signal are embedded plans for a device.  The government builds the device and Dr. Arroway takes a ride and makes contact with an alien intelligence. 

17) Dark City –

This is a dark science fiction film.  It is one that I would highly recommend to friends to see.  I enjoyed the movie immensely.  The movie centers around a man who has amnesia, trapped in a city where these mysterious individuals with telekinesis control things.  The visuals are great and the story line is entertaining.  I can agree with it being on the list.

18)  Dark Star –

I haven’t seen this one.

19)  District 9 –

Aliens land in South Africa and are segregated into a refugee camp.  They are harshly dealt with.  A government agent is exposed to their biotechnology and grows sympathetic to their plight.  It is a decent movie though it is shot from the prospective of a news crew for most of it and suffers a bit in that.  I would consider it science fiction but I don’t know if it is a Must See.

20) E.T. The Extra Terrestrial –

A young boy finds a small alien who was left behind on accident.  This is another Spielberg film.  The boy and alien form a bond and the alien is trying to “phone home” when the government finds them and tries to take the alien, which ends up harming the boy as well.  Eventually the escape and the alien is reunited with its family.  Unfortunately, Spielberg decided a few years ago, to go into the movie and digitally replace the handguns the Federal agents were carrying with radios.  It is a good family film if you can find a unaltered version.

21) Forbidden Planet –

I saw this movie a long time ago and I can’t really remember how good it was.  It is science fiction but I don’t know if it belongs on the list.

22)  Inception –

This is science fiction.  Delving into a person’s dream and implanting a command or extracting knowledge from that person’s brain.  This movie has some awesome visuals and action sequences.  The ending leaves you wondering what really happened.  I would recommend this movie to friends and believe it belongs on the list.

23)  Invaders From Mars –

I’ve seen this version, though it has been a long time and I barely remember it and I have seen the remake directed by Tobe Hooper.  I did enjoy the remake, I remember that much.  I can’t remember the original so I can’t comment on it being a Must See.  The remake is a fun movie though.

24)  Invasion of the Body Snatchers –

Robert Heinlein wrote the novel The Puppet Masters about alien parasites that take over and control humans in 1951.   Jack Finney wrote Invasion of the Body Snatchers in 1954, about aliens that replace human beings and leave the humans in pods.  They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery and I guess if you are going to imitate someone, why not one of the masters.  Now the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers is not a bad film but not one I would say is a Must See.

25) Logan’s Run –

Based on a novel by William F. Nolan, this campy movie is science fiction but is not a Must See.  It is a interesting concept and the movie is enjoyable, though like I said, very campy.  I have not read the novel it was based on.

26)  The Matrix –

The first in a trilogy, The Matrix is science fiction and I can understand why it would be on the Must See list.  This movie changed the way special effects were done in movies.  It is an interesting story line and concept and is a dark movie.  It is the first in a trilogy, the second being a little stronger and the third being a huge disappointment.

27) Metropolis –

A classic in the genre of science fiction films.  It has been a long time since I’ve seen it.  I would only recommend it to those that are interested in watching “classics” as it were.  I can understand why they put it on the list but it wouldn’t be on mine.

28)  Minority Report –

Another movie based on a Philip K. Dick short story, Minority Report is about a police officer who is a member of the pre-crime unit.  They use a pre-cog who can see the future to stop crimes and imprison those that were going to commit the crime before it happens.  One day, a report comes in that Anderton, played by Tom Cruise, is going to commit a murder.  His character then tries to stop the crime from happening and goes rogue to do so.  He uncovers a conspiracy in the police department that unravels the pre-crime unit.  The short story and movie are similar but also quite far apart and I enjoyed both.  It is an interesting movie, but not a Must See.

29)  Moon –

I have not seen this one though I do want to.

30)  Planet of the Apes –

Based on the novel Monkey Planet by Pierre Boulle, an astronaut crash lands on a planet where apes are the dominant species and humanity are their slaves.  It stars Charleton Heston as the astronaut who has to battle the apes that have enslaved humanity.  It is an interesting movie, I watched it because it was a classic.  There is the twist at the end where Heston discovers that he is on Earth.  A Must See, I don’t know about that.

31)  Robocop-

A Detroit police officer is gunned down in a firefight and killed.  He is resurrected as a cyborg crime fighting machine.  It is a violent entertaining movie.  It would be on my Must See list.

32)  Rollerball –

Corporations rule the future and rollerball is their sport.  It was an okay film, not a must see.

33)  Silent Running –

I’ve never seen this movie.  Looks interesting though.

34)  Soylent Green –

It is the future, the world is over populated and there is not enough food.  The government makes a foodstuff called soylent green which turns out to have a deep dark secret.  Not a must see but an interesting movie in all its 70s camp.

35)  Sphere –

Based on the novel of the same name from Micheal Crichton, a sphere of something is discovered deep underwater and a science team is dispatched to study it.  They make contact with it and things start happening.  A mediocre movie at best.  Not a must see.

36)  Star Trek: The Motion Picture –

Not a must see for me, I’m not a Trekkie.  I’ve enjoyed the various movies in the series and the recent reboots. 

37)  Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back –

Dark, entertaining, my favorite in the original trilogy.  Either you are a fan or you are not.  A must see for me.

38) Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi –

An okay follow up to The Empire Strikes Back.  My least favorite of the original trilogy but still a must see for me.

39) Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope –

The first in the original trilogy and my second favorite of the three.  Again a must see for me.

40)  Stargate –

A great movie and a must see.  A gate that opens a wormhole between worlds is discovered and a Special Forces team is sent through with one of the scientist that cracked the code to unlock it.  They encounter a powerful alien race and discover humans on the other side of the portal.  It helped to spawn the television show Stargate SG-1 that was amazing. 

41)  Sunshine –

The sun has dropped in its output and the world is freezing.  All the nations of the world put together a ship that is also a nuclear bomb to try to jump start the sun.  The science behind it is stupid and does not work but the movie is entertaining.  It has some amazing visuals.  I wouldn’t consider it a must see but it is a good movie if you can ignore the science.

42)  Superman II –

Saw it, not a fan of Superman.  This title shouldn’t be on the list.

43)  Superman: The Movie –

See number 42.

44)  The Terminator –

A cybernetic life form is sent back in time to kill the mother of the future leader of the resistance.  A member of the resistance is also sent back to stop it.  A violent entertaining movie.  I would consider it science fiction and would have it on my Must See list.

45) Terminator 2:  Judgement Day –

Since Skynet the all controlling A.I. from Terminator failed to kill the mother of John Connor, the future leader of the resistance, this time it has sent back a more advance cybernetic warrior to kill John Connor who is now a teenager.  John Connor sends back the same model that he has reprogrammed and that hunted his mother to protect his teenage self.  Just as entertaining as the first movie and a must see.

46) THX-1138 –

A very odd movie.  I don’t know if I would recommend this one to friends or put it on a must see list.  It is about a man and woman who rebel against their rigidly controlled society.

47)  Total Recall –

Based on the short story by Philip K. Dick title “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” the movie and short story have nothing in common besides the name and character names.  The movie is entertaining enough and is fun to watch, but I would not consider it a Must See.

48)  The War of the Worlds –

Based on the novel by H.G. Wells, turned into a radio play by Orson Welles, this movie I can agree with being a Must See.  I still enjoy watching this version even today.  It is much better than the Spielberg version in my opinion.

49)  Westworld –

An adult themed amusement park where robots kill one another, Westworld is an interesting movie but again being made in the 70s has that camp that most movies of that era seem to have.  Eventually one of the robots malfunctions and chaos ensues.  I wouldn’t put it on a Must See list though.

50)  When Worlds Collide –

I saw this movie a long time ago and can’t really remember it.


There are quite a few on this as you can see that I wouldn’t consider Must See movies in the science fiction genre.  Hell, there are a few that I wouldn’t even consider science fiction.  There are movies missing from this list that belong on it, in my opinion anyways.  I’m sure everyone could come up with 50 Science Fiction movies that are a must see and while there would be some that are the same for the most part, you would have a wide variety of movies.

I may just put together my own list and see what people think of it.


About Joseph Capdepon II

Bearded, opinionated, writer and lover of all things science fiction, horror or fantasy related. Thank you for reading.
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One Response to Lists, or the supposed 50 must see Science Fiction movies

  1. Alauda says:

    He didn’t go back to stop the virus. He couldn’t have. He was sent back to 1996 to obtain the original virus so they could make a vaccine.

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