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The 25 Most Important Science Fiction Films

As a companion to the article on the 50th anniversary of Forbidden Planet, the Houston Chronicle also lists The 25 Most Important Science Fiction Films (according to the article’s author, Louis B. Parks).

In true meme fashion, I’ve highlighted the ones I’ve seen.


  1. Metropolis (1927)
  2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  3. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
  4. Star Wars original trilogy (1977-1983)
  5. Forbidden Planet (1956)
  6. A Trip to the Moon (1902)
  7. (tie) Planet of the Apes (1968)
  8. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
  9. Aliens (1986)
  10. Star Trek film series (1979-2002)
  11. Blade Runner (1982)
  12. Them! (1954)
  13. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  14. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
  15. The Terminator (1982)
  16. The Thing From Another World (1951)
  17. The Road Warrior (1981)
  18. Westworld (1973)
  19. The Matrix (1999)
  20. Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers serials (1939-1940)
  21. (tie) E.T. (1982)
  22. The Thing (1982)
  23. The War of the Worlds (1953)
  24. (tie) Jurassic Park (1993)
  25. Akira (1988)
About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

7 Comments on The 25 Most Important Science Fiction Films

  1. OK.. get out there and rent Metropolis and Akira!!

    A Trip to the Moon is not worth seeing IMO – unless you are into film history. The main reason it made the list (IMO) is that it is the earliest example of film special efx…

  2. Yeah, I should. I started watching a late-night showing of Metropolis once, but I fell asleep

  3. Max is right. Go see Metropolis. Sure its pacing may be off by modern sensitivities, but its deservedly on the top of that list.

    I remember going to the BBC TV and Radio museum in London. I was wowed by seeing a Dalek, and thought that was the coolest prop there, until my brother tapped my shoulder and guided my gaze upward at an original model of Maria used in the film.

  4. Should be higher on the list: Blade Runner and The Matrix. Both very influential, especially in art direction.

    Should be lower: Planet of the Apes (popular but didn’t really change anything, so I’d say not very important) and Westworld (what’s that doing on this list at all?).

  5. Oh, no Ghost in the Shell?

  6. You don’t need to go out and borrow [Metropolis], since it is now in public domain. Check here.

  7. Sorry, the above link apparently doesn’t work any more. Check the below link instead.

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