10 Best Classic Sci-Fi Movies, According To Reddit

The recent box office success of Jurassic World Dominion indicates that there is not only a great deal of life left in this venerable franchise but also that there is still an appetite for good science fiction movie storytelling. In fact, the genre is one of the most venerable and established in Hollywood, being often used to showcase new types of moviemaking technology.

The users of Reddit, in particular, have done a very good job of curating the best classic science fiction movies that have emerged in previous decades, thus providing viewers with a strong list with which to explore the genre.


10 The Andromeda Strain (1971)

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A man looks at a group of people in a control room in The Andromeda Strain.

The works of Michael Crichton have done well for Hollywood, and there are a number of great examples of adaptations of his novels (including Jurassic Park). The Andromeda Strain is a particularly strong science fiction movie involving a virus from outer space. It is a strikingly sophisticated and accurate science fiction movie, which impressed Imnomaly.

They write: “I love movies with complicated infrastructure facilities for some reason.” The movie is a fascinating exploration of the way that paranoia can afflict those struggling against a new virus, and it is a movie that only grows more timely with the passing of the decades.

9 Aliens (1986)

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Aliens Newt Ellen Ripley Wasteland

Though Alien is itself rightly regarded as one of the best works by Ridley Scott, its sequel has also been highly regarded. In part, this stems from Sigourney Weaver’s strong performance as the character Ripley, but it is also due to James Cameron’s sure direction and the movie’s intense action sequences.

Vyracon remarks: “This film is a masterpiece. It aged superbly. It's one of a kind.” Ultimately, it’s a movie that does everything it can to improve on its predecessor, and the result is a movie that is ultimately incredibly, and often viscerally, intense.

8 The Fly (1986)

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Jeff Goldblum becoming The Fly.

Throughout his career, David Cronenberg has demonstrated that he is a director with a keen sense of how to make a horror movie that is deeply and hauntingly visceral. This is much in evidence in The Fly, in which a man accidentally becomes a hybrid with a fly. The movie succeeds both because of Cronenberg’s direction and because of Jeff Goldblum’s performance.

It is the latter that draws particular praise from Knowlesdinho, who writes, “Goldblum's neurotic intensity really makes that film. Nobody else could have played that role.” As is so often the case with Goldblum, he manages to make whatever movie in which he appears.

7 Planet Of The Apes (1968)

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The Statue of Liberty in Planet of the Apes.

Even so many years after its release, Planet of the Apes still retains its power to surprise and shock. Focusing as it does on a group of astronauts who crash land on a planet ruled by apes, it is the type of science fiction movie designed to both shock the viewer and make them think critically about the world in which they live.

And, what’s more, it features one of the most shocking endings in the history of the movies.  As smubee says: “If you haven’t seen the original Planet of the Apes, you’re missing out. It’s a masterclass in social commentary.”

6 Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)

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A man screaming while pointing at something in Invasion of the Body Snatchers

There have been several versions of the story of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but none have quite the emotional and psychic punch as the version from the 1970s. Focusing, like its predecessor, on a group of people contending with an alien invasion, in which organisms take over the body of their hosts. Knowlesdinho calls it, bluntly, “Relentlessly depressing.”

It is definitely a movie that captures the ennui and cynicism of the era, and it ultimately seems to suggest that there can be no hope for humanity in the face of an invasion of this sort.

5 Forbidden Planet (1956)

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Forbidden Planet.

Though there have been many great adaptations of the works of William Shakespeare into movies, few have been quite as imaginative as Forbidden Planet, which is a loose interpretation of The Tempest. Set on a distant planet, it is the type of science fiction movie that truly pushes the genre forward, daring to ask important questions and to take up new ways of depicting robots and outer space.

Thus it is that MovieMike007 states: “This is not only one of my favourite science fiction films it's also one of my favourite Shakespearean adaptations.”

4 Alien (1979)

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Ripley wears a spacesuit in Alien

Aliens have long been a source of fascination for the movies, and they seemed to reach their apogee in the movie Alien. This movie is arguably one of the best of the 1980s, with a potent and powerful viscerality that maintains its power to stun and shock even the most jaundiced viewer.

CMelody eloquently notes that it is “still such a gorgeous movie to watch all these years later, and it is very rare to find any scene in any movie that had as much of a visceral impact on me as the iconic chest burster scene.” It is the type of movie that manages to imbue even its most horrifying moments with its own sinister beauty.

3 Soylent Green (1973)

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The processing line in Soylent Green

The 1970s was a fruitfull decade for science fiction movies, and many of the movies from the period express a profound cynicism, almost a defeatism, about the future and its potential. This tendency is very much in evidence in Soylent Green, which depicts a future in which overpopulation has led to near societal collapse.

WillysJeepMan calls it “a keystone film that reflects the dread and uncertainty of the 70's.” It is a powerful movie which demonstrates the extent to which science fiction has the power to envision a future that is far bleaker than the present.

2 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

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Man in an orange space suit from the film 2001 A Space Odyssey.

Few science fiction movies have been quite as ambitious as 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is the type of movie that, in both its narrative and its aesthetic, aims to make the viewer rethink everything they thought they knew about the cosmos and the way it works. It is a testament to Stanley Kubrick’s vision as a filmmaker, and it shows just how powerful cinema as a medium can be.

Beautiful-Mission-31 calls it “just the greatest film ever made ever.” Though this might be a bit of an exaggeration, there’s no denying that it continues to have an impact on the genre as a whole.

1 The Day After (1983)

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A woman and child standing outside a building in The Day After

The idea of a nuclear apocalypse is one that has long excited the popular culture imagination. It emerged particularly clearly in several decades, particularly the 1980s, in movies like The Day After. As cloud_botherer1 writes, it “aired in the 80s and it’s about a nuclear attack on the US. Scared the sh*t out of everybody.”

It is the type of science fiction movie designed to remind audiences across the world of the potent dangers associated with nuclear technology and how very easy it would be to bring the world to its knees.

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