Science fiction is an often undervalued genre, considered lowbrow by many. Why distract oneself with films about aliens or killer robots when there are higher art forms to absorb? A good answer might be: Because sci-fi deals with the greatest fears and foibles of mankind. It is able to extrapolate any number of possible futures based on our budding technologies and forms of government. With this contemplative art form, we can imagine, for instance, what the world may look like if global warming isn’t curbed or if totalitarian regimes are left to rule.
Throughout the history of cinema, science fiction films have provided an outlet for society’s deepest fears. 24/7 Tempo has compiled the best sci-fi film the year you were born, and many are indicative of the zeitgeist of the era. Because they also deal with fantasy, superhero and supernatural horror films are included in the list. Here are the best horror movies ever made.
What might be called Frankenstein movies — which explore the moral dilemma of science or man playing God — dominate the list in the 1930s and early ‘40s (the latter period coinciding with several countries’ experimentation with nuclear power). The height of the second Red Scare, when Americans feared that communist spies were an imminent danger, brought us the 1956 film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” A number of the more contemporary films explore the potential dangers of artificial intelligence.
The best sci-fi movies run the gamut from horror to romance to action, and from dinosaurs to aliens to space and time travel. Here are the best movies about time travel.
To identify the best sci-fi movie from the year you were born, 24/7 Tempo reviewed 1,183 films identified as sci-fi on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon. We then created an index composed of each film’s IMDb rating as well as its Audience Score and Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator. All ratings were weighted equally. Data on domestic box office comes from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by consulting firm Nash Information Services. Data for years prior to 1931 was only sporadically available, so only that for the years 1916, 1920, and 1925 was provided. Cast information comes from IMDb.