This morning I came across this ( Buzzfeed article that asks: “How many science fiction movies have you seen?”.  Apparently, in my case, quite a few – but I’m sure many of you can do better than my still-respectable 151 out of 300 score.  In looking over the list, I realized I watched A LOT of SF films in the 60’s and 70’s, but my love for the genre tapered off in the 80’s to the point that I now rarely see any of the big (empty) big screen features.  Nope, they don’t make ’em like the used to. Or, maybe, I’m the one who’s changed.

Science fiction was an important part of my life growing, so much so that the books I read and the films I watched in those formative years influenced my career choice and, no doubt, helped shape me into the (warped) writer/person I am today. Specifically, these ten movies…


My love for anti-heroes and over-the-top action started with this John Carpenter classic.


This movie scared the crap out of the me the first time I saw it in a theater.  The final shocking scene still gives me chills.


Deeply disturbing.  My favorite Kubrick film.


Amid the violence and revelous tree-scorching is a smart critique of organized sports, corporations, and war.


Paranoia rules supreme in this ultimate who-can-you-trust? SF classic.


Joyously bizarre, delightfully different, and just plain cool.  John Lithgow is brilliant as the nefarious Dr. Emilio Lizardo.

1#4) ALIEN

The movie that made SF serious – deadly serious – and launched a thousand pale imitations.  But there’s nothing like the terrifying original.


A smart, touching, incredibly atmospheric film that still blows the socks off any scifi movie that has come out in the last ten years.


I saw it 11 times in the first year of its release.  A helluva a fun ride.  And even though the wheels came off in the third movie (the second those ewoks hit the screen), and then the whole thing crashed and burned in later instalments, I still have fond memories of the original.



Every time it (or the subsequent movies in the series) would air, I would watch, even if it meant going to bed at 8:00 p.m. so that I could wake up again at 11:30 p.m. to re-watch it on a school night.  I had the comic books, the action figures, even the board game (and still do!).  I love this movie and this series, so much so that I consider Tim Burton’s offensively bad remake one of the worst cinematic crimes ever perpetrated.

31 thoughts on “May 3, 2014: My Top 10 Most Personally Influential SF Films!

  1. Hey Joe! (Hendrix punching in background)
    Original “IOTBS” & “TT” are far more entertaining. Kubrick topped out with “The Shining” for me. Honorable mention-“Five Million Miles to Earth”…and vacationing in Georgia? AT ALL—…view “Deliverance” and add 50 degrees…(even Faulkner avoided Georgia)…Tennessee has moved on past the antebellum much better than Georgia. But personally I’d take Prague!

  2. My Top 10 for Sci-fi:
    10. The Flight of The Navigator and 2010 Odyssey Two.
    9. Logan’s Run
    8. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
    7. Star Trek: First Contact
    6. Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope
    5. The Last Starfighter
    4. Back to the Future
    3. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
    2. The Fifth Element (If you haven’t seen this already you really should.)
    1. 2001 A Space Odyssey

    Needles to say I am a child of the 80’s and my list reflects this.. Plus I am a big fan of Trek so that certainly affects my list.

  3. Oh, and concerning hacking on TB…personally, anything with Tim Roth in it gets an autopass with me…

  4. I have watched apparently 169 out of the 300. Most of the films before 1970’s I didn’t watch (with a few exceptions here and there). And there were some I started but had to stop watching so I did not count those (because it says from beginning to end), and a few I am now reminded I wanted to watch. But you read many more books than I do. I chalk my movie watching to “it’s the only thing I can do when Jeff and Patrick have gone to sleep (or play video games). And with my insomnia, I have had many, many hours to occupy.

  5. #5 “Monkey Boy!”

    I saw the original Star Wars movie nine times in its first year of release. Eleven for The Empire Strikes Back. Four for the last one. Still haven’t seen any of the other trilogy.

  6. Okay, I would agree with your list Joe with the exception of Alien. I had to leave the theatre when it jumped out of the man’s chest, just couldn’t take it. I’m a life-long aficionado of Sc-i, so I visited Buzzfeed and checked off a few.
    I watched 145 out of 300!!

    The most formative sci-fi in my life has been:
    2001: A Space Odyssey
    first 3 Star Wars
    all Star Trek films
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    2cats =^-^=

  7. I see you’re a Kurt Russell fan. Me too! 😉 I only had 77 out of those 300. I noticed a huge tappering off in the 90’s. Unfortunately, I think I grew up and got more picky. No more big imagination or fun at heart. OMG I’m warped! Maybe it’s the “all the way through” clause. I have a shorter attention span. Too busy. I think that is when the remakes really got going too.

    “In looking over the list, I realized I watched A LOT of SF films in the 60′s and 70′s,…”

    You’re not that old! You mean you watched a lot of SF films FROM the 60’s and 70’s? If you were watching IN the 60’s, it would have been your mother strapping you in your bouncy chair in front of the TV as a baby or toddler. But I doubt that.

    No way can I make a top ten list. Just way, way, way too many awesome movies there.

  8. I’ve watched 209 out of the 300 sci-fi films. That’s more than I was expecting! I haven’t seen anything made before 1950 and had a quiet period during the late 2000s.

    I used to go to an annual 24 hour sci-fi movie marathon at a local cinema and they would often play a lot of the old classics from the 50s, 60s and 70s so that gave me a good grounding.

    I haven’t seen many of the movies that have come out in the last couple of years. I should make a point of watching the remaining 91 movies.

    I would be hard pressed to name my top 10 favourite sci-fi movies. Instead, here’s the sci-fi movies that I watch at least once per year (in no particular order):

    The Fifth Element
    The Matrix
    Buckaroo Banzai
    Star Trek: First Contact
    Tremors (I wonder why it wasn’t on the list?)
    Starship Troopers
    Star Wars (IV, V and VI. In fact I literally just finished watching IV in celebration of Star Wars Day on Sunday. I’m going to watch them in Machete order.)
    The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind
    Pleasantville (Is it sci-fi? I don’t know but it’s my favourite movie of all time so I’m including it here anyway.)
    Back To The Future (This is my “Star Wars” movie. It’s the first movie I can remember when and where I first saw it.)

  9. Yes speaking of the crime of remakes I would suggest “Pearl Harbor.” There is a place called Pearl Harbor, some Americans did fly with the British in 1940 and James Doolittle did lead a group to attack the Japanese home islands. However, there is “Dec 7 the love story” because other events were not a compelling story. Do you think this movie would have bee a better comic?

  10. Ok.. don’t take my sci-fi badge.. I’ve never seen A Clockwork Orange. It’s just one of those quirks about me. Maybe my mom hated it or something. My parents absolutely influenced my love for sci-fi. Other than that I’ve seen the nine you listed. But my question is.. have you ever seen Barbarella? If so what do you think of it?

  11. I’ve seen 212 of those films, but I barely remembered a few of the early ones. The ones I missed were pretty evenly spread throughout though, so I guess my interest never waned. The fact I got so many of the 40’s and 50’s was due to the Saturday Night Creature Feature Movies the local television station would run.

    And the only ones on your list I haven’t seen are A Clockwork Orange (sic) and Rollerball. I might add Silent Running, and although the movie was confusing as hell at the time, maybe 2001: A Space Odyssey. Reading Arthur C. Clark’s original work helped in the comprehension department though.

  12. I’m impressed with all of you. I have only watched 55.

    I guess I have no Sci-Fi badge as I have never seen A Clockwork Orange or The Rocky Horror Picture Show. :p

  13. Wow, what a great bunch of movies. I remember seeing Star Wars during its first run at the theatres (in Bangor, Maine, returning from vacation in NH (of course)) and walking out of the theatre thinking “Wow, movies will never be the same”. Just so strikingly different on so many levels. Imagine my horror after all those years waiting for the prequels, and getting… Jar Jar Binks? Ugh. The next three had better be good.

    Also, I totally agree about the Tim Burton Planet of the Apes remake. The ending was practically a slap in the face to fans of the original. (I was even a devout watcher of the much crappier TV series!)

    I loved Blade Runner too – the replicant’s soliloquy of “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe…” still gives me chills:

    Also, went to a great offal dinner tonight at a local inn. Pictures tomorrow!

  14. @JeffW: I remember seeing Silent Running when I was quite young and feeling the same way – confused. It’s interesting that I saw it in rerun not too many months ago, and the whole thing made sense to my more mature mind.

  15. Oh, and 167 on the movie list. Haven’t thought about some of those for ages, but I’d argue that some of the ones listed stretch the definition of Sci-fi pretty far.

  16. Oh yes, Joe, that explains so much about you. 😉

    @JeffW: I remember Creature Features!

    @gforce: that is an amazing scene from Blade Runner. Thanks for sharing it.

    I got 139. Some of the movies I just was never interested in seeing. Just ’cause it’s scifi doesn’t necessarily mean it is worth watching.

  17. I have seen 134. Enough to qualify for mad scientist status apparently.

    Amazingly enough, I managed to get through Plan 9 from Outer Space. Not sure how, since it was excruciatingly bad.

    I have also seen all of the Kurt “Call me Snake” Plissken – I mean Russell – movies on the list.

  18. My top 10 but i need a top 30 to reflect better my influences:

    9) Abyss
    6) Logan’s Run
    5) Zardoz
    4) ALIEN
    2) STAR WARS

    I watch 248 films of this list. I think is more than average because i see a lot of clasical & european SF films. For example the first Sf movie ever Le Voyage dans la Lune (Georges Méliès) the only complete color handmade copy of this is in the Barcelona´s Film Library. And i see some times.

    In the other hand i thik many films deserve to be in the list:

    The Final Programme ( Based in Michael Moorcock Novel)
    Morons from Outer Space
    The Kovak Box
    The Quatermass Xperiment
    Space Truckers
    The Inhabited Island
    Hard to Be a God

    and many more….

  19. Very few..
    I grew up in the 80s, and had access to great TV series like Airwolf, Knight Rider, Street Hawk, A-Team and others. My Sci-Fi/Drama fill was entirely filled on a weekly basis. By comparison, I always found movies to be rather dull. Why waste half an hour getting to the Cinema, 2 hours watching a single story, then another half an hour getting home again, when you could stick the telly on, or god-forbid, read a book..
    I played videogames, and eventually started to write videogames, too. I basically grew up without Movies in my life, and now, looking back, I tend to see a whole lot of movies as rather dated and silly. True, the TV series are similarly terrible, but at least those were free to watch!!

    Soaked in the world of TV, Books and Videogames, I’m pretty much a blank page as far as films are concerned. I only recently decided to take the leap into the world of NetFlix, where I’ve watched Castle, rewatched Firefly, and am currently midway through my Season 3 Atlantis rewatch. .. Even with such a huge movie collection in front of me, it seems I still don’t have the energy to bother watching any of them!

  20. Hey Joe
    Got 233 out of 300. Not too shabby. Didn’t see the Cube series of films on the list. Have you seen Cube with David Hewlett?


  21. Buckaroo Banzai: “Laugh while you can monkey boy!”

    Now I want a rewatch! I think I have it somewhere in my dvd collection.
    I love the end credits….

  22. 173 of 300. 🙂 Lot of Saturday cold winter tv watching. I can’t give a top 10. These are my must haves for DVD/Blu-Rays:
    Star War series
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind
    Blade Runner
    Tron and Tron Legacy (LOVE the music in the 2nd one, have the orig soundtrack and remixes)
    LOTR and Hobbit series
    Star Trek First Contact
    Reboot (JJ Abrams) Star Trek series
    Fifth Element
    X-Men series
    Super 8
    Marvel movies (Iron Man, Cpt America, Thor, etc)
    Despicable Me series

    I have lots more Sci-Fi movies in my library but those are the ones I’d have to have. 🙂

  23. I scored 201 but I can’t remember if I watched a few of them. They didn’t include Westworld/Futureworld. Those count as Sci-fi, right? I love movies and this list gave me ideas. Thanks for posting!

  24. I’ve seen 182, and probably more, a few were familiar but wasn’t sure of they fit the “all the way through” test. I’ve slept through quite a few when hubby watches them, mostly action movies.

    Hmmm… in no particular order:

    1. Star Wars
    2. Barbarella
    3. Clockwork Orange
    4. Galaxy Quest
    5. Star Trek movies
    6. RHPS (and Shock Treatment)
    7. Alien
    8. Weird Science
    9. Planet of the Apes
    10. A Boy and his Dog

    Yeah, ten is too short (Terminator, Zardoz, Sleeper, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Earth Girls are Easy, Fantastic Planet, Batteries not Included …)

  25. An interesting collection of titles. For example, it includes 2046 (more obscure) and The World’s End, but then not Seeking A Friend For the End of the World. It has Wall-E but not Despicable Me…and where are the Fantastic 4 movies and Watchmen? The other Riddick movies make it, but not Pitch Black? What about Star Trek Into Darkness? What is their sampling technique?!!?

    Also, I’m pretty good with 90’s and 2000s movies, but the sad thing is I’ve probably seen more Sci Fi/Syfy movies than the others on this list, especially if you knock out the comics-based Category 7: The End of the World and Stonehenge Apocalypse are classics! 😀

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