Top Ten Science Fiction Films. Compiled by ARWZ Editors

Voting in our latest Top 10 list of the Best Science Fiction Films was the most contentious yet. Classic and contemporary favorites were in hot pursuit of one another as ARWZ readers and associates voted for their favorite cinematic Science Fiction experiences. Alternative reality fans from all over the world placed their votes for the most memorable, thought-provoking and controversial films, voicing their opinions toward this final list. Participating voters were drawn both from ARWZ readership and from the membership of our Associate Pages. Our thanks to all participants.

Each voter submitted a list of no more than ten (10) films. Ranked votes were weighted according to the numerical rank assigned to each film (1. got 10 points, 2. got 9 points, etc.). Some voters preferred not to rank their lists, and the films of their lists were attributed five points each. Voters were also invited to provide commentary on the films included in their lists. As much as possible, that commentary has been included for the Top Ten. But the discussion doesn't end there. If you would like to comment on this list, please feel free to join the discussion on our forums, or to send us a Letter to the Editor with your comments. If you would like to participate in our latest Top 10 List, to be published on ARWZ Literary Zine in a future feature article, please visit the official ARWZ Top 10 page to see what we're woking on next.

Top 10 Science Fiction Films

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Blade Runner
1. Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott

"Beautiful, poignant, a masterpiece of storytelling, merging noir and sci-fi in a wonderful tale about what it means to be alive." - Bob Freeman

"It's the art direction more than anything else that transports us to another world or another universe. Lawrence Paull's art direction in Blade was of course hugely influential and deservedly so, abandoning the plastic utopias then current for the techno-gritty chaotic urban future." - Eric Halsey

"Visually one of my favorite sci-fi films. The director captures one possible future of mankind in this dark, neon-lit apocalyptic world of humans and replicants." - merritt84

"A scary, but believable future." - alphanor

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2. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick

"So ground-breaking that it has to be on the list." - alphanor

"Visually, this movie broke with everything that had come before. It set the standard by which everything that followed would be judged. Besides giving us a surreal panorama, it also introduced the Greater-Than-Human Cosmic Wonder story to the general audience." - pecooper

"The finest example of science fiction to see the screen, made even more impressive by being filmed in an era when special effects dealt with models and creative film technique as opposed to CGI." - Bob Freeman

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3. Alien by Ridley Scott

"Scott's film relies heavily on a claustrophobic atmosphere to weave high tension." - Blooky Blook

"Well crafted horror tale in space, it launched a bunch of imitators, but this one hit the ball out of the park." - Bob Freeman

"For those wondering what encountering a malevolent alien species in space is like, this film is one possible (and disturbing) answer. Grim, dark, forboding with a melancholy score and an absolutely hideous and perpetually menacing monster." - merritt84

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Star Wars
4. Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope by George Lucas

"This was the first movie with modern-day effects and surround sound. It used the time-honored 'good vs. evil' theme to create something everyone is still talking about." - Alicia GA

"Analog only please! The digitizing of these movies, and this one in particular is one of the greatest travesties Lucas has ever unleashed. Nonetheless, what he originally did with a cast of unknowns and some cool models back in the '70s deserved global reaction." - ljim

"The original movie was a technical masterpiece" - alphanor

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Forbidden Planet
5. Forbidden Planet by Fred M. Wilcox

"For my money, the best science fiction film of all time. This film has excellent matte work. The art direction is gorgeous, the storyline is substantial (with a nod to William Shakespeare), the adherence to SF cliches (mad scientist with pneumatic daughter) is charming and well-handled, the robot Robbie an archetype. Most of all, the film has a memorable, transcendent Sense-of-Wonder unmatched by any other SF film except possibly the original Star Wars." - Eric Halsey

"A marvelous film with visuals that are way ahead of their time." - merritt84

"Loosely based on the Tempest, this story rocked in an era that barely rolled. This was the movie that launched the possibility of the Star Trek franchise, in my opinion." - Bob Freeman

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The Matrix
6. The Matrix by Andy & Larry Wachowski

"Great mind-twisting concept." - Hanasían

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The Day the Earth Stood Still
7. The Day the Earth Stood Still by Robert Wise

"An alien lands and tells the people of Earth that we must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets. Probably the ultimate '50s social message movie — it still plays very well today." - pecooper

"A masterpiece. A social commentary of humanity, as seen through the eyes of an intergalactic stranger, who nonetheless carries a grave warning for Earth's citizens." - merritt84

"This film combines plot and acting to produce a magical effect." - Eric Halsey

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8. Metropolis by Fritz Lang

"Fritz Lang created in this movie a vision of the future that most of us are still seeing. Watch it, and then look at the sets of Bladerunner..." - ljim

"Visually, stylistically, and in its construction, every Alternative Reality movie that came after it owes it a debt. In addition to the pioneering special effects, the movie also presents a social dystopia for us to examine. In may ways it pre-figured the cyber-punk movement by 60 years. This is the Great-Grandfather of them all." - pecooper

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9. Serenity by Joss Whedon

"The strength of Serenity, as with all of Joss Whedon's work, lies in the characters. If science fiction has any meaning to us as a species, it should be to help illuminate how humanity will act and react to changes in our environment. Joss has always had the ability to create characters with whom it is very easy to identify, even if the situations he places them in are far removed from our reality. But the more things change the more they stay the same, and the situations presented to the protagonists of Serenity are ones we all must deal with in our own lives, albeit on a much grander scale. Serenity works as a film because the characters and the story came first, and Whedon used the SFX only to illuminate that story, not to overwhelm it with substance-less flash, as so many other SF films are guilty of doing. The drama draws you in and makes you care for what happens to these people." - ecgordon

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Silent Running
10. Silent Running by Douglas Trumbull

"This movie is a very good period film showing one of the big fears of the late 1960's and early 1970's. This was the time of over population fear, of zero sum theory, of the Club of Rome. Silent Running captures those fears perfectly. This movie has a limited cast and it would not be wrong to say it's a one man movie and Bruce Dern gives one of his best performences. He makes the character believeable and touching and sad all at the same time. You understand what he is doing and why and you hope it will not be in vain. This movie better than any documentary highlights the fear and worry of the time it was made in. " - RLHamer "This one stuck with me over the years. The scene where he is playing cards with Huey, Dewey, & Louie still cracks me up." - Hanasían

"A wonderful piece of dystopian filmmaking. Before global warming, rainforest depletion and acid rain became the chant of environmental scientists of today, this film exposed us to the idea that the polluting of Earth became so bad, that in a desperate attempt to save some of Earth’s plant species, we needed to place them in huge greenhouses and launch them out into space. Although the film was chocked full of some good special effects for its time, the message of the movie was loud and clear. We need to take care of this planet to ensure our own survival and that of our children." - Worm

And by popular demand, we have decided to print further results of the vote for the sake of reader interest:

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11. Aliens directed by James Cameron

12. The Empire Strikes Back by Irvin Kirshner

13. The Time Machine by George Pal

14. Men in Black by Barry Sonnenfeld

15. Planet of the Apes by Franklin J. Schaffner

15. The Terminator by James Cameron

15. The Thing (from Another World by Christian Nyby

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Man Who Fell to Earth
18. The Man Who Fell To Earth by Nicolas Roeg

19. 12 Monkeys by Terry Gillam

20. Close Encounters of the Third Kind by Steven Spielberg

20. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Garth Jennings

22. Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Don Siegel

23. 1984 by Michael Radford

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Clockwork Orange
23. Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrick

23. Soylent Green by Richard Fleischer

23. Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki

23. War of the Worlds by Byron Haskin

28. Logan's Run by Michael Anderson

29. On the Beach by Stanley Kramer

30. Them! by Gordon Douglas

30. E.T. by Steven Spielberg

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Star Trek IV
30. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home by Leonard Nimoy

33. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure by Steven Herek

33. Light Years by Rene Laloux

33. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan by Nicholas Meyer

33. Starship Troopers by Paul Verhoeven

37. Dark City by Alex Proyas

37. Dr. Strangelove by Stanley Kubrick

37. Liquid Sky by Slava Tsukerman

40. Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo

40. Mad Max II: The Road Warrior by George Miller

40. The Abyss by James Cameron

40. The Brother from Another Planet by John Sayles

40. The Omega Man by Boris Sagal

45. Brazil by Terry Gillam

45. The Fly by Kurt Neumann

45. Total Recall by Paul Verhoeven