Every month, our contributors submit lists of ten films fitting certain topics. Each month, we feature an alphabetical list of films along with commentary explaining our selections. There will also be an itemized list at the end of each of our individual selections.
When we originally scheduled this list’s release, we were not looking at the impending release of Blade Runner 2049 as a tie-in. However, the timing is perfect for that. Although the original Blade Runner did not make any individual lists, it is no less an astute influence on the genre of science fiction, which is the theme of this month’s list.
There are myriad sci-fi features out there dating all the way back to 1902 when Georges Méliès released his futuristic fantasy A Trip to the Moon. Since then, countless directors have tackled the genre from dystopian futures to idyllic ones and a wide array in between. Cross-genre films have also been frequently manufactured from sci-fi comedies to sci-fi horror films. We celebrate the very best of science fiction with this list, but admit freely that there are countless others each of us could have cited on any given day.
Looking over our lists, we have a lot of agreement. All four of our contributors put a single film on the list: Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi horror classic Alien. It is the epitome of everything the genre had offered up to that point and could be distilled into many future productions. The science fantasy film Star Wars, the biggest blockbuster in history, made three lists while 1977’s other major sci-fi property, Close Encounters of the Third Kind led the list of films with two citations. That list also includes The Day the Earth Stood Still, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Planet of the Apes, and WALL-E.
One director makes an appearance with three different films on the list. No other than Steven Spielberg, whose varied history includes a number of different sci-fi spectacles received mention for his films Close Encounters, E.T., and Jurassic Park. Two others directors are represented on the list for two film each. James Cameron has both his first and second Terminator films cited on separate individual lists, and Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future and Contact are also mentioned.
This isn’t the definitive list of our members as we each agree that on any given day and with different criteria, an entirely different set of films could have been referenced. After the break, dig into our setups and follow that by reading about each film.