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These are the best science fiction movies made before Star Wars

Star Wars has existed since 1977 and has fundamentally changed the science fiction landscape, but many people do not realize how many science fiction films came before the turbulent space opera. Admittedly before Star Wars, science fiction films were for more of a niche audience, or were more laughable than fascinating, and were not as well produced and respected as today. Much of the genre was simply not taken seriously before George Lucas came along, and major genre films such as The Blob and Godzilla did not receive as much love from the Oscars, and was hailed by critics and moviegoers as B-movies (until they received intellectual revaluations over the past decades investigated their shine).

However, there were a handful of science fiction films that stood out among the crowd and remain beloved to this day, even without the need for dewatered franchises to follow them. Here are the best science fiction movies before Star Wars was released in theaters.

7 The day the earth stood still (1951)

The day the earth stood still 1951
20th Century Fox

No, this is not the off-beat, as visually stunning, Keanu reeves Movie. The original The day the earth stood still centered around a flying saucer that landed in Washington, DC. The saucer housed a stranger named Klaatu and his robot companion named Gort. Looking at it from a contemporary period, the film is very dated and the robot costume for Gort is laughable, but beyond that the film is notable for its detailed exposition of the human race and how the ideologies of peace are often exchanged for war. and greed. The film was selected for preservation at the National Film Register in 1995.

6 The War of the Worlds (1953)

Paramount Pictures

Another original, exotic-centric film remade in the 2000s (with Tom Cruise) was The War of the Worlds, the classic flying saucers of the 1950s based on the groundbreaking HG Wells masterpiece. The only difference is that the aliens are not coming to peace this time. The creatures from outer space land on earth and shortly afterwards hell breaks loose while the monsters go on a murder spree to take over the world. The aliens are foiled by the bacteria in the atmosphere that is foreign to them as they die. Powerful, captivating and ambitious, even for a B-movie, the film was a step forward in science fiction and even won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.

Related: 16 best science fiction films of all time, ranked

5 A Journey to the Moon (1902)

Star Film Company

Although the film is only fifteen minutes long, in that short time audiences have been introduced to a brand new world of imagination and innovation – science fiction cinema. The short film sees a group of astronomers traveling to the moon where they find a host of other life forms. Given that A trip to the moon was released in 1902, its ingenuity and visual effects are fantastic. Director Georges Melies planted an idea of ​​exploration beyond that of Earth’s exosphere long before space travel was even feasible, and changed the film industry in the process forever.

4 The Time Machine (1960)

The Time Machine
Van Loew

Previously Star Wars and, more appropriately, Back to the Futurewas released, starring Rod Taylor in the classic movie The Time Machine. It explored the themes of time travel and progress for the sake of science. George Wells (an obvious nod to the author HG Wells in this other adaptation of his) is a genius inventor who convinces his science-minded friends that he has discovered the secret of time travel. After his friends rejected his claims, Wells decided to travel into the future, to see what progress mankind had made. The movie is nostalgic, clever and wonderfully played by Taylor. It seems thought-provoking and wonderful in its storytelling and structure.

3 Metropolis (1927)


This 1927 epic was a brilliant metaphor for both industrialization and capitalism, and turned out to be Fritz Lang’s magnum opus. As A trip to the moon was the beginning of science fiction films, Metropole was his first masterpiece, and began to shift science fiction to the mainstream. It has a sense of wonder and uses technology as one of its themes throughout its run, and its awe and majesty has been inspiring for numerous films since then.

2 Planet of the Apes (1968)

Yep, it's a shirtless Charlton Heston dating a monkey.
20th Century Fox

Keep your bad reviews of this movie off you damn, dirty critics! This gorilla-sized fable tells the story of a small group of astronauts who land on another planet inhabited and ruled by wandering, talking primates. In all fairness, while somewhat ridiculous, it actually produced tons of merchandise and a franchise, but it was hybridized or cheaply made with excessive and useless sequels and reloads (although the recent Matt Reeves editions have been surprisingly excellent). Planet of the Apes, despite its now-cheesy makeup and effects, has become a feature in movie history. It was an achievement of challenging intellectualism that showed that science fiction can be strongly conceptual and deeply engaging in political and social issues, and it transcended its period and undermined the genre with a jaw-dropping ending.

Related: Top 10 greatest plot twists of all time, ranked

1 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)


Another 1968 classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey uses technological progressivism in a way that has redefined every science fiction trick in the book and is remembered for generations after its release. The film explores deeply philosophical issues of existentialism and the evolution of technology, humanity and the universe; it may even contain the true secrets of the cosmos that probably just flew over people’s heads. It also features HAL 9000, the calmest villain ever put on the big screen. The machine’s collected attitude and sophisticated, condescending tone and voice are enough to make anyone angry, and it makes it so much more satisfying to see its downfall. Nevertheless, the film is a testament to the intellectual and visual power of science fiction, and has paved the way for movies such as Star Wars to be loved by critics and audiences.

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