A recent online survey voted “Bladerunner” the top science-fiction film of all time. This comes as a surprise as I expected a movie like “Star Wars” (it was third), to finish in the top spot. I am always surprised when I’m in agreement with voting blocs as my taste usually runs outside of the mainstream audience.
I have never voted for “Citizen Kane”, “Gone with the Wind” or “Star Wars” in any kind of movie category denoting “best of.” This is partly an objective opinion on the moviegoer’s part, and partly because I find Citizen Kane boring and Star Wars extremely juvenile.
And although I would list the top ten “Best of” Sci-Fi movies slightly differently:
# 1: 2001; #2: Bladerunner; # 3: Close Encounters of the Third Kind; # 4: The Day the Earth Stood Still; # 5: Aliens; # 6: Terminator; # 7: Metropolis; #8: Forbidden Planet; # 9: The Road Warrior; # 10. The Empire Strikes Back; there were many films that I was glad to see in the top 100 list.
However, there were many on the list that don’t qualify in my opinion as “Science-Fiction” genre movies. The list includes comedies and some action-adventure movies and there are a few that are not high enough on the list (Sean Connery’s “Outland”) or simply not on the list at all, (Lost in Space with William Hurt, Colossus, the Forbin Project). All of the Star Trek & Star Wars movies should be on the list, Enemy Mine with Dennis Quaid and most of Jules Verne’s films, including “From the Earth to the Moon”.
Many of the Twilight Zone episodes and Outer Limits were written by some of the best science fiction writers of our time. And although Rod Serling and Harlan Ellison wrote some of the greatest science-fiction scripts of the twentieth-century; technically, these were not screenplays and could not be included in this list.
According to sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein, science-fiction is defined as “a handy short definition of almost all science fiction might read: realistic speculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world, past and present, and on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the scientific method.”[ Rod Serling explains that: “fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science Fiction is the improbable made possible.”
Great Sci-fi movies by definition should include some suggestion or idea of future events and be made in a manner that captures the imagination. Unlike fantasy, Science Fiction must have some element of truth that is telling us not only to suspend our disbelief, but to project ourselves into a future where the fantastical could become a reality. This is the heart and soul of the science-fiction genre.