Lots of sci-fi films qualify as bona fide classics, which makes it extremely difficult to select an all-time Top 10. That’s why we asked you, STACK readers and JB Hi-Fi shoppers, to vote for your favourite SF films from a list of 50 potential candidates. The results are now in. Here are the Top 10 sci-fi films as voted by you, and the unforgettable moments that made them classics of the genre…
10. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Jupiter… And beyond the infinite
Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking masterpiece is full of mesmerising moments (“Open the pod bay doors please Hal” being among them), but astronaut David Bowman’s psychedelic trip across the cosmos and transformation into the Star Child surely qualifies as one of the most outré.
And it’s a tie for tenth position…
10. Back to the Future (1985)
“A portable television studio! No wonder your president has got to be an actor, he has to look good on television.”
Of course there’s Marty’s matchmaking of his folks, and the suspense-filled clock tower/lightning bolt finale, but sometimes it’s the little moments that really count. With Ronald Reagan in the White House back in the future, Doc Brown’s comment makes perfect sense.
9. Serenity (2005)
“Target the Reavers. Target the Reavers! Target everyone – somebody fire!”
A colossal battle between the Alliance ships and the Reavers erupts above Mr. Universe’s planet, after Mal Reynolds cunningly lures the latter’s ships into orbit as a diversion. Nicely played!
8. The Matrix (1999)
Neo’s awakening, and the big reveal that the world he knows isn’t real and he’s merely a battery is truly mind blowing in itself, as is the subsequent sight of the giant machines tending fields of humans jacked into their power source. Whoa!
7. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
“I am your father.”
Darth Vader confesses he’s Luke Skywalker’s old man in one of the greatest onscreen revelations you never saw coming – at least until the prequel trilogy made it bleeding obvious.
6. Independence Day (1996)
“The question of whether or not we are alone in the universe has been answered.”
Sure, the fiery destruction unleashed by the alien invaders is nothing short of spectacular, but the eerie sight of giant shadows being cast over major cities as their ships arrive is truly foreboding.
5. Avatar (2009)
“The way I had it figured, toruk is the baddest cat in the sky. Nothing attacks him. So why would he ever look up?
Jake Sully takes a massive risk in attempting to achieve what only five Na’vi have previously accomplished – riding the great leonopteryx. Fortunately it pays off, both as a mark of respect and in the ensuing assault by the RDA.
4. Aliens (1986)
“Get away from her you bitch.”
Okay, picking the best bit from James Cameron’s kick-arse sequel is tough. Ripley’s defiant challenge inside the powerloader surely qualifies, but we’ll go with the first astonishing glimpse of the majestic Alien Queen – one of the all-time great movie monsters.
3. Alien (1979)
“Don’t touch it. Don’t touch it!”
As if you would! When John Hurt’s uninvited dinner guest makes a bloody appearance from his chest cavity, hyperventilating audiences checked their own sternums for a heartbeat. One of the greatest shock sequences in the history of cinema.
2. Star Wars (1977)
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
Before it became Episode IV: A New Hope, it was just plain old Star Wars, and it changed science fiction cinema forever. The opening shot of an Imperial Star Destroyer bearing down on Princess Leia’s ship can still take the breath away, and sets the scene for wonders to follow.
1. Blade Runner (1982)
“Time to die”
Replicant Roy Batty reaches his expiry date and delivers an affecting self-eulogy in the poetic climax to Ridley Scott’s rumination on what it means to be human. Cue slow motion white dove and Vangelis music.
**UPDATE: by popular demand: HERE is a list of all fifty titles and how they ranked.**