SFMZ's Top Ten Sci-Fi Films of All Time

We sampled ten popular online top sci-fi film polls to determine SFMZ's Top Ten Sci-Fi Films of All Time. Based on their average ranking per poll, each film was measured how well it fared in the lists in the sidebar on the left. Only films that appear in at least seven of the ten polls were measured.

With each poll on the left, we provide how their poll was determined. As you can see it is a mixture of input from fans, critics, film societies, website staff, and more. This is why we selected these ten popular polls, to give our poll a diversity of contribution.

Calculation Example: Blade Runner appeared in seven of the ten polls below and holds the rankings of 1st (three of them), 2nd, 3rd (two of them), and 12th. These rankings total 23 divided by 7 (the number of polls it appeared), creating an average of 3.29 (The lower the score the better).

Terminator 2: Judgment Day - 1991
Score: 12.75, 8 Polls

Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as the Terminator in this explosive adventure spectacle. His mission: to protect John Connor, the boy destined to lead the freedom fighters of the future. His opponent: the T-1000, the most lethal machine ever created.

Whereas James Cameron's original The Terminator was a low-budget marvel of efficiency and speed, Terminator 2: Judgment Day is an action-packed blockbuster with some of the most amazing stunts ever filmed and ground-breaking, Academy Award-winning special effects.

Star Schwarzenegger was paid in the form of a $15 million dollar jet to revisit his most famous role as the Terminator, this time made kinder and gentler against the silent, relentless T-1000. One of the most popular films of the 1990s, James Cameron's action masterpiece is both a thoughtful look at violence in human nature and an exciting, nonstop thrill ride.

Metropolis - 1927
Score: 10.33, 9 Polls

A visionary and elaborate spectacle by director Fritz Lang is an epic projection of a futuristic city divided into a working and an elite class. Its exhilarating climax brings the city to its knees, as the classes clash against each other. In the 21st century, a de-humanized proletariat labors non-stop in a miserable subterranean city beneath a luxurious city of mile-high skyscrapers, flying automobiles, palatial architectural idylls, tubes and tunnels.

With stunningly inventive special effects, Lang's allegorical narrative and architectural vision creates a highly stylized vision of a not so unlikely future (especially for 1926 when the film was made). As the elite frolic above the clouds, thousands of miserable workers toil night and day inside the belly of the gigantic machine that runs the entire city. Metropolis is controlled by a sinister authoritarian whose son, Freder, rejects his father's callous philosophy and attitude towards laborers.

Aliens - 1986
Score: 9.7, 10 Polls

Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the sole survivor from the original ALIEN, is awakened after 57 years of drifting through space. Her stories are disbelieved by Company executives who tell her that the alien's planet is now inhabited and colonized. When contact is suddenly lost with the colonists, Ripley returns to the planet with a squad of marines, an android (Lance Henriksen), and a Company executive (Paul Reiser) with a mission of his own.

Considered by many to be the best of the series, Aliens is a fast-paced, high-intensity thrill ride that set a new standard for action films and cemented director James Cameron's status as one of Hollywood's leading directors following the success of The Terminator. Weaver received an Academy Award nomination and became a feminist hero for her strong, sensitive performance as the survivor Ripley, while costars Reiser, Henriksen, and Bill Paxton all give career-making performances in this landmark sci-fi extravaganza.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial - 1982
Score: 9.14, 7 Polls

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is Steven Spielberg's warmhearted classic delight for both children and adults. It tells the story of an alien creature, E.T., mistakenly left behind on Earth. When a young boy, Elliott (Henry Thomas), finds E.T. and hides him in his home, both their worlds are changed forever.

E.T. teaches Elliott and his two siblings (Drew Barrymore and Robert MacNaughton), whose parents have recently separated, about caring and love while the children protect E.T. from the malevolent world of grown-ups. Elliott and E.T. become so close that they share emotions; as E.T. becomes ill, so does Elliott. The children end up going on a fabulous adventure trying to help E.T. find a way back to his home planet.

The movie was originally going to be based on a story idea by director John Sayles, but after he removed himself from the project, screenwriter Melissa Mathison (Harrison Ford's wife) took over the script and made it her own. John Williams's beautiful soundtrack became forever linked to E.T.

Star Wars IV - 1977
Score: 7.63, 8 Polls

Star Wars, George Lucas's stunning sci-fi masterpiece, is arguably one of the most inventive and entertaining films ever made. It has garnered generations of loyal fans who are forever imprinted with the memory of its characters and dialogue.

As the adventure begins, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), an impulsive but goodhearted young man who lives on the dusty planet of Tatooine with his aunt and uncle, longs for the exciting life of a Rebel soldier. The Rebels, led by the headstrong Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), are fighting against the evil Empire, which has set about destroying planets inhabited by innocent citizens with the Death Star, a fearsome planetlike craft commanded by Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing) and the eternally frightful Darth Vader (David Prowse, with the voice of James Earl Jones).

The Matrix - 1999
Score: 7.0, 8 Polls

The Wachowskis have established themselves as innovative filmmakers who push the boundaries of live-action films.Like the groundbreaking STAR WARS, THE MATRIX (also the first film of a trilogy) showcases a unique visual style, one the Wachowskis achieved through an array of techniques and digital effects, some never before seen in mainstream Hollywood films.

Although computer morphing technology had been used before in films such as THE ABYSS and TERMINATOR 2, the Wachowskis were the first to use "bullet time," a time-bending digital effect that utilizes both computer-generated imagery and still photography. Packed with stunning fight scenes, astonishing visual effects, quotable lines, and a terrific supporting cast (led by Carrie-Anne Moss, in her first major Hollywood film), THE MATRIX is a bold triumph that raises the bar for all science fiction films.

2001: A Space Odyssey - 1968
Score: 5.6, 10 Polls

2001 is regarded as one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time and four decades later it has aged well. A four-million-year-old black monolith is discovered on the moon, and the government (while hiding the situation from the public) sends a team of scientists on a fact-finding mission. Eighteen months later, another team is sent to Jupiter in a ship controlled by the perfect HAL 9000 computer to further investigate the giant object.

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY is a masterpiece of filmmaking. Director and (with Arthur C. Clarke) co-screenwriter Stanley Kubrick has created a visual and aural spectacle that stands as one of the greatest achievements ever put on celluloid. Kubrick's film is a triumph of technological storytelling, with stunning sets and a brilliant, overwhelming soundtrack.

Long dialogue-free scenes sparkle with indelible images backed by powerful orchestral music, culminating in an unforgettable, inscrutable tale of birth and rebirth, human evolution and artificial intelligence, the past and the future.

Alien - 1979
Score: 5.22, 10 Polls

After 30 years of cult status, Alien is a sci-fi/horror film by which all like films are measured. Director Ridley Scott's breakthough film, an immensely successful blend of horror and science fiction, is a classic in both genres and spawned a host of sequels and imitators.

Inside a crashed ship, the crew members come upon strange pods, one of which spews forth a repellently fleshy insectile creature that locks on to the face of the unlucky Kane (John Hurt). Despite Ripley's advice, science officer Ash (Ian Holm) allows Kane to return to the ship, where the creature finally releases its grip.

A triumph of art direction, set design, and special effects, Alien gains much of its impact from the contrast between the bleak, antiseptic beauty of the space vessel's interior and the primordial horror of the alien, a brilliantly original fusion of insect, man, and machine designed by Swiss surrealist painter H.R. Giger.

Star Wars V - 1980
Score: 4.88, 8 Polls

Considered the most morally and emotionally complex of the original Star Wars trilogy. The Empire Strikes Back continues creator George Lucas's epic saga where STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE left off. The Empire's top commander, the terrifying Lord Darth Vader (played by David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones), is scanning the galaxy for the Rebels' secret location.

After a visually stunning showdown on the ice planet Hoth, the Rebels are forced to flee, and Luke separates from Han and Leia. Masterful storytelling weaves multiple, archetypal plotlines that pit Vader against Han and Leia as he desperately attempts to capture Luke for political--and, secretly, personal--reasons. Greek tragedy meets a philosophical hero's journey in EMPIRE, a remarkable sci-fi epic in which the performances are as powerful as the spectacular special effects.

Blade Runner - 1982
Score: 3.29, 7 Polls

Ridley Scott's hauntingly prescient vision of the not-too-distant future focused on Rick Deckard, a retired police assassin, or "blade runner." The Los Angeles of 2019 is a dark, polluted, overcrowded dystopia dominated by cloud-piercing buildings and looming neon billboards, the air dense with acid rain and flying traffic.

World-weary Deckard has been called out of retirement to liquidate four escaped "replicants"--genetically derived androids of great strength, intelligence, and nearly-human emotion who serve as slaves and prostitutes in the off-planet colonies.

A highly influential fusion of the science fiction and noir genres based on the novel DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? by Philip K. Dick, this postmodern film boasts astonishingly rich art direction, juxtaposing ingenious technological gadgetry with yellowing photographs and fetishistic objets d'art as it touches on questions of time, memory, identity, and mortality. Scott's 1992 director's cut edition contains notable alterations, including the absence of Ford's narration.

The Online Best Sci-Fi Movie Lists Used:
You can click on the links provided to see their full lists.

IGN.com - The movies selected in their list were judged by the IGN staff.

Online Film Critics Society - The movies selected in their list were judged by over 100 OFCS members.

IMDB.com - The movies selected in their list were voted by thousands of IMDB members.

RottenTomatoes.com - The movies selected in their list were judged by designated site critics.

FilmCritic.com - The movies selected in their list were judged by the website staff.

Channel4.com - The movies selected in their list were judged by eight Film4 critics.

Seekler.com - The movies selected in their list were voted by site members.

TopTenReviews.com - The movies selected in their list were tabulated by combined movie critic's ratings.

DarkWebOnline.com - The movies selected in their list were judged by the website staff.

AustarNet.com - The movies selected in their list were voted by their site visitors.

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