The Heap. Presents: The 30 Most Influential Sci Fi Movies (21-25)

And we’re back. I know I’ve kept you all on your toes regarding the rest of the list. I DO want you coming back and reading, don’t I? There’s plenty of additional entertaining and fascinating content here! This week will certainly be groundbreaking here, as we’ll have our first album review! Also in the works is a book review. I might decide to release the artist/titles I will be reviewing… but I want to build up the suspense. Just a little. Just like with this list. I know you are ready for the next 5.

Movies 21-25 are quite well known. Some may argue that they belong a little bit higher on the list, and from a popularity point of view, I would probably agree. But again remember, we are looking for conceptual orginality, contribution to the sci-fi genre, and the all important “sci-fi-ness,” a film which upholds the and promotes the characteristics of the genre. And we start with:

25. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

An adaption of a Jules Verne novel had to be on the list somewhere, as he and H.G. Wells pretty much invented the science fiction genre in literature. With novels conceptualizing technological advancements far beyond their time (late 19th Century), the two paved the way for the likes of the future writers and directors of sci-fi alike. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is revolutionary when placed in the context of its setting, the 1870’s. Underwater travel was an unlikely possibility during the time. Thus the Nautilus as a method of underwater transportation clearly qualifies as a creative, imaginative concept. Captain Nemo perhaps provides one of the more resounding and chillingly applicable lines when the professor discovers the source of the submarine’s power as being atomic. He states, “Such a secret could revolutionize the world!” to which captain Nemo responds, “Or destroy it.” In the wake of the aftereffects of WWII and the use of the atomic bomb, the film clearly shed a light on the dangers of technology, if used irresponsibly. IMDB: 7.2 Rotten Tomatoes 90%

24. Robocop 1 (1987)


The future of law enforcement was the popular tag line of this late 80’s sci-fi thriller. Again, the audience is presented with a society afflicted with extreme lawlessness. The answer to widespread crime? A kick ass cyborg. Director Paul Verhoeven paints a pretty pessimistic picture of the near future, as crime and violence reign supreme. Sometimes you just have to fight fire with fire, as the robotic protagonist goes on violent rampages himself in order to save the day. What makes Robocop unique is the fusion of man and machine in the concept of the cyborg. Robocop is the remains of human cop Murphy, controlled by computer programming. Throughout the course of the film, Robocop eventually overrides the mechanical restrictions placed on his brain’s freewill, and he is able to utilize human with with the superiority of machine. IMDB: 7.5 Rotten Tomatoes: 85%

23. Back to the Future I, II, III (1985, 1989, 1990)


The heap. loves the entire franchise, and while the sequels aren’t entirely groundbreaking after the first film, they are just as entertaining, and for the most part, you don’t really think that it’s just a rehashing of the formula. It’s pretty obvious that man has always been fascinated by the idea of time travel. We see it most prominently in H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine and many sitcoms and films play around with the concept. Back to the Future provides a creatively fresh and hilarious take on time travel. For starters, the machine is a DeLorean, a funky sports car from Northern Ireland. The movie also emphasized the rules of time travel, as all “new” actions effect the (present) future. All in all, a good flick. (FYI: Back to the Future I is number 106 on IMBD’s best 250 movies of all time) IMDB: 8.3, 7.3, 6.9 Rotten Tomatoes: 95%, 65%, 74%

22. Planet of the Apes (1968)


We must reiterate, please see the original! While I love Mark Wahlberg, he doesn’t get the job done in the 2001 version. This film probably has one of the biggest, unexpected twists of all time (which I won’t reveal). Human scientists, after traveling for millenia, land on an unknown planet where apes are the dominant species. They have advanced so much that they have also developed their own social class hierarchy. Humans still exist, but can no longer speak and are not intelligent beings. They are used for experimentation and are hunted. The main character, George Taylor (played by Charlton Heston) tries to demonstrate that he is intellectually able for most of the movie. A memorable scene is the trial, (which is apparently a satirical take on the Scopes Monkey Trial). The twist, and its reverberations are why it deserves to be on the list (which I can’t discuss now, so go see it!). IMDB: 8.0 Rotten Tomatoes: 88%

21. Blade Runner (1982)


Flying cars, Earth colonies in outer space, and a dystopian Los Angeles. What more could you ask for in a sci-fi thriller? Ok, fine, we’ll throw in Harrison Ford too. Blade Runner symbolically addressed the pressing concerns of topics which are applicable as early as now! We see overpopulation, cloning, and climate concerns. Not to mention the question of how genetically engineered beings are to be treated, and what rights should they have. It is clear that the replicants, the bio engineered beings, are indistinguishable from humans, but are forced to be part of an extreme working class. After a revolution of sorts, blade runners are hired to kill off the troublemakers. Yep. Ford is one of these blade runners. Clearly ahead of its time in concept and depiction of the future. (Number 103 on IMDB’s best 250 Movies of All Time) IMDB: 8.3 Rotten Tomatoes 91%

So there you go. Look for the next 5 later this week!


3 Responses

  1. this list is a disgrace!! BTTF and Planet of the Apes deserve to be much higher!!

  2. I’m enjoying the list and your comments on the films. I should point out, however, a little problem you may have missed. When, in regards to PLANET OF THE APES, you say “This film probably has one of the biggest, unexpected twists of all time (which I won’t reveal), ” the DVD cover you’re showing gives away that very same twist! 🙂

    I can only hope the studio marketing guy that okayed that cover was properly bashed over the head…

    Nice blog, by the way.

  3. Paul is right, and you also imply the twist in what you write in the review. I do enjoy this subject though and applaud you for attempting it.

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