The science fiction film is practically as old as film itself, with the first entries in the genre coming early on in the silent movie era. Film scholars agree that the first genuine sci-fi movie was Georges Méliès' 1902 silent classic Le Voyage dans la Lune, which follows a team of French astronomers who travel to the moon in a cannon-propelled capsule in search of life.
While the movie was widely acclaimed both in Europe and in the US, like most science fiction films at the time its intentions were to amuse rather an amaze. Despite some standout entries in the years that followed, sci-fi would be continually overlooked as a serious film genre for decades to come, even though science fiction filmmakers have always addressed serious matters in their work.
While sci-fi is and always has been a form of escapism for film fans, the genre is also a means of discussing sensitive topics and current issues without arousing controversy or inciting backlash. While some filmmakers like to work with futuristic settings just because its cool, the majority create their new worlds based on the concerns and fears of the day, from personal issues to global ones.
As mankind continues to grow in both size and ambition, the many questions that our continued advancement will bring make sci-fi as important as it ever has been. Just as they have all done in the years since their respective releases, the following seminal works will no doubt continue to inspire the filmmakers of tomorrow and keep this hugely important genre alive and well.
Here are the ten most influential sci-fi films of all time...