Science fiction films are filled with iconic moments that have ingrained themselves into our culture. Even people who don’t watch science fiction films, and may never have seen any of the movies on this list, will likely know at least half of the moments listed here, and they are iconic enough that I was able to find every single one on YouTube.

It’s hard to pick out just 20 moments from a genre as large and varied as this, and there’s any number that didn’t make the cut, which probably means that, in true sci-fi fashion, I’ll have to write a sequel.

Please note: I am not including super-hero films in this list. Those are really their own genre. So don’t come here expecting to see Iron Man or The Avengers. Nor are the Indiana Jones movies on here, since those aren’t even remotely sci-fi (except the last one). I am also limiting myself to only one scene from any given movie. If I didn’t, let’s face it, most of this would be made up of Star Wars and Alien films. So that in mind, let’s get started!

20. Soylent Green’s Secret Ingredient! (Soylent Green, 1973)

For reasons very unclear to me, people are perpetually worried about overpopulation, this despite the fact that you could fit everyone alive on Earth today into a space the size of Texas and give every family a house with a small yard. Anyhow, this population concern was very much on people’s minds back in the 1970s, and that produced this classic sci-fi film.

“Soylent green is people!” shouts out Charlton Heston’s character at the end of the film. Yes, it’s the far-off future of 10 years from now, where food has somehow become so scarce that people are eating people (there’s a song in there somewhere. “People…people who eat people…”). It’s really a very silly premise, but it works well as a movie and is really one of the great moments in sci-fi films.

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This article was first posted on July 4, 2012