History of science fiction films

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A still from the 1902 film Le Voyage dans La Lune (A Trip to the Moon). Le Voyage dans la lune.jpg
A still from the 1902 film Le Voyage dans La Lune (A Trip to the Moon).

The history of science fiction films parallels that of the motion picture industry as a whole, although it took several decades before the genre was taken seriously. Since the 1960s, major science fiction films have succeeded in pulling in large audience shares, and films of this genre have become a regular staple of the film industry. Science fiction films have led the way in special effects technology, and have also been used as a vehicle for social commentary.

Film genre classification of films based on similarities in narrative elements

A film genre is a motion-picture category based on similarities either in the narrative elements or in the emotional response to the film. Most theories of film genre are borrowed from literary-genre criticism. Each film genre is associated with "conventions, iconography, settings, narratives, characters and actors". Standard genre characters vary according to the film genre; for film noir, standard characters are the femme fatale and the "hardboiled" detective; a Western film may portray the schoolmarm and the gunfighter. Some actors acquire a reputation linked to a single genre, such as John Wayne or Fred Astaire. A film's genre will influence the use of filmmaking styles and techniques, such as the use of flashbacks and low-key lighting in film noir, tight framing in horror films, fonts that look like rough-hewn logs for the titles of Western films, or the "scrawled" title-font and credits of Se7en (1995), a film about a serial killer. As well, genres have associated film-scoring conventions, such as lush string orchestras for romantic melodramas or electronic music for science-fiction films.

Science fiction film film genre

Science-fiction film is a genre that uses speculative, fictional science-based depictions of phenomena that are not fully accepted by mainstream science, such as extraterrestrial lifeforms, alien worlds, extrasensory perception and time travel, along with futuristic elements such as spacecraft, robots, cyborgs, interstellar travel or other technologies. Science-fiction films have often been used to focus on political or social issues, and to explore philosophical issues like the human condition. In many cases, tropes derived from written science fiction may be used by filmmakers ignorant of or at best indifferent to the standards of scientific plausibility and plot logic to which written science fiction is traditionally held.

Special effect illusions or tricks to change appearance

Special effects are illusions or visual tricks used in the film, television, theatre, video game and simulator industries to simulate the imagined events in a story or virtual world.


Silent film

Science fiction films appeared very early in the silent film era. The initial attempts were short films of typically 1 to 2 minutes in duration, shot in black and white, but sometimes with colour tinting. These usually had a technological theme, and were often intended to be humorous. Le Voyage dans la Lune , created by Georges Méliès in 1902 is often considered to be the first science fiction film. It drew upon Jules Verne and H. G. Wells in its depiction of a spacecraft being launched to the moon in a large cannon. [1] Its ground-breaking special effects pioneered the way for future science-fiction films, and it became largely popular after its release. [2]

Silent film film with no synchronized recorded dialogue

A silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound. In silent films for entertainment, the plot may be conveyed by the use of title cards, written indications of the plot and key dialogue lines. The idea of combining motion pictures with recorded sound is nearly as old as film itself, but because of the technical challenges involved, the introduction of synchronized dialogue became practical only in the late 1920s with the perfection of the Audion amplifier tube and the advent of the Vitaphone system. During the silent-film era that existed from the mid-1890s to the late 1920s, a pianist, theater organist—or even, in large cities, a small orchestra—would often play music to accompany the films. Pianists and organists would play either from sheet music, or improvisation.

Black and white monochrome form in visual arts

Black-and-white images combine black and white in a continuous spectrum, producing a range of shades of gray.

Film tinting is the process of adding color to black-and-white film, usually by means of soaking the film in dye and staining the film emulsion. The effect is that all of the light shining through is filtered, so that what would be white light becomes light of some color.

Science fiction literature would continue to influence early films. Jules Verne's classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was adapted multiple times, notably into the 1916 film, one of the first feature-length science fiction films. Others, such as Edison Studios' 1910 adaptation of Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein , and the 1913 adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde , brought the concept of mad scientists to cinema. These two also demonstrated an early overlap between the science fiction and horror genres. Into the 1920s, another success was The Lost World , based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's book of the same name. It was one of the earliest examples of stop-motion animation, and also introduced several now-famous science fiction concepts, like monsters, dinosaurs, and hidden worlds. [3]

<i>20,000 Leagues Under the Sea</i> (1916 film) 1916 movie from Stuart Paton

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a 1916 American silent film directed by Stuart Paton. The film's storyline is based on the novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. It also incorporates elements from Verne's The Mysterious Island.

Edison Studios

Edison Studios was an American film production organization, owned by companies controlled by inventor and entrepreneur, Thomas Edison. The studio made close to 1,200 films, as part of the Edison Manufacturing Company (1894–1911) and then Thomas A. Edison, Inc. (1911–1918), until the studio's closing in 1918. Of that number, 54 were feature length, and the remainder were shorts.

<i>Frankenstein</i> (1910 film) 1910 film by J. Searle Dawley

Frankenstein is a 1910 film made by Edison Studios. It was written and directed by J. Searle Dawley.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the 1920s displayed a distinct difference from American cinema. European film-makers began to use the genre for prediction and social commentary. In Russia, the film Aelita discussed social revolution in the context of a voyage to Mars. In Germany, one of the most important pioneers of science fiction was the Expressionist Fritz Lang. His 1927 film Metropolis was the most expensive film ever released up to that point. [4] Set in the year 2026, it included elements such as an autonomous robot, a mad scientist, a dystopian society, and elaborate futuristic sets. His 1929 work Frau im Mond , or Woman In The Moon, came as the silent film era was coming to a close, and notably introduced the idea of counting down the time to a rocket launch. [5]

The decade of the 1920s in film involved many significant films.

<i>Aelita</i> 1924 film by Yakov Protazanov

Aelita, also known as Aelita: Queen of Mars, is a silent film directed by Soviet filmmaker Yakov Protazanov made at the Mezhrabpom-Rus film studio and released in 1924. It was based on Alexei Tolstoy's novel of the same name. Nikolai Tseretelli and Valentina Kuindzhi were cast in leading roles.

German Expressionism consisted of a number of related creative movements in Germany before the First World War that reached a peak in Berlin during the 1920s. These developments in Germany were part of a larger Expressionist movement in north and central European culture in fields such as architecture, dance, painting, sculpture, as well as cinema. This article deals primarily with developments in German Expressionist cinema before and immediately after World War I.

1930s and 1940s

Movies during the 1930s were largely influenced by the advent of sound and dialogue, and by the effects of the Great Depression that began in 1929. [6] Audiences began to pursue films with more escapist themes, leading to a decline in serious speculative films. After the failure of the big-budget 1930 American film Just Imagine , studios were reluctant to finance the expensive futuristic sets necessary for this type of film. Although the 1936 British film Things to Come , written by H. G. Wells, projected the world 100 years into the future and forecasted the advent of World War II, it too was a box-office flop, and films with serious speculation and visual spectacle of the future would largely disappear until the 1950s.

The decade of the 1930s in film involved many significant films. The year 1939, in particular, was one of the biggest years in Hollywood with MGM's release of Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz.

Great Depression 20th-century worldwide economic depression

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late-1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how intensely the world's economy can decline.

<i>Just Imagine</i> 1930 film by David Butler

Just Imagine is a 1930 American pre-Code science fiction musical-comedy film, directed by David Butler. The film is known for its art direction and special effects in its portrayal of New York City in an imagined 1980. Just Imagine stars El Brendel, Maureen O'Sullivan, John Garrick and Marjorie White. The "man from 1930" was played by El Brendel, an ethnic vaudeville comedian of a forgotten type: the Swedish immigrant.

Instead, the decade saw the rise of film serials: low-budget, quickly-produced shorts depicting futuristic, heroic adventures. action, melodramatic plots, and gadgetry.The first was The Phantom Empire (1935) starring Gene Autry, about an advanced underground civilization which had ray guns and television communication screens. [7] Some of the most popular of the era were the various Flash Gordon films, the exploits of Buck Rogers, and others, such as the quasi-science fiction Dick Tracy . They continued to use science fiction elements like space travel, high-tech gadgets, plots for world domination, and mad scientists. Echoes of this style can still be seen in science fiction and action films today, as well as in the various James Bond films.

Serial film short subject originally shown in theaters in conjunction with a feature film

A serial,film serial, movie serial or chapter play, is a motion picture form popular during the first half of the 20th century, consisting of a series of short subjects exhibited in consecutive order at one theater, generally advancing weekly, until the series is completed. Generally, each serial involves a single set of characters, protagonistic and antagonistic, involved in a single story, which has been edited into chapters after the fashion of serial fiction and the episodes cannot be shown out of order or as a single or a random collection of short subjects.

Action film is a film genre in which the protagonist or protagonists are thrust into a series of challenges that typically include violence, extended fighting, physical feats, and frantic chases. Action film's tend to feature a resourceful hero struggling against incredible odds, which include life-threatening situations, a villain, or a pursuit which usually concludes in victory for the hero. Advancements in CGI have made it cheaper and easier to create action sequences and other visual effects that required the efforts of professional stunt crews in the past. However, reactions to action films containing significant amounts of CGI have been mixed, as films that use computer animations to create unrealistic, highly unbelievable events are often met with criticism. While action has long been a recurring component in films, the "action film" genre began to develop in the 1970s along with the increase of stunts and special effects. Common action scenes in films are generally, but not limited to, car chases, fighting and gunplay or shootouts.

Melodrama Dramatic work that exaggerates plot and characters in order to appeal to the emotions

A melodrama is a dramatic work in which the plot, which is typically sensational and designed to appeal strongly to the emotions, takes precedence over detailed characterization. Characters are often simply drawn, and may appear stereotyped. Melodramas are typically set in the private sphere of the home, and focus on morality and family issues, love, and marriage, often with challenges from an outside source, such as a "temptress”, an aristocratic villain.

Other elements of science fiction were carried into the burgeoning horror genre, driven by the massive success of the Universal Studios' Frankenstein and its sequel Bride of Frankenstein . Many Universal Horror films, such as The Invisible Man and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde prominently featured mad scientists and experiments gone wrong, as did other monster movies like The Vampire Bat, Doctor X, and Dr. Cyclops. [8]

Sequels to successful horror films continued into World War II, and the 1940s also saw the development of patriotic superhero serials like Fleischer Studio's animated Superman short subjects that often doubled as war propaganda. However, science fiction as an independent genre lay mostly dormant throughout the war.

Post-War and 1950s

Two events at the end of World War II significantly influenced the science fiction genre. The development of the atomic bomb increased interest in science, as well as anxiety about the possible apocalyptic effects of a nuclear war. [9] The period also saw the beginning of the Cold War, and widespread Communist paranoia in the United States. These led to a major increase in the number of sci-fi films being created throughout the 1950s, and creating a Golden Age of Science Fiction that matched the one taking place in literature. [10]

One of the earlier and most important films of the era was 1950s widely publicized Destination Moon . It follows a nuclear-powered rocketship carrying four men to the moon, against a background of competition against the Soviets. With a script co-written by Robert A. Heinlein and astronomical sets by renowned space artist Chesley Bonestell, the film was a commercial and artistic success, and it brought about more studio financing of science fiction films. The producer of Destination Moon was notably George Pal who also helped create When Worlds Collide , The Time Machine , The War of the Worlds , and the pseudo-documentary of manned space exploration Conquest of Space . Although Conquest of Space was a commercial failure that set back Pal's career, the other four each won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, which demonstrated the increased technical excellence and critical recognition of the genre. [11]

Alien films saw a huge surge in popularity during the 1950s. Many featured political commentary being mixed with the concept of UFOs, which had become ingrained in the public consciousness after the Kenneth Arnold and Roswell incidents of 1947. Two of the first were The Day the Earth Stood Still , directed by Robert Wise, and Howard Hawks' The Thing from Another World , with their contrasting views of first contact. While the former had a peaceful race of aliens urging humans to control their use of nuclear weapons, the latter's title creature stalked a crew in the Arctic, with the paranoid final words, "Watch the skies!" The idea of alien invasions as an allegory recurred with Don Siegel's 1956 film, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Critically acclaimed as a classic, it has been viewed as both a veiled criticism of McCarthyism, or a cautionary story of Communist infiltration. [12]

Another important UFO film, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers , had special effects created by Ray Harryhausen, a master of stop-motion animation that had previously worked with King Kong animator, Willis O'Brien. His work also appeared in such films as 20 Million Miles to Earth , and 1953's hit film, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms . That film, based on a short story by Ray Bradbury, featured the fictional Rhedosaurus, which is thawed out of the Arctic by atomic testing and begins to ravage sections of the United States. Its massive success set off a new wave of science-fiction monster films. Like the 1930s, these movies demonstrated a mix of horror and sci-fi, now often mixed with anxiety of nuclear technology or the dangers of outer space. [13] Them! , It Came from Beneath the Sea , and Tarantula , released within two years of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, all featured oversized animals created by nuclear testing. It! The Terror from Beyond Space , The Blob , The Angry Red Planet , and Kronos , on the other hand, featured alien monsters. Still others, like The Fly , The Amazing Colossal Man , and The Incredible Shrinking Man , focused on human mutation.

This trend was not limited to the United States; perhaps the most successful monster movies were the kaiju films released by Japanese film studio Toho. [14] [15] The 1954 film Godzilla , with the title monster attacking Tokyo, gained immense popularity, spawned multiple sequels, led to other kaiju films like Rodan , and created one of the most recognizable monsters in cinema history. Japanese science fiction films, particularly the tokusatsu and kaiju genres, were known for their extensive use of special effects, and gained worldwide popularity in the 1950s. Kaiju and tokusatsu films, notably Warning from Space (1956), sparked Stanley Kubrick's interest in science fiction films and influenced 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). According to his biographer John Baxter, despite their "clumsy model sequences, the films were often well-photographed in colour ... and their dismal dialogue was delivered in well-designed and well-lit sets." [16]

The financial success of these films relied on studios drawing in large teenage audiences, taking advantage of popular techniques such as drive-in theaters and 3D, notably used by movies like The Creature from the Black Lagoon and Gog . [17] In addition to increasing the audience size, many sci-fi films of the time were created with minuscule budgets; the phrase "B-movie" came to signify a formulaic genre film made with low production costs (usually for less than $400,000). This concept was exemplified in a studio memo about the movie Them! that stated, "We want a picture with the same exploitation possibilities as we had in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. We all know this will not be a 'class production' but it has all the ingredients of being a successful box office attraction." [18] The idea of low-quality, low-cost films were taken to an extreme by directors such as Roger Corman, Coleman Francis, and Ed Wood, and the latter's Plan 9 from Outer Space has been hailed as one of the worst films of all time.

However, in the second half of the decade, the steady success of the genre led to some studios attempting serious films with large budgets, including the coldly realistic depiction of a post-nuclear war world, On the Beach , and Forbidden Planet , a sci-fi re-imagining of Shakespeare's The Tempest . The second film would influence the genre for years to come; it included the first all-electronic music score, introduced the character Robby the Robot, and served as the inspiration for Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek .

The success of science fiction films also saw the genre grow internationally. In Britain, there was a period of notable production, with Hammer Films adaptations of Nigel Kneale's Quatermass series. The success of the television versions inspired the company to commission a series of film adaptations. Science fiction films also began appearing in Bengali cinema, including Satyajit Ray's 1958 magical realist film Parash Pathar (The Philosopher's Stone), and Ritwik Ghatak's 1958 film Ajantrik (The Unmechanical) that examined the relationship between man and machine.


After the rush of science fiction films in the 1950s, there were relatively few in the 1960s; many of those made were more aimed at children more than an adult audience, mirroring the prevalence of children's television programmes of the period. There continued to be adaptations of the stories of Verne and H. G. Wells, including films of The Time Machine and First Men in the Moon , but these seemed somewhat like a continuation of the 1950s sci-fi films.

Galaxy Science Fiction editor Frederik Pohl wrote in 1962 that the last good science fiction film most readers would be able to name was Forbidden Planet. He explained that the studio system produced "very big" or "very little" films. Large films were often remakes of other large films, few of which were science fiction, and B movies used non-genre writers instead of being based on existing quality science fiction. [19] In 1968, he said after 2001 that "the science fiction movie we've all been waiting for still hasn't come along", and that Things to Come was the most recent serious large-budget film with good actors and a science fiction screenwriter. [20] However, in the second half of the 1960s a number of exceptional films appeared, transforming science fiction cinema. 1966 saw two significant films released: first Fahrenheit 451 was a social commentary on freedom of speech and government restrictions and then Fantastic Voyage where the science fiction film "boldly went where no man had gone before" when Raquel Welch ventured inside a human body. Finally in 1968 the extremely camp Barbarella paid homage to the sillier side of earlier science fiction.

In the late 1960s, the Indian director Satyajit Ray planned on making The Alien , a story about a boy in Bengal befriending an alien. Production of the film was cancelled, but the script was released and available throughout the world. Ray believed that the 1982 Steven Spielberg film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was based on The Alien, though Spielberg states that it was not. [21] [22]

Planet of the Apes (1968) was extremely popular, spawning four sequels and a television series. While not strictly-speaking science fiction, some of the James Bond films included a variety of science fiction-like gadgetry.

Possibly the most significant Science Fiction film of the 1960s was 2001: A Space Odyssey of 1968, directed by Stanley Kubrick and written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke. 2001 is regarded as the seminal entry in the science-fiction genre as it influenced several later entries. Steven Spielberg, one of the genre's most well-known figures aptly called 2001, 'the big bang of science-fiction.'

This movie was groundbreaking in the quality of its visual effects, in its realistic portrayal of space travel, and in the epic and transcendent scope of its story. Science fiction movies that followed this film would enjoy increasingly larger budgets and ever improving special effects. Clarke has told of screening earlier science-fiction films for Kubrick, and Kubrick pronouncing them all awful, without exception, even Things to Come. 2001 was the first science fiction art film and had a philosophical scope that earlier films had not attempted. Many critics called it an incomprehensible mess when it first appeared. Today, it is widely lauded by critics as one of the greatest films of all time.


There was resurgence of interest in science fiction films with a "space adventure" theme in the 1970s. Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind , both released in 1977, contained a mystical element reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The space discoveries of the 1970s created a growing sense of marvel about the universe that was reflected in these films.

However, the early 1970s also saw the continued theme of paranoia, with humanity under threat from ecological or technological adversaries of its own creation. Notable films of this period included Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange 1971 (man vs. brainwashing), THX 1138 1971 (man vs. the state), Silent Running 1972 (ecology), the sequels to Planet of the Apes (man vs. evolution), and Westworld 1973 (man vs. robot).

The conspiracy thriller film was a popular staple of this period, where the paranoia of plots by the national government or corporate entities had replaced the implied communist enemy of the 1950s. These films included such efforts as Alien 1979, Capricorn One 1977, Invasion of the Body Snatchers , Logan's Run 1976, The Day of the Dolphin 1973, Soylent Green 1973 and Futureworld 1976.

The slow-paced Solaris 1972 made by Andrei Tarkovsky (and remade as a much shorter film by Steven Soderbergh in 2002) matches and in some assessments exceeds 2001 in its visuals and philosophic scope, while other critics find it plodding and pretentious.

The science fiction comedy had what may have been its finest hours in the 1970s, with Woody Allen's Sleeper 1973 and Dan O'Bannon's Dark Star 1974.

After the huge box office successes in 1977 of Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind were followed in 1978 by Superman , three notable science fiction films appeared 1979: Star Trek: The Motion Picture brought the much loved television series to the big screen for the first time. Alien upped the ante on how scary a screen monster could be. In 1979, Time After Time pitted H. G. Wells against Jack the Ripper, with a screenplay by Nicholas Meyer, who would later go on to direct two of the installments in the Star Trek film series. The year 1979 also saw Walt Disney Productions' venture into the science fiction genre with The Black Hole , which was poorly received but praised highly for its special effects.


Following the huge success of Star Wars, science fiction became bankable again and each major studio rushed into production their available projects. As a direct result, the Star Trek Television series was reborn as a film franchise that continued through the 1980s and 1990s.

Thanks to the Star Wars 1977 and Star Trek 1979 franchises, escapism became the dominant form of science fiction film through the 1980s. The big budget adaptations of Frank Herbert's Dune 1984 and Arthur C. Clarke's sequel to 2001, 2010 in 1984, were box office duds that dissuaded producers from investing in science fiction literary properties.

Ridley Scott's Alien 1979 was significant in establishing a new visual styling of the future. Far from presenting a sleek, ordered universe, this alternative presented the future as dark, dirty and chaotic. Building on earlier films such as "Mad Max" 1979 this Dystopian vision became prevalent in many science fiction films and novels of the period. These included "The Black Hole" 1979, "Saturn 3" 1980, "Outland" 1981, "2010" 1984, "Enemy Mine" 1985, and "Aliens (film)" 1986 through its sequels and Scott's Blade Runner 1982.

The strongest contributors to the genre during the second half of the decade were James Cameron and Paul Verhoeven with The Terminator 1984 and RoboCop 1987 entries.

Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 1982 became one of the most successful films of the 1980s. An influential film release was Scanners (1981), a film that would be imitated several times over the next two decades.

From 1980, the distinction between science fiction, fantasy, and superhero films blurred, thanks in large part to the influence of Star Wars 1977. From 1980 on, every year saw at least one major science fiction or fantasy film, which critics disparaged and were ignored on Oscar night, except in the technical categories. Disney's 1982 film Tron had a unique visual style, being one of the first major studio films to use extensive computer graphics.

The 1980s and later saw the growth of animation as a medium for science fiction films. This was particularly successful in Japan where the anime industry produced Akira (1988) and Ghost in the Shell (1995). Serious animation has not yet proven commercially successful in the United States and Western-made animated science fiction films such as Light Years (1988), The Iron Giant (1999) and Titan A.E. (2000) did not draw a significant viewing audience. However, anime has gradually gained a cult following and, from the mid-1990s, its popularity has been steadily expanding worldwide.


The emergence of the world wide web and the cyberpunk genre during the 1990s spawned several Internet-themed films. Both The Lawnmower Man (1992) and Virtuosity (1995) dealt with threats to the network from a human-computer interface. Johnny Mnemonic (1995) and Total Recall (1990) had the memories of their main actors modified by a similar interface, and The Matrix (1999) created a machine-run virtual prison for humanity. The internet also provided a ready medium for film fandom, who could more directly support (or criticize) such media franchise film series as Star Trek and Star Wars .

Disaster film remained popular, with themes updated to reflect recent influences. Both Armageddon (1998) and Deep Impact (1998) used the threat of a massive impact with the earth. Independence Day (1996 in film) recycled the 1950s alien invasion films, with rapacious, all-consuming aliens. Advances in genetic science were also featured in the Jurassic Park (1993) and Gattaca (1997).

As the decade progressed, computers played an increasingly important role in both the addition of special effects and the production of films. Large render farms made of many computers in a cluster were used to detail the images based on three-dimensional models. As the software developed in sophistication it was used to produce more complicated effects such as wave movement, explosions, and even fur-covered aliens. The improvements in special effects allowed the original Star Wars trilogy to be re-released in 1997 with many enhancements.

As in the 1980s, in every year of the 1990s one or more major science fiction or fantasy films were produced.


Oddly, in the 2000s (decade), SF films seemed to turn away from space travel, and fantasy predominated. Except for Star Trek and Star Wars films, the only films set off Earth that appeared in the first half of the 2000s (decade) were Serenity , Titan A.E. , and the poorly received Mission to Mars and Red Planet . On the other hand, fantasy and superhero films abounded, as did earthbound SF such as The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions .

Science fiction has returned to being a tool for political commentary in recent times with films like A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Minority Report with the former questioning the increasing materialism of today's world and the latter questioning the political situations surrounding the world post 9/11.[citation needed] Unique entries into the genre were also released around this time with the first science fiction romance Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind .

By the middle of the decade, the theater audience had begun to decline and this was reflected in the numbers attending the science fiction movie releases of this period. Sophisticated home theater systems came close to matching the cinema experience, and avoided the expense and inconvenience. Film studios had begun placing product advertisements prior to the start of films in theatres, seeking another means to enhance their bottom line, and alienating a segment of the theater-going audience. Making up for the losses in cinema revenue were sales and rentals of the high-quality DVD releases, many of which included previously cut scenes and extra material.[ needs update ]

See also


  1. "Le Voyage Dans La Lune (A Trip To The Moon) (1902)".
  2. Ezra, Elizabeth (2000). Georges Méliès: The Birth of the Auteur. Manchester University Press. pp. 120–1. ISBN   0-7190-5396-X.
  4. "Total Sci-Fi Online". Time Tunnel: Metropolis. Archived from the original on 2009-12-06.
  5. Cornils, Ingo (September 1995). "Problems of Visualization: The Image of the Unknown in German Science Fiction". In Jeffrey Morrison and Florian Krobb. Text Into Image, Image Into Text: Proceedings of the Interdisciplinary Bicentenary Conference. St. Patrick's College, Maynooth: Rodopi. pp. 287–296. ISBN   90-420-0153-4.
  6. Crafton, Donald (1999). The Talkies: American Cinema's Transition to Sound, 1926-1931. University of California Press. ISBN   0-520-22128-1.
  7. Autry, Gene (1978). Back in the Saddle Again. New York: Doubleday. ISBN   978-0385032346. p 51
  8. Weaver, James B.; Tamborini, Ronald C. (1996). Horror Films: Current Research on Audience Preferences and Reactions. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. pp. 54–55. ISBN   0-8058-1174-5.
  9. Hendershot, Cydny (1999). "Paranoia, the Bomb, and 1950s Science Fiction Films". Bowling Green State University Popular Press.
  10. Langford, Barry (2005). Film genre: Hollywood and beyond (2nd ed.). Edinburgh University Press. p. 185. ISBN   0-7486-1903-8.
  11. "UCLA Film and Television Archive". George Pal. UCLA. Archived from the original on 2011-10-23. Retrieved 2011-07-03.
  12. "The All Powers Project". The Red Scare: A Filmography. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  13. Stephen Jones (1995). The Illustrated Dinosaur Movie Guide. Titan Books. p. 42.
  14. Robert Hood. "A Potted History of Godzilla" . Retrieved 2008-02-09.
  15. "Gojira / Godzilla (1954) Synopsis". Archived from the original on 2007-12-24. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
  16. Baxter, John (1997). Stanley Kubrick: A Biography. New York: Basic Books. p. 200. ISBN   0786704853.
  17. Viera, Mark A. (August 2004). "Don't Step on It! Killer Bugs, Babes, and Beasts in 1950s Drive-In Cinema". Bright Lights Film Journal (45).
  18. Dade Hayes; Jonathan Bing (2004-09-21). "Variety". Debunking the Jaws Myth. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  19. Pohl, Frederik (October 1962). "The Business of Being Bad". Editorial. Galaxy Science Fiction. pp. 4–7.
  20. Pohl, Frederik (July 1968). "The Week That Was". Editorial. Galaxy Science Fiction. p. 4.
  21. Newman J (2001-09-17). "Satyajit Ray Collection receives Packard grant and lecture endowment". UC Santa Cruz Currents online. Archived from the original on 2005-11-04. Retrieved 2006-04-29.
  22. "The Unmade Ray". Satyajit Ray Society. Archived from the original on 2006-11-08. Retrieved 2006-11-04.

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The decade of the 1980s in Western cinema saw the return of studio-driven pictures, coming from the filmmaker-driven New Hollywood era of the 1970s. The period was when "high concept" films gained popularity, where movies were to be easily marketable and understandable, and, therefore, they had short cinematic plots that could be summarized in one or two sentences. The modern Hollywood blockbuster is the most popular film format from the 1980s. Producer Don Simpson is usually credited with the creation of the high-concept picture of the modern Hollywood blockbuster.

Space (Canadian TV channel) Canadian television channel

Space is a Canadian English Category A specialty channel owned and operated by Bell Media. It features speculative fiction and paranormal programming including scripted television series, films, documentaries and more. The network's original slogan was The Imagination Station, still sometimes used informally by fans.

<i>This Island Earth</i> 1955 film by Jack Arnold, Joseph M. Newman

This Island Earth is a 1955 American science fiction film from Universal International, produced by William Alland, directed by Joseph M. Newman and Jack Arnold, that stars Jeff Morrow, Faith Domergue and Rex Reason. It is based on the eponymous 1952 novel by Raymond F. Jones, which was originally published in the magazine Thrilling Wonder Stories as three related novelettes: "The Alien Machine" in the June 1949 issue, "The Shroud of Secrecy" in December 1949, and "The Greater Conflict" in February 1950. The film was released in 1955 as a double feature with Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy.

Irwin Allen was an American film and television producer and director, known for his work in science fiction, then later as the "Master of Disaster" for his work in the disaster film genre. His most successful productions were The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and The Towering Inferno (1974). He also created and produced the popular 1960s science fiction television series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel and Land of the Giants.

<i>Beginning of the End</i> (film) 1957 US science fiction film directed by Bert I. Gordon

Beginning of the End is a 1957 independently made American black-and-white science fiction giant insects film, produced and directed by Bert I. Gordon. It stars Peter Graves, Peggie Castle, and Morris Ankrum. The film's storyline concerns an agricultural scientist (Graves) who has successfully grown gigantic vegetables using radiation. Unfortunately, the vegetables are eaten by locusts, which quickly grow to a gigantic size and attack the nearby city of Chicago. Beginning of the End is generally known for its "atrocious" special effects and is considered to be one of the most poorly written and acted science fiction films of the 1950s.

U.S. television science fiction is a popular genre of television in the United States that has produced many of the best-known and most popular science fiction shows in the world. Most famous of all, and one of the most influential science-fiction series in history, is the iconic Star Trek and its various spin-off shows, which comprise the Star Trek franchise. Other hugely influential programs have included the 1960s anthology series The Twilight Zone, the internationally successful The X-Files, and a wide variety of television movies and continuing series for more than half a century.

<i>Star Pilot</i> 1966 film by Pietro Francisci

Star Pilot is a 1966 Italian science-fiction film directed by Pietro Francisci. It stars Leonora Ruffo as Chaena, the commander of a spaceship from the constellation Hydra which has crashed on the island of Sardinia. An Earth scientist and his companions are abducted by the aliens and forced to repair the ship, and are then taken to Hydra for the purpose of genetic research.

<i>Warning from Space</i> 1956 film by Koji Shima

Warning from Space is a Japanese science fiction tokusatsu film released in January 1956 by Daiei, and was the first Japanese science fiction film to be produced in color. In the film's plot, starfish-like aliens disguised as humans travel to Earth to warn of the imminent collision of a rogue planet and Earth. As the planet rapidly accelerates toward Earth, a nuclear device is created at the last minute and destroys the approaching world.

Monster movie film genre

A monster movie, creature feature, or giant monster film is a disaster film that focuses on a group of characters struggling to survive attacks by one or more antagonistic monsters, often abnormally large ones. The film may also fall under the horror, comedy, fantasy, or science fiction genres. Monster movies originated with adaptations of horror folklore and literature. Typically, movie monsters differ from more traditional antagonists in that many exist due to circumstances beyond their control; their actions are not entirely based on choice, potentially making them objects of sympathy to film viewers.

The genre of science fiction has been prevalent in the Indian film industry since the second half of the 20th century. Beginning in 1952, the film Kaadu was made, which was a Tamil-American co-production. 1963 Tamil film Kalai Arasi and 1967 Hindi film Chand Par Chadayee also have science fiction in its storyline. The Alien was a science fiction film under production in the late 1960s which was eventually cancelled. The film was being directed by Bengali Indian director Satyajit Ray and produced by Hollywood studio Columbia Pictures. The script was written by Ray in 1967, based on "Bankubabur Bandhu", a Bengali story he had written in 1962 for Sandesh, the Ray family magazine.

<i>Alien Trespass</i> 2009 film by R. W. Goodwin

Alien Trespass is a 2009 science-fiction comedy film based on 1950s sci-fi B movies, produced by James Swift and directed by R.W. Goodwin. It stars Eric McCormack and Robert Patrick. The film was shot in Ashcroft, B.C.

Invisible Invaders is a 1959 science fiction film starring John Agar, Jean Byron, John Carradine and Philip Tonge. It was produced by Robert E. Kent, directed by Edward L. Cahn and written by Samuel Newman.

<i>Beyond Star Trek</i> book by Lawrence Krauss

Beyond Star Trek: Physics from Alien Invasions to the End of Time is the fourth non-fiction book by the American theoretical physicist Lawrence M. Krauss. The book was initially published on November 7, 1997 by Basic Books and since then has appeared in five foreign editions.In his previous work, The Physics of Star Trek, Lawrence Krauss explained a number of ideas and concepts featured in the series; they may or may not exist in our universe. In this book, Krauss goes farther to discuss the realities of physics when it is applied to components from other sci-fi story lines.