The Best Sci Fi TV Shows and Movies of ALL TIME

TV Shows:


1. Battle Star Galactica

2. Futurama

3. Dr. Who

4. Twilight Zone

5. Mystery Science Theatre 3000

6. Max Headroom

7. Star Trek: The Next Generation

8. Star Trek: Original

9. Stargate Atlantis

10. I can't think of 10 decent Sci Fi tv shows, and I don't consider things like Lost, or The X-Files, or 3rd Rock from the Sun to be sci fi.




1. 2001

2. Brazil

3. Blade Runner

4. Solaris

5. Zardoz

6. They Live

7. A Boy and His Dog

8. The Andromeda Strain

9. 5th Element

10. Rollerball

11. It was way easier to think of 10 good sci fi movies.


... My hope was that these lists would spawn a few good recommendations in comments and/or nerd fights.

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Netflix Streaming Sci-fi TV shows


Thanks to everyone for the recs in comments, here's a list of all the recommended TV shows currently streaming on netflix:



Battlestar Galactica



Twilight Zone

Star Trek

Star Trek: TNG

Star Trek: Enterprise

Deep Space Nine



Dr. Who

Red Dwarf


Seaquest DSV

You've Left Something Out


Starts with "X".

Off the topic of my head

brutusettu's picture

Top sci-fi TV shows



1: Battlestar Galactica (2004-series)

2: Battlestar Galactica (2004-series)

3: Battlestar Galactica (2004 series)

4: Caprica

5: Twilight Zone

6: Sliders

7: ST: TNG

8: ST: Voyager

9: ST: Enterprise

10: Space Above and Beyond





1: Aliens

2: Alien


Probably forgetting too many to list in order (movies in consideration for top 10)

Star Wars IV-VI

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home


Blade Runner

Pitch Black

The Thing (last 2 of them)



Twelve Monkeys


Terminator 2




Worst Sci-fi movies:

Future Force

Future Zone

The Last Sentinel

Space Mutiny

Battlefield Earth

AVP Requiem 



The Better List...SF Movies


1. Alien

2. Blade Runner (1st Theatrical Release--With Voice Over)

3. Star Wars IV (a New Hope...1st SW Movie)

4. The 5th Element

5. A Clockwork Orange

6. District 9

7. The Matrix (really excellent and ground breaking)

8. Escape from LA

9. Dune

10. The Chronicles of Riddick (better than Pitch Blck)


Honorable Mention


11. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Donald Southerland 1978)

12. Inception

13. Men in Black (I)

14. Sleeper

15. Outland

16. The Omega Man (Charleston Heston)



2. Blade Runner (1st


2. Blade Runner (1st Theatrical Release--With Voice Over)


My God man.  No.


Incidentally, anyone seen Looper yet?  Watched it last night and I loved it.  A great sci-fi story driven flick and really light on the special effects.

Excellent Reasons for the Voice Over..Great Writing, (See Below)


...I strongly prefer the 1st Release of Blade Runner, I have watched all three Versions back to back...and expository benefits of VO are great, but the intellectual meat is in the fine words spoken that, without them, they are truly different movie experiences. Great writing counts and gives meaning, a reason to have seen the movie at all:


The most important being:


Deckard: [narrating] I don't know why he saved my life. Maybe in those last moments he loved life more than he ever had before. Not just his life - anybody's life; my life. All he'd wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where did I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got? All I could do was sit there and watch him die. 


How can Blade Runner have depth of meaning without Deckard's coda to Roy Blatty's life?




Deckard: [narrating] The report read "Routine retirement of a replicant." That didn't make me feel any better about shooting a woman in the back. 


The dry tone of this as a police procedural is important to give Deckard some emotional distance from what he has just done in shooting brutally Zhora in the back as she crashes through glass.


I particularly liked this line to give some background to Deckard:


Deckard: [narrating] Sushi. That's what my ex-wife called me - cold fish. 


And Most Importantly, the ending lines:


[last lines]
Deckard: [narrating] Gaff had been there, and let her live. Four years, he figured. He was wrong. Tyrell had told me Rachael was special. No termination date. I didn't know how long we had together... Who does? 


Gads, that's nice!


The Director's Cut ending isn't entirely bad, but it is different:


[last lines]
[Director's Cut]
Gaff: [voiceover] It's too bad she won't live! But then again, who does? 


Black screen as opposed to them flying together North over lush hills and mountains.


Best Wishes, Traveller

I like it too...


I take no sides though.


The worst part of the theatrical release is the end scene of the northern forests. In the dark, polluted, radiated, post-apocalyptic world of Blade Runner those forests would have been cleared for tar sands or burned to cinders long ago. It is a cheap attempt to lighten the movie in order to sell tickets, but it has no connection to it or even basic plausibility.


Yet the voice over was not a bad idea at all, even if it was overdone. The directors cut is for too exclusive a club of sophisticated movie goers or Philp K. Dick fans.


The voice over version lowers the bar to enter this complex world and makes the movie accessible to more people, without necessarily declawing it (if you set aside the happy ending). Is that a bad thing?


The noir look of the movie supports it, down to rotating shadows of the old-style ventilation fans, so the voice over does not feel tacked on like the ending very much does. The voice over is a little too chatty, too explicit, but if you kept about 80% of it and got rid of the Disney ending, the theatrical release would be nearly perfect.


Perfect, though different from the director's cut, and for a somewhat different audience. Even as released, I am happy to see either, depending on my mood and circumstance, and end up wondering why we have so few movies of this caliber.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Well I'm glad someone likes it :)


but wasn't Ridely Scott over-ruled on the voiceover and happy ending? I know you usually defend the artist and his vision :)


For me, there's no need for the voiceover on the roof. That just trowels over what is already beautifully painted. That Roy chooses to save life is apparent when he dangles Deckard over the precipice and then hoist him in and depositis him on the roof. His monologue "I've seen things you people..." then completes the picture of a man who considers himself a god but who too must die. Did he save Deckard to act as a witness to his own greatness (as the biblical God seems to need), because he loved life as the voiceover suggests, because in the final moments there is no victory over Deckard, only death. We the audience get to check on that one.


And of course, the greatest mark against the happy ending voiceover version is it changes the most striking part of the film. As Deckard and his girl start to make their run, he passes a unicorn origami on the landing made by Gaff. Putting the unicorn dream and the origami together gets your mind reeling - how could gaff know about Dekards dream? Unless he was a Replicant too and the dream a planted memory.


And that sets off a whole other series of questions. What else is false and planted? His entire memory and experience of being a Blade Runner? Rather than a gristled old human bounty hunter, is Deckard a child, a few months old. Was Zhora the first person he ever killed? 


And most importnat of all. To destroy the liberated aware and superhuman you create something even more powerful - a weak, fearful, sneaky Deckard who believes 100% that the Replicants must die, that replicants always die and that it is his duty to kill them, that he is blameless if he does so since they only live such a short short time. His fear drives him to violence and his (false) beliefs about himself and his duty assuages his guilt.

Remember also


in trying to escape death Roy has killed his own God, his creator. Not even that has saved him. Not even his God could defeat death. When Roy, who is now a God, saves Deckard he does the one thing his creator could not do - he defeats death (Deckard's). He gives life to the living, not just the unborn.

The Important Thing to Me is That Deckert is Human...(Impt Post)



...for many people the Director's Cut and the San Diego, (pre-theatrical test release), seem to imply or leave more open the idea that Deckert himself is a Replicant.


That's also why I like the wife reference to him as "a cold fish." Yes, it could be planted memory, but it is sour, not a happy memory and so has a human feel to it and helps establish his humanity early in the film.


You are correct that that the Voice over Was forced on Sir Ridley Scott, but (!) sometimes a good editor is important to the process.


I find the debate to be quite interesting...Being the Sentimental Foolish Romantic I am, (and I am), it is infinitely better for Deckert to be Human and in love with a replicant Rachel. I can identify with Deckert then...


Other people seem to identify with the technological, the more engineering idea that Deckert himself is a Replicant, fooled throughout the movie.


No, for me, Deckert has to be human for me to identify with him...but maybe other men, born after me, can see themselves, even subconsciously, as a fooled replicant, and have no trouble identifying with Deckert in this capacity as the primary protagonist...




Is there something in later-born men that allow them to see themselves as cogs, fooled into a system not of their making, not even vaguely subject to their will? Replicants they are...? Emotionally? Intellectually programmed to wink out?

As we all are, but still...where did Romanticism die and Engineering take over for being Human? Has this happened, is this my question?


Best Wishes, Traveller

Yes it has.




In the twentieth century.


The first knife in the heart of Romanticism was World War I. By the end of the Holocaust and the atomic bomb immediately following, it was all over.


Guys like you or me have been a little slow to get it. So much of our cultural background is from the period that we think we understand it. In the 19th century grown, educated, wealthy men would willingly lose it all in a duel for the sake of their honor. In such a world, open display of passion was not subject to immediate, implacable ridicule. It was a very serious thing.


We could not be farther from that culture. Is this good or bad? I don't know. There were flaws in it that led to its demise. But there has been a loss, for sure.


Of course, there are inherent flaws in our age too. If engineering has taken over, we will move from acting like machines to being replaced by them outright. This appears to be in progress on many fronts.


These transitions may be simple human miscalculation, or they may an inevitable reflection of the nature of the universe.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

A false memory of a failed marriage


...another brick in the wall that walls him in.


It's a comment on human existance and humanity.


How can you make a fresh born being, new to the world hunt down and murder 4 glorious beings who only want to be free. They are escaped slaves, liberating themselves from tyrany. Deckard, if he is a replicant, should side with them, not his human controllers, to cowardly to clean uo their own mess. To control Deckard, you must recreate what 40 years of life as a human does to you. The failed marriages, the loss of options, getting used to doing and accepting what is wrong and unjust because it is just the way things are, making people who are not his natural enemies his real enemies by making him believe in "Us" and "Them" and that blood has already been spilled by his own hand many times.


If modern people see themselves as replicants, cogs in a great wage-slave machine, I think they are being somewhat clear eyed about it. No one would want to be Deckard even if they see themselves in him. He is a tool not a person. They have become tools. It is a little like American Beauty.


(I guess I'm agreeing with you here about how the younger generations sees themselves)


On a more technical note I think poetry and proes excells at reaching conclusions. It explains itself. Even when it waxes lyrical we know which road it is asking us to walk down. "We are such things as dreams are made on, and our little lives are rounded with a sleep". We do not literally know how a man could be made of a dream, but we know what Shakespeare means.


The visual arts excell when they are ambiguous. They throw up images and symbols. We see the characters act and move and hear them speak but we do not read their minds. We can create a thousand reasons and motives and guess a hundred times at what "really" happened. It's a poetry of sounds, not words.


Putting the voiceover into the film, defining the ending, this was all an attempt to impose the certainty of proes on the chimera of film. I think that's why it feels flat (to me).

I'm too much of a literalist


I'm too much of a literalist to buy your read of the movie but I like it.  The Deckard is a Replicant theme is about as far as a I get and the reason why I like Scott's later version.

Well, We Are All Not Being Stupid, I Have My Reasons...


...I understand that most people disagree with me, as do you guys, and articulately disagree!


But I have my arguments too....they are not just stupid.


This is what makes for a good conversation, so thanks.


Traveller (certainly NOT a Relplicant! I'm not sure about you guys, {maybe that's why you're so smart!})

I agree with you

HankP's picture

I saw Blade Runner in the theaters when it was first released, because I was a huge Phillip K. Dick fan. Brought a bunch of friends to it, they were all blown away by it. When I said science fiction, they expected Star Wars, not a philosophical disquisition into what it means to be human.


I blame it all on the Internet

What a Really Superior & Excellent Analysis of Deckert, Nyoos!


....maybe this ability to think is why you are First in the Mod Election


However, I will, at least on a personal level, have to disagree with you...I do, did and can see myself as toolish and as his decrepit life might be...I am him and have a deep connection and empathy with him.


Everything that happens to him, happens to me.


Roy and Priss may have clocks ticking in them,but they are not the random clocks inside of humans....which is what makes us human and tragic.


Best Wishes, Traveller

I wouldn't want to change a square cm of you Trav.


and I adore the fact that you prefer the 1st release and are proud to say so.

That's a Fine List


Escape from LA or Escape from New York?


Oh, just include both.

A nice top 10

Bird Dog's picture

District 9 is one of my favorites.

I saw the Omega Man around the same time as the Will Smith remake. What was cool in intense in early '70s is now horribly dated and campy. I saw Outland about a year ago and it held up pretty well.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Down the rabbit hole


So this thread got me thinking of a sci-fi movie I loved when I was a kid: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. It's about a dinosaur frozen in the North Pole who gets thawed out by an atomic blast. After wrecking a fishing ship, a lighthouse, and a diving bell, it comes ashore to wreak havoc on New York City. According to the ever-useful Wikipedia, it was the first atomic-dinosaur-wrecks-city movie, and immensely profitable. (Cost $210,000, grossed $5 million) And, as it turns out, part of it was based on a story by Ray Bradbury called The Fog Horn. 


But what that led me to was this site, which you guys probably know:, which seems to be uploaded old comic books. Very cool. Here's Tales of Horror #7, which features a ripped-right-the-heck-off version of The Fog Horn.


They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...
-- General John B. Sedgwick, 1864

I loved that one.

aireachail's picture

And I think the first such movie I ever saw was "The Angry Red Planet".  Almost unbearable to watch, but to 8 or 9 year-old me at the time, it was really terrifying and utterly fascinating. It made such an impression that I vividly remember sitting in the car with the rest of the family that night at the drive-in.


And that pretty much sums up my thoughts on these lists. Tastes are very generational. The 1953 War of the Worlds, the original The Thing or The Day the Earth Stood Still or Forbidden Planet...those are the great ones for me. can watch the original theatrical trailer for The Angry Red Planet on YouTube. You really need to see it though a windshield though!


British Channel 4


used to run classically good and classically terrrible old movies weekend nights and it became somewhat of a family ritual to sit up and watch whatever they had decided to offer. Eclectic mix. One night it was Plan B, the next Nosferatu or Metropolis (surely another candidate for the top 10 list).


I thought I had seen all the classics like "Them!" or "Robot Monster", but it seems I missed "The Angry Red Planet" somehow.


Along the lines of The Beast from 20000 Fathoms I remember a similar movie where a terrible dinosaur is dredged up from the ocean and held captive at great trouble and cost in destruction. Analysis by serious scientist love interest types reveal it to in fact be an infant (den den DEN!). Mother arrives later to retrieve he baby and generally crushes everything in here path. It was B&W and 1950s. Anyone remember the title?


You are right about Forbidden Planet - that one is a gem.


Surprised no one mentioned Logan's Run yet, or Barbarella?

The one with the baby monster

Jay C's picture

was Gorgo (1961). A Britiish production from the days when special-effects budgets were measured out in thruppence....


Along the lines of a LOT of '50s monster flicks.

Little bit hard to say from my PoV


"1953 War of the Worlds, the original The Thing or The Day the Earth Stood Still or Forbidden Planet...those are the great ones for me"


I haven't seen these older sci fi films, I might like them.


But are you saying that none of my top 10 would be in your top 10? Have you even seen Zardoz?



From your list,

aireachail's picture

2001 and Blade Runner would be in my top 10 for sure.


A Boy and His Dog was really good, but I'm not sure it needs to be in a Top 10 spot.


I saw Zardoz when it came out. That was enough! Every now and then I'll see Charlotte Rampling's name in the news or in movie credits. I can't even see the poor dear mentioned without thinking about Zardoz.

Re: Zardoz and A Boy and His Dog


I have a soft spot for movies about F'd up sex in the future.


Charlotte Rampling got dragged through the mud a bit with Zardoz, but if Sean Connery can bear the humiliation, she can. She was great in Melancholia recently and has obviously fully redeemed herself.


If you people had participated in stoner culture a bit more in your youth, you probably would have learned how to enjoy Zardoz.

I'm sure you're right.

aireachail's picture

Where might that have led me?


Maybe I'd have studied philosophy in school, and then...


and then...


Whoa. Thinking about that makes me feel kinda urpy and unsteady. Is that what stoner culture is like?

Urpy and Unsteady?


I think you're confusing stoner culture with some of the bastard children of the seven dwarves.


For the dwarves, the F'd up sex of the future is already here.

I read The Fog Horn!


The Fog Horn is the sound dinosaurs make when they call out for each other.


Don't know how you'd spin that into a whole movie though 

Fog Horn: The movie


It was really more of a scene in the movie, but Bradbury was so popular then, they wanted to pump it up. 


They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...
-- General John B. Sedgwick, 1864

*Scott Shakes His Head In Dismay*

M Scott Eiland's picture

Without even getting into a potentially PRV inducing discussion of what *Zardoz* is doing on a top ten list for anything other than "top ten movies that induced Sean Connery to don a horrifyingly skimpy costume,"* I can't believe that no one has mentioned the Terminator movies yet.

*--my mother is deceased and can't traumatize me any more by dissenting loudly regarding the "horrifyingly" characterization at this point.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Terminator and T2 are very good


not top 10 good though, b/c they're a little too action-adventurey, and sci fi is supposed to be more cerebral. Nevertheless, I'm a fan. 


Zardoz is partly there b/c it has elements that make it so bad it's good. 


In addition, the best sci-fi movies are supposed to be mind-expandingly weird and that one fits the bill.


The main thrust of the plot as I recall was genuinely innovative and interesting, even while surrounded by elements that were incoherent and laughable.


What other movie besides Zardoz has challenged its audience to think about how awful it would be to live forever, how it would lead inexorably to boredom and impotence, and eventually to attempted suicide?  



Worst sci fi movies (that I've seen at least part of anyway)


1. Star Wars Episode I: Phantom Menace

2. Batteries Not Included

3. Ice Pirates

4. Highlander II: The Quickening

5. Starship Troopers: Invasion

6. Howard The Duck

7. Plan 9 From Outerspace

8. Prometheus

9. Planet of the Apes (2001)

10. A.I. 

Disagree, I Always Weep at A.I....(& Minority Report)



...I think A.I. is where Spielberg went is a wonderful, (and will be seen as a classic in time), but the film needed to end 15 minutes earlier, before the underwater aliens or whatever. Story sloppiness with Spielberg began here and then extended itself in Minority Report, which was also wonderful but needed to end 15 minutes earlier, before the shooting of Max Von Sydow.


Minority Report would have been perfect had it ended with the shooting of the man in the Hotel room and that moral quandary and ambiguity. Alas, no one can tell Spielberg to stop now. War Horse was unwatchable...and actually made me angry with the cardboard characters...I didn't even give Lincoln a look...I knew from the trailers that it was now the standard terrible and unwatacable Spielberg.


But Minority Report was the last acceptable Spielberg....well, no, Munich was the last good Spielberg.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Minority Report is good


but like the Terminator movies is a little too action-y and non-cerebral to be great sci fi.


A.I. we'll just have to disagree on. That movie bugs me.

No Matrix or Avatar in any list?

mmghosh's picture

IIRC, some linked the Matrix to the Columbine shooting.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Avatar is a visual masterpiece


I enjoyed it as much as any movie I've seen in the theatre.


But it was too dumb to be a real sci fi winner. 


I saw the Matrix but can hardly remember anything about it, so it must be forgettable, right?

I think


It's a great script.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Avatar dumb?

mmghosh's picture

A little one dimensional, maybe.  But not any more dumb than, say, Lawrence of Arabia.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

ACK! No Dumber than Lawrence of Arabia?


LOA includes at least some criticism of the lone white guy going native and saving the locals from the rapaciousness of other white guys. Avatar meekly accepts it.


Plus LOA is prettier to look at. Very pleasant with a joint.

IMO Avatar was something of a wish-fulfilment, not reality

mmghosh's picture

in the sense that indigenous peoples have not really been saved from rapaciousness anywhere when the dominant majority want their land (and its not just the white man - we, the Han Chinese, the Mongols, the Maori, the Zulu at the time of the Mfecane and so forth are as culpable as white men, if occasionally less efficient).  


In that sense, it gave voice to the discomfort that humanity should all share at the murder and expropriation  of indigenous fellow people.  Perhaps it expressed it in terms of white man vs aliens to make it more palatable to a guilty white conscience, (and schadenfreude for us because we would rather blame the white man than look at ourselves).


LOA was dumb because of (1) deliberate inaccuracy and (2) stereotyping.  Entertaining, visually and musically spectacular, yes.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

And It Made A Star Out Of Omar Sharif

M Scott Eiland's picture

And you're being a little harsh on (1) and (2)--how many big budget history related films from that era wouldn't look bad by those standards?

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

I Cannot State Strongly Enough How Wrong You Are On LoA



...this was the story of TE Laurence and taken largely from his autobiography, Seven Pillars of Wisdom.


I though the film treated the Arabs particularly well in depiction, while the British were Duplicitous, mendacious and thoroughly dishonest.


As to the factual inaccuracies this burden is on you to demonstrate from the source biographies of TE Laurence and of course his writings.


But this isn't the real problem, the real problem is that if you want to make a movie of the Arab Revolt, go grab a camera and have at it...if you want a movie that fairly well conforms to how TE Laurence saw his has already been done and is called Laurence of Arabia.


Even more to the point, the movie was written by Robert Bolt...who gave us A Man for All Seasons, again fictionalized, but again Art...really as Mr. Bolt said in his was about what is "Self," and how do we hold on to so fragile a thing? Thomas More in burning Heretics was far from a saint, but the play and the movie spoke about eternal human questions...Henry the VIII and Thomas More was the Vehicle...the same can be said about Laurence of Arabia.


So too with the screen play for Dr. Zhivago, the Mission (Missionaries in Latin America) and the Bounty...all fabulously written by Robert Bolt.


What is irritating to me is this unwillingness accept the Artist as an Artist trying to weave through his/her life something of meaning in their life, their time, a gift to their audience.


I would argue that Historical Accuracy is a fiction, written by the winners and then again by each succeeding generation to fit their needs...While ART remains true across the centuries.


Laurence of Arabia is Great Art, your opinion notwithstanding.





Ill just quote from the wiki

mmghosh's picture

The most vehement critic of the film's inaccuracy was Professor A.W.(Arnold) Lawrence, T.E.'s younger brother and literary executor, who had sold the rights to Seven Pillars of Wisdom to Sam Spiegel for £25,000. Arnold went on a campaign in the United States and Britain denouncing the film, famously saying, "I should not have recognised my own brother". In one pointed talk show appearance, Arnold remarked that he had found the film “pretentious and false." He went on to say that his brother was "one of the nicest, kindest and most exhilarating people I’ve known. He often appeared cheerful when he was unhappy.” Later, to the New York Times, Arnold said, “[The film is] a psychological recipe. Take an ounce of narcissism, a pound of exhibitionism, a pint of sadism, a gallon of blood-lust and a sprinkle of other aberrations and stir well.” Lowell Thomas was also critical of the portrayal of Lawrence and most of the film's characters, believing that the train attack scenes were the only reasonably accurate aspect of the film.
The criticisms were not restricted to Lawrence. The Allenby family lodged a formal complaint against Columbia about the portrayal of their ancestor. Descendants of Auda abu Tayi and the real Sherif Ali, despite the fact that the film's Ali was fictional, went further, actively suing Columbia due to the portrayal of their ancestors. The Auda case went on for almost ten years before it was finally dropped.

I am not denying the right of a director to do whatever he wants with a film character.  If he wants to inject ambiguity and so forth that is his prerogative.  My original point was that if Avatar is to be regarded as dumb, because it depicts the director's ideal, rather than any reality, then it is no more dumb than LoA with regard to historicity.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

You Ignore the Conclusion from the Same Wiki on Laurence of A



Biographer Michael Korda, author of Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia, offers a different opinion. While the film is neither "the full story of Lawrence's life or a completely accurate account of the two years he spent fighting with the Arabs," Korda argues that criticising its inaccuracy "misses the point": "The object was to produce, not a faithful docudrama that would educate the audience, but a hit picture."[21] Stephen E. Tabachnick goes further than Korda, arguing that the film's portrayal of Lawrence is "appropriate and true to the text of Seven Pillars of Wisdom."[22] The British historian of the Arab Revolt, David Murphy wrote that though the film was flawed due to various inaccuracies and omissions, "it was a truly epic movie and is rightly seen as a classic".[23]


...True to the Text of Seven Pillars of Wisdom.


Which was my argument. (if his brother wants to argue against TE Laurence's SadoMachoism and homosexual experiences after his brother's death, that is his problem)


Further, Mr. Bolt, (I am obviously a fan) went to jail during the filming of LoA:


It was at this time that Bolt himself fell foul of the law and was arrested and imprisoned for protesting nuclear proliferation. He refused to be "bound over" (i.e., to sign a declaration that he would not engage in such activities again) and was sentenced to one month in prison because of this. The producer of the Lawrence film, Sam Spiegel, persuaded Bolt to sign after he had served only two weeks. Bolt later regretted his actions, and did not speak to Spiegel again after the film was completed.


Truely, LoA is easy for me to argue because of it's relative faithfulness to Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the much more difficult case is, A Man for All Seasons, (Thomas More) and what Jean Anouilh did with writing the play Becket, and eventually carried over into the movie, where Becket is written as a  Saxon (the conquered race) and not Norman, (the conquering invaders).


Art versus some variations of accepted True to the Facts Reality is not an easy question...I am simply acknowledging a very sticky difficulty and one it is worthy of acknowledging.


Best Wishes, Traveller



You're correct about art

HankP's picture

but to claim history in service of art, you have to use an interpretation of what actually happened to illustrate the point you want to make. Without some tether to reality you get Springtime for Hitler without the laughs.


Would you be so sanguine if a great work of art showed Ho Chi Min and Gen. Giap as true heroes and US soldiers in Vietnam as monsters? I mean a great work of art, something that will be seen and accepted as the truth in a few hundred years?


I blame it all on the Internet

Of course Giap is a hero. A legend, even. In Asia, certainly.

mmghosh's picture

Over 50 years, the guy fought against, and either defeated or outlasted successfully - in order - the Japanese, the French, the Americans, the Chinese and the Khmer Rouge.


I cannot think of a 20th century military leader with a more impressive CV, whatever his documented faults.


The guy is nearly 100 years old and, amazingly, is continuing to fight today even in dotage.  He has single-mindedly fought against his own Vietnamese comrades to halt bauxite mining in central Vietnam.


This is the standard Party line BS

The comments were the latest in a string of public statements by senior Communist Party officials since the prime minister approved a directive to allow the mining and processing of bauxite ore in late 2007. Vietnam is believed to have the world's third largest reserves of bauxite, at 5.5 billion tonnes.

The directive allowed the state-run Vietnam Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) to go into a joint venture with a Chinese company to build an aluminum factory and prepare for major mining operations in the two provinces of the fertile central part of the country.

"Each project will produce 600,000 tonnes of aluminum, creating some 2,000 jobs and earning US$150 million to $200 million per year," Vinacomin's president Doan Van Kien said.


And this is General Giap

The best-known critic of the plans has been Vo Nguyen Giap, the well-known Vietnamese general and one of the founders of the Vietnamese Communist Party.

In an open letter to the seminar, he asked the government to cancel the bauxite project. "In terms of national interests and sustainable and long-term development, bauxite exploitation will generate critical environmental, social and security effects," his letter said.

In a letter to Prime Minister Dung earlier this year, Giap said he had overseen a study into bauxite mining in the region together with Soviet experts in the early 1980s. At that time, the experts advised against the project because of the "risk of serious ecological damage," it said.


"I don't know what kind of benefit I will get from the project, but it's so miserable to look at these hills denuded of tea plantations," Vu Van Bay, a local farmer whose land has been taken for the mine, told reporters. He said he had tried to find a suitable alternative area of land to cultivate, but "it's not easy to find a cultivable land since water is so scarce here."


"There will be no more lake," Le Viet Quang, director of Lam Dong Bauxite, a subsidiary of Vinacomin, which is undertaking the mining, told reporters recently. "Our Chinese partners will dredge the lake and turn it into a reservoir for red mud."

His comrades don't know what to think.

Asked how it felt to find himself on the opposite side from the great general, Mr. Kien, the Vinacomin chairman, let slip a little of the impatience these leaders must be feeling.

“I don’t dare to comment,” he said. “General Giap is a national hero. But I have to tell you, the general is nearly 100 years old. We have to respect him, but now we are under the leadership of the present government and Communist Party.”


And cyberattacks!



freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency


mmghosh's picture

probably agree.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Saw It For The First Time In 1989 During The Theatrical. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .re-release. The plot didn't really stay with me, but even after twenty-odd years of special effects extravaganzas it remains one of the five most visually awesome films I have ever seen. Amazing what you can do by turning a wide angle lens on Mother Nature.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

I remember that release...


It was the extended version, with incredible quality. I saw it in New York.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Cinerama Dome in Hollywood?


No wait. That's where "For All Mankind" was.


Cineplex Odeon in Century City?


That's where I first saw it, too.

Can't Remember, Offhand

M Scott Eiland's picture

I went with Steve Peterson and a couple of other friends--he might remember.

[edit] He's not sure, but he thinks it was either at the Cinerama Dome, or at Universal City.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Nothing from the 50's or earlier?


1951 version of The Thing.

1954 version of Godzilla.


The first Alien movie was pretty good.

The Day the Earth Stood Still


Should be on anyone's list of great sci-fi movies. Also, the original Invaders from Mars scared the holy bejeesus out of me. 


They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...
-- General John B. Sedgwick, 1864

I was pretty scared by The Fly

mmghosh's picture

if being scared is a criterion for great SciFi.  Also, most Cronenberg offerings.  Does Crash count as SciFi?


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

late 60s is as early as I get for sci fi


Godzilla was seriously good?

Yep. The black and white


shot at night (or sound stage version of night) both made up for any animatronic defects and also gave it a grim, newsreel type of feel.

Honorable Mention not Yet Mentioned (Sci Fi Films)


Mad Max 2

Back to The Future

Fantastic Planet

Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind

Escape From New York

Ghost in The Shell

Repo Man

A Scanner Darkly



Alternative Top Ten (TV)

Jay C's picture

Will get around to movies later...


In no particular order:


1. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

2. Firefly

3. Farscape

4. Dr. Who

5. Star Trek  TOS

6. Babylon 5

7. Stargate SG-1

8. Red Dwarf

9. Primeval

10.  Star Trek TNG


Honorable Mention(s): Stargate Atlantis, SeaQuest DSV, Fringe, Space 1999


I've tried to stick to a relatively narrow classification of "SciFi", vs. "supernatural" or "horror" or just plain "weird" (stuff like Twilight Zone - Fringe is an iffy one) . Obviously there's a lot of crossover and blurred boundaries between genres....

This list is inferior


You have to tell us what is best.


There's a big difference between 1st and 10th in any list. 


You should fix that ranking business.

ALSO. NO X-Files?


Are you mad? If The Twilight Zone qualifies, then surely the X-Files must.


While we're at it. Salvage-1 and ARK-II.

OK, I accept that


Twilight Zone needs to go, b/c I will not include the X-Files.

"Consider if You Would a Young Philosopher


who picks up his football and goes home..."

Swap Capricorn One for Roller Ball


Same 70's paranoia, plus a real athlete in a supporting role.

Good Movie


But, in hindsight, it turbocharged the notion that the Moon landings were faked. I would rather the film had never been made.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Max Headroom but no Firefly? Yer Nuts.


I also assume you mean the Edward James Olmos BSG, not the Lorne Greene BSG.  Babylon 5 should have made the list too.  Where the heck is Space 1999?

Movies? Eh, not sure where the breakdown between 'good movie' and 'enjoyed watching' is.  2001 I guess is a good movie but I'd rather be mauled by a bear than have to actually sit through it again.  Posting Rules prevent me from saying what I really think about you not having anything from Star Wars on your list.  So I'd say plug these in; Star Wars episodes III and V.  Blade Runner, Serenity, Strange Days, Alien, Predator (but not AvP, except maybe requiem)

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Space 1999


Blake's 7 and of course Buck Rogers.


I'll picj Star Wars IV V and VI though. VI did have the Ewoks and Kumbya end, but it also had the emperor and his fantastic dialogue 





The ewoks killed it for me.


Not just the midget fluffly fetish but the ice-age technology pitted against the empire's finest and winning out.

The racism was tiring as well.  Sure, let's put a slime covered salamander-headed humanoid in charge, anything but a black guy.  I thought the 80's were a little more progressive than that.

"but it also had the emperor and his fantastic dialogue" I'm making note that you have a more arid wit than I had previously observed.



In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

"Empire's Finest"

M Scott Eiland's picture

There's a laconic oxymoron if I've ever heard one. Other than the even more incompetent Rebel fighters in the first scene of Episode IV, how often did we see those mighty warriors hit anything that moved (or even stood still in a menacing pose). I'm thoroughly convinced that Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru died of synchronized spontaneous human combustion, because there's no way in hell that stormtroopers managed to hit them (the jawas obviously committed mass suicide). The Empire was obviously controlled via clone-fueled Zerg rushing, with defenders being overcome by the stench of burning storm trooper armor.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Movie Magic/stormtroopers helmets to blame

brutusettu's picture

how often did we see those mighty warriors hit anything that moved (or even stood still in a menacing pose). I'm thoroughly convinced that Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru died of synchronized spontaneous human combustion, because there's no way in hell that stormtroopers managed to hit them blames the helmets and other stuff



Scott, another reason I suggest episodes III and V


Ok, first of all the number one reason episode V rates the highest is that we learn that Darth Vader can choke people over TV.  Number 2, the Empire really does strike back.  They laid down some smack on Hoth.  Number 3, when Darth Vader looks at Billy Dee Williams and says 'Pray I don't alter our deal any further and have you doing malt liquor commercials'.

Overall the proficiency of the clone/storm troopers was a good deal higher than in the other flicks.  The good guys really roll up their sleeves as well.  You've got a 4 lightsaber wielding cyborg with a couple of hard to knock off side kicks.  You've got Christopher Lee with a stylish lightsaber, a cape and a little force lightning to boot.  Oh, and he's the only guy to liberally toss muldoons around with the force.  Anakin/Vader slowly transforms from impetuous youth to master delegator 'Vader is behind us? Where? Fer Chrissakes, Attack!'  They become masters of the galaxy while a green muppet lives in a swamp and Kenobi plays pinochle with sandpeople.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

They Laid Down Some Smack With Big Mechs. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .one of which was reduced to cinders with the equivalent of a couple of kids stretching a fishing line out in front of a pedestrian. Yes, far better than stormtroopers, but let's not get carried away with praise here (The [admittedly smaller] mechs get schooled by the fuzzy critters in Episode VI, too--though not remotely as badly as the stormtroopers and their inward pointing shaped charge contact explosive armor did). As for the Cloud City, that's all Vader--the storm troopers were nothing but props there--even Threepio's Waterloo was at the hands of an offscreen trooper or troopers. . .a variation of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle would seem to apply ("storm troopers always miss while being observed by the audience.")

III was better than I & II, though it also included plenty of eye-rolling moments (Padme's death, most of Anakin's descent into murderous stupidity, Mace Windu's embrace of an Idiot Ball suicide). The lack of an explosive Jar Jar Binks death scene cost it quite a few points.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

So are we agreed


that Star Wars is for babies?

Shut. Up. Mr Zardoz



In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Robocop is way better than Predator



Predator Was Special, It had Chops, It Was Real...



...from the steaming jungle to the hanging skin stripped was entirely possibly real.


Robocop to the contrary was smart, fun, social satire as one would expect from Paul Verhoeven, a Dutch European perspective on America as it were.


Great fun, a great movie with real feeling for Murphy and his plight...but you never saw it as real as was the dying in the Jungle by Predator.


They were simply very different things.


(Speaking of Verhoeven, the first Total Recall (but not the second recent re-make) was also smart and very good.


Best Wishes, Traveller


Verhoeven is hit-or-miss when he tries to do satire


Robocop hits the absolute perfect mix of black comedy, SF, and satire. The jokes in Total Recall, by contrast, tend to fall flat and so instead of Making Fun of What a Fourteen-Year Old Boy Would Find Awesome it instead just comes across as What a Fourteen-Year Old Boy Would Find Awesome.


Verhoeven's attempt to subvert Starship Troopers also fell flat for the same reason--he's just not as good a parodist as he thinks he is.

Robocop is the perfect mix, agreed


but I think Starship Troopers works well, certainly better than Total Recall.


Showgirls is as funny as it gets and genuinely confusing as to who is taking the piss out of whom.

I think that's fair critcism


I haven't seen Robocop since it hit the cinemas so I would need to watch it again to really pronounce a binding judgement, but I agree on Total Recall. Also, there wassomething about the aesthetics and having to look at Arnie (who I normally like) that put me off.


I did enjoy Starship troopers though. I thought it wasn't too far wide of its mark.

I think a good contrast to Verhoeven's Starship Troopers


is something like Fight Club. The parody there is subtle. There's the main point, about rejecting consumer culture, but there's the much subtler parody that involves Brad Pitt, who is built like, well, Brad Pitt, making fun of the perfect, personal trainer physique of the underwear model. There's the anti-consumerist language coming from the hallucinated imaginary friend of someone who's had a psychotic break--which is clearly not something to emulate. Basically, I think that a really good and subversive satire has the targets of the satire walking away from the movie not realizing that they were getting mocked. (Yes, I'm an elitist chode like that).


mmghosh's picture

I had to look it up. Interesting.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency


mmghosh's picture


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

People see what they want to see.


I too like it when it's not layed on with a trowel, but the Fight Club Fanboys are a bit distressing. Even if the intent is sarcasm if the takeaway for most of the population is toxic, the damage is done.

I think that something like Iron Dream


would have been a better approach to subverting Starship Troopers. So you'd have a clear sense that, wait, this is parody, but it's presented in a way that you have to at least rub two brain cells together to figure out that wait a minute, as inspiring as it might be, you're not supposed to be rooting for the fascists.

I've seen 2001 several times


5 or 6 times probably. It's a masterpiece, man.

I haven't seen Firefly


Isn't it only one season and doesn't it get abruptly cut off? Those are minuses.


I also haven't seen Babylon 5, or at least I don't think I've watched a whole episode, so thanks for the recs.


Star Wars is for babies. Serenity I liked - it could've been on my list instead of 5th Element. I also liked the latest Star Trek a lot. I never thought Star Trek could kick so much a$$.


I don't like horror-sci fi. Predator is funny, but the Aliens movies etc. just end up getting on my nerves. Blade Runner was on my list.


You're a dorky Babylon 5 fan.

Firefly was done seriously wrong in its original airing


and was totally set up to fail.  It runs on Sci-fi and the Science channel fairly regularly with all episodes and run in the correct order.  Honestly, I think it's one of the best shows ever done and a must see if you're a science fiction fan.

Star Wars for babies?  Well, that's why I picked the two episodes I did. The good guys lose and there is a minimum of George Lucas's apparent midget fluffy fetish.

Actually, I'm not a Babylon 5 fan.  I never really got into it but I do know that it had a following for a bit.  There's not a whole lot of sci-fi out there and when you take DS-9 and Star Trek Voyager off the list due to the fact that they are completely unwatchable POS's you've got maybe a dozen or so series left.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Firefly and Enterprise

Bird Dog's picture

With Enterprise, it was nice seeing Star Trek with less advanced technology. I also liked Eureka.

I know Lucas tainted it with the bad follow-ups, but Empire Strikes Back is in my top ten.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

And by "dorky Bablyon 5 fan" you mean "correct," I hope


Also, Farscape needs to be on the TV list. Yes, the science itself is ludicrous and it's more fantasy in space, but the love story is probably the best love story in fantastical fiction--save for that of Beren and Lúthien--and the atmosphere is absolutely outstanding.