Top 10 Greatest Science Fiction Masterpieces of All Time

After three decades, Ridley Scott's masterpiece BLADE RUNNER is getting a second chapter. While I would never have thought a sequel was necessary, Denis Villeneuve has crafted an absolute masterpiece. Being a lofty word, many films are attributed as masterpieces when they are simply very good. So, I decided to assemble a list of the ten science fiction films I deem worthy of being called the greatest masterpieces of the genre. i decided to exclude franchises like STAR WARS, ALIEN, TERMINATOR, and THE MATRIX simply because a masterpiece tends to stand on it's own. Remember, this list is just one man's opinion, so if you disagree, share your ranking or alternatives in the comments below.


Ridley Scott has a few classics under his belt but none hold a candle to the original BLADE RUNNER. After several versions were released and a sequel finally became a reality, BLADE RUNNER still remains one of the most influential movies of all time. Ridley Scott's trademark visual style is anchored in this neo-noir that helped showcase Harrison Ford in a different kind of science fiction film. From the score to the cinematography, few films are as stunning as BLADE RUNNER.


Stanley Kubrick may be one of the few filmmakers who made a career out of creating masterpieces, but 2001 is his crowning achievement. Partnered with author Arthur C. Clarke, Kubrick created the rare science fiction film that is at once a studio epic and a visual poem. Kubrick inspired countless filmmakers after him and virtually no one has managed to capture what the filmmaker managed to create in 2001.


Terry Gilliam looked at the darker side of the future in 12 MONKEYS but he takes a surrealistic and humorous look at the dystopian society to come with BRAZIL. Recut by the studio, the definitive version of his bent take on 1984 is sheer brilliance. Jonathan Pryce anchors a film that features Monty Python alums as well as Robert De Niro for a movie that far too few people talk about today.


Spielberg makes his second appearance on this ranking with his other scifi opus. Unlike E.T., CLOSE ENCOUNTERS is a much more adult look at aliens visiting our planet but is still fully accessible by viewers of all ages. Spielberg manages to make this very deliberately paced film haunting, lyrical, and exciting. Few directors can imbue a film with a sense of hope and adventure like Spielberg and that is what makes his movies so damn perfect.


Terry Gilliam has been a part of countless unique films over the years, but he has also managed to have his fair share of masterpieces in the science fiction and fantasy genre. 12 MONKEYS is that rare movie that manages to be mainstream accessible and also utterly original and unique. Bruce Willis manages a subtle mania in the face of Brad Pitt's Oscar nominated performance that remains one of his best roles. A stunning time travel story that also served as the inspiration for a fan favorite TV series.


Alfonso Cuaron has helmed some brilliant movies but few are as chillingly prescient as CHILDREN OF MEN. While his Harry Potter film may be the best directed in that franchise and GRAVITY was an Oscar darling, CHILDREN OF MEN is one of the most perfect movies of the last decade. Managing to eclipse the source novel, Cuaron tells a story that is so subtly realistic, you forget that what you are seeing is fiction. Few films are as worthy of the title of masterpiece as this.


The silent film that many hold as the epitome of what the medium has offered, METROPOLIS defined hundreds of films in the century that has followed as well as virtually all modern anime. The story of a dystopian future where a robot fights back against her creator is as poignant today as it was when the film was first released. Few films, even those with color and sound, can match the grandeur and vision of Fritz Lang's classic.


Steven Spielberg's career has many highlights, but few films are as perfectly executed as E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL. E.T. works both for children and adults and is the exact template that STRANGER THINGS and J.J. Abrams' SUPER 8 have modeled themselves on. The fact that this movie is set in the 1980s but not defined by the decade shows the lasting impact of great acting, excellent writing, and perfect direction.


If you think you are above animated fare and think a cartoon cannot hold it's own on a list of masterpieces, well you can go eat a dick. WALL-E is potentially the singular masterpiece in the Pixar canon. Told with virtually no dialogue, WALL-E is a touching love story, cautionary tale about the environment, and just damn good science fiction. There are few animated films that deserve to be in as high regard as this film.


Duncan Jones proved himself to be an auteur to watch with the stunningly original MOON. Giving Sam Rockwell a much deserved showcase, MOON evoked some of the most iconic science fiction films ever made while also distinguishing itself with a touching and ominous story unlike anything else in recent memory. It will be tough to see Jones top this amazing film.

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