10 Awesome Science-Fiction Movies From the Seventies

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Written by Frankie Cameron

Do you like old science-fiction movies? The ones made before CGI and special effects took over. In the 1970s there was an explosion of science-fiction movies that gave us the start of some of the best science-fiction series and fandoms of all time.

Rolling Stone listed 50 of the top science-fiction movies from the seventies and I picked my favourite 10. In alphabetical order, they are:

Spoiler Alerts for Alien, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, Logan’s Run, Mad Max, Planet of the Apes, Star Trek. Star Wars, Superman, and Time After Time, but seriously it’s been over forty years since they released these movies.

Science-Fiction Movies

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1. Alien (1979)

An apprehensive alien horror movie. An unscheduled stop by the crew of Nostromo leads to an alien infiltration. The terror builds right from the start, holding your heart in a tight grip until the end. You don’t even need to see the alien to fear it. The protagonist Ripley (love the name) is epic and has to use all her wits to survive.

The first in a series of movies that includes Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992), Alien Resurrection (1997), Prometheus, and Alien Covenant (2017).

2. Battlestar Galactica (1978)

Originally a made-for-TV movie later developed into a TV show. After the Cylons destroy the 12 Colonies, the human survivors set out in search of the mythical planet Earth, with the Cylons mission to destroy all humans.

My favourite character on the original show was the robotic dog Muffit. According to MeTv Muffit was played by a chimpanzee in a suit. Sadly, there are only 21 episodes of this cult TV classic.

A reimagined Battlestar Galactica aired from 2005 to 2009. Although the premise was the same, the characters and storylines differed from the original, including casting women in the roles of Starbuck and Boomer. Both versions are excellent for different reasons.

3. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979)

Frozen in the 1980s, NASA shuttle pilot Buck Rogers wakes up 500 years later in the year 2491 to find Earth at war with the Draconians. Another made-for-tv movie that became a tv show for 2 seasons. Part of the fun of this show was Buck dealing with new technology.

4. Logan’s Run (1976)

Living in a domed Utopia is wonderful until you turn 30, then they kill you in a glorious ceremony, although they try to hide it as reincarnation. When Logan a sandman hunting for a runner goes undercover, he discovers things aren’t what he always believed.

This movie might have been my introduction to dystopia. Recently, I rented it from Apple and it is a lot cheesier than I remember.

5. Mad Max (1979)

Mad Max Rockatansky is a cop in an apocalyptic world up against the lawless Night Rider’s motorcycle gang, led by the Toe-Cutter who hunts for gas and terrorizes people. After devastating personal losses, Max set out for retribution.

The first in a series of movies that includes The Road Warrior (1981), Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1986) and the remake Mad Mad: Fury Road (2015).

The Road Warrior is still my favourite of all the Mad Max movies, mainly because of the feral kid and his boomerang.

6. Planet of the Apes (1968)

When an astronaut, George Taylor, lands on a strange planet, he discovers that apes have enslaved mute humans. When it’s discovered that he can talk, two sympathetic apes try to help him. At the end of the movie, George discovers he is actually on a devastated future planet earth.

Although the original Planet of the Apes movie debuted in 1968, the sequels Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), and Battle of the Planet of the Apes (1973) all aired in the seventies.

Mark Wahlberg starred in a Planet of the Apes remake (2001). There was also another series of movies Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), and War for the Planet of the Apes (2017).

7. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

Star Trek: The Motion Picture premiered ten years after the TV series ended. It aired from 1966 to 1969. The series follows a group on a mission to explore the galaxy as part of the United Federation of Planets.

Space, the final frontier

These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise

Its five year mission

To explore strange new worlds

To seek out new life

And new civilization

To boldly go where no man has gone before

-Captain James T. Kirk, USS Enterprise

The other five films in the original series include The Wrath of Khan (1982), The Search for Spock (1984), The Voyage Home (1986), The Final Frontier (1989), and The Undiscovered Country (1991). Chris Pine starred as Captain Kirk in the following movies: Star Trek (2009), Into Darkness (2013), and Beyond (2016).

TV shows spun from the Star Trek world include Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, Picard, Discovery, and Strange New Worlds. Star Wars: The Next Generation ran for seven seasons and included four movies.

8. Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

When Luke Skywalker receives a message from R2-D2 to rescue Princess Leia, he seeks Obi-Wan Kenobi’s help. They hire the reluctant Han Solo, and together with C-3P0 and Chewbacca, they set out on a rescue mission to free Leia from Darth Vader and the evil Empire. This movie transformed the special effect industry.

Another prolific franchise with films that include The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Return of the Jedi (1983), The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002), Revenge of the Sith (2005), The Force Awakens (2015), The Last Jedi (2017), and The Rise of Skywalker (2019). There are the standalone films Rogue One (2016) and Solo (2018). Disney+ also has The Mandalorian tv series set in the same universe with plans to expand the Star Wars empire further.

9. Superman (1978)

Superman aka Kal-el from the planet Krypton. Superman’s parents sent him to earth when their planet dies. He has powers such as flying, x-ray vision, healing, super speed, strength, and artic breath to name a few. His only weakness is kryptonite. In the first movie, he battles his nemesis, Lex Luther. This series of movies includes Superman II (1981), Superman III (1983), and Superman IV (1987).

Superman Returns (2006), Man of Steel (2013), Dawn of Justice (2016), and Justice League (2017) are another set of Superman movies. There are also TV series such as Lois & Clark, Smallville, Supergirl, and Superman & Lois plus the prequel Krypton.

Christopher Reeve was my first superman. My pet peeve with Superman was his disguise. How could Lois Lane, an epic reporter, not see past the glasses and bumbling act to figure out Clark Kent is Superman?

10. Time After Time (1979)

In this classic movie, H. G. Wells chases the serial killer Jack the Ripper through time when he uses Wells’ time machine to escape his time period. There was also a short-lived TV series in 2017 with the same name and premise. While I like this movie, I prefer the 1978 film the Time Machine which was also remade in 2002.

Final Thoughts

The seventies gave us a lot of great science-fiction movies and launched some epic franchises. Are any of my favourites on your list? Let me know in the comments.

 

Until next time

Frankie

 

Feature image by Reimund Bertrams from Pixabay. Note: all movies and dates in the blog come from IMBD except for the 10 listed movies come from IMBD.

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