For the purposes of this site, I have classed classic science fiction films as those films made in the 1950's or 1960's. Some of the films are here for interest (not necessarily great films) only, and some because they are excellent examples of the genre.
Science Fiction in cinema is essentially a genre in which speculative, science-based explanations of phenomena are used to depict situations in the present or the future.
Science fiction films can usually be placed in one of the categories below, or a mixture of them.
These films usually depict malevolent alien beings invading the Earth and attempting to supplant humanity. Some films have the invasion as an overt one. Examples include War of the Worlds(1953) and Earth versus the Flying Saucers(1956). In other films the invasion is carried out in a more insidious fashion. Examples include Invasion of the Bodysnatchers(1956) and It Came from Outer Space(1953).
When science goes awry it usually does so on a colossal scale in science fiction films. Sometimes it produces monsters (see the section below), or it may produce a cataclysm on a global scale. An example of this is Crack in the World(1965). Other examples of science going awry can be seen in Colossus: The Forbin Project(1965), where a computer system tries to take over the world. Fail-Safe(1964) sees a series of communication errors nearing the world to a possible nuclear exchange between the superpowers.
Science fictions films have had a long tradition of films depicting attacks from giant rampaging monsters terrorising various cities. The reason for the monster being created or awoken is usually a scientific one or more accurately a pseudo-scientific one. Many are the result of nuclear incidents. Notable examples include The Amazing Colossal Man(1957), The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms(1953) and Godzilla(1956).
These types of science fiction films generally involve a spacecraft journeying into outer space. They depict the
experiences the crew have when they reach their destination, usually an alien planet. Sometimes the spacecraft
returns to Earth bringing a surprise alien being with it. Examples include, The Quatermass Xperiment(1955), The Angry
Red Planet(1959) and The Forbidden Planet(1956).