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Friday, December 30, 2011

Top Ten 60s Sci-fi (?)

It was an interesting coincidence that this film journey was wrapping the 1960s, right around NewYears. Since it is customary to do "retrospectives" at year-end, this seemed like a good time to look back over the sci-fi films of the 1960s and pick some famous and favorites.

Which ten sci-fi movies of the 1960s deserve a Golden Rocket Award? Depends on who you ask, I suppose.

There were roughly 120-plus sci-fi films released in the 60s. Some would become famous standouts. Lots of weird ultra-cheapies.  I made up my list of films that I'd bestow a Golden Rocket to, but I had a hard time deciding which to put in the 10th slot.

1 2001: A Space Odyssey '68. THE big sci-fi film of the 60s. Kubrik set a new, high benchmark for the look and feel of sci-fi movies, even if his plot was a bit obtuse for most viewers.

2 Planet of the Apes '68. A close second. The start of a franchise that would recur several times in the 70s and still had "legs" enough for the 21st century.

3 First Men on the Moon '64. H.G. Wells' story in lavish color and steam-punk sets. Animated Selenites by Ray Harryhausen.

4 Time Machine '60. George Pal's version of H.G. Wells' novel and a bleak future for mankind. Atomic doom, Eloi and Morlocks!

5 Planeta Bur '62. A Soviet sci-fi which was epic enough in its own right, but also served primary source material for two American B movies -- and still looked good!

6 Fantastic Voyage '66. A visual feast of special effects and an unusual twist on the "inner space" plot, and a good application of the not-so-new miniature people effect.

7 Robinson Crusoe on Mars '64. William Defoe's classic tale of a castaway surviving in the wild, but recast for the space age.

8 Marooned '69. Serious science fiction set in the Apollo program. Interesting for how its story line played out for real in Apollo 13, just a few months after release.

9 Day of the Triffids '63. A bit campy, and quirky, but so memorable among the common invasion films.

10  ?

What to pick for number 10?  So many movies seemed deserving. They might not be epic greats, but were worth mentioning. Which 60s sci-fi would you give a Golden Rocket to?

Oh, and Happy New Year!


W. Scott Kardel said...

I would certainly include "Five Million Miles to Earth" aka "Quatermass and the Pit" in the top 10, possibly as high as #4.

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Anonymous said...

@ W.S.K its Five Million Years to Earth

Litefrozen said...

How about 1965's Alphaville with its combo of flim noir and dystopian future.

Anonymous said...

I vote for "Village of the Damned". The movie isn't big sci fi, but it IS very memorable.


andy said...

Crack in the World. It made a big impression on me as a kid. Don't know why. But, I always think of that movie as part of the 1960s.

just my two cents

Anonymous said...

Last Man on Earth, Vincent Price, 1964. Should be in there someplace.

Squidee said...

Late entry - The Golden Rocket? Either Fail Safe or Colossus: The Forbin Project.

Couldn't resist my own top 20:

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey

2. Fail Safe
Not a wasted frame.

3. Colossus: The Forbin Project
Skynet 1.0.

4. Quatermass and the Pit
Similar central theme to 2001.

5. The War Game
Devastating, uber mockumentary.

6. Night of the Living Dead
Cliche busting; This invasion is just hitting its stride, er shamble.

7. Planet of the Apes
What a hoot; Best of the franchise.

8. The Birds
Improves with repeated viewings.

9. Dr Strangelove
Fail Safe + funny names; still makes its point.

10. Fahrenheit 451
Effective with a memorable ending.

11. The Time Machine
Diluted Wells done with gusto.

12. First Men in the Moon

13. Robinson Crusoe on Mars
Good film, unfortunate title.

14. Crack in the World
Triffic production and effects.

15. Village of the Damned
Or its virtual remake, Children of the Damned.

16. The Day the Earth Caught Fire
Great sweaty time had by all with nice Kanean ending.

17. Fantastic Voyage
Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sugar.

18. The Damned
Some campy music; affecting end.

19. Planeta Burg
Space opera Soviet-style, minus the propaganda.

20. X - The Man With the X-Ray Eyes
Weak effects but well shot and one of Corman's best.

21. The Mind Benders
Flawed but fascinating.

22. The Time Travellers
Clever sequel of sorts to The Time Machine.

23. Planet of the Vampires
Stylish and moody.

24. Seconds
Probably should be higher but really can't warm to it.

25. Mysterious Island
Among the weakest of Harryhausen's.

Unranked guilty pleasures: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea; Atlantis, The Lost Continent; Atomic Submarine.

Nightowl said...

Squidee: Great list. Doing 20 is easier than 10. :-) I have Colossus, the Forbin Project as a 1970 film. It's one of the favorites from my youth. I'll be doing a review of it when I get back into 1970 -- after I finish with FrankenFEST.

Thanks for the list!

Randall Landers said...

Planet of the Vampires and First Spaceship on Venus would be on my list.

hottr6 said...

Frank Perry's horrifying "Ladybug, Ladybug". I'm surprised you have not yet reviewed this title.

Also, +1 for Hammer's "Five Million Years to Earth".

Nightowl said...

Ladybug, ladybug sounds like a good addition to my Atomic Angst collection. I'll get on that. Thanks!