Classic Science Fiction Movies

1960s Science Fiction

The 1960s science fiction movies are again a mixed bag representing most of the standard sub-genres, but some of the Cold War tension is still present as, for example, in "Fail-Safe" (1964) and "Marooned" (1969). The single most important science fiction movie of the 1960s (and perhaps of the entire 20th Century, in my view) is "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968). Here are my "Top 10" science fiction movies of the 1960s, plus a way-out "Honorable Mention."


Movie Clip

The Time Machine
(1960 - 103 min) *****

Plot: An inventor journeys forward in time to find that mankind has evolved into a placid race of people enslaved by vicious mutants called Morlocks. (Based on the novel by H.G. Wells.)

Rod Taylor
Yvette Mimieux
Alan Young
Sebastian Cabot
Directed by George Pal

Remakes:

  • The Time Machine (2002 - 96 min) **


    Movie Clip

    Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
    (1961 - 105 min) ****

    Plot: A futuristic nuclear submarine is hampered by onboard intrigue in its mission to neutralize a deadly radiation belt surounding the Earth. (Led to a long-running TV series of the same name.)

    Walter Pidgeon
    Joan Fontaine
    Robert Sterling
    Barbara Eden
    Peter Lorre
    Directed by Irwin Allen


    Movie Clip

    Fail-Safe
    (1964 - 111 min) ****

    Plot: Because of a computer glitch, a U.S. bomber is accidentally sent to nuke Moscow, plunging the United States and Russian governments into a decision-making crisis.

    Henry Fonda
    Walter Mathau
    Sorrell Booke
    Larry Hagman
    Frank Overton
    Dom DeLuise
    Directed by Sidney Lumet


    Movie Clip

    Fahrenheit 451
    (1966 - 111 min) ***

    Plot: In a future Earth, where books are off limits, a "fireman" assigned to burn them has a change of heart and joins a community intent on preserving some of the most famous works. (Based on the novel by Ray Bradbury.)

    Julie Chritie
    Oskar Werner
    Cyril Cusack
    Anton Diffring
    Directed by Francois Truffaut


    Movie Clip

    Fantastic Voyage
    (1966 - 100 min) ****

    Plot: Scientists take the ultimate step of miniaturizing themselves and a small submarine so that they can enter a patient's body to perform micro-surgery from the inside. (Based on the novel by Isaac Asimov.)

    Stephen Boyd
    Raquel Welch
    Edmond O'Brien
    Donald Pleasence
    Directed by Richard Fleischer


    Movie Clip

    Planet of the Apes
    (1967 - 112 min) *****

    Plot: Astronauts land on a strange world where humans are kept as slaves by the ape rulers. (If you haven't already seen it, watch for the shocking ending! Eventually led to a short-lived TV series of the same name.)

    Charleton Heston
    Roddy McDowell
    Kim Hunter
    Maurice Evans
    James WHitmore
    James Daly
    Linda Harrison
    Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner

    Sequels:

  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970 - 95 min) ****
  • Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971 - 97 min) ****
  • Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972 - 87 min) ***
  • Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973 - 96 min) **

    Remake:

  • Planet of the Apes (2001 - 120 min) ****

    Prequel:

  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011 - ? min) ?


    Movie Clip

    2001: A Space Odyssey
    (1968 - 139 min) *****

    Plot: Man's evolution from the Stone Age to the Space Age culminates in the journey of two astronauts to Jupter, where they contend with their homocidal computer, HAL, and the enigmatic black monolith. (Based on a short story and the novel by Arthur C. Clarke.)

    Keir Dullea
    Gary Lockwood
    William Sylvester
    Directed by Stanley Kubrick

    Sequel:

  • 2010: The Year We Made Contact (1989 - 106 min) *****


    Movie Clip

    Five Million Years to Earth
    (1968 - 98 min) ****

    Plot: Deadly creatures from outer space are discovered buried beneath the London subway system.

    James Donald
    Barbara Shelley
    Andrew Keir
    Julian Glover
    Directed by Roy Ward Baker


    Movie Clip

    Marooned
    (1969 - 134 min) ****

    Plot: Reality-based story of three American astronauts who are stranded in space and the efforts that are mounted to try to rescue them. (Based on the novel by Martin Caidin)

    Gregory Peck
    Richard Crenna
    James Franciscus
    David Janssen
    Gene Hackman
    Lee Grant
    Nancy Kovack
    Mariette Hartley
    Directed by John Sturgess


    Movie Clip

    Journey to the Far Side of the Sun
    (1969 - 92 min) ****

    Plot: On the other side of the sun, astronauts find a planet that mirrors Earth in almost all aspects. (Also known as "Doppleganger.")

    Roy Thinnes
    Lynn Loring
    Herbert Lorn
    Directed by Robert Parrish


    Movie Clip

    Barbarella
    (1968 - 98 min) **

    Plot: A 41st Century space heroine has a series of psychedelic and erotic encounters in space. (Based on a French comic book.) [Note: "Barbarella" is pure fantasy, but I couldn't resist including it in this directory for no other reason than that Jane Fonda makes a spectacularly beautiful astronaut, even if this is one role she probably wishes everyone would forget about.]

    Jane Fonda
    John Phillip Law
    Milo O'Shea
    Davind Hemmings
    Marcel Marceau
    Claude Dauphin
    Directed by Roger Vadim

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    Last Updated: July 26, 2011