Classic Science Fiction Movies
1980s Science Fiction
The 1980s continued the trend of more emphasis on Earth-based, "future life" science fiction movies. The only significant exceptions to this trend were the "Star Trek" series (1980 onwards), "Flash Gordon" (1980), "Outland" (1981), "Dune" (1984), and "The Last Starfighter" (1984). A new trend in this decade was an increasing amount of reliance on "action-adventure" plots with a coincidental "science fiction" setting. Among the more prominent of these were "Outland" (1981), "Blade Runner" (1982), "The Terminator" (1984), and "The Abyss" (1989). I'll have more to say on this topic in the 1990s directory. Again I was unable to cut my list down to only ten, so, I present my "Top 15" science fiction movies of the 1980s.
(1980 - 104 min) ****
Plot: A modern-day aircraft carrier is time-warped to the night before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and is given the opportunity to stop the attack before it happens. (Based on the novel by Martin Caidin.)
(1980 - 111 min) ***
Plot: Campy remake of the classic 1930's serial starring Buster Crabbe in the title role. The evil Emperor Ming wages instellar war on Flash and his friends.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
(1980 - 145 min) ***
Plot: The Federation Starship "Enterprise" goes to investigate a powerful alien machine that is approaching Earth with possible deadly intent.
(1981 - 110 min) ***
Plot: A future law officer uncovers a criminal conspiracy at a mining colony on one of Jupiter's moons.
(1982 - 122 min) ***
Plot: A 21st Century lawman tracks down superhuman androids who escaped enslavement. (Based on the novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip K. Dick.)
E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial
(1982 - 115 min) *****
Plot: A cute alien lands near a suburban community and is befriended by a boy who helps him "phone home."
Dee Wallace Stone
(1982 - 95 min) ****
Plot: A computer jock finds himself trapped in a world inside a computer where he faces a life-and-death arcade game for his life. (One of the first and most extensive uses of computer animation combined with live-action.)
Twilight Zone: The Movie
(1983 - 101 min) ***
Plot: Remakes of a trio of classic episodes from the "Twilight Zone" TV series.
Vic Morrow (killed during filming)
(1983 - 100 min) **
Plot: A variation of "Fail-Safe" about a computer wiz-kid who hacks into a military early warning system computer and almost starts World War III.
(1984 - 140 min) *
Plot: In the distant future a battle rages over control of an important desert planet. (Based on the novel by Frank Herbert.)
The Last Starfighter
(1984 - 100 min) ****
Plot: A teenager is recruited via his skills at an arcade game to fight real-life space battles in a distant galaxy. (All the spaceships are computer generated -- no miniature models.)
(1984 - 115 min) ****
Plot: A grieving widow is visited by an extraterrestrial who assumes the form of her dead husband, and an unusual romance grows.
(1984 - 108 min) ****
Plot: A cyborg is sent from the future to kill a seemingly innocent woman who has an impact on the future.
(1986 - 115 min) ***
Plot: An unlikely accident results in a group of Space Camp cadets lifting off in the space shuttle and having to think their way back home safely.
(1989 - 140 min) ****
Plot: A crew of deep sea oil-well riggers attempt to rescue a sunken nuclear submarine and unexpectedly encounters an undersea extraterrestrial civilization.
1996-2015 Arnold E.
van Beverhoudt, Jr.