Classic Science Fiction Movies

1990s Science Fiction

During the 1990s, there was a trend toward more and more "action-adventure" and outright "gore-fest" movies being released as "science fiction" just on the basis of a futuristic setting or backdrop. I've mentioned before (see my review of the World War II film Memphis Belle) that I believe that movie producers are going overboard in the level of gratuitous graphic violence presented in movies. In many cases the level of graphic violence is totally unnecessary in the telling of the story and, in fact, is often used as a substitute for good storytelling. To me, this happens because the producers are too lazy to develop the plots and characters. An excellent example of the opposite is the extremely successful "Star Wars" series, where close-knit and exciting stories and well-developed characters result in specatcular box office success without the need for all the blood and gore. There were quite a few "science fiction" movies released in the 1980s and 1990s that I have not seen and refuse to see because I know that they feature a lot of graphic violence. While some of you might think my views on this subject are extreme, I don't -- and quite frankly, I strongly believe that if more moviegoers would make their opinions heard by withholding their dollars from these "gore-fests," the producers would get the idea, and you - the movies goer - would get better overall quality films.

That "sermon" out of the way, the standout science fiction films of the 1990s include "Jurassic Park" (1993) [another example of great storytelling and edge-of-the-seat excitement without a lot of graphic blood and gore], "Contact" (1997) [a great character study of a dedicated SETI scientists], "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon" (1998) [more excitement and tension without unnecessary graphic violence], "Bicentennial Man" (1999) [an excellent retelling of Isaac Asimov's classic tale], and "Galaxy Quest" (1999) [perhaps one of the best science fiction comedies ever]. Here are the rest of my "Top 10" science fiction movies of the 1990s.


Movie Clip

Jurassic Park
(1993 - 126 min) *****

Plot: A billionaire invites a group of scientists to preview his planned amusement park which features cloned dinosaurs, who soon are on the loose.

Sam Neill
Laura Dern
Jeff Goldblum
Richard Attenborough
Bob Peck
Martin Ferrero
Directed by Steven Spielberg

Sequel:

  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997 - 134 min) ***
  • Jurassic Park III (2001 - 92 min) ***


    Movie Clip

    Stargate
    (1994 - 119 min) ***

    Plot: A military man and an anthropologist enter a stone gateway that leads to a strange universe which resembles ancient Egypt.

    James Spader
    Kurt Russell
    Jaye Davidson
    Directed by Roland Emmerich


    Movie Clip

    Independence Day
    (1996 - 145 min) ***

    Plot: Alien spaceships hover over Earth on July 4th with the intent of total domination of the planet, and an unlikely band of heroes strike out to save the Earth.

    Will Smith
    Bill Pullman
    Jeff Goldblum
    Mary McDonnell
    Judd Hirsch
    Margaret Colin
    Randy Quaid
    Robert Loggia
    James Redhorn
    Harvey Fierstein
    Adam Baldwin
    Brent Spiner
    Director by Roland Emmerich


    Movie Clip

    Contact
    (1997 - 150 min) ****

    Plot: A SETI scientist is ostracized by her peers until she actually receives an extraterrestrial message, then she's the center of a project to send a human representative to the homeworld of the message's senders. (Based on the novel by Carl Sagan.)

    Jodie Foster
    Matthew McConaughey
    James Woods
    John Hurt
    Tom Skerritt
    William Fitchner
    David Morse
    Angela Bassett
    Geofrey Blake
    Directed by Robert Zemeckis


    Movie Clip

    Starship Troopers
    (1997 - 129 min) **

    Plot: Young military recruits find themselves in a full-scale war against invading insects from space. (Based on the novel by Robert Heinlein.)

    Casper Van Dien
    Dina Meyer
    Denise Richards
    Jake Busey
    Neil Patrick Harris
    Clancy Brown
    Seth Gilliam
    Patrick Muldoon
    Michael Ironside
    Rue McClanahan
    Marshall Bell
    Directed by Paul Verhoeven


    Movie Clip

    Armageddon
    (1998 - 151 min) ***

    Plot: NASA recruits an oil-well driller and his crew to plant a nuclear bomb on an asteroid headed on a collision course with Earth.

    Bruce Willis
    Bill bob Thornton
    Liv Taylor
    Ben Affleck
    Will Patton
    Peter Stormare
    Keith David
    Steve Buscemi
    Owen Wilson
    William Fichtner
    Udo Kier
    Directed by Michael Bay


    Movie Clip

    Deep Impact
    (1998 120 min) ****

    Plot: NASA attempts to deflect a comet on a collision course with Earth, while the President of the United States leads efforts to save as many people as possible if the attempt is unsuccessful. (Loosely based on the novel "Hammer of God" by Arthur C. Clarke.)

    Morgan Freeman
    Robert Buvall
    Tea Leoni
    Elija Wood
    Vanessa Redgrave
    Maximillian Schell
    James Cromwell
    Ron Eldard
    John Favreau
    And many other
    Directed by Mimi Leder


    Movie Clip

    Lost in Space
    (1998 - 122 min) **

    Plot: A family is launched into space to open a gateway to a planet where people from an overcrowded Earth can be transplanted. (Based on the 1960s TV series.)

    Gary Oldman
    William Hurt
    Matt LeBlanc
    Mimi Rogers
    Heather Graham
    Lacy Chabert
    Jack Johnson
    Jared Harris
    Edward Fox
    Voice of Dick Tufeld
    Directed by Stephen Hopkins


    Movie Clip

    Bicentennial Man
    (1999 - 131 min) ****

    Plot: In the near future, a domestic robot develops a sense of self-awareness and sets out to become human. (Based on the short story by Isaac Asimov and the follow-up novel "The Positronic Man" by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg.)

    Robin Williams
    Sam Neill
    Hallie Kate Eisenberg
    Embeth Davidtz
    Wendy Crewson
    Stephen Root
    Breadley Whitford
    John Michael Higgins
    Allan Rich
    Oliver Platt
    Directed by Chris Columbus


    Movie Clip

    Galaxy Quest
    (1999 - 104 min) ****

    Plot: The stars of a popular TV science fiction series are unwittingly recruited by real-life aliens to help them defend their civilization from a vicious prediatory race. (Fun-filled plot takes off on many cliches common to "Star Trek" fandom.)

    Tim Allen
    Sigourney Weaver
    Alan Rickman
    Tnoy Shalhoub
    Sam Rockwell
    Daryl Mitchell
    Enrico Colantoni
    Robin Sachs
    Patrick Breen
    Missi Pyle
    Jeb Rees
    Justing Lang
    Directed by Deam Pariest

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    Last Updated: January 1, 2003