Welcome to RT's Journey Through Sci-Fi

By Jeff Giles

Science fiction: it's a phrase that, for many, conjures images of basement-dwelling dweebs obsessing over the minutest details of elaborately assembled mythologies from decades-old films, books, and role-playing games. Not that there isn't a kernel of truth to the stereotype, but sci-fi is more than that; we often use entertainment to escape, after all, and what's more escapist than a story that couldn't possibly take place in the real world (yet)?

When it comes to films, sci-fi is also a broader category than you might think, something you'll discover as you peruse this carefully assembled list of the Top 100 Sci-Fi Films. We've got the requisite space adventures (Star Wars, anyone?) and alien encounters (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, even), and we've got plenty of the usual suspects: Steven Spielberg helmed six movies on this list, John Carpenter made five, James Cameron four, and George Lucas three (not counting Episodes V and VI). We've got a few surprises, too; chances are, even if you consider yourself an ardent opponent of all things science fiction, you've got a few favorites in here (did someone say Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind?).

Since the sci-fi genre is so vast, we decided to set some parameters. Although zombie movies often contain examples of science gone wrong, we feel that tales of the living dead occupy a different category altogether. Same goes for the dystopian world of anime. In order to get a nice mix of old and new flicks, we used a weighted system that factors both the Tomatometer and the number of reviews. Some weren't well reviewed enough to make the cut (tough break, Tron), and others didn't have enough reviews to qualify (sorry, Stalker).

So what are you waiting for? Dust off your lightsaber, set phasers to "stun," and get ready to count down the greatest science fiction movies ever made!

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