10 ’70s Sci-Fi Movies That Are Still Mind-Blowing Today
The 1970s is an era known for being one of monumental change in the film business. Hollywood started to take risks in the stories that were being told, giving resources to provocative and visionary filmmakers. This decade of interesting projects even extended to the science fiction genre, where bold movies were being made that would change Hollywood forever.
The ambition of the stories and the scale of the films produced sci-fi features unlike anything that had previously been seen in Hollywood. Though not all were huge box office hits, many made their mark and are remembered all these years later. Here are some 70s sci-fi movies that are still mind-blowing today.
10 Silent Running
Silent Running is a science fiction tale ahead of its time that would deal with some of the same topics that Hollywood still examines today, including the destruction of the natural world. The film is set in a future in which plant life is all but extinct. Bruce Dern plays an astronaut who is ordered to destroy the last remaining botany aboard his space station.
The movie is a fascinating look at our connection to nature and how we are moving further and further from it. It is a movie that perhaps resonates more now than it did upon its original release. It is a quieter film than most on this list, but powerful all the same.
9 A Clockwork Orange
Stanley Kubrick is the genius mind behind one of the greatest science fiction films ever made with 2001: A Space Odyssey. He returned to the genre for a much different and much darker film with A Clockwork Orange.
The movie was set in the not-too-distant future and followed a deranged young man who spends his time committing heinous crimes with his friends. He is eventually arrested and undergoes an experimental procedure to "cure" him. It is not an easy film to watch with such a despicable lead character, but it is still a brilliant look at the nature of violence.
8 Soylent Green
Soylent Green is another film that deals with issues that are even more topical today. Charlton Heston stars in this futuristic story set in a society that has become dangerously overcrowded. As the world faces a dilemma over food shortages, Heston's cop investigates a murder surrounding a food manufacturing company.
While the twist has become iconic, if you somehow aren't aware of it, watch the movie and find out for yourself why it is one of the all-time best shockers. The mystery aspect plays well into the dystopian world.
7 Logan's Run
Science fiction stories of this period loved presenting a world that seemed like a utopia only to reveal a dark aspect that turns it into a nightmare. Logan's Run is a perfect example of that. It is set in an idyllic community with everything one could ever want. However, the community comes with the rule that everyone's life must end at the age of 30.
The story is an adventure tale following one man who tries is ordered to infiltrate a group of "runners", people who have escaped their expiration date. It is a thrilling, fun, and thoughtful movie with a compelling premise.
6 Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
Steven Spielberg's career in movies was really taking off with his massively successful film, Jaws. He continued to cement himself as a great storyteller with his next film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind which dealt with the fascination over finding intelligent life in the universe.
The movie stars Richard Dreyfus as a family man whose life is turned upside down after an encounter with a UFO. The movie is filled with the kind of movie-making magic Spielberg would soon be known for. It remains one of his most touching films.
Andrei Tarkovsky is known for his challenging and thoughtful science fiction films and Solaris ranks among his very best. The story follows a scientist who is sent to a space station where the previous one of the three crew members has mysteriously died and the others seem to have gone insane. As he investigates the strange occurrences, he begins seeing visions of his dead wife.
The movie manages to be a personal and intimate story in the midst of the science fiction setting. Tarkovsky is not afraid to let the story tell itself in the slow burning, hypnotic way that makes it all the more captivating.
4 Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
The Invasion of the Body Snatchers story has been told multiple times on the big screen, but this 1978 remake is widely regarded as the best. The movie features great performances from Donald Sutherland, Jeff Goldblum and Leonard Nimoy in the story of a small town being slowly taken over by aliens who can replicate humans.
There is an eerie, paranoid feel to the entire movie that is extremely effective. It is tense, riveting, and has you holding your breath the entire time. Even after several other remakes, this remains the best telling of the story.
3 Mad Max
Mad Max: Fury Road proved to modern audiences that this wild franchise still had a lot of gas left in the tank. However, 1979's Mad Max is the film that started it all and still holds up in its own right as a thrilling action sci-fi adventure.
Mel Gibson played Max the first time around, set in a world on the brink of destruction. After his family is killed by a motorcycle gang, Max sets out across the wasteland to exact revenge. As wild as Fury Road is, the stunts in the original film remain impressive even now.
Ridley Scott created the quintessential sci-fi horror film with Alien and birthed a franchise that is still going today. The movie follows the small crew of an industrial spacecraft who answer an emergency beacon on a strange planet and soon become the targets of an ever-evolving alien creature.
The design of the creature in the film has become one of the most iconic movie monsters of all time. The movie also introduced Sigourney Weaver's Ripley, who become one of the greatest sci-fi heroes of all time. It is an intense, gory, and brilliant thriller.
1 Star Wars
It is impossible not to talk about the science-fiction genre in general without discussing Star Wars. George Lucas' ambitious space opera that featured lightsabers, space battles, and memorable characters changed Hollywood forever and became one of the biggest brands in the world.
While fans remain divided about the more recent films, many of them look back on the first time they were introduced to this galaxy far, far away as a significant moment. Seeing how far the franchise has come and how beloved it remains proves it is one of the most important films to come out of this decade.