Watchworthy

The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s 

Ranker Film
Updated April 12, 2020 11.2k votes 1.1k voters 29.2k views 97 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite science fiction films that were released in the 1950s

On this list of the best 1950s sci-fi movies, you will see a significant crossover between horror and science fiction. The science fiction films of the decade contained elements of horror, and the horror films of the ‘50s often contained a sci-fi bend. A prime example of this trend is Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, which can also be found on our list of the best ‘50s horror movies.


One of the greatest sci-fi movies ever made is the 1951 classic
The Day the Earth Stood Still, the story of an alien visitor and the dire consequences that ensue. Other notable ‘50s sci-fi films on this list include The Incredible Shrinking Man, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Forbidden Planet.


Another iconic sci-fi film on this list that features elements of the horror genre is
The Blob, starring Steve McQueen. The Blob was featured at drive-in theaters around the country, and remains a popular throwback sci-fi film even to this day. Vote up the best '50s sci-fi movies below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section. 
Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
The Day the Earth Stood ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Patricia Neal, Michael Rennie, Frances Bavier

Released: 1951

Directed by: Robert Wise

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial The Day the Earth Stood Still is a 1951 American black-and-white science fiction film from 20th Century Fox, produced by Julian Blaustein, directed by Robert Wise, and starring Michael Rennie, ...more

More The Day the Earth Stood Still 

#45 of 191 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #102 of 130 Movies That Should Never Be Remade #270 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

2
Forbidden Planet is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Leslie Nielsen, Anne Francis, Walter Pidgeon

Released: 1956

Directed by: Fred M. Wilcox

Forbidden Planet is a 1956 American science fiction film from MGM, produced by Nicholas Nayfack, directed by Fred M. Wilcox and starring Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen, Warren ...more

More Forbidden Planet 

#328 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #103 of 191 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #744 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

3
H. G. Wells' War of the ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Gene Barry, Ann Robinson

Released: 1953

Directed by: Byron Haskin

This film is a 1953 American Technicolor science fiction film from Paramount Pictures, produced by George Pal, directed by Byron Haskin, and starring Gene Barry and Ann Robinson. The film is a ...more

More H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds 

#66 of 191 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #1,376 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
The Thing from Another W... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
James Arness, Paul Frees, George Fenneman

Released: 1951

Directed by: Howard Hawks, Christian Nyby

The Thing from Another World is a 1951 American black-and-white science fiction/horror film produced by Howard Hawks' Winchester Pictures Corporation, released by RKO Pictures, and directed by ...more

More The Thing from Another World 

#108 of 191 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #324 of 852 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #6 of 51 The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies

5
Them! is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Leonard Nimoy, James Arness, Fess Parker

Released: 1954

Directed by: Gordon Douglas

Them! is a 1954 American black-and-white science fiction film from Warner Bros. Pictures produced by David Weisbart, directed by Gordon Douglas, and starring James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan ...more
6
Invasion of the Body Sna... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Dana Wynter, Sam Peckinpah, Carolyn Jones

Released: 1956

Directed by: Don Siegel

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a 1956 American black-and-white science fiction film produced by Walter Wanger, directed by Don Siegel, and starring Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter. The film ...more

More Invasion of the Body Snatchers 

#68 of 191 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #319 of 852 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #1,240 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

7
Creature from the Black ... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Tommi Welchoff-White added Richard Carlson, Richard Denning, Julie Adams

Released: 1954

Directed by: Jack Arnold

Creature from the Black Lagoon is a 1954 monster horror 3-D film in black-and-white, directed by Jack Arnold and starring Richard Carlson, Julia Adams, Richard Denning, Antonio Moreno and Whit ...more

More Creature from the Black Lagoon 

#121 of 852 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #10 of 51 The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies #5 of 20 What Are The Best Universal Monster Films?

8
The Blob is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut, Lee Payton

Released: 1958

Directed by: Irvin Yeaworth

The Blob is an independently made 1958 American horror/science fiction film directed by Irvin Yeaworth. In the style of American International Pictures, Paramount Pictures released the film as a ...more

More The Blob 

#104 of 191 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #225 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #147 of 852 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

9
Earth vs. the Flying Sau... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Paul Frees, Hugh Marlowe, Joan Taylor

Released: 1956

Directed by: Fred F. Sears

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers is a 1956 American science fiction film from Columbia Pictures, produced by Charles H. Schneer and Sam Katzman, directed by Fred F. Sears, and starring Hugh Marlowe ...more
10
20,000 Leagues Under the... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre, Paul Lukas

Released: 1954

Directed by: Richard Fleischer

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a 1954 American Technicolor adventure film starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas and Peter Lorre. It was the first CinemaScope science fiction film and ...more

More 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 

#165 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #73 of 82 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novelslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

11
This Island Earth is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Russell Johnson, Faith Domergue, Coleman Francis

Released: 1955

Directed by: Jack Arnold, Joseph M. Newman

This Island Earth is a 1955 American science fiction film directed by Joseph M. Newman. It is based on the novel of the same name by Raymond F. Jones which was originally published in the ...more

More This Island Earth 

#16 of 51 The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies #337 of 566 The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time #146 of 200 The Best Space Movies

12
The Fly is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Vincent Price, David Hedison, Herbert Marshall

Released: 1958

Directed by: Kurt Neumann

The Fly is a 1958 American science fiction-horror film produced and directed by Kurt Neumann. The screenplay was written by James Clavell, from the short story of the same name by George ...more

More The Fly 

#132 of 852 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #12 of 51 The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies #4 of 27 The Best Horror Movies About Killer Insects

13
When Worlds Collide is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Paul Frees, Stuart Whitman, John Hoyt

Released: 1951

Directed by: Rudolph Maté

When Worlds Collide is a 1951 American Technicolor science fiction film from Paramount Pictures, produced by George Pal, directed by Rudolph Maté and starring Richard Derr, Barbara Rush, ...more

More When Worlds Collide 

#1,484 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #147 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

14
It Came from Outer Space... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Russell Johnson, Richard Carlson, Dave Willock

Released: 1953

Directed by: Jack Arnold

It Came from Outer Space is a 1953 American black-and-white science fiction film, the first in the 3-D process from Universal-International. It was produced by William Alland, directed by Jack ...more

More It Came from Outer Space 

#160 of 191 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #166 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time #18 of 51 The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies

15
The Incredible Shrinking... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
William Schallert, Paul Langton, Billy Curtis

Released: 1957

Directed by: Jack Arnold

The Incredible Shrinking Man is a 1957 science fiction film directed by Jack Arnold and adapted for the screen by Richard Matheson from his novel The Shrinking Man. The film stars Grant Williams ...more
16
The Beast from 20,000 Fa... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Lee Van Cleef, Cecil Kellaway, Kenneth Tobey

Released: 1953

Directed by: Eugène Lourié

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms is a 1953 American science fiction monster film from Warner Bros., produced by Jack Dietz and Hal E. Chester, directed by Eugène Lourié, and starring ...more
17
20 Million Miles to Eart... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Ray Harryhausen, William Hopper, Joan Taylor

Released: 1957

Directed by: Nathan H. Juran

20 Million Miles to Earth is a 1957 American science fiction giant monster film written by Bob Williams and Christopher Knopf from an original treatment by Charlott Knight. The film was produced ...more
18
Godzilla, King of the Mo... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Raymond Burr, Takashi Shimura, Akihiko Hirata

Released: 1956

Directed by: Terry O. Morse, Ishirō Honda

Godzilla, King of the Monsters! is a 1956 Japanese American science fiction kaiju film co-directed by Terry O. Morse and Ishirō Honda. The film is a heavily re-edited American adaptation, ...more

More Godzilla, King of the Monsters! 

#26 of 51 The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies #18 of 22 The Most Unlikely Cartoons Based on Live-Action Movies #78 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time

19
Invaders from Mars is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Milburn Stone, Hillary Brooke, Leif Erickson

Released: 1953

Directed by: William Cameron Menzies

Invaders from Mars is a 1953 American science fiction film independently produced by Edward L. Alperson Jr., directed by William Cameron Menzies, and developed from a scenario by Richard Blake ...more
20
It Came from Beneath the... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Faith Domergue, Kenneth Tobey, Ian Keith

Released: 1955

Directed by: Robert Gordon

It Came from Beneath the Sea is a 1955 American black-and-white science fiction and giant monster film from Columbia Pictures, produced by Sam Katzman and Charles Schneer, directed by Robert ...more
21
Tarantula is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Clint Eastwood, Mara Corday, Alan Napier

Released: 1955

Directed by: Jack Arnold

Tarantula is a 1955 American science fiction film from Universal-International, produced by William Alland, directed by Jack Arnold, and starring John Agar, Mara Corday and Leo G. Carroll. The ...more
22
On the Beach is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Ava Gardner, Gregory Peck, Fred Astaire

Released: 1959

Directed by: Stanley Kramer

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial On the Beach is a 1959 American post-apocalyptic science fiction drama film from United Artists, produced and directed by Stanley Kramer, starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and ...more
23
It! The Terror from Beyo... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Ray "Crash" Corrigan, Dabbs Greer, Richard Benedict

Released: 1958

Directed by: Edward L. Cahn

It! The Terror from Beyond Space is an independently made 1958 American black and white science fiction film produced by Robert Kent, directed by Edward L. Cahn, and starring Marshall Thompson, ...more
24
Destination Moon is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Dick Wesson, Warner Anderson, John Archer

Released: 1950

Directed by: Irving Pichel

Destination Moon is a 1950 American Technicolor science fiction film independently produced by George Pal, directed by Irving Pichel, and starring John Archer, Warner Anderson, Tom Powers, and ...more

More Destination Moon 

#29 of 51 The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies #353 of 566 The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

25
The Deadly Mantis is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s
Craig Stevens, William Hopper, Pat Conway

Released: 1957

Directed by: Nathan H. Juran

The Deadly Mantis is a 1957 science fiction film produced by William Alland for Universal-International. It was directed by Nathan Juran from a screenplay by Martin Berkeley, and starred Craig ...more

More The Deadly Mantis 

#299 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time #104 of 135 The Scariest Animal Movies Ever Made #35 of 51 The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies