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What Was The Best Sci-Fi Movie The Year You Were Born?

Updated April 28, 2020 10.2k views31 items

The Chinese zodiac assigns an animal to people based on the year of their birth. Cool idea, but let's take it a step further. Why not identify with the best sci-fi movie that was in theaters the year you entered the world? Who wouldn't want to be able to say, "I was born in the year of Rollerball," or, "I'm a T2 baby"?

We're doing our part to make it a thing. Herewith find our picks for the best sci-fi movies of every year between 1975 and 2005. Check your birth year if it's in that range, and then decide whether we nailed it or got it all wrong. (If you have a problem with 1977's pick, though, we may need to have words.)

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  • If you enjoy your science-fiction stylings imbued with violent roller skating, then Rollerball is the major motion picture you've been looking for. Not the 2002 remake starring Chris Klein and LL Cool J, mind you, but the more socially conscious original with James Caan in the main role. 

    Rollerball describes a future where corporations run everything and, unsurprisingly, this doesn't bode well for Caan's main character, star athlete Jonathan E., who goes against corporate wishes for his retirement. Conflict ensues. The highlight is the delightfully weird game of rollerball itself, which features a mixture of football, soccer, roller skates, and motorcycles to create something that feels both unabashedly '70s and definitively futuristic at the same time.

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  • 1976 - Logan's Run

    A year before Star Wars came out and brought sci-fi firmly into the mainstream, Logan's Run managed to become a pretty big hit. Loosely based on the William F. Nolan novel of the same name, Logan's Run performed admirably at the box office, garnered two Academy Award nominations and one win, and spawned a spin-off television show, as well.

    It's set in a 23rd-century society where everyone lives in a dome-sealed city and each citizen is summarily dispatched when they turn 30. The main character, Logan 5, seeks to escape the dystopian hellscape upon his 30th birthday. Colored with 1970s style and retro-futuristic gadgetry, Logan's Run is still a lot of fun to jump into.

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  • With sincere apologies to fans of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, is anyone surprised here? This space opera entered the public consciousness in 1977 and has been solidly entrenched there ever since. Upon its release, this story of a galaxy far, far away became one of the most successful films of all time and spawned a multimedia franchise that is as strong now as it was 40+ years ago.

    With groundbreaking visual effects that hold up to this day, a score for the ages by John Williams, and more imagination than you can shake a stick at, Star Wars is the kind of timeless art most can only dream of making. It was even one of the inaugural films in the Library of Congress's National Film Registry in 1989, which highlights "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" films deemed worthy of preservation.

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  • A remake of the 1956 classicInvasion of the Body Snatchers doesn't seem like the kind of film you'd want to release around Christmastime. Rounding up the family to go see a movie about aliens creating perfect clones of humans in order to replace them certainly doesn't jibe with the happiest time of the year.

    And yet, Invasion of the Body Snatchers proved to be a hit when it was released in late 1978. Featuring a cast that includes Donald Sutherland, Jeff Goldblum, and Leonard Nimoy, the sci-fi/horror remake actually managed to live up to the legacy of the original. In fact, critics have found that it's one of the few remakes that manages to improve on the picture that inspired it.

    And that final scene is a doozy. 

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