Total Nerd

The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated February 10, 2020 31.1k votes 1.9k voters 43k views 47 items

List Rules Vote up the best science fiction movies that were released before 1960.

Terrifying monsters and unwelcome visitors from space frightened movie-goers in classic sci-fi movies. The best old sci fi movies are often based on famous novels, although some original stories dreamt up by modern masters thrilled on the big screen as well. This is a list of the top early sci fi movies including everything from King Kong to The Day the Earth Stood Still to Metropolis.

What films will you find on this list of the best classic science fiction films? In 1931, Boris Karloff took the title role in Frankenstein, a film based on Mary Shelley's novel of the same name. The movie went on to be included in the National Film Registry for its significance. Creature From the Black Lagoon is another scary sci fi film released before 1960. It's hard to discuss classic sci fi without mentioning Ed Wood's low-budget masterpiece, Plan 9 From Outer Space. Other top movies featured on this list include The Thing from Another World and The Blob.

It's up to you to decide with silver screen favorite deserves the top spot on the list. Give your picks a thumbs up to move them towards number one, and add any classics that are missing.

list ordered by
1
H. G. Wells' War of the ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
2
The Day the Earth Stood ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
3
The Time Machine is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
Valdave added
Yvette Mimieux, Rod Taylor, Alan Young
4
Forbidden Planet is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
Leslie Nielsen, Anne Francis, Walter Pidgeon

More Forbidden Planet 

#331 of 351 The Best Movies Based On Books #112 of 191 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made

5
Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
Boris Karloff, John Boles, Colin Clive

More Frankenstein 

#89 of 351 The Best Movies Based On Books #42 of 799 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

6
Invasion of the Body Sna... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
7
Them! is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
8
The Thing from Another W... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
9
King Kong is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
Fay Wray, Merian C. Cooper, Bruce Cabot

More King Kong 

#7 of 116 The Scariest Giant Monster Movies #68 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time

10
Journey to the Center of... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
11
The Blob is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
12
Creature from the Black ... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
Richard Carlson, Richard Denning, Julie Adams
13
Earth vs. the Flying Sau... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
Valdave added
Paul Frees, Hugh Marlowe, Joan Taylor
14
It Came from Outer Space... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
Valdave added
Russell Johnson, Richard Carlson, Dave Willock
15
The Fly is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
Vincent Price, David Hedison, Herbert Marshall

More The Fly 

#151 of 799 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #171 of 504 The Scariest Movies Ever Made

16
On the Beach is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
17
20 Million Miles to Eart... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
Valdave added
Ray Harryhausen, William Hopper, Joan Taylor
18
The Incredible Shrinking... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
19
This Island Earth is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
Russell Johnson, Faith Domergue, Coleman Francis

More This Island Earth 

#318 of 565 The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time #34 of 56 The Best Alien Invasion Movies

20
Village of the Damned is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
Valdave added
George Sanders, Barbara Shelley, Michael Gwynn

More Village of the Damned 

#177 of 799 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #71 of 232 The Best Black and White Movies Ever Made

21
When Worlds Collide is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
22
Metropolis is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
23
The Invisible Man is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
24
Godzilla, King of the Mo... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
Don Brand added
Raymond Burr, Takashi Shimura, Akihiko Hirata
25
It! The Terror from Beyo... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies
Valdave added
Ray "Crash" Corrigan, Dabbs Greer, Richard Benedict