Every sci-fi space epic from Star Wars to Spaceballs has paid hommage to this shot, but 2001: A Space Odyssey was first.

Army of Darkness (1993) 

The Fifth Element (1997)

Highlander (1986)

Soylent Green (1973)

Forbidden Planet (1956) – A reworking of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, this early sci-fi epic, the first to be set in interstellar space, was the great granddaddy of Star Trek. A lot of it might seem old hat now, but at the time it must have knocked audiences’ Bobby socks off.

Millennium (1989) – Time travelers escort passengers off of planes they know are going to crash with no survivors so they can use them to repopulate the future. But one time they accidentally drop a ray gun and it’s found in the wreckage. Time travel paradox hijinks ensue.

Blade Runner (1982)

In an alternate 2019, artificial humans are manufactured to serve as slave labor in space, with a brief lifespan to guard against revolt. A small cadre of these androids return to Earth but professional exterminators called Blade Runners pick up their trail.

Alien (1979)

2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984) – American and Soviet astronauts travel to Jupiter and try to puzzle out what happened to the Discovery in 2001 while back home the Cold War grows hot. But they are eyewitness to an history-making event that threatens to be much, much hotter.

> https://stranger.social/@penguinpete
> Ever since Star Wars came
> out, everybody wants their
> own alien cantina band.
#HeavyMetal (1981)


The Lathe of Heaven (1980), a PBS made-for-television film based on the novel by Ursula K. LeGuin

Dark Star (1974) – Director John Carpenter’s first film, a parody of 2001: A Space Odyssey made for $60,000 with an electronic music score by Carpenter, a script by “Alien” writer Dan O’Bannon, a talking bomb, a living beach ball, and some remarkably believable special effects.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) – An ambassador from a coalition of alien races comes to Earth with a warning that mankind is presently considered too stupid and violent to be allowed to continue to exist. Mankind goes, “What? That’s crazy talk!” and proceeds to shoot him.

When Worlds Collide (1951) – When astronomers detect a runaway star on a collision course with Earth, the rush is on to save a remnant of humanity with a rocket “ark” destined for a world orbiting that star.

Brazil (1985) – A beautifully photographed Orwellian black comedy poking fun at bureaucracy and consumerism with Monty Python humor, the production design of a David Lynch film and the dream-logic of a Philip K. Dick novel. Beware the happy ending cut spoon fed to US audiences.

The Final Countdown (1980) – Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen. Using https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AppliedPhlebotinum a US aircraft carrier is hurled back in time to just before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Time travel paradox hijinks ensue.


The Matrix (1999)

Soylent Green (1973)

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) – After the Genesis incident the surviving crew members of the USS Enterprise are willing to defy Starfleet and a rogue Klingon commander to reunite Spock’s katra, or soul (temporarily carried by Dr. McCoy) with his resurrected body.

Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994)

Outland (1981) – Starring Sean Connery. A mining company on Jupiter’s moon Io is using performance-enhancing drugs to increase profits, but it’s leading to untimely deaths. When the marshal uncovers this, hit men are sent to take him out. Essentially “High Noon”, in SPACE!

Outland (1981) – Starring Sean Connery. A mining company on Jupiter’s moon Io is using performance-enhancing drugs to increase profits, but it’s leading to untimely deaths. When the marshal uncovers this, hit men are sent to take him out. Essentially “High Noon”, in SPACE!

Alien³ (1992) – Fans were spoiled by the 80’s Action Movie treatment of the franchise we were given by James Cameron so they were massively disappointed by this entry. However, it has aged well, and is a fitting ending to Ellen Ripley’s arc, her tussle with Weyland-Yutani Corp.


The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Dredd (2012)

Logan’s Run (1976) – An enclosed city in the 23rd Century relies on forced euthanasia at age thirty to control its population, but a secret resistance has developed. A policeman goes undercover as a “runner” with orders to locate the rebel sanctuary, but he discovers much more.

Aliens (1986)


Fellowship of the Ring (2001)




Blade Runner (1982)

Capricorn One (1977) – Three astronauts are intimidated into faking a Mars mission to keep the taxpayer’s money rolling in to NASA and its contractors, but their unmanned vehicle burns up upon re-entry and they realize they’ll be hunted to extinction to maintain the coverup.

Mad Max (1979) – After an unspecified global catastrophe Australia has begun to slide into lawlessness. Max Rockatansky serves as a police officer for the Main Force Patrol trying to hold society together until he loses everything and becomes a spirit of vengeance.


The Andromeda Strain (1971) – In a world of “science fiction” movies about space wizards and warp drives and gauntlets with Infinity Stones, only a handful actually depict hard science in a fictional milieu. Be like The Andromeda Strain.

Serenity (2005)

Cube (1997) –  Six people wake up in a cube made of cubes, 26 cubes on a side, with no memory of how they arrived and no clue why they have been chosen. Many of the cubes are set up as sadistically deadly traps. One Kafkaesque hell of a Twilight Zone episode, this one.

Spaceballs (1987)

2+5: Missione Hydra (1966) – In 1977, in the season of Star Wars, this spaghetti science fiction film (so bad it’s good) was dubbed in English, re-titled “Star Pilot” and released to theaters. The nefarious plan worked. At least, they got my money. And I got a little wiser.

Superman (1978)

Total Recall (1990)


The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

Terminator 2 (1991)

From Beyond (1986)

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)

This Island Earth (1955)

Forbidden Planet (1956)

The Omega Man (1971) – One of the Chuck Heston classic Sci-Fi flicks from 1970s. A biological weapon wiped out nearly all of humanity. Most of the population have already died, but some succumb more slowly. Only one man has taken the antidote. Cue the blood of Christ imagery.

Heavy Metal (1981)

Forbidden Planet (1956)