Classic Science Fiction Movies

1950s Science Fiction - Part 1

My research showed that a tremendous number of science fiction movies were produced during the 1950s -- almost as many (if not more than) all the other decades of the 20th Century combined! With that many films, it's not surprising that the full range of sub-genres was again represented. Many of these films, however, had an undercurrent of the Cold War era by incorporating references either to the Soviet Union, world wars, atomic bombs, or the effects of atomic radiation. Some standouts include The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), War of the Worlds (1953), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Forbidden Planet (1956), and Earth vs the Flying Saucers (1956). There were so many 1950s films to choose from that I just couldn't narrow my list down to just ten. So, here are my "Top 25" science fiction movies of the 1950s, presented in three separate pages.

Movie Clip

Destination Moon
(1950 - 91 min) ****

Plot: Straightforward and forward-looking story of mankind's first expedition to the Moon. (Script cowritten by Robert Heinlein.)

John Archer
Warner Anderson
Tom Powers
Directed by Irving Pichel


Movie Clip

The Flying Saucer
(1950 - 70 min) ***

Plot: UFO sightings are linked to a secret Soviet aircraft. (The first film to focus on UFOs and to use the term "flying saucer.")

Mikel Conrad
Pat Garrison
Russel Hicks
Denver Pyle
Directed by Nikel Conrad


Movie Clip

Rocket Ship X-M
(1950 - 77 min) ***

Plot: An early space mission to the Moon goes off course and ends up on Mars.

Lloyd Bridges
Osa Massen
Hugh O'Brian
John Emery
Directed by Kurt Neumann


Movie Clip

The Day the Earth Stood Still
(1951 - 92 min) *****

Plot: An alien lands on Earth with his gigantic robot companion to impart an urgent message -- live in peace or be annihilated.

Michael Rennie
Patricia Neal
Hugh Marlow
Sam Jaffe
Directed by Robert Wise

Remake:

  • The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008 - 110 min) ***


    Movie Clip

    The Man from Planet X
    (1951 - 70 min) ***

    Plot: A visitor from outer space uses a ray gun to control a scientist, his daughter, and others in a remote Scottish village.

    Robert Clarke
    Margaret Field
    Raymond Bond
    William Shallert
    Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer


    Movie Clip

    Thing from Another World
    (1951 - 80 min) ****

    Plot: Arctic researchers dig up and defrost an alien creature who turns out to be an unstoppable predator.

    Kenneth Tobey
    Margaret Sheridan
    Douglas Spencer
    James Arness
    Directed by Christian Nyby

    Remake:

  • The Thing (1982 - 108 min) **


    Movie Clip

    When Worlds Collide
    (1951 - 81 min) *****

    Plot: When scientists discover a rogue planet on a collision course with Earth, a plan is developed to save a handful of people to repopulate a new Earth.

    Richard Derr
    Barbara Rush
    Peter Hanson
    Larry Keating
    Directed by Rudolph Mate


    Movie Clip

    Red Planet Mars
    (1952 - 87 min) ***

    Plot: In the midst of the Cold War, earthlings get messages from the cosmos -- or perhaps from God?

    Peter Graves
    Andrea King
    Marvin Miller
    Herbert Bergof
    House Peters
    Directed by Harry Horner


    Movie Clip

    The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
    (1953 - 80 min) ****

    Plot: A nuclear blast awakens a dinosaur, who leaves his Arctic stomping ground and heads to Manhattan to terrorize the natives. (Based on a story by Ray Bradbury. Features stop-motion animation by Ray Harryhausen.)

    Paul Christian
    Paula Raymond
    Cecil Kellaway
    Lee Van Cleef
    Directed by Eugene Lourie


    Movie Clip

    Invaders from Mars
    (1953 - 78 min) ****

    Plot: A boy sees a flying saucer land in the desert, but no one believes him until his friends, family, and neighbors start acting strangely.

    Helena Carter
    Arthur Franz
    Jimmy Hunt
    Leif Erickson
    Directed by William Cameron Menzies

    Remake:

  • Invaders from Mars (1986 - 102 min) **

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    Last Updated: July 26, 2011