Modern science fiction films may be able to combine a futuristic storyline with amazing visuals, but they all owe their existence to the many classic science fiction movies made between the turn of the century and the 1960s. Not all of these classic science fiction movies will hold up today, but they are an important part of film history.

  1. "Trip to the Moon" This French 1902 science fiction movie is somewhat based on a Jules Verne story and is considered to be the first science fiction movie ever. This silent film runs fourteen minutes and uses stop-motion animation. The film centers on the exploits of six astronomers as they create a giant bullet and get shot to the moon.

  2. "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" This 1907 film, also based on a Jules Verne novel and directed by the same Frenchman as "Trip to the Moon," is one of the first color films as each frame was hand tinted. While the graphics are obviously outdated, they look fairly good considering the timeframe. Captain Nemo and many of the major plot elements of the book are absent here, as this voyage takes place in the dreams of a fisherman.

  3. "Metropolis" This 1927 classic by Fritz Lang looks at a dystopian future in the city of Metropolis. The movie mixes social commentary between the working class and the upper class with a strange storyline involving a female robot.

  4. "Buck Rogers"  This 1939 classic science fiction film, based on the comic book of the same name, is about a futuristic hero and the battle for good. The movie was originally filmed as a twelve-part serial, but it was put together as one move in 1953.

  5. "The Day the Earth Stood Still" This story of a visitor from outer space has a plot that is opposite what you might think. Klaatu is not here to conquer and destroy, but the human reaction to him could lead to the extinction of mankind.

  6. "It Came From Outer Space" Sixty years before "Avatar" rocks theaters, this classic science fiction movie was filmed in 3D. The plot centers around a group of people who see a spaceship crash.

  7. "The War of the Worlds" This 1953 film recreated H.G. Wells' story of the day that Mars attacks Earth. The movie received both critical and commercial success upon its release.

  8. "Forbidden Planet" Released in 1956, this classic science fiction movie was a slight retelling of Shakespeare's "The Tempest." The movie features a robot with a personality, a novelty at the time, and a young Leslie Nielsen.

  9. "The Time Machine" This 1960 British film is based on the H.G. Wells' book of the same name. On top of a compelling storyline about a man traveling through time, the movie featured some of the best special effects to date.

  10. "2001: A Space Odyssey" Watching this film, it's tough to believe this was made all the way back in 1968. The film is a psychological drama aboard a spaceship where the heroes are forced to deal with the failings of a supposedly perfect machine. It also features one of the most memorable villains in movie history, the computer HAL 9000.