46 Pre-2001 Essential Genre Films That Every Geek Should See

By “pre-2001,” I mean films that were released before 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

I selected these films using Phil Hardy’s Encyclopedia of Science Fiction Movies (1984), as well as my classroom experience in college.  As with most lists of this nature, the choices are mostly subjective, but they do seem to be backed up by critical comments throughout film history, and especially SF film history.

My criteria were simple:
-> The film had to be released prior to 2001;
-> The film could not be a serial;
-> The film must not be a sequel;
-> The film must be generally available for viewing

A Trip to the Moon 1902
Die Spinnen (The Spiders) 1919
Der Golem 1920
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari 1920
Dr. Mabuse der Spieler (Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler) 1922
Nosferatu 1922
Phantom of the Opera 1925
Metropolis 1927
Spione (The Spies) 1928
Frankenstein 1931
Dracula 1931
Island of Lost Souls 1932
The Mummy 1932
White Zombie 1932
King Kong 1933
Things to Come 1936
Dr. Cyclops 1940
The Wolfman 1941
Destination Moon 1950
The Thing (from Another World) 1951
The Day the Earth Stood Still 1951
War of the Worlds 1953
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms 1953
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 1954
Them! 1954
Gojira (aka, Godzilla, King of the Monsters) 1954
Creature from the Black Lagoon 1954
This Island Earth 1955
Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956
Forbidden Planet 1956
Plan 9 from Outer Space 1956
20 Million Miles to Earth 1957
The Incredible Shrinking Man 1957
The Fly 1958
The Blob 1958
The Time Machine 1960
The Mysterious Island 1961
The Absent-Minded Professor 1961
X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes 1963
The Nutty Professor 1963
The Day of the Triffids 1963
Dr. Strangelove 1964
The Fantastic Voyage 1966
Fahrenheit 451 1966
Batman 1966
Planet of the Apes 1968*

*Planet of the Apes beat out 2001 by 3 days
The entries in bold are the ones I have seen. The others are ones I plan to. 
Feel free to add your own choices in the comments section!







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