The History of Science-Fiction Movies


The science fiction cinema genre has been around for over a century and has undergone many shifts in that time. Movie sites like 123movies have a slew of sci-fi movies and they remain to be one of the most popular genres to this day. Science fiction has been around since at least the early 1800s, with its roots in novels.

The genre mashes up the natural with the fantastic to challenge scientific assumptions about the unknowable. Films with futuristic or sci-fi elements have become increasingly popular and profitable thanks to technological advancements over the previous century.

New films, fashions, and cliches emerged with each passing decade, as did fresh perspectives on humanity’s potential in the years to come. Let’s take a look back at the origins of science fiction movies.

The Age of Silent Films

Although science fiction movies are extremely well-liked today, this wasn’t always the case. With the rise in popularity of modern genre films, it’s worth remembering that this upswing is the product of decades of cinematic evolution and scores of groundbreaking science fiction films.

Experts in the field of film history agree that the first science fiction movies were made in the early 20th century, during the Silent Film Era. Attempts typically ranged from one to two minutes in length, were shot in black and white, and had a comedic technology subject. The first films were heavily influenced by science fiction literature.

Films based on science fiction and horror novels, such as Frankenstein (1910) by Mary Shelley and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1913) by Robert Louis Stevenson, became popular in the early 20th century.

The Post War

In the 1950s, science fiction was profoundly affected by postwar atomic bomb developments and fears of the cataclysmic consequences of nuclear conflict. The rise of science fiction films during the Cold War and the rise of communism in the United States ushered in the genre’s Golden Age a few decades later.

Destination Moon (1950), about a nuclear-powered rocket that carries four men to the moon in a race against the Soviets, was one of the most influential pictures of the era. The widespread promotion and commercial success of this film helped secure further funding for future science fiction movies.

An increase in the popularity of alien movies also occurred throughout this decade. UFOs and political commentary were two themes that frequently appeared in these movies. This decade was crucial to the development and expansion of science fiction around the world.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction

Flicks from the “Golden Age” of science fiction continued to be popular long into the 1960s, leading to a flood of atomic-inspired sci-fi horror and the complete dominance of the Godzilla flicks.

Aliens and radioactive monsters appeared to be omnipresent throughout the 1960s, largely because studios knew they could make movies of this genre for little cost and a high return on investment.

While B-movies in the science fiction horror genre have remained popular, the year 2001 saw a rise in the release of high-quality science fiction thrillers around the world. When released simultaneously, Star Wars (1977) and Superman (1978) revolutionized the film industry.

The 1990s

The ’90s were all about the collective trepidation surrounding the birth of the Internet Age, just as the ’50s represented the paranoia and terror regarding the world’s admission into the nuclear age.

Terminator 2 represented this cybernetic fear by showing how the Skynet system was developed from the construction of a complicated super-processor, and it wasn’t the first film of the era to take a wary approach to technology.

When it came to capturing the postmodernist perspective on emerging technologies and the vibe of the early internet culture, no film from the ’90s could compare to The Matrix.

The New Millennium

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, which was made during this time and features extensive use of computer-generated imagery. This might have been a fantastic return to the Star Wars universe, but the visual effects and cheap humor let it down instead.

When it comes to visual effects alone, James Cameron’s Avatar (2009) remains one of the most influential films of all time. The combined effects of computer-generated imagery and three-dimensional viewing technology on moviegoers are immeasurable.


Science fiction has always been a reflection of the culture that produces it, from its earliest days in the pages of classic literature.

As long as there is room for innovation in both culture and technology, science fiction will continue to surprise and delight readers all around the world. You can check a collection of classic and latest sci-fi movies at 123movies today!

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