Science fiction film

From ArticleWorld

Science fiction films are one of the most popular genres of films. This heading covers a wide range of ideas but they tend to be based in an unrealistic setting or contain unlikely plot developments.

Action often takes place on board spaceships, with exploratory missions to far flung galaxies, either real or fictional, and the films are sometimes set in the future. Alternatively, action can take place on earth, perhaps in the present time, but involving the arrival on earth of alien life forms.

This is one of the oldest genres of films and sci-fi films continue to be made in large numbers to the present day. Fans of the genre can be very protective of it, and many cult films fit into this category.


The 1927 silent film Metropolis is perhaps the first example of a science fiction film. This was based on a novel and adapted for the cinema, but the genre did not really take off at this time.

The 1950s saw the popularity of science fiction growing in the written form, with sales of books and comics covering this type of subject matter increasingly rapidly. However, it took a number of years before the film genre was taken seriously due to poor special effects and unconvincing sets.

The first sci-fi film to achieve critical success was Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, released in 1968. From this point on the genre has been continually improved, with the special effects employed becoming more realistic, breathtaking and expensive over the years. These films often deal with potential social and economic issues and so suggest the possibility of the events becoming a reality in times to come.


These films take their name from the scientific nature of many of their elements. This can range from space exploration through to climate change and encompassing everything in between. The constant is that they are all covered by the study of science.

However, many filmmakers take liberties with the laws of science and simply alter things in order to make their plot feasible. This means they may use formulae which are not scientifically possible, or substitute one component for another when it would not work. For the large part the audience would be unlikely to have the specific knowledge required to realise this but it can anger those who work in a particular field when incorrect information is given to the viewer.