When we take a look at older movies today, our minds automatically classify them as old or new by the visual look of the images. However, there are some cases of movies older than ten or even twenty years, and which look like they’ve barely aged a day. Many of these are of course fantasy or action movies, like for instance The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
However, if we take a look back in time the king of the special effects remains the Science-fiction genre. The following list brings together the top 10 sci-fi movies with amazing effects, that are at least 20 years old.
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
This is still considered the greatest movie of its genre of all time. Space is one of the most difficult environments to be reproduced, since we cannot film on spot, and have to base our imagination upon the few pictures we have seen. It is still amazing to think that we had access to such complex and realistic visual effects in the 1960s. One of the most stunning scenes of the movie was at the docks of the space station, as one shuttle arrives.
2. Star Wars: Episode IV (1977)
The first Star Wars trilogy set the milestone for a new era of visual effects, daring producers to aim higher, and animators to discover new ways of creating other worlds. Despite not having a very large budget, the first movie did remarkably well only by using spare model parts and practical effects. Along with its sequels, the series became one of the most successful of all times.
3. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
This movie by Steven Spielberg was a classic, dazzling its viewers with incredible landscapes. One certain scene that comes to mind was the view of the Devil Tower, as the mother ship flies over it resembling a huge floating city, rendering everyone who was looking at it speechless. The moment when the aliens arrive was also masterfully filmed.
4. Alien (1979)
Another unique and memorable movie with and about alien invasion was directed by Ridley Scott. From the shocking moment when Kane’s chest bursts open and an alien crawls out to the details of the mining ship, this movie was one of the first in terms of this is as real as it can get. The rich environment of the aliens’ planet also stands as an incredible achievement.
5. The Thing (1982)
One of the greatest sci-fi movies which also takes a step towards the horror genre is John Carpenter’s motion picture. While the creature looked amazingly realistic, the result was achieved through hard work. The secret stood in the combination of two visual methods: animatronics and practical effects. The scene where the decapitated head grows spider legs and skips away will always rest in our minds.
6. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Even though we have seen many scary and aggressive aliens who invade our planet in countless motion pictures, there is one who will always rest in our hearts: E.T. Animators used costumes and old animatronics to bring the lovable alien to life. The result can be achieved today by using animations, but by making use only of the computer, the characters end up having a fake image and the movie starts resembling a video game. Spielberg’s movie also includes one of the most iconic scenes in the history of cinema: the boy and the alien flying on a bicycle across the moon.
7. Blade Runner (1982)
Blade Runner amazed through the technical detail of the shots of the cityscapes and the environments. The look of the characters was also memorable, heavily painted in the neo-noir style of the movie. Ridley Scott’s movie had a special feel to it due to the lighting and effects, which look as if the motion picture was released only recently.
8. The Abyss (1989)
James Cameron is another director with plenty of movies with amazing visual effects. The Abyss was a revolutionary motion picture in terms of animation, creating the base for subsequent works such as Terminator 2. The visual work of this movie also stands up well against the movies of today.
9. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Terminator 2 is one of the most known movies in history, mostly grace to its main character played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, this was also a defining chapter in terms of visual innovation, as well as the moment we finally believed that anything that we imagined could be represented on the big screen.
10. Jurassic Park (1993)
Another one of Spielberg’s movies, Jurassic Park amazed with the quality of its dinosaurs. Even though CGI was used, the animals were also rendered with the use of animatronic and mechanical visual effects, as well as various puppets. This gave the monsters a very realistic look, which is difficult to achieve nowadays only by using CGI.