The Five Underrated Sci-Fi Movie Masterpieces

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Watch the full list: The Underrated Sci-Fi Masterpieces

After seeing 300 or so films a year, I’ve learned quite a few things about the moviegoing experience: Popcorn on an empty stomach is bad news, the majority of movies released each year are formulaic drivel – a waste of time even when seen for free – and the only thing sadder than seeing incoherence rewarded at the box office is witnessing something truly brilliant trail off into utter obscurity.

It’s the forgotten (and ignored) greats that break my heart.

Over the last two months, we’ve set out on a mission to bring five underrated and unappreciated science-fiction masterpieces back from the shadows. To give them a second life on DVD. The task has been hard (see the first days of the debate here, and the 20 finalists here), but fun, and it’s led me to add some 40 films back into my Netflix queue, eager to take a second glance. Over the holidays, it was Silent Running and Predator that unleashed debates in my family’s Wisconsin living room, during my impromptu underrated film festival. Dad thought Silent Running was a treehugging disaster. There was much debate as to whether or not Predator counted as sci-fi. (We also argued plenty about my top 10 sci-fi films of the decade, as well as Tracey’s top 10 video games of the decade and Lev’s favorite sci-fi characters)

Needless to say, this project has left me conflicted. Why is it that so many smart movies fail to gain traction? How can stories of substance wither on the vine while fluff rakes in a windfall? How many other brilliant films from past generations have been lost due to a lack of distribution and ticket sales? If an epic plays to an empty theater, what’s the point?

According to Techland readers, Techland staffers and my own personal biases, here they are: The five most underrated sci-fi masterpieces.

Watch the full list: The Underrated Sci-Fi Masterpieces