Sci-Fi movies, whether you like them or not, the bedrock of modern movie making. If you look at the list of highest grossing movies ever (not adjusted for inflation) you will see that it is loaded with Sci Fi classics. Only Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings hold the line with “Fantasy” movies and even those are gaming the system. Superheroes muscle everyone else out, but even they still fall under Sci-Fi with their mechanical suites and space wizardry. And all of those powerhouses owe their rent to Forbidden Planet, the forgotten OG of Sci-Fi masterpieces.
Well, I can’t say forgotten. It has stood the test of time and is easily available on Google Play and Amazon video streaming. However, it is still greatly overshadowed by its unofficial progeny, Star Wars (1977). Of course, Star Wars changed everything when the George Lucas directed masterpiece hit cinemas and created the summer movie season, the summer blockbuster, and the big-budget modern action movie that still dominates the box office.
Forbidden Planet, however, represented another leap forward a generation ahead in 1956. Directed by Fred M. Wilcox and starring Walter Pidgeon (How Green Was My Valley), Anne Francis (The Satan Bug), and Leslie Nielsen (The Naked Gun). It featured many of the hallmarks that made Star Wars so good, such as taking place far away from Earth, having robots central to the plot with distinct personalities, and having an electronic music score. Also, the special effects were amazing and cutting edge for the time with amazing world building being the result.
What follows are two scenes, the first featuring Robbie The Robot, the character that would be become the visual shorthand for 1950’s Sci-Fi, and featuring an invisible monster that attacks the crew of the starship C-57D, with Commander John J. Adams (Neilson) leading the crew through defensive maneuvers
Enjoy, and please share some of your own favorite Sci-Fi classics (that aren’t Star Wars movies 😉 in the comments!