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Top 10 British Sci-Fi Movies

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Written by Alex Wyse Set phasers to fun! Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 British sci-fi movies. For this list, we’ve looked at all science fiction movies with strong British connections, and particularly those with British writers, producers or directors. International collaborations are fair game, but our picks will be ranked according to the strength of British influence as well as the quality and popularity of the film. As always, there’s only one entry per franchise. Special thanks to our users Fin490 and Freemantle_uk for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 British Sci-Fi Movies


Set phasers to fun! Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 British sci-fi movies.

For this list, we’ve looked at all science fiction movies with strong British connections, and particularly those with British writers, producers or directors. International collaborations are fair game, but our picks will be ranked according to the strength of British influence as well as the quality and popularity of the film. As always, there’s only one entry per franchise.

#10: “Ex Machina” (2015)

The directorial debut of British novelist and screenwriter Alex Garland, “Ex Machina” tells the story of a promising young programmer, Caleb, who’s invited to the remote headquarters of famed AI pioneer, Nathan Bateman. But things take a turn for the worse when Caleb begins to develop feelings for his robotic companion, which prompts a tense and thoughtful reflection on human character and its potential future. Bolstered by a trio of tremendous performances and a sharp script, “Ex Machina” is an understated gem.

#9: “Quatermass and the Pit” (1967)

A film retitled in America as “Five Million Miles To Earth”, this third entry in the “Quatermass” canon was based on the 1950s television series of a similar name. Centred on its titular scientist, Bernard Quatermass, the story revolves around the discovery of a five million year-old spacecraft which holds a rather sinister secret concerning the history of human evolution. Produced by Hammer - a company best known for its legendary horror flicks - it retains some classic Hammer traits; high production value, fun performances, and genuinely interesting ideas.

#8: “Under The Skin” (2013)

With Scarlett Johansson in this movie’s mysterious lead role, “Under the Skin” is an unconventional but brilliant modern classic. Johansson’s character - an unnamed alien creature of some kind - stalks the streets of Scotland, seducing men before ensnaring and consuming them in her rather creepy lair. With an unpredictable narrative, the film combines haunting imagery, an unsettling soundtrack and enchanting performances to tell a surprisingly poignant story.

#7: “Moon” (2009)

Co-written and directed by Duncan Jones - son of David Bowie - “Moon” is an inventive tour de force. Following a lonely engineer on a mission to harvest fuel from the moon, the movie chronicles his final two weeks on the job, as he makes a disturbing discovery about the nature of his work. Featuring a career-defining turn by Sam Rockwell, it’ll warm and break your heart in equal measure. Packed with intriguing ideas, unexpected plot twists and a palpable atmosphere, “Moon” swaps flashy visuals for something more cerebral - and it’s awesome.

#6: “Sunshine” (2007)

As a rapidly dying sun threatens to engulf the Earth in an icy darkness, humanity’s last hope is the crew of the Icarus II - who plan to reignite the fading star by firing a nuclear missile into its core. Director Danny Boyle drew inspiration from the likes of “Solaris” and “2001: A Space Odyssey”, and this movie pays homage with tense sci-fi action, dazzling visuals and existential themes to create something truly special. True to tradition, but unique in its own right, “Sunshine” is a must watch for any sci-fi fan.

#5: “Brazil” (1985)

Set in an Orwellian future, average Joe and office worker Sam Lowry is caught in the middle of an innocent clerical error which sets a deadly series of events in motion. A satirical jab at pretty much everything society has to offer, “Brazil” is subversive and imaginative in a way that only director Terry Gilliam can pull off. Brilliantly written with visuals that are at once gorgeous and grotesque, the movie is a biting commentary on the state of the world, using its unique sense of humour to further drive the point home.

#4: “A Clockwork Orange” (1971)

It might not be the first film that comes to mind when thinking of sci-fi classics, but Stanley Kubrick’s controversial masterpiece makes expert use of its futuristic, dystopian backdrop. Following the unhinged gangster Alex as the government tries to cure him of his disturbing behaviour, “A Clockwork Orange” examines morality, free will and authority. Raising countless questions, Kubrick leaves the audience to mull over what they’ve seen, rather than giving outright answers. A film which was banned on initial release, that move only increased its appeal, reinforcing its central themes.

#3: “Children Of Men” (2006)

Set almost two decades after humanity is plagued by mass infertility, our next film paints a world which has crumbled into chaos. But when Clive Owen’s Theo learns of a miraculous pregnancy, he endeavours to help the teenage mother. “Children of Men” is arguably director Alfonso Cuaron’s greatest achievement, toeing the line between being incredibly bleak but also offering hope. The movie’s stellar cast, social commentary and intense action - including one mind-blowingly long take which ranks among the best of all time - add up to create a truly unforgettable film.

#2: “Alien” (1979)

A pop culture mainstay, English director Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic is a standard-bearer for sci-fi. Tracking the crew of Nostromo as they attempt to escape the clutches of the movie’s eponymous alien, this film pummelled us with iconic scenes. Building tension from its opening moments, it’s a tale of extraterrestrial horror, corporate corruption and human evolution, and it still scares just as effectively. Whether you want a smart concept, or you’re just along for the blood-drenched thrill ride, “Alien” has you covered.

#1: “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)

It’s one of the most referenced and critically acclaimed movies in the history of cinema, and it has had a lasting impact on sci-fi storytelling. “2001” explores the various pitfalls of mankind’s rapidly advancing technology, and there is a small Irony in its use of game-changing special effects to achieve a lasting legacy. But there’s no doubting it’s a feast for the eyes, as Stanley Kubrick, supported by Arthur C. Clarke, once again bucks traditional Hollywood trends, to create something which is scary, trippy, insightful, moving and entirely unparalleled.
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