50 Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1970s

From cosmic head trips to adventures in galaxies far, far away

1. 'Alien' (1979)

Outside of Jaws' prolonged tease that leads to its money-shot shark reveal, no Seventies spectacle builds its dread and anticipation toward one scene as beautifully as director Ridley Scott's extra-terrestrial horror. (No matter how many times you've seen it, the alien's violent explosion from Kane's stomach is deeply, profoundly upsetting.) Before we get to That Scene, Alien is merely one hell of an office drama in space — a submarine thriller set among the stars. Then it morphs into a haunted-house chiller dropped into the cosmos, creating unbearable tension from the film's close-quarters locale. At the movies, outer space was once a source of wonder, curiosity, adventure — after Alien, it was a new canvas for our nightmares, a place where no one could hear you scream. TG

Back to Top