51 Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
A future government bans reading and burns books (the title refers to the temperature at which paper ignites). Ray Bradbury’s cautionary novel — meekly re-created as a 1967 film by Francois Truffaut — is laced with appreciation for the power of words.
52 The Jetsons (1962-63)
Sure, it’s The Flintstones translated into the future, but don’t you prefer lean button pusher George to loutish quarryman Fred? Television’s only 21st-century vision in which the problems of the nuclear family outweigh the threat of nuclear war.
53 Captain Video and His Video Rangers (1949-55)
The first sci-fi TV series boasts gloriously crude gadgets and effects (costing $25 a show). It also boldly goes where no sci-fi work had gone before — into your living room.
54 Alphaville (1965)
Director Jean-Luc Godard saw the future and it was noir. Lemmy Caution, secret agent 003, cruises into the capital of the galaxy to fight a tyrannically rational supercomputer. This Blade Runner forebear is an existential comic strip collage and tres, tres cool.
55 Tron (1982)
Breakthrough computer animation — which presaged everything from Toy Story to Titanic — creates the ultimate videogamer’s fantasy: to be in the game.
56 Total Recall (1990)
Paul Verhoeven’s mind scrambler (based on a story by master mind scrambler Philip K. Dick) is a narrative Mobius strip requiring multiple viewings to fall into place.
57 Things to Come (1936)
H.G. Wells scripted from his 1933 novel, and set designer-cum-director William Cameron Menzies created a visually astounding peek into the future of mankind.
58 Akira (1988)
Katsuhiro Otomo kicked the cult art form of Japanese anime into the international spotlight with his spectacularly hypnotic, hard-charging look at a burnt-rubber Neo-Tokyo.
59 Dangerous Visions (1967)
Harlan Ellison edited this seminal anthology that broke the rules of traditional space opera by including writing that is influenced as much by sex, drugs, and rock & roll as by robots, death rays, and Mars.
60 12 Monkeys (1995)
Terry Gilliam’s hyper-visual remake of La Jetee weaves together an insane Brad Pitt, a bald Bruce Willis, and trippy questions of identity, destiny, and free will into a bleak and prickly thriller.
61 Fantastic Voyage (1966)
Visually arresting, this imaginative tale of a miniaturized surgical team injected into the bloodstream of a diplomat transcends its high school health-movie concept. And just seeing antibodies sticking to Raquel Welch does a body good.
62 Dr. Who (1963-89)
TV’s longest-running sci-fi series follows the peripatetic Doctor, a 750-year-old alien flitting through time and space. The good Doctor also begat The Time Tunnel, Quantum Leap, Sliders…
63 The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
The one and only cross-dressing alien rock musical spoof, it defined cult phenomenon and opened the door to audience participation films.