"Science fiction films have been popular since the silent film era and remain the most popular genre in movies today. Motion pictures are the perfect medium to showcase alien worlds, robots, cyborgs, space travel and other technologies. Science fiction films have often been used to focus on political and social issues, as well as to explore philosophical issues like the human condition."  - Wikipedia

Science fiction films appeared early in the silent film era, typically as short films shot in black and white, sometimes with color tinting. They usually had a technological theme and were often intended to be humorous. In 1902 Georges Melies released A Trip To The Moon (1902), generally considered the first science fiction film,and a film that used early trick photography to depict a spacecraft's journey to the moon. In the 1920s, European filmmakers tended to use science fiction for prediction and social commentary, as can be seen in German films such as Metropolis (1927) and Woman In The Moon (1929).

A Trip To The Moon
1902 / 13 min. / b&w

Metropolis
1927 / 153 min. / b&w

Woman In The Moon
1929 / 95 min. / b&w

In the 1930s, there were several big budget science fiction films, notably Just Imagine (1930), King Kong (1933), Trans-Atlantic Tunnel (1935), Things To Come (1936) and Lost Horizon (1937), but most sci fi  films of the time were gimmicky Poverty Row pictures. Starting in 1936, a number of science fiction comic strips were adapted as serials, notably Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, both starring Buster Crabbe. These serials, and the comic strips they were based on, were very popular with the general public. In the 1940s science fiction films were almost non-existent with the sudios focusing on wartime themes and dramas. But all that would change with the dawning of the 1950s and the Atomic Age!

Deluge
1933 / 59 min. / b&w

Trans-Atlantic Tunnel
1935 / 94 min. / b&w

Things To Come
1936 / 92 min. / b&w

Radio Ranch
1940 / 70 min. / b&w / feature version

Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe
1940 / 92 min. / b&w / feature version

Time Flies
1944 / 82 min. / b&w

Undersea Kingdom
1936 / 100 min. / b&w / feature version

ATOMIC AGE FILMS OF THE 1950s
by Kerry O'Quinn
(Creator of STARLOG, FANGORIA, CINEMAGIC, FUTURE LIFE, GOREZONE and COMICS SCENE magazines)

 

Rocketship X-M
1950 / 77 min. / b&w and sepia

Destination Moon
1950 / 91 min. / color

The Flying Saucer
1950 / 71 min. / b&w

Lost Continent
1951 / 83 min. / b&w and sepia

Flight To Mars
1951 / 71 min. / color

Unknown World
1951 / 63 min. / b&w

Invaders From Mars
1953 / 78 min. / color

Project Moonbase
1953 / 63 min. / b&w

Cat-Women of the Moon
1953 / 65 min. / b&w

Spaceways
1953 / 76 min. / b&w

Robot Monster
1953 / 84 min. / b&w

Mesa of Lost Women
1953 / 70 min. / b&w

Phantom From Space
1953 / 72 min. / b&w

Four-Sided Triangle
1953 / 81 min. / b&w

Planet Outlaws
1953 / 69 min. / b&w

Target Earth
1954 / 75 min. / b&w

Stranger From Venus
1954 / 75 min. / b&w

Killers From Space
1954 / 71 min. / b&w and sepia

Devil Girl From Mars
1954 / 77 min. / b&w

The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues
1955 / 80 min. / b&w

Kronos
1957 / 78 min. / b&w

Teenage Monster
1957 / 65 min. / b&w

The Brain From Planet Arous
1958 / 71 min. / b&w

Monster From Green Hell
1958 / 71 min. / b&w

The Astounding She Monster
1958 / 77 min. / b&w

The Crawling Eye
1958 / 87 min. / b&w

Cosmic Monsters
1958 / 75 min. / b&w

The Day The Sky Exploded
1958 / 82 min. / b&w

Plan 9 From Outer Space
1958 / 72 min. / b&w

Hideous Sun Demon
1959 / 82 min. / b&w

The Cosmic Man
1959 / 72 min. / b&w

Missile To The Moon
1959 / 78 min. / b&w

Teenagers From Outer Space
1959 / 85 min. / b&w

Attack of the Giant Leeches
1959 / 62 min. / b&w

The Wasp Women
1959 / 73 min. / b&w

The Giant Gila Monster
1959 / 74 min. / b&w

The Phantom Planet
1961 / 82 min. / b&w

The Beast of Yucca Flats
1961 / 57 min. / b&w

Rocket Attack U.S.A.
1961 / 68 min. / b&w

First Spaceship On Venus
1962 / 78 min. / color

The Navy vs. The Night Monsters
1966 / 87 min. / color

Women of the Prehistoric Planet
1966 / 87 min. / color

The Day It Came To Earth
1977 / 84 min. / color

Galaxy Invader
1985 / 72 min. / color

Midnight Movie Massacre
1988 / 85 min. / color

With the 1970s came a science fictio9n renaisance, with  Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Alien,   the Star Trek movies, Back To The Future.. Science fiction had found legitimacy with the big film studios. Likewise, independent film producers, such as Roger Corman  and others followed suite with a new wave of  low-budget science fiction films. Since then, the major studios have realized the global appeal of science fiction films and have made them the most popular genre in movies today.

Revenge of the Sun Demon
1989 / 81 min. / b&w and color

All content copyright Wade Williams.  All rights reserved.

Journey to the Center of Time
1967 / 82 min. / color

Click on poster images below to access credits, synopsis, posters, stills, trailers, advertising, film rights and licensing.

Unknown Island
1948 / 75 min. / color

1950, the golden age of science fiction in the movies and in pop culture was born out of the parinoia created by the atomic bomb and the strange lights in the sky called "flying saucers".  The Atomic Age was upon us!

This important era of films produced by visionaries like George Pal started in 1950 with two landmark science fiction films, ROCKETSHIP X-M and George Pal's DESTINATION MOON. Invasion films such as INVADERS FROM MARS terrified a generation and inspired filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and many others. Even low-budget movies with rubber monsters and hideous alien creatures entertained and terrified.

Television also jumped on the bandwagon with two legendary shows, TOM CORBETT - SPACE CADET and SPACE PATROL, which inspired Star Trek, Lost In Space and many others. TALES OF TOMORROW, another important science fiction show paved the way for The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and other popular science fiction series.
 
The WADE WILLIAMS COLLECTION of science fiction, horror and fantasy films is a valuable documentation of atomic age entertainment in the mid-20th Century. These films and television shows changed pop culture forever and created the most imaginative and popular genre of entertainment in the history of the world. Science fiction movies.

Kerry O'Quinn
February 22, 2016

Terror From The Stars
1969 / 62 min. / b&w

Destination Saturn
1966 / 69 min. / b&w

aaaaaaaaaaaaiii