Most of my blog posts are purely technical but every now and then I like to take a look at non-technical things that interest me. I’m a big fan of science fiction movies. There are quite a few movies that feature flying saucers. Here are my ten favorites.
1. Forbidden Planet (1956) – An excellent movie with a great flying saucer. In the 23rd century, the captain (Leslie Nielson) and crew of the C-57D travel to Altair IV where they meet Dr. Morbius, his daughter Altaira, and Robby the Robot. Fantastic visual effects and sound effects.
2. Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956) – The title pretty much says it all. Impressive stop-motion animation of the flying saucers by the famous Ray Harryhausen. I could never quite figure out if the aliens only retaliated after being attacked by the Earth military, or if they were evil from the beginning.
3. Invaders from Mars (1953) – A young boy thinks he sees a flying saucer land in the sand pit in a field behind his house. This movie scared the heck out of me and I had nightmares about the path up the hill for years. Brilliantly directed by William Cameron Menzies.
4. War of the Worlds (1953) – This movie is a bit iffy for this list because the Martians don’t really use flying saucers to get to earth (well, we never see their shape because they burrow under the ground) and their battle machines aren’t quite flying saucers either. But I like the movie so I get to list it here.
5. This Island Earth (1955) – Dr. Carl Meacham and Dr. Ruth Adams are recruited by the Metalunas, led by the big-forehead Exeter, to help them in their war against the Zagons. Actor Russell Johnson, who was later the Professor in Gilligan’s Island, is here too but not for very long.
6. Independence Day (1996) – This is the movie where Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum fly a small refurbished alien flying saucer craft up to sabotage the gigantic flying saucer mother ship in orbit which in turn allows Randy Quaid to destroy one of the really big flying saucers.
7. The Thing from Another World (1951) – Scientists at an Artic rsearch station find a flying saucer buried in the ice and thaw out the occupant, a super-evolved humanoid-like plant, who is not very friendly. Thoughtful movie with intelligent dialogue. The 1982 remake of the film, with Kurt Russell, is also excellent.
8. The Mysterians (1957) – A Japanese film directed by Ishiro Honda, who also did Godzilla. Aliens come to earth to get women for breeding. Earth wins by developing a weapon that reflects the aliens’ weapons. Excellent special effects, except for the aliens whose helmets make them look like human sized chickens.
9. The Atomic Submarine (1959) – In the near future, an alien flying saucer is under the sea in the Artic, destroying cargo submarines. The USS Tigerfish submarine manages to destroy the evil alien saucer. Very scary scenes inside the saucer. Innovative electronic sound effects.
10. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) – This movie is considered a classic, but it ranks low on my list, just barely making my top 10. The 2008 remake with Keanu Reeves was awful. Klaatu barada nikto.
Honorable and Dishonorable Mentions
I never liked Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) with Richard Dreyfuss but the alien saucer ship was decent.
The alien ship in District 9 (2009) had too much junk hanging off it.
The huge saucer ship seen rising out of the ocean at the end of The Abyss (1989) is impressive.
Of historical interest is The Flying Saucer (1950), the first film to deal with flying saucers. Mostly a rather slow-moving espionage movie.
On another day, Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) would have made my top 10. Pretty cool alien saucers look a lot like those from War of the Worlds.
Lost in Space (1998) was terrible. The Jupiter II saucer shaped ship was OK.
The separated saucer section of the Enterprise in Star Trek Generations (1994) doesn’t count.
The somewhat saucer-shaped Millennium Falcon of the various Star Wars movies doesn’t count either.