15th Oct2014

Top 5: Sci-fi movies that have influenced pop culture

by Phil Wheat

Science fiction can be a polarising genre. Those who don’t absolutely love it are often hard to persuade to step within a mile of the cinema when there’s a sci-fi film on. Despite this, there have been a handful of sci-fi films which have reached such a classic status in their brilliance that even non-believers are willing to admit their glory.

Here, we take a look at some of the sci-fi films which have leaped out of their genre and into the cultural hall of fame.

Star Wars


Star Wars is arguably the most popular science fiction series of all time. With all six cinema appearances receiving nominations for Academy Awards, and tallying a dizzying $4.38 billion at box offices, it should come as no surprise to find it on this list.

The Star Wars galaxy may be vast and complex, but it has earned a place in popular culture. As you’d expect, the hugely successful film series has also lead to a wide range of other media, including books, video games and a television series.

Star Trek


Arguably the greatest sci-fi show to influence popular culture, the Star Trek franchise has spanned six decades and it’s popularity show no signs of waning. Not only has it spawned five television shows, twelve movies and a host of media – including books, video games, clothing, apps and more.

Star Trek has also had an influence on modern technology; from the original Tricorder inspiring the Motorola’s Razr mobile phone to the replicator’s influence on 3D printing, there have been many a scientist inspired by Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future.

The Matrix


Science fiction doesn’t always have to influence culture directly. Case in point: The Matrix. Whilst Keanu Reeves’ black coat wearing hero might have inspired the odd geek to hit the shops and buy a leather jacket, the series has had more of an influence on the sci-fi films that followed. The Matrix was a pioneer in blending CGI and practical effects to create a whole new type of action, popularizing a visual effect known as bullet time – which allows the action within a shot to progress in slow-motion while the camera’s viewpoint appears to move through the scene at normal speed.

Since it’s release in 1999, bullet time has become synonymous with not only science-fiction, but also high-concept action movies and TV shows. Such is it’s influence that in 2012, was added to the US National Film Registry for preservation.

The Hunger Games


Despite being a relatively new film franchise, The Hunger Games film series has been a box office smash so far that is expected to continue with two more films being created out of the final novel.  Stemming from the best-selling teen series by Suzanne Collins, Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role as the beloved Katniss Everdeen bringing magic to the screen in the sci-fi futuristic city of Panem and delighting fans with her “fiery” performances.

The latest in the series Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, coming soon to your local Cineworld theatre, is sure to wow once again, with Everdeen slipping back into the battleground arena where she wows.  Throw in the love triangle and more twists and turns and you’ve got what’s sure to be a winner. Such is The Hunger Games’ influence that each and every “Young Adult” fiction novel is now seemingly ripe for filmic adaptation.

V for Vendetta


Sci-fi has certainly not faded away in recent years, with a number of the most highly thought of sci-fi films having been released in the last decade. V for Vendetta was based on a graphic novel written in the 1980s, and went on to become an iconic part of 21st century culture. Of the many comic book movies that have been made in recent years, V for Vendetta continues the success of graphic novels which have been made into films.

V for Vendetta has been praised by many political commentators for its allegorical approach to modern politics. Since the film’s release, the Guy Fawkes mask used in the film has become popular at protests around the world.


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