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Cinemaholic: The 10 Greatest Sci-Fi Movie Directors of All Time, Ranked

Psychoward

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Aug 17, 2011
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Still deserves to be at least #2. Alien and Blade Runner are Sci-Fi classics, and he has made a Sci-Fi film more recently than Spielberg.
Yeah I mean he deserves to be on the list and maybe Spielberg doesn't deserve to be #1 but I'm sure there's better choices than Scott. And I say this as someone who ranks Alien as a top 3 movie of all time.

Maybe it's just residual salt from Prometheus.

And also Nolan is weirder the more I think about it. Memento and the Prestige are great but aren't even sci-fi iirc. Batman Begins and the Dark Knight are great comic book movies but not sci-fi, Interstellar and Inception are really the only sci-fi movies he's done and both are among his weaker efforts imo.
 

Kettch

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Jun 7, 2004
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Nevermind, I keep forgetting that Star Wars isn't considered Science-Fiction.

If we're including stuff like Jurassic Park, then obviously Star Wars would be included.

He's directed 1 amazing sci-fi film and 3 horrible ones though, so I don't think that would be worthy of inclusion in a top 10.
 

MattKeil

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Aug 4, 2004
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But the atmosphere of all of his Sci-fi movies are incredible.

Atmosphere doesn't mean much if the rest of the movie is a misfire. Two seminal classics of the genre certainly qualify Scott for the list, easily, but not as the #2 sci-fi director of all time. He just hasn't been consistent enough for that.

If we're including stuff like Jurassic Park, then obviously Star Wars would be included.

He's directed 1 amazing sci-fi film and 3 horrible ones though, so I don't think that would be worthy of inclusion in a top 10.

What the hell does Jurassic Park, which is straight up sci-fi, without any question, have to do with Star Wars, which is pure fantasy?

But you're right that, even if one were to wrongly consider Star Wars sci-fi, the prequels pretty much knock Lucas off the list by default.
 

Kettch

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Atmosphere doesn't mean much if the rest of the movie is a misfire. Two seminal classics of the genre certainly qualify Scott for the list, easily, but not as the #2 sci-fi director of all time. He just hasn't been consistent enough for that.



What the hell does Jurassic Park, which is straight up sci-fi, without any question, have to do with Star Wars, which is pure fantasy?

But you're right that, even if one were to wrongly consider Star Wars sci-fi, the prequels pretty much knock Lucas off the list by default.

Jurassic park is a thriller or action-adventure, with a tiny bit of sci-fi included. Before this thread I've never heard anyone call it sci-fi.

Star Wars is fantasy, but it has far more sci-fi parts than something like Jurassic Park.
 

ChubbyHuggs

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How is Kubrick there with two movies? And is Clockwork really considered scifi if Jurassic Park is in argument for being one?
 

CloudWolf

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How is Kubrick there with two movies? And is Clockwork really considered scifi if Jurassic Park is in argument for being one?

Why would Clockwork Orange be a sci-fi? Jurassic Park is 100% a sci-fi because it deals with people bringing back and cloning dinosaurs through science, Clockwork Orange does nothing that would be considered 'science fictional'.

Anyway, I think it's possible to be that high in the list with only one sci-fo movie, if that movie is on the level of 2001: A Space Oddyssey. You don't have to have made a ton of sci-fi films to be considered a great sci-fi director. IMO a director with one amazing sci-fi film belongs as much on this list as a director who made five sci-fi films where two of the films are great and the three others just okay to terrible (oh hi, Ridley Scott).
 
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Why would Clockwork Orange be a sci-fi? Jurassic Park is 100% a sci-fi because it deals with people bringing back and cloning dinosaurs through science, Clockwork Orange does nothing that would be considered 'science fictional'.

It's set in a future dystopia and deals with fictional drugs, but yeah, it's not very sci-fi.

List overall plays it really safe. At least put Tarkovsky and Fritz Lang on there.
 

p2535748

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There are some changes I'd make, but Spielberg at #1 is absolutely right. I'll take the lineup of Close Encounters, ET, War of the Worlds, Minority Report, AI and Jurassic Park over anyone else on that list easily.

The list in general is very focused on recent films, which is fine for some of the obvious choices (Spielberg, Cameron), but gets odd when you're including people like Zemeckis or Carruth over Tarkovsky/Veerhoven/any non-English director or any non-contemporary directors.
 

Clear

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Feb 2, 2009
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How is Kubrick there with two movies? And is Clockwork really considered scifi if Jurassic Park is in argument for being one?

ACO is SF in the same way that Orwell's 1984 is SF, or Fahrenheit 451 is SF.

Futurism is the key, science and tech is often just stage-dressing.


Sorry to say, but Cameron above Kubrick is a travesty. Particular given how baldly derivative most of his works are.
 

Discotheque

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Oct 5, 2009
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Verhoeven and Tarkovsky are the big outliers here but otherwise it's a pretty cool list

Its cool to see jonze in here over a average pick like Abrams for instance
 

Elandyll

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Not a bad list but imo (and I know a lot of people will disagree) you are not a "Sci Fi Movie Director" if you have made all of -one- Sci Fi movie.
In that respect, Dennis Villeneuve, with Arrival and Blade Runner (filmed but unreleased) is imo more of a sci fi director than say Alfonso Cuaron (he himself doesn't consider Gravity to be sci fi, and HP3 is Fantasy, not sci fi).

I also struggle with Kubrick, who is an amazing director but whose 2 works that would fit (2001& ACO) he might himself label differently if at all I imagine.
 

MisterShine

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Kubrick not being over Cameron and Scott is a joke.
...

I love 2001/Clockwork Orange, but in fairness they were both novels that he adapted (excellently but nonetheless).

Cameron had the 1-2 punch of Terminator and Aliens, which pretty much wrote the book, screenplay and novelization on how to make Action-SciFi

and Scott made Alien and Blade Runner. You can even completely ignore everything else if you want because hot damn.

edit: Made an error, 2001 was based off of a short story, Kubrick worked with Clarke on expanding it to a full feature together, then Clarke wrote the book.
 

SocksAndShoes

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Mar 11, 2014
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I love 2001/Clockwork Orange, but in fairness they were both novels that he adapted (excellently but nonetheless).

Cameron had the 1-2 punch of Terminator and Aliens, which pretty much wrote the book, screenplay and novelization on how to make Action-SciFi

and Scott made Alien and Blade Runner. You can even completely ignore everything else if you want because hot damn.

edit: Made an error, 2001 was based off of a short story, Kubrick worked with Clarke on expanding it to a full feature together, then Clarke wrote the book.

Blade Runner was based on a novel too. And I'm just not a big Cameron fan, to be honest. He leans more towards light sci-fi mixed with action and it's entertaining, but it doesn't tickle my synapses the way Kubrick does.
 

Fancyarcher

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Good list, I'd also include John Carpenter on that list, since he's made so many great hybrid action sci-fi films (Escape From New York, The Thing, They Live) etc...
 

QuantumZebra

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Minority Report is better than any of Cameron's sci-fi offerings.

Come at me.

Minority Report...


Better than Aliens, T2, and The Terminator...