Forbidden Planet (1956)
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Forbidden Planet is, quite specifically, the template for Star Trek's original pilot The Cage, and for the series that followed, and an inspiration both directly and indirectly for loads of science fiction, including Lost in Space (the same robot), Time Tunnel (the underground base) and Terry Nation's episodes of Doctor Who (as well as the program's electronic music score). The story feels very old-fashioned today, but in the same way those shows do. The sexual politics are primitive by our standards, the acting fairly limited in texture, and the story so full of now well established tropes, it can't help but feel dated. Forbidden Planet's LOOK, however, still stands up. The sets, matte paintings, effects (animation and rotoscoping, etc.) all look great, and are all the more impressive for having been achieved in the 1950s. Watching it today is like being an archaeologist; you'll dig up the precursors of everything you love in SF.
All entertainment aspects aside, this movie's presence in countless science fiction movies to come is undeniable. Having never seen it before, one might be convinced that the film is nothing more than an amalgam of tired sci-fi cliches rather than its creator.
On a completely unrelated note, the only thing I found unbelievable was the cook wearing a hat and apron in outer space. Completely ruined the entire movie for me.
I'm not the most enthusiastic sci-fi fan, but I absolutely loved this.
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In 9 official lists
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This movie ranks #12 in The 100 Greatest Sci-Fi Movies
This movie ranks #31 in 100 Science Fiction Films (BFI Screen Guide)
This movie ranks #193 in 500 Essential Cult Movies
This movie ranks #300 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #307 in 501 Must See Movies
This movie ranks #349 in TimeOut's 1000 Films to Change Your Life
This movie ranks #404 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Films
This movie ranks #635 in National Film Registry
This movie ranks #844 in They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?