I had the pleasure of being on one of this week's SF Signal Podcasts, talking about SF movies. I took the stance that to truly understand modern films, you have to have a basis in what's come before. So I suggested some older science fiction movies, based on what I've seen myself and the SF film history page on Wikipedia. Namely: Metropolis (1927), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Godzilla (1954), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Planet of the Apes (1968), Star Wars (1977), Alien (1979), Blade Runner (1982), Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986) Gattaca (1997), and Matrix (1999). These are movies that, even if you're not a fan of them, they're worthwhile watching for the impact they had on society and the films that came after them.
Obviously a lot of fantastic films are missing, some of which the other podcast members mentioned, and some we merely discussed at the end (or after the podcast ended, thinking of the films we'd forgotten to mention). Films like Westworld, Jurassic Park, 5th Element, 12 Monkeys, Logan's Run and on and on.
I've noted down a bunch of movies I've yet to see (including Forbidden Planet - for shame), that were mentioned on the podcast and will be watching them (and posting reviews) over the next few months. So far I've seen The Thing From Another World and John Carpenter's The Thing.
Also on the podcast were:
What would make your SF essential film list?