7 films every sci fi fan should see

Robots, aliens, replicants and terrifying visions of the future... science fiction has inspired film-makers for years. This Sci Fi Film Festival begins on April 23 and in honour of this popular genre, here's our list of the 10 movies every fan should see.

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Even if 1920s German expressionism doesn't sound like your thing, Fritz Lang's 1927 masterpiece is essential viewing for sci fi geeks. Set within the sprawling futuristic city of the title, the movie explores social class and the divide between worker and owner in a capitalist society. Much of the movie was cut and subsequently lost but last year, the longest, restored version of the movie was shown in Germany. Stunning special effects and a riveting story mean this silent film deserves its place in any sci fi list.

The Thing
A parasitic extraterrestrial 'thing' takes the form of everything it kills, including the researchers trapped at the Antarctic research station - acute paranoia and bloody horror ensue. Though John Carpenter's cult classic performed badly at the box office (partly due to the success of Spielberg's E.T.), it has since gained legions of fans. And Kurt Russell puts in a superb performance as the helicopter plot R.J. MacReady.

Star Wars
'A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away'... shame on you if Star Wars is still on your must-see-but-haven't list. In this age-old good versus bad tale, Luke Skywalker journeys from zero to hero with the help of Han Solo, a wookie, a princess in peril and a couple of chatty droids. Though many rate the much darker Empire Strikes Back, every film in the series is worth watching.

The Day the Earth Stood Still
A visiting alien named Klaatu arrives on Earth in this 1951 sci fi classic. He comes in peace but with a message for humankind... should their violent tendencies spread from their home planet, the consequences will be fatal... and super-robot Gort and his fellow enforces are charged with keeping the peace. It's not for those hoping for space battles and fast action but the message has lost none of its power.

From the discovery of the pulsating eggs to the chest-busting shock and H.R. Giger's alien itself, the scares come thick and fast in this sci fi horror. Trapped aboard their spaceship with a seriously fast-growing double-mouthed alien, one by one the crew fall victim to the monster. All except one - Ridley Scott's film broke the mould and made Sigourney Weaver's Ripley a hardcore heroine to be reckoned with.

2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick's innovative and influential film pitches man against computer, the ever-present threat of HAL, in a race to find monoliths that will reveal the next step on the evolutionary ladder. It's not really your average Saturday afternoon fare... more of a visually stunning movie experience. In fact, if possible see it on the big screen.

Ridley Scott once again makes it into the list with what many consider the ultimate science fiction film. In a dystopian LA, 2019, blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) hunts down and 'retires' banned robots known as replicants. An extraordinary vision of a futuristic LA , a score by Vangelis, Rutger Hauer's famous speech... it's an example of what happens when man plays God.

What films would feature on your top 10 sci fi movies list? Let us know below...