There are a lot of amazing new movies coming in 2018, but there’s also a long list of classic, iconic films that will be celebrating significant anniversaries this year. Here are the biggest science fiction, fantasy, and genre movie milestones happening in 2018. (You should probably be prepared to feel old.)
50-Year Anniversaries (Films Released in 1968)
Image: Warner Bros.
2001: A Space Odyssey
Arguably the greatest science fiction film of all time, directed by Stanley Kubrick, one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. It’s as gorgeous and provocative today as it was 50 years ago.
Planet of the Apes
The actors in ape make-up may look dated now, but the first Planets of the Apes is so good and so powerful that even a bunch of terrible sequels (and one truly horrific reboot attempt) haven’t kept Hollywood from adding to the franchise — in fact, we had a new Apes film in theatres last year. Plus, it has one of the all-time best endings ever.
Roman Polanski is a terrible human but he did direct this horror masterpiece about a young mother who unknowingly gives birth to the son of Satan. It continues to inspire legions upon legions of imitators.
Image: United Artists
At the height of their powers, the Beatles could do anything — including releasing this animated musical comedy into theatres. The film is as trippy as is humanly possible, but the music alone makes it a classic.
Night of the Living Dead
In 1968, George A. Romero not only invented the modern zombie genre, but revolutionised horror with this incredible film that merges social commentary and scares.
Nearly half a century before Hollywood got around to making a Wonder Woman movie, they adapted this French comic with Jane Fonda as a woman from the future. It’s more an exploitation flick than anything else, but it’s still a significant work.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Roald Dahl co-wrote this beloved Disney musical about a flying car, with Oscar-nominated music by the legendary Sherman brothers and a winning performance by Dick Van Dyke.
Herbie the Love Bug
Everyone’s favourite sentient Volkswagen Beetle, Herbie, is 50 years old this year thanks to this family-friendly film that spawned several popular sequels.
30-Year Anniversaries (Films Released in 1988)
Image: Warner Bros.
Tim Burton’s weird, wonderful horror comedy features one of the most unique performances ever, namely Michael Keaton as the ghost with the most. It’s arguably Burton’s most defining film, and certainly one of his best.
One of the (few) films George Lucas worked on between Star Wars trilogies, this epic fantasy adventure is still loads of fun, thanks to direction by Ron Howard, music by James Horner, and great lead performances by Warwick Davis and Val Kilmer.
Killer Klowns From Outer Space
This cult classic delivers on its title in a big way. It’s literally about killer clowns from outer space who reign terror on a small town. It’s absurd, but that’s what makes it a cult classic.
A young boy wishes that he was “big,” and when the wish is granted, he gets a job as a toy executive and falls in love. Big became one of Tom Hanks’ signature roles in this, the ultimate ride through wish fulfilment.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Director Robert Zemeckis blended animation and live action in ways we’d never seen before in this hilarious, film noir-inspired film, as a hardboiled detective tries to figure out how to prove the innocence of a very silly cartoon rabbit.
Thirty years after its original incarnation, Hollywood delivered a remake of this ooey-gooey horror film with much better effects. A mound of slime devours a town, and while the movie isn’t great, it has a strong cult following. (Aug 5)
Image: Warner Bros.
Michael Jackson’s music video anthology also kind of doubles as a science fiction film and was a massive deal when it came out. It’s not as beloved now, but the music and visuals are still engaging today.
John Carpenter’s iconic, kick-arse, not-at-all-subtle social commentary film is one of his most beloved movies. Starring wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper, it’s filled with quotable lines, and contains what is arguably the great fist fight in all of cinema.
After a huge decade for Freddy and Jason, everyone was trying to invent the next horror icon. Child’s Play succeeded with Chucky, a “Good Guy” doll possessed by the spirit of a serial killer. (Nov. 9)
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has been told and retold a million times, but few are as funny as Scrooged, which stars Bill Murray as an arsehole executive who learns to love others and Christmas.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito are indeed bros in this weird comedy about fraternal twins created in a lab. The ultimate odd couple made the movie an enormous success, and it’s still beloved today, even if it hasn’t aged particularly well.
Others: Bloodsport, Big Top Pee-Wee, Monkey Shines, Mac and Me, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Earth Girls Are Easy, Elvira, Alien Nation, Night of the Demons, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers,The Land Before Time, Oliver & Company , Cocoon the Return
25-Year Anniversaries (Films Released in 1993)
Starring a young Jennifer Aniston, this film took the Irish legend and gave it a horror twist, as a leprechaun starts killing people when he believes his pot of gold has been stolen. A hit at the time, it spawned five increasingly silly sequels including the unforgettable Leprechaun in the Hood.
A stuck-up newscaster (Bill Murray) relives the same day over and over again in what has become not just one of the iconic comedies of the ’90s, but arguably of all time. It still holds up beautifully.
Army of Darkness
The third film in Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series sees Ash (Bruce Campbell) sent to medieval times where he has to save the day with his shotgun, chainsaw, and barrage of one-liners… after he doofishly unleashed an army of undead upon the land. One of the most beloved cult classics of all time.
Fire in the Sky
Growing up, this “true story” of a man’s alien abduction freaked me out. And while I haven’t seen it probably since its release, it’s still the go-to whenever people talk about alien abduction films.
My Neighbour Totoro
Filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki captured the imaginations of a generation with this film about a young girl who finds a magical friend in the forest. It wasn’t his, or Studio Ghibli’s, first film, but it still may be their best.
Super Mario Bros.
This movie sucks, but it’s significant because it’s so terrible it wrecked the nascent movies-based-on-video games genre for decades. Its curse haunts almost all movie adaptations of games to this day. (May 28)
What needs to be said here? It’s the legendary Steven Spielberg adapation of Michael Crichton’s novel and it’s one of the biggest, most beloved movies ever.
Last Action Hero
A young boy is sucked into his favourite movie series in this famous bomb that doesn’t get the credit it deserves for its meta ambition. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the generic action movie lead, poking fun at himself and the genre he ruled, while Die Hard‘s John McTiernan delivers the action fans would expect. It’s still underrated.
Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker play three witches resurrected in modern times who go on a magic-filled adventure. It holds a major place in the hearts of many, many fans who grew up with it.
Robin Hood: Men in Tights
By 1993, Mel Brooks was past his prime as a filmmaker, but damned if his parody of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves isn’t still hilarious. Most of the jokes are horribly dated but it’s a movie I’ll never turn off if it’s on.
Surf Ninjas is about two teenage surfers who are actually princes and become ninjas to save their kingdom. Yep.
Sylvester Stallone plays an LA cop who is frozen in the ’90s because he caused too much collateral damage in his pursuit of a psychotic criminal, played with glee by Wesley Snipes.
They’re resurrected decades later into a dystopian future that masquerades as a utopia, and the chase begins again. The resulting movie is part action movie, part comedy, part fish-out-of-of water story, and all crazy science fiction.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Tim Burton-produced (not directed) stop-motion animation holiday hybrid is one of those rare films that has probably gotten more beloved since its original release. A hit then, now it’s considered a classic for both Halloween and Christmas.
Addams Family Values
A sequel to the 1991 remake of the ’60s TV show, Addams Family Values isn’t as good as the original film, but it’s pretty close. However, today it’s probably most memorable for the way the Addams’ kids trip to summer camp has become so meme worthy.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan both made great Batman movies, but many feel that this animated film, released on the heels of the amazing animated series, is the best one. And they may be right.
Others: Matinee, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Rookie of the Year, Free Willy, Coneheads, Meteor Man, Jason Goes to Hell , Secret Garden , What Dreams May Come, Bride of Chucky, Practical Magic, Soldier, John Carpenter’s Vampires, RoboCop 3, Three Musketeers, We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story, Wayne’s World 2
20-Year Anniversaries (Films Released in 1998)
Image: New Line
A unique blend of film noir, horror, and science fiction, Alex Proyas’ underrated film about a man accused of murder in a mysterious city where the sun never seems to shine is beloved by those who’ve seen it, which isn’t as many people as it should be.
A young girl poses as a man in order fight for her people. This empowering, inspirational Disney animated film doesn’t get the credit it deserves, but remains one of the studio’s better films of the time period.
The first big-screen foray by the popular TV show didn’t wow fans as much as the series, but is still a crucial sliver of the mythology.
Michael Bay’s bombastic action film about oil drillers sent into space to stop an asteroid is as dumb and enjoyable today as it was 20 years ago. The cast is great, it’s all super cheesy, but somehow it just works.
Most notable as the the directorial debut of Darren Aronofsky, Pi is an almost avant-garde story of a mathematician gone mad as explores the number representing the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter and the world.
Wesley Snipes stars as a half-vampire who spends his time hunting down his own kind. It’s a stylised, sleek comic book adaptation that spawned a few sequels, and still has fans clamouring for more.
Image: New Line
Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon play modern kids who get sucked into a black and white TV show from the ’50s, and change how those people look at the world. It’s a smart, gorgeous film.
The trailer for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
OK, it’s not a full movie. But the Brad Pitt film Meet Joe Black was released 20 years ago and, with it was fans’ first look at the first new Star Wars film since the original trilogy. So many people bought tickets to the movie just to see the trailer that some theatres even played the trailer before and after the film.
Others: Species II, Nightwatch, Deep Impact, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Godzilla, Dr. Dolittle, Small Soldiers, The Mask of Zorro, Disturbing Behaviour, Ever After, Halloween H20, The Avengers, Urban Legend, A Bug’s Life, Babe: Pig in the City, Psycho), Jack Frost, Star Trek Insurrection, A Simple Plan, Prince of Egypt, Mighty Joe Young, The Faculty
15-Year Anniversaries (Films Released in 2003)
Before Ben Affleck was Batman, he was the Man Without Fear, in this bomb of a Marvel movie adaptation. And yet, the fact we got a live-action movie with not just Daredevil, but also Bullseye, Elektra, and Kingpin still feels surreal.
Arguably one of the best superhero movies ever, X2 did wonders to up the ante after the first X-Men film, which Fox saw as a bit of a gamble. By this time though, the studio knew it had a massive hit on their hands and really made the big, loud, awesome movie the X-Men and their fans deserved.
The Matrix Reloaded
If you were blown away by The Matrix in 1999, you probably remember the exact moment this sequel either expanded your consciousness…. or massively let you down. Reloaded took some bold thematic risks along with a massive increase of action and the result remains divisive.
Pixar truly hit its stride with Finding Nemo, which is about as perfectly constructed as an animated film as you can imagine. It hits all the right notes at just the right time and, rightfully, went on to be an insane success.
28 Days Later
While George A. Romero may have invented zombies 50 years ago, Danny Boyle evolved them 35 years later in this gritty, violent, kinetic take on the genre.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
The Pirates franchise has had so many peaks and valleys, it’s easy to forget just delightful the first film is. Johnny Depp got an Oscar nomination for his performance as Captain Jack Sparrow, and no matter how much awfulness came afterwards, this first movie is an undeniably classic.
Image: New Line
Freddy vs. Jason
It was the movie fans had been demanding for decades. Freddy Krueger fought Jason Voorhees. And while the results were ultimately just ok, the crossover was a significant moment in horror and franchise filmmaking in general.
Kill Bill Vol. 1
Quentin Tarantino’s samurai epic was such an ambitious feat of storytelling, it had to be broken into two parts. This first one is louder, filled with visuals, performances, and music that have since become instantly recognisable and iconic. It’s fun, it’s intense, and it’s Tarantino at his best.
Elf is probably the most recent “holiday classic” we have in pop culture. Will Ferrell’s take on an human elf who returns home to New York is pure joy, and the kind of film families watch every single year at the holidays, for good reason.
Image: New Line
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Winner of all 11 Oscars it was nominated for, Peter Jackson’s conclusion to the Lord of the Rings trilogy is probably one of the best movies ever made. Sure it has a bunch of endings, but when viewed as the end of a single nine-hour movie, they all make sense. Return of the King is cinema at its most magical.
Others: Dreamcatcher, Holes, Identity, Hulk), Terminator: Rise of the Machines, American Splendor, Cabin Fever, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Underworld, The Rundown, Brother Bear, The Matrix Revolutions
10-Year Anniversaries (Films Released in 2008)
Ten year later and we still haven’t seen anything like Cloverfield. It was a science fiction movie that was released under an enormous shroud of mystery that had everyone interested. And at its core, the idea of a found-footage take on a giant monster movie is just undeniably cool.
If this was just a cool Iron Man origin story, it would still merit plenty of accolades. But now it’s also the first seed of what has become one of the biggest, most influential franchises in film history. Hard to believe all that has happened in just 10 years, and it began here.
No, you haven’t been dreaming for the last decade. The Wachowskis did make a big-budget, delightfully colourful adaptation of Speed Racer. It’s not loved by many, but damned if it’s not incredibly rewatchable, with some of the best race sequences in recent memory.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Unfortunately, no, you didn’t dream this either. Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Harrison Ford did make a fourth Indiana Jones movie and yes, it was as bad and forgettable as the others are awesome and memorable.
Our pick for the best Pixar film of all-time, Pixar’s tale of two robots falling in love in the future remains an ambitious, exciting adventure.
The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight changed everything. Director Christopher Nolan showed the world that superhero movies could be serious cinema, and almost everyone has been chasing his standard since. While that isn’t always necessarily a good thing, this movie remains one of the best superhero films ever.
Image: Warner Bros.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
The Star Wars theatrical release most people forget, it was part of the much better Clone Wars TV series. And though it’s not a very good movie on its own — there is a baby Hutt named Stinky — it’s a Star Wars movie, so it’s worth mentioning. (Aug 15)
While not universally appealing, the movie adaptation of the teenage vampire romance novel was a huge hit, followed not just by four sequels, but undeniably cultural influence.
Others: Be Kind Rewind. Kung Fu Panda, The Happening, The Incredible Hulk, Wanted, Hancock, Hellboy 2: The Golden Circle, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, City of Ember, Quarantine, Bolt , The Curious Case of Benjamin Button