Visual Effects Society Lists 70 Most Influential VFX Films: Sci-Fi Rules, Superheroes Lag

Disney; Universal Pictures; Fox

It’s been 10 years since members of the Visual Effects Society voted on the 50 most influential VFX movies of all time. A decade later, the industry’s professional honorary society is marking its 20th year with an expanded list of 70 movies spanning more than a century.

Visual Effects Society

“The VES 70 represents films that have had a significant, lasting impact on the practice and appreciation of visual effects as an integral element of cinematic expression and storytelling,” VES Board ChairMike Chambers said.  “We see this as an important opportunity for our members, leading visual effects practitioners worldwide, to pay homage to our heritage and help shape the future of the global visual effects community. In keeping with our mission to recognize and advance outstanding art and innovation in the VFX field, the VES 70 now forms a part of our legacy that we can pass down to future generations of filmmakers as a valuable point of reference.”

Steven Spielberg and James Cameron each landed a half-dozen titles on the list to lead all directors. Among the noteworthy inclusions and omissions: All three films from the original Star Wars trilogy are here, but none of the George Lucas or Disney films in the series since. The three Lord of the Rings pics made the list, but Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy is a no-show. The filmmaker’s 2005 King Kong is heret, along with the 1933 original. George Miller’s Oscar-laden Mad Max: Fury Road made the cut, unlike any of his Mel Gibson starrers. The Planet of the Apes franchise is repped by the original 1968 film and 2011’s franchise relauncher Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Jurassic Park? In. Sequels and reboots? Nah.

Warner Bros Pictures

Dig superheroes, do you? Well, you’ve come to the wrong list. The VES ignored the new wave of men in tights completely, singling out only Superman: The Movie from 1978.

Here is VES’ alphabetical list of the 70 most influential visual effects films of all time (actually 72, with ties). They range from 1902’s A Trip to the Moon to 2015’s Fury Road and Ex Machina. Titles in boldface have been since the 2007 list came out. Check out the list and tell us if you agree or not.

300 (2007)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
A Trip to the Moon (1902)
The Abyss (1989)
Alien (1979)
Aliens (1986)
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Apollo 13 (1995)
Avatar (2009)
Babe (1995)
Back to the Future (1985)
Blade Runner (1982)
Citizen Kane (1941)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1958)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
District 9 (2009)
E.T. the Extraterrestrial (1982)
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Ex Machina (2015)
Fantastic Voyage (1966)
The Fifth Element (1997)
Forbidden Planet (1956)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Gertie the Dinosaur (1914)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Godzilla (1954)
Gravity (2013)
Inception (2010)
Independence Day (1996)
Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
Jaws (1975)
Jurassic Park (1993)
King Kong (1933)
King Kong (2005)
Life of Pi (2012)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
The Lost World (1925)
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Mary Poppins (1964)
The Mask (1994)
The Matrix (1999)
Metropolis (1927)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Return of the Jedi (1983)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
Sin City (2005)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Star Wars (1977)
Starship Troopers (1997)
Superman: The Movie (1978)
The Ten Commandments (1956)
The Terminator (1984)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The Thing (1982)
Titanic (1997)
Total Recall (1990)
Toy Story (1995)
Tron (1982)
Transformers (2007)
Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)
The War of the Worlds (1953)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
What Dreams May Come (1998)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

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