Science fiction film and television: the 1950s to the 1970s

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Abstract

A period that spawned some of the most memorable film and television from across the globe, the three decades between 1950 and 1980 are the crucible of sf media. Giving us the bug-eyed monster movies of the 1950s, the more cerebral stories of space exploration and alien encounters in the 1960s and technophobic warnings of the future in the 1970s, the production of screen sf was at its height and most influential. While the blockbuster took over as the mainstream alternative to the genre in the late 1970s, with George Lucas’s Star Wars (1977) laying a course for the mega sf franchises sf today, the thirty years of sf on both big and little screens were not just about setting up what was to come at the end of the twentieth century. Those three decades were characterised by important trends and ideas that resonated with contemporary audiences and speculated on issues that were increasingly important on national and international stages. Sf film and television from the 1950s to 1970s depicted disasters both human and extra-terrestrial, debated death as a result of nuclear war, and described the despair of what a technological future might bring.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe New Routledge Companion to Science Fiction
EditorsMark Bould, Andrew Butler, Sherryl Vint
PublisherRoutledge
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 2023

Keywords

  • science fiction
  • film
  • television
  • American Cinema
  • genre
  • 1950s
  • 1960s
  • 1970s
  • Japanese Cinema
  • British Cinema

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