Do you know your '80s and '90s sci-fi flicks?


By: Olivia Cantor

7 Min Quiz

Image: The Ladd Company Shaw Brothers Blade Runner Partnership

About This Quiz

From highfaluting philosophy to family flicks, sci-fi movies in the '80s and '90s went from feel-good to mind–blowing. Many of these movies have become so popular that remakes and rip–offs have happened. Take this quiz and find out why these science fiction movies became cornerstones of pop culture.

This 1982 movie was more about the social issue of human slavery, as it applied to androids. It asks the question of what being human is all about. What was the name of this Harrison Ford film?

Blade Runner was the epic science fiction movie that focused on a technological world gone wrong, and how humanity should be careful with the technology it uses. It has influenced many movies, the latest being the live-action version of "Ghost in the Shell."


Gigantic alien motherships are destroying capital cities. And yet, there is hope, as a ragtag team of pilots and scientists figure out how to defeat the alien invasion. What is the name of this movie that has Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum in starring roles?

"Independence Day" looks like a cheesy matinee sci-fi flick at first. However, it also shows how resourceful humans can be even against advanced technology. Like all classic sci-fi, it's also about the human spirit.


This successful movie franchise about mad scientist Dr. Brown and his younger friend, Marty McFly, is all about the classic concept of time travel. What was the name of this classic '80s sci-fi movie?

"Back to the Future" was a light-hearted science fiction movie, combining wholesome family fun with some of the puzzles of time travel fiction. This movie would directly influence the cartoon Rick and Morty -- Morty is Marty, get it?


When the future is like an urban crime war in the streets, you need cyborg police protection. Which movie had a part-man, part-machine solution to the problem of crime?

"Robocop" was a mix of social commentary and science fiction, as it showed how a half-machine cop was introduced to replace normal police. The fun starts when he begins to remember that he's a human being.


When you have Ming the Merciless from the planet Mongo as your enemy, and you're a football star with a reporter girlfriend, what is the name of your movie?

The 1980 film, "Flash Gordon," was a throwback to the '50s sci-fi serial movies. It follows the classic sci-fi idea of a human hero fighting the good fight in an alien world.


This movie had Kyle McLachlan as the lead character, Paul Atreides, and had Sting in a bit part. It was about the politics of a galactic empire and having a kind of drug that helped people see through time and space. What was this movie?

"Dune" was a highfaluting concept movie, and didn't earn much at the box office. But it was also known for opening the gates to other high-galactic sci-fi movies, like the recent "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets."


It's the sci-fi tale about a deep-sea base crew that encounters aliens under the sea. What was this James Cameron-directed movie that had Ed Harris in the lead role?

The Abyss starts out with a premise that seems like a disaster movie, with an undersea base having trouble. It ends up being Close Encounters of the Wet Kind.


This movie stars two teenagers who are destined to save the world to rock and roll. However, they have to get their act together while riding a phone booth that's actually a time machine. What's the name of this comedic sci-fi teen movie?

"Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" was a light science fiction comedy. It actually had a sequel, but the original is way better!


Sometimes the future isn't all that good. Welcome to a world where genetics is the key to a better life, and to space travel. What was the name of this movie, which starred Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman?

Some science fiction movies deal with the consequences of science being used in a bad way. In Gattaca, genetics is used as a way to discriminate against the physically undesirable. Also, A, C, G, and T are the first letters of the different proteins for DNA -- genetic pun!


This movie is about how time travel affects the past and the future, as time traveler James Cole (Bruce Willis) has to stop an insane plan by Jeffrey (Brad Pitt) to release a killer plague. What is the name of this movie?

Traveling in time can affect a person's life, if he or she changes something in the past. But is that past also accounted for as part of the real timeline? "12 Monkeys" explores many time travel issues as the story progresses.


Agents J and K protect the earth from the scum of the universe, but their agency's existence is not known to average humans. Taking a cue from the urban legends, what is the title of this sci-fi comedy movie?

"Men in Black" mixes science fiction with action and comedy. It's about special agents from a secret organization whose job it is to prevent people from finding out that aliens live on Earth.


This movie plays with the science fiction idea that aliens have visited us in the past, leaving archeological evidence all around. What was the name of this movie that played with Egyptian mythology, and gods as aliens?

This movie combined the majesty of ancient Egypt with aliens in an epic sci-fi story. "Stargate" would be the start of a successful multi-series TV franchise.


When a large asteroid is about to hit the Earth, an oil drilling team was hired to drop a nuke into the center of the asteroid. This movie was headlined by Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, and Liv Tyler. What movie was this?

"Armageddon" is one of the more famous asteroid sci-fi movies in the past few decades. It also helps that Aerosmith had a big hit with the song, "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing," on the soundtrack.


Aliens are not always all about technology. In this particular movie, it's about a woman who is half-human and half-alien, looking to go forth and multiply to propagate its kind. What was the name of this sci-fi movie?

Species is scary not only because it has a nasty, violent alien. The thing is, that alien takes advantage of human impulses. The alien looks beautiful by human standards so that it can find a perfect mate, and then it shows its real form and all hell breaks loose.


This science fiction and family movie featured a stranded alien who befriends a group of kids. They help him get home, even when the government is involved. What is the name of this famous Steven Spielberg movie?

"E.T." is a classic Steven Spielberg movie that presented the alien as being cute and childlike. It is mostly because E.T., the alien, was so likable that the movie became a pop sci-fi classic.


This Disney production was one of the first movies to feature extensive computer graphics during the '80s. Fittingly, it's about a world inside computers, particularly within a computer game, before the world of gaming consoles. What was the name of this groundbreaking movie?

"Tron" can arguably be the first movie to explore virtual reality that seems a bit like the Internet, in the sense that all the action happens inside a computer network. The movie's plot is a modern upgrade of the idea that a human can become a hero in another world.


You're the head of a Special Forces team in the jungle. Something unseen is hunting you and your team down. How do you stop being the prey? Arnold Schwarzenegger heads the cast of this sci-fi action film. What is its title?

"Predator" has an alien that is violent, intelligent, and has incredibly powerful weapons. What makes it scarier is that it has advanced camouflage technology that makes it invisible. Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a veteran soldier and team leader, has to be creative to outsmart this out-of-this-world enemy.


Imagine if your world wasn't real at all. What if we were all prisoners in our real life, and advanced robots were keeping us as living batteries to power their systems? That's the premise of this movie from the Wachowski siblings, starring Keanu Reeves. What is that film called?

Sci-fi movies change with the times. The rise of the online world is reflected in movies like "The Matrix." The world has been overtaken by robots, but humans are unaware because they are plugged into a virtual reality set-up.


In this movie, it all starts with ancient DNA left in a mosquito trapped in amber. It ends with a dinosaur island that's designed as a tourist attraction -- until things went south. What is the name of this blockbuster movie?

"Jurassic Park" showed the power of technology if properly applied - and abused. In it, reconstructed dinosaurs go wild in the park because the worst-case scenario happened. Seriously, dinosaurs are always a problem.


This film is set on a future colony on Mars, where a man realizes that his memories may not be real at all. It's our man Arnold Schwarzenegger as the bewildered lead actor in a sci-fi whodunit. What was the name of this Martian action movie?

"Total Recall" centers on a hero whose memories may not be real. In fact, he's not even sure whose side he's really on, thanks to his jumbled past. His true memories have serious consequences for the Mars revolution.


The future is a fascist nightmare, with overpopulated megacities and police officers who can catch you, and sentence you for your crime. In this city, there is one police officer who is legendary. What is the title of this movie?

"Judge Dredd" is based on a long-running British comic book that tackles many issues about government control and social issues. In the middle of it all is a stern but fair police officer, known as Judge Dredd.


A worldwide disaster happened in the past and Kevin Costner has become a man with gills in a world where dry land is a myth. What is the name of this movie?

"Waterworld" was a Kevin Costner movie that played out like Mad Max, if Mad Max roamed the seas. It was a controversial movie, as it is still debatable why it flopped.


Arnold Schwarzenegger became a household name with this movie, where he plays an emotionless robot hunting down a target -- a human leader of the rebellion named John Connor. What was the name of this movie?

"Terminator" was a perfect vehicle for the muscular Arnie. He played a time-traveling robot out to kill the mother of the human resistance in its original time. The film would also inspire many other films with its ideas on time travel and killer robots.


The setting may have been science fiction, but the story was all heart: a human pilot and his alien enemy counterpart are marooned on a planet. They have to work together to survive. This movie was directed by a young Wolfgang Petersen. What is the name of this sci-fi drama?

"Enemy Mine" revolves around a human and alien who have to survive together in harsh surroundings. As time goes by, they realized that they have more in common than they think. Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett, Jr., played the human and alien pilots, respectively.


Alex Rogan had a small-town life, but he was so good at playing a video game, that aliens came to get him -- because it turns out, they need his skills. What was the name of this sci-fi movie?

"The Last Starfighter" is a teenager's dream: to do something big. However, Alex Rogan finds out that real life, even a fantastic one, has some very grim consequences. He's the last starfighter pilot for the Rylan Star League, and he's their only hope.


UFO abductions are usually treated very seriously, but this family movie features an alien with a funny human side, becoming friends with a human child. As they try to find a way to get the child back to his family, they realize it will be tougher than it looks. What was the name of this Disney movie?

"Flight of the Navigator" was actually a fun film to watch, as it showed how UFO abductions would be treated by families and the government. The amazing thing was that it stayed friendly for family viewings, while at the same time still having a deep story.


Snake Plissken is an ex-soldier and bank robber. He's given a chance at a new life, but to have it, he has to rescue the president. What's the name of this near-future sci-fi movie?

"Escape from New York" is a different kind of sci-fi movie, where it's not so much the technology as the setting that makes it a fantasy world. The technology is near-future (for the time), and it shows an "alternate history."


This movie had a robot named Johnny Five who malfunctions and becomes self-aware, acting human-like at times. What's the name of this movie?

"Short Circuit" is technically a Frankenstein Lite movie. In this case, though, Johnny Five is being chased by the military so they can shut him down, not kill him with fire.


This concept movie is a science fiction treatment of how important memories are to people. It's about a man trapped in a city floating in space. There, people have their memories changed every night. But with John Murdoch, something went wrong. What's the name of this science fiction film?

Dark City explores how memories are important to people. But even with fake memories, it may be possible to defeat the aliens at their own game. The movie features an Igor-esque performance from Kiefer Sutherland.


In this stylish Luc Besson film, Leeloo, played by Milla Jovovich, is an embodiment of a force of the Universe. Korben Dallas, played by Bruce Willis, has to help her as she decides on the fate of humanity. What was the name of this movie?

This sci-fi movie is based on an idea that Luc Besson has had since he was very young. The science fiction aspect here borders on fantasy.


When the mentally-challenged gardener Jobe Smith has his intelligence boosted by the crazy inventor-scientist Dr. Angelo, he not only becomes smarter, he develops super abilities as well. What is the name of this film?

"The Lawnmower Man" is a classic sci-fi cautionary tale, with roots in stories like Frankenstein. It's all about how human pride and ego can corrupt scientific advances.


Big bugs are taking over planets one by one, and the battalions of Colonial Marines are the only ones who can stop them. What is the name of this back-to-basics sci-fi movie?

"Starship Troopers" is named after a novel that is one of the granddaddies of military science fiction. However, director Paul Verhoeven changed much of the novel's plot plus some important characterizations.


Welcome to a society where special headgear can make you experience all the sensory memories of another person -- you can feel, taste, touch, smell, and see what another person experienced. Lenny Nero, a down-and-out former detective, has to solve a web of murders and lies, where virtual reality plays a big part. What is the name of this sci-fi movie?

"Strange Days" is a case of how science fiction comes close but veers off from reality. It predicted the rise of how people share virtual files, and how they are fascinated with virtual reality. However, our tech today still can’t plug us totally into another person's sense memories.


This sci-fi comedy is a take-off on "Star Trek." This time, however, the crew members are really actors from an old TV series. The problem is that aliens don’t understand what TV is, and they believe that the adventures they saw were true! What's the name of this Trekkie parody?

"Galaxy Quest" is the rare sort of parody that takes a good dig at "Star Trek," while having a healthy respect for it. Plus, it's star-studded, with Sigourney Weaver, Tim Allen, and Alan Rickman as the crew, to name a few.


When you're the reckless but effective cop, John Spartan, demotion means you're literally frozen in ice. Many years later, you're thawed out, to take care of the criminal, Simon Phoenix, the guy you were after even from before. What's the name of this Sly Stallone and Wesley Snipes sci-fi slugfest?

Sometimes, a sci-fi movie just has to entertain. And with Sly Stallone and Wesley Snipes doing a futuristic cops and robbers movie, what's not to like? Bonus: Sly Stallone's John Spartan looks like an early version of his character in "The Expendables."


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