Director: Jimmy T. Murakami
Stars: Richard Thomas, Robert Vaughn, George Peppard, John Saxon, Darlanne Fluegel, Sybil Danning
James Cameron really has come a long way. Thirty years before he revolutionized visual effects in Avatar, the always ambitious filmmaker was an upstart art director and set designer, and one of his earliest projects was the Star Wars ripoff Battle Beyond the Stars. It's definitely not Cameron's finest hour.
Produced by the tireless Roger Corman, Battle Beyond the Stars follows a heroic space traveler (Richard Thomas) who recruits a motley crew of mercenaries to take down an evil overlord (John Saxon). With reasonably impressive special effects, director Jimmy T. Murakami's B-plus-movie is infinitely better than every other one on this list.
So what's the problem? Try the overly campy acting from most of the cast and the overall feeling that Battle Beyond the Stars so desperately wants to be another Star Wars, or even a Star Trek, that it blatantly lifts concepts and plot devices directly from its biggest movie influences.