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The 50 Best Sci-Fi Movies

15. Solaris (1972)

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Stars: Natalya Bondarchuk, Donatas Banionis, Juri Jarvet, Vladislav Dvorzhetsky

If the name Andrei Tarkovsky rings a bell, consider yourself a cool person. You're in tune with one of the genre's all-time great filmmakers, a Russian visionary who didn't make a ton of films, but each one he did conceive was a true work of art.

Meditative and poetic, Tarkovsky's Solaris finds the filmmaker at his most cerebral. It's about the hallucinations experienced by a psychologist and his crew while they're aboard a mysterious spacecraft; Tarkovsky's virtuosity is apparent through his decision to explain nothing. The trippy visions, such as one man's dead wife appearing before him, come out of nowhere, hinting at an unseen extra-terrestrial presence. By shrouding the film's antagonist in dream-like vagueness, Tarkovsky ensured that Solaris would linger in minds long after its lengthy yet admirably drawn out narrative concludes.

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