20 Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of the 90s

NOTE: This is the second submission of this list. The first submission proved quite unpopular because I ranked movies according to Rotten Tomatoes freshness and my decision to include The Sixth Sense, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Princess Mononoke. The criticisms are well taken; so, this is the list as I originally wrote it MINUS the three afore-mentioned movies. To make it an even 20, I threw Contact back in from an earlier version, even though I dislike the movie.

While the technical quality of sci-fi leapt forward during the 1990s, the decade features a depressing dearth of really good sci-fi in this post-Star Wars era. Many of the movies that Hollywood produced in the 1990s made from great sci-fi books or other established source materials should have been better in execution—much better: The Postman, Starship Troopers, Contact, Sphere, The Phantom Menace, Lost in Space, Star Trek Generations, Judge Dredd, Aliens3 and Godzilla. (Quick: What size was Godzilla when she was stomping round New York City? No one knew, especially that schlock-fest’s producers.)

What follows is a selection of the best from the 1990s. On the plus side, at least half of the movies that made the cut were not big-budget blockbusters. And like the 1980s, some of the best sci-fi movies were Japanese anime. Notable and deliberate omissions: Apollo 13 (it’s sci-FACT, not sci-fi); the fun and quirky Being John Malkovich (fantasy, not sci-fi); Total Recall (more dumb than good); and Independence Day. Despite the gee-whiz special effects, stirring speeches and fun characters, Independence Day was just stupid—as in unintelligent. The three most egregious “sins” are: the techno-advanced aliens needing our puny satellite system to “coordinate” their attack, the massive mother ship exploding in close proximity to Earth with no damage to the planet, and Jeff Goldblum successfully hacking into the mother ship with his puny laptop. Those three things ruin the experience.

It took a while for this Charlie Sheen sci-fi thriller to grow on me. Co-starring the late Ron Silver, The Arrival is a fast-paced sci-fi thriller featuring Sheen as radio astronomer Zane Ziminski who detects what appear to be alien signals. Mysteriously fired for showing his findings, Ziminski gets thrown into a wild conspiracy that leads to a disturbing discovery. It’s actually better than it sounds, and as far as first contact-style movies go, The Arrival is superior to the haughty and overblown Contact and often-laughable Independence Day.

A strange mixture of cyberpunk with the then-hip tech of virtual reality, the British and Canadian eXistenZ skillfully explores the blurring of reality and fantasy. Players literally jack into a virtual reality game by plugging a connection into their spine. Talk about literally putting you in the game!

I didn’t place Contact higher on the list for one very important reason: the characters are too one-dimensional. For example, the motivation for Jake Busey’s character to destroy the first “Machine” is laughably stupid. In fact, the whole film—and Carl Sagan novel—seems like just one long, ridiculous and ignorant rant against religion. Still, the film is intriguing and doesn’t shy away from the real controversy: Did Jodie Foster’s character actually travel through space in the blink of an eye? The final 15 or so minutes make sitting through the rest of the film worthwhile.

Yes, this is a guilty pleasure, but unlike most other big-budget popcorn flicks, this movie never takes itself seriously. The first time I saw this movie I had so much fun it didn’t matter how silly or incomprehensible it was. The second time I tried to watch it with a critical eye, but wound up not caring again while I was having so much fun. If you take this movie seriously (like Independence Day), then you’ll ridicule it as a piece of overblown garbage. If you take it for a light-hearted, shoot-‘em-up, let’s-have-fun-in-space popcorn flick, then it’s a blast. Bruce Willis stars as a world-weary cab driver (are all heroes now “world-weary”?) and former elite soldier named Corbin Dallas—great name, by the way—who ends up the guardian/love interest of the “supreme being,” the universe’s only hope from a gigantic sphere o’ pure evil. It seems like the cast just had a blast making this movie, including Ian Holm as the bumbling priest, the late and great Byron James as Dallas’ former CO, Gary Oldman as the wicked, evil, devilish industrialist bad guy, and Chris Tucker as Ruby Rhod, a spacey space-cadet of a 23rd century pop idol/diva. And frankly, Chris Tucker is what makes this movie for me (some people hate his character, though).

The Truman Show is an intriguing movie where Truman (Jim Carrey) lives out his entire life as an unwitting participant in a wildly popular reality TV show about his life. But one day, a stage light falls from the “sky” and Truman begins to realize that his reality is not really reality. (Say that 10 times fast.)

This eighth Star Trek voyage is the best one since 1982’s Wrath of Kahn, and the only ST film featuring the Next Generation cast that really appeals beyond Trek circles. Heavy with overtones of Moby Dick, First Contact features our heroes battling the cybernetic Borg for the future of Earth. A little corny in places (Dr. Cochran says to the Enterprise crew members from the future: “You’re like astronauts… on some sort of star trek!”) but overall, the script is good and the action exciting.

Men in Black was a surprise 1990s monster hit, based on the comic of the same name. It’s pure popcorn, but ragingly good popcorn. Agents K (Tommy Lee Jones) and J (Will Smith) of the Men in Black maintain earth as a “Casablanca without the Nazis” until a bug with a bad attitude (Vincent D’Onofrio in a terrific performance) arrives and starts some stuff. More “fi” than “sci,” of course, but it’s still one of the best fun sci-fi flicks of all time. Best line: When J puts on his black suit and shades for the first time, he tells K: “The difference between you and me is I make this look good.”

Michael Crichton’s tale of dinosaurs come alive through cloning introduced the world at large (outside of certain scientific circles, of course) to one of the greatest killing machines ever: the velociraptor. With a gorgeous John Williams soundtrack, believable f/x and a typically—wonderfully—nerdy scientist performance by Jeff Goldblum (Ian Malcolm) Jurassic Park was and still is a terrific ride. By necessity, the movie is thinner than the novel—and trying to figure out the landscape of the T-Rex attack scene will make your head spin. (Where did that cliff come from that the heroes climb down?) Best line: Hammond tells Malcolm that “All major theme parks have delays. When they opened Disneyland in 1956, nothing worked.” Malcolm replies, “Yeah, but John, if the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists.”

One of the more imaginable sci-fi films in a long time, this fun fairy tale features Johnny Depp as a scientific experiment accidentally left unfinished when his creator (the late great Vincent Price) dies. An Avon lady (delightfully played by Dianne Wiest) discovers the abandoned Edward, who still has several blades and scissors for hands and fingers. Sort of an update of the Frankenstein story.

Quite a different movie than the others on this list, this French film depicts a dystopian society where a scientist kidnaps children to steal their dreams. If you’ve seen the director’s weird post-apocalyptic “Delicatessen,” you kind of know what you’re in for. Somewhat grotesque, it’s definitely not a run-of-the mill sci-fi psychological thriller.

Bruce Willis stars as a convict sent back in time to help unravel the mystery of a super virus that ravaged earth in the mid-1990s. His search centered upon a group of radical animal rights fanatics led by Brad Pitt—but is he on the right track? This well-received post-apocalyptic flick is based on 1962’s La Jetee. (See my list on great sci-fi films of the 1960s.) What I like about this film — other than the lovely Madeleine Stowe — is the fact that noting is quite as it seems.

This hilarious send-up of Star Trek is actually a fantastic adventures-in-space movie in its own right. It’s also a better Star Trek movie than most of the Star Trek movies. Tim Allen plays the William-Shatner-like star of a defunct TV series called Galaxy Quest (heh). He and his former cast-mates spend time slumming at sci-fi conventions. That is, until they’re kidnapped by aliens who think the show was the real deal. Totally rips/plays up great sci-fi and Trek stereotypes, such as Sigorney Weaver’s character, who starred on Galaxy Quest as pure eye candy.

Gattaca is a rare modern sci-fi movie that relies on thinking and serious themes instead of f/x and explosions. Ethan Hawke stars as Vincent, who is born without the aid of genetic manipulation, and therefore becomes an instant outcast in a future society that values genetic manipulation before birth. A “god-child” or “faith-birth” by purely natural means like Vincent is considered greatly inferior to “valids.” “Imperfect” Vincent ends up trading places with “perfect” Jerome, the former getting to become an astronaut and the latter actually getting to dream at night. Well worth the time to watch.

If you’ve followed my lists of sci-fi films of each decade, you’ll recognize that I favor films that depict a dystopian future. Jin-Roh is my favorite such flick, and one of my all-time favorites of any genre. Loosely based on a manga series, Jin-Roh is set in an alternate history of post-war Japan, where an elite force, called the Kerberos Panzer Cops, is an above-the-law paramilitary unit that combats domestic terrorism. The protagonist, Kazuki Fuse, freezes when he confronts a “red riding hood,” a bomb courier for the terrorists. The girl detonates the bomb, causing widespread damage; a friend saves the frozen Kazuki from certain death. Kazuki, ordered back to training, starts a tortured relationship with dead girl’s twin sister. Jin-Roh is beautifully made film—entirely hand-drawn!—and is heavy with symbolism. Panzer Cops are equipped like WWII German soldiers, right down to their helmets and MP-42 heavy machine guns. The wider story skillfully draws from the tale of Little Red Riding Hood — not the kid-friendly Grimm Brothers version, but the much darker original tale. All-in-all, Jin-Roh is just superb.

This well-received movie—a Sundance winner and somewhat obscure for popular audiences—is more psychological thriller than pure sc-fi. And I’d be on crack if I claimed I understood all of the theories and mathematics presented in this film. Nevertheless, Pi (?) deftly explores how the life of a paranoid and recluse mathematical theorist goes out of control when he stumbles upon a formula for predicting the stock market. Contains a gruesome climax.

While the second and third installments were such convoluted disappointments, the first Matrix movie was a mind-blowing trip. Programmer/hacker Neo goes searching for The Matrix—but in the fine tradition of “beware of what you wish for; you may get it,” Neo discovers that his reality is actually a construct of machines who use docile humans as a power source. Neo comes to learn that he is “the One” who will end the machines’ dominance once and for all. Highly influential with its f/x.

A man wakes up in a hotel with no memory of who he is or what he’s doing there. He’s soon on the run from beings called “the Strangers” and comes to realize he has psychokinetic powers. The Strangers, who can alter reality, time and memory, are actually parasitic aliens who are experimenting the nature versus nurture aspects of humanity. (Is a person’s natural state more important to what makes a human who and what he is, or is nurturing—life experiences—more important?) Some have dubbed Dark City “the thinking man’s Matrix.” Roger Ebert declared Dark City the best movie of 1998.

This Spanish sci-fi thriller was well-received and celebrated when it was released. A man, Cesar, is horribly disfigured in an accident and begins to have many disorienting experiences. After he murders a woman he thinks is his ex-lover, Cesar learns that after the accident he was cryogenically frozen — with some seriously disturbing implications. Open Your Eyes was remade in 2001 as Vanilla Sky — with both versions starring Penelope Cruz — but the original is better. Ranked #84 on the wide-ranging Online Film Critics Society’s Top 100 Sci-Fi Films list.

If Akira was the anime triumph of the 1980s, Ghost in the Shell takes props for the 1990s. In fact, this cyberpunk sci-fi film is such a mind-trip that its influence is hard to underestimate. Like most great anime, Ghost in the Shell takes its inspiration from the manga of the same name. And like the best of all sci-fi, Ghost in the Shell seriously explores what it means to be human in a time of super-science. Motoko Kusanagi and her partner, Batou, are cyborgs who fight high-tech criminals. She chases after the elusive “puppet master” in her quest for existential meaning. Absolutely not to be missed. And yes, it’s violent in places, but quite deep. Originally, this was #1 on my list, but I moved it to number 2 at the last moment.

This is one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time, and it’s #1 for two reasons: First, T2 is a rare sequel that improves upon the original, and second, T2 actually goes beyond the explosions and gee-whiz to make you think. In T2, Arnie’s T-800 terminator goes back in time to protect John Connor, not kill him. The antagonist is the T-1000, made of liquid metal, ably played by Robert Patrick. What actually makes this movie great is not the action or the fun lines—although they are fantastic—but its exploration of humanity. Pay attention to Sarah Connor’s thoughts in the middle, where she says that the machine proves to be a good “father” to John. And Linda Hamilton’s second turn as Sarah Connor is not a one-dimensional, wilted-flower-makes-good type of character she was in the first film. Here, she is moody, brooding and full of horrible visions of the future that lead her to the brink of savagery. Her reaction immediately after shooting up the scientist’s home is just a great piece of film-making. And who can forget the horrifying nuclear war dream segment?

Top 15 Controversial TV Specials

A TV special is a program that is not part of a regular series, but is broadcast on television. They usually appear as a movie, documentary, award show, news event, or interview. The term originally applied to a major dramatized presentation. However in modern times, a large collection of TV specials have taken the form of documentaries, which examine an aspect of reality. Certain networks around the world have become famous for presenting shocking and controversial material. This article will focus on 15 controversial TV specials. The programs are notable for airing on a major TV network. Some of the shows have since been released on DVD.

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Aired: February 5, 2008

In February of 2008, BBC Two aired a documentary based on a study by Professor David Nutt, a psycho-pharmacologist at Bristol University. Nutt and his team analyzed the negative effects caused by 20 common drugs. They asked a group of 29 consultant psychiatrists who specialize in addiction to rate the drugs in categories based on physical harm, addiction, and social disruption. They also extended the analysis to a group of 16 experts spanning several fields including pharmacology, police, chemistry, forensics, psychiatry, and legal services.

The goal of the documentary was to examine how the brain and body react to specific drugs. It showed how each substance passes into the bloodstream and what the long-term effects of the drugs are relative to their current classification. The program raised questions over the current drug classification system used in the United Kingdom. According to the film, Britain’s most dangerous drugs are (starting at #20) Cathinone (Khat), Amyl nitrite (Poppers), MDMA/Ecstasy, GHB, Anabolic steroid, Methylphenidate (e.g. Ritalin), LSD/Acid, 4-MTA, Solvents, THC (Cannabis), Buprenophine hydrochloride, Nicotine (Tobacco), Amphetamine/Speed, Benzodiazepine (e.g. Valium), Ketamine, Alcohol, Methadone, Barbiturates, Cocaine/Crack cocaine, and #1 is Heroin.

The most startling fact about the program is that alcohol, solvents, and tobacco (all unclassified drugs) are rated more dangerous than ecstasy, 4-MTA, and LSD (all class A drugs). The UK government’s top advisory committee members on drug classification were among the scientists involved in the study. Some people think the data recorded by Professor David Nutt should be used to help update drug classification rankings. The documentary presented the idea that the ABC drug classification system used in the UK is arbitrary.

Aired: August 28, 1995

In the early 1990s, a 17-minute, black-and-white film surfaced showing what was suggested to be an alien autopsy conducted near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. The footage was originally promoted by Ray Santilli, a London-based entrepreneur, who claimed he had received it from an unidentified, former military cameraman. After the video became public, it was sold to a number of different television networks and broadcast in more than 32 countries. Fox television in the United States aired the footage under the title Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction. The TV special caused a sensation, with Time Magazine declaring that it sparked a debate “with intensity not lavished on any home movie since the Zapruder film.”

Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction features interviews with Oscar-winning special effects make-up artist Stan Winston, cinematographer Allen Daviau, and noted forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht, who considered the autopsy procedures in the film to be authentic, but stopped short of declaring the being an alien. At the time it aired, the program was the highest-rated TV special in Fox history. In 2006, the alien autopsy footage was exposed as a hoax when Ray Santilli admitted it was staged.

Santilli says the tape was “reconstructed” from a real alien autopsy he witnessed. He has suggested that a few frames from a genuine alien procedure were embedded into his film. In Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction, artifacts are featured which were supposedly recovered from the crash site. These objects include alien symbols and six-finger control panels. It has since been realized that all the items were fabricated by Ray Santilli and friends. However, the Fox program remains a controversial event in television history.

Naughtyvideos

Aired: September 4, 1992

Australia’s Naughtiest Home Videos is a controversial Australian television comedy program which was broadcast on Nine Network in 1992. The program was a one-off special of Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show. It depicted videos of sexual situations and explicit content. The show gained notoriety for, as with the American TV show Turn-On, being taken off the air part-way through the broadcast of its first and only episode.

The TV special was a collection of videos that were submitted to the producers of Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show, but originally deemed to explicit for television. Before the show aired, a short message was posted that warned the public of the content. The show was hosted by Australian celebrity Doug Mulray. During the broadcast, Mulray poked fun at the content of the videos, which he described as “The most sensational collection of home videos since Rodney King nicked out for a pizza recently.”

Some of the videos included in the program were shots of animal genitalia, humans or animals engaging in sexual intercourse, and people who get humorously disrobed. In one clip, a little girl is filmed grabbing a kangaroo’s scrotum. Other video clips show a man lifting a barbell with his penis, a man getting his head squeezed between an erotic dancer’s large breasts, an elderly woman removing an envelope from a stripper’s undergarments with her dentures, two people running into water with flaming pieces of toilet paper hanging from their buttocks, and people filmed having sexual intercourse in the middle of a park.

On the night of the broadcast, Kerry Packer, the owner of the Nine Network at the time, was informed of the show’s content by friends. He was so offended that he phoned the studio operators and shouted, “Get that stuff off the air!” Within minutes, the series was pulled. To viewers, the episode was suddenly interrupted by a Nine Network bumper with the following announcement: “We apologize for this interruption. Unfortunately, a technical problem prevents us continuing our scheduled program for the moment. In the meantime, we bring you a brief alternative program.” An episode of Cheers started after the announcement.

Australia’s Naughtiest Home Videos ran for just 34 minutes of a scheduled 60-minute special. Despite Packer’s objections to the content, the show was popular among viewers. After the show was canceled, Nine reportedly received “thousands” of phone calls from viewers, with 65 percent of the callers upset it was pulled. Doug Mulray and many of the staff who were involved in the TV special were fired. Mulray was banned from Channel Nine for life. In 2008, a full copy of the show was located by Nine’s head of factual television. It was aired on August 28, 2008. The event was promoted as “the show Kerry Packer didn’t want you to see.”

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Aired: 1999

Speculation about Nazism and the occult has been around since the late 1950s. A large number of documentaries, books, and television specials have been released that examine the topic. Hitler and the Occult is a 1999 TV documentary produced by Bram Roos and Phyllis Cannon for the History Channel. According to the program, the Nazi party grew out of several occult groups that sprang up in the late 19th century as a reaction to the materialism and technology of the era. It is suggested that Adolf Hitler developed the notion that he was chosen to save Germany. After Germany was defeated in World War I, the nation began to follow a nationalistic sentiment.

Adolf Hitler used Christian symbols such as the Spear of Destiny and the Holy Grail. He adopted the swastika from Hinduism. The symbol of the swastika represents the Sun and the Wheel of Life turning. The swastika is also the symbol for peace and harmony, as in Buddhism, Jainism and Taoism. It decorates most Hindu homes and temples. Hitler and the Occult suggests that Adolf Hitler’s rise to power was the product of forces and events that connected him to the occult. In the conclusion, after the author Dusty Sklar has pointed out that Hitler’s suicide happened on April 30/May 1, which is Walpurgis Night, the narrator continues: “With Hitler gone it was as if a spell had been broken.”

Hitler and the Occult includes a scene in which Hitler is seen speaking in front of a large crowd of people. Hitler’s speech is not translated, but the narrator discusses the life of German occultist Erik Jan Hanussen: “Occultists believe Hanussen may have imparted techniques of mind control and crowd domination on Hitler.” The final evidence presented in the documentary is that Joachim von Ribbentrop, Foreign Minister of Germany during World War II, continued his service to the Führer at the Nuremberg Trials. He said “Even with all I know, if Hitler should come to me and say “Do this,” I would still do it.”

From the perspective of history, these documentaries about Nazism and the occult are seen as problematic because they do not contribute to an actual understanding of Nazism and Neo-Nazism. A historian named Mattias Gardell writes: In documentaries portraying the Third Reich, Hitler is cast as a master magician. These programs typically include scenes in which Hitler is screaming with regiments marching under the sign of the swastika. Instead of providing a translation of his verbal crescendos, the sequence is overlaid. This helps demonize Hitler as an evil wizard who transformed the German people into zombified servants. The footage is presented as if no German Nazis were left among the populace after the war. The truth is that millions of ordinary German workers, farmers and businessmen supported the national socialist program.

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Aired: February 5, 1969

Turn-On was an American sketch comedy series that aired on ABC in February 1969. Only one episode was broadcast and the show is considered one of the most infamous flops in TV history. The program was created by Ed Friendly and George Schlatter, the producers of Laugh-In. Some distinguishing characteristics of the show were its use of the Moog synthesizer and lack of sets, except for a white backdrop. Unlike Laugh-In, the show “focused almost exclusively on sex as a comedic subject” using various rapid-fire jokes, but no laugh track.

Among the cast for the episode were Teresa Graves and Chuck McCann. The writing staff included a young Albert Brooks and the guest host for the episode was Tim Conway, known for his long run on The Carol Burnett Show. Turn-On was canceled midway through its only episode. After the event, Cleveland’s WEWS sent ABC network an angry telegram: “If your naughty little boys have to write dirty words on the walls, please don’t use our walls.” It was reported that ABC received 369 calls of complaint during the show, compared to 20 supporting it. In 1969, the action was enough to jam the switchboard at several ABC station affiliates.

The show contained some controversial material. Some of the skits included are: A firing squad prepares to shoot an attractive woman when the squad leader says, “Excuse me, miss, but in this case we are the ones with the final request.” Conway wonders if McGiveney is a “pot-smoking, jaded, wild-eyed, radical dropout.” When she says she is, he replies, “I love you!” A sleazy TV pitchman (Robert Staats) promotes a breakfast cereal soaked in mescaline. The same pitchman appears in a second spoof commercial where he is selling women’s shoes. In the skit it is revealed that the salesman has a foot fetish.

In one scene, a diagram of a swastika is displayed as a narrator says, “You are now looking at the table at the Paris peace accords agreed to by General Ky” (Chief of the Vietnam Air Force). A pregnant woman sings “I Got Rhythm,” which is alluding to the rhythm method of birth control. A vending machine dispenses the birth control pill, with an anxious young woman putting coins into it and then feverishly shaking the broken machine. A figure of a draft-dodger is shown holding a sign reading “Sweden.” A black man, face-to-face with a white man, says, “Mom always did like you best!” A sequence is run with the word sex flashing on and off in pulsating colors while Conway and Bonnie Boland leer at each other. Various stock photographs are displayed during the leer, including one of Pope Paul VI.

Two men are standing at a globe. “Tell me,” one says to the other, “where is the capital of South Vietnam?” The second man spins the globe and points, “Mostly over here, in Swiss bank accounts.” Because of the reaction to the program, ABC became more cautious about airing controversial shows, and thus rejected a pilot by Norman Lear starring a “foul-mouthed, bigoted lead” character. CBS liked it and began airing All in the Family in 1971.

The Mysterious Origins Of Man - Nbc (1996)

Aired: February 25, 1996

In 1996, NBC aired a one-hour primetime special, The Mysterious Origins of Man, hosted by Charlton Heston. The documentary presents a series of interviews that challenge the accepted theory of human history and evolution. Rather than being an objective program on the origin of Homo sapiens, the show promotes many unfounded and pseudoscientific claims. It argues that mankind has existed on the Earth for tens of millions of years, and that mainstream scientists have suppressed fossil evidence. Some of the material used was based on the controversial book Forbidden Archeology, written by Michael Cremo and Richard L. Thompson about the Klerksdorp spheres and other alleged out-of-place artifacts.

The show claims that humans and dinosaurs lived together. It uses three items of evidence that were said to have been discovered in the Paluxy Riverbed near Glen Rose, Texas, which is a famous archeological site. At Paluxy, many fossil dinosaur tracks have been unearthed. The items highlighted in the program were the Burdick Print, a supposed giant human track, a photo that shows a striding trail of human tracks in the riverbed, and an alleged fossilized human finger. The show promotes many controversial claims, including the Calavaras skull, which is purported to prove that humans, mastodons, and elephants coexisted in California.

The Mysterious Origins of Man alleges that a collection of remains discovered off the coast of New Zealand by a Japanese trawler on April 25, 1977, was a plesiosaur (prehistoric marine reptile). The discovery was named the Zuiyo-maru carcass. The body was brought to the surface of the ocean after it became entangled in the ship’s nets at a depth of about 300 meters (almost 1000 feet). The carcass weighed about 4000 pounds and measured 10 meters (about 33 feet). The program suggests only “skeptics” believe the carcass was a basking shark.

The television special includes interviews with creationist Carl Baugh on the Paluxy tracks, Richard Milton, an expert on Lucy (Australopithecus), Neil Steede on the Incan ruins, and Graham Hancock on Atlantis. After being broadcast on primetime TV, the show was widely criticized by the scientific community. Donald Johanson said it was “absolutely shameful and set us back 100 years.” The program prompted a hailstorm of criticism from the public, many of whom sent in letters and messages pointing out the erroneous claims. The controversy did not prevent NBC from rebroadcasting the TV special on June 8, 1996.

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Aired: February 15, 2001

In early 2001, the Fox television network aired a program titled Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon? The TV special presented a collection of interviews with some of the most prominent moon-landing hoax writers in the world, including Bill Kaysing, who is the man who initiated the hoax movement. The show features the work of Ralph Rene, David Percy, and Bart Sibrel. It ultimately concludes that NASA faked the moon-landings.

The hoax theory has been around for several years. However, the show was the first time the information had been presented to such a wide audience. The program was viewed by approximately 15 million Americans. Some of the theories discussed include the physical problems inherent in 1969 rocket control technology, the lack of a blast crater on the Moon under the LM descent engine, the lack of stars in the lunar sky behind the astronauts, discrepancies in the shadows and backgrounds of moon photos, the flag waving on an airless moon, and the presence of deadly radiation in interplanetary space. The program contends that astronauts have never flown beyond the Van Allen radiation belt.

In the TV special, Bill Kaysing is quoted as saying “the chance of a successful landing on the Moon was calculated to be 0.0017% (1 in 60,000).” The source of this information appears to be a report prepared by the Rocketdyne Company in the late 1950s, based on the understanding of technology at the time. After the TV special aired on Fox, the company received a large collection of complaints and telephone calls demanding more information on the subject. Despite the sloppy research, scientific inaccuracies and erroneous conclusions, people began to believe the conclusion.

In 1999, a Gallup poll found that 6% of the Americans surveyed doubted that the moon-landings happened and that 5% of those surveyed had no opinion. Officials at Fox television stated that such skepticism increased to about 20% after the February 2001 airing of the network’s TV show Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon? There are subcultures around the world that advocate the belief that the moon-landings were faked. James Oberg of ABC News stated that these claims are actively taught in Cuban schools and wherever Cuban teachers are sent. Shortly after the program was broadcast, the company aired another TV special which refuted most of the hoax claims.

Landmark Html

Aired: May 24, 2004

Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous, also known as Inside Landmark Forum, was an hour-long French exposé documentary on Landmark Education (which borrows a considerable amount of its philosophy from Scientology). The program was made in 2003 by the investigative journalism program Pieces a Conviction. It was broadcast in France on the channel France 3. Landmark Education LLC (LE) is a prominent personal training and development company which offers educational programs in approximately 115 locations in more than 20 countries worldwide. Over 1.2 million people have enrolled in Landmark’s programs. Some observers have questioned whether the course is beneficial. Some articles have alleged that the company is “cult-like.” Landmark rejects the cult label and “freely threatens or pursues lawsuits against those who call it one.”

Since 1991, the company has been involved in about a dozen lawsuits in the United States and a few more in Europe. The documentary is critical of the Landmark program and includes hidden camera footage from inside a Forum event in France, as well as within the Landmark offices. It includes a panel discussion and interviews with a variety of people who talk about whether or not Landmark is a cult. According to Landmark Education the “broadcasting of this program had disastrous consequences and resulted in considerable damage to Landmark Education’s subsidiary operating in France.”

In the documentary, Jean-Pierre Jougla, who works as a solicitor with the Court of Appeal in Montpellier, France, said the forum makes it “impossible to leave.” He went on to describe “mental manipulation” and stated that people can be brainwashed through methods that seem harmless. In the aftermath of the broadcast, a statement showed that France 3 preferred to risk a small fine for a violation of the media’s code of ethics rather than not air the program. In Landmark Education’s reply to France 3′s documentary, a woman, after having seen the program, complained “My face is hidden, but my voice is not masked. I feel betrayed by this journalist who did not respect the necessary confidentiality in this broadcast.”

Jspringer

Aired: January 8, 2005

Jerry Springer: The Opera is a British musical written by Richard Thomas and Stewart Lee. It is based on the television program The Jerry Springer Show. The musical is notable for its profanity and treatment of Judeo-Christian themes. It uses a collection of surreal images, such as a troupe of tap-dancing Ku Klux Klan members. The show is completely sung through, with the exceptions of the title character, Jerry, who speaks, and a brief speech by the character Steve. The show ran for 609 performances in London from April 2003 to February 2005 before touring the UK in 2006.

Jerry Springer: The Opera was subject to controversy beginning in January 2005, when BBC Two decided to broadcast a TV special of the show. The decision elicited 55,000 angry calls to the station. The majority of the complaints came the day before the broadcast. In the days surrounding the TV special, the organization Christian Voice led street protests against the screening at nine separate BBC offices and announced their intention to bring blasphemy charges, due to the depictions of Jesus and other Judeo-Christian characters in Act II. The creators say the scene is presented as a fantasy in the mind of the dying central character and is not intended to be a serious comment on Christian theology.

In November 2005, a DVD of the TV special was made available in the UK. However, because of complaints by customers, Sainsbury’s and Woolworths decided to stop selling it. The musical is noted for its bad language. It has been accused of including 8,000 obscenities. This however is impossible, as 8,000 obscenities over the show’s 120 minute runtime would mean that there is 66 obscenities every minute. According to director Stewart Lee, there are 174 swear words in the show.

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Aired: March 8, 2007

The Great Global Warming Swindle is a television program that was broadcast in March of 2007 on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom. The film was made by British television producer Martin Durkin and presents scientists, economists, politicians, writers, and others who dispute the scientific consensus regarding the human impact on global warming. The advertising campaign for the documentary asserted that man-made global warming is “a lie” and “the biggest scam of modern times.” Channel 4 described the film as “a polemic (controversial debate) that drew together the well-documented views of a number of respected scientists to reach the same conclusion.”

The documentary was welcomed by the growing collection of global warming skeptics, but widely criticized by scientific organizations. The program asserts that the scientific consensus on global warming is driven by the desire to obtain research funding. Other culprits, according to the film, are Western environmentalists promoting expensive solar and wind power over cheap fossil fuels in Africa, resulting in African countries being held back from industrialization. The documentary highlights a number of contradictions and inconsistencies in the evidence supporting man-made global warming. It asserts that records of atmospheric CO2 levels since 1940 show a continuing increase. However during this period, global temperatures decreased until 1975.

According to the film, water vapor makes up 95% of all greenhouse gases and has the largest impact on the planet’s temperature. More specifically, water particles in the form of clouds act to reflect incoming solar heat. This idea was examined in the controversial TV special titled The Cloud Mystery. The program states that carbon dioxide comprises only a very minuscule amount (just 0.054%) of the Earth’s atmosphere. According to the documentary, human activity contributes to less than 1% of that. The show highlights the solar variation theory of global warming, asserting that solar activity is currently at an extremely high level. It suggests that solar activity is directly linked to changes in global temperature.

The documentary asserts that the current episode of global warming is nothing unusual. It attracted 2.5 million viewers for Channel 4 and an audience share of 11.5%. The British broadcasting regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom), received 265 complaints about the show, one of which was a 176-page detailed document co-authored by a group of scientists. Ofcom ruled on July 21, 2008, that the program had unfairly treated Sir David King, the IPCC, and Professor Carl Wunsch. Ofcom also found that part 5 of the show had breached several parts of the Broadcasting Code regarding impartiality.

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Aired: August 21-23, 2007

God’s Warriors is a three-part CNN TV documentary that was produced by Christiane Amanpour in which she examines the rise of religious fundamentalism as a political force in the world. The program was filmed in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. It focuses on the three major monotheistic religions of the world, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The first part of the show describes the Jewish settlement movement in Israel and the United States fundraising that supports it. The second part of the series presents issues of radical Islam and Sharia law, while the final segment focuses on the United States and the political influence of Christian religious leaders.

For the documentary, Amanpour reports that during the last 30 years, each faith has exploded into a powerful political force. “There are millions of people around the world who feel that their faith is being ignored, pushed aside, and they are certain they know how to make the world right. We cannot and should not ignore them.” The first part of the program covers a Jewish group that planned to blow up the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, in order to sabotage Israeli-Egyptian peace talks. It examines the Jewish extremist Yigal Amir, who assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin. It also covers Christian Zionists in America and the pro-Israel lobby’s clout in Washington that has supposedly helped religious settlers remain in the West Bank.

The second part of the documentary covers the story of activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, as well as Ed Husain, who is a young Muslim who describes himself as having been radicalized as a youth to accept an extremist Islamist ideology. The final part of the show reports on evangelicals trying to influence American politics and society from a faith-based perspective. The program covers Rev. Jerry Falwell and his organization the Moral Majority.

The TV special sparked controversy around the world and various organizations released statements. Fr. Jonathan Morris said “I think this documentary comes up very stale.” It presents inappropriate accusations that religion is the real cause of all evil in this world. Christiane Amanpour said the documentary is not meant to compare religions, but rather to show “that each faith has their committed and fervent believers, and how they are active in the political sphere.”

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Aired: March 6, 2005

X-Rated: The TV They Tried to Ban is a 2005 British one-off television documentary that examines controversial material on television. It was broadcast on Channel 4 in March of 2005. The program highlights examples of offensive language, sexually explicit content and disturbing images on television. It shows instances where TV caused controversy. By including these incidents, as well as some scenes that were previously unreleased on television, the show itself became notable as one of the most explicit programs in British television history.

The TV They Tried to Ban is mainly light-hearted in its tone and narration, and implicitly suggests that “complainers” should not be so shocked by television programs and should simply choose not to watch. The first part of the program examines the use of offensive language on British television, including the 1976 live interview with the punk band the Sex Pistols on Bill Grundy’s Today show on Thames Television, which included swearing rarely before heard on television. The documentary shows how accepted the “f-word” has become on British television, by pointing out that celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay said it 84 times in a single episode of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. The theme song used in the program was The Hives’ “Hate to Say I Told You So.”

The second part of the show talks about the portrayal of sex on television in Britain. The documentary claims that Margaret Thatcher’s 1979 rise to power, shortly after which the Conservative government created Channel 4, actually unleashed “a tide of filth” and “morally objectionable” content. The program mentions specific television shows and controversial scenes. It examines a suggestive sex scene in Footballers’ Wives that is used to examine gay sex on British TV. Other controversial broadcasts that are examined include Channel 4′s Animal Passions, about a group of animal-lovers in the United States, and a documentary about Derek Jarman’s 1976 film Sebastiane.

Toward the end of the program, the “top three most offensive British TV moments” are revealed. The #1 moment is Jerry Springer: The Opera, while #2 is a Brass Eye Special on pedophilia and #3 is a Derren Brown show titled Séance. The documentary concludes by asking “where can controversial TV go next?” After the show was aired it sparked controversy in the British media. Some felt it was an attempt by Channel 4 to “overstate its own importance or bravery by showing daring material on television.”

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Aired: November 2003

The Origins of AIDS is a controversial documentary that presents a brief history on the HIV virus and then examines the OPV AIDS hypothesis, which states that HIV may have been caused by a mass vaccination against Polio in Congo between 1957 and 1960. The program suggests that the cause of HIV is live polio vaccines. It discusses the fact that certain vaccines created to fight polio were prepared in chimpanzee tissue cultures and grown on monkey kidneys. The vaccines were then administered to up to one million African citizens.

The documentary claims that the chimpanzee tissue may have been contaminated with the Simian immunodeficiency virus and then transferred as HIV into the human population. The show provides interviews with nurses and workers, video footage, and research experiments to back up the claims. It examines the monkey virus, SV-40, which is known to have been passed to humans through polio vaccines. The earliest known cases of AIDS occurred in central Africa, in the same regions where the polio vaccine was administered in the late 1950s.

The OPV AIDS hypothesis has been examined and criticized by members of the scientific and medical communities. A collection of magazines, including the journal Nature, have presented articles claiming the theory has been refuted using molecular biological studies demonstrating the origins of HIV as a mutated variant of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). One of the leading supporters of the OPV AIDS hypothesis is a man named Edward Hooper. Hooper agrees that HIV can be traced back to retroviruses found in certain species of African apes and monkeys, but disagrees on how the virus suddenly transferred to the human population.

The TV special has helped spread the OPV-AIDS hypothesis. In response, it has noticeably disrupted the longstanding effort of the WHO and UN to achieve poliomyelitis eradication worldwide through the use of the oral polio vaccine of Albert Sabin. The vaccines are thought to be safe and effective by virtually all medical authorities. At last count, The Origins of AIDS has been broadcast in twenty different countries worldwide. The major exception is in the UK. The documentary has also won a collection of scientific film awards. However, it remains a highly controversial piece of work. In 2005, a DVD of the program was set to be released, but was canceled.

Ghostwatch

Aired: October 31, 1992

On Halloween 1992, BBC1 showed a 90-minute TV horror film named Ghostwatch. The movie is shot in documentary style and the narrative is presented as a live television broadcast. The actors used in the program are actual BBC personalities who perform a live, on-air investigation of a house in Northolt, Greater London where poltergeist activity is believed to be taking place. Sarah Greene and Craig Charles, both real television regulars, are the reporters in the film. Mike Smith (Greene’s real-life husband) and Michael Parkinson link from the studio.

During the film, Greene and Charles present video footage and interviews with people living near a house that is claimed to be haunted. They discover the existence of a malevolent ghost nicknamed Pipes, who has the habit of knocking on house plumbing. As the program proceeds, viewers learn that Pipes is the spirit of a psychologically disturbed man named Raymond Tunstall. At the conclusion of the film, the spirit unleashes an immense power, killing Sarah Greene and escaping. It then begins to escalate its poltergeist activity throughout the UK, taking control of the BBC studios and transmitter network. The spirit possesses Michael Parkinson in a chilling scene.

The makers of Ghostwatch used many examples of paranormal phenomena in the movie. The ghost is visible for a fraction of a second in many clips, which is an effective and scary technique. During the course of the program there are many references to characters being possessed by a ghost who, whilst doing so, maniacally recites nursery rhymes. The ghost of the story is only heard to speak through the voices of others. However, the disembodied sound of cats is played whenever a phenomenon is taking place.

The story was based on the tale of the Enfield Poltergeist. The movie was put into production months before it aired and was complete fiction. However, the realistic elements suggested to a casual viewer that it was an actual documentary. Much of the British public believed the events were true. Ghostwatch received a huge audience and an estimated 30,000 callers phoned the BBC switchboard to inquire about the show within a single hour. Due to this response, Ghostwatch is now widely considered one of the most controversial British television events of all time. The BBC placed a decade-long ban on the program. It remains unlikely that it will ever be shown again on British terrestrial television.

Tomb Of Jesus-Discovered 1980

Aired: March 4, 2007

The Lost Tomb of Jesus is a documentary co-produced and first broadcast on the Discovery Channel and Vision TV in Canada on March 4, 2007. The show covers the discovery of the Talpiot tomb. It is directed by Canadian documentary and film maker Simcha Jacobovici. The executive producer of the TV special is James Cameron of Titanic fame. The film was released in conjunction with a book about the same subject, The Jesus Family Tomb, issued in late February 2007 and co-authored by Jacobovici and Charles R. Pellegrino. The documentary created intense controversy within the archaeological world. It upset many linguistic and biblical scholars, and sparked intense debate on the Internet.

The Lost Tomb of Jesus suggests that the Talpiot tomb is the family burial place of Jesus of Nazareth, as well as several other figures from the New Testament. The Talpiot tomb is a rock-cut structure discovered in 1980 in East Talpiot, five kilometers south of the Old City in East Jerusalem. The tomb contains ten ossuaries, six of them with epigraphs, including one with the inscription that was interpreted in the program as “Jesus, son of Joseph.” The Talpiot tomb has yielded various human remains and several carvings. Of the ten ossuaries or stone coffins found inside the tomb, six bore the inscriptions: Jesus, son of Joseph, Mariamene, Joseph, Matthew, and Judah, son of Jesus. According to the documentary, four leading epigraphers have corroborated the ossuary inscriptions.

The film claims that the tenth ossuary, which went missing years ago, is the James Ossuary purported to contain the body of James, the brother of Jesus. It suggests that Jesus’ body was secretly buried by his closest disciples and family, left to decompose and reburied a year later, according to Jewish custom. The show says that these types of ossuaries were used for about 100 years ending in 70 AD, so they date to the time of Jesus. According to the film, the main piece of evidence that ties the ossuaries to Jesus’ family is the Mary ossuary, inscribed “Mariamene e Mara.”

Mara can mean lord or master, or it can be a nickname for Mary. The show argues that Mariamene is what Mary Magdalene was called based on the Acts of Phillip, 4th century Gnostic writings. The program says that if the remains discovered in the ossuary are that of Mary Magdalene, the odds are 1 in 600 that the tomb is not that of Jesus. Unfortunately, there are no bones left from the archeological discovery. They were buried shortly after the ossuaries were found. The creators of the documentary took biological residue from inside the boxes of Jesus and Mara and sent them for DNA testing.

The only result was mitochondrial DNA, which demonstrates maternal relationships, not paternal. The test came back negative for the two samples, so the program claims that Jesus and Mary must have been married, as only family members are buried together. The show denies that the discovery contradicts key teachings of Christianity, such as the resurrection and ascension. The film’s religious consultant James Tabor stated that the fact that Jesus’ tomb was discovered does not put in doubt biblical accounts of his resurrection, which could have been spiritual. The prominent Israeli archaeologist Amos Kloner said James Cameron was trying to “make a profit by attacking a central tenet of the Christian faith.”

Released: January 1, 1943

Der Fuehrer’s Face is a 1943 animated cartoon by the Walt Disney Studios, starring Donald Duck. It was directed by Jack Kinney and released on January 1, 1943 as an anti-Nazi propaganda movie for the American war effort. The film won the 1943 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, and was the only Donald Duck cartoon to win an Oscar. In 1994, it was voted #22 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field. Due to the propagandistic nature of the short, and the depiction of Donald Duck as a Nazi (albeit a reluctant one), Disney kept it out of general circulation after its original release. Since 1943, the cartoon has been recognized as one of Disney’s most controversial creations.

The cartoon begins with a collection of Axis leaders marching through a small German town, where everything, even the clouds and trees, are shaped as swastikas. The men are singing the virtues of the Nazi doctrine. As they pass by Donald’s house, the group gets him out of bed. Because of wartime rationing, Donald’s breakfast consists of a piece of wood shaped like a loaf of bread, coffee brewed from a single hoarded coffee bean, and an aromatic spray that tastes like bacon and eggs. Upon arriving at the factory, Donald starts a 48-hour daily shift screwing caps onto artillery shells in an assembly line. Mixed in with the shells are portraits of the Führer, so Donald must perform the Hitler salute every time a portrait appears.

While performing his job, Donald is bombarded with propaganda messages about the superiority of the Aryan race and the glory of working for the Fuehrer. He soon has a nervous breakdown and experiences hallucinations of artillery shells falling everywhere. When the hallucinations clear, Donald finds himself in his bed, in the United States, and realizes the whole experience was a nightmare. He embraces a miniature Statue of Liberty and is thankful for his American citizenship. Der Fuehrer’s Face has been added as a bonus selection because it doesn’t necessarily quality as a TV special, but was rather an animated short.

Another 10 One on One Battles in Film

It was great to see the comments that were posted when I created my first ever list. Thank you for your positive and negative feedback. As I mentioned in the comments this list is completely based on opinion and will not be that educational unless you are looking for good movies to rent. The number one thing I picked up on was to watch my grammar (this has always been an issue for me) and to make sure I post spoiler alerts. Many of the suggestions that were made sparked my memory and I was able to come up with another 25 one-on-one fights that deserve to be on a second list. I have thus created a sequel to my first list taking your suggestions and my own personal favorites and filtering the list down to ten. I know there are some that I missed so I apologize. Also I will admit that although I do enjoy movies from all over the world I am lacking in experience when it comes to Asian / martial arts film. I also think that if I would have a hard time choosing from this genre as each movie probably has some epic battles, so I decided to try and be a bit more diverse. Might I suggest someone creates a one-on-one martial arts films list? Please feel free to post your suggestions. Remember that I grade the top ten based on significance and dramatic effect of the fights. Happy reading and…. SPOILER ALERT

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Possessing great athletic talent, Dean Youngblood travels to Canada and quickly learns that talent enough will not be enough to succeed in Junior Hockey. After getting his clock cleaned by Carl Racki in tryouts, the coaching staff decide to give Youngblood a shot and he manages to steal Racki’s spot on the roster. A rivalry is born that will carry itself all the way to the Memorial Cup playoffs in which Youngblood’s team and Racki’s team are set to do battle. During the game Racki and Youngblood fight (albeit very unrealistically) for vengeance, victory and of course the championship.

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No one ever said that drama was only available in live action. In the Lion King we see the jealous and spiteful Scar murder his brother, the King of the Pridelands and claim the throne for himself. The Kings son Simba manages to escape into exile and only returns once he has matured and grown into a young adult. Thought to be dead, Simba returns to see his former home in ruins and his family in slavery. After learning the truth about this father’s death he battles his uncle to avenge his father, but more importantly return his home to a place of peace and harmony.

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Although in the end this battle ends up being a two against one, the one vs. one part of the fight deserves recognition. Éowyn the proud and brave niece of the King of Rohan watches her uncle be critically wounded by one of the film’s most feared villains. The Witch King “whom no man can kill” instructs his beast to devour the injured king. Realizing that she was about to watch this happen, and with no one else around to help her Éowyn steps in to fight both the Witch King and the giant winged beast he rode in on. After decapitating the creature we watch the Witch King reveal a gigantic mace and sword. Éowyn stands in there with him pretty well but in the end she needs a little bit of assistance. Still a great underdog fight worth watching.

Madmartigan

My personal favorite battles are the ones that combine vengeance and good vs. evil. Madmartigan is an embattled, selfish yet skilled swordsman who begins the film left to rot in a cage for his crimes. An old friend of his named Airk comes across the locked up Madmartigan only to leave him behind in his cage. Throughout the course of the movie, we watch Madmartigan develop into a reliable and somewhat trustworthy ally of the films heroes. During the final battle Madmartigan joins forces with Airk and witnesses his friend die at the hands of the sinister General Kael. Madmartigan takes on the highly skilled Kael in a great sword fight before impaling him and proving that he is “the greatest swordsman of all time”.

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I don’t think you will find anyone else that grew up around the same time as I did that doesn’t remember Terminator 2 being the moment you realized how awesome special effects in movies were becoming. My favorite part about this fight is how the entire movie lead up to it. The two terminators spend the whole movie trying to get the best of one another with a variety of weapons until finally the have to engage in point blank battle to the death. The outdated t-800 puts up a heck of a fight until he is bested by his newer, faster nemesis. We do get a chance to see who gets the last laugh at the end of this film though.

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Best of the Best is one of my favorite movies growing up and is a good story about honor and pride. The entire film centers around an American Karate team training for a huge international fight. The men bond together as a team and train hard leading up to the showdown where they are clearly outmatched. The centre of the battle is the final fight between Tommy Lee and the Captain of the Korean team, Dae Han who killed Tommy’s brother in a fight years before. Tommy defeats his opponent after a gruesome fight, but spares his life.

Killbill

Almost like a video game, The Bride is forced to fight her way through a pile of henchmen and 2 mini bosses until finally clashing swords with O-Ren. The music, the setting and the lightly falling snow set the scene for the showdown which is a battle that could almost be described as elegant. In the end, the Bride wins the fight and the respect of her fallen adversary.

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Although the battle between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker made the top of my first list, I absolutely had to mention the climactic battle between former student and master. From the very beginning of the film, the movie goer knows that a monumental fight was going to take place. As Anakin slides further toward the dark side, him and Obi Wan catch up at the end of the film where Obi Wan pleads with his former student to see the error of his ways. Obi Wan realizing that his former friend cannot be saved, reaches for his Light Saber admitting that he “will do what I must”. As the Jedi border on extinction, Obi Wan represents one of two Jedi left that can defeat the very powerful Anakin.

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The one aspect about this battle that sets itself apart from the rest is that it is an arranged organized sword fight to settle the differences between the films villain and hero. The other thing that sets this battle up nicely is how evil and blatantly sadistic Cunningham, he is portrayed as a villain you love to hate. At the end of the film, we watch Roy take slice after slice from Cunningham’s blade until he no longer has any strength left to fight. Falling to his knees, he has no choice but to wait for Cunningham to finish him off. Driven only by his last bit of strength Roy actually grabs the thin point of Cunninghams sword and squeezes it, cutting his hand open in the process but rendering it useless to Cunningham. As Cunningham gives him a stunned look, Roy grabs his broadsword with his free hand and slices Cunningham wide open, killing him

Rocky-Creed

There is not much to say about Rocky, but I can say without doubt the fight between Rocky and Apollo deserves top spot. A perfect underdog story, the bout between Rocky and Apollo Creed IS the entire movie. In the end Rocky proves to himself that he is a true fighter and the world discovers a new future star. One of the best films of all time.

Honorable Mention: Bruce Lee… Admitting that I have not seen many martial arts films nor have I seen all of Bruce Lee’s films. I will admit that Lee needs to be recognized. I don’t feel comfortable picking a specific fight due to my lack of experience but I will say that Han Vs. Lee deserves a nod.

10 Fan Films That Are Better Than Most Hollywood Movies

In order to adapt a movie franchise, there is an insane amount of legal red tape to go through. Even after acquiring the rights to a franchise, Hollywood still manages to put out terrible sequels and adaptations fairly often. However, there are dozens of fantastic movies on the Internet that have been created entirely by fans, and some of them are better than most Hollywood movies—even though they lack the inflated budgets.

10 Dr Who
“The Doctor Is Dying”

Chameleon Circuit are a Doctor Who-themed band who invented “trock” (time lord rock) and managed to achieve some mainstream success by reaching the charts with their singles and albums. Earlier in 2013, Alex Day and Chameleon Circuit managed to impress BBC so much that they allowed them to use the official TARDIS set to shoot one of their music videos during Youtube’s Geek Week. However, “The Doctor Is Dying” is an animated video.

Although the animation may be a little crude by some people’s standards, this video really manages to be relevant to Dr Who canon, summing up the final events of David Tennant’s role as The Doctor in two minutes of manic fan service that manages to be entertaining and even a little sad (given the events of “The Day Of The Doctor”).

9 “The Punisher: Dirty Laundry”

Thomas Jane (who played The Punisher in the official 2004 movie) funded and helped produce this unofficial sequel starring himself and Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Sons Of Anarchy) instead of starring in the official sequel, which he believed would be terrible. Apparently, Jane is a huge fan of The Punisher comics and fought hard to research his source material and keep himself in shape in order to accurately portray Frank Castle. Jane describes his short as a “love letter to Frank Castle and his fans.” Originally, Dirty Laundry was made for his own enjoyment and to be privately viewed at Comic-Con conventions. However, Jane thought short was so good that he posted it on YouTube.

“Dirty Laundry” itself acts as an unofficial sequel to the 2004 movie, with a washed-up Frank Castle trying to launder his clothes while witnessing (and ignoring) some violent street crime. At first, a tired Frank Castle ignores the criminals as if he’s given up being The Punisher—before defeating the entire gang with a mere bottle of Jack Daniels.

8 Batman: Dead End

Batman: Dead End is a 2003 fan-made film directed by Sandy Collora that was praised by comic book aficionados such as Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats), who called it “The truest Batman film ever made.” Sandy Collora spent $30,000 of his own money on the film—not a lot of money when you consider that Batman and Robin had a budget of over $100 million, yet is regularly touted as one of the worst films ever made. Collora later went on to make legit movies like Hunter/Prey. We don’t want to ruin the surprise by talking too much about the content of Dead End before you have a chance to watch it for yourselves, but we will tell you that Dead End features cameos from not one, but two of the greatest monsters in movie history.

7 “Ryan Vs. Dorkman”

When we were kids, we all had imaginary lightsaber fights with cardboard tubes. According to the story accompanying the video on theforce.net (where this video originated), Ryan and Dorkman were forum users who started off as rivals. Each wanted to prove their skill at lightsaber fight choreography (plus special effects and editing) in order to win a competition. Eventually they realized that their chances of winning would be doubled if they worked together. “Ryan Vs. Dorkman” is the result.

According to their official website, neither Ryan nor Dorkman have any official martial arts training. (They’ve just seen a lot of movies.) But they’re obviously quite good at dueling. After being uploaded to YouTube in the early 2000s, the video went viral, garnering millions of views and going on to be referenced by Weezer in the video for “Pork and Beans” and making Time Magazine’s list of best Star Wars fan films.

6 Mario Indie Movie Trailer

This short was created as part of a series of “bumpers” for the SXSW film festival (a bumper is a short meant to be played before the features) by Austin based filmmaker Joe Nicolosi at a budget of only $400. It starts off looking like a gritty independent film before going on to tease us with what we were promised by the 1990s Super Mario Bros film: a gritty Mario movie that somehow manages to balance the colorful mushroom-popping world of the games with reality. Here, Mario is depicted as a washed-up plumber with a mushroom problem and his princess is in another castle (figuratively speaking). She’s dating a tool called Koopa. Can Mario come up with a creative solution to this problem just like in the game? Well, he takes some mushrooms and jumps on Koopas head, so kind of.

5 Half-Life
“Enter The Freeman”

If any game has been absolutely clamoring for a movie adaptation, it’s Half-Life. Of course, any film version would be under immense pressure to live up to the sort of quality we’ve come to expect from the Half-Life series. Luckily, “Enter The Freeman” doesn’t disappoint. The atmosphere is creepy, the acting is believable, and there’s headcrab zombies and Gordon Freeman armed with a crowbar.

If you enjoyed the short, you’ll be glad to know that there will hopefully be a full series on the way, depending on whether or not the filmmakers manage to raise enough on Kickstarter to fund the project. And if you’re interested in dressing up as Gordon Freeman next Halloween (or just for fun), Ian James Duncan explains how he made Freeman’s iconic suit in great detail on his website.

4 “Deadpool: A Typical Tuesday”

Deadpool remains one of the most popular comic book characters to not yet get his own movie adaptation (though he did appear as a minor character in Wolverine: Origins), and it’s not hard to see why. Deadpool really stands apart from most comic book heroes. For a start, he’s not really “heroic” in any sense of the word, he’s hideously disfigured, and he’s quite insane. Hollywood would likely struggle to make a passable version of him that appealed to non-fans while staying true to the source material (as we saw with Ryan Reynolds’s portrayal in Wolverine: Origins).

Luckily, this fan-made adaptation managed to hit the mark, allowing Deadpool’s borderline psychotic persona to be fully realized in this manic piece of genius fun. “Deadpool: A Typical Tuesday” is the product of Keith Brooks and Trevor Garner (who plays Deadpool), shot over two days, at a budget of $500, and in a borrowed studio with completely random props.

3 “Spider-Man: Eclipse”

We’ve already had some good Spider-Man movies, so this fan film has a lot to live up to. It opens with Peter Parker unmasked, beaten, and tied up in a room. He makes his escape in a great combination of fighting choreography, parkour, and awesome CGI (for the webbing). And even though it doesn’t contain any of the huge set pieces that we’ve grown used to, it still manages to create the illusion that Spider-Man is a real guy, which is pretty impressive in itself.

“Spider-Man: Eclipse” was independently made by Bokeh pictures as a challenge to The Amazing Spider-Man. According to their website, they wanted to portray the character in a darker, more visceral, and more realistic fashion

2 “Pac-Man: The Movie”

Most people would think that a game about a yellow semicircle who runs through a never-ending techno maze, eats cherries and is alternately chasing and being chased by ghosts would be impossible to adapt. But this film manages to do it and look fantastic at the same time. Made by production company Steelhouse under the working title of “Project Yellow Sphere,” this Pac-Man fan film has Hollywood levels of quality. We’d bet that this is what Tron: Legacy was going for, even though the Pac-Man filmmakers likely only had a fraction of the budget.

In order to give the film a plot, Pac-Man is now a virtual reality construct in a secret underground research facility. He runs around and gobbles up dots and equally virtual ghosts. . . for science? But that’s all we’re going to tell you, if you want to find out more you’ll just have to watch the film.

1 Left 4 Dead
“Impulse 76″

“Impulse 76″ is the product of Northern Five Entertainment and features an epic (for a fan-film) cast of over 60 zombie extras. This cinematic version of the popular zombie shooter Left 4 Dead manages to create a realistic-looking city under siege by flesh eating zombies. It not only matches the game in terms of atmosphere, but the actors are superb at portraying their computer game counterparts: Francis, Bill, Zoey, Wade, and Louis. The video starts off like an episode of The Walking Dead, then there’s an abrupt twist that takes the video from zero to awesome in no time flat. We won’t ruin it for you, but make sure you watch all the way through for the twist. Here’s a hint: There are cameos. So many cameos.