These Are the Major Sci-fi and Fantasy Movie Milestones Coming in 2019

Texas Chain Saw, Lion King, Batman, Alien, and Iron Giant are just a few of the movies celebrating anniversaries this year.
Image: Legendary, Disney, WB, Fox, WB

There are a lot of amazing new movies coming in 2019, but there’s also a long list of classic, iconic films that will be celebrating significant anniversaries this year.

We already took a good look at some significant horror anniversaries happening this year. Read all about them here:

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There is, of course, some overlap in genre but here are the other biggest science fiction, fantasy, and genre movie milestones happening in 2019. (You should probably be prepared to feel old.)


50-Year Anniversaries (Films Released in 1969)


On her Majesty’s Secret Service
Image: MGM
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On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

It’s been a half-century since the one and only time George Lazenby played James Bond. The film is generally liked by fans of the franchise and is one of several appearances by one of Bond’s biggest adversaries, Blofeld. (December 18)

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45-Year Anniversaries (Films Released in 1974)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Photo: Legendary
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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Before Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, or Jason Voorhees, Tobe Hooper introduced the world to Leatherface and his family. The realistic, gritty, and gruesome film basically changed the face of horror as people knew it. (October 1)

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Phantom of the Paradise

Brian De Palma’s weird, wonderful rock opera, inspired by The Phantom of the Opera among others, is one of those films that rarely gets the credit it deserves but enjoys a devoted fan base. (October 31)

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Young Frankenstein

Mel Brooks’ hilarious send-up of the iconic Universal Monster remains a classic of both the horror and comedy genres. Even crazier than it being 45 years old, though, is that Brooks also released Blazing Saddles the same year. (December 15)

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40-Year Anniversaries (Films Released in 1979)

Alien
Photo: Fox
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The Warriors

The gangs of New York City all team up to take down one gang in particular: The Warriors. Walter Hill’s unique vision resulted in this excellent, memorable, quote-filled New York action film. Can you dig it? (February 9)

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Alien

Ridley Scott’s legendary film was on our horror list but deserves another mention. It’s simply one of the best sci-fi movies of all-time and was one of the earliest in both horror and sci-fi to feature a badass woman in the lead, played by Sigourney Weaver. (May 25)

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The Muppet Movie

By 1979, the Muppets were already massive stars thanks to their TV show. Then, they rose to another level with the first of many forays on to the big screen. (June 22)

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Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Though this slower, more methodical Trek entry is fairly divisive, no one can deny that without the first Star Trek movie, the franchise wouldn’t have ended up going where few franchises had gone before. (December 7)

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Others: Moonraker (June 26)


35-Year Anniversaries (Films Released in 1984)

Ghostbusters
Photo: Sony
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Repo Man

Repo Man is a super weird movie, but that’s why people still love it. Emilio Estevez, punk rock, aliens, what’s not to love? (March 2)

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Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

It’s still crazy to think Steven Spielberg and George Lucas followed up Raiders of the Lost Ark with Temple of Doom, a decidedly darker, scarier entry in the Indiana Jones franchise. Not everyone loves it, but I think those people are even crazier. (May 23)

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Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Fans only needed to wait two years to get all the answers from the cliffhanger ending of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and they got them in a film actually directed by Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy. Trek III isn’t Trek II, but it’s still good. (June 1)

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Ghostbusters

If you grew up in the ‘80s, there were a few films that were just a part of you. Ghostbusters was one of them. Not only was it a huge, influential hit, but it also permeated the culture to such an extent we are still discussing it 35 years later. (June 8)

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Gremlins

On the same day that Ghostbusters was released, fans were given another classic in the making with this awesome Joe Dante/Steven Spielberg/Chris Columbus collaboration, about an adorable creature and his horrible, gross relatives. (June 8)

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The Neverending Story

Fantasy films were fairly common in the ‘80s but one of them that truly became formative was The Neverending Story, a film about a boy reading a book and being sucked into that world with characters like Atreyu, the Childlike Empress, and Falkor. (July 20)

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The Terminator
Photo: Orion

The Terminator

In 1984, a small time filmmaker and a famous bodybuilder teamed up for a movie about time travel. That movie, The Terminator, and those men, James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with Linda Hamilton, changed the course of their own, and movie, history. (October 26)

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A Nightmare on Elm Street

Seriously, what a year. Look at all the genre franchises that were started in 1984. But few spawned something as huge as what Wes Craven did when he imagined a killer that haunted kids’ dreams. One, two, Freddy’s still coming for you. (November 9)

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Dune

With a remake on the horizon, David Lynch’s adaptation of the iconic Frank Herbert novel is sure to once again come under a microscope in the coming years. And even if this film doesn’t quite live up to the expectations of its ambitious scope, it’s still amazing that it happened. (December 14)

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Others: Splash (March 9), Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (April 14), The Last Starfighter (July 13), Muppets Take Manhattan (July 13), Cloak and Dagger (August 10), The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (August 15), C.H.U.D. (August 31), Supergirl (November 21), Starman (December 14)


30-Year Anniversaries (Films Released in 1989)


Batman
Photo: Warner Bros.
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Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Talk about one of the all-time most wild premises ever. But that idea, of two idiots traveling through time to do a history report and save the universe, is why this movie remains a most-triumphant fan favorite. (February 17)

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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Last Crusade is basically Steven Spielberg taking the structure and idea of Raiders of the Lost Ark, adding some fascinating backstory for the main character, and upping the action and drama. It makes an already perfect movie and formula, somehow even more perfect? Is that a thing? (May 24)

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Ghostbusters II

Well, it’s been 30 years since we learned what a disappointing sequel looked like. No, no, I’m kidding. Ghostbusters II isn’t that bad. In fact, I kind of love it, but it’s certainly nowhere near the first movie. And yet, it has Vigo, it has pink goo, a walking Statue of Liberty, there’s great stuff. (June 16)

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Batman

Sure, everyone had heard of Batman in 1989. But it was Tim Burton’s movie that made him “Batman.” The film was an insane success and set a standard for superhero films that would be hard to reach again for a long, long time. (June 23)

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Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Photo: Disney

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is a movie that simply doesn’t happen anymore. It’s a big budget, high-concept kids movie that captured the imaginations of everyone who saw it. Who didn’t wonder what it would be like to shrink down and go exploring? It’s wonderful. (June 23)

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The Abyss

The Abyss was kind of James Cameron’s way of just throwing down. He’d made The Terminator, been a success, but it was this underwater adventure that made him the guy who would innovate the entire medium every time he made a movie. (August 9)

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The Little Mermaid

Historically, Walt Disney Animation has its peaks and valleys. And after several decades of valleys, the release of this musical would mark the beginning of an improbable run of success that changed the entire company. And for good reason. It’s a banger. (November 17)

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Back to the Future Part II

When it comes to pure economy of story, few films are as genius as Back to the Future. So the idea to make a sequel that literally revisited that film was both shocking and genius. It’s not as good as the first movie, few films are, but it remains one of the most audacious sequel ideas ever. Plus, its vision of the future changed how a generation thought of what was to come. (November 22)

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Others: The Burbs (February 17), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (March 10), Heathers (March 31), Kickboxer (April 20), Field of Dreams (April 21), Pet Sematary (April 21), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (June 9), License to Kill (July 14), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (July 28), A Nightmare on Elm Street V: The Dream Child (August 11), Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (October 13), Look Who’s Talking (October 13)


25-Year Anniversaries (Films Released in 1994)


The Lion King
Image: Disney
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The Crow

Because star Brandon Lee was tragically killed during production, the fact he was making such a great comic book film sometimes gets forgotten by history. But The Crow deserves to be mentioned among the genre’s best. (May 13)

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The Lion King

It The Little Mermaid is where the Disney Animation boom started, The Lion King was kind of its ending. But what a run it was, ending in this stunning work that’s still so good, they’re remaking it this year. (June 15)

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Stargate

When the first Stargate movie came out, no one knew where the franchise would go: multiple TV shows, spinoffs etc. No, it was just a cool sci-fi movie that kind of ended up being not big enough for its premise. Thankfully, the later work corrected that. But it started here. (October 28)

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Others: The Shadow (July 1), The Mask (July 29), Timecop (September 16), Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (October 14), Interview with a Vampire (November 11), The Santa Clause (November 11), Star Trek Generations (November 18)


20-Year Anniversaries (Films Released in 1999)


The Matrix
Photo: Warner Bros.
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The Matrix

I’ll never forget the first time I saw The Matrix. I went in thinking it was just some Keanu Reeves action movie. I walked out changed, having experienced a mix of action and intellect that helped define the kind of movies I love to this day. It’s the gold standard for sci-fi action. (March 31)

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Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Historically few movies, if any, have ever been as highly anticipated as this return to Star Wars almost two decades after Return of the Jedi. And while it didn’t live up to the expectations of many, it was the biggest film event many of us had ever seen. (May 19)

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South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut

When this movie came out, we didn’t really know what to expect. We knew it was an R-rated version of the already dirty show, and creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were likely to take advantage of that. But not only did that happen, we were also treated to one of the most clever movie musicals of all time. I’ll put it up against West Side Story or Phantom of the Opera any day of the week. (June 30)

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The Iron Giant
Photo: Warner Bros.

The Iron Giant

Unfortunately, because of the success of The Sixth Sense (released on the same day), another movie got a little overlooked. It was this Brad Bird animated film. Thankfully, while it didn’t hit at the time, history has been more than kind to The Iron Giant and these days it’s considered a classic. (August 6)

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Being John Malkovich

A music video director makes a movie about a portal that goes inside the mind of actor John Malkovich. Sure. Okay. Whatever. And yet, Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman made one of the most creative films of all time with this incredible work. (October 29)

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Galaxy Quest

Galaxy Quest, a send-up of sci-fi and geek culture, probably came out a decade too soon. The film did OK and still holds up to this day, but it feels much more like a film that would have been appreciated more now, when the culture it’s referencing is so much more mainstream. (December 25)

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Others: eXistenZ (April 23), Idle Hands (April 30), The Mummy (May 7), Wild Wild West (June 30), Deep Blue Sea (July 28), Fight Club (October 15), Sleepy Hollow (November 19), Toy Story 2 (November 24), The Green Mile (December 10)


15-Year Anniversaries (Films Released in 2004)


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Photo: Universal
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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Science fiction can work in any genre, but one where it doesn’t get a lot of love is, well, love. But this Charlie Kaufman-penned, Michel Gondry-directed film about two lovers who mess with their memories to forget each other is a stone cold stunner. (March 19)

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Shaun of the Dead

The world was introduced to the genius of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost with this hilarious and clever rom-zom-com that sends up not just the zombie genre, but romantic comedies, too. (April 9)

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Spider-Man 2

Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man is good, but it’s an origin story. You only get so much actual “Spider-Man.” So it was no surprise that its sequel, Spider-Man 2, was even better. It still holds a place in the pantheon of all-time superhero movies. (June 30)

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Saw

Before they made Aquaman and the Invisible Man, indie filmmakers James Wan and Leigh Whannell burst on to the screen with this Sundance hit that didn’t just start a new franchise, it ushered in a genre called “torture porn.” (October 29)

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The Incredibles

Pixar has made a lot of incredible movies over the years but The Incredibles, about a family of superheroes in a world that doesn’t want them, may be the most incredible one of all. (November 5)

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Others: Dawn of the Dead (March 19), Hellboy (April 2), Kill Bill Vol. 2 (April 16), The Day After Tomorrow (April 28), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (June 4), House of Flying Daggers (July 15), I Robot (July 16), Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (September 17), Team America: World Police (October 15), The Grudge (October 22), Seed of Chucky (November 12)


10-Year Anniversaries (Films Released in 2009)


Star Trek
Photo: Paramount
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Watchmen

Zack Snyder loves a good comic book adaptation, and though 300 may be his best, Watchmen was his most ambitious. The film is way better than it had any right to be and still holds up as a decent vision of the Alan Moore-Dave Gibbons series. Unrelated to the film, we are getting a TV adaptation this year on HBO. (March 6)

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Star Trek

There are a lot of Trek-iversaries in 2019, and the most recent may be the most shocking. It’s been a decade since J.J. Abrams took the mostly dormant franchise and made it popular again by recasting the crew and bringing a little Star Wars edge. (May 8)

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Up

Up is basically two movies. The heartbreaking first act, then the over-the-top remainder. The second part is nowhere near as good as the first but the first is so good, the whole movie is pretty damn incredible. (May 2)

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Moon

One of the best sci-fi films in recent memory, Duncan Jones’ film about loneliness and cloning is a fascinating, rich film, anchored by a stellar lead performance by Sam Rockwell. (June 12)

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District 9

Alien invasion films are a dime a dozen but the team of Neill Blomkamp and Peter Jackson made one of the best in recent years with District 9. Its found footage style, high-end effects, and strong social grounding gave the film a leg up on the rest of the genre. (August 14)

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Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Photo: Sony

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

This animated film about food becoming weather is really, really good, but it’s mostly notable because it’s when the world was alerted to the genius of its directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who’ve since gone on to do one or two good things. (September 18)

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Paranormal Activity

In 1999, The Blair Witch Project ushered in an era of found footage horror. Then, 10 years later, Paranormal Activity gave it a shot of adrenaline, reminding audiences that after a decade of diminishing returns, the genre could still be scary as hell. (September 25)

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Zombieland

With a sequel on the way (finally), it’s a bit easier now to remember just how fun this zombie comedy is, thanks in large part to its fantastic cast and hyper-stylized filmmaking. (October 2)

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Avatar

It’ll be 11 years when we finally see the continuing adventures of Jake Sully and his Na’vi friends, which is shocking, considering this film went on to become, and still is, the world’s highest grossing film of all time. (December 18)

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Others: Coraline (February 6), Drag Me to Hell (May 29), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July 17), Ponyo (August 14), Jennifer’s Body (September 18), Where the Wild Things Are (October 16), Fantastic Mr. Fox (November 13), The Road (November 25), Trick R Treat (December 9)


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About the author

Germain Lussier

Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo