A Trip to the Moon (1902): The First Great Sci-Fi Film

A year before the Wright brothers launched the first airplane flight in 1903, Georges Méliès, a French filmmaker with already 400 films to his credit, directed a film that visualized a much bigger human ambition – landing a spacecraft on the moon. Loosely based on works by Jules Vernes (From the Earth to the Moon) and H. G. Wells (The First Men in the Moon), A Trip to the Moon (Le voyage dans la lune) invented one of our favorite cinematic genres – the science fiction film. Today, many film critics consider Méliès’ short film an enduring classic. The Village Voice ranked it #84 on its list of the 100 Best Films of the 20th Century, and you’ll almost certainly recognize the iconic shot at the 4:44 mark.

Méliès’s body of work, which goes well beyond this landmark film, has been recently collected into a new box set. Georges Méliès: First Wizard of Cinema (1896-1913) puts 173 rare and rediscovered films onto a 5 disc, 13-hour collection.

A Trip to the Moon has been added to our collection of Free Movies Online. You can also download a version at the Internet Archive.

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Related Content:

The First Horror Film, George Méliès’ The Haunted Castle(1896)

Watch After the Ball, the 1897 “Adult” Film by Pioneering Director Georges Méliès (Almost NSFW)

Watch the First Russian Science Fiction Film, Aelita: Queen of Mars (1924)

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