1. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back - Luke Skywalker and his allies face the fury of the Empire, even as Luke trains as a Jedi to face Darth Vader. Every card-carrying geek would do well to own the entire original Star Wars trilogy, but if you have to own just one, it should be Empire Strikes Back. Also known as the best one, Empire features memorable dialogue, heart-pounding action, and genuine surprises and twists.
2. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - The crew of the Enterprise faces the return of an old enemy, the genetic superman Khan, who plots revenge against Kirk for his imprisonment on a desolate planet. Of course, any scifi will need Star Trek on their shelf. The best Trek movie in the series is Khan, featuring epic combat and one of the greatest villains in movie history.
3. Close Encounters of the Third Kind - An ordinary man is drawn into a massive government conspiracy to cover up Earth's first contact with extraterrestrials. With this movie, Steven Spielberg single-handedly changed the way we saw aliens. This movie shows a first alien contact with heart-pounding realism and stunning special effects.
4. 2001 - A Space Odyssey - A mission to explore a mysterious monolith in space leads the crew into conflict with the spaceship's malevolent computer. This is the most realistic portrayal of space flight ever conceived on film. 2001 tells an epic story about the origin of our species and the future of Mankind, and has visuals that always take my breath away.
5. Blade Runner - In a dark future, a detective is forced to grapple with his own morality and identity in pursuit of fugitive androids. This movie set a new standard for a dystopian vision of the future, and has been copied in all forms of media. The story and special effects remain haunting, after all these years.
6. Avatar - A soldier sent to live among aliens in a remote-controlled body finds himself going native, and joining their battle against his own kind. Though the story is kind of familiar, the movie remains an incredible achievement. Even without the 3-D, the movie has eye-popping visuals and CGI that will set the standard for years to come.
7. Forbidden Planet - When a starship investigates the mysterious silence of a colony, they discover a mad scientist whose tinkering with alien technology unleashes a fearsome monster. This movie re-defined science-fiction at a time when it was considered just for kids. The story still remains deeply philosophical, even as it employs impressive special effects to tell the tale.
8. Back to the Future - When a teenager goes back in time, he has to make sure his parents fall in love to make sure he's born in the present. The definitive time travel movie. Always funny and the special effects still hold up.
Do you agree with this list? What are some other movies every geek should own?