This year marks the centenary of Orson Welles’ birth, and celebrations are in full swing at New York’s Film Forum through February 3. The influential filmmaker enraptured audiences with his first feature at only 25 years old, 1941’s Citizen Kane — but the movie mogul also achieved tremendous success in theater, television, and radio. In one of his most famous broadcasts, 1938’s The War of the Worlds, Welles simulated an alien invasion on Earth, creating widespread panic, securing his fame one of the finest storytellers of the 20th century. In celebration of Welles’ 100th year, we’re looking to his dramatist roots and have compiled a science fiction movie marathon worthy of his War of the Worlds days. Add these movies to your Netflix and VOD queues.
Warner Brothers created their highest grossing film in 1954, the atomic sci-fi thriller Them!. Set in New Mexico, the nuclear creature feature finds a nest of ants transformed into massive man-eating monsters, culminating in a battle on the streets of Los Angeles. (Look for a cameo from Leonard Nimoy as a soldier.) “When Man entered the atomic age, he opened a door into a new world. What we’ll eventually find in that new world, nobody can predict,” reads the last line of the film, reaffirming the movie’s parallels to real-life nuclear anxiety. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki took place less than 10 years prior, and there were still many unknowns about this new kind of warfare.