Top 10 Steampunk Movies
In Steampunk movies pretty much anything can happen!
Steampunk was originally described as "Victorian era science fiction", but as the genre has grown, it has expanded to include many related forms of "speculative fiction". Mad scientists and imaginative inventors meet historical figures and literary characters and embark on wonderful flights of fantasy! Such rich imagery and scope has resulted in many entertaining and visually stunning films.
Here's my personal Top 10 Steampunk movies. Each of my film choices are followed with trailers from the movies so you can get a taste for each movie yourself! You may not agree with my choices so please feel free to comment, vote for your favorite Steampunk films or add your own suggestions of the best Steampunk movies!
What Is Steampunk?
Steampunk = a "retro-futuristic" genre of fiction/fantasy featuring wildly imagined inventions and anachronistic technology
Definition of Steampunk
* Copy of public domain (copyright expired) Steampunk print "The Dream of Flight" (c between 1890 and 1900) used under Wikimedia CommonsJudging by comments in the Steampunk Soapbox (further down the page), it seems that quite a few people are unfamiliar with the term "Steampunk" and have wandered into this page on a voyage of discovery! Those already aware of the rich and varied delights of Steampunk can skip this bit as I'm going to digress briefly to give an insight into what constitutes Steampunk.
Steampunk is eclectic - it means different things to different people. Broadly speaking Steampunk takes elements of the following:
Speculative fiction (exploring the question: "what if an historical event/literary character/plotline of a book or play etc had played out differently?"),
Anachronistic science fiction (shuffling things around in time - like introducing technology into a time period where it didn't actually exist),
Steampunk takes all of the elements above and sticks them in a blender!
The descriptive label "Steampunk" probably dates back to sometime in the 1980s, but it's roots go much further back than that! Think Victorian "mad science", Jules Verne and H.G Wells, Time Machines and Captain Nemo, fantastical inventions, gaslight, air ships and steam powered computers - a "retro-futuristic" society which can encompass anyone, anywhere, anytime!
Steampunk now covers a vast genre of literature, films, music, fashion and even a lifestyle subculture!
Learn more about Steampunk with these gorgeously detailed and informative tomes!
* Steampunk Movies graphic above copyright: CDT
Top 10 Steampunk Movies - Index
A guide to the best films in the Steampunk genre
1. The Prestige
Steampunk Movies - The Prestige
The Prestige (2006)
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale
Director: Christopher Nolan
Two Victorian stage magicians, Robert Angier, a charismatic showman, and Alfred Borden, a gifted illusionist, work together until one fateful night, a performance goes terribly wrong resulting in the death of Angier's wife. The men become deadly enemies filled with bitterness and envy who will stop at nothing to learn each other's secrets. Their rivalry escalates into mutual all-consuming obsession as they vie with each other to be the greatest magician of the age.
Best Steampunk Movies - The Prestige Trailer
2. The Golden Compass
Steampunk Movies - The Golden Compass
The Golden Compass (2007)
Starring: Kathy Bates, John Bett
Director: Chris Weitz
Based on the books by Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass takes place in an alternate universe where each human's soul is embodied in a companion animal called a daemon. The story concerns Lyra, an orphan living in a fantastical parallel universe in which a dogmatic theocracy called the Magisterium threatens to dominate the world. When Lyra's friend is kidnapped, she travels to the far North in an attempt to rescue him and rejoin her uncle.
Best Steampunk Movies - The Golden Compass trailer
3. Van Helsing
Steampunk Movies - Van Helsing
Van Helsing (2004)
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale
Director: Stephen Sommers
Van Helsing is a monster hunter who works for the Vatican. He is sent to Transylvania to destroy Dracula so that the captured souls of an ancient family called Velarius can be freed. Meeting the last of the Velarius family, a young woman called Anna, Van Helsing and his group are repeatedly attacked by the vampire brides of Dracula. Meanwhile Dracula himself has captured Anna's brother who is a werewolf and is experimenting on him in his laboratory. Aided by Frankenstein's Monster (who has never forgiven Dracula for killing his creator Dr Frankenstein), Van Helsing must overcome repeated danger in order to help Anna and her family.
Best Steampunk Movies - Van Helsing trailer
4. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
Steampunk Movies - 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1954)
Starring: James Mason, Kirk Douglas
Director: Charles A. Nichols, Richard Fleischer
It's 1866 and ships are disappearing in the Pacific Ocean. Rumours are circulating that the cause of the disappearances is a gigantic sea monster and the US government mounts an expedition to find out the truth.
The "sea monster" turns out to be a submarine captained by the mysterious Captain Nemo...
Best Steampunk Movies - 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea trailer
5. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
Steampunk Movies - A Series Of Unfortunate Events
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
Starring: Jim Carrey, Liam Aiken
Director: Brad Silberling
The three Baudelaire children are left orphaned when their parents are killed in a fire. They are sent to live with a distant relative, the avaricious Count Olaf, but after a series of "unfortunate events" occur, they realise that the mishaps were far from accidental and that Olaf is plotting to kill them in an attempt to get their inheritance for himself.
Best Steampunk Movies - Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events trailer
Steampunk Movies - Hellboy
Starring: William Hoyland, John Hurt
In the final days of World War II, the Nazis aided by resurrected Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin, attempt to use black magic to summon the "Seven Gods Of Chaos" to help their cause. The Allies raid the camp where the ceremony is taking place, but not before a demon (later named "Hellboy"), has come through the portal. Joining the Allied forces, Hellboy eventually grows to adulthood, serving the cause of good rather than evil.
However, the world hasn't seen the last of the evil Rasputin...and it's up to Hellboy to save the day!
Best Steampunk Movies - Hellboy trailer
7. The League Of Extraodinary Gentlemen
Steampunk Movies - The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - 2003
Starring: Sean Connery, Naseeruddin Shah
Director: Stephen Norrington
Based (loosely) on the cult-classic comic by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill, the plot is set in an "alternative" Victorian era England, with a "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" brought together to capture a dangerous criminal known as "The Fantom" who is plotting to start a World War using technologically adanced weapons.
The "League" comprises adventurer Allan Quatermain, seafarer/inventor Captain Nemo, vampiress Mina Harker, the Invisible Man Rodney Skinner, American secret service agent Tom Sawyer and the dangerous split personality of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. They must thwart the evil duo Professor Moriarty and Dorian Gray in order to stop the destruction of the city of Venice and thereby save the world.
Best Steampunk Movies - The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen trailer
8. The Time Machine
Steampunk Movies - The Time Machine
The Time Machine (2002)
Starring: Guy Pearce, Jeremy Irons
When the girl he loves is killed, scientist and inventor Alexander Hartdegen resolves to travel back in time to change the events that led up to her death. He succeeds in his aim, only to witness her die again, this time caused by a different sequence of events. Realising that he cannot change her fate, he decides to travel forward in time to see what lies in the future.
After a few stops along the way, Hartdegen arrives 800,000 years in the future to find that civilization has devolved to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Calling themselves the Eloi, the survivors of mankind have built their homes into the side of a cliff on what resembles Manhattan. Falling in love with an Eloi woman called Mara, Hartdegan discovers that the Eloi are hunted for food by a race of subterranean creatures called Morlocks and he is forced to use his scientific knowledge and his time travel capabilities to save the Eloi.
Best Steampunk Movies - The Time Machine trailer
9. Sleepy Hollow
Steampunk Movies - Sleepy Hollow
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Starring: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci
Director: Tim Burton
In 1799, police constable Ichabod Crane is sent to the village of Sleepy Hollow, to investigate a series of murders in which the victims have been found decapitated. A big fan of innovative investigative techniques such as finger-printing and autopsies, Crane arrives in Sleepy Hollow to be informed by the inhabitants that the murderer is not human, but is instead, a headless phantom riding a black horse who terrorises the neighbourhood at night. Ichabod must use his wits and his knowledge of forensic science to avoid becoming a victim of the murderous supernatural spectre himself.
Best Steampunk Movies - Sleepy Hollow trailer
10. The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen
Steampunk Movies - The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen - 1989
Starring: John Neville, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurman, and Robin Williams.
Director: Terry Gilliam
Baron Munchausen is a man who simply cannot help telling wildly exaggerated stories of his bravery and adventures. He has gained a reputation as a liar, but when he meets a little girl who truly believes in his legendary exploits, he is inspired to live up to his reputation in order to help her and her home town which is being besieged by the Turkish army.
The quest to save the day involves a variety of adventures including a trip to the moon in a hot air balloon, an encounter with the the Goddess Venus and her husband Vulcan, being swallowed alive by a sea-monster and a first hand encounter with death.
Best Steampunk Movies - The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen trailer
Do YOU Like Steampunk Movies?
Are you a fan of the steampunk genre of films?
Do you like steampunk movies?
More Great Steampunk Movies
So, that's my own personal top 10 steampunk films listed above...but that could change.
Here's a few more great movies in the steampunk genre, some of which I've seen and others which I haven't got round to seeing yet, but which have been acclaimed by other Steampunk fans!
The City Of Lost Children
Steampunk Movies - The City Of Lost Children
The City of Lost Children (1995)
Starring: Briac Barthelemy, Guillaume Billod-Morel
Director: Marc Caro
The plot revolves around a mad scientist, Krank, who lives in an old oil rig off the coast of a surreal Dickensian French city. Krank does not have the ability to dream, and as a result he is prematurely old. In order to supplement his dream deficit, Krank kidnaps young children in order to study and extract their dreams. Unfortunately for Krank, this scheme fails as the experience of being kidnapped and manipulated by the wicked Krank is so traumatic that the children have no "normal" dreams - only nightmares.
Best Steampunk Movies - The City Of Lost Children trailer
Dark Portals: The Chronicles of Vidocq
Steampunk Movies - Dark Portals: The Chronicles of Vidocq (2001)
Vidocq is a 2001 film starring Gerard Depardieu. It takes place in a steampunk version of 19th century Paris, pitting the historical figure Eugene Francois Vidocq, the French criminal, spy and pioneer private detective, against a supernatural serial killer called The Alchemist.
Best Steampunk Movies - The Chronicles of Vidocq movie trailer
Steampunk Movies - Steamboy
Starring: Anne Suzuki, Masane Tsukayama
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
Steamboy is set in England in 1866. A young boy called Ray Steam receives a mysterious device called a Steam Ball from his inventor grandfather with instructions that he must guard it from others. The Steam Ball is immensely powerful and Ray finds himself in danger as many others want to possess the Steam Ball for their own evil purposes.
Best Steampunk Movies - Steamboy trailer
Wild Wild West
Steampunk Movies - Wild Wild West
Considered to be awful by critics...but what do critics know! I like this film - it's an action-packed, entertainingly silly steampunk romp - so what's not to like!
Wild Wild West (1999)
Starring: Will Smith, Kevin Kline
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Sinister inventor Dr. Arliss Loveless, plans to rekindle the Civil War by assassinating President Ulysses S. Grant. Gunfighter James West and master-of-disguise and inventor Artemus Gordon team up to thwart his evil plans.
Best Steampunk Movies - Wild Wild West trailer
Time After Time
Steampunk Movies - Time After Time (1979)
In late 19th century England, writer H.G. Wells (Malcolm McDowell) unwittingly includes Jack the Ripper (David Warner) in his social circle. When one of Wells's dinner parties is crashed by the police looking for the Ripper, Jack uses the author's time machine to escape. Having escaped however, The Ripper finds himself stranded in another era when the machine automatically returns itself to H.G Wells' time.
Wells feels duty bound to track down Jack The Ripper before he can inflict his evil nature on the unsuspecting inhabitants of another time period and he eventually finds himself in modern-day San Francisco on the trail of his murderous former friend...
Best Steampunk Movies - Time After Time movie trailer
Even More Suggested Steampunk Movies!
Over to you! What's your favourite steampunk film?...add it to the list if it's not there!
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The Best Steampunk Movies - Index
A personal guide to the best films in the Steampunk genre
- What Is Steampunk?
- 1. The Prestige
- 2. The Golden Compass
- 3. Van Helsing
- 4. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
- 5. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
- 6. Hellboy
- 7. The League Of Extraodinary Gentlemen
- 8. The Time Machine
- 9. Sleepy Hollow
- 10. The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen
- Do YOU Like Steampunk Movies?
- More Great Steampunk Movies
- The City Of Lost Children
- Dark Portals: The Chronicles of Vidocq
- Wild Wild West
- Time After Time
- Even More Suggested Steampunk Movies!
- Steampunk Soapbox