Here, we’ll take a look at the greatest steampunk movies that feature outstanding actions scenes, locations, and visuals, and are just purely entertaining, astoundingly clever, and can be enjoyed by the whole family. Each movie on the list embraces Victorian, dieselpunk, and steampunk design, humour, creativity, gadgets, steam engineering, and parallel worlds.
A Trip to the Moon (1902)
As well as being among the most well-known movies from an age that preceded the feature film, A Trip to the Moon ranks among silent cinema’s most famous films in history. While some movies are known for certain lines of dialogue or for their epic scenes, others are symbolised and remembered for one powerful image. That image in this particular movie is a moon with a face; more specifically, with a rocket in its eye. That image has since been imitated endlessly, from music videos to children’s books.
George Méliès almost made the movie single-handedly. Not only did he write, produce, and direct the film, he also assumed the main role, designed the costumes and sets, and was responsible for photography. He even hired Châtelet ballet dancers as dressed assistants to launch the cannon and Folies Bergere acrobats to take on the role of lunar residents, known as Selenites.
The film was the 400th of Méliès’ career and certainly his most well-known (just six months after the first-ever film from the Lumière Brothers). The 10,000 Francs budget was extremely high for the era but was clearly worth the investment, based on its reception.
In the film, a group of men take a trip to the moon after being shot from a huge cannon. Moon men capture them before our heroes manage to escape and make their way back to Earth. The story was inspired by the classic literature of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. Not unlike the work from the two esteemed writers, A Trip to the Moon is regarded as belonging to the steampunk genre due to the ere in which it was made. It is, in fact, one of the earliest films in the genre.
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
Allan Quatermain puts together a team of legendary characters with extraordinary powers in order to take on an insane villain by the name of The Fantom. The team is made up of De Jekyll/Mr Hyde, Dorian Gray, Tom Sawyer, Rodney Skinner, Mina Harker, and Captain Nemo.
Her Majesty’s Government spy chief M tells the team that a host of European leaders are to come together in Venice and that the villains intend to set off a bomb in the city to initiate a world war. The League is assigned with the task of preventing that from happening. The film then jumps to Mongolia’s frozen lakes where the leaders of the villains have built a huge factory palace designed to produce robotic soldiers.
The League of Extraordinary Gentleman includes stunning techno=steampunk scenes. The Nautilus submarine, for example, is a wonderful display of engineering, but then you can’t have a Steampunk sub without plenty of gadgets, creative weaponry, and a six-wheeled automobile.