Top 10+ Steampunk Films & TV

Update: I’ve created a permanent page for this list. All future updates will go here.

(This post has been updated, click THIS PAGE for complete & updated info.)

Click here to see info about my steampunk stories.

Since I’m working on the Empires of Steam and Rust project with Bob Vardeman, Mike Stackpole, Jean Rabe, and others, and since my own Steam Nations projects are ongoing, I decided to compile a list of steampunk (or steampunk-like) movies & TV shows.  I’m listing them in alphabetical order and rating them from 1 to 5 stars (5 being best).  Ratings may change over time, as I re-watch or re-consider the shows — and I hope to add to the list as I go as well.  Entries that I have not seen, but have been recommended to me, are marked “not seen.”

In some ways, steampunk still seems to be in its infancy for movies & TV, though examples exist back into at least the 1960s — earlier if you count Jules Verne inspired works or futurist pieces that seem like steampunk to us today (like Metropolis).  I’m including Verne’s & Wells’  work here, though they were actually futurists when they wrote.  For now, I’ve decided to ignore steampunk-like works that seem to rely as much or more on magic than on technology (Full Metal Alchemist), though I reserve the right to change my mind in the future.

On to the list!

The Adventures of Brisco County Junior – ***** – Great show that should have lasted more than 1 season.
Around the World in 80 Days (Chan) – **** – Fun vehicle with Jackie Chan. Better than expected.
Atlantis – The Lost Empire – **** — Fun Disney film with some great character contrib by Joss Whedon & top-notch voice talent.
Atlantis – Milo’s Return – *** – Compiled from TV (pilot) episodes, not as steamy as the original, but still fun.
The Brothers Grim – *** – Fun Gilliam stuff, not as bad as people say.
Castle in the Sky – **** – A high-flying film by the great Miyazaki.
The City of Lost Children – not seen
First Men in the Moon – **** – Great Ray Harryhausen adaptation of the Wells story.
From the Earth to the Moon – *** – Limited budget but generally good Verne adaptation.
The Golden Compass – *** – Great elements & look, but not nearly so good as the book.
The Infinite Worlds of H.G Wells – **** – Fun adaptations of lesser-known Wells’ stories. Retro-futurist more than steam.
Jonah Hex – ** – A bit of a mess, despite a fine cast.
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – *** – Not a patch on the comic but not as bad as people say.
Master of the World – *** – Solid Verne with Vincent Price outstanding, as usual.
Metropolis (Lang) – ***** – Futurist when it came out, now practically a steampunk bible. Uncut, one of the best films ever.
Mutant Chronicles – not seen
Porco Rosso – **** – Not sure this qualifies, but with so many flying machines… And it’s Miyazaki!
Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow – **** – I loved this flick when it came out, and I still do. Wish there’d been more.
Stardust – **** – Been a while since I’ve seen this, so I’m not sure it qualifies, but I liked it a lot.
Steamboy – **** – Great animation from Otomo, a modern master. Slows a bit at the end.
Time After Time – ***** – A great film, though only the premise and start are steampunk.
The Time Machine (Pal) – ***** – The machine is steampunk, the story sci-fi, the film great.
The Time Machine (Simon Wells) – *** – Watchable, but not nearly as much fun as the Pal adaptation.
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Disney) – ***** – Perfect adaptation. Skip the rest, this is  the best.
The Wild Wild West (TV) – ***** – If this show didn’t invent steampunk, I don’t know what did. Many gems in the series.
The Wild Wild West (film) – ** – A stand-up routine and over-the-top anti-racist themes mar this promising flick.

As always, comments are welcome (and will be moderated, so make them obviously non-spambot).  And you can send me suggestions by clicking my contact link or e-mailing fanmail-at-stephendsullivan-dot-com.  (With the usual e-mail punctuation, rather than what I’ve done to confuse the spambots.)  And if you have a flick you’d like to send me, e-mail me for details.

Update: I’ve created a permanent page for this list. All future updates will go here.

About Steve Sullivan 418 Articles
Stephen D. Sullivan is an award-winning author, artist, and editor. Since 1980, he has worked on a wide variety of properties, including well-known licenses and original work. Some of his best know projects include Dungeons & Dragons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dragonlance, Iron Man, Legend of the Five Rings, Speed Racer, the Tolkien RPG, Disney Afternoons, Star Wars, The Twilight Empire (Robinson's War), Uncanny Radio, Martian Knights, Tournament of Death, and The Blue Kingdoms (with his friend Jean Rabe).