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September 01

Moon face looking out of a telescope

One hundred years later, a version of the movie with a new scene at the end—depicting a parade celebrating the voyagers’ return—was found in France.

Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

1902: Sci-Fi’s First Flight
A Trip to the Moon premieres in France
This French silent film, which features a now-iconic image of a smiley-face moon with a spaceship poking it in the eye, is widely considered to be the first science-fiction movie. Lasting only 14 minutes, the movie tells a story of astronomers who travel to the moon and fight with bug-like aliens.

Along the way, they get a close-up view of the Big Dipper constellation (with human faces peering out of each star) and a moon goddess sitting on a crescent moon-shaped swing. Le Voyage dans la Lune, its title in French, was directed by Georges Méliès. A true film pioneer, he experimented with special effects, double exposures, fades, and dissolves. His work was incredibly innovative for the times.
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