For centuries, solar eclipses have captured the fascination of humanity.

Ancient cultures explained the celestial phenomena in a variety of ways. The Incas perceived solar eclipses as a sign that the sun god, Inti, was angry. They would attempt to appease the god with sacrifices and fasting.

In ancient Chinese culture, a solar eclipse was believed to be the result of a dragon devouring the sun. The Indigenous American Choctaw tribe held a similar belief: they thought an eclipse was the result of a black squirrel eating the sun.

Of course, modern astronomy has helped people understand the phenomenon better. Total solar eclipses – in which the moon completely covers the sun – happen roughly twice every three years.

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Given the mysterious and fascinating appeal of eclipses, it's no surprise screenwriters have used them in feature films. In most cases, the occurrence is utilized in foreboding fashion, foreshadowing something disturbing or scary on the horizon.

Of course, it’s not all frightening. Eclipses have also been used as plot twists, popping up at just the right time to turn a hero's fate.

Below, we’ve highlighted 12 Famous Movies That Feature Solar Eclipses. They run the gamut of filmmaking, as horror, suspense, action, fantasy, sci-fi and family flicks are all represented in the list. What unites them all – besides strong storytelling – is the use of an eclipse as an important plot device.

Solar Eclipse Movies