Is The Fabulous World Of Jules Verne Steampunk?

Is The Fabulous World Of Jules Verne Steampunk? Let’s have a look at some of the key elements of the movie in order to decide whether it meets the criteria in order to be classified as steampunk or not. If not, does it fit into one of the other punk aesthetics? Let’s find out. 

Before we get into whether The Fabulous World Of Jules Verne is steampunk or not, let’s look at what the film is about to get a flavor as to whether it is steampunk or not. 

Movie Title: The Fabulous World Of Jules Verne

Studio: Ceskoslovenský Státní Film, Filmové Studio Gottwaldov, Muzeum Karla Zemana

Director: Karel Zeman

Story By: Frantisek Hrubín, Jules Verne, Milan Vácha

Release Date: August 1958 (Czechoslovakia) under the name ‘Invention for Destruction’.

Main Actors: Lubor Tokos, Arnost Navrátil, Miroslav Holub

Synopsis: This is a 1958 Czechoslovak film based on Jules Verne‘s novel Facing the Flag relased in 1896.

An evil millionaire named Artigas plans to use a super-explosive device to conquer the world from his headquarters inside an enormous volcano.

What Makes a Movie Steampunk?

Before we answer the question, is The Fabulous World Of Jules Verne steampunk? Let’s have a look at some of the key characteristics of a steampunk movie.

There are a number of elements that need to combine in order to classify a movie as steampunk. 

Check out our in-depth guide as to what makes a movie steampunk for more information on this. Whether something fits into the steampunk genre or not is a topic that is always up for hot debate in the forums. 

As steampunk sadly never existed, there is no history to check the validity against, however, there is some faux pas that means that something is clearly not steampunk. 

Things such as this we would class as being ‘steampunk inspired’, i.e. they don’t traditionally conform to the steampunk genre, but they have taken elements from it to inspire them. 

As a quick recap, we’ve lined up our top 10 elements to look out for in a steampunk movie.

If you’re interested in learning more about steampunk, check out our article, ‘What is Steampunk?’, which will take you through the history, influences, fashions, gadgets, and much more. 

Top 10 Things to Look Out for In a Steampunk Movie

  1. The Use of Steam – In steampunk, electricity has never been invented, everything is mechanical and powered by steam. This means that if you can see digital machinery in a movie, it isn’t traditional steampunk, therefore it may be classified as ‘steampunk inspires’  
  2. Steam Powered Vehicles – In steampunk movies, as with the above, you will only see vehicles powered by steam, cars, ships, and even submarines.
  3. Airships – Airships are popular within the steampunk genre – again, mechanically powered.  
  4. Set In Victorian Era or an Alternative History – Steampunk is set in either the Victorian Era (19th Century), or in an alternative, future, occasionally depicted as a ‘wild west’ setting. 
  5. The Clothing – Clothing can vary, but is normally focused around the fashions of Victorian England, or that of a colonial explorer. 
  6. Augmented Mechanical Humans – In steampunk, persons can normally be seen with mechanically replaced elements to their body, sometimes these are full replacements, other times, a mechanical exoskeleton.
  7. Gadgets & Gears – futuristic (mechanical) gadgets are common place in the steampunk genre. A personal favorite is a gun that mechanically springs from up a sleeve to the user’s hand, ready and poised for use. Gears can be seen throughout the steampunk genre, emphasizing the mechanical theme that is central to the aesthetic.  
  8. Time Travel – Time travel is no an essential component of steampunk, however, it can be seen in some steampunk works. Just remember that the time travel device needs to be mechanical and not digital/ electronic.
  9. The Paranormal – The paranormal is not traditional steampunk, however, the crossover between the genres is common. The villain in steampunk is normally a man made creation as opposed to being a mythical creature, demon, vampire, etc. 
  10. Advanced Technology – Technology that is advanced for its time is a standard theme throughout steampunk. The technology must be mechanical in nature, such as the analog computer.

If you’re interested in steampunk movies, why not check out our guide to the best steampunk movies, and see if you can find a new favorite?

So, let’s take a look, is The Fabulous World Of Jules Verne steampunk?

What Elements of The Fabulous World Of Jules Verne Are Steampunk?


Let’s start with the basics. The movie is set in the 1890’s, firmly within the ‘normal’ steampunk era of Victorian times.


On top of this, the clothing worn throughout the movie is that of Victorian England, clearly sitting within the steampunk genre and showing Victorian clothing in all its splendor.


The director of this movie, Karel Zeman, has clearly been influenced by French illusionist, actor, and film director, George Méliès, who wrote the steampunk classic (A Trip to The Moon).

Méliès’s style can be seen throughout The Fabulous World Of Jules Vern, from the submarine trough to the piston-powered steam engine


The technology is amazingly steampunk – it’s so exciting and definitely anachronistic to the period. There is the airship (powered by steam via pedal cycle) that we see at the beginning of the movie as well as the miniature submersibles also seen. They are all ridiculous, yet somehow, so realistic.

The contraptions are a lift out of Verns illustrations. Simply put, they are steampunk.

Sense of Hope

There is a buoyant sense of humor which can be seen running throughout the film, almost like slapstick.

A prime example of this is when the victorian clad gentleman is reading the newspaper on the train, a bullet strays and goes through his paper, yet he remains calm and continues reading as if nothing has ever happened.

Then there is Jana – drying her clothes on the barrel of a cannon, or making the hero scale back down to the floor below, so she can get dressed before being rescued the film is littered with this humor.

The movie is littered with these comical sketches which epitomize the hope of the world of steampunk.

What Elements of The Fabulous World Of Jules Verne Are NOT Steampunk?

There are no elements of The Fabulous World of Jules Verne that are not steampunk. The only potential criticism of the film is that the Savannah (the steamship) is seen in the opening of the film. This claims to have crossed the Atlantic in 1819, this would predate the Victorian period. The essence of steampunk is about the development of inventions during the era, not prior to.

However, this is no deal-breaker at all.

So, Overall Is The Fabulous World Of Jules Verne Steampunk?

Hell yes! The Fabulous World Of Jules Verne is most certainly a steampunk movie. If fact, it is probably one of the earliest and purest steampunk movies you can watch.

What are your thoughts? Is the movie The Fabulous World Of Jules Verne steampunk? Let us know in the comments below what your opinion is and why.

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