Science Fictions are not something that the world has started producing in recent years. Even before the technology had got this advanced, Sci-Fi movies have always been there to get people on the edge of their seats. From ‘Jurassic Park’ to ‘Interstellar,’ Sci-Fi movies have always managed to impress its huge fan base all over the world since the 20th century. The irresistible combination of technology, supernatural abilities, outer space, the existence of extraterrestrial beings and a little romance— Hollywood has a large number of movies fulfilling these requirements. Here is a list of the top 25 Sci-Fi movies of all time that you need to watch without giving it a second thought.
25. The War of the Worlds (1953)
Directed by: Byron Haskin
Produced by: George Pal
Starring: Gene Barry, Ann Robinson
Inspired by the 1898 novel penned down by H. G. Wells, going by the same name, the story of ‘The War of the Worlds’ follows the sudden and unexpected invasion of Martians on Earth with Clayton Forrester, an American scientist looking into any weakness of them, that can stop them right away. The 1953 adaptation of the novel is the first out of five featured films and arguably the best of them all, followed by the 2005 version. One of the best movies of its genre, ‘The War of the Worlds’ is historically, culturally and aesthetically a significant movie.
24. Sunshine (2007)
Directed by: Danny Boyle
Produced by: Andrew Macdonald
Starring: Rose Byrne, Cillian Murphy, Cliff Curtis, Troy Garity, Chris Evans, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michelle Yeoh, Benedict Wong
Set in 2057, ‘Sunshine’ follows a team of astronauts who go on a dangerous mission together in order to reignite the Sun that is on the verge of dying, with a nuclear fission. Although the movie received mixed reviews from both the critics and the spectators, the consistent & convincing acting performances and the visuals used in the movie are worth praise.
23. Primer (2004)
Directed by: Shane Carruth
Produced by: Shane Carruth
Starring: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan
Written, directed, edited and produced by Shane Carruth in his debut project, where he also acts as a co-star, the movie is known for its extremely low budget, experimental plotline, complex technical dialogues and philosophical implications. The story is about two intellectual engineers Aaron and Abe who make and sell error-checking gadgets with two of their friends. When they accidentally invent something like a time machine, capable of transporting humans, dark consequences seem to follow.
22. Forbidden Planet (1956)
Directed by: Fred M. Wilcox
Produced by: Nicholas Nayfack
Starring: Walter Pidgeon, Leslie Nielsen, Anne Francis, Warren Stevens, Robby the Robot
A precursor of contemporary Sci-Fi cinema, the movie can be considered as a loose adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play, ‘The Tempest’. The story follows a spacecraft travelling to a far away planet Altair IV in order to explore the fate of a team of scientists who were sent there a few decades earlier. However, when Commander John J. Adams arrives there with his crew, he finds only Dr. Morbius and his daughter, Altaira to be surviving on that remote planet. Adams need to uncover the mystery behind the disappearance of other team members on Altair IV.
21. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Produced by: Michael Phillips, Julia Phillips
Starring: Teri Garr, Richard Dreyfuss, Melinda Dillon, François Truffaut
One of the best movies of Spielberg, the movie narrates the tale of an everyday blue-collar worker of Indiana named Roy Neary who comes across an unidentified flying object aka UFO which changes his life completely. The movie has managed to cover a wide range of emotions and tones, be it wounding drama and silly humour, to outright terror. The movie was a box-office success and has been praised for the overall story, amazing visual effects and brilliant performance by Richard Dreyfuss.
20. Star Trek (2009)
Directed by: J. J. Abrams
Produced by: Damon Lindelof, J. J. Abrams
Starring: John Cho, Bruce Greenwood, Ben Cross, Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto, Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Winona Ryder, Karl Urban
The movie follows James T. Kirk who struggles to live upto the legacy of his father and Mr. Spock, who keeps a check upon him. When a vengeful Romulan who has travelled back in time creates black holes in order to destroy the alliance of the planets one by one. The movie has a perfect combination of action, humour, brilliant visuals, a strong story and is suitable for all age groups. The movie has received numerous nominations and has even won four Academy Awards in major categories.
19. Ex Machina (2014)
Directed by: Alex Garland
Produced by: Allon Reich, Andrew Macdonald
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander
The story of the movie is about a programmer, Caleb Smith, who is asked by his CEO to manage the Turing test of a female humanoid robot with artificial intelligence named, Eva. However, he falls in love with Eva and the robot seemed to reciprocate his feelings as well. The movie has been praised by the critics for the screenplay, the acting performances of the lead cast, the visual effects, and the editing. An Oscar-winning movie and a recipient of numerous awards and nominations, the movie is a must-watch for all Sci-Fi movie fans.
18. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Directed by: Robert Wise
Produced by: Julian Blaustein
Starring: Patricia Neal, Michael Rennie, Hugh Marlowe, Billy Gray, Sam Jaffe, Lock Martin, Frances Bavier
Inspired by the 1940 short story by Harry Bates titled, ‘Farewell to the Master,’ the movie has been set in the Cold War, when there used to be a race on nuclear arms. The storyline follows a humanoid alien who visits Earth to deliver an important message which is going to affect the entire humanity. The film holds the record for one of the most heart-pounding films of America along with numerous other records, and has been praised for its moral relativism.
17. Moon (2009)
Directed by: Duncan Jones
Produced by: Trudie Styler, Stuart Fenegan
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Kaya Scodelario, Dominique McElligott, Benedict Wong, Malcolm Stewart, Matt Berry
Set in a functional world, the movie follows a man named Sam Bell, who is nearing the end of a three-year contract of mining helium-3 on the far side of the Moon with no one but an artificial intelligence, GERTY as his companion. However, he begins to suffer from weird hallucinations and undergoes crashing of his moon rover into the harvester. The sequel of the critically acclaimed movie ‘Moon,‘ was released in 2018 called ‘Mute’.
16. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Directed by: Doug Liman
Produced by: Tom Lassally, Erwin Stoff, Jeffrey Silver, Jason Hoffs, Gregory Jacobs
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Brendan Gleeson, Bill Paxton
Inspired by a Japanese novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka titled, ‘All You Need Is Kill,’ the movie has been set in a future where Europe has been attacked by an alien race and a public relations officer, William Cage is forced to join a landing operation against the extraterrestrials, without any previous combat experience. However, ends up experiencing a time loop while trying to defeat the invaders. ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is a time-shifting sci-Fi thriller with the plot being smartly and sharply executed. A sequel of the movie titled, ‘Live Die Repeat and Repeat’ is currently under development.
15. Jurassic Park (1993)
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Produced by: Gerald R. Molen, Kathleen Kennedy
Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Richard Attenborough, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Peck, BD Wong, Martin Ferrero, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight
The movie has been inspired by the 1990 novel by Michael Crichton titled the same as the book and ended up being one of the most popular Sci-fi movies of the 1990s. The story follows a pragmatic paleontologist who visits an almost completed theme park who has been assigned the responsibility to protect a couple of kids from cloned dinosaurs, running loose due to a power failure.
14. 12 Monkeys (1995)
Directed by: Terry Gilliam
Produced by: Charles Roven
Starring: Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Christopher Plummer, Brad Pitt
The story has been set in the future world when the Earth is devastated by a disease. A convict travels to the past to know the details about the man-made virus which has been wiping out a major part of the human population. The movie is thought provoking and has been written cleverly aided by the great performances by the actors. The dark humour and the right-paced storyline will definitely leave you satisfied by the end of the movie.
13. Planet of the Apes (1968)
Directed by: Franklin J. Schaffner
Produced by: Arthur P. Jacobs
Starring: Roddy McDowall, Charlton Heston, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, Kim Hunter, James Daly, Linda Harrison
Set in the distant future, the movie follows an astronaut crew that crash-lands on a mysterious planet where the surviving members come across a society inhabited by greatly evolved apes with an intelligence and speech like human beings. While the apes have acquired the role of the dominant species, the humans exist there as mute creatures clad in animal skins. The movie has been loosely inspired by the 1963 French novel by Pierre Boulle titled ‘La Planète des Singes’.
12. Her (2013)
Directed by: Spike Jonze
Produced by: Spike Jonze, Megan Ellison, Vincent Landay
Starring: Amy Adams, Joaquin Phoenix, Olivia Wilde, Rooney Mara, Scarlett Johansson
One of the most original, hilarious and sensational films of the year, ‘Her’ centres on a lonely writer named Theodore Twombly who develops a relationship with an artificially intelligent virtual assistant named Samantha, personified with the help of a female voice in order to meet his demands. The film won numerous nominations and awards, especially for the screenplay.
11. The Thing (1982)
Directed by: John Carpenter
Produced by: Lawrence Turman, David Foster
Starring: Kurt Russell, A. Wilford Brimley, T. K. Carter, Keith David, Richard Dysart,David Clennon, Donald Moffat, Joel Polis, Peter Maloney, Richard Masur, Thomas G. Waites, Charles Hallahan
The movie has been based on the 1938 book by John W. Campbell Jr. titled, ‘Who Goes There?’ that narrates the encounter of a team of American researchers with an eponymous ‘Thing’ in Antarctica which is a non-earthly parasite in life-form, assimilating and then imitating other organisms. The group gets possessed by threat that any one of them could be that creature and realises that they cannot trust each other anymore. In 2020, it was announced that the movie has been picked up for a remake.
10. Blade Runner (1982)
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Produced by: Michael Deeley
Starring: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Edward James Olmos, Sean Young
Set in a dystopian future in which the powerful Tyrell Corporation bio-engineers synthetic humans called replicants to make them work at space colonies, a group of advanced replicants escapes back to Earth. However, a burnt-out cop named Rick Deckard unwillingly agrees to bring them back. Regarded as a cult film and one among the best science fiction films of all time, the movie is dark and uncompromising, and indeed a feast for the eyes.
9. Blade Runner: 2049 (2017)
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Produced by: Andrew A. Kosove, Bud Yorkin, Broderick Johnson, Cynthia Sikes Yorkin
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Sylvia Hoeks, Ana de Armas, Robin Wright, Carla Juri, Mackenzie Davis
‘Blade Runner: 2049’ is a sequel to the 1982 movie ‘Blade Runner’ which follows the uncovering, of an old-buried secret, by young Blade Runner K, leading him to locate, Rick Deckard, the former Blade Runner who had mysteriously disappeared thirty years ago. The movie has managed to improve upon the parent movie, without comprising to the aesthetics, tone and themes of it.
8. Metropolis (1927)
Directed by: Fritz Lang
Produced by: Erich Pommer
Starring: Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich, Brigitte Helm, Rudolf Klein-Rogge
One of the most influential films of all time, ‘Metropolis‘ is among the earliest science-fiction movies ever made. Despite the lack of CGI effects and HD sound featured in the modern science fictions, the movie doesn’t seem to fall behind in quality. Set in a futuristic city where the society has been sharply grouped into the city planners and the working class, the story is about the son of the mastermind of the city, who falls for a working-class prophet and work to mediate their differences. The movie throws light on the fact how humanity can die under technology.
7. Solaris (1972)
Directed by: Andrei Tarkovsky
Produced by: Viacheslav Tarasov
Starring: Natalya Bondarchuk, Donatas Banionis, Jüri Järvet, Nikolai Grinko, Vladislav Dvorzhetsky, Anatoly Solonitsyn
The movie revolves around a space station circling the fictional planet called Solaris, where a scientific mission has to be delayed owing to the fall of the skeleton crew of three scientists into emotional crises. However, when psychologist Kris Kelvin visits the place to evaluate the situation, he begins to encounter the same strange phenomena like the others. The movie is refreshing to watch, as it deals with a lot more than just technological invention, bringing a new emotional depth to Sci-Fi movies.
6. Alien (1979)
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Produced by: Gordon Carroll, Walter Hill, David Giler
Starring: Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Sigourney Weaver, Harry Dean Stanton, Ian Holm, John Hurt, Yaphet Kotto
‘Alien’ is not just a science fiction horror film that was just critically and commercially successful. It went on to pave way for countless spin-offs and spiritual successors. The movie chronicles the crew of a commercial space tug named Nostromo who comes across the eponymous, aggressive and deadly Alien set loose on the ship. The movie has been awarded with numerous awards and nominations and is still praised for its realism and unique environment.
5. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1956)
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Produced by: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood
The story narrates a journey to Jupiter with a sentient computer named HAL, after an alien monolith is discovered which somehow affects human evolution. The movie deals with technology, artificial intelligence, themes of existentialism, and the possibility of existence of extraterrestrial beings. It has been based on a short story by Arthur C. Clarke titled, ‘The Sentinel’ and other works of him.
4. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
Directed by: James Cameron
Produced by: James Cameron
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick
The second movie of the Terminator franchise, the story revolves around a ten-year-old boy, John and his mother Sarah Connor, who are chased by an advanced Terminator sent from the future to kill off John who would lead the human resistance in the coming years. On the other hand, another Terminator, a little weaker than the first one, is also sent back for the protection of John. The movie received numerous awards for the visual effects and was commercially very successful. One of the most expensive films ever made during its time, the movie paved way to many sequels and series.
3. The Matrix (1999)
Directed by: The Wachowskis[a]
Produced by: Joel Silver
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano
The movie has been set in a dystopian future where intelligent machines have trapped human beings inside a simulated reality called the Matrix, while using their bodies are a source of energy. However, a computer programmer somehow discovers the truth and is drawn into a state of rebellion against the robots, along with other people. One of the most renowned Sci-Fi movies, ‘The Matrix’ is a pioneering and entertaining classic with amazing visuals. The fourth installment of the franchise has been scheduled to release later this year.
2. Interstellar (2014)
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Produced by: Emma Thomas, Lynda Obst, Christopher Nolan
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, Bill Irwin, Michael Caine
The movie is one of the most well-written project Christopher Nolan, with amazing acting performances and visual effects. The setting has been done in a dystopian future where human beings have been struggling to survive. The storyline focuses on a group of astronauts who, in search of a new home for human beings to reside, travel through a wormhole near Saturn.
1. Star Wars (1977)
Directed by: George Lucas
Produced by: Gary Kurtz
Starring: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness, Peter Cushing
‘Star Wars’ is an epic space-opera film and the first movie in the original Star Wars trilogy. The story follows Luke Skywalker who join hands with a Jedi Knight, a Wookiee, a cocky pilot and two droids in order to protect the galaxy from the world-destroying battle station of the Empire, along with trying to rescue Princess Leia from the wrath of the mysterious Darth Vader. The winner of 58 awards including the six Oscar Awards, the movie is arguably one of the best of all time, balanced with the right amount of action, adventure and humour.