Best Sci-Fi Movies of All Time that Everyone Fan Should Watch!
The science fiction genre is expansive just like the galaxy. Since the technology came into the picture, we have been seeing movies which are not just fiction or drama, but the ones that can make us realize our dreams, fantasies and sometimes, the nightmares even. We are now far from the age where peeping into the sky with a lensed tube has evolved into a model spaceship, a talking AI interface and recently, an OS that fell in love with a man. Well, it is not exactly Sci-Fi, but you get my point. In this experimental process of converting the romantic drama into a speculative fiction, we have come the long way.
That being said, today we are ranking the Best Sci-Fi Movies to watch for you, and I should tell you that this indeed is a difficult and dangerous task. There is a high probability that not all Sci-Fi fans have the same taste, but these are the ones which have been spectacular for the audience. For example, while I’m not really impressed by Avatar except the emotional quotient it has, Edge of Tomorrow has been my favorite because of the effects, the ground-breaking blend of character and concept. Therefore, all the multiple entries in the list can be considered to watch and if you’re someone who loves to spend a weekend sitting at home, watching the Best Sci-Fi Movies this list is just made for you.
Best Sci-Fi Movies that are Spectacular in every kind:
#1 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968):
A Space Odyssey is a Sci-Fi film made in 1968, written and directed by Stanley Kubrick along with Arthur C. Clarke. The screenplay of the movie has been written beautifully based on “The Sentinel”, a short story written by Clarke. An amusing thing about the film is that the novel is written in concurrence with the movie and is published along with the movie. This movie deals with the voyage to the planet Jupiter with a computer HAL after a black monolith has been discovered. The monolith is believed to affect the human evolution, technology, existentialism, extraterrestrial life and as well as the artificial intelligence of the people. This movie is noted for the accurate depiction of the scientific spaceflight including ambiguous imagery and as well as special effects. It uses minimum dialogue and sound, unlike the usual narrative techniques and soundtracks that are used, making the movie famous for the inclusion of classical music and number of other bits and pieces. A work of boundless imagination, this film aims at techniques that depict the human evolution. Crafted with special effects, this movie looks amazingly incredible. The artificial imagery of the film has been compelling to convince the conspiracy theorists who faked the moon-landing with the help of Kubrick. Watching this movie will give you a bigger picture of the human life and its existence while showing the practical difference between a bone cudgel and a space station.
#2 Planet of the Apes (2001):
Planet of the Apes is an American Sci-Fi film written and directed by Tim Burton. He got inspired by the 1963 ‘Planet of the Apes’ novel by Pierre Boulle and as a result, you can see the extravagance in this movie. This is the sixth film belonging to the Planet of the Apes franchise and it stars Mark Wahlberg, Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Roth, Paul Giamatti, Michael Duncan and Estella Warren. If you already know about the franchise, you can as well watch the Planet of the Apes 1968 version as well which doesn’t have much difference in the plot. The movie narrates the story of Leo Davidson, an astronaut who crash-lands on a planet that is inhabited by smart, intelligent and intellectual apes. The apes treat the humans as their slaves and with the help of Ari, an ape; Leo starts a rebellion that ruins everything. Leo, along with four other astronauts leave the earth and gets treated as the grunting and dumb human beings. The power of the film lies in the details and Tim Burton has done an extremely nice job in characterizing the apes. Flipping the entire idea of mankind on Earth, Planet of Apes will raise some questions about the humans in the world tearing the concept of ‘Human s the hero’. A metaphor that can be applied to the divisions in our society, this movie is vibrant altogether.
#3 The Fly (1986):
The Fly is an American horror film, written and directed by David Cronenberg. Produced by the infamous Brooksfilms, this film has Jeff Goldblum playing the lead along with John Getz and Geena Davis. The movie is based on the short story written on the same name by George Langeleen back in 1957. This film tells the story of an eccentric scientist whose experiments goes wrong and as a result who turns into a fly and with the elevation of Howard Shore’s score; the movie has been marked as one of the best films made with the team of Stephan Dupuis and Chris Walas. Since the beginning of the career, David Cronenberg as a director has been creating movies that are impeccable. Luxuriated with empathy for the bizarre and mindfuck creations, he has an eye for the weird and the peculiar. If you have watched ‘The Brood’ or the ‘X-Men’, you will know why he is so hassled when it comes to the characterization and therefore, he doesn’t often forge a deeper connection between the audience and his movies. However, Jeff Goldblum has been tested as a subject for the teleportation technology by Seth Brundle who injects him with the DNA of a house fly resulting him to transform into a BrundleFly. Though the movie is weird and a bit freaky, there will be times where you will have the ultimate fun. This movie has stood out as an inspiration to many movies in different languages and as a result, we see films till date, that are similar to this plot. The triumph of this movie is that we can actually feel the pain of the transformation rather than looking at him as a monster we should be afraid of.
#4 Hard to be a God (2013):
Hard to be a God is a Russian film based on the novel of the same name, written by Boris Strugastsky and Arkady. Directed by Aleksei German, this movie is about a group of scientists who travel to an unknown identical planet with similar conditions as Earth, but only centuries behind. The inhabitants of this planet are suppressed and they would murder people who appear to be intellectual, which is why the planet is stuck in middle age. The planet doesn’t contain any lasers, spaceships neither it does have the good and bad. Pictured in black and white, the movie is just a playground for weird ideas that depict the dark age. Forbidden by people to interfere with the rest of the society, a scientist sets himself as baron and starts observing people around. However, his God status doesn’t insulate him from the violent, ignorant and dirty lives of people living around him. Usually, we tag few films as mad, but Hard to be a God is something which of a different level. The director has put a grime in the movie that depicts the beast nature of the humanity and everything about this movie is a battle. You won’t believe if I tell you that the movie took around 6 years to shoot and seven years to edit leaving the torment behind the production to your imagination.
#5 Timecrimes (2007):
Timecrimes is a Spanish thriller, written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo back in 2007. The film stars the legendary Karra Elejalde as the Hector, a man who becomes a part of the time loop and who struggles to stop his other beings from existing. Premiered first at the Austin Fantastic Fest, this movie received mixed reviews from people. Are you a fan of time-travel movies? If yes, then this will be the most vicious movie that has been ever made. Hector, initially is shown spying a naked woman in a country house where he lives with his life and then seeks for this woman when his wife leaves. During this, he runs into a violent man with a mask as the events start turning utterly nightmarish and wicked. To be precise, the movie has a Hitchcock touch about it, making it appealing to the audience who doesn’t care about the Sci-Fi as well and with the concept of time-loop, it allows things to get deeper into Hector’s head. This is not only the movie about time-travel lotting but the one with a concept that appears to be too ideal about the bad-decisions cascaded inside stupid actions.
#6 Alphaville (1965):
Alphaville: une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution, shortly known as Alphaville is a French noir film, written and directed by the legendary Jean-Luc Godard. The movie has Howard Vernon, Anna Karina, Eddie Constantine and Akim Tamiroff in major roles and is known to win the Golden Bear Award during the 15th Berlin International Film Festival, 1965. This film contains two different genres and therefore is a blend of film noir and science fiction. There are no sets, props that are used in the film and the film is used in Paris during the night time when the night streets become the Alphaville streets while the concrete buildings and the glass depict the interiors of the city. In this film, you can find some really strange architectural designs popping up at you depicting that the film is set in the future with all the characteristics referring to the events of the twentieth century. A major example of this is we see the hero describing himself as the new Guadalcanal veteran. The thing with the director is that he discards the wild costumes, the gleaming sets, and other superficial details. He just tells a tale of an avenging detective who sets on the journey to destroy the computer lord, Alpha 60 who managed to outlaw the emotions in Alphaville. The trick comes with Godard’s ability to create the Orwellian world of cold control and adopting Eddie Constantine as the long-running detective with the popular culture wrapped around him. The quest remains if he can restore the contact of the citizens that keep Alphaville compelling.
#7 Primer (2004):
Prime is an independent American film written and directed by Shane Carruth. An interesting thing about the film is that it is produced, scored and even edited by Shane Carruth who also got starred in the film. This film is about a college graduate who accidentally discovers time travel. Primer is a major example for the filmmakers who want to make a film in low budget with an experimental story, complex dialogues, and philosophical implications. Carruth, a graduate of mathematics and as well as an engineer complicates the film with all his knowledge making the film interesting. This film won the Grand Jury during the Sundance Film Festival, 2004 before it got released and gained the cult audience. This head-spinning tale of two friends that stumble on a time machine starts throwing themselves in time loops to make money because of their financial situation. Over the period, their personal desires get complicated with the fraud scheme, the nested loops creating multiple versions of both the guys. In order to get the weird details of Primer, one has to keep a track of who’s who and what’s what. If you’re a casual viewer who can’t really put your brain in watching the film, then this is not for you. However, if you’re up for a head trip then this filmmaker is the one on whom you should keep a vivid eye on. That being said, grab some popcorn, a pen and draw the tree of the characters in the film for fun.
#8 Contact (1997):
Contact is another American drama film, written and directed by Robert Zemeckis. This film is based on the novel of the same name written by Carl Sagan, back in 1985. Sagan along with his wife has written the outline for this film. The film is about a doctor, Dr. Eleanor Arroway who is a SETI scientist. Played by Jodie Foster, she accidentally cracks a strong evidence that allows her to make contact with the extraterrestrial life. The movie stars Matthew McConaughey, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, David Morse, Angela Basset, William Fichtner and Jake Busey in predominant roles and these performances are partly responsible for the popularity of the film. A scientist woman who cracks her first evidence of the planet life uplifts the spirit of this hugely imaginative audio-visual. Carl Sagan has spent a decade on writing the film and spent the last two decades on working for this movie even when Robert Zemeckis getting the directorial credit, we can see Sagan in every frame of the movie with his channeling. George Miller was originally appointed as the director and he cast Jodie Foster before getting fired. Contact is a film that is naive and charming with the responses to space and another aspect that is explored in the film is the role of money in deciding the truth through power. While Foster continues to play Ellie, the movie takes you through the complex relationship between her and Matthew McConaughey who takes the role of a philosopher. The climax of the movie will give you a high as we see Foster back and forth passing through a wormhole.
#9 Edge Of Tomorrow (2014):
Edge of Tomorrow is nothing but ‘Groundhog Day’ only with a Sci-Fi twist among it, making it one of the Best Sci-Fi Movies in the contemporary world. Effective than Source Code directed by Duncan Jones, this movie is indeed an excellent blockbuster for which Doug Liman has been credited enormously. The movie has a story where the dickhead PR guy of Tom Cruise is dropped in a D-Day battle against the aliens are forced to live it again and again and again. This film is known to use the stardom of Cruise in just the right spots as a metaphor but the secret weapon which ran the movie aside from the evocation of video tropes is the action of the lead. Liman has had a crystal clear direction where Emily Blunt is shown as a metal bitch who somehow convinces us to think why she should be the biggest star in the world. The film when released did not get enough theatrical audience who later started to appreciate the film telling that it has been released way ahead of the time.
#10 Battle Royale (2000):
Are you a fan of Hunger Games franchise? Well, then you must have known this movie. If not, this is one hell of a movie that you should watch given that you’re a fan of the genre which has kids killing and fighting each other with permission. Hunger Games might be a billion dollar movie, but Battle Royale is no less. The last film of Kinji Fukasaku, it tells the story of a high school student who’s filled with explosive collars which are used to kill each other as a part of the curb intended scheme with disobedience. Bloody, lean and full of terrific action, this movie was tagged as his favorite, by Quentin Tarantino. The film is more than just a genre piece where you see all the characters being drawn sensitively and the power as a metaphor for violence elevating above the tales of Katniss. This movie might seem appealing to many as it acts close to the bone but can irritate the heck out of many, as well. Therefore, get hold of this movie right away and spend qualitative time watching it along with your friends and family, this weekend.
#11 Interstellar (2013):
One of the Best Sci-Fi Movies and perhaps the newly and hotly added, Christopher Nolan has excelled in making Interstellar because of the emotional and polarizing content that it holds. While there are few, very few people who claimed the movie to be worst, most of them have taught that this movie has a vision from the heaven. The movie is known to have settled dust with mannered judgments taking root and therefore Nolan in this movie shoots the fences for the story. But with all the effects and the background score, the movie doesn’t have the same homerun trend that he had in the previous movies but indeed offers something new which will definitely move you. The dialogues in this film are not artistically drafted but are on the nose while some of them have an ending that’s almost sharky. However, none of us will see all these points while watching the film because of the amazing viewpoints and information it has. Just like other Nolan films, this one is dazzling and they have an ambitious view about love, space, time and some other fuzzier and deeper elements of the galaxy. It is only possible with Nolan to create a movie where the quantum physics meets with human emotions. Hearing it, you might expect the blend to be awkward but no it is not. A love-letter to the humanity, this movie is said to be inspired by Nolan’s children which is why he has made it breathtaking and inspiring. Sure, there are many clunks in the spots but a worth watch in the list of Best Sci-Fi Movies.
#12 Beyond The Black Rainbow (2010):
Most of us seldom look for a trippy Sci-Fi movie and only end up not finding one. An instant trippy movie that has been constructed with the only intention of taking us beyond the black rainbow, this movie is a 70s blend of Amer and Berberian Sound Studio together paying homage to the plot that comes crashing to the 21st century. Directed by Panos Cosmatos, who is the son of ‘Tombstone’ and ‘Rambo II’ director George, this movie is exclusively and should be watched by everyone despite what it offers. The plot of the movie is about a scientist who interrogates a young girl who got kidnapped. Using the telepathic powers, he tests the concept of looking beyond the point and as a result, this movie is made of atmosphere, mood, imagery and hypnotic visuals which is why it gets psychedelic for you. An amusing thing about this movie is that as much trippy as it gets when you’re drunk, this movie is equally trippy when you are sober. The movie contains style over the substance but it has the content wearing on the sleeve too strongly that it definitely manages to create an impact on you. The movie will reflect a combination of Jodorowsky, Goerge Lucas, and Michael Mann together adding up to the fascinating and beautiful screenplay.
#13 Sunshine (2007):
Danny Boyle after the success he made with 28 Days Later and before winning an Oscar has come with this bold movie about space. This movie is not entirely successful but it is not successful either. It just has the transcendence about it as it hits the audience in the right place. Following the story of an international crew, who goes on an expedition to reignite the sun; the movie shows their journey beautifully with full of interesting twists and tales. The movie casts Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh, Hiroyuki Sanada, Mark Strong and Cliff Curtis in different roles. This movie is the most stunning that has been produced by the director if you see the eye-searing imagery in the film. On viewing it for the first time, this film is a mix of different genre tropes with mind-bending, manipulating and psychedelic elements that belong to the 21st century. At times, you find that the elements of the movie are not gelling well but as the movie grows richer and deeper, everytime you watch this movie, you will find yourself succumbed to the Underworld’s score by John Murphy.
Made superficially similar to the Nolan’s Interstellar, this movie has a fiery zest about itself which is why you should watch it.
#14 A.I: Artificial Intelligence” (2001):
A.I. Artificial Intelligence is an American drama film, written and directed by Steven Spielberg. However, Spielberg has only managed to write the screenplay based on the story written by Ian Watson which is based on ‘Supertoys Last All Summer Long, a short story written by Brian Aldiss back in 1969. The film has been produced by Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, and Bonnie Curtis together starring Haley Osment, Frances O’Connor, Jude Law, William Hurt and Brendan Gleeson. Set in a society with post-climatic change; A.I tells the story of David, an android in the form of the child which is programmed with the ability to give and receive love. Given that the movie is directed by the beloved Steven Spielberg, you can see how he takes the project over and transforms it according to his own taste. In the history of cinema, this film might disappoint some despite the fact that it is taken into his hands from Stanley Kubrick and it indeed took a very long time for the film to be greeted with the making because of all that the movie has faced. Despite everything, the movie has managed to win many cinephiles over because of the details it contains and because of all that is shown in the film. If this film is not tagged as the most exuberant film of Spielberg, I don’t know what else will. At some parts, you might find that this film is based on the film ‘Pinocchio’ which follows the child mecha. Rejected by his parents, Haley sets on his journey to become the real boy in order to get love and acceptance. Initially, the movie has been misleading by the critics, but now it stands as a meld of two different visionaries and as one of the meticulous and haunting works of Spielberg.
#15 Ex Machina (2015):
Ex Machina is a fiction thriller, written and directed by the prominent filmmaker, Alex Garland. For someone who’s new, making a directorial debut like this is commendable. The movie stars Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac in the lead roles. The film is about the story of a programmer who gets invited by the CEO to monitor the Turing test of an intellectual humanoid robot. The film grossed almost twice the budget but managed to receive the critical acclaim and is recognized by the National Board of Review as one of the best 10 independent films made in the year. This film has also won the Academy Award at the 88th Academy Awards for the Best Visual Effects for Paul Norris, Andrew Whitehurst, Mark Williams and Sara Bennett. Having made a couple of movies in different genres, Alex Garland has started exceeding himself with this debut and therefore, you should definitely catch this film. A three-hander and a wire-taut about the programmer, he gets struck by the AI. The movie is little tricksy and is nothing like the other movies that we usually see on the list. It starts off as a test of the sentient life create and ends up as a parable about the patriotism and how men actually treat women. Garland despite the complex themes manages to keep the film in control, in every frame. His direction and script pay off for the path that he has intended and the audience will stay fiddled with the movie because of the stellar performances and the boisterous dance scene.
#16 Minority Report (2002):
Minority Report is an American neo-noir and is often used an example for the tech-noir. Just like the other films, it is based on ‘The Minority Report’ short story and is set in the Washington D.C. The movie is set in the year 2054 with PreCrime as the specialized department apprehending criminals based on the knowledge used by the ‘Precogs’, the psychics. The movie contains Tom Cruise as the Chief with Colin Farrel as Danny Witwer, the Department of Justice agent, Samantha Morton as Agatha, Max von Sydow as Lamar Burgess. The film has elements of different genre thriller, whodunit, tech noir and science fiction as well. The main lead of the film gets accused of the prime that has not committed and therefore sets on the journey of proving wrong.This movie is the second part of Minority Report, that came in two different parts. In a nut shell, it an be termed as the most beautiful movie after Spielberg’s ‘Jurassic Park’ because of the enormousness, the innovativeness and the blend of philosophical and moral issues that are addressed in this film. If you need to quote someone the best of Best Sci-Fi movies, then this movie is your pick, because if contains all. Based loosely on a story written by Philip K. Dick, it also contains elements from Total Recall as well as Blade Runner. Set in the future, this movie is about the police who are trying to stop a murder from happening with Tom Cruise playing the role of a lead investigator. He will therefore be forced to run when his name pops up. The script of Scott Frank might come as noirish but it contains a blend of action, spectacle and mystery in a go. This film is hardger edged and the least that we usually expect from Spielberg with the too neat screenplay and ending. Him and his stars relishes the opportunity and tackles the film with just the right amount of playfulness making it appear both contemporary as well as futuristic. This film is prescient in a way that it doesn’t age a day, since the release.
#17 Gravity (2013):
Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuaron does not actually fall into the category that we are looking for. It is a survival tale set in the space and therefore, qualifies as the sense of wonder for us. Shot by Emmanuel Lubezki, the movie is stitched together and have different unbroken sequences at the start. As we go through the movie, we see the stellar performances by the cast including Sandra Bullock, giving us both assurance and sympathy about the movie. The film, on the other hand, has its fair share of chunks of dialogues and misbegotten detours aligned with the character of the George Clooney. The movie is nothing less than a poetry or a sonnet in motion with all the images cladded together making it the most ravishing evocation in the space. This movie has been the best-ever, with the usage of IMAX 3D. In reality, the movie qualifies more as a Sci-Fi because of the effects and the graphics that are included and for the creativity involved rather than what it actually is, a resonant story that contains sets, rigs, and sets. The CG effects will bring a real life before you making you legendary.
#18 Attack The Block (2011):
John Boyega is one of the biggest stars you can find in the world of Sci-Fi but to be observers of the low budget films, he is as well as a hero. Attack the Block is a film, written and directed by Joe Cornish and has a terrible plot about it. Boyega in the debut inhabits the role of Moses, a thug who goes from being just a mugger to a resistance leader when his council blocks him from the aliens, actually from the “big alien gorilla wolf motherfuckers.” As a lead, he gets blisters in the film and then lapses into things that are very complicated but that appear as uncomplicated. This movie is a triumph if you consider the directing and writing and it has the canny ability to shape the narrative about the alien invasion with the big and sounding things in the world. The movie is delivered on a relatively slender budget which is why you will not face any kind of compromise when it comes to it. The lo-fi image adds to the effectiveness of the film and makes it less bombastic and more about the examination of the mentality, the character, the survival instinct and about the outside menace that forces the alliances between the enemies.
#19 Inception (2010):
The boldest, original and unusual blockbuster of the century, Inception is known to create a revolution in the history of Sci-Fi and I still don’t know if it can actually be termed as a Sci-Fi. This movie is a personal delve into the psyche of the infamous Christopher Nolan and is naturally explosive, accurate and visually ecstatic as well. The movie is about catharsis and grief and managed to make $800 million, internationally. Tracking Leo’s role as a dream thief, this movie had been the biggest heist in his entire career where the lead tries to return back to his home past the death of the wife. The movie is a Bondaping and thrilling adventure with both real and constructed universes which can create a confusion for you. With memorable images, architecture and sets belonging to the 21st century, this movie has everything coming from the spinning top, the beach waves and the corridor fights. Name something and you will have it in the movie thanks to the expressionism that Nola contained with the best cast he has ever assembled, It’s with this movie, Zimmer has managed to get the international fame with the iconic score, the next level editing and the grand symphony of the mind and even after many years, it still is considered as a masterpiece.
#20 Solaris (2002):
A remarkable yet calm film, this movie has the touch of Steven Soderbergh on the novel, written by Stanislaw Lem. Even though he tried to emerge from the shadow of Andrei Tarkovsky, this movie is different and extremely brilliant as well. The movie stars George Clooney as the astronaut whose wife (dead) returns to him again because of the influence of the nearby ‘Solaris’ that creates a warp in the reality. As a result, this movie becomes a bit slippery, tricky and at times philosophical as well with different types of questioning stories in the picture. However, the intelligence of Soderbergh and his style helps in making you feel host to the labyrinths as well. The detractors of the film will compare the focus on the relationship with bigger questions like the famous people have dealt before but for some reason, the movie appears that it has single-minded boundaries. However, he manages to touch the universal truths with the boundaries by being cerebral in the themes and unapologetically detailed with the placing of them. This movie will actually make you believe in a new planet with the uncanny pull and stands out as a vanilla movie for the genre.