Sci-fi movies take us to an imaginary, futuristic world. From Interstellar to Jurassic Park, here’s a list of the best sci-fi movies of all time. Movies are ultimately escapism and help us take to a different world altogether. The sci-fi genre is the one that takes us further away from reality and breaks the mundane routine in our lives.
The best sci-fi movies combine imagination with scientific tropes that compel people to watch them. If you have a look at the best movies of all time, the list is bound to have some sci-fi movies. Given the success of science fiction films, makers have now taken in various sub-genres including horror, odd comedy, action, time travel, and so on.
If you want to break the monotony in your life and watch something that takes you to an alternate dimension, then take a look at these top sci-fi movies of all time.
Best sci-fi movies of all time
1. Gravity (2013)
Sandra Bullock once again delivers phenomenally in this science fiction movie ‘Gravity.’
The movie follows Dr. Ryan Stone who is aboard on her first space mission along with a veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski. On her first space mission, Dr. Stone is asked to perform hardware upgrades on the Hubble. But, neither Dr. Stone nor Kowalski knew what danger awaits them. They meet with an accident and are stranded in space. They now need to work together to survive and return to Earth.
Gravity received a positive reception from the audience and movie critics and received various prestigious award nominations.
The movie won seven Oscars including Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score, Best Achievement in Sound Editing, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, and Best Achievement in Visual Effects at the Academy Awards, USA 2014. All in all, it is one of the best sci-fi movies of all time.
IMDb Rating: 7.7/10
Stars: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
2. Dune (2021)
Director Denis Villeneuve does a fantastic job of creating a movie that’s futuristic and epic. With huge sets, a variety of costumes, and great actors, this is an epic sci-fi movie.
The movie follows Paul Atreides, a gifted man who must travel to a dangerous, desert planet Arrakis to secure his family’s and people’s future.
Dune was loved by the audience and won 6 Oscars including Best Sound, Best Achievement in Visual Effects, Best Achievement in Production Design, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Best Achievement in Film Editing, and Best Achievement in Cinematography at the Academy Awards, USA 2022.
If you like watching movies set in the distant future, then this is the one for you.
IMDb Rating: 8/10
Stars: Oscar Isaac, Timothée Chalamet, Stellan Skarsgård, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Based on: Dune by Frank Herbert
3. Interstellar (2016)
Hands down, Interstellar, directed by Christopher Nolan is one of the best sci-fi movies ever made. The movie keeps you hooked with its storyline, emotions, visual effects, and sci-fi elements.
Earth’s future is not looking great, and so Professor Brand, a NASA physicist makes a plan to transport people to a new home via a wormhole and save mankind.
While on the mission, the scientists face a lot of hurdles to find a planet where humans can survive.
The movie was a commercial hit and won an Oscar in the category ‘Best Achievement in Visual Effects at the Academy Awards, USA 2015.
Interstellar was lauded by the critics, with praise directed at screenplay, visual effects, direction, acting performances, and themes. It was also praised for portraying theoretical astrophysics accurately. In fact, it is considered one of the best sci-fi movies of all time by sci-fi experts. If you love watching sci-fi movies with time travel elements, then watch Interstellar once.
IMDb Rating: 8.6/10
Stars: Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Ellen Burstyn, Bill Irwin
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
4. The Adam Project (2022)
The Adam Project is without any doubt one of the best Ryan Reynolds movies.
When a time traveler and fighter pilot Adam Reed steals a time jet to go back to 2018 and save his wife, he doesn’t know what danger awaits him. He meets with an accident and crash-lands in 2022 where he meets his 12-year-old self. Together, they embark on a journey to save the future.
The Adam Project is undoubtedly one of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix and can be watched again and again with family.
IMDb Rating: 6.7/10
Stars: Walker Scobell, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldaña, Jennifer Garner
Directed by: Shawn Levy
5. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Neo-noir plus science fiction – a perfect blend for a movie!
Blade Runner 2049 is one of the most popular sci-fi movies and is a sequel to the 1982 movie Blade Runner.
This neo-noir movie is based on the famous characters from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
The movie follows Officer K, a blade runner for the LA Police Department who discovers a secret that can cause a lot of chaos. This buried secret makes him track down Rick Deckard, the former Blade Runner, who has been missing for three decades.
The movie received positive feedback from the critics, with praise directed at the direction, editing, visual effects, performances, and music. It was one of the best movies of 2017 and won two Oscars including Best Achievement in Cinematography and Best Achievement in Visual Effects at the Academy Awards, USA 2018.
IMDb Rating: 8/10
Stars: Sylvia Hoeks, Ryan Gosling, Lennie James, Harrison Ford, Dave Bautista, Ana de Armas, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
6. Star Trek Beyond (2016)
Directed by Justin Lin, Star Trek Beyond tells the tale of a USS Enterprise’s crew that crash-lands on a dangerous and mysterious world. There, they encounter Krall, a ruthless enemy who gets energy by sucking the life out of his victims.
This ruthless enemy puts the entire crew and everything they stand for, to the test.
Star Trek Beyond received acclaim from critics, who praised the movie for its direction, musical score, action sequences, and visual effects. The movie was nominated for an Oscar in the category ‘Best Makeup and Hairstyling at the 89th Academy Awards.
IMDb Rating: 7/10
Stars: Chris Pine, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto, Idris Elba, Zoe Saldana
Directed by: Justin Lin
Based on: Star Trek by Gene Roddenberry
7. The Martian (2015)
Matt Damon did an extraordinary job in the movie and portrayed the role of an astronaut stuck on Mars excellently.
The movie is adapted from a 2011 novel of the same name written by Andy Weir. The movie tells the tale of Mark Watney, an astronaut who gets stuck on Mars, and the worst part is that his team assumes he died following a disaster. Now, he must find ways to survive on the red planet as well as get a signal to Earth to show he is still out there.
If you want to watch a movie with lots of fascinating scientific facts, then this is the one to watch. The highs and lows Watney goes through while being deserted on another planet can make you deeply emotional. He is clever, funny, witty, emotional, intelligent, and brave enough to fight for survival all alone on Mars.
Hands down, it is one of Matt Damon’s best movies and is a must-watch.
It received positive reviews from the critics, with praise directed at visual effects, Matt Damon’s performance, scientific accuracy, musical score, and direction. It was the tenth highest-grossing movie of 2015.
IMDb Rating: 8/10
Stars: Kristen Wiig, Matt Damon, Kate Mara, Jessica Chastain, Sebastian Stan, Jeff Daniels, Chen Shu, Sean Bean, Benedict Wong, Michael Peña, Mackenzie Davis, Aksel Hennie, Donald Glover
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Based on: The Martian novel written by Andy Weir
8. Attack the Block (2011)
John Boyega lives every character that he plays. He was loved as Finn in the classic movie Star Wars, and he shined once again as a teen fighting malevolent extraterrestrials in Attack the Block.
The movie follows teenagers in South London who defend their block from an alien invasion.
Attack the Block received a positive reception from the critics, who praised its dialogue, design, performances, and direction. The movie won lots of accolades and given the success it got, the makers have planned for development.
IMDb Rating: 6.6/10
Stars: Alex Esmail, Simon Howard, Nick Frost, John Boyega, Leeon Jones, Jodie Whittaker, Luke Treadaway, Franz Drameh, Jumayn Hunter
Directed by: Joe Cornish
9. Inception (2010)
Christopher Nolan is famous for making movies with time travel sequences that can make you scratch your head with confusion. So, if you want to be bamboozled and entertained, do not miss watching Inception.
This is a movie that stays with you for days, and months, and is hard to forget, owing to its brilliant storyline and performances.
Dream, dream, dream! Yes, the movie is all about it and revolves around Dom Cobb, a thief who can enter people’s dreams and steal information. When he is given the task of planting an idea into a C.E.O. ‘s mind, he gathers a team that can help him in his mission, without any idea that his tragic past may cause lots of hurdles in the project.
Leonardo Di Caprio as always delivers his best performance as an extractor and makes us believe that this is all happening in reality. Inception won four Oscars – Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing, and Best Achievement in Visual Effects at the Academy Awards, USA 2011.
It is considered one of the best sci-fi movies to date.
IMDb Rating: 8.8/10
Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Ken Watanabe, Elliot Page, Marion Cotillard, Tom Berenger
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
10. The Abyss (1989)
This old classic movie is great to watch as it is adventurous, scientific, and highly entertaining.
Two petroleum engineers are enlisted to assist a gung-ho Navy SEAL to search for a nuclear submarine that has been lost. While on the mission, they face mysterious circumstances and encounter an alien aquatic species.
This sci-fi movie is bound to give you chills, so make sure to add this to your bucket list.
The movie was appreciated both by the audience and movie critics and won an Oscar in the category ‘Best Effects, Visual Effects’ at the Academy Awards, USA 1990. The movie was nominated for three more Academy Awards including Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, and Best Sound.
IMDb Rating: 7.5/10
Stars: Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn, and Ed Harris
Directed by: James Cameron
11. District 9 (2009)
Thirty years ago, aliens arrived on Earth to find shelter because their planet is dying. They are separated from human beings in an area known as District 9 and are managed by Multi-National United. This organization is not that concerned about the welfare and security of aliens and wants to do anything to upgrade technology. When a company field agent contracts a virus that alters his DNA, he hides in District 9, but the aftermath is scary. What happens next? Will the aliens be able to live peacefully without getting harmed by the organization? Watch District 9 and get answers to all your questions.
This movie will keep you at the edge of your seat and is a must-watch. District 9 received a positive reception from movie critics, who praised the movie for its direction, visual effects, story, acting performances, editing, and themes. In fact, it is considered one of the best sci-fi movies of the 2000s.
It was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Visual Effects, and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay.
IMDb Rating: 7.9/10
Stars: David James, Sharlto Copley, Kenneth Nkosi, William Allen Young, Jason Cope, Mandla Gaduka, Eugene Khumbanyiwa, Vanessa Haywood, Louis Minnaar
Directed by: Neill Blomkamp
Based on: Alive in Joburg by Neill Blomkamp
12. Snowpiercer (2013)
Post-apocalyptic movies are loved by many, because they show how humans survive after an apocalypse, and with an added element of science fiction, it can make any movie even better.
Snowpiercer is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie based on the graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Benjamin Legrand, Jacques Lob, and Jean-Marc Rochette.
The movie is set in a future where a globe-spanning train is carrying the survivors who survived after global warming turned Earth into an iceberg.
Directed by Oscar-winning director Bong Joon-ho, Snowpiercer is one of the best movies to watch.
The movie was praised for its direction, performances, and vision, and won 34 prestigious awards.
IMDb Rating: 7.1/10
Stars: Tilda Swinton, Chris Evans, Octavia Spencer, Ed Harris, Song Kang-ho, Go Ah-sung, Jamie Bell, John Hurt, Ewen Bremner
Directed by: Bong Joon-ho
Based on: Graphic novel named Le Transperceneige by Benjamin Legrand,
Jacques Lob, and Jean-Marc Rochette
13. Arrival (2016)
When 12 extraterrestrial spacecraft are spotted around the world, Louise Banks, a Linguistics professor works with the military to communicate with aliens.
Packed with action, drama, and thrill, this is one of the must-watch sci-fi movies.
Arrival was a commercial success and received critical acclaim, with praise directed at the direction, exploration of extraterrestrial intelligence, and acting performances.
It won various prestigious awards and was considered one of the movies of 2016.
The movie even won an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Sound Editing at the Academy Awards, USA 2017.
IMDb Rating: 7.9/10
Stars: Forest Whitaker, Amy Adams, Tzi Ma, Jeremy Renner, Michael Stuhlbarg
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Based on: “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang
14. Tenet (2020)
This is a spy action thriller sci-fi movie that revolves around a secret agent who is given one word as his weapon to prevent the onset of World War III. To prevent chaos and war in the world, he needs to time travel and not pay any heed to the laws of nature to make his mission successful.
With a brilliant star cast, visual effects, and action scenes, this movie makes for a great watch.
Tenet received mixed reviews from film critics, who praised the movie for its direction, action sequences, score, performances, and visual effects, but criticized it for the sound score and story.
Nevertheless, the movie was a commercial success and won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects at the 93rd Academy Awards.
IMDb Rating: 7.3/10
Stars: Elizabeth Debicki, John David Washington, Michael Caine, Robert Pattinson, Kenneth Branagh, Dimple Kapadia
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
15. Looper (2012)
A movie packed with action, sci-fi, and thrill – the weekend is set! If you are a movie buff, then Looper is a must-watch for you.
The movie is set in the future where time travel exists, but it’s a luxury. People who want to time travel need to pay for it. Whenever the mob wants to get rid of someone, it sends the target into the past, where Joe, a looper, is hired to finish the job. But, one day, his life takes a drastic turn when his bosses decide to close the loop and send Joe’s future self in the past to be assassinated.
Director Rian Johnson does a fantastic job of creating time loops and making the story mind-boggling.
Looper was praised by the movie critics and was a commercial hit as well. It grossed over $176 million worldwide and won many awards.
IMDb Rating: 7.4/10
Stars: Emily Blunt, Bruce Willis, Noah Segan, Jeff Daniels, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Paul Dano, Piper Perabo
Directed by: Rian Johnson
16. Annihilation (2018)
Director Alex Garland does a fantastic job in blending two genres, psychology and sci-fi in this movie.
This sci-fi movie tells the tale of Lena, a biologist who signs up for a mission to understand what happened to her husband inside Area X. Once she reaches the place, she discovers a world that’s dangerous, and where no laws of nature apply.
Annihilation received lots of awards and is a great one-time watch movie.
IMDb Rating: 6.8/10
Stars: Gina Rodriguez, Natalie Portman, Tuva Novotny, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Oscar Isaac
Directed by: Alex Garland
Based on: Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
17. High Life (2018)
High Life is one of the best sci-fi movies and follows Monte and his daughter who struggle to survive in space.
This is one of the best movies by Robert Pattinson and is considered a great sci-fi horror movie.
High Life won various prestigious awards including Best Music, Best Films Opening in 2019, British/Irish Actor of the Year, and so on.
IMDb Rating: 5.8/10
Stars: André Benjamin, Robert Pattinson, Claire Tran, Juliette Binoche, Ewan Mitchell, Agata Buzek, Mia Goth, Victor Banerjee, Lars Eidinger, Scarlette Lindsey, Gloria Obianyo, Jessie Ross
Directed by: Claire Denis
18. Jurassic Park (1993)
Jurassic Park is hands down one of the best sci-fi movies ever made. In fact, it is considered one of the best movies of the 90s.
The roaring sound of T-rex, visual effects, and action sequences make this movie a classic!
Paleontologists Ellie Sattler, Alan Grant, along with mathematician Ian Malcolm are sent to take a tour of a theme park populated by dinosaurs. John Hammond, the mastermind behind Jurassic Park assumes that the park is absolutely safe, but dangerous events occur after a power failure that sets the dinosaurs free.
Steven Spielberg did a fantastic job with the movie and was praised a lot by critics for the direction.
It is one of the most successful movies ever made and won three Oscars including Best Sound, Best Effects, Visual Effects, and Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing at the Academy Awards, USA 1994.
IMDb Rating: 8.2/10
Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, BD Wong, Laura Dern, Wayne Knight, Richard Attenborough, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, Samuel L. Jackson
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Sci-fi movies are entertaining to watch, so make sure to watch these best science fiction movies and enjoy the weekend.