What criteria should be used to select the top science fiction films of all time? Classics such as Blade Runner and Jurassic Park, directed by directing giants such as Ridley Scott and Steven Spielberg, are included in the genre, along with more recent releases that you may have missed out on, such as Under the Skin. The genre encompasses a wide range of topics, including robots, space travel, and dinosaurs.
If you’re looking for some movies that are appropriate for the whole family, you can find everything from the first Star Wars movies to Back to the Future to a few Marvel movies and Pixar’s WALL-E here. In a nutshell, this is the ultimate reference to every worthwhile science fiction film that has been released in theatres.
The editorial staff at Total Film, SFX, and GamesRadar+ have combed through this list, sifting through the corpus of science fiction, to present to you our choices for the 30 finest titles now available (in our humble opinions). So, which book is currently ranked first in its category? Continue reading to find out where each film on our list of the finest science fiction movies of all time falls.
No movie sums up ’80s sci-fi action movies quite like RoboCop. RoboCop encapsulates everything terrific about the 2000s in one 102-minute barrage.
The film is brutal, brash, gory, and brainy to a deeply deceiving degree. The film that is often regarded as Paul Verhoeven’s magnum opus is ostensibly about an upright police officer in a decrepit future Detroit who, after being brutally murdered, is brought back to messianic, cybernetic life. However, the film contains many deeper meanings and themes.
RoboCop is as comic as it is poignant; as intelligent as it is loaded with splatter, and it is a vicious critique of excess (that yet revels in the very same).
The version that was released in 2014 attempted similar levels of societal satire, but because it lacked Verhoeven’s warped sense of humor, it failed to hit the mark. You only need to see it once to realize how entertaining it can be. If you watch it more than once, you’ll begin to pick up on a lot more details.
Under the Skin
A smart science fiction movie takes place in an unusual setting with Glasgow being cold and washed out. However, this is the point that Jonathan Glazer is trying to make: strange things can take place anywhere, so why not there? Scarlett Johansson plays the role of a puzzled extraterrestrial dressed as a perplexed young woman who ambles around the streets of Glasgow inviting guys into her Transit van. Scarlett Johansson also stars in the film.
This is a spooky exercise in creating a certain atmosphere. You shouldn’t go into it expecting a complicated story or a well-defined objective. This is a low-key film that is weird and twisted, and it will leave a lasting impression on your mind long after it is over. It is also responsible for the creation of the meme depicting Scarlett Johansson falling and features the craziest response to carrot cake ever heard.
Stalker, played by Aleksandr Kajdanovsky, is a shaven-headed guide who, in a totalitarian state, leads a scientist and a writer to the restricted area known as “The Zone,” which is rumored to be the place where all of one’s wishes might be accomplished.
The epic investigation into freedom and faith that was made by Andrei Tarkovsky and set in some of the most desolate and industrially polluted Russian landscapes ever committed to celluloid presents a difficult journey for the viewer, but it conjures up its mystical universe with majestic conviction. Since its first release, Stalker has established itself as a classic within the horror subgenre, making it an essential title that should be sought out right away.
Guardians of the Galaxy
The only superhero movie worthy of inclusion on this list is Guardians of the Galaxy. (Shock! Horror!) The reason for this is that James Gunn’s interpretation of the superhero movie genre is so irreverent and lighthearted that it hardly qualifies as a superhero movie at all but rather a science fiction space adventure.
There is no super-strong lead character, and the antagonist does not have laser eyes; rather, it is just a ragtag gang of hilarious pals who are saving the universe.
Every single shot seems to be dripping with the writer and director James Gunn’s passion for the subject matter, and this is evident from the very beginning of the film through to its conclusion. In addition, there is retro music, and there is just the right amount of fan service to make this an absolute must-watch.
Blade Runner 2049
There is no way to improve upon perfection. But hey, if you have the financial means and the intestinal fortitude, there’s no reason not to give it a shot and see where it takes you.
The world that was constructed by Ridley Scott’s original film in 1982 is reworked by director Denis Villeneuve, who then bends it to better represent modern dilemmas – hello, bountiful misogyny! – and then makes it beautiful. Who would have thought that we’d get a Blade Runner sequel that is just as audacious as its predecessor? This film is a visual feast with a heart that matches its ambition.
Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a blade runner for the LAPD who is entrusted with retiring “rogue” replicants, finds himself in the middle of a plot that threatens everything known about bioengineered beings the world. During his stints, he prowls among the more dangerous aspects of human nature… therefore it only seems sensible that Jared Leto would be there.
The decade of the 1980s was a productive one for the remake of science fiction films. There was also The Thing (spoilers, more on that later) and The Fly, the latter of which was remade by the master of horror David Cronenberg and stars Jeff Goldblum as a scientist seeking to break a teleportation code. More on that topic will be discussed later.
Because the experiment was flawed from the beginning, things went wrong when his DNA was accidentally combined with that of a fly. It won’t be long until the DNA of the fly starts to exert its influence.
The Fly is nothing but raw, visceral horror. Grossness ensues at every moment of Goldblum’s metamorphosis into the fly; by the time it’s over, you’ll never be able to look at a doughnut in the same way again.
Inception is a truly extraordinary achievement, proving that blockbusters can respect their audience’s intelligence while yet enthralling with magnificent set-pieces. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an ‘extractor’ who generally steals sensitive ideas from his targets’ thoughts, but now he must plant one in the mind of his current target.
The filmmaking layered metaphysical themes with astonishing images and a grippingly propulsive story, as the narrative operated on multiple levels at the same time. Inception is a film that isn’t scary to dream big. However, if you’ve ever been afraid of being caught in a dream within a dream, this may tenfold your concerns.
What course of action would the authorities take with an individual who claimed to be able to travel across time? Naturally, he should be committed to a mental institution. In the movie “12 Monkeys,” this is the tragic circumstance that is presented and faced by James Cole (Bruce Willis), a survivor of a post-apocalyptic future in which a horrible virus has wrecked the face of the earth.
This may be a disturbing look into Terry Gilliam’s dystopian future, but it’s made up for by powerful performances from Bruce Willis and a teenage Brad Pitt, who plays an unhinged activist. Watching this will be an exhilarating experience. Gilliam most definitely possesses a talent for producing sci-fi that is exquisitely put together (spoiler alert: we’ll be seeing him again on this list very soon).
Children of Men
Clive Owen plays a grizzled civil servant who gets kidnapped by his estranged wife (Julianne Moore) and charged with the mission of rescuing the last pregnant woman in Britain. The plot of the film is set in a near-future in which humanity has become utterly sterile.
A somber, dystopian science fiction film directed by Alfonso Cuarón that stuns with its visual flair. The film features awe-inspiring one-shots, such as one in which the man played by Clive Owen sprints through the abandoned streets of Bexhill-on-Sea. Children of Men is, in a very genuine sense, a tale of what will happen in the future.
Do you remember when Hollywood produced high-budget, epic science fiction films that were virtually entirely geared toward adults? Denis Villeneuve does. Arrival is the director’s second film to make it onto this list, and it successfully combines the mesmerizing spectacle of first contact with extraterrestrial life with the insightful and profoundly human story of a linguist who is recruited to find a method to communicate.
Arrival’s maturity and sophistication – highlighted by some fantastic lead performances, particularly Amy Adams (who was robbed of an Oscar nomination) – made it one of the best movies of 2016, favoring affecting, emotional drama, and the discussion of big questions over lasers and explosions. In addition, Arrival favored the discussion of big questions over lasers and explosions.