The Best Sci-Fi Movies of All-Time

The best Sci-Fi movies involve conflicts between science, technology, human nature, and societal structure.

  • Published on 1 year ago
The Best Sci-Fi Movies of All-Time
Metropolis 1927

The best Sci-Fi movies involve conflicts between science, technology, human nature, and societal structure. Accordingly, this list of the best Sci-Fi movies represents 10 of the best of all time.

The Best Sci-Fi Movies of All-Time

  • Metropolis (1927) – The granddaddy of all sci-fi movies! This silent movie tells the story of a futuristic urban dystopia where the elite class lives above ground while the working class labors underground to keep the machines running. Consequently, Metropolis is considered one of the most influential films in the genre.
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) – Set during the Cold War, this movie tells the story of an alien who arrives on Earth with a dire warning. In what would become a recurring sci-fi theme, mankind must overcome its self-destructive tendencies to survive.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – Perhaps the greatest science fiction movie ever. Praised by scientists for accurate portrayals of what space travel might look like, this movie is not about thrilling action. Instead, the film is a philosophical treatise on man’s need to make sense of the universe and his relationship with his creations. Also, 2001: A Space Odyssey features perhaps one of the most famous opening scores in film history– Thus Spake Zarathustra.
  • The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – For this article, we’ll list our best film within a franchise. Therefore, The Empire Strikes Back gets the nod for the Star Wars franchise. This movie is a rarity in Hollywood: a sequel surpassing the original. Darker in tone than Star Wars, this film has had a slow build as an all-time great. Additionally, its plot twist– “No, I am your father!”– and its cliffhanger ending was incredible.
  • Blade Runner (1982) – More detective film noir than science fiction movie, Blade Runner is about a cop with a strange case. He has to track down and eliminate four replicants, artificial life forms on Earth illegally. Initially considered a bust, many now consider Blade Runner the greatest sci-fi movie of all time.

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  • The Terminator (1984) – An unstoppable cyborg and a freedom fighter travel back in time to decide the fate of the woman who will one day give birth to humanity’s savior. The title character is the role Arnold Schwarzenegger was born to play, a physically imposing being that utters 17 lines in the 107-minute movie.
  • Back to the Future (1985) – Another movie whose plot revolves around time-traveling, although with a light-hearted tone. High-school student Marty McFly accidentally uses a cool-looking time machine (a DeLorean) to go back in time. In his attempts to return to his own time, he is forced to interact with his parents as teenagers and the younger version of Doc Brown, the future inventor of the time machine. Wacky time paradoxes ensue.
  • Alien (1986) – The movie follows the crew of the Nostromo who, after coming across a mysterious derelict spaceship, find themselves up against an unknown, deadly alien creature. In addition to the suspense generated throughout the movie, audiences were treated to one of the first iconic female leaders in the genre, Sigourney Weaver’s “Ripley.”
  • Jurassic Park (1993) – A cautionary tale about the ethics of cloning and the unintended consequences of the practice. Also thrown into the narrative were anti-capitalist undertones. Jurassic Park paved the way for the Jurassic World franchise, a total of six movies.
  • The Matrix (1999) – Another entry in the “intelligent machine takeover dystopia” sub-genre. However, The Matrix achieved iconic status more for its innovative cinematography and special effects rather than its plot.

Wrapping Up

It’s impossible to satisfy every sci-fi fan with a list such as this. Some of the movies left off this list, including films from the Star Trek franchise, are sure to enrage devotees. Which specific film do you think should have been included?


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