10 Greatest Sci Fi Movies
Sci fi is a unique genre -- in addition to building characters and creating a compelling story, science fiction writers and directors must also incorporate and describe technology that we have never seen before. And they have to do it in an exciting way so that our short attention spans don't lose interest. It's a tall order but when it is done right it can be hugely successful.
In Sci Fi, we are fascinated to witness the vision of the writer's imagination as they envision technology that is beyond our reach but within the realm of possibility. And often the Science Fiction writer's imagination becomes reality in a stunning foreshadowing of the future. Not only are we entertained but we may actually be glimpsing a fragment of the future through Science Fiction.
Sci-Fi movies span a wide range of types from futuristic sci fi films on earth such as Minority Report and Inception to space sci fi thrillers like Star Wars and Avatar to post-apocalyptic action thrillers like Road Warrior and The Matrix. If you are a big fan of science fiction movies, like me, I think you will enjoy this ranking of the top ten sci fi films.
The top ten science fiction films are based on the blended average ranking of all member rankings at Rankography best movies.
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Plus 1 - Aliens (1986)
Even More Terrifying than the First Alien
Aliens was the much anticipated sequel to Alien. It came out 7 years after the original but the story takes place 57 years later. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) has been in cryogenic statis for during these years in the escape pod drifting toward Earth. She is finally discovered by a Gateway Station within the solar system. As she is trying to get over the shock of how life has moved on without her back on Earth, she must also endure an "inquiry" into what really happened on the Nostromo and why the she destroyed the ship.
During this investigation, she learns that the company has colonized the planetoid LV-426 over 30 years ago and that colonists still live there but they have recently lost contact with the colony. A rescue mission is organized and while Ripley first refuses to go, she later decides that she needs to go to get peace again.
This science fiction film is even more terrifying than the first Alien film because there are a horde of the aliens not just one. If you have never seen either of these two films, they are must see science fiction movies that combine the action, horror and sci fi genres.
If you enjoyed Aliens... - You might also enjoy Pandorum
A very scary sci fi thriller. The brilliant set design creates staggering images of space on a huge abandoned space ship. Yes there are elements of theft from the Alien series, but this is a very good thriller all on its own.
10. Star Trek (2009)
The Beginning of the Story
This Star Trek film is the backstory on Captain Kirk as a young man. It was a great concept for a film. We all came into the Star Trek story when Kirk was already Captain of the USS Enterprise and already had a big reputation throughout the Starfleet, but how did he get there? I know I had asked that question before and I really enjoyed this film to get that back story.
Coupled with the best special effects of any previous Star Trek movie and you have the basis for an excellent science fiction movie. Kirk's story was not simple, he had some rebel in him which makes him a better leader in the end. Christopher Pine was excellent in the role of Captain Kirk.
Overall this is a very good sci fi movie with lots of action, strong character development and some interesting intrigue amongst the characters.
9. T2 - Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
Schwarzenegger is Back, but as the Hero This Time
T2, the blockbuster sequel to The Terminator, was revolutionary because of its groundbreaking use of computer generated imagery ("CGI") to create an absolutely chilling villain cyborg, the T-1000 (Robert Patrick). His ability to repair himself against all conventional weapons created a terrifying helplessness while the heroes tried to evade this cold-blooded killer. His free flowing liquid metal remains incredibly cool and futuristic to this day.
In T2, Arnold Schwarzenegger's cyborg character returns from the future , but this time he has been sent by future John as an ally and protector for young John Connor (Edward Furlong) and his mother Sarah (Linda Hamilton). The three are in a race to find the creator of Skynet, the future network that will become self aware to allow machines to take the world from humans. However, they also must evade the the T-1000 which has been sent by Skynet to kill young John Connor so that he cannot save the human race.
There are few sci fi films that can compare to T2 for sheer action and adventure. If you like your science fiction mixed with lots of action, then this is one of the greatest sci fi movies that you will ever find.
8. Alien (1979)
Space has Never Been This Horrifying...
In his 1979 classic, Ridley Scott takes us to a new place for horror, outer space, and what results is a riveting sci fi horror thriller. While horror is not Mr. Scott's main genre, he is masterful at contrasting peaceful calm periods with terrifying periods of sheer chaos. This continual contrast throughout the film creates incredible emotional and physiological changes in your body as you watch this scay film.
As you learn, the magnitude of capabilities of the alien that the crew is up against, you are sent down a road of sheer hopelessness. And yet you rally around the human instinct for survival. This film was so groundbreaking in its concept that it would have been entirely enjoyable as a simple thriller film, but when you combine fear to the science fiction equation it becomes one of the all time great sci fi thrillers of our generation.
If you liked the original Alien... - Then you might also like Pitch Black
7. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
George Lucas Takes the Star Wars Legend to Another Level
Any fanboy will tell you that Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is the best of the Star Wars movies. The first one, Episode IV, is certainly the most memorable because it was such an eye opening, paradigm-shifting film. However, for production value, storyline and overall quality, Episode V.
Early on in this Sci Fi film, we get the epic battle for the Rebel planet when the Empire attacks. It is an incredible battle that just blew me away when I first saw it. The huge ground assault walkers may have been the coolest tech concept that I had ever seen in a movie. It is also in Episode V that we first meet Yoda (voice: Frank Oz), the lovable Jedi master that trains Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in the ways of becoming a Jedi Knight.
Han Solo (Harrison Ford) is captured on the mind-blowing Cloud City of Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) after escaping the Rebel planet capture with Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and C-3P0 (Anthony Daniels). And after Luke's training, he is reunited with them on the Cloud City when they rescue him hanging from the bottom of the city after battling Darth Vader.
This is definitely one of the best Sci Fi movies of all time. Episode V was nominated for five Academy Awards and won one for Best Sound.
Transform a Room with Star Wars Fatheads - Put a life sized Yoda or Darth Vader on your wall
6. The Terminator (1984)
The Terminator Series is Born with an Unlikely Villain
Before Arnold Schwarzenegger was the hero in T2, he was the bad-ass cyborg assassin in The Terminator. I remember this film when it came out and what a scary concept it was; an indestructible cyborg from the future programmed to assassinate. His target was Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), the future mother of John Connor who will be the future leader of the human resistance group when machines take over the world.
This film was an non-stop action packed sci fi thriller which invoked amazing emotional ups and downs. I probably enjoyed Terminator 2 and Terminator 3 a bit more because I preferred Arnold as the hero instead of the villain, but he is great as the villain in this science fiction classic. Linda Hamilton is excellent as the 'never say die' femme fatale heroine. I think she probably started a whole sub-culture of weightlifting women that wanted to get cut like Hamilton.
5. Blade Runner (1982)
Harrison Ford's Second Big Role on this List
Deckard was Harrison Ford's second big science fiction role after his groundbreaking start in Star Wars. In Blade Runner, Deckard is a bounty hunter who searches out and terminates rogue 'replicants', which are clones with finite lives that have been engineered for a specific purpose. Because of an engineering problem, some of the replicants become self aware and start acting on their own accord. Deckard is after a specific group of terrorist replicants that are extremely dangerous.
Blade Runner has a complex plot with a very good cast that also includes Rutger Hauer, Edward James Olmos and Daryl Hannah. This is another action packed science fiction film that also explores the dangers of computers, robots and clones. There were a group of these sci fi action thrillers around the same time including The Terminator, The Running Man and Total Recall. I became a big fan of this sci fi action thriller genre about this time and all four to these films are outstanding.
Daemon by Daniel Suarez - My Favorite Sci Fi Book of All Time!
If you have never read this phenomenal thriller you need to start RIGHT NOW. You will not be disappointed. It combines MMPORG, guerilla terrorism, with major tech company intrigue to create an incredible sci fi thriller.
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
"I'm Sorry, Dave. I'm Afraid I Can't do That."
In 1968, Stanley Kubrick adapted Arthur C. Clarke's famous novel into 2001: A Space Odyssey. While The Shining was probably a more influential overall movie, many believe that this film is Kubrick's finest work. It is probably the earliest exploration of the concept of artificial intelligence going out of control and laid the groundwork for films such as The Terminator and The Matrix.
Hal is the the computer that becomes self aware and takes over control of the ship and he is really the star of the show. The cast was very good but largely consisted of unknown actors at the time. Many believe that 2001 is the most influential science fiction movie of all time. Certainly, it is one of the top 5 science fiction films of all time.
If you enjoyed 2001: A Space Odyssey... - You might also enjoy Moon
A little known Sci Fi film that is actually one of the best you will ever see. I loved this film and think everyone should see this undiscovered gem. Enjoy.
3. The Matrix (1999)
A Dsytopian Future Earth is the Backdrop for this Thriller
In 1999, The Wachowski Brothers blew our mind with this high energy hacker thriller. I distinctly remember walking out of the theater a bit dazed thinking "wow, what just happened". Their concept for a struggle between man and machines is so groundbreaking that it really took our minds a while to fully comprehend the movie. I will not discuss the plot here for anyone that has not seen the movie before, but what I can say is that the matrix is a concept that involves the digits, 1 and 0 that lie at the heart of all computing.
It was a shame that neither of the two sequels could live up to The Matrix. However, this first film was so good that it really was an impossible task. Keanu Reeves is the star of this film as Neo and he is excellent in this classic sci fi movie. While the entire cast is good, Laurence Fishburne is fantastic as the cult leader, Morpheus.
If you enjoyed The Matrix... - Then you might also like Minority Report
2. Inception (2010)
Science Fiction Film that's All in Your Head
Christopher Nolan's second action film on the list is his 2010 blockbuster Inception. This suspense thriller is both sci fi action movie and a multilevel mystery film. Once again, Nolan assembled an outstanding cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Caine, Tom Berenger, Ken Watanabe and Ellen Page. Nolan also wrote the screenplay for this highly complex action thriller.
In an undefined time period, technology has been developed to invade another person's dreams. Naturally, a black market has developed for thieves that can steal corporate secrets through others dreams and Dom Cobb (DiCaprio) is the master of this dream deception. In Inception, Cobb and his band of thieves are attempting a very dangerous "mind heist" that involves multiple dream levels. They are in a race against time as well as some dangerous "dream protectors". It is a highly entertaining science fiction movie thriller with many layers of complex that will keep you guessing throughout the film. Definitely, one of the greatest sci fi movies of all time.
If you liked Inception... - You might also enjoy 12 Monkeys
Another highly trippy sci-fi thriller, 12 Monkeys will keep you guessing throughout. Brad Pitt gives an excellent performance and Bruce Willis always fits like a glove in an action movie.
1. Star Wars (1977)
A Memorable Sci Fi Franchise is Born
In 1977, a young George Lucas change the world with a low budget science fiction film that he both wrote and directed, Star Wars. While this was by no means the most technologically advanced sci fi movie, it had an incredibly compelling storyline and used new film-making techniques that really brought the story to life. Couple that with a great cast that really embraced the character roles and a legendary classic science fiction movie was born.
Star Wars has created an entire subculture of fans called "fanboys" and has launched many spinoffs including the Clone Wars animated films and Fanboys, a Star Wars mockumentary.
Harrison Ford's huge film career was launched by Star Wars. The entire cast was excellent with unknowns Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher in the lead roles, James Earl Jones and his incredible voice as Darth Vader and Alec Guinness as the grandfatherly mentor Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi.