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10 Greatest Sci Fi Movies

Updated on October 5, 2014

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.

All rights reserved. Copyright 2011 Rankography

Aliens poster science fiction movie
Aliens poster science fiction movie

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

Pandorum
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.

 
star trek movie poster science fiction films
star trek movie poster science fiction films

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.

T2 Terminator 2 science fiction movies
T2 Terminator 2 science fiction movies

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.

alien movie poster greatest sci fi movies
alien movie poster greatest sci fi movies

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

Empire Strikes Back Sci Fi Films
Empire Strikes Back Sci Fi Films

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

Source
the terminator science fiction films
the terminator science fiction films

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.

blade runner sci fi movies harrison ford
blade runner sci fi movies harrison ford

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!

Daemon
Daemon

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.

 
2001 a space odyssey movie poster kubrick
2001 a space odyssey movie poster kubrick

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

Moon [2009] (2009) Sam Rockwell; Kevin Spacey; Dominique McElligott
Moon [2009] (2009) Sam Rockwell; Kevin Spacey; Dominique McElligott

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.

 
the matrix sci fi movies keanu reeves fishburne
the matrix sci fi movies keanu reeves fishburne

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

Inception movie science fiction films
Inception movie science fiction films

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

12 Monkeys (Special Edition)
12 Monkeys (Special Edition)

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.

 
star wars science fiction movies
star wars science fiction movies

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.

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    • goodmovies profile image

      Randy Ray 2 years ago from Texas

      Nice work here, but I don't know how that silly Star Trek reboot made the list. The Wrath of Khan is far and away the better movie.

    • profile image

      Niktravelfit 3 years ago

      Great movies and great lens. Star Wars really got me into science fiction movies when I watched as a kid.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I totally agree with your choices and love that you gave the number one spot to the one that changed our world. I think my favorite Sci Fi quote is from Bladerunner, "....All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die".

    • Brians Secretary profile image

      Brians Secretary 4 years ago

      Some great films there, all quite mainstream but I like that. I love Sci Fi but don't like it too weird. The only one I didn't see on the list which normally makes it is Blade Runner.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Just a superb list of movies. Love that Star Wars is number 1. Great lens!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 4 years ago from United States

      Happy Halloween blessings to you!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Inception, Terminator and Aliens are my favourite science fic. movies =)

      Thanks for the reviews!

    • maryLuu profile image

      maryLuu 4 years ago

      I love all the movies that you selected here! My favorite is Matrix!

    • Geekytricky profile image

      Geekytricky 5 years ago

      It reminds me a lot back to when I was a crazy kid keep wactching these movies again and again. Thanks, a good lens you made.

    • GoAceNate LM profile image

      GoAceNate LM 5 years ago

      Great list. Fun lens. Blessed. What this template called? Nice.

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      I love your lens, but am not a great sci fi movie buff. Am certain that this is the list of lists nevertheless.

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 5 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Star Wars has to have been the greatest sci-fi movie of all times. Great featured films. Angel Blessings**

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Most excellent selections! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • Tamara14 profile image

      Tamara Kajari 5 years ago from Zagreb, Croatia, Europe

      Oh, this brings some great memories of us kids enjoying movies like our kids today just don't know how to because everything has become so accessible and on daily basis. I remember the thrill every single time a new movie came into town. Alien is I guess my all time favorite.

    • Stacy Birch profile image

      Stacy Birch 5 years ago

      Good Picks.

    • profile image

      AnnaleeBlysse 5 years ago

      Looks great with the new theme. I love Sci Fi movies.

    • DLeighAlexander profile image

      DLeighAlexander 5 years ago

      Enjoyed reading through this lens; it took me back to memories of the late 1970s. Alien was a real shocker back then. For my favorite on your list, however, I had to go with Back to the Future. I really liked those movies. ~angel blessed

    • Rankography profile image
      Author

      Rankography 5 years ago

      Thanks everyone for the blessings. I have really benefited from today's Sci Fi Angel Quest = )

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      Lots of great choices here, but I went with 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 5 years ago from Kansas

      Not much of a sci-fi fan, but I loved all the Star War movies. Great job on the lens! Blessed~

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 5 years ago

      The Sci-fi theme goes great with your topic. Well done.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      this design has sold quite well, so thought like to share it, its features I AM LEGEND which by the way is a peronal favourite, I feel it a good buy for any of you guys who like this movie,

      http://www.cafepress.com/jmcks.611735176

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    • raelcalu profile image

      raelcalu 5 years ago

      Hard, hard, hard, hard...I still go for the unbelievable movie that is the Matrix...then Inception...then Star Wars and Terminator Movies...great, great list...thanks for the share.

    • jeffersonline profile image

      jeffersonline 5 years ago

      Great list - I think in forty years time (maybe less) The Matrix will come to be seen as a film that somehow latched on to the truth behind 'everything.' Sprinkling a little Angel Dust here...

    • profile image

      wpmaniac 5 years ago

      OMG, this is such a great list. love all these movies. anyway, i read a book called "animorphs" i know its a book for kids, lol, but the story is killing me, i hope one day they will make a movie for it.

    • profile image

      Shadrosky 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens! As a Star Wars die hard, I have ti approve!

    • LoriBeninger profile image

      LoriBeninger 5 years ago

      Great list. I have to admit a soft spot for "The Fifth Element" too, but I give a thumbs up to all on your list!

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 5 years ago from Washington KS

      Great list!! I had trouble choosing.

    • plrang profile image

      plrang 5 years ago

      Great movies, but Inception... naah

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Tough list to choose from...

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 5 years ago

      What a difficult choice. I adore everyone of these Science Fiction films. If I had to select just one - it would have to be Star Wars, or perhaps Blade Runner, or then again, perhaps Star Trek....what a pickle I'm in!

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 5 years ago

      I loved all the movies you have listed in this lens.

    • PamelaU profile image

      PamelaU 5 years ago

      Alien for me, with Bladerunner second. The Matrix isn't top ten material IMHO. Inception is, though.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Blade Runner gets my vote. Not least because of the amazing score. Thanks for an interesting lens.

    • sudokunut profile image

      Mark Falco 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      I love Sci-Fi and there are so many great movies to choose between. Aliens is probably my personal favorite though, I've seen that movie countless times and it never gets old. Looking forward to Prometheus this summer and really hoping it revives this franchise!

    • profile image

      PaulRyan 5 years ago

      It's rare these days that there is a good Sci-Fi. Most of the best are from the 70s and 80s...

    • BuddyBink profile image

      BuddyBink 5 years ago

      An excellent lens. Thanks

    • dannydeu profile image

      dannydeu 5 years ago

      Great Lens. Keep up the good work.

    • Pierre Pine profile image

      Pierre Pine 5 years ago

      Great list. I loved Inception, but I don't think it has been around long enough to earn top spot, over Star Wars, but I was glad to see you didn't shy away from including Terminator and T2, which both deserve inclusion.

    • TopModels profile image

      TopModels 5 years ago

      I cannot believe that people keep on over looking Event Horizon. A masterpiece of sci-fi and horror.

    • Tiggered profile image

      Tiggered 5 years ago

      I enjoyed your lens, although I believe placing 'Inception' on the first place of your list is a blasphemy ;) Good luck!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      I couldn't get into Blade Runner, even though I am a big fan of Harrison Ford. Didn't like 2001, The Matrix lost me, loads of special effects but lost in the plot. I still love the original Star Wars Episode IV, it broke all the boundaries. Love Battlestar Gallactica too, and The Time Machine. Great list, it's hard to narrow it down to just 10.

    • uktvbrackets lm profile image

      uktvbrackets lm 5 years ago

      bladerunner is the cult movie of all time and the soundtrack by vangelis is probably the best soundtrack ever, haunting and perfect for the film itself.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      I'm a big fan of sci fi movies. You've picked some really good ones.

    • betsuzlap profile image

      betsuzlap 5 years ago

      I love Sci Fi movies! It was hard for me to vote because so many of these movies are the best. Nice job on the lens!!

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 5 years ago from Missouri

      Fun lens!

    • hughgrissettsr lm profile image

      hughgrissettsr lm 5 years ago

      great lens on scifi genre!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great list. Personal favorite is Tarkovskiy's "Solaris" - I like my science fiction slow and metaphysical :)

    • profile image

      healthandsick 5 years ago

      star trek and star wars..

    • profile image

      NevermoreShirts 5 years ago

      Excellent list!

    • Sabre1000 profile image

      Sabre1000 5 years ago

      I agree with them all except Inception and 2001.

      Yes....I am the one person that didn't like those movies...LOL

      Oh yeah, and Avatar too : (

    • pinkrenegade lm profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 5 years ago

      Great lens.

    • christopherwell profile image

      christopherwell 6 years ago

      A lot of great films here -- and I agree with the other comment, the INCEPTION film score was stunning.

    • Rammelfirdaus profile image

      Rammelfirdaus 6 years ago

      Watch Inception 3 times in a week. The background music gave it's lasting impression

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      i watch a lot of sci-fi movies, yet somehow i've never gotten around to seeing baderunner even though i've seen many many many people talk about it... this reminded me that i still need to see it some day :)