Best Sci-Fi Movies: Top 15 Science Fiction Films of all Time, According To IMDb

What are the best sci-fi movies of all time? Read our list and decide for yourself.

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Sci-fi is not a genre; it is a cult. So many landmark sci-fi movies have come out recently that it takes time to keep track. Since the 1902 classic Trip to the Moon by Georges Melies, filmmakers have been exploring stories of how science, politics, and technology intersect, often with alarming foresight. Science fiction has been so successful it has been split into countless sub-genres. Mostly dark in tone, these movies have a brilliant premise and create a fully-functional alternate world. We live in a technology-obsessed age, with machine learning, robotics, AI, and environmental disasters becoming a reality, making these sci-fi movies more relevant than ever. So what are the best sci-fi movies of all time? Read our list and decide for yourself. 

Also Read: 15 Best Hindi Movies on Netflix Right Now

Top Sci-Fi Movies of All Time

Movie Name IMDb rating
2001: A Space Odyssey  8.3
The Terminator 8.1
Planet of the Apes 8
Alien 8.5
Blade Runner 8.1
Terminator 2: Judgement Day 8.6
The Matrix 8.7
Back to the Future 8.5
Aliens  8.4
Interstellar  8.6
Contact  7.5
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back 8.7
The road warrior 7.6
Predator 7.8
The thing 8.2
The man from earth 7.9
Edge of Tomorrow 7.9
District 9 7.9
Dark city  7.6
Blade Runner 2049 8

2001 – A Space Odyssey

Upon discovering a mysterious artefact buried deep beneath the surface of the moon, a spacecraft is sent to Jupiter to uncover its origins. This spacecraft is manned by two men and HAL 9000, a supercomputer. This 1968 science fiction epic was produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay was written by the director in collaboration with Arthur C Clarke, a science fiction author, and was inspired by a 1951 short story by Clarke called “The Sentinel”. The movie has an ensemble cast and has gone down as one of the finest science fiction movies in recent times. 

Cast-Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Keir Dullea, Daniel Richter, Leonard Rossiter, Margaret Tyzack, Robert Beatty, Sean Sullivan, Douglas Rain, Frank Miller, Bill Weston, Ed Bishop, Glenn Beck, Alan Gifford, Ann Gillis, Edwina Carroll, Penny Brahms, Heather Downham

Duration-2h 29 min

Genre-Animation, Sci-fi

Director-Stanley Kubrick

Producer-Stanley Kubrick

Where to watch – Amazon Prime Video 

The Terminator 

“I’ll be back” is one of the most famous movie dialogues ever uttered. The story follows a human soldier sent from 2029 to 1984 to put an end to the shenanigans of an almost indestructible cyborg killing machine sent from the same year, that has been programmed to execute a young lady whose unborn son is vital for humanity’s future salvation. This 1984 American science fiction movie is the directorial venture of James Cameron. Arnold Schwarzenengger essays the titular role of the Terminator. He is supported by a varied cast of different characters.

Cast-Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Paul Winfield, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, Rick Rossovich, Bess Motta, Earl Boen, Dick Miller, Bruce M Kerner, Franco Columbu, Shawn Schepps, Bill Paxton, Paul Rearden, Brian Thompson, William Wisher, Ken Fritz, Tom Oberhaus

Duration – 1h 47 min

Genre-Action, sci-fi

Director-James Cameron

Producer-Gale Anne Hurd

Where to watch – Amazon Prime Video

Planet of the Apes 

The story introduces us to an astronaut crew that crash-lands on a planet where extremely intelligent non-human ape species dominate, and humans are enslaved. Today Planet of the Apes is an American science fiction media franchise in which humans and clever apes clash for control. This franchise is based on the 1963 novel La Planète des singes, translated into English as Planet of the Apes or Monkey Planet, by French author Pierre Boulle. Today there’s Planet of the Apes and Rise of the Planet of the Apes for you to entertain yourself. An action-packed movie that deserves a mention. 

Cast-Charlton Heston, Kim Hunter, Roddy McDowall, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly, Linda Harrison, Robert Gunner, Lou Wagner, Woodrow Parfrey, Jeff Burton, Norman Burton, Wright King, Buck Kartalian, Martin Abrahams, Paul Lambert, Gene O’Donnell, Army Archerd. 

Duration-1h 52 min

Genre-Adventure, sci-fi

Director-Franklin J. Schaffner

Producer-Arthur P. Jacobs

Where to watch – Disney+Hotstar 

Alien 

The story follows the crew of a commercial spacecraft that encounters a deadly lifeform after investigating a strange transmission. This 1979 science fiction horror movie is the directorial venture of Ridley Scott, with Dan O’Bannon taking care of writing duties. The movie follows the crew of the commercial spaceship Nostromo, who, after stumbling upon a mysterious derelict spaceship on a strange moon, are pitted against an aggressive and deadly extraterrestrial let loose on the Nostromo. 

Cast-Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm,Bolaji Badejo, Helen Horton, Eddie Powell and Yaphet Kotto.

Duration-1h 57 min

Genre-Horror, sci-fi

Director-Ridley Scott

Producer-Gordon Carroll, David Giler, Walter Hill

Where to watch – Disney+Hotstar

Blade Runner 

The story follows a blade runner who must chase and terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have gone back to Earth to find their creator. This 1982 science fiction film is the directorial venture of Ridley Scott, with David Peoples and Hampton Fancher serving as writers. The movie is set in a dystopian future Los Angeles of 2019 in which synthetic humans called replicants are bio-engineered by the enormous Tyrell Corporation to work on space colonies. 

Cast-Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, William Sanderson, Emmet Walsh, Brion James, James Hong, Joe Turkel, Morgan Paull, Kevin Thompson, John Edward Allen, Hy Pyke, Kimiko Hiroshige, Bob Okazaki, Carolyn DeMirjian

Duration-1h 57 min

Genre-action, drama, sci-fi

Director-Ridley Scott

Producer-Michael Deeley

Where to watch – Amazon Prime Video

Terminator 2 Judgement Day 

The first Terminator was such a hit that the makers decided to come out with a sequel. In this story we meet a cyborg, identical to the one that did not succeed in killing Sarah Connor, must now protect her 10 year old son John from an even more powerful and advanced cyborg. This 1991 American science fiction action movie is the directorial venture of James Cameron, who along with William Wisher wrote the script. This movie is the second instalment in the Terminator franchise, and reintroduces us to the Terminator, a highly advanced killing machine. 

Cast- Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick, Earl Boen, S. Epatha Merkerson, Joe Morton, Danany Cooksey, Castulo Guerra, Xander Berkeley, Jenette Goldstein, Ken Gibbel, Leslie Hamilton Gearren, Robert Winley, Peter Schrum, Jared Lounsbery, Shane Wilder, Michael Edwards. 

Duration-2h 17 min

Genre- Action, Sci-fi

Director-James Cameron

Producer-James Cameron

Where to watch – Netflix

The Matrix 

This 1999 science fiction action film opened to rave reviews. It went on to become the first of many Matrix movies, each better than the last . The plot shows us a dystopian future where humanity unwittingly gets trapped inside a simulated reality called The Matrix, created by intelligent machines to distract humans while it uses their bodies as an energy source.  Computer programmer Thomas Anderson, using the alias ‘Neo’ finds out the truth and joins a rebellion against the machines together with other people who have freed themselves from the Matrix. 

Cast – Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Gloria Foster, Joe Pantoliano, Marcus Chong, Julian Arahanga, Matt Doran, Belinda McClory, Anthony Ray Parker, Paul Goddard, David Aston, Robert Taylor, Ada Nicodemou, Marc Aden Gray, Deni Gordon, Rowan Witt

Duration-2h 16 min

Genre-Action, Sci-fi

Director-Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski

Producer-Joel Silver

Where to watch – Netflix

Back to the Future

In this story we are introduced to Marty McFly, an American high school student who gets sent 30 years into the past in a time-travelling DeLorean created by his close friend, the path-breaking scientist Doc Brown. This 1985 American science fiction movie is the directorial venture of Robert Zemeckis, written by him and Bob Gale. Spending time in the past, Marty unknowingly prevents his future parents from falling in love – jeopardising his very existence, and has to reconnect the pair and somehow go back to the future. 

Cast-Michael J Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Tom Wilson, Claudia Wells, Marc McClure, Wendie Jo Sperber, George DiCenzo, Frances Lee McCain, James Tolkan, JJ Cohen, Casey Siemaszko, Billy Zane, Harry Waters Jr, Donald Fullilove, Lisa Freeman, Cristen Kauffman

Duration-1h 56 min

Genre– Adventure, Comedy, Sci-fi

Director-Robert Zemeckis

Producer-Bob Gale,Neil Canton

Where to watch – Netflix

Aliens 

In this story we are introduced to Officer Ripley, who, fifty-seven years after surviving an apocalyptic attack onboard her spaceship by merciless aliens, wakes up from hyper-sleep and tries to caution anyone who will listen, about the predatory aliens. This 1986 sci-fi action film has been directed by James Cameron, and is the second movie in the Alien franchise. The officer, Ripley, decides to agree to the human colony on the moon with a unit of Colonial Marines to investigate. 

Cast-Sigourney Weaver, Paul Reiser, Carrie Henn, Bill Paxton, William Hope, Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein, Al Matthews, Colette Hiller, Mark Rolston, Ricco Ross, Daniel Kash, Tip Tipping, Cynthia Dale Scott, Trevor Steedman, Valerie Colgan, Paul Maxwell. 

Duration-2h 17 min

Genre– Action, Adventure, Sci-fi

Director-James Cameron

Producer-Gale Anne Hurd

Where to watch – Disney+Hotstar

Interstellar  

This Christopher Nolan classic was appreciated by audiences and critics alike. Complex, with a strong script and an interesting storyline, this movie did very well in theatres before coming on to OTT platforms. In this movie, we are introduced to a team of explorers that travels through a wormhole in space to ensure humanity’s survival. 

Cast –Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, Timothée Chalamet, David Oyelowo, Collette Wolfe, Francis X. McCarthy, Bill Irwin, Andrew Borba, Wes Bentley, William Devane, Michael Caine, David Gyasi, Josh Stewart, Casey Affleck

Duration-2h 49 min

Genre-Adventure, Drama, Sci-fi

Director-Christopher Nolan

Producer-Christopher Nolan, Lynda Obst, Emma Thomas

Where to watch – Netflix

Contact 

The story follows Dr Ellie Arroway, who after years of looking, discovers conclusive radio proof of extraterrestrial intelligence, sending plans for a strange machine. This 1997 American science fiction drama film is the directorial venture of Robert Zemeckis, and is based on the 1985 novel by Carl Sagan, who, along with his wife, wrote the story outline for the movie. The film has an ensemble cast and features a number of significant places like the Very Large Array in New Mexico, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, the Mir space station, and the Space Coast surrounding Cape Canaveral.

Cast-Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, James Woods, Jena Malone, Geoffrey Blake,Timothy McNeil, Sami Chester,Laura Elena Surillo, Max Martini, Henry Strozier, Larry King, Thomas Garner,Conroy Chino, Dan Gifford, James Woods, Tom Skerritt, William Fichtner, John Hurt, Angela Bassett, Rob Lowe, Jake Busey, and David Morse

Duration-2h 30 min

Genre-Drama, Mystery, Sci-fi

Director-Robert Zemeckis

Producer-Robert Zemeckis, Steve Starkey

Where to watch – Amazon Prime Video

Star Wars Episode V-The Empire Strikes Back

The Star Wars franchise has gone down in history as one of the greatest movies ever to hit celluloid. The fifth episode is no different, offering an interesting storyline, a bunch of interesting characters and a tight script. The fifth episode carries on the saga, with the Rebels getting brutally overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet Hoth. Luke Skywaler starts Jedi training with Yoda, while his friends get pursued across the galaxy by Darth Vader and bounty hunter Boba Fett. 

Cast-Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz, David Prowse, Alec Guinness, Jeremy Bulloch, John Hollis, Jack Purvis, Des Webb, Clive Revill, Kenneth Colley, Julian Glover, Michael Sheard

Duration–2h 4 min

Genre-Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Director-Irvin Kershner

Producer-Gary Kurtz

Where to watch – Amazon Prime Video

The Road Warrior 

The story introduces us to a post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, where a cynical drifter decides to help a small, oi-rich community beat back a horde of bandits. This 1981 Australian post-apocalyptic movie is the directorial venture of George Miller, and the second instalment in the Mad Max franchise. The movie opens with a global war resulting from widespread oil shortages, where civilisation has collapsed, with the world descending into barbarism. In this strange world, former cop Max Rockatansky, drives his vehicle around the desert looking for food and petrol. 

Cast-Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Max Phipps, Michael Preston, Kjell Nilsson, Vernon Wells, Emil Minty, Virginia Hey, Arkie Whiteley, William Zappa, Steve J Spears, Syd Heylen, David Downer, David Slingsby, Moira Claux, Max Fairchild, Kristoffer Greaves, Tyler Coppin

Duration-1h 36 min

Genre-Action, Adventure, Sci fi

Director-George Miller

Producer-Byron Kennedy

Where to watch – Amazon Prime Video 

Predator 

The story follows a team of commandos on a mission in a jungle in Central America. Suddenly, they get picked off, one by one, by an extraterrestrial warrior. This movie is a 1987 American science fiction horror movie, the directorial venture of John McTiernan and written by the brothers John and Jim Thomas. This movie is the first instalment in the Predator franchise. Arnold Schwarzenegger is the leader of an elite rescue team looking to save hostages in hostile territory in a Central American rainforest, when the deadly Predator starts hunting them down. 

Cast-Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elpidia Carrillo, Carl Weathers, Kevin Peter Hall, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Richard Chaves, RG Armstrong, Shane Black, Sonny Landham, William H. Burton Jr., Steve Boyum, Franco Columbu, Peter Cullen, Henri Kingi, Sven-Ole Thorsen, Jack Verbois

Duration-1h 47 min

Genre-Action, Adventure, Horror

Director-John McTiernan

Producer-Lawrence Gordon,Joel Silver, John Davis

Where to watch – Amazon Prime Video

The Thing 

The story follows a research team based in Antarctica that is being hunted by a shape-shifting alien that turns its appearance into that of its victims. This 1982 American science-fiction horror movie has been directed by John Carpenter, adapted from a screenplay by Bill Lancaster. This is a story about the “Thing”,  a parasitic extraterrestrial life form that assimilates and then imitates other living beings. The group gets paranoid and conflicted as they realise they can’t trust each other any more and that any of them might be “The Thing”.

Cast-Kurt Russell,Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Richard Masur, TK Carter, David Clennon, Richard Dysart, Peter Maloney, Donald Moffat, Joel Polis, Larry Franco, Thomas G. Waites, Norbert Weisser, Nate Irwin, Adrienne Barbeau, William Zeman, John Carpenter. 

Duration-1h 49 min

Genre-Horror, Mystery, Sci-fi

Director-John Carpenter

Producer-David Foster, Lawrence Turman

Where to watch – Amazon Prime Video 

The Man From Earth  

The story features an impromptu farewell party for Professor John Oldman turns into an interrogation of sorts when the retiring scholar tells his colleagues that he has a longer and stranger past than they can imagine. This 2007 American drama science fiction movie has been directed by Richard Schenkman. Jerome Bixby wrote the story after conceiving the screenplay in the early 1960s. The professor who is retiring claims to be a caveman who has survived secretly for more than 14000 years. The interesting plot, stellar cast and script make this movie a must-watch. 

Cast-David Lee Smith, Tony Todd, John Billingsley, Ellen Crawford, Annika Peterson, William Katt, Alexis Thorpe, Richard Riehle, Steven Littles, Robbie Bryan, Chase Sprague

Duration-1h 27 min

Genre-Drama, Fantasy, Mystery

Director-Richard Schenkman

Producer-Richard Schenkman, Eric D. Wilkinson

Where to watch – Amazon Prime Video

Edge of Tomorrow  

The story deals with a soldier battling aliens, who relives the same day over and over again, the day always restarting each time he dies. This 2014 American science fiction action film has been directed by Doug Liman, adapted from a screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie. The movie has been adapted from the 2004 Japanese light novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. The setting of the movie is the future, where an alien race occupies most of Europe. Major William Cage, a PR office byer with little to no combat experience, is coerced by his superiors to join a landing operation against the aliens, only to get stuck in a time loop

Cast-Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Jonas Armstrong, Tony Way, Kick Gurry, Franz Drameh, Charlotte Wiley, Terence Maynard, Dragomir Mrsic, Masayoshi Haneda, Lara Pulver, Noah Taylor, Madeleine Mantock, Beth Goddard, Sebastian Blunt, Assly Zandry

Duration-1h 53 min

Genre-action, adventure, sci-fi

Director-Doug Liman

Producer-Erwin Stoff, Tom Lassally, Jeffrey Silver, Gregory Jacobs, Jason Hoffs

Where to watch -Netflix

District 9 

The story follows the violence that ensues after an extraterrestrial race, forced to live in poor conditions on Earth, discovers a kindred spirit in a government agent exposed to their biotechnology. This 2009 science fiction action movie is the directorial venture of Neill Blomkamp, in his debut and has been written by Terri Tatchell and Blomkamp produced by Carolynne Cunningham and Peter Jackson. 

Cast-David James, Jason Cope, Nathalie Boltt, Sharlto Copley, John Sumner, Sylvaine Strike, William Allen Young, Elizabeth Mkandawie, Greg Melvill-Smith, Nick Blake, Morena Busa Sesatsa, Barry Strydom, Themba Nkosi, Jed Brophy, Mzwandile Nqoba, Louis Minaar, Vanessa Haywood, Marian Hooman

Duration-1h 52 min

Genre-action, sci-fi, thriller.

Director-Neill Blomkamp

Producer-Peter Jackson, Carolynne Cunningham

Where to watch – Netflix

Dark City 

The story follows a man who struggles with flashbacks of his past – including a wife he cannot recollect and a horrifying world no one else ever seems to awake from. This 1998 neo-noir science fiction film is the directorial venture of Alex Proyas, with the screenplay written by Proyas, Lem Dobbs, and David S. The protagonist is amnesiac, and finds himself suspected of murder and tries to discover his true identity while clearing his name while being on the run from the cops. 

Cast- Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Kiefer Sutherland, Bruce Spence, John Bluthal, Colin Friels, Mitchell Butel, Jennifer George, Frank Gallacher, Ritchie Singer, Justin Monjo, Nicholas Bell, Jennifer Connelly, Richard O’Brien, Satya Gumbert, Noah Gumbert, Frederick Miragliotta and Ian Richardson

Duration-1h 40 min

Genre-Fantasy, mystery, sci-fi

Director-Alex Proyas

Producer-Alex Proyas, Andrew Mason

Where to watch -Amazon Prime Video

Blade Runner 2049 

This 2017 American neo-noir science fiction movie is the directorial venture of Denis Villeneuve, written by Michael Green and Hampton Fancher. This is the sequel to the 1982 movie Blade Runner. The story follows K, a Nexus-9 replicant blade runner who discovers a secret that threatens to destabilize society and change the course of civilization. This secret helps K track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who has been missing for three decades. 

Cast- Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Dave Bautista, Mark Arnold, Vilma Szécsi, Wood Harris, David Dastmalchian, Sylvia Hoeks, Jared Leto, Sallie Harmsen, Edward James Olmos, Hiam Abbass, Mackenzie Davis, Erica Johnson, Krista Kosonen

Duration-2h 44 min

Genre-Action, Drama, Mystery

Director – Denis Villeneuve

Producer-NA

Where to watch – Amazon Prime Video 

That rounds up the best sci-fi movies according to IMDb. So which one are you going to watch first?