Top 20 Sci-Fi Movies of All Time

Science Fiction is such a vast genre that it can be difficult to narrow any list down to the top 20 sci-fi movies of all time. From galaxies far, far away to space odysseys and terrifying Terminators, the best sci-fi movies may have alien storylines, but they all have themes that are close to all our hearts. But which of the must-watch sci-fi movies have we included in our list?

This run-down of the top 20 sci-fi movies and their IMDb scores will at least get you started on your journey through the stars.

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey - 1968 (8.3)

Arguably the greatest sci-fi movie ever made, this Stanley Kubrick masterpiece was way ahead of its time. The discovery of a mysterious artefact leads to an odyssey to Jupiter to unravel its origins. But when a malfunction on the onboard computer leads to ‘Hal’ becoming increasingly malevolent towards the crew, they have to fight not only to uncover the mystery, but to survive.

2. Back to the Future – 1985 (8.5)

Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) is sent back in time by maverick scientist Doc Brown in a time-travelling DeLorean car and has to ensure that not only can he get back home, but that he doesn’t disturb the timeline while he’s in the past.

3. Bladerunner – 1982 (8.1)

In another Ridley Scott epic, Bladerunner sees Decker (Harrison Ford) pursue a group of replicants who have returned to a dystopian earth to find their creator. The film is renowned for its cinematic prowess and poetic moments, including the iconic ‘time to die’ monologue from Rutger Hauer.

4. Metropolis – 1927 (8.3)

This has to be the granddaddy of the greatest sci-fi movies and is still relevant nearly 100 years after it first amazed audiences. In a dystopian world segregated into the haves and have-nots, two young souls from different sides of the divide fall in love.

5. The Matrix – 1999 (8.7)

All is not what it seems in one of the most innovative and best sci-fi movies of all time. Neo (Keanu Reeves) has his world turned upside down by the appearance of a beautiful stranger, who leads him into a dangerous underworld that reveals a truly shocking truth.

6. Inception – 2010 (8.8)

This extraordinary film takes you on a twisting, winding journey through reality versus the imagination of dreams. Leonardo DiCaprio steals corporate secrets but is given the task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO.

7. Terminator 2: Judgement Day – 1991 (8.6)

Arnie keeps his promise of ‘I’ll be back!’, but this time it’s as Sarah Connor’s son’s guardian and not his killer. However, a T2 machine, a relentless and advanced cyborg killing machine is hot on their trail. Unmissable sci-fi with some classic lines and a touch of humour.

8. Alien – 1979 (8.5)

Alien took the sci-fi genre to the next level, with a genuinely terrifying battle for survival between the crew of a spacecraft and the mother ‘Alien’ intent on destroying them all. Sigourney Weaver creates one of the most powerful female leads of all time as Ripley.

9. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back – 1980 (8.7)

Episode V sees the young Luke Skywalker begin his Jedi training with Yoda, and the Rebels regroup to take on the evils of the Empire once again. One of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time.

10. The Terminator – 1984 (8.1)

Filled with iconic movie moments and a towering performance by Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator, this is one of the best sci-fi movies of all time. Linda Hamilton is Sarah Connor, who battles to stay out of the clutches of the Terminator and prevent an apocalyptic future for mankind from unfolding.

11. E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial – 1982 (7.8)

This wonderfully warm family movie is still melting hearts and bringing a sense of hope over 40 years after it was first released. The Steven Spielberg movie is the tale of a marooned alien who is taken care of by young Elliott, played by Henry Thomas, and Gertie, played by Drew Barrymore.

12. Close Encounters of the Third Kind – 1977 (7.6)

Another Spielberg epic, Close Encounters tells the story of Roy (Richard Dreyfuss) and his obsession with an alien message that draws him and others like him to a remote desert location. Unknown to Roy, the authorities are also investigating numerous strange alien sightings and are preparing themselves to meet visitors from another world.

13. Star Wars: Episode VI – A New Hope – 1977 (8.6)

The first of the Star Wars saga, A New Hope is a classic good vs evil story of the underdog fighting against a corrupt and evil empire. One of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time that spawned over five decades of films.

14. Mad Max: Fury Road – 2015 (8.1)

A remake of the original Mad Max film, starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, this apocalyptic thriller is a non-stop action film. The constant battle for survival demonstrates how feral mankind can become. One of the best must-watch sci-fi movies.

15. The Thing – 1982 (8.2)

Set against the bleak landscape of Antarctica, a team of scientists discover a creature that slaughtered everyone in a nearby research station may have come from outer space. An alien with shapeshifting powers now walks among them, but who, or what is it?

16. Aliens – 1986 (8.4)

Set 57 years after the original, Ripley is revived to go up against her nemesis once more, as the aliens take over a space colony on a remote moon. Once again, it’s a case of fight-or-die in an epic battle between mankind and a malevolent alien race.

17. Edge of Tomorrow – 2014 (7.9)

Tom Cruise is forced to live the same life over and over as he’s caught in a time loop. As a combat officer leading the war against an unrelenting alien enemy, he dies and is revived day after day to continue the fight. A fascinating film that’s also a thrilling action-adventure.

18. Children of Men – 2006 (7.9)

As the species faces extinction, the UK is the one place where some kind of order remains. But at what cost? A chilling, bleak and emotional rollercoaster of a film.

19. The Day The Earth Stood Still – 1951 (7.8)

A cosmic traveler, accompanied by a terrifying robot, comes to Earth on a peaceful mission, only to be met with fear and hostility. However, humankind’s reaction to the spaceman could doom the planet to destruction. One of the true classic sci-fi movies and one of the greatest of all time.

20. Robocop – 1987 (7.6)

A privatized police force gets a boost when one of its officers, brutally maimed in a violent incident, receives the latest cyborg implants. But do his mechanical implants come at the cost of his humanity?

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