my 50 favorite SCI-FI movies

by greg_movies | created - 22 Nov 2011 | updated - 30 Mar 2013 | Public
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1. Alien (1979)

R | 116 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

83 Metascore

After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as a distress call, its landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious lifeform, and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright

Votes: 671,019 | Gross: $78.90M

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

82 Metascore

Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer HAL 9000, sets off on a quest.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter

Votes: 505,977 | Gross: $56.95M

3. The Matrix (1999)

R | 136 min | Action, Sci-Fi

73 Metascore

A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.

Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving

Votes: 1,411,149 | Gross: $171.48M

4. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

PG | 115 min | Family, Sci-Fi

91 Metascore

A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home world.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote, Dee Wallace

Votes: 319,293 | Gross: $435.11M

5. Blade Runner (1982)

R | 117 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

89 Metascore

A blade runner must pursue and terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos

Votes: 588,148 | Gross: $27.00M

6. The Terminator (1984)

R | 107 min | Action, Sci-Fi

83 Metascore

A seemingly indestructible android is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Paul Winfield

Votes: 690,090 | Gross: $38.40M

7. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)

PG | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

90 Metascore

Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a Wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.

Director: George Lucas | Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness

Votes: 1,059,713 | Gross: $322.74M

8. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

PG | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

82 Metascore

After the rebels are brutally overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader.

Director: Irvin Kershner | Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams

Votes: 988,601 | Gross: $290.48M

9. RoboCop (1987)

R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

67 Metascore

In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories.

Director: Paul Verhoeven | Stars: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy, Ronny Cox

Votes: 204,135 | Gross: $53.42M

10. Back to the Future (1985)

PG | 116 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

86 Metascore

Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover

Votes: 867,081 | Gross: $210.61M

11. Mars Attacks! (1996)

PG-13 | 106 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi

52 Metascore

Earth is invaded by Martians with unbeatable weapons and a cruel sense of humor.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Annette Bening

Votes: 189,037 | Gross: $37.77M

12. Avatar (2009)

PG-13 | 162 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

83 Metascore

A paraplegic marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez

Votes: 990,619 | Gross: $760.51M

13. Terminator 2 (1991)

R | 137 min | Action, Sci-Fi

75 Metascore

A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her teenage son, John Connor, from a more advanced and powerful cyborg.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick

Votes: 854,523 | Gross: $204.84M

14. Strange Days (1995)

R | 145 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A former cop turned street-hustler accidentally uncovers a conspiracy in Los Angeles in 1999.

Director: Kathryn Bigelow | Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore

Votes: 60,021 | Gross: $7.92M

15. Cloud Atlas (2012)

R | 172 min | Action, Drama, Mystery

55 Metascore

An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.

Directors: Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski | Stars: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving

Votes: 315,147 | Gross: $27.11M

16. The Time Machine (1960)

G | 103 min | Adventure, Romance, Sci-Fi

A man's vision for a utopian society is disillusioned when travelling forward into time reveals a dark and dangerous society.

Director: George Pal | Stars: Rod Taylor, Alan Young, Yvette Mimieux, Sebastian Cabot

Votes: 31,141

17. Twelve Monkeys (1995)

R | 129 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

74 Metascore

In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, Joseph Melito

Votes: 523,142 | Gross: $57.14M

18. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

PG | 138 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

90 Metascore

After an accidental encounter with otherworldly vessels, an ordinary man follows a series of psychic clues to the first scheduled meeting between representatives of Earth and visitors from the cosmos.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon

Votes: 159,141 | Gross: $132.09M

19. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

PG-13 | 146 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

65 Metascore

A highly advanced robotic boy longs to become "real" so that he can regain the love of his human mother.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O'Connor, Sam Robards

Votes: 265,004 | Gross: $78.62M

20. Dark City (1998)

R | 100 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

66 Metascore

A man struggles with memories of his past, including a wife he cannot remember, in a nightmarish world with no sun.

Director: Alex Proyas | Stars: Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt

Votes: 171,746 | Gross: $14.38M

21. District 9 (2009)

R | 112 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

81 Metascore

An extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly finds a kindred spirit in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology.

Director: Neill Blomkamp | Stars: Sharlto Copley, David James, Jason Cope, Nathalie Boltt

Votes: 582,951 | Gross: $115.65M

22. eXistenZ (1999)

R | 97 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

68 Metascore

A game designer on the run from assassins must play her latest virtual reality creation with a marketing trainee to determine if the game has been damaged.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ian Holm, Willem Dafoe

Votes: 84,525 | Gross: $2.84M

23. Minority Report (2002)

PG-13 | 145 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

80 Metascore

In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Max von Sydow

Votes: 447,232 | Gross: $132.07M

24. Screamers (1995)

R | 108 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

(SIRIUS 6B, Year 2078) On a distant mining planet ravaged by a decade of war, scientists have created the perfect weapon: a blade-wielding, self-replicating race of killing devices known as... See full summary »

Director: Christian Duguay | Stars: Peter Weller, Roy Dupuis, Jennifer Rubin, Andrew Lauer

Votes: 22,306 | Gross: $5.78M

25. Forbidden Planet (1956)

G | 98 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

A starship crew goes to investigate the silence of a planet's colony only to find two survivors and a deadly secret that one of them has.

Director: Fred M. Wilcox | Stars: Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen, Warren Stevens

Votes: 39,073 | Gross: $3.00M

26. Planet of the Apes (1968)

G | 112 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

79 Metascore

An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans

Votes: 150,945 | Gross: $33.40M

27. Zardoz (1974)

R | 105 min | Fantasy, Sci-Fi

46 Metascore

In the distant future, a savage trained only to kill finds a way into the community of bored immortals that alone preserves humanity's achievements.

Director: John Boorman | Stars: Sean Connery, Charlotte Rampling, Sara Kestelman, John Alderton

Votes: 16,844

28. Logan's Run (1976)

PG | 119 min | Action, Sci-Fi

53 Metascore

An idyllic sci-fi future has one major drawback: life must end at the age of 30.

Director: Michael Anderson | Stars: Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Richard Jordan, Roscoe Lee Browne

Votes: 44,915 | Gross: $25.00M

29. Soylent Green (1973)

PG | 97 min | Crime, Mystery, Sci-Fi

66 Metascore

In the world ravaged by the greenhouse effect and overpopulation, an NYPD detective investigates the murder of a big company CEO.

Director: Richard Fleischer | Stars: Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson, Leigh Taylor-Young, Chuck Connors

Votes: 50,137

30. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

PG | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Mystery

64 Metascore

After New York City receives a series of attacks from giant flying robots, a reporter teams up with a pilot in search of their origin, as well as the reason for the disappearances of famous scientists around the world.

Director: Kerry Conran | Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi

Votes: 76,956 | Gross: $37.76M

31. Mad Max (1979)

R | 88 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

67 Metascore

In a self-destructing world, a vengeful Australian policeman sets out to stop a violent motorcycle gang.

Director: George Miller | Stars: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley

Votes: 169,399 | Gross: $8.75M

32. Prometheus (I) (2012)

R | 124 min | Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi

64 Metascore

Following clues to the origin of mankind, a team finds a structure on a distant moon, but they soon realize they are not alone.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron

Votes: 519,444 | Gross: $126.48M

33. Tron (2010)

PG | 125 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

49 Metascore

The son of a virtual world designer goes looking for his father and ends up inside the digital world that his father designed. He meets his father's corrupted creation and a unique ally who was born inside the digital world.

Director: Joseph Kosinski | Stars: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner

Votes: 286,216 | Gross: $172.06M

34. Total Recall (1990)

R | 113 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

57 Metascore

When a man goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real - or does he?

Director: Paul Verhoeven | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside, Rachel Ticotin

Votes: 266,069 | Gross: $119.39M

35. The Andromeda Strain (1971)

G | 131 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

60 Metascore

A group of scientists investigate a deadly new alien virus before it can spread.

Director: Robert Wise | Stars: James Olson, Arthur Hill, David Wayne, Kate Reid

Votes: 28,929

36. War of the Worlds (2005)

PG-13 | 116 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller

73 Metascore

As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Tim Robbins, Miranda Otto

Votes: 370,232 | Gross: $234.28M

37. The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

R | 138 min | Action, Sci-Fi

62 Metascore

Neo and the rebel leaders estimate that they have 72 hours until 250,000 probes discover Zion and destroy it and its inhabitants. During this, Neo must decide how he can save Trinity from a dark fate in his dreams.

Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving

Votes: 459,536 | Gross: $281.49M

38. Slaughterhouse-Five (1972)

R | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi

A man named Billy Pilgrim tells the story of how he became unstuck in time and was abducted by aliens.

Director: George Roy Hill | Stars: Michael Sacks, Ron Leibman, Eugene Roche, Sharon Gans

Votes: 10,778

39. Saturn 3 (1980)

R | 96 min | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi

9 Metascore

Two lovers stationed at a remote base in the asteroid fields of Saturn are intruded upon by a retentive technocrat from Earth and his charge: a malevolent eight foot robot.

Directors: Stanley Donen, John Barry | Stars: Farrah Fawcett, Kirk Douglas, Harvey Keitel, Ed Bishop

Votes: 7,051

40. Barbarella (1968)

PG | 98 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

51 Metascore

Barbarella, an astronaut from the 41st century, sets out to find and stop the evil scientist Durand Durand, whose Positronic Ray threatens to bring evil back into the galaxy.

Director: Roger Vadim | Stars: Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Anita Pallenberg, Milo O'Shea

Votes: 27,676

41. I, Robot (2004)

PG-13 | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

59 Metascore

In 2035, a technophobic cop investigates a crime that may have been perpetrated by a robot, which leads to a larger threat to humanity.

Director: Alex Proyas | Stars: Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, Bruce Greenwood, Alan Tudyk

Votes: 441,100 | Gross: $144.80M

42. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)

PG | 131 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

58 Metascore

After a daring mission to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, the rebels dispatch to Endor to destroy a more powerful Death Star. Meanwhile, Luke struggles to help Vader back from the dark side without falling into the Emperor's trap.

Director: Richard Marquand | Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams

Votes: 812,723 | Gross: $309.13M

43. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

G | 92 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

An alien lands and tells the people of Earth that they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets.

Director: Robert Wise | Stars: Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe

Votes: 69,807

44. Inception (2010)

PG-13 | 148 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

74 Metascore

A thief, who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology, is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe

Votes: 1,719,067 | Gross: $292.58M

45. The War of the Worlds (1953)

G | 85 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

A small town in California is attacked by Martians, beginning a worldwide invasion.

Director: Byron Haskin | Stars: Gene Barry, Ann Robinson, Les Tremayne, Robert Cornthwaite

Votes: 28,146 | Gross: $4.36M