Top 15 Sci-Fi Movies To Blow Your Mind
Science fiction is a genre that has been ruling cinema for almost a century, yet it continues to evolve even today. Sci-fi movies can transport viewers into an entirely different world or present a variant of our own.
The sci-fi genre has produced some highly entertaining yet thoughtful and intellectually stimulating movies. And we’re here with the list of the very best of them. Keep reading to find out the top 15 sci-fi movies of all time.
List of Top 15 Sci-Fi Movies To Blow Your Mind
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
Release Year: 1969
Cast: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester
A good sci-fi movie list can’t go without mentioning 2001: A Space Odyssey, arguably the greatest offering of the genre. Legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick co-wrote and directed 2001: A Space Odyssey. Although it was released half a century ago, the film’s groundbreaking visual effects stand out even in today’s digital age.
2001: A Space Odyssey also received praise for its unconventional and imaginative storytelling. The film centers on a group of astronauts and their AI supercomputer, HAL, as they embark on a voyage to Jupiter to investigate an alien monolith.
Due to its spare dialogue and slow pace, 2001: A Space Odyssey may not be to everyone’s taste, but if you stick with it till the end, the movie is sure to be a rewarding experience.
2. Blade Runner
Release Year: 1982
Cast: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young
Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is considered another pioneer in terms of visual effects and unconventional storytelling. The film is set in a dystopian future where synthetic humans called "replicants" are designed by a shady corporation to work on space colonies.
When a group of these replicants escape to Earth, a Los Angeles cop, Rick Deckard, is tasked with hunting them down. Blade Runner was initially panned by critics due to its complex themes and slow pace, but over time it has become one of the greatest sci-fi movies ever.
On a side note, be sure to check out it’s 2017 sequel Blade Runner 2049 as well.
Release Year: 1979
Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Ian Holm
Three years before he delivered Blade Runner, Ridley Scott terrorised viewers with Alien. The film is set in a distant future where a space cargo ship crew responds to a distress signal from another spaceship on a nearby moon.
But to their dismay, the small crew finds themselves fighting an extremely aggressive alien creature hell-bent on either killing them or worse, cultivating them. Being a horror film, Alien is not for the faint of heart, mind you.
Alien has since spawned a successful franchise consisting of numerous sequels, spinoffs, comics, and video games.
4. Planet of the Apes
Release Year: 1968
Cast: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans
As the name suggests, Planet of the Apes is about an entire planet ruled by apes. In the movie, a human astronaut crew finds themselves marooned on a strange planet where apes are the dominant species while humans are mute and animal-like.
There is a big twist near the end of the movie which you may or may not have already guessed, but still, Planet of the Apes is a must-watch for any sci-fi lover. You can also check out its many sequels and a prequel trilogy that recently came out.
5. Star Wars: A New Hope
Release Year: 1977
Cast: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher
Star Wars: A New Hope is an epic space opera film written and directed by the visionary George Lucas. Star Wars is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time. Full of action, heart, humour, strange beings and worlds, Star Wars is a super enjoyable joyride from start to finish.
Star Wars: A New Hope is slightly lacking in the sci-fi accuracy department, but the film’s sheer scale and ambition do transport you to a galaxy far far away.
Release Year: 2014
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain
Interstellar is a modern-day sci-fi classic directed by Christopher Nolan, who many consider the successor of Stanley Kubrick. Interstellar takes place in the near future, where climate change has caused food shortages.
NASA recruits a former pilot, Cooper, to abandon his family and lead a dangerous mission to find humanity a new home. Space travel, time travel, wormholes, black holes, new worlds, Interstellar has it all, you name it.
Interstellar received the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and was also praised for its authenticity.
7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Release Year: 2004
Cast: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a sci-fi romance movie, which is a combination you don’t see often. So far, we’ve only seen perils and horror in sci-fi.
However, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is not just a typical romance movie, it also features themes of longing, existentialism, and destiny. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind follows Joel (Jim Carrey), who decides to get his former girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) erased from his mind after discovering she did the same as well.
But like they say, nothing can separate true lovers for long. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind can get a bit complex at times, so be sure to pay attention.
Release Year: 1979
Cast: Alexander Kaidanovsky, Anatoly Solonitsyn, Nikolai Grinko
Stalker is a Russian sci-fi art film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. The film follows a mysterious figure known as the "stalker," who, along with a writer and a scientist, leads an expedition into a mythical place called “The Room,” said to grant anyone’s desires.
Stalker is a deeply thoughtful and philosophical movie, but a must-watch for all sci-fi fans.
Release Year: 2008
Cast: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin
Animation and sci-fi have always gone hand in hand, and Wall-E is perhaps the best film in the genre. Directed by Andrew Stanton, WALL-E revolves around a solitary, waste-collecting robot on an uninhabitable Earth in the year 2085.
WALL-E embarks on an adventure across the galaxy when he is visited by another robot EVE. Wall-E also incorporates themes of consumerism, corporatocracy, sedentary lifestyles, and the human environmental impact.
Release Year: 2016
Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker
Arrival is a recent sci-fi thriller that is much more grounded in scale but nonetheless quite mind-bending. Arrival follows a linguist and a physicist who is called upon by the US Army to break down the intentions of an alien race that’s landed on Earth.
With time running out and global tensions escalating, the scientists must figure out what the aliens want before a war is incited. Like all good sci-fi movies, Arrival also consists of several jaw-dropping twists so watch till the end.
Release Year: 1999
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving
The Matrix is a pop-culture phenomenon that took the world by storm upon its release. The film poses a big question: what if our world is just a simulation and we’re all programs?
The Matrix follows a hacker Neo (Reeves), who is recruited to end the tyranny of AI "machines" who’re controlling humans in the future.
While The Matrix is high on sci-fi themes, it is, at its core, an action movie. The directors, the Wachowski sisters, were inspired by Japanese manga and martial-arts films while making The Matrix. And it’s clearly evident as well in its highly stylized action sequences, slow-mo shots, and gun fights.
12. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Release Year: 1982
Cast: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote
Star Wars' record as the highest-grossing movie ever was broken by Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. The film follows a reclusive boy, Elliott, who befriends an alien left behind on Earth.
Elliott and his friend must find a way to send ET home before the government captures him. ET is a feel-good sci-fi film that’s bound to tug at your heartstrings.
13. Ex Machina
Release Year: 2014
Cast: Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson
Ex Machina is a contemporary independent sci-fi movie that became an instant classic upon release. Set in the near future, Ex Machina follows a computer programmer hired by a billionaire to determine if his humanoid robot possesses sentience.
Ex Machina keeps playing with the audience's minds with its many twists and turns until a mind-blowing finale that’s sure to leave you stunned. Ex Machina won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, becoming one of the lowest-budget winners in the category.
14. Jurassic Park
Release Year: 1993
Cast: Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern
Enough about space and robots, it’s now time for some prehistoric sci-fi. Imagine a world with dinosaurs as theme park attractions. Because that’s what you’ll witness in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 classic Jurassic Park.
In the film, at the direction of a visionary billionaire, scientists extract dinosaur DNA from preserved prehistoric mosquitoes and combine them with reptiles to clone dinosaurs. Jurassic Park is thus opened, but all hell breaks loose when a T. Rex goes on the loose.
Jurassic Park featured groundbreaking practical and animatronics that still astonish viewers. That’s why Jurassic Park is a must-watch for all sci-fi fans.
Release Year: 2004
Cast: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan
Finally, we arrive at the end of our list with Primer. If you thought you were smart, try watching Primer. It is an independent psychological thriller made on a meagre budget of just $7000.
Primer incorporates an experimental plot and an extremely confusing plot structure. Viewers have resorted to mapping out charts and diagrams to fully understand the movie, but to no avail.
Primer is arguably the most accurate movie about time travel, and anyone interested in sci-fi should definitely check it out.
That’s it, readers, the top 15 sci-fi movies of all time. We’ve laid out the absolute best of the genre and from varying time periods and sub-genres as well, be it horror, romance, or animation. Don’t forget to give them a watch. And feel free to comment if we’ve missed some of your favourites.