If you've recently sat through Oppenheimer, chances are you're a fan of Christopher Nolan. If you are, you have probably enjoyed Interstellar and are looking for more thoughtful sci-fi to add to your watch list.
Here is our list of 15 films for the Interstellar enthusiast in your life.
1 – The Last Starfighter (1984)
Nick Castle's classic space opera stars Lance Guest as Alex, a teen who spends his spare time at the arcade playing a game called Starfighter. After topping the leaderboard, Alex discovers the game is actually an elaborate recruitment tool for an intergalactic defense force, and the battles in the game represent an actual intergalactic conflict that Alex is now expected to take part in as a Starfighter pilot.
2 – The Fifth Element (1997)
Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich star in Luc Besson's stylish futuristic adventure about a former government spook turned taxi driver who is sucked into a battle to save the planet from an ancient cosmic evil.
Korben Dallas (Willis) is tasked with protecting Leeloo (Jovovich), a mysterious woman, believed to be the prophesied “Fifth Element.” The Fifth Element is the only force capable of defeating the evil force on a collision course with Earth.
3 – Arrival (2016)
This extraterrestrial drama stars Amy Adams as Louise Banks, a linguistics professor enlisted by the U.S. military to communicate with mysterious alien visitors who have landed in locations around the globe. As she attempts to decipher the alien's language and motives, Louise's encounters with the mysterious lifeforms lead her to challenge her understanding of time, memory, and human perception.
4 – Dune (2021)
Based on the iconic novel series by Frank Herbert, Dune revolves around the fortunes of House Atreides. Gifted the desert world of Arrakis, the only source of the valuable spice that is vital for space travel, the Atredies' young heir, Paul (Timothée Chalamet), navigates treacherous politics and power struggles.
5 – Moon (2009)
Duncan Jones's contemplative debut feature stars Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell, a lone astronaut nearing the end of a three-year mining mission on the Moon. After making a world-shattering discovery, Sam starts to question his identity and the real purpose of his mission.
6 – Alien (1979)
The landmark film that violently gave birth to the Xenomorph follows the crew of the commercial mining ship the Nostromo. After one of the crew is attacked by a strange organism while responding to a distress signal on a seemingly abandoned planet, the ship is put in danger after an alien life form bursts from his chest at dinner, and the murderous alien starts to pick off the crew as it grows and evolves in the ship's ducts.
7 – Equilibrium (2002)
Kurt Wimmer's dystopian philosophical action film inspired by Huxley's Brave New World and Bradbrey's Fahrenheit 451 stars Christian Bale as John Preston. Preston is a cleric tasked with hunting down people who feel in a society where art is banned, and emotions are suppressed using a drug called Prozium. However, after missing a dose of the mood-altering drug, Preston feels again and questions the oppressive society he has served for years.
8 – Akira (1988)
Often imitated but never bettered, Katsuhiro Otomo's cyberpunk masterpiece about the leader of a motorcycle gang whose childhood friend gains telekinetic powers after a run-in with an escaped government helped popularize anime in the West. It inspired a whole generation of filmmakers, including the makers of a little known indie flick called The Matrix.
9 – Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Also known as Live Die Repeat, Doug Liman's action-packed time loop thriller is based on the manga All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Edge of Tomorrow tells the story of Major Bill Cage (Tom Cruise). After an alien race attacks the Earth, Cage is thrown into direct combat despite having minimal training. After dying in battle, Cage discovers that time resets every time he dies. Soon he teams up with experienced soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), and the pair use Cage's new-found ability to defeat the alien invaders.
10 – The Martian (2015)
Ridley Scott's hard sci-fi romp based on Andy Weir's 2011 novel stars Matt Damon as Mark Watney, an astronaut stranded on Mars after his crew leaves him behind after they believe he was killed during a severe dust storm. Alone on a hostile planet with limited supplies, Watney must use his ingenuity and scientific knowledge to survive while NASA and his crew back on Earth work to bring him home.
11 – District 9 (2009)
Neill Blomkamp's feature debut meditation on the effects of apartheid is what happens when you are all set to make a Halo movie, and the whole thing falls apart at the last minute. Set in a world where a spacecraft landed in Johannesburg in 1982, the malnourished aliens aboard claimed asylum on Earth.
The African government sends the ‘Prawns' to live in a segregated slum called District 9. When a government employee named Wikus (Sharlto Copley) is exposed to an alien substance while trying to force several aliens to move to a smaller camp the government has set up, he starts a shocking transformation that could completely change the relationship between the aliens and humanity.
12 – Contact (1997)
Robert Zemeckis's visually stunning exploration of human curiosity, based on the novel by Carl Sagan, stars Jodie Foster as Dr. Ellie Arroway. She is a talented astronomer who detects a mysterious signal from a distant star system containing a message from an alien civilization. As humanity grapples with this momentous discovery, Ellie becomes the center of a global effort to decipher the message and make first contact.
13 – Starship Troopers (1997)
This satire about the dangers of militarism, propaganda, and the folly of fascism from Paul Verhoeven, presents a future where the world is constantly engaged in a pointless war with a race of giant insects. It follows the exploits of a group of high school graduates who, after years of indoctrination sign up to be glorious heroes in the Mobile Infantry and stop the bug menace. However, the realities of war are far more traumatizing than any of them ever suspected.
14 – Super 8 (2011)
JJ Abrams's homage to 80s coming-of-age movies (and Spielberg's best films from the era) follows the exploits of a group of teens in the fictional small town of Lillian, Ohio. In 1979, they accidentally filmed a train carrying dangerous, otherworldly cargo being derailed while making a zombie movie with a Super 8 camera.
15 – Gravity (2013)
This intense sci-fi thriller film directed by Alfonso Cuarón stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as Dr. Ryan Stone and Matt Kowalski. They are a pair of stranded astronauts trying to return to Earth after catastrophic damage to their space shuttle. The rest of the crew must perform maintenance on the Hubble telescope. With their oxygen supplies running low and communications severely damaged, the pair must use their resourcefulness and determination to return to Earth.