The 20 Best Sci-Fi Movies of All Time

Despite rarely being recognized as “real cinema” – much the same way as horror and superhero offerings – science fiction is a genre that stimulates our imaginations in a way that nothing else does.

Watching sci-fi movies lets us see concepts like deep space exploration, time travel, advanced technology and weaponry, alternate/parallel universes, and various alien life forms.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Directed by Stanley Kubrick)

It's incredibly atmospheric – to the point that it's almost hypnotic – and still receives praise for its scientifically accurate depiction of space flight.

Star Wars (1977, Directed by George Lucas)

It's an action-packed epic of a movie with some fantastic combat scenes and a plethora of weird and wonderful characters.

Masterfully combining sci-fi with horror, Ridley Scott's Alien terrified audiences worldwide upon its release. It still does now – it was that far ahead of its time.

Alien (1979, Directed by Ridley Scott)

The Terminator (1984, Directed by James Cameron)

It's teeming with great action, a lot of tension, memorable dialogue, mostly decent special effects (we say “mostly” because one scene involving prosthetics is laughable), and subtle humor.

Serenity (2005, Directed by Joss Whedon)

It's a space-based Western, and that mix of genres works brilliantly. It's fast-paced and energetic, the dialogue is witty and funny, the characters are eclectic and exciting, and the special effects are glorious.

Dune (2021, Directed by Denis Villeneuve)

There's a reason this movie was so Oscar-laden – it won no less than six – because it's an absolute work of art.

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