Sci-fi movies are always a treat to watch and never get boring. Science fiction movies take us to places out of our imagination and amaze us with brilliant concepts, well-thought plotlines, futuristic ideas and phenomenal visuals.
Over the years, Hollywood filmmakers have made some of the best sci-fi movies that will blow your mind, literally. They have tapped into various unique and futuristic concepts with some of the top Hollywood sci-fi movies that are beyond comprehension and will make you ask the question “Is that even possible?”
Below is a list of some of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time that should definitely be in your watchlist.
Metropolis - 1927
Director: Fritz Lang
Cast: Alfred Abel, Brigitte Helm, Gustav Fröhlich, Rudolf Klein-Rogge
One of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time, Metropolis is a silent movie and is considered the first science fiction movie. It is a masterpiece that set an example and foundation for many more best Hollywood sci-fi movies to come. Metropolis is a pioneering piece of art with Lang’s Freder, the wealthy son of the city master and Maria, a saintly figure to the workers, trying to bridge the gap between the wealthy and the poor. It is said that actual flames were used while shooting a particular scene in the movie, making it tough for the actors and extras hired.
Watch the trailer of Metropolis, one of the must watch sci-fi Hollywood movies, here.
The Day The Earth Stood Still - 1951
Director: Robert Wise
Cast: Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe, Billy Gray, Frances Bavier, Lock Martin
Unlike all the other movies that showcase aliens from another planet as villains, in one of the best Hollywood sci-fi movies, The Day The Earth Stood Still, an alien Klaatu and his bodyguard Gort land on Earth to save humankind. Set in the aftermath of World War 2, the aliens narrate the powerful cosmic message of peace and unity. The Day The Earth Stood Still was remade in 2008 under the same title with Keanu Reeves in the lead role.
Watch the trailer of The Day The Earth Stood Still here.
2001: A Space Odyssey - 1968
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Cast: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood
Imagination and scope at its best. 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time for its scientifically accurate depiction of space flight, pioneering special effects, and ambiguous imagery. Without much of a solid and direct plot, the movie covers a lot of ground by touching topics like the dawn of man, the space race, the arrival of artificial intelligence, greater space exploration, and a journey into the cosmic unknown. 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the top Hollywood sci-fi movies and has an audio-visual marvel with minimal dialogues, outstanding special effects and the use of classical music.
Watch the trailer of one of the must watch sci-fi Hollywood movies here.
Blade Runner - 1982
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos
Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is one of the top Hollywood sci-fi movies and inspiration behind several video games, anime, television series and movies. It is loosely inspired by the novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? written by Philip K. Dick. Set in a dystopian future, a fugitive group of synthetic humans, known as replicants, escape back to Earth and are hunted down by a burnt-down cop. Blade Runner is regarded as a cult movie and is a leading example of neo-noir cinema. A sequel to Blade Runner titled Blade Runner 2049 was released in 2017.
Watch the trailer of the must watch sci-fi Hollywood movies, Blade Runner, here.
Back To The Future - 1985
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover
Time travel and the chain reaction that spreads out from messing with the past are concepts that are not easy to understand and pull off. But some movies like Back To The Future by Robert Zemeckis nailed it. An idea conceived by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, the movie was a hit among the audience even though some of it had to be re-shot when original star Eric Stoltz didn't work out. Replacement Michael J. Fox turned out to be a perfect choice and the movie the core it required. After the success of Back To The Future, two sequels titled Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Back to the Future Part III (1990) were released.
Watch one of the must watch sci-fi Hollywood movies only on Amazon Prime Video.
12 Monkeys - 1995
Director: Terry Gilliam
Cast: Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, Christopher Plummer
One of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time, 12 Monkeys is a perfect blend of time-travel, an apocalyptic future, and the outbreak of a deadly virus. Terry Gilliam’s hero Bruce Willis gave a great performance as convict James Cole. He is sent back in time to unsolve the mystery of how a manmade virus devastated the Earth while lost in states of confusion and panic figuring out the time and year he landed in. He also tries to track down the Army Of The 12 Monkeys responsible for the outbreak of the deadly virus. In 2013, a television series based on the movie was announced under the same title.
Watch the trailer of 12 Monkeys here.
The Matrix - 1999
Director: The Wachowskis
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano
The first instalment in the Matrix sequel, The Matrix, is one of the best Hollywood sci-fi movies. Keanu Reeves is hacker Neo, who uncovers the truth that the world isn't real – and everyone lives in a computer simulation called the Matrix. Along with discovering the truth about everyone’s existence, he also learns how to break it by bending the laws of physics, seeing through the code, and uploading kung-fu moves directly into his brain. The sister duo engineered an era-defining tale that spoke to the pre-millennial crowd.
Watch one of the must watch sci-fi Hollywood movies, The Matrix, only on Netflix.
Inception - 2010
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Elliot Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Michael Caine
Inception is one of the top Hollywood sci-fi movies of all time with a multilayered artwork of timelines and realities, dead-ends and false ledges, that leaves the audience with fewer answers and more questions. Christopher Nolan’s big-budget movie, shot on four continents, is a marvellous piece of art. The structure of the movie that slowly unfolds as we follow a team of dream “extractors” deeper and deeper is truly appreciable. You’re bound to get lost somewhere in the middle of this maze of a movie. But don’t worry, you are not alone!
Watch The Inception only on Amazon Prime Video.
Snowpiercer - 2013
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Cast: Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Ewen Bremner, Ko Asung, John Hurt, Ed Harris
Snowpiecer is one of the best Hollywood sci-fi movies based on the novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob. The English directorial debut of Korean movie director Bong Joon-ho is unique and futuristic. The high-concept satire showcases the last remaining humans crammed onto a train circumferencing a deep-frozen Earth. The Korean director also addresses the prevailing concern of class division through this almost nearing future vision. Snowpiercer flaunts a great genre mix with jaw-dropping action sequences and distinctive wit.
Watch the trailer of Snowpiercer here.
Her - 2013
Director: Spike Jonze
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, Scarlett Johansson
Even as a computer operating system, we can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t fall head over heels with Scarlett’s Johansson’s sultry voice and carefree attitude as showcased in one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time - Her. The plot of the movie is born out of an article about a website that allowed for instant messaging with an artificial intelligence program. Her is a futuristic love story that checks all the boxes of a sappy romance. It has infatuation, inadequacy, infidelity - all the aspects that make the movie all the more intriguing. Joaquin Phoenix’s character falls in love with the AI in an all too realistic manner; his way of overcoming the tragedy that is his love life.
Watch Her only on Netflix.
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ - 2014
Director: Matt Reeves
Cast: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee
One of the best Hollywood sci-fi movies Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is a dark sequel to 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes years after the outbreak of a simian virus that has left the majority of Earth's human population dead and allowed hundreds of genetically evolved apes to develop a flourishing society. The approach of the movie towards storytelling was grand and it gave Caesar his rightful position as the main character of the series. The leader of the apes played by Andy Serkis tries to negotiate a truce with the surviving humans but the lack of trust and understanding on both sides results in a catastrophe. It is one of the top Hollywood sci-fi movies with epic action sequences and a well-written storyline.
Watch Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes only on Disney+ Hotstar.
Edge Of Tomorrow - 2014
Director: Doug Liman
Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson
One of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time, Edge Of Tomorrow is narrated like a video game. Tom Cruise playing the character of Cage, a PR executive, attempts to fight ferocious spider-like aliens only to realize that he is stuck in a time loop of the same day and relives it again and again. The plotline of the movie is extensive, portraying every possible way Cage can screw up his attempt at killing the aliens. The character of a strong soldier played by Emily Blunt is the highlight of the movie who has to train the PR executive to become a warrior.
Watch Edge Of Tomorrow only on Netflix.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens - 2015
Director: J.J. Abrams
Cast: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Max von Sydow
Hands down, this is one of the best Hollywood space movies ever made. This movie of the Star Wars series recreated the magic of the original trilogy and created a perfect image of the world the audience saw a long time ago. This extension of the sci-fi movie introduced a new generation of dark lords and do-gooder heroes portrayed by a charismatic cast. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is warm, funny as well as manages to strike an emotional chord.
Watch Star Force: The Force Awakens only on Disney+ Hotstar.
The Martian - 2015
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Mackenzie Davis, Benedict Wong, Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Another one of the best Hollywood space movies is The Martian directed by Ridley Scott. An adaptation of the novel The Martian written by Andy Weir, the movie showcases an astronaut Mark Watney stuck on the big red planet Mars. Soon enough, our hero starts to figure out how to survive. A perfect blend of the director’s vision and the hero’s charming and witty performance, The Martian instantly grasps the attention of the audience.
Watch The Martian only on Disney+ Hotstar.
Annihilation - 2018
Director: Alex Garland
Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, Oscar Isaac
Loosely adapted from the novel of the same name written by Jeff VanderMeer, Alex Garland's second movie as director, Annihilation, is one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time. Devastated by the sudden disappearance of her husband, scientist Lena ventures into ‘The Shimmer’ along with a team of scientists to discover the mystery behind it - only to emerge as a sole survivor ever returned from ‘Area X.’ Annihilation addresses grief, depression, and also showcases mutant bears and plant-creature hybrids with beautiful imagery.
Watch Annihilation, one of the best Hollywood sci-fi movies, only on Netflix.