scifi The Best Alien Movies Ever Made

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List Rules Movies must feature extra-terrestrials

The best alien movies, ranked by fans of space and sci-fi genres. Alien movies can take several forms. What are the best alien movies? Many films about extraterrestrials, alien abductions, or visitors from other planets turn them into traditional horror villains. These "alien war" movies tend to follow a simple pattern: 1) UFOs arrive on Earth, 2) a misunderstanding or outright evil intent sparks a war between aliens and humanity, 3) with massively destructive and terrifying results. If you find you want more ideas then check out the best action movies on Netflix, best movies on Netflix instant and our list of scary movies on Netflix

Whether the movies are funny, scary, or totally crazy, there are plenty of parallels to be found between them. Consider the similarities of the recent Battle: LA, Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds, and even Tim Burton's genre parody, Mars Attacks. However, there are also films in which aliens are not an interstellar threat but a boon to humanity, or at least well-intentioned explorers. E.T. is the classic example of the "friendly alien" genre – and the xenomorphs in the Alien franchise stay in outer space, so that's good for humans, too. E.T. is also one of the best alien kids movies ever made.

What are the best alien films of all time? Often in these films, the aliens are tragically misunderstood, and it's the primal nature of human beings that spark conflict. Finally, there are numerous films about aliens which attempt to "realistically" depict what might happen if humans and extraterrestrials interacted. These include Close Encounters of the Third Kind (another Spielberg film!), District 9, and even abduction films purportedly based on "true stories," such as Fire in the Sky.

While this list does not include all alien movies ever made, it is a list of the best alien films. What do you think are the greatest alien movies of all time? Vote up the good alien movies you'd watch over and over, and down-vote the ones that aren't worth your time.

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Alien Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt Ian Holm

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Aliens Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton Michael Biehn

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Predator Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura Carl Weathers

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Star Wars is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Star Wars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher Mark Hamill

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E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak Debra Winger

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Independence Day Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum Vivica A. Fox

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Close Encounters of the Third Kind Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr Carl Weathers

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Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher Mark Hamill

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Men in Black Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone Steven Spielberg

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The Fifth Element Milla Jovovich, Bruce Willis Gary Oldman

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Return of the Jedi Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher Mark Hamill

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Total Recall Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone Michael Ironside

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District 9 Sharlto Copley, Jed Brophy Vanessa Haywood

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Prometheus is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Prometheus Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender Idris Elba

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Signs Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix Abigail Breslin

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The X-Files Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny Blythe Danner

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Stargate Kurt Russell, James Spader Djimon Hounsou

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Starship Troopers Neil Patrick Harris, Denise Richards Amy Smart

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2001: A Space Odyssey Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter Ed Bishop

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Contact Matthew McConaughey, Jodie Foster Jay Leno

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Pitch Black Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell Keith David

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The Thing from Another World is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
The Thing from Another World James Arness, Paul Frees George Fenneman

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WALL-E Sigourney Weaver, Laraine Newman Kathy Najimy

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Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kha... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Kirstie Alley, William Shatner Leonard Nimoy

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Star Trek Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Morrison Winona Ryder

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War of the Worlds Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman Channing Tatum

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Avatar Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver Michelle Rodriguez

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The Day the Earth Stood Still is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
The Day the Earth Stood Still Patricia Neal, Michael Rennie Frances Bavier

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Galaxy Quest Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman Tim Allen

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Mars Attacks! Natalie Portman, Jack Nicholson Sarah Jessica Parker

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The Abyss Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio Chris Elliott

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Super 8 Elle Fanning, AJ Michalka Kyle Chandler

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Superman Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman Christopher Reeve

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Star Trek Into Darkness is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Star Trek Into Darkness Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch Alice Eve

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Spaceballs Joan Rivers, John Hurt Mel Brooks

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Men in Black II Michael Jackson, Will Smith Rosario Dawson

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The Thing is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
The Thing Kurt Russell, Keith David John Carpenter

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Cloverfield Odette Annable, Lizzy Caplan Jessica Lucas

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Paul is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Paul Steven Spielberg, Sigourney Weaver Kristen Wiig

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Predator 2 Gary Busey, Bill Paxton Danny Glover

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Invasion of the Body Snatchers Dana Wynter, Sam Peckinpah Carolyn Jones

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Cocoon Steve Guttenberg, Clint Howard Brian Dennehy

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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Zooey Deschanel, Helen Mirren John Malkovich

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The Chronicles of Riddick Vin Diesel, Judi Dench Thandie Newton

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Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor Samuel L. Jackson

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They Live is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
They Live Roddy Piper, Keith David Tommy Morrison

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Species Michelle Williams, Ben Kingsley Natasha Henstridge

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Evolution is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Evolution Julianne Moore, Sarah Silverman Dan Aykroyd

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Alien vs. Predator Sanaa Lathan, Lance Henriksen Tommy Flanagan

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Dreamcatcher Morgan Freeman, Timothy Olyphant Damian Lewis