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Total Nerd The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies  

43.0k votes 2.0k voters 31.2k views 169 items Embed

List Rules Movies which are more than just action. Please don't include superhero movies or The Matrix series, Star Wars series, Star Trek series, or the Terminator series.

Cerebral sci-fi is sci-fi that cares as much about ideas as explosions. I like Star Wars, Star Trek, and superhero movies. But how many more space battles can I watch without getting bored?

Sometimes cerebral sci-fi is weird  but not for the sake of being weird. How many people understand the ending of 2001, a fine example of cerebral sci-fi? These kinds of movies keep your mind occupied rather than force you to sit on the couch passively for two hours. My favorites include Gattaca, 12 Monkeys, Moon, and Contact.

This list contains movies I like, movies I dislike, and some I haven't seen. You can help the rest of us decide what to see by voting for your favorites and voting down the ones you disliked. You can also add movies to the list. Movies which are more than just action. Please don't include superhero movies or The Matrix series, Star Wars series, Star Trek series, or the Terminator series.

list ordered by

1
877 170
Blade Runner is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
Blade Runner Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young

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2
670 171
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JohnWa added Serenity Summer Glau, Morena Baccarin, Nathan Fillion

3
754 213
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12 Monkeys Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe

4
595 172
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Close Encounters of the Third Kind Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, Carl Weathers

5
662 205
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2001: A Space Odyssey Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, Douglas Rain

6
586 180
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The Abyss Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Chris Elliott

7
684 231
Inception is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
Inception Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

8
744 275
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District 9 Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, David James

9
532 175
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JohnWa added Back to the Future Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson

10
487 156
The Martian is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
The Martian Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig

11
480 155
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Enemy Mine Dennis Quaid, Louis Gossett, Jr.

12
406 124
Ex Machina is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
Ex Machina Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

13
427 136
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CarlSwart added Planet of the Apes Charlton Heston, Linda Harrison, James Whitmore

14
487 175
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Gattaca Ethan Hawke, Jude Law, Uma Thurman

15
539 202
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Interstellar Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain

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16
516 191
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Contact Matthew McConaughey, Jodie Foster, Tom Skerritt

17
556 212
Groundhog Day is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
Groundhog Day Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott

18
504 190
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Unbreakable Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright

19
465 171
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Donnie Darko Drew Barrymore, Ashley Tisdale, Jake Gyllenhaal

20
432 155
Dark City is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
Dark City Jennifer Connelly, Kiefer Sutherland, Melissa George - Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

21
233 51
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StevenHess added Highlander Sean Connery, Clancy Brown, Michael Hayes

22
447 167
Edge of Tomorrow/Live.Die.Repe... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
Edge of Tomorrow/Live.Die.Repeat Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt

23
204 44
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
Jurassic Park Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough

24
314 106
Children of Men is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
CarlSwart added Children of Men Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Michael Caine

25
430 172
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Looper Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

26
451 184
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Minority Report Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Max von Sydow

27
428 172
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Idiocracy Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph, Thomas Haden Church

28
355 137
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JohnWa added The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Zooey Deschanel, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich

29
337 133
The Fly is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
stubb added The Fly Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, David Cronenberg - Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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30
403 173
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The Prestige Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, Hugh Jackman

31
317 129
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Moon Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey, Kaya Scodelario

32
337 146
Independence Day is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
JohnWa added Independence Day Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox

33
327 144
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JohnWa added I, Robot Will Smith, Shia LaBeouf, Bridget Moynahan

34
303 130
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Outbreak Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman

35
383 183
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The Truman Show Jim Carrey, Paul Giamatti, Ed Harris

36
269 122
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Limitless Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Bruce Lee

37
313 152
Elysium is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
Elysium Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Alice Braga

38
262 119
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Flatliners Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland

39
237 103
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Fahrenheit 451 Julie Christie, Cyril Cusack, Oskar Werner

40
247 110
The Birds is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
stubb added The Birds Alfred Hitchcock, Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette

41
257 118
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Starman Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, M. C. Gainey

42
143 43
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Kacy Cagle Phillips added They Live Roddy Piper, Keith David, Tommy Morrison

43
209 88
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JohnWa added Equilibrium Christian Bale, Sean Bean, Taye Diggs

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44
256 126
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Cocoon Steve Guttenberg, Clint Howard, Brian Dennehy

45
322 180
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The Butterfly Effect Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Logan Lerman

46
175 76
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CarlSwart added Metropolis Brigitte Helm, Gustav Fröhlich, Theodor Loos

47
271 149
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Rise of the Planet of the Apes James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow

48
286 160
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotle... is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Carrey - Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

49
206 102
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MatthewGill added Westworld Yul Brynner, James Brolin, Dick Van Patten

50
260 143
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Brazil Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Michael Palin - Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial