The Best Alien Movies Ever Made

Over 23.4K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Voting Rules
Movies must feature extra-terrestrials
Latest additions: No One Will Save You, Landscape With Invisible Hand, Jules
Most divisive: The Thing from Another World

The best alien movies, ranked by fans of space and sci-fi genres. Famous alien related movies can take several forms. What are the best alien movies? Many films about extraterrestrials, alien themed 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.

Whether the movies are funny, scary, or totally crazy, there are plenty of parallels to be found between them. Consider the similarities of 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 like Arrival. 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. All-in-all this is far more than just a top 10 list of the best alien movies.

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 vote down the ones that aren't worth your time. If you find you want more ideas then check out the best alien movies on Netflixbest action movies on Netflix, best movies on Netflix, the best Predator movies, and our list of scary movies on Netflix

Ranked by
  • The Thing
    1
    Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, T.K. Carter
    4,056 votes
    • Released: 1982
    • Directed by: John Carpenter
    In the frost-bitten isolation of Antarctica, a team of American researchers find themselves under siege. Their adversary? An alien life-form with an unnerving ability to assume the appearance of its victims. The team's helicopter pilot, R.J. MacReady (Kurt Russell), steps up in defense of his comrades, igniting a nerve-wracking battle of paranoia and survival against their shape-shifting foe. This is The Thing, a chilling blend of science fiction and horror directed by John Carpenter. The movie, released in 1982, stands as a testament to practical effects, expertly designed suspense and a hauntingly desolate setting that amplifies the terror within.

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  • Aliens
    2
    Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn
    8,144 votes
    • Released: 1986
    • Directed by: James Cameron
    In the science fiction thriller Aliens, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), survivor of the spaceship Nostromo, returns to confront her nightmares. Waking up 57 years later, she discovers a human colony has been established on the alien-infested planet she once escaped from. Accompanied by a squad of marines, Ripley must face her fears and the extraterrestrial menace once again. Directed by James Cameron, this sequel boasts an Oscar-winning visual effects team that brings the terrifying creatures to life. With suspenseful twists and thrilling action sequences, Aliens is a cinematic masterpiece in its genre.

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  • Alien
    3
    Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt
    8,463 votes
    • Released: 1979
    • Directed by: Ridley Scott
    In Ridley Scott's 1979 movie Alien, the crew of the commercial space tug Nostromo, led by Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), encounter an unknown life form after being awakened from stasis to investigate a distress signal from a distant planet. This sci-fi horror film, known for its atmospheric tension and iconic creature design, takes the audience on a harrowing journey through the claustrophobic confines of a spaceship. As the alien organism infiltrates their ranks, survival becomes paramount, and no one is safe. The film won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, testament to its groundbreaking cinematic visuals.

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  • Predator
    4
    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura
    7,182 votes
    • Released: 1987
    • Directed by: John McTiernan
    In the heart of Central America's jungle, Major Alan Dutch Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) leads an elite special forces team on a rescue mission. His comrades, including the stoic Mac Eliot (Bill Duke) and the wisecracking Blain Cooper (Jesse Ventura), are no strangers to danger. But they're not alone. An extraterrestrial hunter lurks in the shadows, stalking them with alien technology and ruthless precision. The Predator, as it comes to be known, turns Dutch's mission into a desperate fight for survival. In this sci-fi thriller, man becomes the hunted in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

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  • The Fifth Element
    5
    Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Ian Holm
    5,959 votes
    • Released: 1997
    • Directed by: Luc Besson
    In The Fifth Element, a science fiction spectacle directed by Luc Besson, former special forces soldier Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis) finds himself in the middle of a cosmic struggle. He's entrusted with protecting Leeloo (Milla Jovovich), the fifth element and humanity's last hope against a looming evil. The pair, aided by flamboyant radio host Ruby Rhod (Chris Tucker), embark on a thrilling race against time. Their quest? To gather four elemental stones and prevent the annihilation of life as we know it. Set in a strikingly imagined 23rd century, this film is an action-packed rollercoaster ride with a touch of comedy.

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  • The Abyss
    6
    Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn
    3,251 votes
    • Released: 1989
    • Directed by: James Cameron
    In The Abyss, a deep-sea oil drilling team, led by foreman Virgil Bud Brigman (Ed Harris), confronts an otherworldly phenomenon after a U.S. nuclear submarine sinks mysteriously. Lindsey Brigman (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), Bud's estranged wife and the project engineer, joins the rescue mission. Together they dive into the ocean depths, where strange and unexpected events unfold. The film, directed by James Cameron, is a blend of science fiction and adventure that earned an Academy Award for its groundbreaking visual effects. The narrative weaves tension with marvel, as it explores humanity's relationship with the unknown beneath the waves.

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