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The Best Alien Movies Ever Made

Updated September 17, 2020 261.2k votes 22.2k voters 1.7m views181 items

List RulesMovies must feature extra-terrestrials

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

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  • 1
    Aliens is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    5,538
    1,767

    Aliens

    Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton

    Released1986

    Directed byJames Cameron

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  • 2
    Predator is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    4,913
    1,605

    Predator

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura

    Released1987

    Directed byJohn McTiernan

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  • 3
    Alien is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    5,629
    2,001

    Alien

    Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt

    Released1979

    Directed byRidley Scott

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  • 4
    The Fifth Element is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    4,047
    1,538

    The Fifth Element

    Milla Jovovich, Bruce Willis

    Released1997

    Directed byLuc Besson

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  • 5
    Star Wars Episode V: The Empir is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    3,994
    1,543

    Released1980

    Directed byIrvin Kershner

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  • 6
    Men in Black is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    3,826
    1,781

    Men in Black

    Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone

    Released1997

    Directed byBarry Sonnenfeld

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  • 7
    Star Wars: Episode IV - A New  is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    4,148
    1,925

    Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

    Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

    Released1977

    Directed byGeorge Lucas

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  • 8
    The Thing is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    2,810
    694

    The Thing

    Kurt Russell, Keith David

    Released1982

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

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  • 9
    Independence Day is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    4,538
    2,134

    Independence Day

    Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum

    Released1996

    Directed byRoland Emmerich

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  • 10
    District 9 is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    3,832
    1,818

    District 9

    Sharlto Copley, Jed Brophy

    Released2009

    Directed byNeill Blomkamp

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  • 11
    Star Wars: Episode VI - Return is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    3,087
    1,446

    Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

    Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

    Released1983

    Directed byRichard Marquand

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  • 12
    Close Encounters of the Third  is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    3,313
    1,595

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr

    Released1977

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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  • 13
    Guardians of the Galaxy is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    750
    198

    Guardians of the Galaxy

    Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana

    Released2014

    Directed byJames Gunn

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  • 14
    Stargate is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    2,703
    1,268

    Stargate

    Kurt Russell, James Spader

    Released1994

    Directed byRoland Emmerich

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  • 15
    Total Recall is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    2,579
    1,465

    Total Recall

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone

    Released1990

    Directed byPaul Verhoeven

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  • 16
    Pitch Black is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    2,441
    1,295

    Pitch Black

    Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell

    Released2000

    Directed byDavid Twohy

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  • 17
    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    3,375
    2,097

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

    Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak

    Released1982

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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  • 18
    Star Trek is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    1,987
    1,146

    Star Trek

    Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Morrison

    Released2009

    Directed byJ.J. Abrams

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  • 19
    The Abyss is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    2,065
    841

    The Abyss

    Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

    Released1989

    Directed byJames Cameron

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  • 20
    Avatar is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    3,246
    1,624

    Avatar

    Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver

    Released2009

    Directed byJames Cameron

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  • 21
    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    617
    256

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

    Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana

    Released2017

    Directed byJames Gunn

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  • 22
    Starship Troopers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    2,795
    1,540

    Starship Troopers

    Neil Patrick Harris, Denise Richards

    Released1997

    Directed byPaul Verhoeven

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  • 23
    Thor: Ragnarok is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    312
    159

    Thor: Ragnarok

    Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston

    Released2017

    Directed byTaika Waititi

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  • 24
    Guardians of the Galaxy Franch is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
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  • 25
    Signs is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
    3,140
    1,765

    Signs

    Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix

    Released2002

    Directed byM. Night Shyamalan

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