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The Best Alien Movies Ever Made

Updated November 23, 2020 261.1k votes 22.3k voters 1.7m views186 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
    5,556
    1,773

    Aliens

    Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton

    Released1986

    Directed byJames Cameron

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  • 2
    Alien
    5,651
    2,003

    Alien

    Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt

    Released1979

    Directed byRidley Scott

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  • 3
    Predator
    4,927
    1,611

    Predator

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura

    Released1987

    Directed byJohn McTiernan

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  • 4
    The Fifth Element
    4,058
    1,543

    The Fifth Element

    Milla Jovovich, Bruce Willis

    Released1997

    Directed byLuc Besson

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  • 5
    Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
    4,005
    1,551

    Released1980

    Directed byIrvin Kershner

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  • 6
    Men in Black
    3,836
    1,788

    Men in Black

    Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone

    Released1997

    Directed byBarry Sonnenfeld

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  • 7
    The Thing
    2,810
    694

    The Thing

    Kurt Russell, Keith David

    Released1982

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

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  • 8
    Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
    4,160
    1,930

    Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

    Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

    Released1977

    Directed byGeorge Lucas

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  • 9
    Independence Day
    4,549
    2,140

    Independence Day

    Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum

    Released1996

    Directed byRoland Emmerich

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  • 10
    District 9
    3,852
    1,821

    District 9

    Sharlto Copley, Jed Brophy

    Released2009

    Directed byNeill Blomkamp

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  • 11
    Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
    3,100
    1,452

    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 Kind
    3,330
    1,598

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr

    Released1977

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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  • 13
    Guardians of the Galaxy
    757
    208

    Guardians of the Galaxy

    Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana

    Released2014

    Directed byJames Gunn

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  • 14
    Stargate
    2,716
    1,272

    Stargate

    Kurt Russell, James Spader

    Released1994

    Directed byRoland Emmerich

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  • 15
    Total Recall
    2,589
    1,468

    Total Recall

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone

    Released1990

    Directed byPaul Verhoeven

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  • 16
    Pitch Black
    2,447
    1,302

    Pitch Black

    Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell

    Released2000

    Directed byDavid Twohy

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  • 17
    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
    3,391
    2,097

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

    Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak

    Released1982

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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  • 18
    The Abyss
    2,075
    842

    The Abyss

    Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

    Released1989

    Directed byJames Cameron

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  • 19
    Star Trek
    1,993
    1,154

    Star Trek

    Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Morrison

    Released2009

    Directed byJ.J. Abrams

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  • 20
    Avatar
    3,253
    1,631

    Avatar

    Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver

    Released2009

    Directed byJames Cameron

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  • 21
    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
    618
    265

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

    Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana

    Released2017

    Directed byJames Gunn

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  • 22
    Starship Troopers
    2,807
    1,543

    Starship Troopers

    Neil Patrick Harris, Denise Richards

    Released1997

    Directed byPaul Verhoeven

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  • 23
    Thor: Ragnarok
    318
    166

    Thor: Ragnarok

    Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston

    Released2017

    Directed byTaika Waititi

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  • 24
    Signs
    3,148
    1,771

    Signs

    Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix

    Released2002

    Directed byM. Night Shyamalan

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  • 25
    The X-Files
    2,254
    1,343

    The X-Files

    Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny

    Released1998

    Directed byRob Bowman

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