Entertainment

The Best Alien Movies Ever Made  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
224.5k votes 19.3k voters 1.6M views 206 items

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, the best Predator movies, 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 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.

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.

list ordered by
1
Alien is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm
Alien is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott. The crew of the commercial space tug Nostromo encounter the eponymous Alien, a deadly and aggressive extraterrestrial set ...more
2
Aliens is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn
Aliens is a 1986 American science-fiction action horror film written and directed by James Cameron, produced by his then-wife Gale Anne Hurd, and starring Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael ...more
3
Predator is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, Carl Weathers
Predator is a 1987 American science fiction action film directed by John McTiernan and was distributed by 20th Century Fox. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo, Bill ...more
4
Independence Day is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox
Independence Day is a 1996 American science fiction disaster film co-written and directed by Roland Emmerich. The film stars Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, ...more
5
Star Wars is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill
Star Wars is a 1977 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas. The first release in the Star Wars franchise, it stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter ...more
6
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Debra Winger
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 American science fiction-family film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Melissa Mathison, featuring special effects by Carlo ...more
7
Men in Black is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Steven Spielberg
Men in Black is a 1997 American science fiction action comedy film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, produced by Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald and starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. ...more
8
Star Wars Episode V: The Empir... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill
The Empire Strikes Back is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner. Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan wrote the screenplay, with George Lucas writing the film's story ...more
9
District 9 is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Sharlto Copley, Jed Brophy, Vanessa Haywood
District 9 is a 2009 science fiction film directed by Neill Blomkamp, released August 13, 2009. It takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa. District 9 is based on Alive in Joburg, a short film ...more
10
Close Encounters of the Third ... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, Carl Weathers
Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a 1977 science fiction film, written and directed by Steven Spielberg and featuring Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Melinda Dillon, Teri Garr, ...more
11
Total Recall is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside
Total Recall is a 1990 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, and Sharon Stone. The film is loosely based on the Philip ...more
12
The Fifth Element is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Milla Jovovich, Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman
The Fifth Element is a 1997 English-language French science fiction action film directed and co-written by Luc Besson. It stars Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman and Milla Jovovich. Mostly set in the ...more
13
Star Wars: Episode VI –Return ... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed by Richard Marquand, and the third and final film in the original Star Wars trilogy. After a daring ...more
14
Signs is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin
Signs is a 2002 American science fiction thriller film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Executive producers for the film comprised Shyamalan, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy and Sam ...more
15
Starship Troopers is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Neil Patrick Harris, Denise Richards, Amy Smart
Starship Troopers is a 1997 American military science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Edward Neumeier. The story follows a young soldier named Johnny Rico and his ...more
16
Avatar is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez
Avatar is a 2009 American epic science fiction film written and directed by James Cameron, and starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Joel David Moore, Giovanni ...more
17
Star Trek is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Morrison, Winona Ryder
Star Trek is a 2009 science fiction film directed by J. J. Abrams, written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, and produced by Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk. It is the eleventh film based on the ...more
18
Stargate is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Kurt Russell, James Spader, Djimon Hounsou
Stargate is a 1994 French-American adventure science fiction film released through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Carolco Pictures. Created by Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, the film is the first ...more
19
The Thing is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Richard777 added Kurt Russell, Keith David, John Carpenter
The Thing is a 1982 American science fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter, written by Bill Lancaster, and starring Kurt Russell. The film's title refers to its primary antagonist: a ...more
20
Contact is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Matthew McConaughey, Jodie Foster, Jay Leno
Contact is a 1997 American science fiction drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis. It is a film adaptation of Carl Sagan's 1985 novel of the same name; Sagan and his wife Ann Druyan wrote the ...more
21
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, Blythe Danner
The X-Files is a 1998 American science fiction film written by Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz, and directed by Rob Bowman. It is the first feature film based on The X-Files series created by ...more
22
Prometheus is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba
Prometheus is a 2012 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof, and starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan ...more
23
Pitch Black is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Keith David
Pitch Black is a 2000 science fiction horror film co-written and directed by David Twohy. The film stars Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, and Keith David. Dangerous man Richard B. ...more
24
War of the Worlds is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Channing Tatum
War of the Worlds is a 2005 American epic science fiction disaster film and a loose adaptation of H. G. Wells's novel The War of the Worlds, directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Josh ...more
25
Galaxy Quest is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Alien Movies Ever Made
Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tim Allen
Galaxy Quest is a 1999 American science fiction action comedy film directed by Dean Parisot and written by David Howard and Robert Gordon. The film follows the adventures of a troupe of actors ...more