watchworthy presents

The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated March 31, 2020 570.3k votes 21.9k voters 441.7k views 570 items

List Rules Which science fiction films are the best? Vote up your favorites and add any that aren't already on the list.

What are the greatest sci-fi movies of all time? Science fiction films are among the most popular movies in cinematic history, with films like Star Wars and Aliens keeping audiences on the edge of their collective seats for decades. This list includes these classics, and many more, but it is by no means complete. Feel free to add your favorite sci-fi movies if they aren't listed, and vote for your favorites.

Want to see more of the best Sci-Fi? Here are the Best Sci-Fi TV Shows of All Time

Great sci-fi films include stories of extraterrestrial life, time travel, space travel, robots and more. Some of these amazing science fiction movies are more fantasy-oriented, while others are a bit closer to reality. Either way, sci-fi films keep audiences rapt with tales of science and technology, combined, at times with the supernatural.

Some sci-fi films are based on classic novels or short stories by such heavyweight authors as H.G. Wells (War of the WorldsThe Invisible Man) or Philip K. Dick (Blade RunnerMinority Report).

What are the best sci-fi movies of all time? This list of the best sci-fi films is also crowd ranked, meaning you can rerank your own greatest sci-fi movies. Your reranks can change the overall order of the films on the list! Also, if you love sci-fi, check out this list of the best new sci-fi shows of the last few years. 

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Star Wars Episode V: The... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

Released: 1980

Directed by: Irvin Kershner

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

More Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back 

Here's Why The Last Jedi And Empire Strikes Back Are Pretty Much The Same Movie #9 of 190 The Best Alien Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
Aliens is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn

Released: 1986

Directed by: James Cameron

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

More Aliens 

#1 of 190 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #37 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
Alien is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm

Released: 1979

Directed by: Ridley Scott

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

More Alien 

50 Surprising Facts You Didn't Know About Alien #1 of 190 The Best Alien Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
Blade Runner is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young

Released: 1982

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Blade Runner is a 1982 American neo-noir dystopian science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos. The screenplay, ...more

More Blade Runner 

Blade Runner Already Had A Sequel, And It Was The Trashiest Movie Of 1998 #192 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #37 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

5
The Matrix is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss

Released: 1999

Directed by: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

The Matrix is a 1999 American-Australian science fiction action film written and directed by The Wachowskis, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, and Joe ...more

More The Matrix 

33 Things You Didn't Know About 'The Matrix' Trilogy #160 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
The Terminator is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Paxton, Linda Hamilton

Released: 1984

Directed by: James Cameron

The Terminator is a 1984 American science fiction/horror action film directed by James Cameron, written by Cameron and the film's producer Gale Anne Hurd. Schwarzenegger plays the Terminator, a ...more

More The Terminator 

56 Things You Didn't Know About the Terminator Movies #15 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #8 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

7
Star Wars is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

Released: 1977

Directed by: George Lucas

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

More Star Wars 

The Most Hated Star Wars Villains #6 of 190 The Best Alien Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
Predator is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, Carl Weathers

Released: 1987

Directed by: John McTiernan

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

More Predator 

Somehow, Making Predator Was WAY More Insane Than The Actual Movie #3 of 190 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #139 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

9
Alita: Battle Angel is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
AloysiusDM added Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly

Released: 2019

Directed by: Robert Rodriguez

Alita: Battle Angel is a 2019 American science fiction action film directed by Robert Rodriguez, based on the manga by Yukito Kishiro. After being revived by Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz), ...more

More Alita: Battle Angel 

Easter Eggs And References In 'Alita: Battle Angel' #119 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies #7 of 92 The Most Rewatchable Action Movies

10
Star Wars: Episode VI –R... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

Released: 1983

Directed by: Richard Marquand

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

More Star Wars: Episode VI –Return of the Jedi 

#16 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #20 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

11
Guardians of the Galaxy ... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
AndrewGreen added Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista

Released: 2014

Directed by: James Gunn

Guardians of the Galaxy is a 2014 American superhero film directed by James Gunn, based on the Marvel Comics superhero team. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) forms a group of intergalactic "bad ...more

More Guardians of the Galaxy 

Guardians of the Galaxy Fan Theories #34 of 190 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #30 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

12
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough

Released: 1993

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Jurassic Park is a 1993 American science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the first installment of the Jurassic Park franchise. It is based on the 1990 novel of the ...more

More Jurassic Park 

Here's Just How Wrong Jurassic Park Is About Dinosaurs #4 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on The 50 Highest Grossing '90s Movies, Ranked

13
Terminator 2: Judgment D... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton

Released: 1991

Directed by: James Cameron

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a 1991 American science fiction action thriller film written, produced and directed by James Cameron. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert ...more

More Terminator 2: Judgment Day 

#9 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #32 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

14
Men in Black is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
but chickens double d added Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Steven Spielberg

Released: 1997

Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld

Did you love this Will Smith movie?

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

More Men in Black 

#7 of 190 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #497 of 721 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

15
The Fifth Element is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
Milla Jovovich, Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman

Released: 1997

Directed by: Luc Besson

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

More The Fifth Element 

Things You Still Don't Know About 'The Fifth Element,' Even After Watching It 500 Times On Cable #8 of 190 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #56 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

16
Star Trek II: The Wrath ... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
Kirstie Alley, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy

Released: 1982

Directed by: Nicholas Meyer

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is a 1982 sci-fi film written by Jack B. Sowards and Nicholas Meyer adn directed by Nicholas Meyer.

More Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan 

#173 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #79 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

17
Total Recall is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside

Released: 1990

Directed by: Paul Verhoeven

Total Recall is a 1990 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven. In 2084, a construction worker, Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger), suddenly finds himself embroiled in ...more

More Total Recall 

Every Warning Sci-Fi Writer Philip K. Dick Gave Us About Technology That Is Coming True #15 of 190 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #147 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

18
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop

Released: 1968

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay was written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, and was partially inspired by ...more

More 2001: A Space Odyssey 

#87 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #247 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

19
Ranker Video
Kurt Russell, James Spader, Djimon Hounsou

Released: 1994

Directed by: Roland Emmerich

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

More Stargate 

#10 of 190 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #403 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #180 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

20
Ranker Video
Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd

Released: 1984

Directed by: Ivan Reitman

Ghostbusters is a 1984 American sci-fi-fantasy comedy film, directed and produced by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The film stars Bill Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis as ...more

More Ghostbusters 

Behind The Scenes Secrets From 'Ghostbusters' Most People Have Never Heard #2 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #94 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

21
The Thing is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
Kurt Russell, Keith David, John Carpenter

Released: 1982

Directed by: 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

More The Thing 

#116 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #928 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

22
Planet of the Apes is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
Charlton Heston, Linda Harrison, James Whitmore

Released: 1968

Directed by: Franklin J. Schaffner

Planet of the Apes is a 1968 American science fiction film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and starring Charlton Heston. Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, and James ...more

More Planet of the Apes 

#239 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #75 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #22 of 135 The Scariest Animal Movies Ever Made

23
Ranker Video
Summer Glau, Morena Baccarin, Nathan Fillion

Released: 2005

Directed by: Joss Whedon

Serenity is a 2005 American space western film written and directed by Joss Whedon. It is a continuation of Whedon's short-lived 2002 Fox science fiction television series Firefly and stars the ...more

More Serenity 

#189 of 394 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #21 of 159 The Best Science Fiction Action Movieslisted on The Very Best Movies About Hackers

24
Interstellar is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
mysmith50 added Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Damon

Released: 2014

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Interstellar is a British-American 2014 science fiction epic film directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine. The film ...more

More Interstellar 

#425 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #28 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

25
Edge of Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
PascalWaitek added Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton

Released: 2014

Directed by: Doug Liman

Edge of Tomorrow is a 2014 American military science fiction thriller film starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. Doug Liman directed the film. The film takes place in a future where Earth is ...more

More Edge of Tomorrow 

#37 of 190 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #503 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies