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Total Nerd The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies  

43.1k votes 2.0k voters 31.6k views 170 items Embed

List Rules Movies which are more than just action. Please don't include superhero movies or The Matrix series, Star Wars series, Star Trek series, or the Terminator series.

Cerebral sci-fi is sci-fi that cares as much about ideas as explosions. I like Star Wars, Star Trek, and superhero movies. But how many more space battles can I watch without getting bored?

Sometimes cerebral sci-fi is weird  but not for the sake of being weird. How many people understand the ending of 2001, a fine example of cerebral sci-fi? These kinds of movies keep your mind occupied rather than force you to sit on the couch passively for two hours. My favorites include Gattaca, 12 Monkeys, Moon, and Contact.

This list contains movies I like, movies I dislike, and some I haven't seen. You can help the rest of us decide what to see by voting for your favorites and voting down the ones you disliked. You can also add movies to the list. Movies which are more than just action. Please don't include superhero movies or The Matrix series, Star Wars series, Star Trek series, or the Terminator series.

list ordered by

1
880 171
Blade Runner is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
Blade Runner Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young

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2
672 173
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JohnWa added Serenity Summer Glau, Morena Baccarin, Nathan Fillion

3
759 214
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12 Monkeys Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe

4
596 174
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Close Encounters of the Third Kind Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, Carl Weathers

5
668 206
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2001: A Space Odyssey Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, Douglas Rain

6
587 182
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The Abyss Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Chris Elliott

7
687 232
Inception is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
Inception Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

8
747 276
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District 9 Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, David James

9
534 177
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JohnWa added Back to the Future Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson

10
489 156
The Martian is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
The Martian Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig

11
481 156
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Enemy Mine Dennis Quaid, Louis Gossett, Jr.

12
409 124
Ex Machina is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
Ex Machina Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

13
429 136
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CarlSwart added Planet of the Apes Charlton Heston, Linda Harrison, James Whitmore

14
490 175
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Gattaca Ethan Hawke, Jude Law, Uma Thurman

15
543 202
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Interstellar Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain

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16
519 191
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Contact Matthew McConaughey, Jodie Foster, Tom Skerritt

17
558 213
Groundhog Day is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
Groundhog Day Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott

18
505 190
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Unbreakable Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright

19
468 171
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Donnie Darko Drew Barrymore, Ashley Tisdale, Jake Gyllenhaal

20
434 155
Dark City is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
Dark City Jennifer Connelly, Kiefer Sutherland, Melissa George - Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

21
233 52
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StevenHess added Highlander Sean Connery, Clancy Brown, Michael Hayes

22
448 167
Edge of Tomorrow/Live.Die.Repe... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
Edge of Tomorrow/Live.Die.Repeat Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt

23
206 45
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
Jurassic Park Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough

24
316 106
Children of Men is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
CarlSwart added Children of Men Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Michael Caine

25
455 184
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Minority Report Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Max von Sydow

26
431 172
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Idiocracy Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph, Thomas Haden Church

27
431 173
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Looper Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

28
357 137
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JohnWa added The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Zooey Deschanel, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich

29
340 133
The Fly is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
stubb added The Fly Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, David Cronenberg - Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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30
405 173
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The Prestige Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, Hugh Jackman

31
319 129
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Moon Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey, Kaya Scodelario

32
338 147
Independence Day is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
JohnWa added Independence Day Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox

33
329 144
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JohnWa added I, Robot Will Smith, Shia LaBeouf, Bridget Moynahan

34
305 130
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Outbreak Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman

35
384 183
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The Truman Show Jim Carrey, Paul Giamatti, Ed Harris

36
270 122
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Limitless Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Bruce Lee

37
265 119
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Flatliners Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland

38
313 152
Elysium is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
Elysium Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Alice Braga

39
238 103
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Fahrenheit 451 Julie Christie, Cyril Cusack, Oskar Werner

40
247 110
The Birds is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
stubb added The Birds Alfred Hitchcock, Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette

41
258 118
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Starman Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, M. C. Gainey

42
144 43
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Kacy Cagle Phillips added They Live Roddy Piper, Keith David, Tommy Morrison

43
209 88
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JohnWa added Equilibrium Christian Bale, Sean Bean, Taye Diggs

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44
256 126
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Cocoon Steve Guttenberg, Clint Howard, Brian Dennehy

45
323 180
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The Butterfly Effect Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Logan Lerman

46
176 76
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CarlSwart added Metropolis Brigitte Helm, Gustav Fröhlich, Theodor Loos

47
207 102
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MatthewGill added Westworld Yul Brynner, James Brolin, Dick Van Patten

48
271 149
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Rise of the Planet of the Apes James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow

49
286 160
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotle... is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Carrey - Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

50
262 143
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Brazil Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Michael Palin - Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial