The Best Sci-Fi Movies With Female Leads

The best female-led science fiction movies are a major reason why the world is paying attention to films with female leads more than ever. It's always a great time of year to show respect and admiration to the impressively talented women who have been cast in starring roles across all genres – but for this list, we are going to focus on science fiction. The Alien franchise boasts mutiple leading ladies as well as the Resident Evil franchise which is helmed by the talented Milla Jovovich. There are plenty of other science fiction films with women in lead roles that are worth mentioning and you'll find them on the list below.

There are countless sci-fi movies with female leads to binge-watch on streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney+. There are also tons of epic sci-fi movies getting released in theaters every year! These are some of the most noteworthy sci-fi flicks with empowering female actresses taking the lead. 


  • Alita: Battle Angel
    Photo: 20th Century Fox

    Adapted from Japanese manga artist Yukito Kishiro's Gunnm, the 2019 cyperpunk action movie stars Rosa Salazar in her first leading role as a cyborg warrior. Because of Salazar's performance, the stunning visual effects, and the futuristic setting, the film was a box office success and garnered a dedicated fanbase. Thanks to the fans, who voiced their support online via #AlitaArmy, Alita was re-released in theaters in October 2020, and may possibly get a sequel. 

    Set several centuries in the future, the abandoned Alita is found in the scrapyard of Iron City by Ido, a compassionate cyber-doctor who takes the unconscious cyborg Alita to his clinic. When Alita awakens, she has no memory of who she is, nor does she have any recognition of the world she finds herself in. As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield her from her mysterious past.
    • Actors: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Keean Johnson, Mahershala Ali, Jennifer Connelly
    • Released: 2019
    • Directed by: Robert Rodriguez

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  • Alien
    Photo: 20th Century Fox
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    Sigourney Weaver was a known actress in 1979 but it was her role as Ellen Ripley in Alien that would catapult her to stardom. Her performance outshines those of other veteran actors such as Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, and Harry Dean Stanton, who are legends in their own right. Not only did she become the face of the franchise, she became a template for other heroines in future sci-fi films - lookin' at you Underwater.

    In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey home to investigate a distress call from an alien vessel. The terror begins when the crew encounters a nest of eggs inside the alien ship. An organism from inside an egg leaps out and attaches itself to one of the crew, causing him to fall into a coma.
    • Actors: Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton
    • Released: 1979
    • Directed by: Ridley Scott

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  • Resident Evil
    Photo: Pathé Distribution

    Milla Jovovich locked herself in as the queen of action sci-fi movies with her role as Leeloo de Sabat in The Fifth Element and while she stole the show, it was told from the perspective of Bruce Willis's character. The Resident Evil franchise on the other hand places Milla Joviovich at the forefront as Alice, humanity's last hope.

    Based on the popular video game, Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez star as the leaders of a commando team who must break into "the hive," a vast underground genetics laboratory operated by the powerful Umbrella Corporation. There, a deadly virus has been unleashed, killing the lab's personnel and resurrecting them as the evil Un-dead. The team has just three hours to shut down the lab's supercomputer and close the facility before the virus threatens to overrun the Earth.
    • Actors: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, Ryan McCluskey, Oscar Pearce
    • Released: 2002
    • Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson

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  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
    Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    It's hard to deny how impressive Felicity Jones's talent shines through while watching her lead the way in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. She plays the role of Jyn, a girl who grows up watching her father's peaceful existence turn to darkness right before her eyes. Instead of idly standing by, Jyn creates a task force of individuals who are ready to fight back against the Empire.

     

    Former scientist Galen Erso lives on a farm with his wife and young daughter, Jyn. His peaceful existence comes crashing down when the evil Orson Krennic takes him away from his beloved family. Many years later, Galen becomes the Empire's lead engineer for the most powerful weapon in the galaxy, the Death Star. Knowing that her father holds the key to its destruction, Jyn joins forces with a spy and other resistance fighters to steal the space station's plans for the Rebel Alliance.
    • Actors: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen Ji-Dan, Wen Jiang
    • Released: 2016
    • Directed by: Gareth Edwards

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