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The Best First Contact Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated October 2, 2019 3.2k votes 682 voters 35k views 23 items

List Rules Movies that show first contact with aliens only.

A list of the best first contact movies ever made, ranked by film fans' votes. This list is ordered by popularity, so only the greatest movies about first contact with aliens are at the top of the list. If there are any great films you think we missed, please feel free to add them yourself. 

The films on this list are the most famous first contact movies of all time, so use it to find some movies that you haven't seen already if you're a fan of films about first contact with aliens.


This list answers the questions, "What are the best first contact movies?" and "What is the greatest first contact with aliens movie of all time?" and contains everything from The Day the Earth Stood Still to Solaris.


Various bits of information are included with these popular Hercules movies, such as who directed them, when they were released and who starred in the films. So whether you're watching these movies on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, these are some good first contact movies to enjoy.

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1
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Matthew McConaughey, Jodie Foster, Jay Leno

Released: 1997

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

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

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#709 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #21 of 181 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #93 of 405 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time

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Tucker DeSaulnier added Amy Adams, Forest Whitaker, Jeremy Renner

Released: November 11, 2016

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve

Arrival is a 2016 American science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Eric Heisserer, based on the short story "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang. It stars Amy ...more

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#237 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #49 of 181 The Best Alien Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
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Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, Carl Weathers

Released: 1977

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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

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#171 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movies #269 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
Alien is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best First Contact Movies
Scott Klingaman added 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

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50 Surprising Facts You Didn't Know About Alien #112 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
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DarrylWright added 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

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#79 of 241 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #533 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
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DarrylWright added Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Chris Elliott

Released: 1989

Directed by: James Cameron

The Abyss is a 1989 American science fiction-adventure film written and directed by James Cameron, starring Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Michael Biehn. When an American submarine ...more

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#107 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #422 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox

Released: 1996

Directed by: Roland Emmerich

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

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13 Things That Prove Pacific Rim And Independence Day Are The Exact Same Movie #58 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Sharlto Copley, Jed Brophy, Vanessa Haywood

Released: 2009

Directed by: Neill Blomkamp

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

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#186 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #15 of 45 The Best Alien Horror Movies Ever Made #21 of 120 Movies That Need Sequels

9
E.T. the Extra-Terrestri... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best First Contact Movies
Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Debra Winger

Released: 1982

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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

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The Dark Story Behind The Canceled Sequel To 'E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial' #132 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Patrick Stewart, James Cromwell, Alfre Woodard

Released: 1996

Directed by: Jonathan Frakes

Star Trek: First Contact is a 1996 American science fiction film released by Paramount Pictures. It is the eighth feature film based on Star Trek, and the first film to feature no cast members ...more

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#495 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #37 of 181 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #36 of 40 The Greatest Movies to Watch Outside

11
Predator is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best First Contact Movies
wiabux added 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

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Killer Details In ‘Predator’ That Fans Have Hunted Down #232 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movies #26 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

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Patricia Neal, Michael Rennie, Frances Bavier

Released: 1951

Directed by: Robert Wise

The Day the Earth Stood Still is a 1951 American black-and-white science fiction film from 20th Century Fox, produced by Julian Blaustein, directed by Robert Wise, and starring Michael Rennie, ...more

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#103 of 133 Movies That Should Never Be Remade #45 of 181 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #63 of 405 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time

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biggamepanama added Charlie Sheen, Teri Polo, Ron Silver

Released: 1996

Directed by: David Twohy

The Arrival is a 1996 science fiction film directed by David Twohy and starring Charlie Sheen, and co-starring Lindsay Crouse, Ron Silver, Teri Polo, and Richard Schiff. Sheen stars as radio ...more

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#100 of 181 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #36 of 45 The Best Alien Horror Movies Ever Made #394 of 557 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

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wiabux added Elle Fanning, AJ Michalka, Kyle Chandler

Released: 2011

Directed by: J.J. Abrams

Super 8 is a 2011 American science fiction horror film written, co-produced, and directed by J. J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg. The film stars Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, and Kyle ...more

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#30 of 181 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #48 of 99 The Greatest Kids Sci-Fi Movies #26 of 64 The Scariest Giant Monster Movies

15
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Benjamin Dunn added Milla Jovovich, Elias Koteas, Will Patton

Released: 2009

Directed by: Olatunde Osunsanmi

The Fourth Kind is a 2009 American science fiction-horror film directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi, starring Milla Jovovich, Elias Koteas, Corey Johnson, Will Patton, and Mia Mckenna-Bruce. The title ...more

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#407 of 784 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #28 of 45 The Best Alien Horror Movies Ever Made #104 of 181 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made

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Jennifer Connelly, Keanu Reeves, Jon Hamm

Released: 2008

Directed by: Scott Derrickson

The Day the Earth Stood Still is a 2008 American science fiction film, a remake of the 1951 film of the same name. The screenplay is based on the 1940 classic science fiction short story ...more

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#112 of 181 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #137 of 405 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time #4 of 15 15 Movies Where Humans Are The Real Monsters

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DarrylWright added Helen Mirren, John Lithgow, Candice Bergen

Released: 1984

Directed by: Peter Hyams

2010 is a 1984 American science fiction film written and directed by Peter Hyams. It is a sequel to Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, and is based on Arthur C. Clarke's novel ...more

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#436 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #179 of 226 The Worst Sequels Of All Time #1,204 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

18
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DarrylWright added Steve Guttenberg, Clint Howard, Brian Dennehy

Released: 1985

Directed by: Ron Howard

Cocoon is a 1985 science fiction film directed by Ron Howard about a group of elderly people rejuvenated by aliens. The movie stars Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn, Brian Dennehy, Jack ...more

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#118 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #623 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

19
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ehamartens added Europa Report Sharlto Copley, Embeth Davidtz, Christian Camargo

Released: 2013

Directed by: Sebastián Cordero

Europa Report is a 2013 science fiction film directed by Sebastián Cordero, and starring Christian Camargo, Anamaria Marinca, Michael Nyqvist, Daniel Wu, Karolina Wydra, and Sharlto ...more

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#6 of 68 The Best Found Footage Movies #15 of 35 The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel #7 of 9 The Best Space Movies Streaming on Hulu

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Natalie Portman, Jack Nicholson, Sarah Jessica Parker

Released: 1996

Directed by: Tim Burton

Mars Attacks! is a 1996 American comic science fiction film directed by Tim Burton and written by Jonathan Gems. Based on the cult trading card series of the same name, the film features an ...more

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‘Mars Attacks!’ Was Tim Burton’s Ultimate Unregulated Experiment And It’s Stranger Than You Remember #320 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #80 of 120 Movies That Need Sequels

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George Clooney, Viola Davis, Natascha McElhone

Released: 2002

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

Solaris is a 2002 American science fiction drama film written and directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring George Clooney and Natascha McElhone. It is based on the 1961 science fiction novel ...more

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#206 of 241 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #168 of 181 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #49 of 49 35+ Great Movies That Blur the Lines Between Horror and Drama

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David Bowie, Rip Torn, Buck Henry

Released: 1976

Directed by: Nicolas Roeg

The Man Who Fell to Earth is a 1976 British science fiction film directed by Nicolas Roeg. The film is based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis, about an extraterrestrial on ...more

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#142 of 554 The Best '70s Movies #19 of 25 The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas #285 of 501 The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time

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Bootsdad added Christopher Walken, Andreas Katsulas, Frances Sternhagen

Released: 1989

Directed by: Philippe Mora

Communion is a 1989 drama/thriller film based on the book of the same name by Whitley Strieber. Starring Christopher Walken and Frances Sternhagen, it tells a story of a family that experiences ...more