Total Nerd The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time  

Ranker Film
4.4k votes 408 voters 4.7k views 23 items

List Rules Vote up the best intelligent movies, or those that are smart, clever, etc.

Aliens are often depicted as intelligent life forms, yet a great deal of alien movies from the past don't necessarily warrant themselves as intelligent. While they may be completely entertaining, films like Mars Attacks may not be considered smart or clever—even if the writers decided to kill the aliens with blues music. Of course, this isn't to say all movies based on the extraterrestrial are the same—far from it, actually. Some of the best sci-fi movies of all time incorporate aliens into the mix, all the while coming off as intelligent films and changing the way these types of films go.

So, what constitutes a smart alien movie? Perhaps it's what a movie based around aliens doesn't include that makes it the intelligent kind. In other words, what do all of these quintessential sci-fi movies with aliens have in common? It's simple: humans and aliens in an all out war. Films like Arrival and Under the Skin, however, use aliens while also incorporating thought-provoking scenarios and social commentary throughout to ultimately become some of the more intelligent alien movies—and there are plenty more like it.

Check out the list of top alien movies below and vote up those you feel are smart and clever, or even evoke emotion within the viewer. You can also vote movies down if you don't feel they hit the mark, as well as add your own ideas of smart alien flicks to the list.

1
223 38
Alien is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Alien Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm

2
225 40
Aliens is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Aliens Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn

3
221 39
Star Wars Episode V: The Empir... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

4
205 44
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Ho... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time

5
186 47
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Debra Winger

6
168 39
Close Encounters of the Third ... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Close Encounters of the Third Kind Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, Carl Weathers

7
180 46
The Thing is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
The Thing Kurt Russell, Keith David, John Carpenter

8
192 57
District 9 is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
District 9 Sharlto Copley, Jed Brophy, Vanessa Haywood

9
153 53
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
2001: A Space Odyssey Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop

10
160 61
Contact is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Contact Matthew McConaughey, Jodie Foster, Jay Leno

11
145 59
Arrival is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Arrival Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

12
134 53
The Day the Earth Stood Still is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
The Day the Earth Stood Still Patricia Neal, Michael Rennie, Frances Bavier

13
146 68
War of the Worlds is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
War of the Worlds Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Channing Tatum

14
122 52
Super 8 is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Super 8 Elle Fanning, AJ Michalka, Kyle Chandler

The Best Alien Invasion Movies

15
109 51
Starman is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Starman Jeff Bridges, John Carpenter, Karen Allen

16
128 68
Cloverfield is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Cloverfield Odette Annable, Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas

17
114 73
Alien: Covenant is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Alien: Covenant Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup

18
101 62
10 Cloverfield Lane is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
10 Cloverfield Lane John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher

19
97 67
Oblivion is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Oblivion Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko

20
54 57
The Man Who Fell to Earth is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
The Man Who Fell to Earth David Bowie, Rip Torn, Buck Henry

21
39 62
Midnight Special is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Midnight Special Kirsten Dunst, Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton

22
40 71
Under the Skin is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Under the Skin Scarlett Johansson, Kryštof Hádek, Paul Brannigan

23
15 79
Quatermass and the Pit is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Quatermass and the Pit Julian Glover, Barbara Shelley, Andrew Keir