Total Nerd The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time  

Ranker Film
8.1k votes 753 voters 9.4k views 25 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.

list ordered by

1
421 61
Alien is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm

2
404 61
Aliens is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn

3
420 69
Star Wars Episode V: The Empir... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

4
372 77
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Ho... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time

5
353 74
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Debra Winger

6
308 65
Close Encounters of the Third ... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, Carl Weathers

7
343 96
District 9 is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Sharlto Copley, Jed Brophy, Vanessa Haywood

8
307 79
The Thing is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Kurt Russell, Keith David, John Carpenter

9
276 94
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop

10
296 107
Contact is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Matthew McConaughey, Jodie Foster, Jay Leno

11
288 105
War of the Worlds is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Channing Tatum

12
248 92
The Day the Earth Stood Still is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Patricia Neal, Michael Rennie, Frances Bavier

13
255 99
Arrival is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

14
205 84
Starman is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Jeff Bridges, John Carpenter, Karen Allen

15
124 31
Signs is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Jason Kent Mood added Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin

16
215 97
Super 8 is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Elle Fanning, AJ Michalka, Kyle Chandler

17
216 107
Alien: Covenant is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup

18
222 115
Cloverfield is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Odette Annable, Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas

19
69 12
Planet of the Apes is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
TheAzureComet added

20
184 105
Oblivion is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko

21
172 103
10 Cloverfield Lane is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher

22
84 105
The Man Who Fell to Earth is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
David Bowie, Rip Torn, Buck Henry

23
57 111
Midnight Special is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Kirsten Dunst, Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton

24
58 120
Under the Skin is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Scarlett Johansson, Kryštof Hádek, Paul Brannigan

25
26 129
Quatermass and the Pit is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Intelligent Alien Movies of All Time
Julian Glover, Barbara Shelley, Andrew Keir