Total Nerd

The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books 

Ranker Film
Updated July 13, 2020 974 votes 165 voters 3k views 30 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite movies based on or inspired by sci-fi literature. No comic book, graphic novel, or manga adaptations.

This is a list of the best movies based on science fiction books. Science fiction movies adapted from books are tough to pull off based purely on how die-hard the fan bases are and how much sci-fi films generally cost to make. If sci-fi movies based off of books don’t give passionate fans exactly what they want it could cost a movie studio millions of dollars and be a black eye on the careers of their actors and directors. Films based on science fiction novels are a huge gamble, but when they pay off, boy do they pay off! Here’s a look at some of the best sci-fi books that turned into movies!

This list of the best sci-fi movies based on books has both new and old movies? If you don't see a film you know should be on this list, feel free to add it and check back to see how other users rank your additions. 

list ordered by
1
Blade Runner is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young

Released: 1982

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Blade Runner is a 1982 American neo-noir dystopian science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos. The screenplay, ...more
2
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough

Released: 1993

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park is a 1993 American science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the first installment of the Jurassic Park franchise. It is based on the 1990 novel of the ...more
3
Journey to the Center of... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Pat Boone, Bernard Herrmann, Arlene Dahl

Released: 1959

Directed by: Henry Levin

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Journey to the Center of the Earth is a 1959 adventure film adapted by Charles Brackett from the novel of the same name by Jules Verne. Journey to the Center of the Earth was directed by Henry
4
The Martian is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig

Released: 2015

Directed by: Ridley Scott

The Martian

The Martian is a 2015 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, based on the novel by Andy Weir. An astronaut (Matt Damon) becomes stranded on Mars after his team assume him gone, and must ...more
5
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop

Released: 1968

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

"The Sentinel"

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
6
The Iron Giant is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Jennifer Aniston, Vin Diesel, Cloris Leachman

Released: 1999

Directed by: Brad Bird

The Iron Man

The Iron Giant is a 1999 American animated science fiction comedy-drama film using both traditional animation and computer animation, produced by Warner Bros. Animation, and based on the 1968 ...more
7
The Hunger Games is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth

Released: 2012

Directed by: Gary Ross

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games is a 2012 American dystopian science fiction adventure film directed by Gary Ross, based on the novel by Suzanne Collins. In a dystopian post-apocalyptic future in the nation of ...more
8
Invasion of the Body Sna... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Dana Wynter, Sam Peckinpah, Carolyn Jones

Released: 1956

Directed by: Don Siegel

The Body Snatchers

9
The Thing is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Kurt Russell, Keith David, John Carpenter

Released: 1982

Directed by: John Carpenter

Who Goes There?

The Thing is a 1982 American science fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter, written by Bill Lancaster, and starring Kurt Russell. The film's title refers to its primary antagonist: a ...more
10
Dune is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Sting, Patrick Stewart, Alicia Witt

Released: 1984

Directed by: David Lynch

Dune

Dune is a 1984 American science fiction film written and directed by David Lynch, based on the 1965 Frank Herbert novel of the same name. The film stars Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides and ...more
11
The Hitchhiker's Guide t... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Sam Rockwell, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel

Released: 2005

Directed by: Garth Jennings

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a 2005 British-American comic science fiction film directed by Garth Jennings, based upon previous works in the media franchise of the same name, created ...more
12
The Running Man is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Brown, Jesse Ventura

Released: 1987

Directed by: Paul Michael Glaser

The Running Man

The Running Man is a 1987 American science fiction action film loosely based on the 1982 novel The Running Man, written by Stephen King and published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. ...more
13
Minority Report is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell

Released: 2002

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

"The Minority Report"

Minority Report is a 2002 American neo-noir science fiction mystery-thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and loosely based on the short story of the same name by Philip K. Dick. It is set ...more
14
Metropolis is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Brigitte Helm, Gustav Fröhlich, Theodor Loos

Released: 1927

Directed by: Fritz Lang

Metropolis

Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist epic science fiction drama film directed by Fritz Lang. The film was written by Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou, and starred Brigitte Helm, Gustav ...more
15
The Time Machine is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Yvette Mimieux, Rod Taylor, Alan Young

Released: 1960

Directed by: George Pal

The Time Machine

The Time Machine – also known promotionally as H.G. Wells' The Time Machine – is a 1960 Metrocolor time travel science fiction film based on the 1895 novel of the same name by H. G. Wells in ...more
16
A Clockwork Orange is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Malcolm McDowell, Warren Clarke, Steven Berkoff

Released: 1971

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

A Clockword Orange

A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 dystopian crime film adapted, produced, and directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on Anthony Burgess's 1962 novella A Clockwork Orange. It employs disturbing, violent ...more
17
Starship Troopers is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Neil Patrick Harris, Denise Richards, Amy Smart

Released: 1997

Directed by: Paul Verhoeven

Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers is a 1997 American military science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Edward Neumeier. The story follows a young soldier named Johnny Rico and his ...more
18
Children of Men is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Michael Caine

Released: 2006

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón

The Children of Men

Children of Men is a 2006 science fiction thriller film directed and co-written by Alfonso Cuarón. The screenplay, based on P. D. James's 1992 novel of the same name, was credited to five ...more
19
The Hunger Games: Catchi... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson

Released: 2013

Directed by: Francis Lawrence

Catching Fire

This film is a 2013 American science fiction action film based on Suzanne Collins' dystopian novel and the second installment in The Hunger Games trilogy. The film is the sequel to The Hunger ...more
20
A Scanner Darkly is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Robert Downey Jr., Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder

Released: 2006

Directed by: Richard Linklater

A Scanner Darkly

A Scanner Darkly is a 2006 American animated science fiction thriller film directed by Richard Linklater based on the novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick. The film tells the story of ...more
21
I Am Legend is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Will Smith, Emma Thompson, Salli Richardson

Released: 2007

Directed by: Francis Lawrence

I Am Legend

I Am Legend is a 2007 American post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Will Smith. It is the third feature film adaptation of Richard Matheson's ...more
22
The Hunger Games: Mockin... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson

Released: 2015

Directed by: Francis Lawrence

Mockingjay

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is a 2015 adventure film directed by Francis Lawrence, it is the second of two cinematic parts based on the novel Mockingjay, the final book in the Hunger ...more
23
The Stepford Wives is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Tina Louise, Mary Stuart Masterson, Katharine Ross

Released: 1975

Directed by: Bryan Forbes

The Stepford Wives

The Stepford Wives is a 1975 science fiction–thriller film based on the 1972 Ira Levin novel of the same name. It was directed by Bryan Forbes with a screenplay by William Goldman, and stars ...more
24
The Hunger Games: Mockin... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth

Released: 2014

Directed by: Francis Lawrence

Mockingjay

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is a 2014 American dystopian science fiction adventure film directed by Francis Lawrence. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence); having twice survived the ...more
25
Ender's Game is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Sci-Fi Movies Based on Books
Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis

Released: 2013

Directed by: Gavin Hood

Ender's Game

Ender's Game is a 2013 American science fiction action film based on the novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card. Written and directed by Gavin Hood, the film stars Asa Butterfield as Andrew ...more