Total Nerd

The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Sci-Fi Movies  

Ranker Film
28k votes 2.1k voters 24.3k views 25 items

List Rules Vote up the sci-fi movies that define the genre and should be required viewing for beginners in an Intro to Science Fiction class.

While sometimes thought of as a fringe genre unappealing to a mass audience, there is actually plenty of science fiction everyone should see. Sci-fi is a genre that, via allegory and metaphor, explores contemporary issues and longstanding human conflicts, often with a sharp satirical edge or poignant moral lesson. Science fiction allows us to view the world as we hope it will one day be - or, conversely, see its destruction via humanity's own mistakes. Because science fiction covers so much ground - from time travel to cloning to alternate universes - there are thousands of amazing films to choose from throughout the genre. If you're looking for an intro to science fiction movies, you've come to the right place. 

These essential science fiction movies make up many of the most popular and famous movies in the genre. If you want to delve into the world of sci-fi, this list will definitely help you figure out what to watch first. These must-see science fiction movies will be a crash course in the genre that brought us unforgettable works from Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, and Ridley Scott. Consider this sci-fi for beginners! 

Vote up the films below that you feel are most quintessential to the sci-fi genre! 

1 1,775 VOTES
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

This films franchise is an American epic space opera franchise centered on a film series created by George Lucas. The film series, consisting of two trilogies, has spawned an extensive media franchise called the Expanded Universe including books, television series, computer and video games, and comic books. These supplements to the franchise resulted in significant development of the series' fictional universe, keeping the franchise active in the 16-year interim between the two film trilogies. The franchise depicts a galaxy described as "far, far away" in the distant past, and commonly portrays Jedi as a representation of good, in conflict with the Sith, their evil counterpart. ...more on Wikipedia

More Star Wars Franchise

#2 of 119 on The Very Best Movie Franchises #92 of 153 on The Best Science Fiction Action Movies #32 of 185 on The Best Movies for Tweens #1 of 63 on The Best Science Fiction Franchises of All Time

Is this a must-see?
see more on Star Wars Franchise
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

The Back to the Future franchise is an American science fiction–comedy film series written and directed by Robert Zemeckis, produced by Bob Gale and Neil Canton for Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, and distributed by Universal Pictures. The franchise follows the adventures of a high school student, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), and an eccentric scientist, Dr. Emmett L. Brown (Christopher Lloyd), as they use a DeLorean time machine to time travel to different periods in the history of Hill Valley, California. ...more on Wikipedia

More Back to the Future Franchise

#8 of 119 on The Very Best Movie Franchises #5 of 63 on The Best Science Fiction Franchises of All Time featuring 'Back to the Future' Fan Theories 16 Mind-Blowing Moments Of Foreshadowing In The 'Back To The Future' Trilogy

Is this a must-see?
see more on Back to the Future Franchise
3 1,559 VOTES
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

The Terminator series is a science-fiction franchise created by James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd. It encompasses a series of films, comics, novels, and additional media concerning battles between Skynet's synthetic intelligent machine network, and John Connor's Resistance forces and the rest of the human race. Skynet's most well-known products in its genocidal goals are the various terminator models, such as the T-800 (Model 101), who was portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger from the first film, and similar units he also portrayed in the later films. ...more on Wikipedia

More The Terminator Franchise

#30 of 119 on The Very Best Movie Franchises #7 of 63 on The Best Science Fiction Franchises of All Time #10 of 15 on 15 Wildly Successful Movie Franchises (That Only Have One Great Film) featuring The Best Movies In The 'Terminator' Franchise

Is this a must-see?
see more on The Terminator Franchise
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

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 Rambaldi and Dennis Muren, and starring Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore and Peter Coyote. It tells the story of Elliott, a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial, dubbed "E.T.", who is stranded on Earth. He and his siblings help it return home while attempting to keep it hidden from their mother and the government. The concept for the film was based on an imaginary friend Spielberg created after his parents' divorce in 1960. In 1980, Spielberg met Mathison and developed a ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Debra Winger, Robert MacNaughton, C. Thomas Howell, + more

Released: 1982

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

More E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

#6 of 206 on The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #12 of 334 on 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #40 of 1714 on The Most Rewatchable Movies featuring The Dark Story Behind The Cancelled Sequel To E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

Is this a must-see?
see more on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial