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The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas

Updated June 14, 2019 2.1k votes 394 voters 9.7k views25 items

List RulesVote up the top psychological drama movies with elements of sci-fi.

When psychological dramas bring in elements of classic science fiction, the result can be a mind-bending movie-going experience. The best science fiction dramas feature intriguing characters whose everyday lives are complicated by new technology or unexpected events. This is a list of the top psychological science fiction movies including everything from Donnie Darko to A Clockwork Orange to Vanilla Sky.

What films will you find on this list of the best sci fi dramas? At its heart, the Charlie Kaufman-penned Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a love story. The film follows the relationship of Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) after they erase each other from their memories. Michel Gondry used in-camera techniques to add to the wonder of this acclaimed film. Inception is another good psychological drama that dabbles in science fiction, while David Lynch's Mulholland Drive has more twists and turns than a supernatural rollercoaster. Other movies featured on this list include 2001: A Space Odyssey, Cloud Atlas, and The Butterfly Effect.

Which science fiction drama deserves the top spot on this list? Give your favorites a thumbs up and please add any films that are missing.

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  • 1
    Inception
    145
    39

    Inception

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy

    Released2010

    Directed byChristopher Nolan

    Inception is a 2010 science fiction thriller film written, produced, and directed by... more on Wikipedia
  • 2
    The Matrix
    119
    37

    The Matrix

    Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving

    Released1999

    Directed byAndy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

    The Matrix is a 1999 American-Australian science fiction action film written and directed by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 3
    Ex Machina
    119
    41

    Ex Machina

    Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson

    Released2015

    Directed byAlex Garland

    Ex Machina is a 2015 independent science fiction psychological thriller film directed by Alex... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    12 Monkeys
    80
    25

    12 Monkeys

    Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis

    Released1995

    Directed byTerry Gilliam

    12 Monkeys, also known as Twelve Monkeys, is a 1995 American science fiction film directed by... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    102
    48

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst

    Released2004

    Directed byMichel Gondry

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 American romantic science-fiction comedy-drama... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    2001: A Space Odyssey
    78
    28

    2001: A Space Odyssey

    Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter

    Released1968

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

    2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley... more on Wikipedia
  • 7
    District 9
    93
    47

    District 9

    Sharlto Copley, Jed Brophy

    Released2009

    Directed byNeill Blomkamp

    District 9 is a 2009 science fiction film directed by Neill Blomkamp, released August 13,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 8
    A Clockwork Orange
    72
    36

    A Clockwork Orange

    Malcolm McDowell, Warren Clarke

    Released1971

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

    A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 dystopian crime film adapted, produced, and directed by Stanley... more on Wikipedia

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  • 9
    Donnie Darko
    68
    44

    Donnie Darko

    Drew Barrymore, Ashley Tisdale

    Released2001

    Directed byRichard Kelly

    Donnie Darko is a 2001 American supernatural drama film written and directed by Richard Kelly... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    Looper
    59
    35

    Looper

    Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt

    Released2012

    Directed byRian Johnson

    Looper is a 2012 American science fiction action thriller film directed by Rian Johnson. In... more on Wikipedia

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  • 11
    The Butterfly Effect
    64
    46

    The Butterfly Effect

    Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart

    Released2004

    Directed byJ. Mackye Gruber, Eric Bress

    The Butterfly Effect is a 2004 American psychological thriller film that was written and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 12
    Sunshine
    40
    24

    Sunshine

    Rose Byrne, Chris Evans

    Released2007

    Directed byDanny Boyle

    Sunshine is a 2007 British science fiction thriller film directed by Danny Boyle. The film was... more on Wikipedia

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  • 13
    Triangle
    37
    23

    Triangle

    Melissa George, Michael Dorman

    Released2009

    Directed byChristopher Smith

    Triangle is a 2009 psychological horror thriller film written and directed by Christopher... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    Splice
    41
    31

    Splice

    Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley

    Released2009

    Directed byVincenzo Natali

    Splice is a 2009 Canadian-French science fiction horror film directed by Vincenzo Natali and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 15
    The Adjustment Bureau
    34
    29

    The Adjustment Bureau

    Emily Blunt, Matt Damon

    Released2011

    Directed byGeorge Nolfi

    The Adjustment Bureau is a 2011 American romantic science fiction thriller film loosely based... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
    23
    18

    A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

    Marshall Manesh, Mozhan Marnò

    Released2014

    Directed byAna Lily Amirpour

    A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a 2014 American vampire western film directed by Ana Lily... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    Solaris
    24
    20

    Solaris

    Anatoly Solonitsyn, Natalya Bondarchuk

    Released1972

    Directed byAndrei Tarkovsky

    Solaris is a 1972 Russian science fiction art film adaptation of Polish author Stanisław Lem's... more on Wikipedia

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  • 18
    Vanilla Sky
    38
    39

    Vanilla Sky

    Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise

    Released2001

    Directed byCameron Crowe

    Vanilla Sky is a 2001 American science fiction thriller film directed, written, and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 19
    Mulholland Drive
    31
    32

    Mulholland Drive

    Naomi Watts, Billy Ray Cyrus

    Released2001

    Directed byDavid Lynch

    Mulholland Drive is a 2001 American neo-noir mystery film written and directed by David Lynch... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    Cloud Atlas
    32
    34

    Cloud Atlas

    Halle Berry, Tom Hanks

    Released2012

    Directed byTom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

    Cloud Atlas is a 2012 science fiction film written and directed by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer... more on Wikipedia

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  • 21
    Madeline's Madeline
    7
    5

    Madeline's Madeline

    Helena Howard, Miranda July

    Released2018

    Directed byJosephine Decker

    Madeline’s Madeline is a 2018 mystery-thriller film directed by Josephine Decker. A... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    The Man Who Fell to Earth
    15
    20

    The Man Who Fell to Earth

    David Bowie, Rip Torn

    Released1976

    Directed byNicolas Roeg

    The Man Who Fell to Earth is a 1976 British science fiction film directed by Nicolas Roeg. The... more on Wikipedia

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  • 23
    Serenity
    2
    4

    Serenity

    Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway

    Released2019

    Directed bySteven Knight

    Serenity is a 2019 American noir thriller-drama film directed by Steven Knight. The mysterious... more on Wikipedia

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  • 24
    Never Let Me Go
    14
    24

    Never Let Me Go

    Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan

    Released2010

    Directed byMark Romanek

    Never Let Me Go is a 2010 British dystopian science fiction drama film based on Kazuo... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    The Box
    15
    29

    The Box

    Cameron Diaz, Gillian Jacobs

    Released2009

    Directed byRichard Kelly

    The Box is a 2009 American psychological thriller film based on the 1970 short story "Button,... more on Wikipedia