watchworthy presents

The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas 

Ranker Film
Updated June 14, 2019 1.9k votes 379 voters 9.3k views 25 items

List Rules Vote 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.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Inception is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard

Released: 2010

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Inception is a 2010 science fiction thriller film written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film stars a large ensemble cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph ...more

More Inception 

#10 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #120 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies List of Movies Like Inception

2
Ex Machina is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac

Released: 2015

Directed by: Alex Garland

Ex Machina is a 2015 independent science fiction psychological thriller film directed by Alex Garland. A young programmer (Domhnall Gleeson) is selected to participate in a ground-breaking ...more

More Ex Machina 

#60 of 161 The Best Dystopian And Near Future Movies #152 of 387 The Best Movies to Watch While Stonedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
The Matrix is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Mohammed Hafiz Alshafie added Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss

Released: 1999

Directed by: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

The Matrix is a 1999 American-Australian science fiction action film written and directed by The Wachowskis, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, and Joe ...more

More The Matrix 

#160 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime 14 Matrix Fan Theories That Will Have You Saying "Whoa"listed on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
Eternal Sunshine of the ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Carrey

Released: 2004

Directed by: Michel Gondry

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 American romantic science-fiction comedy-drama film about an estranged couple who have each other erased from their memories, written by Charlie ...more

More Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 

#93 of 292 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #1,173 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
12 Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Christopher Plummer

Released: 1995

Directed by: Terry Gilliam

12 Monkeys, also known as Twelve Monkeys, is a 1995 American science fiction film directed by Terry Gilliam, inspired by Chris Marker's 1962 short film La Jetée, and starring Bruce ...more

More 12 Monkeys 

#33 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #613 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies Behind-The-Scenes Stories From '12 Monkeys'

6
District 9 is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Sharlto Copley, Jed Brophy, Vanessa Haywood

Released: 2009

Directed by: Neill Blomkamp

District 9 is a 2009 science fiction film directed by Neill Blomkamp, released August 13, 2009. It takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa. District 9 is based on Alive in Joburg, a short film ...more

More District 9 

#205 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #64 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

7
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop

Released: 1968

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

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

More 2001: A Space Odyssey 

#87 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #247 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
A Clockwork Orange is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Malcolm McDowell, Warren Clarke, Steven Berkoff

Released: 1971

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

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

More A Clockwork Orange 

#329 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #50 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books Kubrick And Codpieces: Behind The Scenes Of 'A Clockwork Orange'

9
Donnie Darko is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Drew Barrymore, Ashley Tisdale, Jake Gyllenhaal

Released: 2001

Directed by: Richard Kelly

Donnie Darko is a 2001 American supernatural drama film written and directed by Richard Kelly and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Noah Wyle, Jena ...more

More Donnie Darko 

#290 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #215 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys Travel Through Time With The Best 'Donnie Darko' Quotes

10
Looper is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Released: 2012

Directed by: Rian Johnson

Looper is a 2012 American science fiction action thriller film written and directed by Rian Johnson and starring Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Emily Blunt. In the film, time travel is ...more

More Looper 

#394 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #68 of 159 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies #41 of 161 The Best Dystopian And Near Future Movies

11
The Butterfly Effect is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Logan Lerman

Released: 2004

Directed by: J. Mackye Gruber, Eric Bress

The Butterfly Effect is a 2004 American psychological thriller film that was written and directed by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber. The title refers to the butterfly effect, a popular ...more

More The Butterfly Effect 

#366 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #39 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

12
Sunshine is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Rose Byrne, Chris Evans, Mark Strong

Released: 2007

Directed by: Danny Boyle

Sunshine is a 2007 British science fiction thriller film directed by Danny Boyle. The film was adapted from a screenplay written by Alex Garland about the crew of a spacecraft on a dangerous ...more

More Sunshine 

#77 of 156 The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made #7 of 16 Movies That Took A Hard Turn And Left Audiences Completely Baffled The Best Songs About The Sun

13
Serenity is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Diane Lane

Released: 2019

Directed by: Steven Knight

Serenity is a 2019 American noir thriller-drama film directed by Steven Knight. The mysterious past of a fishing boat captain (Matthew McConaughey) living in the Caribbean comes back to haunt ...more

More Serenity 

#17 of 29 The Best Suspense Movies on Amazon Prime #104 of 120 The Best New Horror Movies of the Last Few Years

14
The Adjustment Bureau is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Jon Stewart

Released: 2011

Directed by: George Nolfi

The Adjustment Bureau is a 2011 American romantic science fiction thriller film loosely based on the Philip K. Dick short story, "Adjustment Team". The film was written and directed by ...more

More The Adjustment Bureau 

#1,042 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #222 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books #103 of 172 The Greatest Date Movies of All Time

15
Vanilla Sky is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise, Penélope Cruz

Released: 2001

Directed by: Cameron Crowe

Vanilla Sky is a 2001 American science fiction thriller film directed, written, and co-produced by Cameron Crowe. It is an English-language remake of Alejandro Amenábar's 1997 Spanish ...more

More Vanilla Sky 

#41 of 151 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made #4 of 70 The Most Pretentious Movies Ever Made

16
Cloud Atlas is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Halle Berry, Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon

Released: 2012

Directed by: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

Cloud Atlas is a 2012 science fiction film written and directed by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer and Andy Wachowski. Adapted from the 2004 novel of the same name by David Mitchell, the film has ...more

More Cloud Atlas 

#18 of 156 The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made #493 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars #6 of 70 The Most Pretentious Movies Ever Made

17
Mulholland Drive is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Naomi Watts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Melissa George

Released: 2001

Directed by: David Lynch

Mulholland Drive is a 2001 American neo-noir mystery film written and directed by David Lynch and starring Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, and Justin Theroux. It tells the story of an aspiring ...more

More Mulholland Drive 

#30 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #555 of 812 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

18
Solaris is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
JerryDurrwachter added Anatoly Solonitsyn, Natalya Bondarchuk, Jüri Järvet

Released: 1972

Directed by: Andrei Tarkovsky

Solaris is a 1972 Russian science fiction art film adaptation of Polish author Stanisław Lem's novel Solaris. The film was co-written and directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. The film is a meditative ...more

More Solaris 

#182 of 190 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #24 of 139 The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History

19
Triangle is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Melissa George, Michael Dorman, Rachael Carpani
Triangle is a 2009 psychological horror thriller film written and directed by Christopher Smith. Jess (Melissa George) plays a single mother who goes on a boating trip with several friends. When ...more
20
Madeline's Madeline is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Madeline's Madeline Helena Howard, Miranda July, Molly Parker

Released: 2018

Directed by: Josephine Decker

Madeline’s Madeline is a 2018 mystery-thriller film directed by Josephine Decker. A theater director's (Molly Parker) latest project takes on a life of its own when her young star (Helena ...more
21
The Man Who Fell to Eart... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
David Bowie, Rip Torn, Buck Henry

Released: 1976

Directed by: Nicolas Roeg

The Man Who Fell to Earth is a 1976 British science fiction film directed by Nicolas Roeg. The film is based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis, about an extraterrestrial on ...more

More The Man Who Fell to Earth 

#134 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #251 of 569 The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time

22
Never Let Me Go is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield

Released: 2010

Directed by: Mark Romanek

Never Let Me Go is a 2010 British dystopian science fiction drama film based on Kazuo Ishiguro's 2005 novel of the same name. The film was directed by Mark Romanek from a screenplay by Alex ...more

More Never Let Me Go 

#642 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #503 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

23
A Girl Walks Home Alone ... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Marshall Manesh, Mozhan Marnò, Dominic Rains

Released: 2014

Directed by: Ana Lily Amirpour

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a 2014 American vampire western film directed by Ana Lily Amirpour. Arash (Arash Marandi) is caring for his addict father and being harrassed by a drug dealer ...more

More A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night 

#8 of 100 The Best Movies On Shudder #103 of 114 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies #61 of 82 Great Movies About Furious Women Out for Revenge

24
Splice is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chanéac

Released: 2009

Directed by: Vincenzo Natali

Splice is a 2009 Canadian-French science fiction horror film directed by Vincenzo Natali and starring Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, and Delphine Chanéac. The story concerns experiments in ...more

More Splice 

#7 of 21 The Best Horror Movies About Babies #11 of 14 The 14 Most Memorable Movie And TV Romances Between Humans And Aquatic Creatures

25
The Box is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Science Fiction-y Psychological Dramas
Cameron Diaz, Gillian Jacobs, James Marsden

Released: 2009

Directed by: Richard Kelly

The Box is a 2009 American psychological thriller film based on the 1970 short story "Button, Button" by Richard Matheson, which was previously adapted into an episode of the 1980s ...more