The 23 best science fiction movies of all time

We have brought you with the list of best science fiction movies of all time. It is a real challenge to limit to a handful of films a cinematographic genre that has existed since the very birth of cinema, and that also has thematic tentacles that extend to other media, with which it has been fed back based on arguments, creatures and ideas. For example, the science fiction cinema of the 1950s, with its paranoia and its Martian invasions, is inconceivable without the genre literature that was produced alongside it.

Keeping a score of science fiction films is a task called to failure and guaranteed absences. For starters, it’s not even easy to narrow the boundaries of genre. We consider it this way: science fiction is that branch of fantastic cinema where, within the logic of the story, there is a scientific justification for what happens. It is important to take into account the “logic of the story”, because there are films with a very lax concept of verisimilitude.

For example, there are those who put their hands on their heads for considering ‘Star Wars’ science fiction, since what happens has no scientific explanation. But in that world, there is technology that allows satellites to be built that destroy worlds: that satellite was not built with magic, but with science. To that we have to add that ‘Star Wars’ drinks from the codes of the genre pulp and the space opera (big opposing sides, interplanetary travel, ships, aliens). They are definitions subject to discussion, but this is ours and the one we are going to use here.

In the same way, there will be those who will be able to say that ‘Alien’ or ‘The thing’ are actually horror films, and they are not lacking in reason. But that’s like saying “Back to the Future” is a sitcom, “Mad Max” is action, and “Children of Men” is a social drama. Gender compartments are not watertight, contamination is possible (and desirable), and they are still labels to facilitate things and conversations.

So let yourself go. Not even the list we offer below is full of “perfect” films: we have preferred to favour variety and touch all branches of the genre, from space battles to social satire. These are the 23 best science fiction movies.

Metropolis (1927)

Metropolis (1927) best science fiction movies of all time
Metropolis (1927)

The first total classic of the genre , unmatched for many years, is this marvel by Fritz Lang that is still enormous today because of the daring of its concepts, its political message and its technical displays. Some of its visual pieces, such as the robotics María or the machines in which men work, perfectly symbolize the genre in those naive times, as well as the daring of its first visionaries, who were inventing a way of narrating on the fly. A well deserved absolute classic and a top of the middle in any genre.

If you liked it, try also with: Silent science fiction is not as abundant as other genres are, but if you want to trace its origins you have a mandatory appointment with Meliès and his pioneering special effects shorts, such as’ Journey to the Moon’.

Where to see it: In Filmin.

Forbidden Planet (1956)

It is one of the best science fiction movies. When it comes to choosing a movie from the enormous science fiction of the fifties, we are left with this sui-generis adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’. A perfect example of how the genre cinema of the time had matured enough to offer us the most superficial and chanante (Robby the robot, the Anne Francis outfits, Leslie Nielsen!) To much more complex elements, such as the sensational setting and effects or the wonderful monsters of id. These are the ones that have turned the film into a classic, anticipating works with a similar plot like ‘Solaris’, but without ever losing sight of its essential proposal for a galactic adventure film and crazy technology.

If you liked it, try also: The science fiction of the fifties is immeasurable, although often its ambition and means do not have the stature of ‘Forbidden Planet’. Among its many classics, come to ‘The Invasion of Body Thieves’, ‘Invaders from Mars’, ‘This Island Earth’, ‘Ultimatum to Earth’ or ‘The Incredible Waning Man’, among many others.

Where to see it: On iTunes.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) best science fiction movies of all time
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

For many, the definitive sci-fi movie, and certainly one of the most ambitious and creatively perfect of all time. Also, and despite its reputation as inaccessible and excessively intellectual, one of the most imitated and influential. Kubrick achieved, with his famous ellipsis that links the pirimitive animal fury and the human intellect conquering space, adorning it with the plot of an on-board computer that decides to impose its will on humans (an argument that today we continue to see repeated over and over again Again) and with special effects that remain as perfect today as in their day, initiating an essential piece to understand the genre.

If you liked it, also try: Kubrick played all genres, but if you want more of his science fiction, get closer to the imperfect but very iconic ‘A Clockwork Orange’. And in the key of apocalyptic shocking dystopia, to ‘Red telephone, shall we fly to Moscow?’. And if you want to feel the influence of ‘2001’, you have a must with the recent ‘ Interstellar ‘ by Christopher Nolan.

Where to see it: On Rakuten.

Solaris (1972)

Along with ‘2001’ by Kubrick, the perfect standard-bearer for science fiction that is furthest from commercial parameters. Like the essential novel by Stanlislaw Lem on which it is based, it tells how a psychologist enters a space station to find out what has happened to the crew under the omnipresent influence of a planet, Solaris, which visualizes the trauma and pain of those who they orbit it. As slow and meditative as it is hypnotic, ‘ Solaris ‘ uses the tools of science fiction to pose questions about the power of the mind and the subjective, and the limits of life and death and how we perceive them. Not for all audiences, and at the same time more universal than any other movie on this list.

If you liked it, also try: The American remake of Steve Soderbergh, just ousted in its day, pales when compared to the original (although it has its little things), so if you want more things comparable to ‘Solaris’, come to the equally monumental and even more influential ‘Stalker’ and his walks through apocalyptic psychology.

Where to see it: In Filmin.

Alien the Eighth Passenger (1979)

Alien the Eighth Passenger (1979), best science fiction movies of all time
Alien the Eighth Passenger (1979)

One of the absolute peaks of the mix of horror and science fiction, masterful in both aspects. On the one hand, a lethal monster, of impossible biology and insane reproductive cycle, designed by HR Giger. On the other, an iconic ship, the Nostromo, manned astronauts who are actually truckers who do not stop talking about their pay. And halfway between both genders, a story of panic unleashed in a spaceship that is actually a haunted house, a synthetic but effective plot of evil corporations, seven perfect performances and a handful of sequences (each of the murders, plus the descent to the planet of nightmarish geography) that are absolute classics of terror in space. Simply perfect.

If you liked it, also try: Although the first is the best, each of the sequels has its own personality, and even ‘Covenant’, which is undoubtedly the weakest in the series, also has its interest. From the iconic James Cameron sequel, as famous as the original to the ragged but hilarious ‘Prometheus’. Oh, and if you’re into mambo, the two Predator crashes are wildly hilarious pranks.

Where to watch it: On Amazon Prime Video, Disney + and HBO.

The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

The best film in George Lucas’s galactic saga is also the most adventurous and the most balanced. The soap opera twists (princess-smuggler romance! I’m your dad!) Are more balanced and surprising than in any other film in the series, and the charisma of the original leads is boiling over. Lucas, who has never been a particularly gifted director, hands over the directorial chair to Irvin Kershner, one of the best filmmakers to ever come through the series, and the result is quite simply the quintessential franchise.

If you liked it, try also with: Of course, the rest of the series. There are better and worse (and fans are the first not to clarify about it), but they are essential pieces to understand the pop culture of the last four decades.

Where to see it: On Disney +.

Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner (1982)
Blade Runner (1982)

Perhaps not an absolutely perfect film, but a tremendously iconic one, perfectly representative of the ambition that the genre achieved in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His good taste in integrating tropes of film noir and a very free interpretation of the original by Philip K. Dick resulted in a film that, thematically, in its disquisitions on AIs becoming aware of themselves, is today more current than never. His rainy, apocalyptic city continues to impact current genre cinema and the performances of its entire cast, but especially Rutger Hauer and Sean Young, are unforgettable.

If you liked it, also try: If you are interested in Philip K. Dick, you have a lot to discover, and in adaptations much more faithful to the author than this: ‘ Total Challenge ‘, ‘ Minority Report ‘, ‘Cybernetic Killers’ or the animated ‘A look into the dark’ are some of them.

Where to see it: In Movistar +.

The Thing (1982)

A box office flop back in the day that sent John Carpenter’s career straight to the B series never to get out of there again, and a monumental sci-fi horror flick that grabs a far inferior 1950s original and turns his coarse paranoia of political roots in an abstract and obsessive nightmare. Rob Bottin’s special effects, absolutely unsurpassed today, and the thick tension that is chewed in deservedly legendary scenes such as the blood test make this classic one of the best science fiction and horror films of all time. the height of ‘Alien’.

If you liked it, also try: The rest of Carpenter’s science fiction does not shine at the cosmic height of ‘The Thing’, but it is well worth a look: from the singular romanticism of ‘Starman’ to the hilarious’ Ghosts of Mars’, passing through the round ‘They are alive’ or the two trotting dystopias starring ‘Serpent’ Plissken.

Where to see it: In Filmin.

Tron (1982)

Tron (1982)
Tron (1982)

A narratively imperfect film, yes, but the genre is also worth claiming as a conjurer of images and concepts that you literally cannot find anywhere else. The idea of ​​the programmer who dives into his own video game and faces an artificial intelligence that throws him into cybernetic gladiatorial fights finds the best expression in a fascinating aesthetic that comes out of nowhere, in a movie that in the middle of 1982 he is inventing how to count according to what. Pioneer of digital effects and the perfect symbol of the very strange Disney of the time, a rarity isolated in time and space.

If you liked it, also try: Nothing is like ‘Tron’, not even its own sequel, ‘Tron Legacy’, a perfect example of how normalizing aesthetic dissent is not always the best idea. But if you want a little bit of how crazy Disney was at that time, take a look at ‘The Black Abyss’, the impossible clash between’ Solaris’, ‘20,000 leagues of underwater travel ‘and’ Forbidden Planet ‘.

Where to see it: On Disney +.

Videodrome (1983)

It is amazing that a film so linked to the image and videographic technology of its time (VHS, cable television, the pre-internet image) is so perfectly valid today, and it is thanks to the abstraction of its proposal and the universal and modern of what counts: the fall of a man in the nets of the perverse image, which makes him transform even physically. Nothing to do with our current addiction to pocket screens and constant audiovisual stimuli. With devastating, extremely rare and iconic special effects, David Cronenberg reflected on our dependence on the mediated image and proposed an intimate dystopia worthy of being revisited often.

If you liked it, also try: David Cronenberg is one of the last great science fiction authors, and his filmography is full of essential pieces. From the viral viscerality of his early films, such as ‘They came from within…’ or ‘Rage’ to the sophistication of recent pieces, such as ‘Cosmopolis’. Although undoubtedly his other great work of the genre, at the same time the most commercial and comparable to ‘Videodrome’, is ‘La mosca’. Oh, and ‘Existez’, a ‘Videodrome’ for the generation of us who have been breastfed by video games.

Where to see it: In Filmin.

Terminator (1984)

Terminator (1984)
Terminator (1984)

Within the science fiction work of James Cameron, there will be those who prefer ‘Avatar’, ‘Abyss’ or even the second ‘Terminator’. We are left with this concise and violent series B absolutely perfect, which draws on the classics (rebellion of the machines, paradoxes with time travel, persecution structure from A to B) and supplies its lack of means with overflowing imagination (the Terminator repairing himself, the systematic search for the right Sarah Connor, the terrifying exoskeleton). The purest proof that science fiction is the genre of ideas… and ideas are free.

If you liked it, also try: The second part, of course, perhaps a bit noisy and arthritic, but brimming with good times. And the third, of course, that recovers the shameless and series B spirit of the first, but with a few million dollars at its service. And if you want to get a glimpse of a Terminator plagiarism capable of being measured at its height, go to Richard Stanley’s ‘Hardware’.

Where to see it: In Filmin.

Back to the Future (1985)

Back to the Future (1985)
Back to the Future (1985)

Not only an excellent science fiction sitcom, but also a perfect symbol of a very concrete way of understanding mainstream cinema of the eighties, very commercial but very intelligentand with the then infallible stamp of Steven Spielberg. Like ‘Gremlins’, the ‘Indiana Jones’ or ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’, To name just a few of dozens: solid, flawless, but also bizarre films, with multiple edges and inconceivable in today’s monolithic industry. In this case, it starts with some classic wickers (travel to the past to make your parents fall in love, a mixture of the iconic tropes “travel to the past to kill Hitler” and “I am my grandfather”), but is adorned with shades of Clever script, lovable, magnetic characters and almost psychotic meticulousness in Robert Zemeckis’s staging.

If you liked it, also try: Robert Zemeckis’s cinema is enough to frame it from beginning to end, but if you are looking for science fiction, in a very different key to ‘Back to the future’ but equally admirable you have ‘Contact’. And of course, the two sequels of Back to the Future itself, the first of them shining at the same height as the original.

Where to watch it: On Amazon Prime VideoNetflix and HBO.

Robocop (1987)

Robocop (1987)
Robocop (1987)

If you miss any superhero movies on this list, look no further: ‘Robocop’ is the definitive film of the genre, a perfect origin story that also offers much more : ultraviolence as only Verhoeven knows how to bill it (and it’s hard to imagine how it got around all the censorship filters of the time) and satirical humor that uses his dystopian future to reflect on the terrifying United States of the eighties. Halfway between the perfectly self-aware comic of its ridiculousness and the psychodrama with volume 11, ‘ Robocop’ is one of the strangest and unclassifiable icons of the eighties, one incapable of aging.

If you liked it, also try: The rest of Verhoeven’s science fiction, which makes up a trilogy full of humor and that politically haunts anarchism: this ‘Robocop’ (by the way, its first sequel, with a script by Frank Miller, is inferior but highly estimable), the unfading ‘Total Challenge’ and the increasingly visionary ‘Starship Troopers’.

Where to see it: On Amazon Prime VideoFilmin and Movistar +.

Akira (1988)

Despite its assumed imperfection (when it came out, the Otomo manga on which it is based had not yet concluded), a very important anime not only for its visual and thematic discoveries, but for its role as an ambassador of Japanese animation for adults in the eighty, and that led to the definitive landing of the genre after years in which the anime had been ‘Heidi’, ‘Mazinger Z’ and little else. Even today, the story of the friendship and rivalry between Kaneda and Tetsuo as Neo-Tokyo ends up falling apart around him is as vibrant and iconic as it was in its day, and its action sequences, three decades later, continue to leave the viewer stuck. to the seat.

If you liked it, try also with: Something later but equally foundational (its influence on hits like ‘Matrix’ is indisputable), the anime ‘Ghost in the Shell’ is a step further in complexity with the story of a future still more twisted and labyrinthine than ‘Akira’.

Where to see it: On Filmin and Netflix.

They’re Alive (1988)

They're Alive (1988)
They’re Alive (1988)

Making the lack of subtlety an absolute virtue, ‘ They are alive ‘ is an update of the paranoid philosophy of the genre in the fifties in a critique of the atrocious Reagan politics of the eighties. The result is as forceful as the wonderful alley wrestling sequence that symbolizes the shamelessness of this John Carpenter movie. Their values ​​have been revalued over the years, becoming a tireless supply of memes between sunglasses, black and white aliens, and chilling, understated ‘Obey’ posters.

If you liked it, also try: Paranoid science fiction with a message has always existed, with cases as disparate as the robotic comedy of ‘The perfect women’ or the suffocating paranoia of ‘The invasion of the ultra-bodies’, including another film from the late eighties, perfect for a double program with ‘They’re alive’, like ‘Society’. The trail continues to the present day and he is in very good health, as recent hits such as ‘Let me out’ demonstrate.

Where to see it: In Filmin.

Twelve Monkeys (1995)

One of the best visions of the end of the world comes from this film that also functions as a piece of rapturous romanticism (like the experimental medium-length film on which it is based, the also fundamental ‘La Jetée’ by Chris Marker) and as a political manifesto about the end of the species. That while still being an eminently Terry Gilliam movie, with its critique of bureaucracy and human stupidity and its loud and outlandish humor. It has some of the iconic images of the genre (the animals invading the city, the mediocre and doomed future) and its relevance has been perfectly demonstrated in these strange times that we have had to live.

If you liked it, also try: The rest of Terry Gilliam’s science fiction cinema, from the best apocryphal adaptation of ‘1984’ ever shot, the masterful ‘Brazil’, to the recent ‘Zero Theorem’, a marvel that deserves immediate vindication.

Where to see it: On FilminNetflixHBO and Movistar +.

Gattaca (1997)

Gattaca (1997)
Gattaca (1997)

Basically wondering if there is a chemical element that defines the human soul, ‘Gattaca’ was a couple of years ahead of the genre revolution that ‘Matrix’ supposed, but his achievements are just as memorable. Although this time, instead of dressing in oriental action costumes, he did it with the black film that worked so well for ‘Blade Runner’ and that would become slightly fashionable again thanks to films like the also great ‘Dark City’. An excellent lead trio and a script brimming with non-obvious details about eugenics, privacy and the cult of appearances make for a film as current today as it was two decades ago.

If you liked it, also try: Andrew Niccol is a very important director and although he has touched all genres, his science fiction films are very suggestive, especially this one and the fabulous ‘The Truman Show’. Not so lucid is the curious ‘Simone’, but the recent ‘Anon’, which went sadly unnoticed.

Where to see it: In Filmin.

Matrix (1999)

Another film of millionaire success and incalculable impact, which not only indelibly marked the aesthetics and themes of action cinema (and fantasy, and advertising, and comics, and music) of the beginning of this century. It is also a very risky production, which addresses issues that science fiction has only touched on in more literary ways, such as the possibility that all reality is a computer construct. Absolutely everything about it is iconic, from close-up to close-up, but that doesn’t mean that it is also a hilarious movie, with brutal action sequences and constant discoveries, from the villain played by Hugo Weaving to his memorable love story.

If you liked it, try also with: Of course, with the rest of the saga, not so well understood, but brimming with moments that can be measured with the best of the first part. Together they make up the most solid trilogy of modern science fiction, and if you feel like more you can turn to the rest of the Wachowski sisters’ cinema, often in the genre field, and with films as stimulating as’ Speed ​​Racer ‘(no exactly science fiction, since it looks like absolutely nothing).

Where to see it: In Movistar +.

Primer (2004)

The pure intellectual challenge that ‘Primer’ proposes is no small feat : it is a film that plunges with all the consequences into the concept of time travel and makes up for its absolute lack of means with a labyrinthine proposal that is difficult to follow. but that compensates for its daring and the unusualness of its mere existence. The paradox of unfolding when the past forks injects elements of existential thriller into this film by a Shane Carruth whom we would have liked to continue to know through his films. Unfortunately, at the moment he has only given us this and the equally ambitious ‘Upstream Color’

If you liked it, try also: Although less complicated, modern cinema has given us a few time travel films that are worth recovering: ‘Looper’ is perhaps the best of all, but also go to ‘The chronocrimes ‘and’ Edge of Tomorrow’.

Where to see it: In Filmin.

Children of Men (2006)

Children of Men (2006)
Children of Men (2006)

A pre-apocalyptic fiction that can take place the day after tomorrow and that, for the only time in Cuarón’s filmography, is technically dazzling (the famous sequence shot in the car has not been surpassed by its crazy exhibitionism in later films) without losing any an iota of dramatic intensity. Possibly because these fireworks are accompanied by a splendid direction by actors and a taste for details (the refugee camps, the motivations of those who persecute the last pregnant woman) that make it one of the most disturbing dystopias of this century.

If you liked it, try also with: The pessimistic and moderately realistic portraits of the near future have had a lot of preaching in recent years. Take a look at movies like ‘The road’, ‘Snowpiercer’, the Spanish ‘El hoyo’ and, if you want more Cuarón, ‘Gravity’, much hollow, but equally brilliant visually.

Where to watch it: On Rakuten TV.

Ex Machina (2014)

Ex Machina (2014)
Ex Machina (2014)

Alex Garland’s fascinating sci-fi trajectory still peaks in his first film as a director, this reflection on what makes us human through one of the genre’s iconic tropes: rogue AI. Sensational effects and performances in a film that is both futuristic thriller and intimate drama, possessing a few subtleties in its handling of point of view and in its vision of technology as an extension of the unleashed ego of the men who make it. in an instant classic of the genre.

If you liked it, also try: All Alex Garland’s filmography is essential, both what he has directed (‘Ex Machina’, ‘Annihilation’ ‘Devs’) and what he has written (’28 days later ‘,’ Sunshine ‘,’ Dredd). An author to follow very closely.

Where to watch it: On Rakuten TV.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

The best science fiction movie of the decade we left behind? Quite possibly: the latest ‘Mad Max’ not only picks up the baton of the best action cinema of the seventies and eighties and reduces it to the essential, to a stainless skeleton of insane stunts, heroes and heroines in one piece, romances above from any adversity and repulsive villains. It also proposes a different dystopia adapted to the new times, far from the nihilism of a few years ago, where there is desolation but also hope thanks to such sensational characters as that of Imperator Furiosa.

If you liked it, also try: The original ‘Mad Max’ trilogy is the best dystopian action film you can throw at your face. All of it is a real wrecking ball, but we have a special devotion to the first installment, synthetic, dry and almost abstract.

Where to watch it: On Rakuten TV.

Shin Godzilla (2016)

Choosing the best Godzilla movie is difficult since the franchise’s nature is mutant, like its own bug, and has changed with the times. This is the first Japanese film of the radioactive saurus in 12 years, and it proposes a huge twist to everything the monster supposed, which becomes a visually abject creature in a permanent state of digivolution, which the viewer observes between terrified and fascinated, as if he saw a thirty-story tall monster from a Cronenberg movie. Spiced up with a feverish, ultra-modern use of imagery and a vision of the bureaucracy as the true invisible villain of history, ‘Shin Godzilla’ is a devastating update on the classic and a brutal revitalization of thekaiju eiga.

If you liked it, try also with: You have to see the more Godzilla movies the better, this is so, but you can start with the original in black and white from 1954, when the monster was a embodiment of Japanese atomic terrors; some of when he became a pop myth immersed in brutal battle royale of giant monsters, like ‘Alien Invasion’; and some of the eighties and nineties, with very sophisticated but still traditional effects and bombastic fights, like ‘Godzilla against Biollante’.

Where to watch it: On Filmin and Amazon Prime Video.

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