20 Best Sci Fi Movies to Watch Now

Estimated read time 8 min read

Great science fiction films have taken us into outer space to explore the galaxy and aliens in their own habitats. They’ve also kept our feet right here on Earth, warping reality with alternate universes, time loops and close encounters of the reverse kind. But, according to Jeffe Kennedy, an author and the president of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association, there’s even more to stellar sci-fi.

“A great science fiction movie reminds us of our humanity — that no matter how technology may change, no matter how grim the world might become, there are always people who rise up to the challenge, who inspire us to fight for good in our own lives,” she says. “We cannot know what the future will bring, but it sure is fun to speculate!”

The boom in great science fiction movies makes it impossible to share all the truly great ones, so we worked on a list of 20, which includes several franchises. Ahead, the best sci-fi cinema you can rent or stream right now. May the force be with you!

‘Metropolis’ (1927)

Made nearly 100 years, the art deco city of the future still looks incredible — and the film has a powerful message about class divide. Over the decades, multiple versions have been released, with varying degrees of success.

Stream it on Tubi

‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ (1951)

An alien lands on Earth with an ultimatum: Learn to live in peace or be destroyed as a menace to other planets. The 2008 remake updates the anti-nuclear war message from the Cold War era to better reflect humanity’s effect on the environment.

Rent the original on YouTube

‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (1968)

Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking classic (based on the Arthur C. Clarke story) wasn’t the first science fiction movie, but it helped humanity envision not just what going to the stars might be like, but what encountering truly alien minds might entail. It also gave us a healthy fear of computers named HAL. The 1984 sequel, “2010: The Year We Make Contact,” is less obscure in its storytelling, but also a good watch.

Stream the original on Max

‘Planet of the Apes’ (1968)

Astronauts wake up after crash-landing on an unknown planet, run by apes and populated by mute humans, and think they’re 300 light years from Earth.

The first in the original “Apes” franchise, this 1968 classic is followed by four sequels. A remake of the original released in 2001, and a reboot series kicked off in 2011. Its latest entry, “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes,” is set for May 2024. So much space to monkey around in.

Stream the original on Starz

‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ (1976)

An alien disguised as a human arrives on Earth looking for a water source to save his dying planet but runs into trouble with actual humans and his own addictive fascinations. Showtime rebooted the concept as a series that ran for one season in 2021. Find it here.

Rent the 1976 film on YouTube

The ‘Star Wars’ Franchise (1977-Present)

The Force is strong with “The Skywalker Saga,” the series of nine “Star Wars” films that stretches from 1977 to 2019 and follows a former farmer who has a particularly nasty relative who wants to run the galaxy.

Since “Skywalker” wrapped, multiple films and TV shows have been released diving further into the characters and their universes, but we recommend starting your sci-fi journey with the original 1977 space adventure trilogy (which are actually the middle three films, chronologically): “Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope,” “Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back” and “Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi.”

Stream them all on Disney+

‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ (1977)

So there was this other film about space aliens that came out in 1977 — only these guys kept their distance for a while, drawing select humans to a location for a first-ever meeting of the “third kind” (that is, direct alien contact). It’s one of Steven Spielberg’s best.

Rent it on YouTube

The ‘Alien’ Franchise (1979-Present)

Space miners investigate a distress signal deep in space and discover one of the most brutal extraterrestrials humanity may ever face. The iconic Ripley is on hand, but as the crew learns quickly, no one in space can hear you scream. The sequel, “Aliens” (1986), is worth your while, but other sequels and offshoots are hit and miss.

Stream the original on Hulu

‘Blade Runner’ (1982)

Replicants are the way of the future for humanity, but when these created humanoid androids go awry, they have to be “retired” by a Blade Runner, who learns a few things about his own humanity along the way. The 2017 sequel, “Blade Runner 2049,” has its moments, too.

Rent the original on YouTube

‘The Terminator’ Franchise (1984-Present)

In the future, sentient cyborgs are actively wiping out humanity — and one has just been sent back in time to kill off the woman who’ll give birth to the only hope human beings have.

The franchise that gave Arnold Schwarzenegger his most famous catchphrases and spawned a number of sequels remains a fun, twisty, often scary adventure. “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” released in 1991, is widely considered as excellent as the original; other sequels are worth exploring, but only for die-hard fans.

Stream the original on AMC+

The ‘Star Trek’ Franchise (1979-Present)

The film and TV franchise built on the back of the short-lived (just 79 episodes) original “Star Trek” series is deep, wide and, as Spock would say, “fascinating.” The films are all over the place in terms of quality. So if you watch only one, go with “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home,” in which the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise go back in time (to the 1980s, natch) to save the whales and the earth.

Stream it on Max

‘Groundhog Day’ (1993)

The tale of a cranky weatherman who’s forced to relive the same day over and over again may not sit easily alongside space opera, but a good time-loop or time travel story is always a welcome entry for science fiction junkies.

Stream it on Hulu

‘The Matrix’ Franchise (1999-2021)

This iconic series has managed to bleed into modern-day thinking, with people toying with the idea that we’re all living in a simulation. In the first film of the franchise, a young man learns this theory as his truth and joins a band of rebels trying to free humanity from the machines enslaving them.

The Matrix” (1999) is probably enough to satiate most curiosity, but just know that there are three others in the franchise if you’d like to see how the story progresses and ends (kind of).

Stream the original on Max

‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ (2004)

What if you could erase your own memory, scrubbing it clean of memories that are unpleasant — like a failed relationship? The characters of “Eternal Sunshine” do just that, but not without regrets in this touching, often funny take on love and imperfection.

Stream it on Peacock

‘Attack the Block’ (2011)

When aliens arrive in South London, it’s the local teens who find themselves on the front lines to save the world. Side note for sci-fi fans: This one features some of the future stars of “Star Wars” and “Doctor Who.”

Rent it on YouTube

‘Under the Skin’ (2013)

When an alien visits earth, wearing the guise of a beautiful woman, she lures men to her lair and adds them to the growing collection inside of her.

Stream it on Max

‘Edge of Tomorrow’ (2014)

A time-loop film for folks who really like both aliens and action, this flick follow a soldier who’s never really seen combat get drawn into an unwinnable battle with extraterrestrials — and then find a way to rewrite his tomorrow, today.

Stream it on Apple TV+

‘Ex Machina’ (2014)

A programmer is invited to his boss’ house and discovers a synthetic, intelligent cyborg that tests him as much as he tests her.

Stream it on Max

‘Aniara’ (2018)

When a spaceship full of emigrating passengers heading to Mars is knocked off course, the crew struggles to right the ship as the passengers settle in for the long haul and spend time in the on-board virtual experience.

Stream it on Max

The ‘Dune’ Franchise (2021-Present)

The son of a duke and his family are relocated to a planet known for two things: its desert landscape and the powerful addictive substance called “spice” native to it. There, he becomes a prophet and the leader of a warrior people who claim the planet’s resources for their own.

Feel free to check out David Lynch’s controversial 1984 original, but Denis Villeneuve does the story better justice with his adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 epic. “Dune: Part Two” is currently in theaters, and a third film and TV spin-off series are in the works.

Stream “Dune” (2021) on Max

Please note, the linked locations of the films and their availability are subject to change.

#Sci #Movies #Watch

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours