After compiling a list of every single sci-fi movie I have ever watched (yes, I KNOW I must’ve missed some), I’ve decided to make a list/guide/thingie to, basically, list the best ones! Please note, these are just the ones I’ve seen—and also just my personal opinions!
I’ve divided it into the age groups I think would be most interested in each movie. Within the age groups, it’s further ordered by target age. Also, the bolded titles are my top five movies.
For more info on these movies’ plots/age ratings, check out this awesome website.
Now, on to the good sci-fi!
Wall-E: In which humans have left Earth due to pollution, and left robots to do the cleaning up. A classic Pixar movie; recommended for everyone! It discusses some really important themes, and has great animation, worldbuilding, and characters. And, of course, there are loads of robots.
The Incredibles: An awesome movie for younger fans of superheroes! The characters are funny and interesting, and the plot is cool too. A really fun movie.
Big Hero 6: Robots! Funny ones! Great animation! Likable characters! What more could you want?
Flatland: It’s set in a two-dimensional land of shapes, and is a fun adaptation of an (awesome) book written in the 19th century. While the book is best for older readers (it’s a hard read), the movie is great for kids who are interested in math.
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: A fun movie from Studio Ghibli with awesome animation and a good message. Beware: the main character is a bit of a Mary Sue. 😛
Forbidden Planet: A sci-fi version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, made in the 1950’s. If you’re not that into stuff like the original Star Trek series, this movie is NOT for you—it can be weird, boring, and kind of sexist. But it’s a fun movie for fans of old sci-fi.
Star Trek movies: An AWESOME movie series. Best for people who have seen the TV series, but could be appealing to anyone! My favorite is The Voyage Home (“the one with the whales”, as it is colloquially known). My views on the other ones are somewhat controversial, so I won’t go into that right now.
Star Wars movies: The kinds of movies that everyone should watch at some point in their lifetime. (The prequels suck, though.) And personally, I actually liked the newly-released The Force Awakens better than the originals. Hooray for strong female characters!
Galaxy Quest: A brilliant spoof of the Star Trek fandom. If you’re a Trekkie, YOU MUST WATCH THIS. If you haven’t seen Star Trek, you’ll still probably like it (it’s hilarious), but you might not get all of the jokes.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind: A kind of weird movie that will appeal to the more hard-core sci-fi fans. It’s quite good, but very odd. For example, the main character is compelled (by aliens) to make sculptures from mashed potatoes.
Back to the Future: Another classic. One of those movies that you just have to see, regardless of whether or not you’re a fan of time travel. Very funny, and suspenseful!
Tron / Tron Legacy: In which the main character becomes a computer program and has to defeat viruses and evil code. Another one of those movies that will appeal to only a select group. In this case, computer and video game geeks. Personally, I think it’s awesome.
Planet of the Apes (original) : Like Forbidden Planet, this is an old movie that has a lot of sexist and/or dated stuff. BUT, it also discusses issues that are very relevant to today. I haven’t seen the reboots, but I’ve heard they’re pretty good.
Contact: One of those “We got a signal that might be from aliens!” movies. Pretty good (I like the main character), but I also thought the ending was kind of disappointing.
The Giver: Read the book first!!! The book is, of course, better than the movie, but I think the movie is worth watching as well. (It’s very different, though, and didn’t get great reviews, so that’s worth knowing.)
Ender’s Game: Again, not as good as the book, but it’s an awesome movie with pretty cool effects.
Star Trek reboots (Star Trek and Star Trek: Into Darkness) : Not as good as the original movies/series, but still fun movies! I like all the homages to the original. 🙂
Ant-Man (Marvel) : This was actually the first Marvel movie I ever saw. It’s good! Interesting characters and fascinating themes. Main plot object: a suit that will shrink someone to the size of an ant.
The Avengers (Marvel) : One of those movies that you must see to get certain pop culture references. A really fun movie (the sequel’s good too!). Beware of a slightly clichéd female character, and very generic themes, but other than that, it’s awesome! Great for superhero fans!
Guardians of the Galaxy (Marvel) : In which a band of awesome characters romps around the galaxy, saving people and exploding things. One of the most hilarious movies ever. Not exactly high-brow, but very sci-fi, cool effects, great dialogue, and lots of laughs.
Source Code: I saw this on a plane, not expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised. This interesting, thought-provoking movie is about a technology which allows a man to basically “go back in time” to a certain event (in this case, when someone blew up a train), and “re-live” it until he figures out who committed the crime. A really good movie.
Inception: My claim to fame is that I understood pretty much all of this famously confusing movie. It centers around a technology (that is, frustratingly, never explained) that allows people to go into (and warp) other peoples’ dreams. Confusing, thought-provoking, and pretty good.
Artificial Intelligence: In which a couple in a dystopian future adopts an android boy named David after their son dies. Sad, thought-provoking, poignant, and super interesting. And one of the main themes is whether androids can feel love. Definitely my kind of movie.
The Martian: A funny, geeky, suspenseful, and scientifically accurate movie about a guy who gets stuck on Mars. Great for science nerds, and fans of space stuff!
Jurassic Park / World: More classics. For fans of action movies and dinosaurs. Scary, suspenseful, and brilliantly done.
Aeon Flux: One of those movies that got bad reviews but is actually pretty decent. This one is about what happens when the entire civilization becomes infertile—a small, “utopian” society resorts to cloning. It can be very cliché, but it’s a fun movie.
Interstellar: For fans of 2001. This movie has a slow start, but is ultimately very cool, confusing, and nerdy. Great effects, great story, very scientifically accurate. And there’s a wormhole. And time travel. So that’s all cool.
Avatar: One of my favorite movies ever. It really emphasizes the point that aliens/nature are not so different from humans, and that we should work together instead of going to war. Fantastic worldbuilding and plot. Also, the animation is beautiful.
2001: A Space Odyssey: The classic. Just as good as the book. Featuring: apes, an alien monolith on the moon, a malfunctioning artificial intelligence named Hal (“Open the pod bay doors, Hal.” “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”), wormholes & stuff, aliens, and a VERY weird ending. For hard-core sci-fi fans only!
Ex Machina: This movie takes place in a single building, with only four characters, two of whom are androids. An absolutely brilliant movie about artificial intelligence. Does AI care about humans? Can it feel emotions? Is it trustworthy? Exactly my kind of movie.
And one final note: the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is indeed my favorite book ever, but the movie is awful.
Well, that’s pretty much all I have to say! Remember, I have not seen all the sci-fi movies ever made—but feel free to recommend some to me! 😀