GREENVILLE, N.C. (Stacker.com) — Like most movie genres, science fiction goes back almost as far as the medium itself, all the way to 1902, to be exact.

That was when Georges Méliès—an innovative genius of many talents—unleashed his 14-minute masterwork: “Le Voyage dans la Lune,” better known to American audiences as “A Trip to the Moon.” Inspired by the written works of Jules Verne, among other things, and laced with satirical jabs at the scientific community, the surrealist short follows a group of astronomers embarking to the moon. While not scientifically accurate by any means—the astronomers do travel by way of cannon shot, after all—the film did kick off a cinematic trend of depicting hypothetical ideas in anticipation of future realities.

Stacker compiled a list of the 100 best sci-fi movies of all time based on our own Stacker score, a weighted index split evenly between IMDb and Metacritic scores. To qualify, the film had to be listed as sci-fi on IMDb, have a Metascore, and have at least 5,000 votes. Ties were broken by Metascore and further ties were broken by IMDb user votes. Every film on the list has been considered according to the cinematic history and development of sci-fi. Data is recent as of April 2022.

To this day, the trend of exploring what the future may hold for humanity and our own inventions continues. Contemporary scientific breakthroughs like gene editing, as well as the development of robots, virtual reality, cloning, and wearable tech have all been foreshadowed by the sci-fi genre. Great sci-fi movies are not just a qualitative way to pass time, but a way to explore the full realm of human potential, as the ideas of today may well become the realities of tomorrow. That said, sometimes a great sci-fi movie is just a great sci-fi movie—especially when comic book adaptations enter the fold.

Counting down from #100, here are the best sci-fi films of all time.

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The Ghostbusters standing in a line.

1 / 100Columbia Pictures

#100. Ghostbusters (1984)

– Director: Ivan Reitman
– Stacker score: 82.3
– Metascore: 71
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 105 minutes

This iconic comedy-horror blockbuster, which starred Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis as ex-parapsychology professors who start a paranormal investigation service in New York City, pioneered the special effects-driven comedy genre and inspired several sequels and spinoffs. In 2015, “Ghostbusters” was added to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry for preservation.

Human characters from the movie gaze upward at a giant long neck dinosaur.

2 / 100Universal Pictures

#99. Jurassic Park (1993)

– Director: Steven Spielberg
– Stacker score: 82.9
– Metascore: 68
– IMDb user rating: 8.2
– Runtime: 127 minutes

“Jurassic Park” broke box office records when released in 1993, revolutionizing the use of computer-generated imaging, or CGI, in film, with its frighteningly convincing renderings of dinosaurs. Based on Michael Crichton’s novel of the same name, the film takes place on an island where prehistoric DNA has been cloned to birth real dinosaurs for a wildlife park. A trio of experts—played by Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, and Sam Neill—is brought in to investigate the park’s safety after one of the handlers is killed, setting off a chaotic and dangerous series of events.

Tom Cruise and other characters are suited up to fight aliens.

3 / 100Warner Bros.

#98. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

– Director: Doug Liman
– Stacker score: 82.9
– Metascore: 71
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 113 minutes

Initially underperforming in theaters, this wild sci-fi adventure eventually caught on with audiences. Based on a graphic novel, the movie takes place during a future war between mankind and alien invaders. After a man (Tom Cruise) is enlisted to fight against his will, he inherits the unique ability to live the same day over and over again, which he eventually uses to his advantage. When it was released on DVD, the movie repositioned its title as “Live. Die. Repeat.: Edge of Tomorrow.”

Blue outline of head with red eyes and planets on the forehead.

4 / 100Argos Films

#97. Fantastic Planet (1973)

– Director: René Laloux
– Stacker score: 82.9
– Metascore: 73
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 72 minutes

This French film, based on a novel by Stefan Wul, features humanoids rebelling against their tyrannical leaders, who are giant blue aliens. The animated counterculture cult classic won a Special Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973.

Wonder woman is suited up and ready for battle.

5 / 100Warner Bros.

#96. Wonder Woman (2017)

– Director: Patty Jenkins
– Stacker score: 82.9
– Metascore: 76
– IMDb user rating: 7.4
– Runtime: 141 minutes

Sisters are doing it for themselves in this wildly successful comic book adaptation from Patty Jenkins. Set during World War I, the film starts off on a distant island paradise, where Diana (Gal Gadot), princess of the Amazons, hones her indomitable powers. Upon discovering the existence of evil in the world, Diana embarks on a quest to end all wars for good, uncovering her true identity along the way. A sequel, “Wonder Woman 1984,” premiered on Christmas 2020.

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A young boy is in the forefront with two worried looking parents in the background.

6 / 100Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer British Studios

#95. Village of the Damned (1960)

– Director: Wolf Rilla
– Stacker score: 82.9
– Metascore: 77
– IMDb user rating: 7.3
– Runtime: 77 minutes

This campy cult classic features creepy blond children with glowing eyes and unusual abilities who were born after all the town’s women of child-bearing age became pregnant rather mysteriously. It is based on the novel “The Midwich Cuckoos” by John Wyndham.

5 middle aged men in normal clothing walk down the sidewalk with a purpose.

7 / 100Universal Pictures

#94. The World’s End (2013)

– Director: Edgar Wright
– Stacker score: 82.9
– Metascore: 81
– IMDb user rating: 6.9
– Runtime: 109 minutes

Humanity’s only hope is a group of five reunited childhood friends attempting to recreate a moment from their lost youth and find a fabled pub, The World’s End. The film is part of a thematic trilogy alongside “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.”

A cartoon of a black crow cradling a small chipmunk in a cloak.

8 / 100Aurora

#93. The Secret of NIMH (1982)

– Director: Don Bluth
– Stacker score: 83.4
– Metascore: 76
– IMDb user rating: 7.5
– Runtime: 82 minutes

In this dark animated adventure, a field mouse must cure her son’s illness before their home is destroyed by a plow. Desperately seeking help, she visits a colony of super-intelligent rats and soon discovers the secret of the National Institue of Mental Health, NIMH for short. This film marked the directorial debut of former Disney animator Don Bluth, who went on to make animated features like “An American Tail” and “The Land Before Time.”

The two main characters, a boy and a girl, stand saluting on a stage on either side of a woman in a loud yellow floral and glittery short gown.

9 / 100Color Force

#92. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

– Director: Francis Lawrence
– Stacker score: 83.4
– Metascore: 76
– IMDb user rating: 7.5
– Runtime: 146 minutes

Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role as Katniss Everdeen in this acclaimed sequel, which takes place 12 months after the 74th Hunger Games. As Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) embark on a Victory Tour, Katniss discovers her previous act of defiance has spurred an uprising against the Capitol. After refusing to quell the rebellion, the two champions are thrown into yet another Hunger Games, where they must once again fight for their survival.

A woman in a strapless wedding gown and a blank stare floats in water among blossoming lily pads.

10 / 100Zentropa Entertainments

#91. Melancholia (2011)

– Director: Lars von Trier
– Stacker score: 83.4
– Metascore: 80
– IMDb user rating: 7.1
– Runtime: 135 minutes

Kirsten Dunst plays a woman getting married just as the planet Melancholia is hurtling toward Earth. While doing press for the movie, director Lars von Trier was infamously barred from the Cannes Film Festival, a first in the festival’s long history.

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Two young boys in uniforms with bowties are working at a grocery market.

11 / 100Edge City Productions

#90. Repo Man (1984)

– Director: Alex Cox
– Stacker score: 83.4
– Metascore: 82
– IMDb user rating: 6.9
– Runtime: 92 minutes

This sci-fi black comedy marks Alex Cox’s directorial debut. Emilio Estevez plays a repo man who comes across a mysterious Chevy Malibu. Mike Nesmith from the musical group The Monkees served as an executive producer.

Superman and Lois Lane stand hugging surrounded by all white.

12 / 100Dovemead Films

#89. Superman II (1980)

– Directors: Richard Lester, Richard Donner
– Stacker score: 83.4
– Metascore: 83
– IMDb user rating: 6.8
– Runtime: 127 minutes

The Man of Steel gives up his powers to be with his lady love, Lois Lane. Lex Luthor teams up with escaped prisoners from Krypton to bring down the superhero once and for all. A commercial for the film aired during MTV’s first hour on television on Aug. 1, 1981.

Set in the late 1950s, a switchboard operator stands in the front listening to an audio frequency while two other people look interested in the background.

13 / 100GED Cinema

#88. The Vast of Night (2019)

– Director: Andrew Patterson
– Stacker score: 83.4
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 6.7
– Runtime: 91 minutes

In 1950s New Mexico, a switchboard operator and a radio DJ pick up an unusual audio frequency. Could it be extraterrestrial in origin? While the radio station’s call letters, WOTW, probably weren’t accurate, since beginning in 1912, nearly all United States radio stations west of the Mississippi began with “K,” they were an intentional homage to the H.G. Wells novel, “War of the Worlds.”

A woman with swords stands over the defeated while surrounded by robots aiming weapons at her.

14 / 100Universal Pictures

#87. Serenity (2005)

– Director: Joss Whedon
– Stacker score: 84.0
– Metascore: 74
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 119 minutes

Written and directed by Joss Whedon, this cult sci-fi adventure flick follows the renegade crew of spaceship Serenity as they take aboard a telepathic fugitive named River Tam. As a result of their hospitality, the fleet soon finds itself in the crosshairs of a ruthless regime that will stop at nothing to get River back. Meanwhile, the real threat might already be on board. Set in the 26th century, the movie expands upon Whedon’s acclaimed but short-lived TV series, “Firefly.”

A plus-sized inflatable robot and a boy prodigy.

15 / 100FortyFour Studios

#86. Big Hero 6 (2014)

– Directors: Don Hall, Chris Williams
– Stacker score: 84.0
– Metascore: 74
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 102 minutes

A young boy named Hiro, his inflatable robot, and his group of brainy friends form an unlikely group of superheroes in this animated Disney movie. Based on a Marvel comic book series, “Big Hero 6” goes down in the city of San Fransokyo, representing a blend of two distinct cultures. A Disney Channel TV series followed in 2017, with a reported spinoff slated for 2022 release.

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A curious woman carries a tray holding a red bottle.

16 / 100Jet Tone Production

#85. 2046 (2004)

– Director: Wong Kar-wai
– Stacker score: 84.0
– Metascore: 78
– IMDb user rating: 7.4
– Runtime: 129 minutes

Director Wong Kar-wai created a visually stunning film by using three different cinematographers for the story of a science fiction writer and his connection to several women who live in the same Hong Kong hotel. The film arrived just three hours before its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, a record for the festival, and its public premiere also had to be rescheduled.

A group of Avengers (woman with black eyes and antennae, man in red armor, boy in spider man suit, others in background.) looks ahead in wonderment.

17 / 100Marvel Studios

#84. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

– Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
– Stacker score: 84.5
– Metascore: 68
– IMDb user rating: 8.5
– Runtime: 149 minutes

Released in 2018, this “Avengers” installment finds the villain Thanos (Josh Brolin) on the hunt for the six Infinity Stones, which will bring him unspeakable power. With the fate of the galaxy hanging in the balance, the world’s foremost superheroes join forces to stop Thanos in his tracks. This Marvel epic was the fastest movie ever to cross the $1 billion mark in worldwide grosses.

A muscular man with long blonde hair wears armor and chains.

18 / 100Walt Disney Pictures

#83. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

– Director: Taika Waititi
– Stacker score: 84.5
– Metascore: 74
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 130 minutes

2017’s “Thor: Ragnarok” finds its titular hero racing against time before his home planet is destroyed by Hela, the Asgardian goddess of death. Distinguishing this installment from its predecessors is director Taika Waititi’s humorous tone and an eye-catching palette of neon hues. Due to the film’s infectious personality, the Thor franchise itself was arguably given a new lease on life, with a Waititi-helmed sequel, “Thor: Love and Thunder,” to follow in 2022.

Captain America and other superheros stand staring into the distance.

19 / 100Marvel Studios

#82. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

– Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
– Stacker score: 84.5
– Metascore: 75
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 147 minutes

The next best thing to a full-blown “Avengers” movie, this 2016 action flick finds members of the beloved superhero squad disagreeing over a new government protocol that would hold them accountable for their actions. Unable to reach a compromise, Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) lead their respective sides into civil war. To make matters worse, a new villain emerges, with a secret that can tear the Avengers even further apart.

A rough looking man in a black leather jacket stands next to a torn up army truck and old vehicle parts.

20 / 100Kennedy Miller Productions

#81. The Road Warrior (1981)

– Director: George Miller
– Stacker score: 84.5
– Metascore: 77
– IMDb user rating: 7.6
– Runtime: 96 minutes

The follow-up to the 1979 film “Mad Max” features Mel Gibson helping a small community deal with a group of biker bandits in a post-apocalyptic land. Gibson only uttered 16 lines of dialogue throughout the entire film.

A fierce looking dinosaur creature stands held up by military tanks while gripping an airplane in its claw.

21 / 100Toho Film (Eiga) Co. Ltd.

#80. Godzilla (1954)

– Director: Ishirô Honda
– Stacker score: 84.5
– Metascore: 78
– IMDb user rating: 7.5
– Runtime: 96 minutes

An atomic bomb rouses a beast from his centuries-long slumber and he wakes to terrorize Japan. This first film in the prolific Godzilla franchise was released by famous Japanese production studio Toho Studios.

3 men in suits at a nice event stare off looking uncertain.

22 / 100Film4

#79. The Lobster (2015)

– Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
– Stacker score: 84.5
– Metascore: 82
– IMDb user rating: 7.1
– Runtime: 119 minutes

In this unique love story set in a dystopian future, single people are forced to go to a hotel and find a match within 45 days, or else be doomed to be transformed into an animal and sent into the woods. The film received both an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay as well as a win for the Jury Prize at Cannes.

A woman and a man stand on a spacecraft looking puzzled.

23 / 100Walt Disney Pictures

#78. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)

– Director: Rian Johnson
– Stacker score: 84.5
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 6.9
– Runtime: 152 minutes

In this installment of the Star Wars film franchise, Rey trains under Luke Skywalker to develop her newfound abilities while the Resistance and the First Order prepare for an epic battle. Out of the 11 Star Wars films to date, “The Last Jedi” clocks in with the longest running time at two hours and 32 minutes. “A New Hope” is the shortest, with a running time that is still longer than most films at two hours and five minutes.

A man in an oxygen suit with testing gear in an apocalyptic scene.

24 / 100Universal Pictures

#77. 12 Monkeys (1995)

– Director: Terry Gilliam
– Stacker score: 85.1
– Metascore: 74
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 129 minutes

Starring Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis, this mind-bending film was inspired by the 1962 French short film “La Jetée.” A man travels back in time to stop the virus that wiped out most of the world’s population.

A man and a young boy stand facing each other with a trail of light encircling them, originating from the man's head.

25 / 100Columbia Pictures

#76. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

– Director: Jon Watts
– Stacker score: 85.6
– Metascore: 71
– IMDb user rating: 8.4
– Runtime: 148 minutes

The explosive popularity of Tom Holland’s third turn as Spider-Man drove pandemic-decimated ticket sales back to nearly pre-COVID-19 pandemic numbers in the U.S., U.K., and Ireland. Also featuring Zendaya and Benedict Cumberbatch, who reprised his role as Dr. Strange, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” finds Peter Parker attempting to recover his secret identity and inadvertently causing more chaos.

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A large dragonfly shaped ship sits in the desert with an army of people in the background.

26 / 100Warner Bros.

#75. Dune (2021)

– Director: Denis Villeneuve
– Stacker score: 85.6
– Metascore: 74
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 155 minutes

Starring Timothée Chalamet, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides, a young man from a noble family faced with ending a deadly war for control over the desert planet Arrakis. The film won six out of its 10 Oscar nominations in 2022, including Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects.

3 men stand looking serious, one in a leather jacket, one in a straightjacket and another in a suit.

27 / 100Twentieth Century Fox

#74. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

– Director: Bryan Singer
– Stacker score: 85.6
– Metascore: 75
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 132 minutes

The seventh film of the X-Men franchise opens in the future, where a range of indestructible robots known as Sentinels is destroying everything in their path. To stop the robots, a group of heroic mutants uncover a nifty time travel hack, which involves having Logan, aka Wolverine, inhabit his 1973 body. With help from his 1970s peers (i.e., the players from “X-Men: First Class”), Logan sets out to stop the Sentinel program from getting off the ground.

Half human, half robot female.

28 / 100Kôdansha

#73. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

– Director: Mamoru Oshii
– Stacker score: 85.6
– Metascore: 76
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 83 minutes

Saved from a horrible crash and equipped with a life-saving set of cyber enhancements, Major Mira Killian now functions only as a super-soldier whose mission is to stop the most dangerous criminals in the world. The 2017 adaptation starring Scarlett Johansson is based on the comic series of the same name by Masamune Shirow.

A robot with human skin and face looking at another replica like herself.

29 / 100A24

#72. Ex Machina (2014)

– Director: Alex Garland
– Stacker score: 85.6
– Metascore: 78
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 108 minutes

A young programmer wins a work-sponsored retreat to the remote cabin of the company’s reclusive CEO, where he participates in an experiment involving a beautiful “woman” who turns out to be the first true artificial intelligence. The film marked Alex Garland’s directorial debut; Garland also wrote “28 Days Later.”

A worried man with sores on his face looking in the mirror.

30 / 100SLM Production Group

#71. The Fly (1986)

– Director: David Cronenberg
– Stacker score: 85.6
– Metascore: 79
– IMDb user rating: 7.6
– Runtime: 96 minutes

A remake of a 1958 film, “The Fly” tells the story of a scientist who turns into a fly-human hybrid after an experiment goes awry. It took nearly five hours each day to apply actor Jeff Goldblum’s fly makeup, but it was all worth it because the film won an Oscar for Best Makeup in 1987. Three years after the release of the original came the lesser sequel, “The Fly 2.”

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Apes holding guns.

31 / 100Chernin Entertainment

#70. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

– Director: Matt Reeves
– Stacker score: 85.6
– Metascore: 79
– IMDb user rating: 7.6
– Runtime: 130 minutes

A follow-up to 2011’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” this 2014 film takes place 10 years after a deadly virus was unleashed upon the world. As the human survivors regroup and gather resources, a colony of genetically evolved apes grows restless in the woods, wondering if they can trust the humans. Ape leader Caesar (Andy Serkis) would prefer to avoid a violent confrontation, but according to his subordinates, it’s only a matter of time before the two cultures clash.

Men talking to a robot on another planet.

32 / 100MGM

#69. Forbidden Planet (1956)

– Director: Fred M. Wilcox
– Stacker score: 85.6
– Metascore: 80
– IMDb user rating: 7.5
– Runtime: 98 minutes

“Forbidden Planet” is credited with transforming science fiction cinema from low-brow, B-movie material to “mainstream respectability”: the stuff of major studios and astronomical budgets. It influenced a host of major sci-fi franchises that followed it, including “Star Trek,” “Doctor Who,” and “Star Wars.” The film tells the story of an expedition to a faraway planet, Altair IV, which ventures there to investigate what happened to a previous expedition that never returned.

Superman standing on a mountain.

33 / 100Dovemead Films

#68. Superman (1978)

– Director: Richard Donner
– Stacker score: 85.6
– Metascore: 81
– IMDb user rating: 7.4
– Runtime: 143 minutes

This origin film tells of Superman’s descent to Earth, his childhood as Clark Kent with his adoptive parents on the farm, and his career as a reporter for the Daily Planet, where he falls for Lois Lane. The film’s opening credit sequence was the most expensive of any film at the time. It was very elaborate and was meant to build on the grandeur of a film that paved the way for future epic superhero movies.

A man pointing a gun with a woman holding her ears in the background.

34 / 100Permut Presentations

#67. Face/Off (1997)

– Director: John Woo
– Stacker score: 85.6
– Metascore: 82
– IMDb user rating: 7.3
– Runtime: 138 minutes

An FBI agent played by John Travolta and a terrorist played by Nicholas Cage switch places in one of 1997’s highest-grossing films. Many moviegoers believe this to be director John Woo’s best work—and there may yet be a sequel in the works.

3 men on a small boat near a submarine.

35 / 100Walt Disney Pictures

#66. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

– Director: Richard Fleischer
– Stacker score: 85.6
– Metascore: 83
– IMDb user rating: 7.2
– Runtime: 127 minutes

Based on Jules Verne’s famous novel, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” tells the tale of a crew who investigates a series of sinkings and encounters a submarine run by Captain Nemo. This Disney production featured only two women in the entire film, one of whom was actress Laurie Mitchell in her uncredited feature film debut.

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A man holding a girl on his back surrounded by people on the ground with guns.

36 / 100SnowPiercer

#65. Snowpiercer (2013)

– Director: Bong Joon Ho
– Stacker score: 85.6
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 7.1
– Runtime: 126 minutes

A train called Snowpiercer houses the last humans after a failed experiment in climate change led to a global freeze. Class struggles emerge for the survivors as the train travels the globe. The 2013 film spawned a TNT television series starring Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs.

A muscular man with red drawings across his body and a knife stands next to a man with a face mask on with red lit eyes and a gun.

37 / 100Marvel Studios

#64. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

– Director: James Gunn
– Stacker score: 86.2
– Metascore: 76
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 121 minutes

One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s biggest surprises, this 2014 smash hit centers on a group of intergalactic criminals who must join forces to stop an evil villain before he takes over the entire galaxy. Leading the way is an Earth-born bounty hunter named Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), also known as Star Lord. Quill’s motley crue is made up of a talking raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), a sentient tree of few words (voiced by Vin Diesel), a green-skinned warrior (Zoe Saldana), and a destroyer named Drax (Dave Bautista).

The Incredibles family in red superhero suits stand looking up at something.

38 / 100Walt Disney Pictures

#63. Incredibles 2 (2018)

– Director: Brad Bird
– Stacker score: 86.2
– Metascore: 80
– IMDb user rating: 7.6
– Runtime: 118 minutes

The world’s favorite family of superheroes is back in this wildly successful sequel from Pixar, which soared past the $1 billion mark faster than any other animated film in history. Written and directed by Brad Bird, the film sees Mr. Incredible staying at home to watch the kids while his wife, Elastigirl, embarks on a world-saving adventure. Of course, knowing this family, it won’t be too long before they’re all fighting side by side.

A scared little girl stands in between two apes with guns.

39 / 100Twentieth Century Fox

#62. War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

– Director: Matt Reeves
– Stacker score: 86.2
– Metascore: 82
– IMDb user rating: 7.4
– Runtime: 140 minutes

After an epic and violent battle brought on by the Colonel, ape leader Caesar reels from the loss, ultimately deciding he must seek vengeance on the humans. The Colonel and Caesar finally face off, with the future of both species at stake. The film received an Oscar nomination for Best Achievement in Visual Effects.

A pink princess holds hands with a beast while floating through the air.

40 / 100Studio Chizu

#61. Belle (2021)

– Director: Mamoru Hosoda
– Stacker score: 86.2
– Metascore: 83
– IMDb user rating: 7.3
– Runtime: 121 minutes

This Japanese anime adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast” largely takes place in a digital metaverse called “U,” where high schooler Suzu creates an avatar, Bell, and becomes a singing sensation. But when a monster disrupts one of her performances, Suzu embarks on a quest to find out his identity. “Belle” received a 14-minute-long standing ovation at its premiere at Cannes.

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A creature on top of the water holds a woman in its tail.

41 / 100Chungeorahm Film

#60. The Host (2006)

– Director: Bong Joon Ho
– Stacker score: 86.2
– Metascore: 85
– IMDb user rating: 7.1
– Runtime: 120 minutes

This South Korean film features a creature living in the Han River that terrorizes people, eventually kidnapping a man’s daughter. The man attempts to rescue her, but things do not go well. Writing for RogerEbert.com, Jim Emerson said, “A horror thriller, a political satire, a dysfunctional family comedy, and a touching melodrama, Bong Joon-ho’s ‘The Host’ is also one helluva movie.”

A muscular man holds an ancient tool.

42 / 100Sever Studio

#59. Hard to Be a God (2013)

– Director: Aleksey German
– Stacker score: 86.2
– Metascore: 90
– IMDb user rating: 6.6
– Runtime: 177 minutes

Shot in black and white and inspired by the novel of the same name, this film features a space traveler from Earth interfering with life on a medieval-era planet. Director Aleksey German died before he could finish post-production for the film.

Man dressed in all black running down an alley.

43 / 100Twentieth Century Fox

#58. Minority Report (2002)

– Director: Steven Spielberg
– Stacker score: 86.7
– Metascore: 80
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 145 minutes

Like certain writers before him, sci-fi author Philip K. Dick is no stranger to numerous big-screen adaptations. Among them is this 2002 film from Steven Spielberg, which stars Tom Cruise as a cop named John Anderton. To do his job, Anderton relies on the clairvoyant visions of beings called precogs, who can see crimes before they actually occur. After the precogs foresee Anderton himself committing a crime, he goes on the run to prove his future innocence.

A woman hiding in a basement hears something and shushes her child with a gesture.

44 / 100Paramount Pictures

#57. A Quiet Place (2018)

– Director: John Krasinski
– Stacker score: 86.7
– Metascore: 82
– IMDb user rating: 7.5
– Runtime: 90 minutes

Starring John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, “A Quiet Place” melds science fiction with horror to tell this story about parents raising their children in a post-apocalyptic world. Lethal aliens hunt humans using their keen sense of hearing, forcing the family to adapt to living silently in order to survive. Roger Ebert critic Brian Tallerico called the film a “nerve shredder” which follows the lineages of “Alien” and “Jurassic Park.”

Spider man without a mask looks at his hands in awe.

45 / 100Columbia Pictures

#56. Spider-Man 2 (2004)

– Director: Sam Raimi
– Stacker score: 86.7
– Metascore: 83
– IMDb user rating: 7.4
– Runtime: 127 minutes

The second film in the Spider-Man franchise features the continued adventures of Peter Parker as superhero Spider-Man. In this installment, Spidey battles villain Doc Ock, who blames the web-slinger for a failed experiment that killed the doctor’s wife. The trilogy concluded with “Spider-Man 3,” released in 2007.

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People in red suits and alien bots stand in a factory.

46 / 100Je Suis Bien Content

#55. April and the Extraordinary World (2015)

– Directors: Christian Desmares, Franck Ekinci
– Stacker score: 86.7
– Metascore: 85
– IMDb user rating: 7.2
– Runtime: 105 minutes

In this animated film, a girl searches for her scientist parents in France in the 1940s. However, France appears to be stuck in the 19th century, as the country operates without technology, is governed by Napoleon V, and continues to see the disappearance of scholars. Famed French comics artist Jacques Tardi helped with the visual style of the film.

A man and woman sit in a sound studio looking at a screen.

47 / 100185 Films

#54. Memoria (2021)

– Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
– Stacker score: 86.7
– Metascore: 91
– IMDb user rating: 6.6
– Runtime: 136 minutes

“Memoria” features Tilda Swinton as Jessica Holland, a Scottish woman living in Bogotá, Colombia, who starts hearing eerie booming noises that no one else can hear. Soon, other uncanny and inexplicable things begin to happen, causing Jessica—and the audience—to question her sense of reality.

A man and a little girl walk away from a car with all the doors open.

48 / 100Twentieth Century Fox

#53. Logan (2017)

– Director: James Mangold
– Stacker score: 87.3
– Metascore: 77
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 137 minutes

The final film of the “Wolverine” trilogy is also the best, with Hugh Jackman reportedly donning the deadly claws for the last time. Set in a futuristic wasteland where the mutant population has dwindled, the movie finds Logan struggling to protect an ailing Professor Xavier and frequently succumbing to the lures of alcoholism. However, when he’s asked to escort a young female mutant to the Canadian border, Logan discovers there’s still some life left in him yet.

Superhero in a beat up red iron suit without a helmet.

49 / 100Paramount Pictures

#52. Iron Man (2008)

– Director: Jon Favreau
– Stacker score: 87.3
– Metascore: 79
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 126 minutes

The Marvel movie that started it all, 2008’s “Iron Man” still endures as one of the best installments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At the heart of the film is weapons magnate Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), who ends up in captivity during a trip to Afghanistan. To escape imprisonment, Stark designs and builds a weaponized suit of armor, thereby spawning his newfound gig as a superhero, and likewise spawning Marvel’s dominance over the live-action film industry.

Cartoon of a female with short brown hair and big brown eyes.

50 / 100Madhouse

#51. Paprika (2006)

– Director: Satoshi Kon
– Stacker score: 87.3
– Metascore: 81
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 90 minutes

When a machine intended to help psychiatric patients is stolen, scientist by day, dream detective by night Dr. Atsuko Chiba tries to retrieve the machine before any real damage is done. “Paprika” inspired director Christopher Nolan’s 2010 film “Inception.”

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Cartoon of the Mitchell family crammed into a car driving too fast to escape a bunch of robot cameras.

51 / 100Sony Pictures Animation

#50. The Mitchells vs the Machines (2021)

– Directors: Michael Rianda, Jeff Rowe
– Stacker score: 87.3
– Metascore: 81
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 113 minutes

“The Mitchells vs the Machines” is an animated film that follows the Mitchell family as they embark on a road trip, only to find themselves and the rest of the world under attack by robots. The film’s voice actors include Abbi Jacobson, Maya Rudolph, Eric André, Olivia Colman, and Fred Armisen. The film swept the Annie Awards, winning eight awards, including Best Animated Feature.

Man on the ground with a weapon.

52 / 100TriStar Pictures

#49. Looper (2012)

– Director: Rian Johnson
– Stacker score: 87.3
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 7.4
– Runtime: 119 minutes

A man named Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) works as a “looper,” killing people from the future in the past for the mob. One day the mob turns on Joe, sending his future self back in time to be killed. Writing for the Chicago Tribune, Michael Phillips noted, “That first hour cooks. And the second hour brings Emily Blunt into the story, which is a fine thing for any second half to offer.”

Man holding a little girl with ominous weather in the background.

53 / 100Hydraulx

#48. Take Shelter (2011)

– Director: Jeff Nichols
– Stacker score: 87.3
– Metascore: 85
– IMDb user rating: 7.3
– Runtime: 120 minutes

A young husband and father have hallucinations about the world’s end. Unsure if he is mentally ill or seeing the future unfold in his dreams, he builds a storm shelter that causes chaos in every part of his life. “Take Shelter” won two Saturn Awards, one for Michael Shannon for Best Actor and another for Best Writing for Jeff Nichols, who wrote and directed the film.

Apes looking at a man caught in a net.

54 / 100APJAC Productions

#47. Planet of the Apes (1968)

– Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
– Stacker score: 87.8
– Metascore: 79
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 112 minutes

Featuring one of the best surprise endings in movie history, the original “Planet of the Apes” paved the way for a string of sequels, not to mention the 2001 remake or the recent franchise reboot. In the film, an astronaut (Charlton Heston) crash lands on a strange planet, where super-intelligent apes run the show and humans are considered an inferior species. Co-written by “Twilight Zone” creator Rod Serling, the movie delivers a range of prescient allegories.

Storm trooper in white armor confronting a roughed up rebel.

55 / 100Lucasfilm

#46. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)

– Director: J.J. Abrams
– Stacker score: 87.8
– Metascore: 80
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 138 minutes

A desert scavenger and an ex-storm trooper join forces with Chewbacca and Han Solo when the galaxy is threatened. The film also features Billie Lourd, Carrie Fisher’s daughter, in her film debut. Lourd wrote about working with her mother on the film and her mini-Leia buns for Time magazine, sharing, “Some people carry on their family name, some people carry on holiday traditions—I was going to carry on the family hairstyle.”

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Man and woman dressed in all black with suglasses and guns walk through a corporate building.

56 / 100Warner Bros.

#45. The Matrix (1999)

– Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
– Stacker score: 88.4
– Metascore: 73
– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Runtime: 136 minutes

During the 1999 Super Bowl, a movie trailer flashed a series of compelling images across the screen, all without giving a single aspect of the plot away. Just a few months later, people lined up in droves to unwrap the riddle of “The Matrix.” What they got in return was one of the greatest films of the modern era, about a computer hacker named Neo (Keanu Reeves) who uncovers the true nature of reality. Two sequels followed, neither of which came close to the original’s brilliant mix of sci-fi, philosophy, and action.

A man in a space suit walks through weather on another planet.

57 / 100Paramount Pictures

#44. Interstellar (2014)

– Director: Christopher Nolan
– Stacker score: 88.4
– Metascore: 74
– IMDb user rating: 8.6
– Runtime: 169 minutes

Set in a future that’s potentially too close for comfort, this 2014 Christopher Nolan film finds mankind under threat from a host of climate-related disasters. In search of a solution, a team of explorers journey through space, where they hope to find an inhabitable planet. What follows is a mix of hard science and earnest philosophy, some of which is accurate and most of which is confusing. Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, and Anne Hathaway star.

3 men dressed in all white with brown hats and baseball bats walk through a row of people sitting.

58 / 100Warner Bros.

#43. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

– Director: Stanley Kubrick
– Stacker score: 88.4
– Metascore: 77
– IMDb user rating: 8.3
– Runtime: 136 minutes

After sending viewers through space in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Stanley Kubrick brought them down to Earth with a cruel thud by way of this 1971 cult classic. Set in future England, “A Clockwork Orange” chronicles the ultraviolent adventures of its protagonist, an utterly amoral thug named Alex (Malcolm McDowell). Along with his fellow droogs, Alex commits a range of atrocities, sometimes while singing a happy tune. Eventually, he’s sent to prison, where he enrolls in a conditioning program designed to rob him of his ability to commit crime. Upon being released back into society, Alex discovers the tables have turned, as his former victims become his tormentors.

A man in an orange spacesuit walks on a desert-like planet.

59 / 100Twentieth Century Fox

#42. The Martian (2015)

– Director: Ridley Scott
– Stacker score: 88.4
– Metascore: 80
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 144 minutes

Based on the best-selling novel by Andy Weir, this similarly successful film opens on Mars and dives right into the action, with a massive storm separating an astronaut (Matt Damon) from his team. Presumed dead and thereby abandoned, the astronaut finds himself alone on a foreign planet, where he must learn how to survive using the sparest of means.

A man and woman stand with very worried looks on their faces.

60 / 100Lava Bear Films

#41. Arrival ((II) (2016))

– Director: Denis Villeneuve
– Stacker score: 88.4
– Metascore: 81
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 116 minutes

In the spirit of movies like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” this 2016 film kicks off with the arrival of massive extraterrestrial vessels on Earth. Unable to understand what the alien’s motives are, the U.S. government hires an expert linguist (Amy Adams) to decipher their language. Can she learn how to communicate before it’s too late? To lend the film an authentic vibe, director Denis Villeneuve and screenwriter Eric Heisserer actually created an entirely new language.

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A green alien creature peeks from around a corner.

61 / 100TriStar Pictures

#40. District 9 (2009)

– Director: Neill Blomkamp
– Stacker score: 88.4
– Metascore: 81
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 112 minutes

Rife with sociological overtones, this 2009 surprise hit imagines a society where aliens exist here on Earth but are forced to live in a militarized slum called District 9. When a government agent is hired to evict the aliens from their home, he ends up being exposed to some of their biotechnology, leading to a radical shift in his perspective. Filmed in an actual Johannesburg ghetto, the movie explores prescient themes of ethnic division.

A grey dog with a tag reading "Duke" looks up with his tongue out.

62 / 100Indian Paintbrush

#39. Isle of Dogs (2018)

– Director: Wes Anderson
– Stacker score: 88.4
– Metascore: 82
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 101 minutes

Returning to an aesthetic he’d previously explored in “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” Wes Anderson delivered this stop-motion sci-fi comedy adventure in 2018. The film takes place in a futuristic Japan, where a flu outbreak has exiled all canines to Trash Island, and follows a young boy as he searches for his missing dog. Providing their voices are a variety of notable actors and actresses, including Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Greta Gerwig, and Edward Norton among others.

The Lego boss man walks through checking on all of his workers.

63 / 100Warner Bros.

#38. The Lego Movie (2014)

– Directors: Christopher Miller, Phil Lord
– Stacker score: 88.4
– Metascore: 83
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 100 minutes

“The Lego Movie” finds a construction worker, Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt), trying to combat the evil Lord Business, who plans to use superglue to freeze the world in place. Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, and Will Arnett also make up the voice cast.

A man with sunglasses on looks down at a boy with a serious look on his face.

64 / 100Carolco Pictures

#37. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

– Director: James Cameron
– Stacker score: 89.0
– Metascore: 75
– IMDb user rating: 8.6
– Runtime: 137 minutes

Armed with a much bigger budget and considerably more experience, James Cameron followed up his original cult classic with this groundbreaking sequel. In the film, two cyborgs are sent back from the future, one to kill John Connor (Edward Furlong) and another to protect him. In a surprise turn of events, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the good cyborg this time around. But is he a match for the T-1000 (Robert Patrick), a supremely advanced cyborg made of liquid metal?

A man and a woman stand at a door in a hallway while she has a retinal scan.

65 / 100Alcon Entertainment

#36. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

– Director: Denis Villeneuve
– Stacker score: 89.0
– Metascore: 81
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 164 minutes

This follow-up to the cult sci-fi film “Blade Runner” takes place 30 years after the original, following a young bounty hunter (Ryan Gosling) as he tracks down replicants and uncovers a vast conspiracy in the process. Appearing about halfway through the film is actor Harrison Ford, reprising his role as Rick Deckard. While the movie did open to a palpable sense of anticipation, it underperformed at the box office, meaning “Blade Runner 2079” probably won’t appear anytime soon.

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Men and women on Star Trek looking up.

66 / 100Paramount Pictures

#35. Star Trek (2009)

– Director: J.J. Abrams
– Stacker score: 89.0
– Metascore: 82
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 127 minutes

J.J. Abrams resurrected the Star Trek movie franchise with considerable panache in 2009, when he unleashed this action-packed prequel. It stars Chris Pine as a young and rebellious James T. Kirk, who struggles to fill the shoes of his deceased father, a starship captain. After an emergency breaks out on Vulcan, Kirk joins a young crew of cadets aboard the USS Enterprise, and so begins one of the most enduring sci-fi sagas of all time.

A blue being stands in a jungle with a pointy weapon.

67 / 100Twentieth Century Fox

#34. Avatar (2009)

– Director: James Cameron
– Stacker score: 89.0
– Metascore: 83
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 162 minutes

Taking 3D technology to new heights, this insanely successful adventure flick from James Cameron centers on a paraplegic marine named Jake Sully (Sam Worthington). At the behest of his superiors, Sully inhabits the body of a Na’vi, the native humanoid species on the moon Pandora. While Sully’s initial task is to help his bosses eradicate the Na’vi and get their hands on a precious mineral, he soon finds himself pledging loyalty to his blue-skinned brethren. A whopping four sequels are in various states of production, with the next installment scheduled to premiere in 2022.

A leader talks to a man in handcuffs while women warriors watch in the background.

68 / 100Marvel Studios

#33. Black Panther (2018)

– Director: Ryan Coogler
– Stacker score: 89.0
– Metascore: 88
– IMDb user rating: 7.3
– Runtime: 134 minutes

When Prince T’Challa’s right to the throne of the advanced African nation of Wakanda is challenged, Black Panther must fight back and prevent Wakanda from being pulled into a deadly world war. The film’s star, Chadwick Boseman, died two years after the movie was released; Marvel Studios said it would honor Boseman’s legacy by not recasting the role of T’Challa for any subsequent films.

A man sits in a chair with a gun in his hand.

69 / 100Warner Bros.

#32. Inception (2010)

– Director: Christopher Nolan
– Stacker score: 89.5
– Metascore: 74
– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Runtime: 148 minutes

This heady sci-fi thriller stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a thief who’s skilled in the art of extraction, meaning he’s able to enter other people’s dream worlds to retrieve information and change their minds. After being hired for a dangerous assignment, the thief and his team find themselves going deeper and deeper into the target’s dream world, potentially beyond the point of no return. Christopher Nolan initially conceived the idea as a horror movie in the early 2000s and continued to toy with it until landing on the final version.

A superhero in red armor stands next to a blue screen and a man with arrows in his pack.

70 / 100Marvel Studios

#31. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

– Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
– Stacker score: 89.5
– Metascore: 78
– IMDb user rating: 8.4
– Runtime: 181 minutes

A follow-up to Marvel’s 2018 “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Endgame” deals with the devastation of a chaotic and ruined universe. The bruised and battered Avengers come together to restore order and try to undo the damage unleashed by Thanos. The film marks comic book icon Stan Lee’s final cameo in a Marvel movie, though it was not his last film cameo. Lee died on Nov. 12, 2018, at the age of 95.

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Someone wearing a chubby baby mask and a seated man in background.

71 / 100Embassy International Pictures

#30. Brazil (1985)

– Director: Terry Gilliam
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 132 minutes

Former “Monty Python” member Terry Gilliam infused George Orwell’s “1984” with his unique satirical sensibility in this cult classic. Set in an overly bureaucratic future society, “Brazil” centers on a low-level government employee named Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) who daydreams of heroism and an escape from the doldrums of his claustrophobic office. After manipulating documents for the love of a woman, Lowry finds himself on the run from government officials. Suffice to say, it’s not exactly the escape he was hoping for.

Soldiers line a staircase in front of a man and woman in tatters holding a baby.

72 / 100Universal Pictures

#29. Children of Men (2006)

– Director: Alfonso Cuarón
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 109 minutes

Based on a novel by P.D. James, this gripping sci-fi thriller takes place in a future where the human population is no longer able to reproduce. Surrounded by chaos on all sides, a man (Clive Owen) risks his life transporting a woman to sanctuary. What’s so special about the woman? She’s pregnant, and everyone wants to get their hands on her baby.

Man wrapped in bandages from head to toe wearing a robe next to a woman dressed up in a fur coat grasping his arm.

73 / 100Universal Pictures

#28. The Invisible Man (1933)

– Director: James Whale
– Stacker score: 90.1
– Metascore: 87
– IMDb user rating: 7.6
– Runtime: 71 minutes

Writer H.G. Wells delivered some of the most enduring science fiction stories of all time, and “The Invisible Man” was certainly no exception. In this big-screen 1933 adaptation, actor Claude Rains tackles the lead role, playing a scientist who unlocks the power of invisibility. Unfortunately, side effects may include total insanity.

Large purple and green beings spearing the ground in a melon field.

74 / 100Khara Corporation

#27. Evangelion: 3.0+1.01 Thrice Upon a Time (2021)

– Directors: Mahiro Maeda, Katsuichi Nakayama, Kazuya Tsurumaki, Hideaki Anno
– Stacker score: 90.6
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 154 minutes

The fourth and final installment in the Rebuild of Evangelion series, “Evangelion: 3.0+1.01 Thrice Upon a Time” topped box office earnings for 2021 in Japan, bringing in the equivalent of over $92 million. Beginning in the 1990s, the Evangelion franchise started as a show called “Neon Genesis Evangelion,” which quickly developed a devoted fanbase and became a cultural phenomenon in Japan.

Futuristic dystopian city scene with a man leaping over the tops of cab trucks.

75 / 100The Ladd Company

#26. Blade Runner (1982)

– Director: Ridley Scott
– Stacker score: 91.2
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 117 minutes

Ridley Scott’s arthouse answer to “Star Wars” follows a Blade Runner named Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) as he tracks down four rogue replicants. Replicants are genetically engineered humans created for hard labor on distant colonies, whose four-year life spans come built into their DNA. Against a backdrop of eye-popping visuals and lush music, Deckard hunts down the replicants one by one, grappling with some philosophical conundrums along the way.

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Worn down man with robot characteristics starting to show through on his face and eye.

76 / 100Cinema ’84

#25. The Terminator (1984)

– Director: James Cameron
– Stacker score: 91.2
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 107 minutes

Inspired by his own feverish nightmare, director James Cameron created this iconic sci-fi thriller about a cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who travels back in time to assassinate a waitress (Linda Hamilton). To combat the cyborg, a human resistance fighter (Michael Biehn) is also sent back in time, and he explains to the waitress that her future son, John Connor, will one day lead mankind in the war against machines.

True to its origins, the movie imparts a nightmarish vibe and throws in a mind-boggling predestination paradox for good measure. Numerous sequels and video games followed, as did a short-lived live-action TV series. The 2019 franchise reboot, “Terminator: Dark Fate,” was a disappointment at the box office, dashing any hopes for its planned sequels, but Netflix has announced the development of a new Terminator anime series.

Little boy sitting down looking up to a giant robot face.

77 / 100Warner Bros.

#24. The Iron Giant (1999)

– Director: Brad Bird
– Stacker score: 91.7
– Metascore: 85
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 86 minutes

Before dazzling audiences with movies like “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille,” animation veteran Brad Bird released this cult classic in 1999. Based on a 1968 novel, the movie chronicles the adventures of a young boy and his giant robot friend, who forge a tight bond as they flee from a paranoid government agent. Vin Diesel voices the giant, who mostly issues guttural sounds in lieu of actual dialogue. Diesel later put those same skills to work while providing the voice of Groot in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.

Girl flying on top of an airplane through a beautiful green valley.

78 / 100Nibariki

#23. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

– Director: Hayao Miyazaki
– Stacker score: 91.7
– Metascore: 86
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 117 minutes

Acclaimed Japanese artist Hayao Miyazaki might be best known for works like “Spirited Away” and “Princess Mononoke,” but also worthy of note is this 1984 fantasy film, which incorporates ecological themes into Miyazaki’s stunning visuals. It follows the adventures of a peace-loving warrior named Princess Nausicaä, who tries to stop two nations from battling one another before the planet itself gets destroyed. In the wake of its success, Miyazaki co-founded Studio Ghibli, the production house behind his most iconic films.

Little boy looking out the open front door of his home with a bright orange light illuminating everything.

79 / 100Julia Phillips and Michael Phillips Productions

#22. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

– Director: Steven Spielberg
– Stacker score: 91.7
– Metascore: 90
– IMDb user rating: 7.6
– Runtime: 138 minutes

What began in the early 1970s as a political UFO thriller called “Project Blue Book” eventually became this family-friendly classic from Steven Spielberg. In the film, an ordinary man and his family play a central role in the first encounter between mankind and alienkind. Like so many early Spielberg works, this one permeates with a sense of wonder. Furthermore, it distinguishes itself from the common “alien invasion” trope by way of an optimistic outlook.

Man looking out of a space helmet with the colors from a machine's blinking lights reflecting all over his face shield.

80 / 100Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#21. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

– Director: Stanley Kubrick
– Stacker score: 92.3
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 8.3
– Runtime: 149 minutes

The year 2001 might have come and gone without any star children or monoliths, but this sci-fi masterpiece from Stanley Kubrick is nevertheless as visionary as it ever was. After opening with the evolution of mankind’s apelike ancestors, the movie soars into space, following a small crew of astronauts on a secret mission to Jupiter… and beyond. Aboard the ship is an advanced computer system known as HAL 9000, which begins to exhibit some troubling behavior as the mission progresses.

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A woman in a giant robotic suit with metal arms on the sides and lights on top.

81 / 100Twentieth Century Fox

#20. Aliens (1986)

– Director: James Cameron
– Stacker score: 92.8
– Metascore: 84
– IMDb user rating: 8.4
– Runtime: 137 minutes

For this blockbuster sequel to 1979’s “Alien,” director James Cameron cranked up the dial in virtually every department, delivering a longer runtime, more action, and more aliens, including a big momma alien. Set 57 years after the original, the film finds Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) waking up on a salvage ship. Soon enough, her worst fears are realized, as she joins a team of marines on a trip to a moon she knows all too well, where acid-spewing creatures await.

A boy talking and laughing in a microphone with school kids blurry in the background.

82 / 100Pandora Cinema

#19. Donnie Darko (2001)

– Director: Richard Kelly
– Stacker score: 92.8
– Metascore: 88
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 113 minutes

The ultimate modern-day cult classic, “Donnie Darko” tells the story of a troubled teenager (Jake Gyllenhaal) who narrowly escapes death, and proceeds to grapple with metaphysical phenomenon and a hallucinatory bunny. Thanks to the film’s mind-bending premise, there are many theories as to what it all means. A subsequent director’s cut provided more questions and frustrations than it did answers.

Darth Vader in all black with his hand held out.

83 / 100Lucasfilm

#18. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

– Director: Irvin Kershner
– Stacker score: 93.4
– Metascore: 82
– IMDb user rating: 8.7
– Runtime: 124 minutes

For countless fans, this 1980 Star Wars installment is as good as the never-ending franchise gets. After seeing their precious Death Star destroyed, Darth Vader and the Imperialist Forces go on the hunt for Luke Skywalker and his rebel brethren. Meanwhile, Luke pays a visit to an ancient Jedi knight named Yoda, who helps him unlock the secrets of the Force. The action culminates with a reveal that’s still making a formidable impression on new generations of viewers.

An enormous gorilla tied up on display on stage in front of a crowd with dressed up people standing next to him.

84 / 100RKO Radio Pictures

#17. King Kong (1933)

– Directors: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack
– Stacker score: 93.4
– Metascore: 90
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 100 minutes

Former army pilot Merian C. Cooper was living in New York City and working on a script treatment about gorillas when he looked up and saw a plane flying over a skyscraper. At that moment, the seed for “King Kong” was planted in his mind. Soon enough, Cooper was co-directing this 1933 classic about a giant ape who falls in love with a young actress and ultimately ends up terrorizing the Big Apple. Numerous remakes followed, none of which truly capture the magic of the original.

Frankenstein sitting next to a little girl by a pond.

85 / 100Universal Pictures

#16. Frankenstein (1931)

– Director: James Whale
– Stacker score: 93.4
– Metascore: 91
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 70 minutes

Marking Boris Karloff’s debut as Frankenstein’s monster, this 1931 sci-fi horror movie brings Mary Shelley’s classic tale to life in a timeless fashion. Karloff was such an obscure actor at the time there was a question mark in lieu of his name during the opening credits. Thanks to a subsequent horror boom in Hollywood, in part fueled by the success of “Frankenstein,” Karloff rapidly became one of the industry’s biggest stars. Needless to say, his days of being credited with a question mark were over.

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A man and woman running frantically down an alley.

86 / 100Allied Artists Pictures

#15. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

– Director: Don Siegel
– Stacker score: 93.4
– Metascore: 92
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 80 minutes

This terrifying alien invasion movie has been remade a handful of times, but most cinephiles think it’s the original 1956 version that reigns supreme—though the 1978 version is likewise held in high regard. In the film, a small-town doctor begins to suspect his friends and neighbors aren’t who they seem. His worst nightmares are confirmed when he discovers that aliens are in fact replacing humans with drone-like doppelgangers. Released on the heels of McCarthyism, the film is commonly perceived as a thinly veiled warning against the spread of harmful ideologies.

A worried man hugging a woman with a long ponytail.

87 / 100Mosfilm

#14. Solaris (1972)

– Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
– Stacker score: 93.9
– Metascore: 90
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 167 minutes

On a space station orbiting a distant planet, a crew struggles with the return of repressed memories and wonders if it might have something to do with the mysterious ocean. This Russian film is based on the novel by Polish author Stanislaw Lem. American director Steven Soderbergh rebooted the film in 2002.

A little boy in a red sweater riding his bike with an alien covered up in the basket in front, followed by other kids on bikes.

88 / 100Universal Pictures

#13. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

– Director: Steven Spielberg
– Stacker score: 93.9
– Metascore: 91
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Runtime: 115 minutes

Quintessential viewing for children of all ages, this 1982 film chronicles the symbiotic relationship between a young boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas) and his androgynous alien friend. Featured in the film is a scene so iconic it later became the logo for Steven Spielberg’s production company, Amblin Entertainment. Of course, Elliott and E.T. soaring past the full moon is but one among countless memorable moments in this timeless classic.

A woman looking at her elongated fingers.

89 / 100AGBO

#12. Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)

– Directors: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
– Stacker score: 94.5
– Metascore: 82
– IMDb user rating: 8.9
– Runtime: 139 minutes

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” stars Michelle Yeoh as a Chinese American woman who is roused from the seeming-mundaneness of her usual life and becomes entangled in a chaotic scheme to save the world. Invoking versions of herself from several parallel universes, she must save her family and stretch her own limits beyond what she believes possible. Blending several genres and running the thematic gamut from domestic struggle to immigrant story to superhero comedy. Roger Ebert critic Marya E. Gates called Yeoh’s performance “virtuosic.”

Spider man and a kid in a spider man suit both crouched down thinking.

90 / 100Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE)

#11. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

– Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
– Stacker score: 94.5
– Metascore: 87
– IMDb user rating: 8.4
– Runtime: 117 minutes

In this installment in the Spider-Man film franchise, teen Miles Morales is bitten by a spider on the subway and turns into the one and only Spider-Man—or so he thinks until he meets Peter Parker and realizes there could be more than one Spidey. Miles fights the villainous Kingpin, whose secret weapon can pull different Spider-Men into our world from other universes. The film won an Oscar in 2019 for Best Animated Feature Film.

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A man in an old car in tattered clothing.

91 / 100Warner Bros.

#10. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

– Director: George Miller
– Stacker score: 94.5
– Metascore: 90
– IMDb user rating: 8.1
– Runtime: 120 minutes

Who knew that George Miller’s original “Mad Max”—which was made for a mere $350,000—eventually paved the way for this $150 million epic? Starring Tom Hardy as the post-apocalyptic warrior and introducing Charlize Theron as his renegade counterpart Furiosa, the movie sends both heroes on a desert chase of epic proportion. Hot on their tail is a vicious warlord and his endless supply of pale-skinned minions.

A man with a mustache in an orange shirt slouched down looking at a computer screen.

92 / 100Annapurna Pictures

#9. Her (2013)

– Director: Spike Jonze
– Stacker score: 94.5
– Metascore: 91
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Runtime: 126 minutes

This 2013 sci-fi dramedy might take place in the future, but in some ways, its premise has already arrived. Starring Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore Twombly, the film depicts a blossoming romance between Twombly and his sentient operating system, Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). Against all conceivable odds, the two form a genuine romantic relationship, but can it last?

A young man talks to an old man with crazy hair wearing a white suit and driving a Delorean.

93 / 100Universal Pictures

#8. Back to the Future (1985)

– Director: Robert Zemeckis
– Stacker score: 95.0
– Metascore: 87
– IMDb user rating: 8.5
– Runtime: 116 minutes

In this truly timeless sci-fi comedy, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) journeys 30 years into the past by way of a souped-up Delorean. Once there, he ends up romantically pursued by his teenage mother, thereby compromising his own existence. With help from Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), Marty works on getting his parents back together for the first time and getting himself back to the future.

An older man and a young woman wearing white lab coats in an office.

94 / 100Focus Features

#7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

– Director: Michel Gondry
– Stacker score: 95.0
– Metascore: 89
– IMDb user rating: 8.3
– Runtime: 108 minutes

If headlines are to be believed, this surrealist film might one day soon be the stuff of science, minus the fiction. Directed by Michel Gondry from a Charlie Kaufman script, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” stars Jim Carrey as Joel Barish, a man who wishes he could erase ex-girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) from his memory. As it turns out, there’s a medical procedure that will do just that. Things only get weirder from there.

Frankenstein holds the hand of his bride with her arm stretched straight out and a surprised look on her face.

95 / 100Universal Pictures

#6. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

– Director: James Whale
– Stacker score: 95.6
– Metascore: 95
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Runtime: 75 minutes

There’s general consensus amongst critics that the sequel to “Frankenstein” is an improvement on the original. The film picks up where “Frankenstein” left off, in which Frankenstein’s Monster survives the mob’s attack, and Dr. Praetorious schemes to make a mate for Frankenstein’s Monster. The film stars Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Ernest Thesiger, Valerie Hobson, and Elsa Lanchester.

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A woman astronaut stares at the controls inside a space capsule.

96 / 100Warner Bros.

#5. Gravity (2013)

– Director: Alfonso Cuarón
– Stacker score: 95.6
– Metascore: 96
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Runtime: 91 minutes

Viewers flocked in droves to this 2013 3D space adventure, which sees two astronauts (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) fighting for survival after their shuttle is destroyed. In preparation for her role, Bullock worked with Australian dancers, retraining her body “from the neck down, to react and move as though it’s in Zero G.” Alfonso Cuarón directed the film and co-wrote the script with his son, Jonas.

An older man in a ballcap and suspenders looks up as a slimy alien hand moves towards him.

97 / 100Brandywine Productions

#4. Alien (1979)

– Director: Ridley Scott
– Stacker score: 96.1
– Metascore: 89
– IMDb user rating: 8.5
– Runtime: 117 minutes

Before battling scores of aliens in the 1986 sequel, Ripley took on just one in this 1979 original. It all starts when the crew of spaceship Nostromo picks up a deadly lifeform, which proceeds to wreak total havoc in the vein of an acid-spitting serial killer. A milestone in the horror sci-fi genre, the film features a stomach-churning historic scene.

Han Solo aims his gun from underneath his spacecraft.

98 / 100Lucasfilm

#3. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)

– Director: George Lucas
– Stacker score: 97.2
– Metascore: 90
– IMDb user rating: 8.6
– Runtime: 121 minutes

Hollywood’s endless space opera began in 1977 with this game-changing film from George Lucas, in which a young man named Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) joins the rebels in their fight against Darth Vader and the Imperial Forces. Getting in on the fun are a range of characters who have since become immortalized via every conceivable outlet, including waffle makers. Sir Alec Guinness (who plays Obi Wan Kenobi) once referred to “Star Wars” as “fairy-tale rubbish.” Millions upon millions of fans would beg to differ.

A small space robot holds onto the side of a fast moving craft.

99 / 100FortyFour Studios

#2. WALL·E (2008)

– Director: Andrew Stanton
– Stacker score: 98.9
– Metascore: 95
– IMDb user rating: 8.4
– Runtime: 98 minutes

Pixar’s 2008 film finds the normally optimistic studio in a downright scathing mood. Specifically, it opens on a future Earth where the trash problem became so bad that humans took off. After wending its lonely way through piles of waste on Earth, a lovable robot named WALL·E finds a way onto a manned spaceship. At long last, viewers can see what humans have been up to since destroying the planet—watching TV and eating, naturally.

A female robot stands on a platform.

100 / 100Universum Film (UFA)

#1. Metropolis (1927)

– Director: Fritz Lang
– Stacker score: 100.0
– Metascore: 98
– IMDb user rating: 8.3
– Runtime: 153 minutes

This early film tells the tale of a futuristic city with stark class divisions. At the heart of “Metropolis” is a love story between a have and a have-not and the prediction of a coming savior. New York City circa 1924 inspired the look of the city in the film, which went on to influence pop culture in many ways.