10 “Must Watch” Sci-Fi Movies of All Time

Robo Cop takes #10 spot, Her, Avatar, The Martian, and Butterfly Effect all get notable mentions.


We all know Science-fiction (Sci-fi) movies take a lot of time and resources to make, good ones especially. The genre has become so dominant among movie lovers with its futuristic, inventive, and intellectual appeal. I’ve been a cult follower of the genre since I learned how to spell, and it’s been one of my greatest influences and sources of inspiration in life. This list is a product of painstaking organisation, and if you’ve not seen the movies on it, I wonder what you’ve been watching. Enjoy.

10. Robocop (1987)

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This half-human, half-machine cop epic directed by Paul Verhoeven makes my list, taking up the number 10 spot. This is especially because it makes an interesting watch every single time. The idea is original, the plot is brilliant, and it is incredibly packed with action.

9. I, Robot (2004)


I can actually see this movie a hundred times and not get tired. It’s that engrossing! It stars Will Smith as Detective Del Spooner, whose likeness and trust for Robots have been negatively biased by past events in an era where robots serve humans. Things soon take a quick turn, and it seems as though his fears have been confirmed. However, he learns that Robots can indeed be special when he encounters a special bot that can sleep and dream.

8. Jurassic Park (1993)

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Coming in at number 8 is legendary director Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. Rated an impressive 8.1/10 on IMDB, this classic Sci-fi had everything to keep you glued to your seat for the best part of 2 hours. And oh boy, were the graphics tight? Yes! Despite the massive CGI required to render the dinosaurs, Spielberg’s artistry in this movie put Theme Park in the hall of fame of fictitious wonderlands, perhaps the most revered of every child born during the 90s and towards the early millennium.

7. Interstellar (2014)


Well, is there a better way to salvage humanity than searching the universe for a new home, perhaps a new planet where resources are not depleted, hoping that we’ve learned our lessons from a dying earth? This plot sets Christopher Nolan’s beautiful sci-fi space epic in motion. Not that I care about awards, but it is worth mentioning that this movie raked in a lot, including an academy award for best visual effects. Although a long watch, Interstellar’s scientific rendition of space travel is yet to be bested.

6. Minority Report (2002)

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Oops! Another masterpiece from Spielberg. Perhaps you’re thinking I have a soft spot for the veteran director. Well, Spielberg is a genius. You don’t believe me? See this movie! Set in 2054, John Anderton (Tom Cruise) must prove he is not a murderer and avoid going to jail after being identified as a pre-suspect by ‘Precogs’ who are used to stopping murders before they happen. If you think you’ve mastered the art of predicting plot twists, you will likely have a hard time doing this one.

5. Ex Machina (2014)

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Alex Garland made his directorial debut and blessed the cinematic world with this wonderful story about Artificial Intelligence, betrayal, manipulation and sexuality, although it doesn’t end there. Truth is, if you love scientific theories and you’re a technocrat, you will love this movie. Garland’s brainchild dispatches an incredibly powerful message about AI in the simplest and subtlest manners. The casting is perfect, the screenplay impressive, and the score. It also ends with a cliffhanger that will leave you in desperate want of a sequel. Enjoy!

4. Terminator II (1991)

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Who would have a top 10 sci-fi movie pick without any of the movies from the Terminator franchise? Honestly, I think no one would. Directed by whiz director James Cameron, T2 is arguably the best Terminator movie ever made, and hardly has the world of sci-fi movies ever had a sequel this brilliant. Molten man, as my siblings and I would fondly call him, the T-1000 is up there with the most fascinating villains of all time.

3. Ready Player One (2018)


Well, what can I say? Another Spielberg movie on my list- that’s three now. It’s not a coincidence that this one ranks higher than the previous ones on the list. This movie has a shade of all of his works and more. An incredible plot, unbelievable twists, spectacular visual effects, and what about the acting? What a blend! RPO is an absolute beauty that harmonises animation and live-action to tell a fantastic story. Wonderful!

2. Inception


Here we go! Christopher Nolan’s Inception stars Leonardo Dicaprio, Joseph Gordon, and Tom Hardy and takes the number two spot on my list. This spectacular film about consciousness and time travel will mesmerize your mind if you search for details. I call it a “the more you look, the less you see” movie, and if you’ve seen it, you’d immediately agree with me. Arguably the greatest movie yet about time manipulation, the idea behind Inception is entirely out of this world.

1. The Matrix (1999)


I have so many fond memories of The Matrix (1999). Sometime in 2001, on a wet, cold night, my Dad got back home with a VHS tape and said he wanted us to see a movie together, and behold, it was this blockbuster of a cinematic work of art. I was barely eight at that time, but I’d seen a lot of movies (thanks to my Dad), so I could really dig majority of the plots and twists, but not all. The mind-bending film’s massive success later led to the release of two feature sequels, with a 4th one in the making. Keanu Reeves will always be Neo, no matter how many John Wick movies they make. We later heard his role was initially offered to Will Smith, but he turned it down- thank goodness he did! I still haven’t seen a sci-fi movie with a more fascinating screenplay; some of the quotes from this movie have thousands of references. Other qualities that make The Matrix stand out include its costuming, score, fight choreography and visual effects.

Notable Mentions

These 10 movies, however, narrowly miss out, although they are some of the greatest science-fiction films ever made.

Her (2013)

Blade Runner (1982)

Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

Avatar (2009)

The Martian (2015)

Transformers (2013)

Rise of The Planet of Apes (2011)

Prometheus (2012)

The Butterfly Effect (2004)

Arrival (2016)

Please note that this is not a movie review. I tried really hard to keep the spoiling minimal. Again, the list is a product of a rigorous screening and scoring exercise influenced by ratings from IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, critics, and the public. If you haven’t seen them, you certainly should, especially as they have influenced pop culture a lot.

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