thought-provoking sci-fi movies list

Here is a list of some of the most influential and thought-provoking sci-fi movies of all times.

They will certainly rock your world and make you question your way of thinking and believing in what is possible. These sci-fi movies had a great impact on me the first time I watched them and, to be honest, I’ve re-watched them several times in a state of awe. They will surely have the same effect on you too and influence you to develop a different perspective on the way you observe life and the very foundations of reality.

1. Alien (1979)

alien sci-fi movies

A space freighter ship “Nostromo” is coming back to Earth packed with 20 million metric tons of mineral ore. Its 7-member crew wakes from deep sleep to find a distress signal from a nearby planet and to respond to it. We follow them as they land and investigate the surface of the planet only to find a derelict alien vessel carrying something that will endanger both their mission and themselves. Not only are their lives at stake but now the whole Earth is in danger from the unknown cargo they brought back with them onboard from the alien ship.

2. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

A clockwork Orange dystopian films

Dystopian future portrayed in a most disturbing Kubrick directed manner. We follow young gang members from one violent incident to another in a not too distant future set in Great Britain. We observe the gang leader Alex as he redeems his violent excesses by participating in an experimental police program that will change his very essence and decisions. A sort of a satire, this movie points out to moral implication of authorities to interfere and change the lives of individuals in order to adapt them to general rules and reinstate them into society as functional citizens – against their will.

3. Solaris (1972)

solaris sci-fi movies

A thought-provoking masterpiece from the director Andrei Tarkovsky will pull you in and leave you in a state of wonder long after the movie finishes. We follow a psychologist who is sent to investigate a space station crew gone mad. The station is orbiting a planet that is showing strange activity that is affecting the crew in the most disturbing way. As he tries to find out the cause of insanity he gradually starts to question the circumstances and disturbing occurrences that affect both the crew and him as the time goes on.

4. Inception (2010)

inception sci-fi movies

An amazing sci-fi thriller about a thief who is breaking into the most hidden places – people’s dreams. Our main character makes a living by stealing valuable secrets from the depths of his victims’ subconsciousness during sleep. His skills made him a high profile player in the world of corporate espionage yet also made him an international fugitive who lost all that is dear to him. He is offered a way out, a redemption, by completing this last job that would erase all the wrongs from the past. The knack is that he and his team have to place something in their victim’s mind instead of stealing.

5. The Road Warrior (1981)

the road warrior sci-fi movies

In a post-apocalyptic world where the only precious commodity is gasoline, there is no state of society as we know it. In the desert lands of Australia, the only law that is on power is the law of the strongest. We join a lone drifter Max who joins a small outpost rich with precious fuel but besieged and outnumbered by bandits. They offer Max full tanks of fuel for a way out of the barricade. A desperate man with nothing to lose will risk to sacrifice himself in order to save many from a certain death from the bloodthirsty car gang lurking outside of the outpost walls.

6. The Matrix (1999)

matrix sci-fi movies

One of the cult sci-fi movies, The Matrix, redefined the genre and became the inspiration for so many people because of its jaw-dropping visual effects, soundtrack and, most of all, its mind-blowing story. A definitive must see a flick about awakening from a world of illusion and deceit and realization that anything is possible. Most of all, the Matrix is highly regarded for its deep philosophical premise. The apparent story shows us a war between machines and men. We follow Neo, a hacker who is investigating another group of hackers and eventually his curiosity leads him to uncover a great scheme of things and a true nature of reality of his world.

7. Blade Runner (1982)

blade runner sci-fi movies

This cult classic is set in a cold, dark and hostile Los Angeles in a not so distant future of the year 2019. The megacorporation Tyrell is creating replicants (humanoid androids) with the only purpose of doing hard labor for humans in the distant Earth colonies. The replicants are physically stronger than humans and also have a false consciousness about their human origin, as well as the ability to develop their own emotions. However, in order to ensure from the eventual consequences of replicants emotional growth, the Tyrell corporation made them with a lifespan of only 4 years. The plot thickens when a 6 member group of a new Nexus 6 model of replicants escapes from the distant colonies and leaves a trail of bodies in its wake. A “Blade Runner” gets a task of tracking them down and destroying them before they can do more damage on Earth. As he tracks the replicants down he will question the very essence of what defines and makes him a human being.

8. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001 A Space Odyssey sci-fi movies

A true masterpiece and one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time. A must-see movie for all sci-fi fans worldwide. 4 million years before Christ, apes on Earth discover a strange black monolith and soon one of the apes takes a bone and uses it as a tool and as a weapon. The evolution of man begins. 2000 years after Christ scientists find another monolith in the Clavius crater on the Moon. The monolith is beaming unusual radio waves towards Jupiter. In 2001, spaceship Discovery is sent to follow the signal and reveal its source. The 5-man crew is being supervised by an onboard computer H.A.L. 9000. HAL is an ultra-computer that can reproduce and do most of the human brain functions faster and with more sophistication. Soon the crew starts to doubt HAL’s intentions towards them during the mission.

9. Gattaca (1997)

gattaca sci-fi movies

A movie about daring to dream, facing fears and achieving success despite the obstacles and odds working against you. A truly inspiring movie about how to overcome personal limits by sheer strength of willpower and hard work. Based in a dystopian future where children are genetically modified before birth to be healthy, smart and better in every way than the unmodified ones. Challenged with his inferiority an ambitious young man takes the identity of a successful athlete in order to fulfill his dream of space travel. A movie filled with amazing and inspiring words of how we can succeed against all odds and limits imposed upon us.

There are sci-fi movies I did not include in this article and I hope that you could point them out for the rest of our readers. Feel free to discuss and recommend your favorite sci-fi movies in the comment section below. In that way, we will fill in the blanks in our must-see sci-fi favorites list.

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Nikola Fragerotorio

Nikola Fragerotorio

Nikola is a passionate writer that enjoys art, writing poetry and pondering about thought-provoking topics. Interested about many things, but most of all occupied by expanding his knowledge and venturing into new experiences. With thought-provoking questions and by contemplating the very essence of existence, he ventures into books in search for answers.