The Best Science Fiction Movies

I am a big science fiction fan, but I didn’t write this post all on my own. I asked the staff at Alibris for their favorites as well, to get a broader sampling of the best science fiction movies ever. The results below are the combined favorites chosen by everyone at Alibris.  I was happy to get some really off the wall choices including one  movie, till up to that point, I had never even heard of.  You bet I’ll be watching it soon now though so lets begin with that very movie.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind DVD coverEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

The title of this movie is both artsy and playful, a fitting description of one of the few romantic comedies in the sci-fi genre. Well maybe it’s not a comedy, but it is the old story of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, girl has her memory erased to forget all about the failed romance. It’s that last part that makes this in unforgettable science fiction movie. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind tackles questions like: is it better to have loved and lost, or to never have loved? Is the memory of your love worth anything, if it only leads to heartbreak? Would you do it all again, even if you know all love ends in pain? If you like other Charlie Kaufman movies (e.g. Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) check this out as it is arguably his finest work.

Mr Nobody DVD coverMr. Nobody 

Speaking of great sci-fi movies that are flying under the radar, another surprise contender was Mr. Nobody. Alibris employee Karma Bennett said, “I don’t want to tell you what this movie is about, I wish you to go into it knowing nothing like I did, so you can be blown away from the very start.” Mr. Nobody is a hard film to describe. Imagine a boy born who knows not only everything that is to happen to him in life, but everything that could happen to him as well, all the paths life has potentially laid out for him. This is a very difficult thing to make work in both story and screen delivery, yet not only are they able to skillfully switch between Mr. Nobody’s different lives, the whole thing is a feast of visual cinematography. The result is a movie that combines every mindscrew philosophical conundrum ever dreamed up. It’s beautiful, unpredictable, and not like any other movie you’ve ever seen.


When I was in high school there was a teacher’s strike so they threw all the students into the gym and showed them the 1975 science fiction movie Rollerball. I saw Rollerball eleven times in my freshman year and came out loving it. In the future corporations have replaced governments. To calm violence in the real world, a violent sport is created, called Rollerball.  Individuality is played down in this new society so when Jonathan E. (James Caan) becomes a stand out player it threatens the corporations.  Jonathan E. must go at all costs but he is not so easy to kill.

Outland movie_poster-400


Outland is a 1981 movie starring Sean Connery.  Sean Connery plays the marshall.  Replace Dodge City with a mining colony, on one of Jupiter’s moons, and this western becomes a space western.  Leaders of the “Company Town” hire hit men to try to take down the representation of law and order. Our seller solutions provider Mike Feldman says of Outland, “Gunsmoke could not have done it any better.  It’s an exciting movie and a lot of fun.”


walle posterWALL-E

WALL-E is able to delight your inner child and challenge you with lofty social thoughts all at the same time.  WALL-E depicts a dystopian intergalactic future with broad, sweeping scenes of ruin and exploration, while using a tremendous range of light and color that is quintessentially Pixar. At the same time, it doesn’t hold back its heartfelt depiction of longing and loyalty, and a harsh criticism of consumerism and capitalism.  Plus who doesn’t love a movie where they sing “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” from Hello Dolly!


Them! is a 1954 Classic Science Fiction movie where, due to our carelessness with nuclear bomb tests, we accidentally and unknowingly create giant ants that run wild causing destruction.  Leonard Nimoy has an uncredited role in this movie as an IBM machine operator.  So many movies of that era had this very message (including Godzilla) but Them! is done so well it’s worth a mention here.


Blade Runner-400Blade Runner

Finally, I will end with a movie  everyone expects to be on the list and that is Blade Runner.  Years ago we had relatives come visit us from Italy.  Most of them spoke almost no English and to start up a conversation I asked them what their favorite movie was.  I expected to hear all about Italian cinema but the answer unanimously was Blade Runner.  Harrison Ford stars in this film where blade runner is a euphemism for detectives who hunt down and assassinate rogue androids called replicants.  To tell you more would ruin the fun.  It’s a classic mix of science fiction and noir detective fiction and a must see.

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