50 Best Alien Movies of All Time, Ranked (2022 Update)

Best Alien Movies of All time

Do you remember when they said that in space, no one could hear you scream? The tagline for the cult classic Alien movie has, in a way, become a tagline for the whole subgenre of science-fiction, at least when alien movies with horror elements are concerned. Now, that would be an interesting list in itself, but that is not what we have decided to do for you here.

Namely, in this article, we have decided to bring you a list of the 50 best alien-related movies of all time. The list is going to be quite diverse in terms of subgenres, years, and the tone of each film, but the context will be that it is focused on aliens and alien creatures. The aliens have to play a major role in the movie and not just be part of the folklore.

Also, we tried to include films where these aliens have been perceived as aliens, and not as something usual, which means that you won’t find movies like Star Wars or Superman on the list. The list is about aliens and we’ll give you aliens aplenty!

Best Alien Movies of All Time

Our list of the 50 best alien movies of all time is going to be ranked from 50th to 1st place, based on the movies’ quality, historical importance, genre relevance, and cultural impact. We’re going to bring you some basic production and plot details, from which you’re going to see why we have ranked the movies as we did.

50. ALIEN³ (1992)

Best Alien Movies of All Time Ranked

Directed by: David Fincher
Writer(s): David Giler, Walter Hill, Larry Ferguson
Release date: May 22, 1992
Running time: 114 minutes

Starring: Sigourney Weaver (Ellen Ripley), Charles S. Dutton (Leonard Dillon), Charles Dance (Jonathan Clemens), Brian Glover (Harold Andrews)

The film begins shortly after the events of Aliens. Ripley, Hicks, Newt, and Bishop are in hypersleep aboard the naval vessel Sulaco when a fire breaks out. The computer responds to this by placing the occupants in a space shuttle without waking them and launching them into space.

Also on board is an Alien facehugger, which has apparently hitchhiked to the asteroid. The space shuttle crashes into Fiorina 161, a prison planet owned by the Weyland-Yutani company. Only Ripley survives the accident.

RELATED: Alien Movies in Order: Chronological & by Release Date

Controversial in most aspects, ALIEN³ has since received a warmer reception, which is why we have decided to include it on our list of the best alien movies, albeit on such a low place.

49. Annihilation (2018)

Best Alien Movies of All Time Ranked

Directed by: Alex Garland
Writer(s): Alex Garland
Release date: February 13, 2018
Running time: 115 minutes

Starring: Natalie Portman (Lena), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Dr. Ventress), Tessa Thompson (Josie Radek), Oscar Isaac (Kane)

A group of five women (a psychologist, a physicist, a geomorphologist, a biologist and a nurse) are sent on a dangerous expedition and enter an area where the normal laws of nature no longer apply.

The uninhabited area is the last place where Lena’s husband Kane has been among the group members. He was the sole survivor of all the expeditions that were in the area and has fallen into a coma.

The area is expanding more and more and threatens the entire world. The goal of the expedition is to find the cause and try to stop it.

48. Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000)

Best Alien Movies of All Time Ranked

Directed by: Danny Leiner
Writer(s): Philip Stark
Release date: December 15, 2000
Running time: 84 minutes

Starring: Ashton Kutcher (Jesse), Sean William Scott (Chester), Jennifer Garner (Wanda), Marla Sokoloff (Wilma)

Jesse and Chester wake up hungover and have no idea how they got home. Their fridge is filled with puddings and the answering machine shows an angry message from their friends, twins Wilma and Wanda, asking where they have been.

To make amends with them, Jesse and Chester want to get the presents out of the car for them. However, the car appears to have disappeared and so Jesse asks Chester: “Dude, where’s my car?”

Dude, Where’s My Car? is a cult classic and a pure example of how big of a trash stoner movies are, but because it its lasting legacy and the popularity it enjoys among 90’s kids, we simply had to include it on our list of the best alien movies ever.

47. Jigureul Jikyeora! (2003)

Best Alien Movies of All Time Ranked

Directed by: Jang Joon-hwan
Writer(s): Jang Joon-hwan
Release date: April 4, 2003
Running time: 118 minutes

Starring: Shin Ha-kyun (Lee Byeong-gu), Baek Yoon-sik (Kang Man-shik), Hwang Jeong-min (Su-ni), Lee Jae-yong (Detective Choo)

Byeong-gu believes Earth is going to be invaded by a horde of aliens. He decides to avoid it to kidnap the one he believes to be the number one agent of the aliens: the wealthy and powerful boss of a chemical company.

This South Korean black comedy is a great example of how you can approach the alien subgenre differently, creating a movie that constantly threatens you with something unseen.

RELATED: 50 Best Horror Movies From The 2000s You Have To Watch (Again)

46. A Quiet Place (2018)

Best Alien Movies of All Time Ranked

Directed by: John Krasinski
Writer(s): Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, John Krasinski
Release date: March 9, 2018
Running time: 90 minutes

Starring: Emily Blunt (Evelyn Abbott), John Krasinski (Lee Abbott), Millicent Simmonds (Regan Abbott), Noah Jupe (Marcus Abbott)

After an alien race of animals wipes out virtually all of humanity, a family of five struggles to survive. This can only be done by trying not to make any noise. The creatures are strong, fast and have extremely sensitive hearing.

They attack everything they hear and fighting back is almost impossible. Under these circumstances, Lee Abbott, his wife Evelyn and their children Regan, Marcus and Beau travel through a devastated America.

They communicate with sign language. They can do this because Regan was born deaf. Beau finds a toy in the shape of a spaceship. When he turns this on, it starts making noise. Lee tries to reach him, but one of the creatures beats him.

45. Repo Man (1984)

Best Alien Movies of All Time Ranked

Directed by: Alex Cox
Writer(s): Alex Cox
Release date: March 2, 1984
Running time: 92 minutes

Starring: Harry Dean Stanton (Bud), Emilio Estevez (Otto Maddox), Tracey Walter (Miller), Olivia Barash (Leila)

When Otto Maddox, a young Los Angeles punk rocker, loses his job, discovers that his girlfriend is cheating on his best friend, and finally finds that his hippie parents have given all the savings to a televangelist, he – at the end advise – recommend a position as “repo man”: he takes over unpaid cars.

His initial skepticism disappears when he discovers that “life of a repo man is always intense”: he enjoys drugs, car chases and a generous salary. The main “loot” that Otto, his friend Buden, are chasing is a twenty-year-old Chevrolet Malibu from New Mexico with a huge price tag on it. A mysterious woman, Leila, and CIA agent Rogersz are also on the hunt.

44. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Best Alien Movies of All Time Ranked

Directed by: James Gunn
Writer(s): James Gunn, Nicole Perlman
Release date: July 21, 2014
Running time: 122 minutes

Starring: Chris Pratt (Peter Quill), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Bradley Cooper (Rocket Racoon), Dave Bautista (Drax)

Adventurer Peter Quill steals a coveted artifact from the powerful Ronan, who has ambitions to destroy the entire galaxy. Peter, who likes to call himself Star-Lord, then joins forces with the crazy raccoon Rocket, the tree-like humanoid Groot, the enigmatic Gamora and the vengeful Drax the Destroyer.

Together they form a futuristic team of superheroes who protect the galaxy from danger.

RELATED: Marvel Movies in Order: All 27 MCU Movies Chronologically

43. The Suicide Squad (2021)

Best Alien Movies of All Time Ranked

Directed by: James Gunn
Writer(s): James Gunn
Release date: July 30, 2021
Running time: 132 minuntes

Starring: Idris Elba (Robert DuBois / Bloodsport), Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Sylvester Stallone (King Shark), John Cena (Christopher Smith / Peacemaker)

Belle Reve Prison inmates are sent as members of Task Force X to the South American island of Corto Maltese to destroy Jotunheim, a Nazi-era prison and laboratory that held political prisoners and conducted experiments.

Along with Gunn’s other movie on this list, The Suicide Squad was listed as one of the best alien movies due to the alien motif that is present within the larger superhero story, and because of its inherent quality that surpasses genre boundaries.

RELATED: Suicide Squad History and Origin

42. Under the Skin (2013)

Best Alien Movies of All Time Ranked

Directed by: Jonathan Glazer
Writer(s): Walter Campbell, Jonathan Glazer
Release date: August 29, 2013
Running time: 108 minutes

Starring: Scarlett Johansson (Woman)

An alien roams the streets of Glasgow seducing and abducting lonely men while being chased by a mysterious biker.

Under the Skin comes as close to an art film as possible, and Johansson’s brilliant performance earned this philosophical indie film a place on our list of the best alien movies ever.

41. Evolution (2001)

Evolution2011001

Directed by: Ivan Reitman
Writer(s): David Diamond, David Weissman, Don Jakoby
Release date: June 8, 2001
Running time: 101 minutes

Starring: David Duchovny (Colonel Dr. Ira Kane), Julianne Moore (Dr. Allison Reed), Orlando Jones (Professor Harry Phineas Block), Seann William Scott (Wayne Grey)

Trainee firefighter Wayne Gray witnesses a meteor strike a cave near Glen Canyon. Research by scientists Ira Kane and Harry Block shows that extraterrestrial life is present, which is also rapidly evolving.

The army, led by General Woodman, closes the area. dr. Reed of the CDC takes over the investigation, but Ira and Harry don’t take it. Meanwhile, it turns out that alien life could take over the country within a few months.

Like Dude, Where’s My Car?, Evolution captures the quirkiness and weirdness of 2000s cinematography to create a hilarious, if forgettable movie that had to be honored on our list of the best alien movies.

40. Super 8 (2011)

Super 8

Directed by: J. J. Abrams
Writer(s): J. J. Abrams
Release date: June 9, 2011
Running time: 112 minutes

Starring: Joel Courtney (Joe Lamb), Elle Fanning (Alice Dainard), Riley Griffiths (Charles Kaznyk), Ryan Lee (Cary McCarthy)

1979. Inspired by the movie Dawn of the Dead, young teenage Charles wants to make his own zombie movie with his super 8 camera and involves his friends Joe, Cary, Martin, Preston and Alice, a girl whom both Charles and Joe have a crush on. to have.

While filming on a railroad, Joe sees a car drive onto the tracks and crash into an oncoming freight train, resulting in a serious train accident. They all survive and find their biology teacher in the car, who warns them to forget what they have seen. They leave the scene when military vehicles arrive.

39. Space Jam (1996)

Space Jam

Directed by: Joe Pytka
Writer(s): Leo Benvenuti, Steve Rudnick, Timothy Harris, Herschel Weingrod
Release date: November 10, 1996
Running time: 88 minutes

Starring: Michael Jordan (Himself), Bill Murray (Himself), Wayne Knight (Stan Podolak), Danny DeVito (Swackhammer)

Living peacefully in their world, the Looney Tunes are attacked by aliens wanting to make them their slaves for their entertainment. Cornered, the Loonies decide to bet their freedom in a basketball game: if they win, the aliens must go back and leave them in peace; otherwise, the Toons will agree to be enslaved.

Unexpected detail: The Martians use their powers to steal the talent and strength of the best players on the planet, becoming relentless giant monsters. Panicked, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck bring champion Michael Jordan to their world to train the toons and help them win the match.

Diversity is quite important on our list of the best alien movies, which is why Space Jam‘s gang of animated alien villains earned this classic 1990s animated crossover a spot on our list.

38. Alien Resurrection (1997)

Alien Resurrection

Directed by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Writer(s): Joss Whedon
Release date: November 26, 1997
Running time: 109 minutes

Starring: Sigourney Weaver (Ripley 8), Winona Ryder (Annalee Call), Dominique Pinon (Dom Vriess), Ron Perlman (Ron Johner)

The film is set 200 years after the events of Alien 3. Using blood samples, a group of scientists aboard the USM Auriga create a clone of Ellen Ripley. The scientists work for the company United Systems Military, a kind of successor to Weyland-Yutani from the previous films. This company, like its predecessor, has set its sights on using the Aliens as a biological weapon.

Since Ripley was carrying the embryo of an Alien queen when she died, the scientists hope to obtain such an Alien embryo by cloning. The plan succeeds and an Alien queen is taken from the Ripley clone.

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The clone itself is kept alive for further research, while the Alien Queen creates a nest of Aliens with a series of hosts kidnapped by smugglers for the first time in two centuries.

37. Paul (2011)

Paul

Directed by: Greg Mottola
Writer(s): Simon Pegg, Nick Castle
Release date: February 7, 2011
Running time: 104 minutes

Starring: Simon Pegg (Graeme Willy), Nick Frost (Clive Gollings), Seth Rogen (Paul), Jason Bateman (Special Agent Lorenzo Zoil)

Two British nerds travel to the United States for Comic-Con. They then tour the “mythical” places of ufology enthusiasts. On their way, they discover an alien named Paul, who escaped from Area 51, where he had been living in hiding for sixty years.

Paul convinces them to take him with them and help him leave Earth, but they are pursued by three FBI agents as well as the father of a girl they meet on their journey.

36. Attack the Block (2011)

Attack the block

Directed by: Joe Cornish
Writer(s): Joe Cornish
Release date: March 12, 2011
Running time: 88 minutes

Starring: John Boyega (Moses), Jodie Whittaker (Samantha Adams), Alex Esmail (Pest), Franz Drameh (Dennis)

A youth gang whose members live in the same flat in Brixton, south London, rob a nurse and are then attacked by an alien monster. When they are also being chased into the flat by monsters, the youngsters are assisted in their struggle by the nurse, who also appears to live in the flat.

35. Lilo & Stitch (2002)

Directed by: Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois
Writer(s): Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois
Release date: June 21, 2002
Running time: 85 minutes

Starring: Chris Sanders (Stitch), Daveigh Chase (Lilo Pelekai), Tia Carrere (Nani Pelekai), David Ogden Stiers (Dr. Jumba Jookiba)

Lilo is a six-year-old orphaned Hawaiian with a strong character who is being raised somehow by her older sister. One day, despite her older sister’s reluctance, she adopts a strange, voracious and indomitable animal from a refuge: Stitch, who turns out to be an extraterrestrial fugitive.

A relationship of friendship will be born between these two beings but unfortunately, things will get complicated: a group of aliens responsible for capturing Stitch to send him back to prison arrives on Earth.

Disney’s 2002 animated classic is probably as close to E.T. as a movie will ever get in terms of cuteness and child-friendliness, which is the reason why we have included it on our list of the best alien movies.

34. Alien: Covenant (2017)

Alien Covenant

Directed by: Ridley Scott
Writer(s): John Logan, Dante Harper
Release date: May 4, 2017
Running time: 122 minutes

Starring: Michael Fassbender (David 8 and Walter One), Katherine Waterston (Katherine Daniels), Billy Crudup (Christopher Oram), Danny McBride (Tennessee Faris)

The crew of the colony ship Covenant is on their way to a distant planet on the other side of the galaxy. Along the way, they pick up signals from a planet that is much closer.

They hope to discover an unknown paradise, but they are soon confronted with a dark and perilous world. The only resident turns out to be the ‘synthetic’ David, a survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.

33. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

Hitchikers Guide to Galaxy

Directed by: Garth Jennings
Writer(s): Douglas Adams, Karey Kirkpatrick
Release date: April 28, 2005
Running time: 105 minutes

Starring: Martin Freeman (Arthur Dent), Sam Rockwell (Zaphod Beeblebrox), Mos Def (Ford Prefect), Zooey Deschanel (Trillian)

In a quarter of an hour, the life of the Briton Arthur Dent is turned upside down: his house will be destroyed to be replaced by a road interchange, and the Earth will also be destroyed by the Vogons to create a hyperspace expressway. He is saved by his friend Ford Prefect, an alien hitchhiker.

Although Douglas Adams’ science-fiction classic was always more about life, the universe and everything else rather than about aliens, there’s more than enough of them for the movie to end up on our list of the best alien movies ever.

32. The World’s End (2013)

World's End

Directed by: Edward Wright
Writer(s): Simon Pegg, Edward Wright
Release date: July 10, 2013
Running time: 109 minutes

Starring: Simon Pegg (Gary King), Nick Frost (Andy Knightley), Martin Freeman (Oliver “O-Man” Chamberlain), Eddie Marsan (Peter Page)

In 1990, five friends celebrated the end of their high school years with a very alcoholic tour of the twelve pubs in their village of Newton Haven. But the trip turns bad and the last bar is never reached, so that Gary King, the leader of the group, is very frustrated.

Twenty years later, he still lives in the memory of that night and decides to call back his friends to get them out of their tidy life in order to achieve what they could not do at a younger age: complete their tour by reaching up to ‘at the famous bar The World’s End.

31. Galaxy Quest (1999)

Galaxy Quest

Directed by: Dean Parisot
Writer(s): David Howard, Robert Gordon
Release date: December 25, 1999
Running time: 102 minutes

Starring: Tim Allen (Jason Nesmith), Sigourney Weaver (Gwen DeMarco), Alan Rickman (Alexander Dane), Tony Shalhoub (Fred Kwan)

Galaxy Quest, an old science fiction television series that aired between 1978 and 1982, has generated a loyal following of enthusiasts who still follow their favorites, even eighteen years after the program’s premature suspension.

The protagonists of the old cast navigate more and more wearily between the openings of suburban shopping centers and conventions of bewildered fans.

30. Dark City (1998)

Dark City

Directed by: Alex Proyas
Writer(s): Alex Proyas, Lem Dobbs, David S. Goyer
Release date: February 27, 1998
Running time: 100 minutes

Starring: Rufus Sewell (John Murdoch), William Hurt (Inspector Frank Bumstead), Kiefer Sutherland (Dr. Daniel P. Schreber), Jennifer Connelly (Emma Murdoch / Anna)

John Murdoch wakes up with amnesia in a hotel. While seeking to learn more about himself, he discovers that he is suspected of being a serial killer. He is notably pursued by Inspector Bumstead.

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In his quest to regain his memory, Murdoch meets Doctor Schreber, who seems to know a lot about himself. In addition, Murdoch discovers creatures endowed with frightening supernatural powers and with dark designs.

29. Starman (1984)

Starman

Directed by: John Carpenter
Writer(s): Bruce A. Evans, Raynold Gideon, Dean Riesner
Release date: December 14, 1984
Running time: 115 minutes

Starring: Jeff Bridges (Scott Hayden / Star Man), Karen Allen (Jenny Hayden), Charles Martin Smith (Mark Shermin), Richard Jaeckel (George Fox)

In 1977, the Voyager 2 space probe was launched with the Voyager Golden Record disc intended to contact possible extraterrestrials. The message is indeed intercepted and an alien emissary is sent to Earth to establish first contact.

But the alien ship is shot down by the government and crashes in Wisconsin. Its sole occupant, resembling an energy ball, then meets Jenny Hayden and takes on the guise of her late husband, Scott.

As far as John Carpenter is concerned, the guy was an absolute genius and Starman is only the first of his movies that landed on our list of the best alien movies.

28. Starship Troopers (1997)

Starship Troopers

Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
Writer(s): Edward Neumeier
Release date: November 7, 1997
Running time: 129 minutes

Starring: Casper Van Dien (Johnny Rico), Dina Meyer (Dizzy Flores), Denise Richards (Carmen Ibanez), Jake Busey (Ace Levy)

In order for the regime to issue full citizenship, student Johnny Rico enlists in the army and ends up in the middle of a space war to defend the Earth from extraterrestrial insect attacks.

27. District 9 (2009)

District 9

Directed by: Neill Blomkamp
Writer(s): Terri Tatchell, Neill Blomkamp
Release date: August 13, 2009
Running time: 112 mminutes

Starring: Sharlto Copley (Wikus van de Merwe)Jason Cope (Christopher Johnson), David James (Colonel Koobus Venter), Vanessa Haywood (Tania Smit-van de Merwe)

An extraterrestrial vessel stabilizes one day, in 1982, above Johannesburg in South Africa. However, nothing happens, no communication takes place. The South African authorities then decide to force the entry of the vessel, they discover a population of a million disorganized and starving aliens.

26. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

10 Cloverfield Lane

Directed by: Dan Trachtenberg
Writer(s): Josh Campbell, Matt Stuecken, Damien Chazelle
Release date: March 8, 2016
Running time: 104 minutes

Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Michelle), John Goodman (Howard Stambler), John Gallagher Jr. (Emmett DeWitt), Bradley Cooper (Ben)

After a car accident, a young woman wakes up in the basement of an unknown man who claims to have saved her from a chemical attack that has ruined the outside world.

RELATED: Cloverfield Movies in Order (And How Are They Connected)

25. Muppets from Space (1999)

Muppets from space

Directed by: Tim Hill
Writer(s): Jerry Juhl, Joseph Mazzarino, Ken Kaufman
Release date: July 14, 1999
Running time: 87 minutes

Starring: Jeffrey Tambor (K. Edgar “Ed” Singer), Pat Hingle (General Luft), Rob Schneider (TV producer), Andie MacDowell (Shelley Snipes)

Gonzo finds a message that he is going to look at the sky, he sees two fish that tell him that he is an alien who will soon be picked up by his parents.

An obvious E.T. pastiche, Muppets from Space is not just funny, it is also a warm story about family and heritage that revealed some important information about well-known characters.

24. Cloverfield (2008)

Cloverfield

Directed by: Matt Reeves
Writer(s): Drew Goddard
Release date: January 18, 2008
Running time: 85 minutes

Starring: Lizzy Caplan (Marlena Diamond), Jessica Lucas (Lily Ford), T.J. Miller (Hudson “Hud” Platt), Michael Stahl-David (Robert “Rob” Hawkins)

The film follows five young people during a farewell party in Manhattan in New York at the same time as the city is attacked by a large monster.

Matt Reeves showed us his directorial skills in Cloverfield, this wonderful Blair Witch Project remake involving aliens and a completely different type of sci-fi horror, which earned it a place on our list of the best alien movies ever.

23. Hombre mirando al sudeste (1986)

Hombre mirando al sudeste

Directed by: Eliseo Subiela
Writer(s): Eliseo Subiela
Release date: September 9, 1986
Running time: 105 minutes

Starring: Lorenzo Quinteros (Dr. Julio Denis), Hugo Soto (Rantés), Inés Vernengo (Beatriz Dick), Cristina Scaramuzza (Nurse)

A new patient mysteriously arrives in the psychiatric hospital where the disillusioned Doctor Denis works in Buenos Aires. He says his name is Rantés, claims to be a hologram sent from another planet, and spends his days motionless looking to the southeast, according to him, to receive and transmit information about the emotional stupidity of Earthlings.

22. Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem (2003)

Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem

Directed by: Kazuhisa Takenouchi
Writer(s): Thomas Bangalter, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, Cédric Hervet
Release date: May 18, 2003
Running time: 65 minutes

Starring: Daft Punk

A successful house band from a distant planet is kidnapped and brainwashed. The members are dressed up and colored as humans and taken to Earth to work for an evil music producer who wants to take over Earth.

However, the protectors of their planet follow suit and try to save them. The Protector has previously been in love with the female band member and when they meet, she also falls in love with the Protector.

The band members manage to be saved and stop the evil music producer from taking over the earth. Due to injuries from stopping the music producer, they are forced to admit that they are not from the earth and ask for help from the people to go home. With the help of humans, they manage to get to their home planet.

21. Prometheus (2012)

Prometheus

Directed by: Ridley Scott
Writer(s): Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof
Release date: April 11, 2012
Running time: 124 minutes

Starring: Noomi Rapace (Elizabeth Shaw), Michael Fassbender (David), Charlize Theron (Meredith Vickers), Idris Elba (Janek)

The film begins in 2089 with some scientists on Earth who discover a certain pattern from various excavations across the planet. Despite the distance between the places and the fact that it differs several centuries in its history, the patterns are the same. This leads to an expedition that takes the scientists with the crew on a three-year journey in our galaxy.

Scott’s Alien prequel was a truly remarkable and visually stunning work that laid the foundations for future Alien stories in the best way possible, which is why we have honored it on our list of the best alien movies.

20. The Thing from Another World (1951)

The Thing from Another World

Directed by: Christian Nyby
Writer(s): Charles Lederer, Howard Hawks (uncredited), Ben Hecht (uncredited)
Release date: April 27, 1951
Running time: 87 minutes

Starring: Margaret Sheridan (Nikki Nicholson), Kenneth Tobey (Captain Patrick Hendry), Robert Cornthwaite (Dr. Arthur Carrington), Douglas Spencer (Ned “Scotty” Scott)

American scientists at a research station in the Arctic find a crash-landed spaceship in the middle of the ice. They also discover that a pilot on the craft is frozen. But when they take him back to base and he happens to thaw, pure chaos breaks out.

The movie that inspired Carpenter’s 1982 remake was a chilling classic of old Hollywood that went down in history as one of the most inspirational sci-fi horrors ever.

19. Independence Day (1996)

Independence Day

Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Writer(s): Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich
Release date: July 3, 1996
Running time: 145 minutes

Starring: Will Smith (Captain Steven Hiller), Bill Pullman (President Thomas J. Whitmore) Goldblum (David Levinson), Mary McDonnell (First Lady Marilyn Whitmore)

A giant spaceship from an alien civilization flies in over the moon and sends out smaller ships that hover over New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Moscow, London, Paris with several other big cities. Mankind now must find a way to stop them and survive.

18. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Directed by: Don Siegel
Writer(s): Daniel Mainwaring
Release date: February 5, 1956
Running time: 80 minutes

Starring: Kevin McCarthy (Dr. Miles Bennell), Dana Wynter (Becky Driscoll), King Donovan (Jack Belicec), Carolyn Jones (Theodora “Teddy” Belicec)

An alien invasion begins in a small town in California when mysterious spores germinate into large seed capsules with the ability to reproduce and copy a human. When the capsules are fully developed, they take over the physical characteristics, memories and personalities of the people who are in their vicinity. A doctor in the area eventually begins to figure out what is going on and tries to prevent the invasion.

The original Siegel movie is a classic of 50’s Hollywood and a sci-fi horror that inspired a lot of directors and filmmakers later on, even if we disregard the remake. This movie absolutely had to be on the list of best alien movies ever.

17. Contact (1997)

Contact

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Writer(s): James V. Hart, Michael Goldenberg
Release date: July 11, 1997
Running time: 150 minutes

Starring: Jodie Foster (Dr. Eleanor “Ellie” Ann Arroway), Jena Malone (young Ellie), Matthew McConaughey (Palmer Joss), David Morse (Theodore Arroway)

Dr. Eleanor Arroway has dreamed of making contact with extraterrestrial civilizations since she was a child. Now she is working on the SETI project, constantly threatened by budget withdrawals. But from Vega suddenly comes a signal. Eventually one realizes that it is a drawing of a star spacecraft.

16. The Abyss (1989)

The Abyss

Directed by: James Cameron
Writer(s): James Cameron
Release date: August 9, 1989
Running time: 140 minutes

Starring: Ed Harris (Virgil “Bud” Brigman), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Dr. Lindsey Brigman), Michael Biehn (Hiram Coffey), Leo Burmester (Catfish De Vries)

The crew of an underwater oil rig is asked to help the military locate a missing submarine. During the search, they become aware that they are not alone – is it a strange way of life that hides deep beneath them?

15. Signs (2002)

Signs

Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer(s): M. Night Shyamalan
Release date: August 2, 2002
Running time: 106 minutes

Starring: Mel Gibson (Father Graham Hess), Joaquin Phoenix (Merrill Hess), Rory Culkin (Morgan Hess), Abigail Breslin (Bo Hess)

Everything that farmer Graham Hess thought about the world changes drastically when he discovers a message, an intricate pattern of circles and lines formed in his cornfield. Upon closer inspection of the mysterious pattern, he realizes that what he will find will forever change the lives of his brother and his children.

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M. Night Shyamalan might be one of those filmmakers that is able to make both his best and his worst in a very short time, but Signs is certainly among his best work and a film that shows just how remarkably unique Shyamalan is at his best.

14. Predator (1987)

Directed by: John McTiernan
Writer(s): Jim Thomas, John Thomas
Release date: June 12, 1987
Running time: 107 minutes

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger (Major “Dutch”), Carl Weathers (Al Dillon), Elpidia Carrillo (Anna Gonsalves), Bill Duke (Sergeant Mac Eliot)

A group of commandos is called in for a rescue mission in Central America led by Major Alan “Dutch” Schaeffer. The group is dropped off in Guatemala’s jungle inside the border in enemy territory to track down survivors of a shot down the helicopter.

13. Men in Black (1997)

Men in black

Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld
Writer(s): Ed Solomon
Release date: July 2, 1997
Running time: 98 minutes

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones (Kevin Brown / Agent K), Will Smith (James Darrell Edwards III / Agent J), Linda Fiorentino (Dr. Laurel Weaver / Agent L), Vincent D’Onofrio (the Bug)

When an alien begins a violent hunt for a piece of jewelry that another type of alien intends to protect if it means that the Earth must be destroyed, the mission to save the planet falls on the super-secret government organization “Men in Black”.

As rumors begin to circulate among all other space creatures living on Earth, there will soon be a shortage of spaceships to escape into.

12. The Fifth Element (1997)

The fifth element

Directed by: Luc Besson
Writer(s): Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
Release date: May 7, 1997
Running time: 126 minutes

Starring: Bruce Willis (Korben Dallas), Milla Jovovich (Leeloo), Gary Oldman (Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg), Ian Holm (Vito Cornelius)

In a colorful future, a cab driver Korben Dallas unwittingly becomes the central figure in the search for a legendary cosmic weapon to keep Evil and Mr. Zorg at bay.

And while The Fifth Element might not be Besson’s best film, this fantasy classic has endured the test of time due to its charming nature, which also earned it a place on our list.

11. They Live (1988)

They Live

Directed by: John Carpenter
Writer(s): Frank Armitage (John Carpenter)
Release date: November 4, 1988
Running time: 94 minutes

Starring: Roddy Piper (Nada), Keith David (Frank Armitage), Meg Foster (Holly Thompson), Raymond St. Jacques (Street Preacher)

When the main character John Nada finds a pair of sunglasses, he discovers that the world is full of hidden messages and that the rulers of society are aliens. He sets out in search of the headquarters that the aliens use while becoming aware of his ability to see their true selves.

Despite its campy style, They Live is still a classic of alien cinema and another piece of evidence why John Carpenter was such a visionary director.

10. La Planète sauvage (1973)

La Planète sauvage

Directed by:
Writer(s):
Release date: May 11, 1973
Running time: 71 minutes

Starring: Jennifer Drake (Tiwa), Eric Baugin (young Terrr), Jean Topart (Master Sinh), Jean Valmont (adult Terr / Narrator)

The story takes place on a planet where the giant blue Traags have developed a technologically and spiritually advanced civilization. The planet’s other, much less pink, human-like inhabitants, If considered animals. They are sometimes kept as pets, while wild Om are hunted and killed as pests when the Trager think they have become too many.

This piece of European experimental animation is an almost unknown science-fiction jewel and a true masterpiece that absolutely deserves to be among the ten best alien films ever.

9. Mars Attacks! (1996)

Mars Attacks

Directed by: Tim Burton
Writer(s): Jonathan Gems
Release date: December 13, 1996
Running time: 106 minutes

Starring: Jack Nicholson (President James Dale / Art Land), Glenn Close (First Lady Marsha Dale), Annette Bening (Barbara Land), Pierce Brosnan (Professor Donald Kessler)

The Hubble Space Telescope notices that a large number of Mars spacecraft are approaching Earth. After talking with his advisers, the president announces the big news that humanity has encountered extraterrestrial life for the first time. Almost everyone expects the Martians to be peaceful.

Mars Attacks! is a campy work and a hilarious parody that proves just how brilliant Tim Burton is. Powerful, original, and weird, this movie absolutely deserved to be among the best alien movies ever.

8. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

The day the earth stood still

Directed by: Robert Wise
Writer(s): Edmund H. North
Release date: September 18, 1951
Running time: 92 minutes

Starring: Michael Rennie (Klaatu), Patricia Neal (Helen Benson), Hugh Marlowe (Tom Stevens), Sam Jaffe (Professor Jacob Barnhardt)

The film evokes the arrival of a flying saucer in Washington. Two creatures emerge, Klaatu, an alien, and Gort, a robot. A nervous soldier shoots and injures Klaatu. Gort retorts, but Klaatu is taken wounded to a hospital, from which he is quick to escape. Klaatu then seeks to contact personalities worthy of receiving his message.

Human in appearance, he pretends to be Major Carpenter and finds refuge in a boarding house where he meets a widow and her little boy.

7. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Invasion of body snatchers

Directed by: Philip Kaufman
Writer(s): W.D. Richter
Release date: December 22, 1978
Running time: 115 minutes

Starring: Donald Sutherland (Matthew Bennell), Brooke Adams (Elizabeth Driscoll), Leonard Nimoy (Dr. David Kibner), Jeff Goldblum (Jack Bellicec)

A strange kind of seed rains down in San Francisco and grows into an unprecedented kind of flower that attracts a lot of attention. What people still don’t know is that the flowers also ‘see’ them, grow copies of them while they sleep and then have them replace the originals.

Health inspector Matthew Bennell and his colleague Elizabeth Driscoll also don’t know what to think of the bodies at first.

6. Arrival (2016)

Arrival

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Writer(s): Eric Heisserer
Release date: September 1, 2016
Running time: 116 minutes

Starring: Amy Adams (Louise Banks), Jeremy Renner (Ian Donnelly), Forest Whitaker (Colonel G. T. Weber), Michael Stuhlbarg (Agent Halpern)

Twelve alien spaceships arrive in different places around the world. Linguist Louise Banks is commissioned to come up with a way to communicate with the spaceship’s crew and find out why they came, and whether their visit is either peaceful or hostile.

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However, she and her team work under great time pressure because the aliens’ visits have caused global crisis situations.

5. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Close encounters of the third kind

Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Writer(s): Steven Spielberg
Release date: November 16, 1977
Running time: 137 minutes

Starring: Richard Dreyfuss (Roy Neary), François Truffaut (Claude Lacombe), Teri Garr (Ronnie Neary)

On a completely normal night, an entire society suddenly begins to fall into darkness and unusual light phenomena begin to appear in the night sky. Roy Neary is sent out of the power plant to try to repair the faults, but on the way to one of the substations, he gets lost.

Suddenly the whole car shakes terribly and he is dazzled by an extremely strong light. From this day on, Roy becomes fixated on a form, which he does not know what it means, but he knows he must search for it.

4. Aliens (1986)

Aliens

Directed by: James Cameron
Writer(s): James Cameron
Release date: July 18, 1986
Running time: 137 minutes

Starring: Sigourney Weaver (Ellen Ripley), Michael Biehn (Dwayne Hicks), Paul Reiser (Carter J. Burke), Lance Henriksen (Bishop)

Ellen Ripley, the only survivor of Nostromo, is found to have been in hypersleep for 57 years. Her story of the deadly space monster is met with skepticism. But after a few days, contact is lost with a distant planet that is now inhabited.

3. The Thing (1982)

The thing

Directed by: John Carpenter
Writer(s): Bill Lancaster
Release date: June 25, 1982
Running time: 109 minutes

Starring: Kurt Russell (R.J. MacReady), A. Wilford Brimley (Blair), T. K. Carter (Nauls), David Clennon (Palmer)

A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.

Alongside Halloween, The Thing is arguably Carpenter’s best movie. This remake became a classic in itself and a movie that wholly captured the essence of the genres it embodies.

2. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

E.T.

Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Writer(s): Melissa Mathison
Release date: May 26, 1982
Running time: 120 minutes

Starring: Dee Wallace (Mary Taylor), Henry Thomas (Elliott Taylor), Peter Coyote (Keys), Robert MacNaughton (Michael Taylor)

The film is about a little boy named Elliott who becomes friends with an alien, called E.T., who has been stranded on earth. Elliott and his siblings help the alien return home, while trying to keep him hidden from their mother and the local authorities.

The story of E.T. is one of the best-known and most enduring stories in the history of cinema. Spielberg’s movie has inspired generations of children and that is why we have put him so high on our list of the best alien movies ever.

1. Alien (1979)

Directed by: Ridley Scott
Writer(s): Dan O’Bannon
Release date: May 25, 1979
Running time: 117 minutes

Starring: Tom Skerritt (Dallas), Sigourney Weaver (Ripley), Veronica Cartwright (Lambert), Harry Dean Stanton (Brett)

During the Nostromo space freighter’s return trip after a routine trade mission, the crew, five men and two women who have been in hibernation for ten months are brought out of their lethargy earlier than expected by the spacecraft’s onboard computer.

The latter has indeed picked up unknown radio signals in space and, due to a clause attached to their navigation contract, the ship’s crew is required to check for any evidence of extraterrestrial life.

Alien is the absolute winner on our list and a movie that set the tone for the whole subgenre. The movie is now considered to be a classic and an inevitable part of every watchlist.

  • Arthur S. Poe has been fascinated by fiction ever since he saw Digimon and read Harry Potter as a child. Since then, he has seen several thousand movies and anime, read several hundred books and comics, and played several hundred games of all genres.