Probably one of the best sci-fi movies of all time, Blade Runner is celebrating forty years since its release. The movie is still considered a masterpiece that inspired many future successful media projects, like sci-fi movies, video games, sci-fi anime, and more. At first, slated by the critics and deemed confusing, Ridley Scott’s movie became a movie with a cult following, and because of that, we decided to offer you our 20 best movies like Blade Runner every sci-fi fan needs to watch.
We will include movies that have both sci-fi and dystopian aspects, which will decrease our movie specter but make this list more accurate. If you are interested in this topic, stay with us until the end of the article.
20. Tron (1982)
Directed by: Steven Lisberger
Writer(s): Steven Lisberger
Release date: July 9, 1982
Running time: 96 minutes
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan
Hacker/arcade owner Kevin Fynn is digitally broken down into a data stream by a villainous software pirate known as Master Control and reconstituted into the internal, 3-D graphical world of computers. Flynn joins forces with Tron to outmaneuver the Master Control program that holds them captive in the computer game. A cool movie that inspired many more after it, and every sci-fi fan needs to watch this.
19. Total Recall (1990)
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
Writer(s): Ronald Shuset, Dan O’Bannon, Gary Oldman
Release date: June 1, 1990
Running time: 113 minutes
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside
Douglas Quaid is haunted by a recurring dream about a journey to Mars. He hopes to find more of this dream when he goes and buys this dream from Rekall Inc. which sells the implated memories. Something goes awry with the memory and quickly realizes that he is a secret agent fighting against the evil Mars leader Cohaagen.
In one of the better sci-fi movies in history, Arnold Schwarzenegger once again brings his best.
18. Children of Men (2006)
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
Writer(s): Alfonso Cuarón, Timothy J. Sexton David Arata, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby
Release date: 3 September 2006
Running time: 109 minutes
Starring: Clive Owen, Juliane Moore, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Charlie Hunman
The world’s youngest citizen has just died at age of 18, and humankind is facing the likelihood of its own extinction. Set in dystopian London which is filled with violence and warring nationalistic sects, this movie follows the unexpected discovery of a lone pregnant woman, who desperately needs to find a safe and secure place to birth her baby.
One of the best movies of the 21st century, and sci-fi dystopian films of all time, Children of Men truly puts things into perspective – the post-human era is scary.
17. Ex Machina (2014)
Directed by: Alex Garland
Writer(s): Alex Garland
Release date: 21 January 2015
Running time: 108 minutes
Starring: Dominic Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander, Sonoya Mizuno
Caleb is a 26-year-old programmer at the world’s largest internet company, who wins a competition to spend a week at a private mountain retreat that belongs to Nathan, the CEO of the company. However, when Calen arrives, he realizes that he will participate in a strange experiment in which he must interact with the first ever AI, housed in the body of a robot girl.
The movie that is studied academically, Ex Machina truly pushes the boundaries and makes people reconsider in what kind of community are we living in.
16. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Writer(s): Michael Green, Hampton Fancher
Release date: 7 October, 2017
Running time: 163 minutes
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mckenzie Davis
Thirty years after the events of Blade Runner (1982), a new Blade Runner, LAPD Officer “K”, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K also discovers the quest where he needs to find Rick Deckard, a former LAPD Blade Runner, who has been missing for thirty years.
A great sequel to one of the best sci-fi movies of all time, Blade Runner 2049 pins two great characters together to save the world.
15. Matrix (1999)
Directed by: The Wachowskis
Writer(s): The Wachowskis
Release date: March 24, 1999
Running time: 136 minutes
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano
A man named Thomas Anderson lives an ordinary life. A software techie by day and a computer hacker by night, he sits alone in front of his computer, to wait for a signal. One night a mysterious woman named Trinity seeks him out and introduces him to the mysterious faceless character Morpheus. He presents Neo with the truth about the world and uncovers secrets that have been hidden by now.
Matrix became part of popular culture pretty quickly, and to this day is one of the best sci-fi movies ever.
14. Ghost In The Shell (1995)
Directed by: Mamoru Oshii
Writer(s): Kazunori Itō
Release date: 18 November, 1995
Running time: 82 minutes
Starring: Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Otsuka, Iemasa Kayumi
In the year 2029, the world has become really dependent on information and connection to the network. Crime developed into a sophisticated stage by hacking into the interactive network. To prevent this, Section 9 is formed, and the cyborgs with incredible strength and abilities can access any network of Earth.
One of the best, if not best anime films of all time, Ghost In The Shell changed the perception of animation projects and showed the viewers that animated films can make a compelling story. It inspired numerous incredible projects in the future.
13. The Book of Eli (2010)
Directed by: Hughes brothers
Writer(s): Gary Whitta
Release date: January 15, 2010
Running time: 117 minutes
Starring: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson, Jennifer Beals
In post-apocalyptic America where the once green countryside became a desolate and violent wasteland, one man fights to protect a sacred tome that could hold a key to the survival of the human race.
Not the greatest sci-fi movie of all time, but The Book of Eli is a good watch, and sci-fi fans should definitely consider it.
12. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
Directed by: Michael Radford
Writer(s): Michael Radford
Release date: 10 October 1984
Running time: 110 minutes
Starring: John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton, Cyril Cusack
The lowly bureaucrat of the Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith summons the courage to write down his unspoken desires in his secret diary. Serving silently at the pleasure of the grim, autocratic hyper-state of Oceani, Smith knows that the English Socialist Party’s supreme leader, omnipotent Big Brother watches his every move., condemning already terrified people into slavery.
A great adaptation of the famous dystopian novel that impacted the world any other did, this movie is a faithful realization of Orwell’s novel.
11. The Fifth Element (1997)
Directed by: Luc Besson
Writer(s): Luc Besson
Release date: 7 May, 1997
Running time: 126 minutes
Starring: Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman, Chris Tucker, Ian Holm
Two hundred and fifty years in the future, life as we know is threatened by the arrival of evil. Only the Fifth Element can stop evil from extinguishing life, as it tries to do every five thousand years. She is assisted by ex-commando Korben Dallas, who is helped by Prince/Arsenio clone, Ruby Rhod.
At first, considered campy, Fifth Element became one of the, if not the best sci-fi movie of all time which makes it obligatory for sci-fi movies to watch it.
10. Pacific Rim (2013)
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Writer(s): Travis Beacham, Guillermo del Toro
Release date: July 1, 2013
Running time: 132 minutes
Starring: Charlie Hunman, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Rob Kazinsky, Max Martini
The War between mankind and monsters began when sea monsters start rising from the portal beneath the Pacific Ocean. To fight the Kaijus, humans build giant robots called Jaegers, controlled by two pilots simultaneously. When the odds were changed, Pentecost, the man in charge decided to destroy the portal with the help of Raleigh Becket and the rest of the crew.
A great, futuristic movie that will show you fun and cool action scenes. People with developed machines fighting Kaijus? Sign us up!
9. Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
Directed by: Rober Rodriguez
Writer(s): James Cameroon, Laeta Kalogridis
Release date: January 31, 2019
Running time: 122 minutes
Starring: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali
Alita is a creation from an age of despair. Found by the mysterious Dr. Ido while looking for the cyborg parts, Alita becomes a lethal, dangerous being. She cannot remember who she is, or where she came from. However, Dr. Ido knows the truth – she is the one who can break the cycle of death and destruction left behind from Tiphares.
Cameroon and Rodriguez combine their visions and make this cool, underrated movie. It has special effects as we saw in Avatar but still makes us be empathetic towards the main character.
8. Akira (1988)
Directed by: Katsuhiro Otomo
Writer(s): Katsuhiro Otomo, Izo Hashimoto
Release date: July 16, 1988
Running time: 124 minutes
Starring: Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, Taro Ishida, Mizuho Suzuki
It is the year 2019. Thirty-one years since World War 3 ended, Tokyo (now Neo-Tokyo) has been rebuilt and is a thriving metropolis. Shotaro Kaneda is the leader of the biker gang, and his friend Tetsuo is injured in an accident and taken to a top-secret government facility. He developed telekinetic powers but decided to use them for evil rather than for good.
Akira set the stone for numerous sci-fi, and dystopian movies, and became a huge part of popular culture.
7. RoboCop (1987)
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
Writer(s): Edward Neumeier, Michael Miner
Release date: July 17, 1987
Running time: 102 minutes
Starring: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Daniel O’Herlihy, Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith, Miguel Ferrer
In a violent, dystopian Detroit, an evil corporation Omni Consumer Products wins a contract from the city government to privatize the police force. Alex Murphy is forced into an armed confrontation with the crime lord Boddicker so they can use his body to support their untested RoboCop prototype. However, RoboCop learns of the company’s nefarious plans and turns against his masters.
A culturally important character, the RoboCop movie surfaced among other robot movies and became one of the most popular sci-fi, dystopian movies of all time.
6. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Directed by: James Cameroon
Writer(s): James Cameroon, William Wisher
Release date: July 1, 1991
Running time: 197 minutes
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick
Nearly ten years have passed since Sarah Connor was targeted for termination by a cyborg from the future. Now her son John, the future leader of the resistance, is the target for a newer, more deadly terminator. Once again, the resistance has managed to send a protector back to attempt to save John and his mother Sarah.
One of the best movies of all time, the second Terminator needs to be on every science fiction fan’s list. The visual effects, the story, acting… everything is top-notch. The first is good as well, but this one is just better.
5. V for Vendetta (2005)
Directed by: James McTeigue
Writer(s): The Wachowskis
Release date: March 2006
Running time: 132 minutes
Starring: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt
The movie tells the story of Evey Hammond and her unlikely but instrumental piece of throwing down the fascist government that has taken over futuristic Great Britain. The mysterious, masked man with Guy Fawkes mask that calls himself V, saves Evey, and later helps him in bringing down the totalitaristic and pressing government.
Manic disorganization, confusion, and the great story make V for Vendetta a must-watch movie.
4. Arrival (2016)
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Writer(s): Eric Heisserer
Release date: September 1, 2016
Running time: 116 minutes
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Tzi Ma
Linguistic professor Louise Banks leads an elite team of investigators when gigantic spaceships land in 12 locations around the world. As nations are edging towards another world war, Banks and her crew must race against the time to find a way to communicate with extraterrestrial visitors.
The movie is absolutely an amazing sci-fi movie that encompasses some dystopian elements that are connected to the alien invasion.
3. Interstellar (2014)
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Writer(s): Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Release date: November 2014
Running time: 169 minutes
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, Michale Caine
Earth’s future is truly dystopian – disasters, famines, and droughts… have devastated the once prospering world. A newly discovered wormhole in the far reaches of our solar system allows a team of astronauts to go where no man has gone before, and find the planet that has the right environment for the people of Earth to survive.
Interstella is everything you want from the movie – epic visual effects, great story, absolutely top-notch acting.
2. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Directed by: Doug Liman
Writer(s): Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth
Release date: May-June 2014
Running time: 113 minutes
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson
An alien race has attacked the Earth, and Major William Cage needs to find out how to beat powerful creatures. He is an officer who has never seen a day of combat and gets dropped in the middle of the fight where he instantly dies. Cage is now trapped in the loop that forces him to live out the same brutal combat over and over again. He meets Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski, who teaches him how to fight, and together they are one step closer to defeating the enemy.
The movie is outstanding in its plot, direction, action, and performances, and is one of the best sci-fi, dystopian movies in the last two decades.
1. Gattaca (1997)
Directed by: Andrew Niccol
Writer(s): Andrew Niccol
Release date: October 24, 1997
Running time: 112 minutes
Starring: Uma Thruman, Ethan Hawke, Alan Arkin, Jude Law, Loren Dean, Ernest Borgnine
In a future society in the era of indefinite eugenics, humans are set on a life course depending on their DNA. Young Vincent Freeman is born with a condition that would prevent him from going space traveling, yet he is still determined to infiltrate the Gattaca space program.
A really cool movie that is really scientific and intelligent while being provocative. An extremely underrated movie as well, and if you did not watch it, definitely do.