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20 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Amazon Prime [September 2021]

Science fiction is one of our favorite genres. It's endlessly malleable: One minute, you can watch an icy, intellectual mind-bender, and the next, you can switch over to an all-time great popcorn movie. Science fiction can do anything. And Amazon Prime has assembled a fantastic selection of the genre's best, bringing you the finest cinema has to offer in aliens, artificial intelligence, spaceships, futuristic technology, time travel, alternate realities, dystopias, and more.

With so many films to sort through, we want to make it easy for you to find the ones you should add to your watchlist. We've sorted through Amazon's sci-fi selection to come up with our 20 favorite movies available right now.

Updated on August 24, 2021: Even without the handy aid of a time machine, we're working to keep this list up-to-date for whenever you need it. Streaming catalogs may change and new releases may appear, but our dedication to bringing you the best in sci-fi is a constant.

The Abyss

There's something down at the bottom of the ocean. That's what the characters of "The Abyss" learn for sure while investigating a downed submarine. Working off an underwater drilling platform called "Deep Core," a crew of Navy SEALS and scientists stumble across these non-terrestrial intelligence — or NTIs — while dealing with the sub. When "Deep Core" floods, the NTIs come a little closer to home, and the characters have to decide whether to react with fear or curiosity. With a gripping plot, tons of atmosphere, and superb special effects — that water tentacle is awe-inspiring! — "The Abyss" makes you happy to explore the darkest parts of the ocean.

  • Starring: Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn

  • Director: James Cameron

  • Year: 1989

  • Runtime: 140 minutes

  • Rating: PG-13

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 89%

Archive

"Archive" brings the quest for artificial intelligence together with the universal attempt to deal with grief and loss. George Almore is close to realizing his goal of humanistic AI — and his motivations are about more than corporate success or even intellectual achievement. He wants to recapture his wife Jules, whose consciousness is preserved in a decaying digital storage known as the Archive. George has brought Jules back before, each version "better" and truer than the last — and all of them coexisting in a sometimes uneasy truce. Is he finally going to succeed? Should he? The technological, philosophical, and moral questions come to the fore amid a tense and emotional story.

  • Starring: Theo James, Stacy Martin, Rhona Mitra

  • Director: Gavin Rothery

  • Year: 2020

  • Runtime: 105 minutes

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 77%

Attack the Block

Before John Boyega joined the "Star Wars" universe and Jodie Whittaker became the star of "Doctor Who," they headed up a smaller-scale science fiction adventure that also deserves a lot of love. "Attack the Block" is smart, funny, unusual, and well worth checking out. Aliens crash near a London council estate, and they immediately run afoul of a group of tough kids happy to face them down and cash in on the fame sure to come with an alien corpse. But the kids — headed by the charismatic Moses and joined by Sam, the woman they mugged earlier that night — are now being chased down by even larger and more vicious creatures. With no official support on the way, this scrappy band has to defend their block from the invaders.

  • Starring: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail

  • Director: Joe Cornish

  • Year: 2011

  • Runtime: 88 minutes

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%

Beyond the Black Rainbow

"Beyond the Black Rainbow" is for those who like their science fiction horror heavy on atmosphere, gorgeous visuals, and sheer weirdness. The story revolves around the Arboria Institute, where science and transcendence meet — and then get corrupted and misused by Dr. Nyle, the original founder's protege and a man who has a growing obsession with the psychic young girl he keeps imprisoned in the basement. But this isn't as simple as a single mad scientist. Instead, "Beyond the Black Rainbow" looks at the way damage gets passed on through the generations as the search for something "more" turns into a deadly disregard for the world as it is.

  • Starring: Michael Rogers, Eva Allan, Scott Hylands

  • Director: Panos Cosmatos

  • Year: 2010

  • Runtime: 109 minutes

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 60%

Black Box

Nolan Wright survived the car crash that killed his wife, but as "Black Box" opens, he's still struggling to adjust to both his grief and the lingering effects of brain injuries. His memory is now so unreliable that he has trouble parenting his beloved young daughter, Ava. Desperate to get more solid ground under his feet, he tries an experimental procedure with a cutting-edge neurologist intrigued by his case — but the images and memories roused by the process are often more disturbing than helpful. And some of them, it turns out, may not really be his. This is an inventive sci-fi horror movie with great performances and a lot of twists.

  • Starring: Mamoudou Athie, Phylicia Rashad, Amanda Christine

  • Director: Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr.

  • Year: 2020

  • Runtime: 100 minutes

  • Rating: NR

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 71%

Coherence

"Coherence" is a great case for the virtues of the low-budget science fiction film: It may have a small scale and very minimal effects, but it's a creative mindbender that will haunt you. It starts with an ordinary dinner party that could be straight out of any indie drama. There are minor tensions in the friend group, and people are harboring regrets, secrets, and grudges. They're struggling over decisions. And then, just as a comet passes over them, the power goes out — and things start getting weird. They find a lockbox that has their pictures in it, all numbered, along with a ping-pong paddle. Unraveling the mystery eventually leads to unexpected places and a very satisfying ending.

  • Starring: Emily Foxler, Maury Sterling, Nicholas Brendon

  • Director: James Ward Byrkit

  • Year: 2013

  • Runtime: 88 minutes

  • Rating: NR

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

When 10-year-old Elliott encounters a stranded alien explorer, he does what any respectable kid would do: He makes friends with him. The alien is quickly dubbed E.T. — short, naturally, for extraterrestrial — and comes with psychic abilities and healing powers, and he gets as attached to Elliott as Elliott does to him. But being away from home so long is making E.T. waste away — and the psychic bond between him and Elliott means he's accidentally taking Elliott with him. With government agents closing in on them and time running out, the two of them have to make sure E.T. gets back to his planet ... even if that means he and Elliott will be separated forever.

  • Starring: Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Peter Coyote

  • Director: Steven Spielberg

  • Year: 1982

  • Runtime: 120 minutes

  • Rating: PG

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%

Europa Report

"Europa Report" is a sleek found footage movie about a mission to one of Jupiter's moons. The crew is traveling to this far edge of the solar system in a search for life, but this kind of quest unavoidably puts their own lives in severe peril. As storms, harsh environments, and technical failures plague the crew, eliminating them one by one, they doggedly continue their mission, chasing the source of a mysterious blue light that may have incredible significance. The found footage styling gives this an additional verisimilitude and amounts to much more than a mere gimmick, and the hard sci-fi approach is engrossing.

  • Starring: Anamaria Marinca, Michael Nyqvist, Karolina Wydra

  • Director: Sebastian Cordero

  • Year: 2013

  • Runtime: 90 minutes

  • Rating: PG-13

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 81%

High Life

Ready for things to get weird? Sit down with the challenging sci-fi horror film "High Life," a dark and artistically daring film that could shock, surprise, confuse, and enthrall you. Society has sent criminals — all dealing with life sentences and therefore "disposable" — on a space mission. It's dangerous — but the risks inside their ship may be even greater than the risks outside, as sadism, callousness, disease, manipulation, and assault run rampant. The most stable point is Monte, whose initial crime is more sympathetic and who tries to do his best in an increasingly decaying situation. All the bleakness is well-channeled by a superb cast and a twisty, out-of-order timeline.

The Host

Bong Joon-ho's phenomenal sci-fi monster movie kicks off with the order to dump formaldehyde in South Korea's Han River — a bad decision that will soon lead to horrifying consequences for everyone but the people who made it. The chemical pollution creates a monster, and the monster snatches up a teenage girl: Park Hyun-seo. The Parks are among the last people you would pick to face down this kind of crisis, especially Hyun-seo's father, Gang-du, who's spent his life as the butt of the joke. But there's no one else for the job, especially when the authorities are too busy planning a ruthless cover-up. Satirical, fun, and sometimes heartbreaking, "The Host" is a wild ride you don't want to miss.

  • Starring: Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-bong, Park Hae-il

  • Director: Bong Joon-ho

  • Year: 2006

  • Runtime: 119 minutes

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Invasion of the Body Snatchers - 1956

A science fiction classic and a masterpiece of paranoia, 1956's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" brings the uncanny into the everyday. Santa Mira, California is an ordinary town — until otherwise stable, reliable people start coming to Dr. Miles Bennell with the same complaint: The people they love are being replaced. The lookalikes are perfect replicas ... but something just feels wrong. It has to be a delusion, but it isn't. When Miles and his friends investigate, they uncover a slow but certain alien invasion, one that will ultimately prove creepy and unforgettable.

  • Starring: Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, King Donovan

  • Director: Don Siegel

  • Year: 1956

  • Runtime: 80 minutes

  • Rating: NR

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%

Invasion of the Body Snatchers - 1978

"Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is one of the rare movies whose original take and remake both have strong points in their favor. The 1978 version is eerie and psychologically sophisticated, and it breaks its own path by shaking up the story's plot and updating its themes. Health Department workers Elizabeth Driscoll and Matthew Bennell wind up investigating mysterious flower-like pods and the strange complaints — all about loved ones acting differently — that seem to follow in their wake. They uncover the horrifying pods where the human copies grow, but figuring out the truth still leaves them a long way away from finding a solution.

  • Starring: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy

  • Director: Philip Kaufman

  • Year: 1978

  • Runtime: 115 minutes

  • Rating: PG

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%

The Man Who Fell to Earth

David Bowie is the perfectly cast lead of "The Man Who Fell to Earth," starring as Thomas, an alien with an oddly ethereal human disguise. He comes from a world slowly succumbing to drought, and he's determined to essentially come to Earth to make a fortune to save his planet: If he amasses enough wealth, he can send huge quantities of water back home. But the longer he stays on our world, the more he attracts dangerous attention — and the more he succumbs to our vices. It all adds up to a thoughtful and beautiful film that evokes the weirdness — and sometimes the despair — of being human.

  • Starring: David Bowie, Rip Torn, Candy Clark

  • Director: Nicholas Roeg

  • Year: 1976

  • Runtime: 138 minutes

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 81%

Minority Report

"Minority Report" has an irresistible premise. Set in a future where the PreCrime program uses men and women known as "Precogs" to identify murders before they ever even happen: They intercept the would-be killers and stop the crimes from ever taking place. It's a fantastic, lifesaving, foolproof process — or is it? Suddenly, the program chief is accused of the future murder of a man he doesn't even know. To save himself, he now has to find the flaws in the Precog system. The movie is a tense sci-fi thriller that's also a thoughtful look at the question of free will, an awesome blend of story, style, and substance.

  • Starring: Tom Cruise, Max von Sydow, Lois Smith

  • Director: Steven Spielberg

  • Year: 2002

  • Runtime: 145 minutes

  • Rating: PG-13

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%

Predator

If you want science fiction action, it doesn't get much better than "Predator." A military team ventures into a Central American jungle to rescue some hostages: They're capable men on a mission. But the tables soon turn, making them the prey. An alien has come to Earth for the thrill of the hunt, and it's more physically powerful than any human and more technologically advanced. The team — and a guerrilla fighter they pick up along the way — must do what they can to survive. But eluding the predator is hard enough; taking it down is going to be almost impossible.

  • Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo

  • Director: John McTiernan

  • Year: 1987

  • Runtime: 107 minutes

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 81%

Predators

This "Predator" sequel puts an awesome spin on the franchise. A lot of hardened killers — everything from a death row inmate to a cartel enforcer to a mercenary — wake up in an alien jungle. All they know is that they were somehow snatched out of their lives and dropped down here ... and now they're being hunted. The alien predators want challenging prey, so they've turned the tables on some of the deadliest members of humanity. And if the humans want to have any chance at getting off this planet, they'll have to form an uneasy alliance, and they'll have to be very smart, very fast, and very lucky. The motley assortment of charismatic antiheroes, intriguing setup, and creative action make this sci-fi action thriller incredibly entertaining.

  • Starring: Adrien Brody, Alice Braga, Topher Grace

  • Director: Nimród Antal

  • Year: 2010

  • Runtime: 106 minutes

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 64%

Rollerball

It's rare to see a science fiction film that's also a sports movie, but "Rollerball" combines the two to terrific effect. James Caan stars as Jonathan, a championship star of a futuristic sport called rollerball, which feels like a heated combination of roller derby, motocross, and gladiatorial combat. It also has a hidden purpose that Jonathan isn't aware of — but when he starts getting unusual and over-the-top pressure to quit the game, he begins to understand a lot about the dystopian, corporation-controlled world he lives in. And while rollerball may be a tool of the establishment, it can also be a revolution. Exciting and clever fun with bonus '70s grit, "Rollerball" is completely entertaining.

  • Starring: James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams

  • Director: Norman Jewison

  • Year: 1975

  • Runtime: 129 minutes

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 67%

The Tomorrow War

Time travel, aliens, and military sci-fi all add up to a blast of an action-adventure movie. Critics were lukewarm, but audiences have definitely had a lot of fun. Humanity gets a sudden news alert from the future: The world will soon be attacked and effectively wiped out by creatures known as the Whitespikes. Chris Pratt's Dan, a former Green Beret, gets drafted into the future's war. The time travel gives him a chance at saving the human race — even granted that it turns out to be more complicated than it looked at first glance — but Dan also needs it to give him a heads up about how to keep his own family together in the here and now.

  • Starring: Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, J.K. Simmons

  • Director: Chris McKay

  • Year: 2021

  • Runtime: 138 minutes

  • Rating: PG-13

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 53%

The Vast of Night

"The Vast of Night" is an eerie, well-acted, and well-shot period piece. A young DJ and his switchboard operator friend pick up unusual — unearthly? — sounds and radio signals, and they get drawn into trying to figure out where they're coming from. Finding the answer means wading into a government conspiracy. But with the help of some oddly assembled allies, they'll step right into the heart of the mystery. Old-fashioned craftsmanship makes "The Vast of Night" an immensely satisfying revisiting of a classic sci-fi theme, but the film also manages to feel fresh and surprising.

  • Starring: Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz, Gail Cronauer

  • Director: Andrew Patterson

  • Year: 2019

  • Runtime: 89 minutes

  • Rating: PG-13

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%

Vivarium

If you're in the mood for something deeply weird and disturbing, check out "Vivarium," starring Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots as a young couple who get sucked into a kind of bizarre suburbia. After being stranded in an inescapable neighborhood of identical houses, they're forcibly conscripted into acting as foster parents for an alien child. They're desperate to escape, but the claustrophobia never lets up. And as the child grows, it gets harder and harder to even try to love — and even more impossible to control. Can they find an escape, or were they doomed the second they stepped in the house?

  • Starring: Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg, Jonathan Aris

  • Director: Lorcan Finnegan

  • Year: 2019

  • Runtime: 97 minutes

  • Rating: NR

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 72%