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50 Movies About Aliens You Need To Watch Now

Otherworldly beings might finally have humankind's attention after recent federal reports were released by the Pentagon validating unidentified flying objects in United States airspace stretching back decades. Extraterrestrials have sparked our imaginations for ages as we ponder the existence of life among the stars. The idea that we aren't alone in the universe is entirely feasible, which makes one wonder — what would alien beings be like? Would they be friendly or hostile? In appearance, would they be humanoid-like figures, or could they be far more monstrous?

These sorts of questions have been probed extensively in the film industry. Sometimes, the only way to wonder what could be is to present it to the masses as entertaining cinema. Often, the presence of aliens stokes viewers' anxiety due to frequently being depicted as invaders or conquerors. Harrowing tales of surviving alien hostilities certainly make some of the most thrilling and engaging stories. Of course, it's not all bad. Extraterrestrials have also been friendly pacifists on the big screen, charming their way into our hearts. There are countless options for enjoying cinematic tales of aliens among us, and we're here to show you 50 of the best.


Ridley Scott's 1979 sci-fi horror "Alien" is an obvious choice to kick off a list of alien-centric movies. "Alien" caused a stir upon its release. With a tagline like "In space, no one can hear you scream," audiences knew exactly what they were in for. The film follows the crew of the Nostromo, a commercial space tug, who investigates a mysterious signal. Ultimately, they find horror when a vicious alien stalks and brutally kills them one by one from the shadows of their own ship.

"Alien" used the terrifying creature design of H.R. Giger. The creature, known as the Xenomorph, was fast, able to crawl along walls, and had a second retractable jaw capable of launching at and puncturing the flesh of its prey. There's no pleading for peace with this alien creature. As a result, this film is a bloody good time littered with jump scares that will certainly quicken your pulse.


While we don't intend to include a litany of films and their sequels on this list, "Aliens" is too good to pass up. As a sequel, it's actually one of the best follow-up films in the industry. Helmed by James Cameron, the film picks up where "Alien" left off. The survivor of the first film, Ellen Ripley, is lured back to the rock where her crew encountered the first alien with the promise of destroying any remnants of the creature and is accompanied by a unit of Colonial Marines.

The film dramatically lives up to its title. Ellen and the Marines find themselves up against swarms of Xenomorphs as they wade into the heart of an alien nest. While the film retains some horror elements of its predecessor, it also blends into the action arena as the humans truly fight for survival with all the weaponry at their disposal. "Aliens" ups the ante in all of the best ways.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Of all of the films in the "Indiana Jones" franchise, this one received the most backlash from fans despite holding a certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and being a massive financial success. As the fourth film in a franchise that depicts the swashbuckling adventures of an archaeologist, Indiana Jones, many took umbrage with the idea that aliens were central to the film's narrative in a film series that previously focused on Biblical artifacts. However, "The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" is very much in keeping with the traditions of past "Indiana Jones" films where the titular character delves into the real-world myths behind ancient artifacts like the crystal skull.

"The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" offers thrills, absurd action sequences, and plenty of fisticuff brawls that one would expect from the franchise. All along the way, however, fans can enjoy discovering the legend behind the crystal skull artifacts and their otherworldly origins.

Star Wars: A New Hope

Anyone looking to see aliens on film can't go wrong with George Lucas's original epic "Star Wars." Now known as "Star Wars: A New Hope," this film tells the legendary story of Luke Skywalker discovering his roots and utilizing his rebellious spirit to combat an evil Galactic Empire. Of course, the alien species depicted throughout the film are some of these most colorful-looking creatures in cinema, but some pretty frightening-looking extraterrestrials show up in later films. Technically, the humans in this film are also aliens, as everyone in the story hails from the distant galaxy spoken of in the introductory text.

The famous cantina of Mos Eisley will put some of the wildest species of a galaxy far, far away on full display. Coming from an age where CGI was largely non-existent, practical effects and make-up were the tools of the artists who created lively scenes such as this. If you haven't seen this film yet, it's time. Do yourself the service of beginning your "Star Wars" journey now.


This vicious alien is always on the hunt. Deeper lore indicates this species may be called Yautja. However, known to most simply as the Predator, this extraterrestrial warrior only seeks out the fiercest competition for the thrill of the hunt. The original "Predator" film depicts a black ops unit in the jungles of Central America on a rescue mission. Little do they know, however, that the Predator is stalking them while cloaked by an alien tech-based form of camouflage. Eventually, the creature begins picking off the soldiers one-by-one while the remaining team members attempt to study its tactics to strike back and survive.

"Predator" is among the best '80s sci-fi action films. Its popularity spawned several sequels. This alien is one baddie you don't want to mess with. If you learned its practices well, however, you'll know that it doesn't hunt those who are unarmed. Perhaps that's akin to playing dead in front of a giant grizzly bear.


This horror story is an obvious spin on the tale of Superman. Despite being one of Earth's greatest heroes, Superman is an alien through and through, as he hails from the planet Krypton. "Brightburn" asks a different question — what if Superman in all of his power wasn't so benevolent? 

Just like the story of Superman, an alien ship crashes on a remote farm where a young couple finds an infant inside of the small ship, who they name Brandon. About 12 years later, he begins manifesting superhuman abilities equivalent to Superman. Unfortunately, Brandon has been the subject of torment from bullies at school. With his newfound abilities of flight, superhuman strength, and heat vision, he begins stalking and killing people in town.

We all know Superman is nearly invincible. Imagine what he could do if he were evil. With "Brightburn" you don't have to imagine, just simply watch the chaos gradually unfold as this alien realizes his true powers.

Independence Day

Roland Emmerich directed this film that many watch during the summer around Independence Day. However, "Independence Day" isn't just a film for Americans, as the fictional President Whitmore declares during a rousing endgame speech. This movie depicts an alien invasion on a massive scale. City-sized alien ships dot the Earth in a coordinated effort to eliminate the most important human installations on the planet. After an initial strike, humanity seeks to regroup and outthink an enemy who is far more technologically advanced. Of course, the final showdown occurs on the 4th of July, a day that comes to represent the entire planet's fight for independence against an alien threat.

It's wild, explosive, and action-packed. The film never lets up and is a crowd-pleaser thorughout. "Independence Day" is, perhaps, the best modern alien invasion movie around. On another note, It also has some of the best quotable one-liners, such as "Welcome to Earth!"

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

This 1977 film by director Steven Spielberg thrives off the stories of real-life UFO accounts and the anxieties that are ever-present among the population of the unknown. "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" depicts a few characters witnessing harrowing events of UFO activity. Eventually, seemingly supernatural occurrences persist, such as frightening visions, toys moving on their own, and unexplained electrical blackouts. 

While the government does what it does best by covering up any signs that extraterrestrials are attempting to make contact, others who experienced undeniable circumstances aren't convinced. One such individual named Roy Neary, an electrician, witnesses an alien craft up close and personal. "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" was admitted to the National Film Registry in 2007 after that organization deemed the movie as culturally significant, per the Chicago Tribune.

The film received universal critical acclaim from film reviewers and was a wide financial success earning more than fives times its budget in the worldwide gross.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Spielberg wasn't finished creating cinematic adventures featuring aliens after "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." In 1982, his film "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" was released to tell the heartwarming story about the friendship between an alien and a young boy, Elliot. The titular alien was mistakenly abandoned on Earth by his family as they fled the dangers of alien hunters from shadowy government organizations. Elliot finds the little alien in his backyard and names him E.T. He begins teaching E.T. about life on Earth, and the two form a bond. Of course, tragedy strikes when the government eventually catches up with E.T.

"E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" has stood the test time and is a pop culture mainstay among cinema fans. The film was a blockbuster hit raking in a massive profit on a modestly low budget of $10 million. This movie should be near the top of everyone's alien watchlist.


M. Knight Shyamalan is famous for shrouding his films in mystery. His take on an alien invasion begins subtly enough by cultivating the atmosphere of an eerie plot unfolding as strange crop circles begin appearing in Graham Hess' cornfield. The movie juxtaposes Hess' grief over the tragic death of his wife with his need to come to terms with the otherworldly invasion and protect his family. The film is at its best when Shyamalan deploys creepy imagery of slender humanoid-like beings stalking the farm. The mystery widens when news reports begin emerging of the creatures appearing in other parts of the world.

Partially due to the success of Shyamalan's film "The Sixth Sense," "Signs" was highly anticipated by moviegoers. The film was a box office success and has solidified itself as a fixture among the company of movies based on extraterrestrial themes. Just be sure to have your tinfoil hats prepared as you embark on this harrowing journey with the Hess family.

The Thing

John Carpenter's "The Thing" puts the creative limits of practical effects to the test. This horror film revolves around a microscopic alien organism that infects living beings and assimilates them by making alien copies of the host's cells. Once a being is taken over by the alien invader, the alien is in full control and can even violently shapeshift its host by stretching, twisting, and molding the flesh of its new body at will. 

This alien being is unleashed upon a crew of researchers at a remote American outpost in Antarctica. As the crew finds that the alien is killing them one by one, they attempt to study it and learn how it works. Palpable tension grips the film as the characters learn that they can't trust each other, as anyone of them could be an alien.

The transformation processes of the creature are grotesque yet fascinating. Flesh rips, twists, and stretches to form some of these most terrifying organisms from human flesh imaginable. "The Thing" is a thrilling alien horror film no fan of the genre should miss out on.

The Last Starfighter

"The Last Starfighter" is an '80s sci-fi film that is among the first to make extensive use of CGI technology –- an animation tool still in its infancy at that point. The film follows teenager Alex Rogan, who worries that his life will never amount to anything. He finds solitude in playing an arcade game called "Starfighter," where players must actively defend a base from encroaching alien armies. Alex obtains the high score which summons an alien known as Centauri who explains that the game was a test to find someone who can aid in their fight in a real-life conflict with other alien races. Alex is shocked by what he witnesses and must make an important decision.

The film joined other '80s sci-fi films like "Back to the Future" and "Tron" in placing its characters in extraordinary fish out of water sci-fi settings. "The Last Starfighter" was a critical success and remains a highlight of classic '80s cinema.

Cowboys & Aliens

Just as its title implies, this underrated Jon Favreau adventure sees cowboys and aliens collide in a strange sci-fi Western. "Cowboys & Aliens" follows Jake Lonergan, a man with amnesia who finds a strange bracelet on his wrist that he can't seem to remove. Jake was an outlaw in a former life, but now he is attempting to join forces with a local town to retrieve kidnapped civilians from an alien menace.

As one would expect, horse changes, gunfights, and alien weapons technology are all a part of the thrill and action of this adventure. The film boasts a great cast that includes not only Daniel Craig in the lead role but also sees appearances from Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, and Paul Dano. If you think you'd love the idea of sci-fi alien and Western mash-up, this film is exactly what you'd expect to be and is worth the ride.

Mars Attacks!

If you'd like a bit more levity and a dash of black comedy in your alien invasion stories, look no further than Tim Burton's '90s film "Mars Attacks!" This film plays off the fears and tropes of alien invaders seen from a 1950s sci-fi perspective. Complete with an armada of flying saucer-like spaceship, the little green men are horrifying to look at with bulbous, brainy heads, sunken faces, and wide soul-piercing eyes. Humanity puts up a pitiful display of vanity amid an obvious threat to the planet, making the scenario even more laughable. The president is eager to be seen with an alien ambassador while news anchors attempt to get their next big break.

The cast is enormous in terms of A-listers. Big names include Jack Nicholson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Glenn Close, Danny DeVito, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Michael J. Fox, Martin Short, Natalie Portman, and Jack Black. Of course, most of the cast dies at the hands of the homunculi-like invaders, so a watch is worth it for the many imaginative death sequences alone.

Guardians of the Galaxy

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a mainstay of pop culture and cinema since 2008, and it shows no signs of stopping. "Guardians of the Galaxy" was the film that introduced viewers to Marvel's version of life in outer space. Chris Pratt portrays Peter Quill, or Star-Lord, as he prefers to be called, who is kidnapped by a crew of alien pirates known as the Ravagers when he is a young boy. He comes of age among the stars, flying space ships and making a life for himself. He eventually connects with a highly intelligent and feisty talking raccoon named Rocket, a walking tree named Groot, the assassin Gamora, and Drax, a rage-filled alien warrior who seeks to avenge the death of his family.

The film could be considered an action-comedy as its characters invoke sarcasm and humor at the expense of their comrades throughout the film. Despite forming a familial connection, the Guardians often quibble over menial things causing them to be one of the most relatable family units in the MCU regardless of their misfit appearances.

Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan

The 1982 film "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan" tugged at the hearts of Trekkies far and wide. The film marks the emergence of a tactically superior villain in Khan, an individual who is ruthless and seeks the Genesis Device from the USS Enterprise. This artifact has the capability of aiding in the construction of worlds. This alien's bloodlust knows no bounds as he attempts to destroy Captain Kirk and his crew to meet his own ends. Ultimately, the film results in the heroic death of a famous "Star Trek" character that ultimately left fans reeling.

"Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan" left a mark on the legacy of the franchise. The narrative was semi-retold in J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek: Into Darkness," where the Enterprise once again encounters Khan but in an alternate timeline. Some of the events — and consequences – of the storyline are changed due to the altered timeline, but one thing is clear: "The Wrath of Khan" was a true inspiration for Abrams and crew.

They Live

"They Live" is a John Carpenter sci-fi thriller that evokes more terrors from its not-so-subtle commentary on society than it does from the aliens that have invaded society. 

Professional wrestler-turned-actor Roddy Piper starred in this 1988 flick as Nada, an odd drifter who starts to get the sense that not everything around him is at it seems. After hearing the ramblings of a man hacking television broadcasts and listening to the ominous warnings of a preacher, Nada finds a pair of mysterious glasses that enables him to see the world for what it is. Underneath the media and advertisements of the world are messages directed toward humanity to obey, consume, and reproduce. He also sees that some people are hideous aliens. The glasses thwart a broadcast signal that hides these images from human minds, and Nada sets out on a quest to fight against the subtle enslavement of humanity.

The obvious commentary being made is that commercialization is a tool used to conform to humanity, and this helps make "They Live" an influential film with a unique take on the alien invasion story.

10 Cloverfield Lane

Taking place in the J.J. Abrams led "Cloverfield" franchise of films, "10 Cloverfield Lane" sets itself apart by telling the story of an isolated kidnapping victim being held in an underground bunker by a fanatical doomsday prepper — although he may not be as delusional as one might've thought. 

Howard is keeping Michelle and her friend Emmett locked in his bunker while claiming the air above is toxic. Understandably, Michelle believes that Howard is delusional and likely dangerous, so she plots an escape. While not everything is as Howard indicated above ground, one thing is for sure — scary alien space crafts are patrolling the land and unleashing vicious beasts fully intending to kill those on the ground. Follow-up film "The Cloverfield Paradox" will reveal exactly why the aliens have suddenly come to attack Earth, though "10 Cloverfield Lane" works just as well without that bit of information.


The Natalie Portman-led film "Annihilation" offers a trippy and colorful approach to contact with alien life. After a meteor crashes on Earth, an area known as the Shimmer forms around the crash site and slowly begins expanding. Three years after the meteor crashes, Lena volunteers for an expedition into the Shimmer to find the meteorite crash site. Those who have entered the Shimmer have never returned — except for Lena's husband. However, he is unwell, and Lena accepts the assignment in hopes that she can help his condition.

The film covers a lot of ground including regret, guilt, and depression. Graphic sequences and scenery are also depicted as the crew of the expedition encounter frightening mutated animals such as alligators affected by the alien influence. "Annihilation" at times fits firmly in the horror genre, while other moments lend themselves to psychological thriller themes. Regardless, it is most definitely a sci-fi film with alien life at the heart of its narrative and is a unique experience that one must witness to fully appreciate.

Galaxy Quest

If you're looking for an alien-centric narrative that doesn't take itself too seriously and offers plenty of laughs along the way, "Galaxy Quest" is a great choice. The film's basic premise is that the cast of an old '80s sci-fi space-travelling television series, which contains some clear references to the "Star Trek" universe, is seen by actual aliens. These aliens, however, take the show at face value and enlist the cast to aid them in a very real interstellar conflict. It's now time that these actors embrace the true roles they were apparently born to play. 

This humorous adventure has a little bit of fun at the expense of the "Star Trek" franchise and ultimately offers a sort of loving homage to that franchise and its committed fanbase. "Galaxy Quest" is a must-see for "Star Trek" fans — as long as they're willing to go into the film with an open mind.

Starship Troopers

"Starship Troopers" is an over-the-top sci-fi military action film that revels in its campy elements and themes. This movie takes place in the far-flung future where humanity has embarked on a quest to colonize new worlds. Amid that quest, humankind encounters a hostile alien force, the Arachnids. While these Bugs, as the characters in the film call them, may seem mindless, it appears that the creatures strategize and harvest the brains of humans by plunging a built-in bio-sippy straw into their skulls in an effort to gain more knowledge. 

The film focuses on Johnny Rico as he and his friends graduate high school, fall for ludicrous military recruitment campaigns, and enlist in the service to fight Bugs. There's plenty of action and guts, both human and alien, to go around in this film. While the movie has a few rough edges, it definitely has character and is a true delight.

Man of Steel

"Man of Steel" makes the list because the Big Blue Boy Scout is an alien after all, and Zack Snyder embraces Superman's heritage in this film. 

Superman hails from the planet Krypton, a race on the brink of destruction. As an infant, he was sent to Earth by his parents in order to avoid dying with his people. His alien DNA grants him superhuman abilities in the light of the Earth's Sun. As a young Clark Kent, he struggles to find acceptance in world that seems cold and fearful of the unknown. As he ages, however, he embraces his identity and must help save the Earth from some fellow Kryptonians who wish to rebuild Krypton after committing mass genocide. The approach of Zod and his Kryptonian comrades is seemingly ripped straight out of an old alien sci-fi film as he manipulates the airwaves and is seen circling the earth in orbit in his mysterious ship.

Ultimately, Superman rises to the occasion and the film is steeped in CGI effects and action sequences as these titans clash. This film also kicked off the DC Extended Universe, making it a great entry into that franchise.

The Fifth Element

Co-written and directed by famed screenwriter Luc Besson, "The Fifth Element" is a sci-fi action film with a different take on the old "Earth is about to be annihilated by an alien force" trope. The film stars Bruce Willis as a taxicab driver named Korben Dallas and Milla Jovovich as Leeloo, a mysterious young woman with memories of an ancient past. Korben is simply a product of circumstance as Leeloo jumps into his taxicab while fleeing security forces. He's inadvertently brought along on a quest for mysterious stones that will apparently aid the Earth's defense against an impending hostile force. Their search for the stones takes them on a thrilling adventure that sets the stage for this movie.

The film is a fan-favorite in the sci-fi genre and earned strong positive reviews from critics and audiences. This is a '90s classic that deserves your attention.

A Quiet Place

This post-apocalyptic horror film will make your palms sweat and your heart flutter. "A Quiet Place" was directed by John Krasinski, who also plays the lead, while also featuring Emily Blunt as his wife Evelyn, Millicent Simmonds as their deaf daughter Regan, and Noah Jupe as their son, Marcus. 

In this post-apocalyptic landscape, Earth is desolate as most of humankind has been killed off. The culprit? Invading aliens. These aliens are vicious animalistic predators, but they can only track their prey through sound. Without sound, they are blind. However, their hearing is exceptionally keen, and even the slightest noise can draw an attack. Meanwhile, the Abbotts are simply attempting to survive by living a life of sign language and quiet solitude.

This harrowing tale will grip you and maybe even cause you to grit your teeth, chew your fingernails, or wipe the sweat off your brow — whatever sensation you experience from anxious anticipation. While aliens may drive the narrative, "A Quiet Place" focuses on family and the lengths one will go to protect the one they love.

Men in Black

The '90s saw the rise of actor Will Smith, who began appearing in blockbuster after blockbuster. "Men in Black" was one such film that saw Smith join forces with Tommy Lee Jones, where they played Agent J and Agent K, respectively. This action-comedy pits the two agents of a clandestine organization who keep alien life on Earth away from the public eye while standing up against some of the more nefarious forces of the universe. What ensues is a sci-fi buddy cop adventure full of fun comedic punches and plenty of varied alien critters to delight any fans of the extraterrestrial.

Despite having their identities removed from them and personal connections severed, Agents J and K are rather endearing partners with unique chemistry between them. The first film delighted fans so much two direct sequels were made, while the franchise was eventually revisited in the 2019 film "Men in Black: International."

Edge of Tomorrow

In "Edge of Tomorrow," Tom Cruise plays William Cage, who happens to be something of a coward. Aliens, called Mimics, land in Europe five years prior to the film's events. They've now conquered most of the continent. The world's countries have joined forces to form an alliance known as the United Defense Force (UDF) to combat the threat. William is ordered to take part in a UDF invasion of France, and he tries to get out of it. He has no combat experience and is nervously thrown into the battlefield, where he is quickly killed after being covered by the blood of a Mimic. He reawakens a day prior and realizes he is caught in a time loop.

Being granted countless lives and opportunities to progress further along in his quest to defeat the Mimics is the narrative that might resonate so well with gamers. Beyond that, "Edge of Tomorrow" is a thrilling adventure with plenty of twists and turns along the way.

District 9

"District 9" takes extraterrestrial contact to an entirely different level. The year is 1982, and a spaceship lands over the city of Johannesburg in South Africa. Upon further investigation, the ship is carrying several aliens who are ill due to malnourishment. The government forces the aliens into a camp that is dubbed District 9. The area quickly turns into a shantytown, and humans look down upon the alien refugees they see as a drain on society and its resources.

Wikus van der Merwe is serving notices to many of the alien residents that the government is again relocating them. In one particular home, he attempts to confiscate a mysterious fuel that an alien is hiding. However, the fuel sprays on Wikus' face by mistake. The film follows Wikus as he begins transforming into an alien himself. He quickly discovers how difficult life has been for this stranded alien race attempting to live among human society. There's plenty of social commentary about the present mixed in with the sci-fi themes of this film that will ultimately leave an impact on viewers.

The Day the Earth Stood Still

This 2008 film is actually a semi-remake of the 1951 film with the same title. "The Day the Earth Stood Still" follows the arrival of a highly-advanced alien race. As a spacecraft lands and an alien emerges, security forces inadvertently shoot the alien, wounding him. The alien is named Klaatu, played here by Keanu Reeves, and explains to the government leaders that he was sent to evaluate civilization and its care of Earth. Unfortunately, he is forced into interrogation but is able to escape. Realizing that humans are destructive and selfish, he determines that humankind must be eliminated to save the planet. Jennifer Connelly plays Helen Benson, an astrobiologist consulted for the contact with extraterrestrials tries to convince Klaatu that humanity is worth preserving.

It's a film steeped in philosophical themes and ideas that makes one ponder the true nature of humanity and how society would truly react if it were to encounter a seemingly peaceful alien race.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

This 1978 film is the most memorable of the many remakes of the 1956 original, where gelatinous aliens invade society by mimicking humans. Matthew Bennell, played by Donald Sutherland, is a scientist who uncovers the truth behind his colleagues and their spouses acting strangely. The strange phenomenon is the work of an alien species that replicates humans while they sleep. After creating a duplicate version within an alien pod, the original human is killed, allowing the duplicate to enter society. Matthew witnesses this terrifying reality first hand and doesn't know who he can trust, as anyone could be an alien duplicate. 

It's a dark reality where it seems like there is no way out, ultimately permeating the film with a sense of anxious tension. The film earned nearly universal critical acclaim and is one of the most notable sci-fi horror films in cinema history. After viewing this movie, it might be hard to trust a healthy night's sleep ever again.


Amy Adams stars in this 2016 film about alien contact. In "Arrival," Adams portrays Louise Banks, an expert linguist tapped by the government to help make contact with an alien species that has landed. The massive monolith-like ships are hovering over multiple locations across earth. As Louise and her crew of scientists and military personnel head into the alien ship, they find a shadowy multi-limbed creature that they call a heptapod. The alien begins communicating through visual symbols, and it's up to Louise and her associates to determine what the creature is trying to say. Their time is running short, however, as tensions across the world are mounting over the landings and nations are preparing for a preemptive strike out of fear.

Ultimately, the film is centered around Louise's past, present, and future. The extraterrestrial's mysterious capabilities lie within their communication. This film, directed by Denis Villeneuve, earned positive reviews from film critics and is worth watching for anyone seeking an extraterrestrial thriller.

Battle: Los Angeles

"Battle: Los Angeles" takes the alien invasion concept and blends it with the visuals of a war film. Marines are deployed after spacecraft land in the ocean as the disembarking extraterrestrials are instantly hostile. The film follows Sergeant Michael Nantz as he leads other Marines into urban combat against an otherworldly enemy. The action is intense mixed with a sense of drama that underscores the death of soldiers in combat. At times, you might mistake scenes of the film with other prominent military engagement flicks like "Black Hawk Down." 

While repelling the alien ground forces seems insurmountable, Michael and his team must discover a weakness in the alien's technology related to the highly capable drones they have commanding the skies. While the film does suffer from pacing issues, it's ultimately a fun, guilty pleasure alien movie that is sure to engage fans of the sci-fi and war film genres.

War of the Worlds

This Steven Spielberg film adapts the famous 1898 novel by H.G. Wells of the same name. The premise of "War of the Worlds" is that extraterrestrials have built weapons of war to invade and planted them underground long before their arrival on Earth. A lightning storm marks the appearance of the actual aliens who pilot tripod machines that emerge from underground. Tom Cruise stars as a crane operator attempting to connect with his children that he has been separated from through divorce. When the alien invasion begins, he must flee and attempt to keep his children safe as they navigate the countryside looking for shelter.

The film is harrowing and bleak, often showing the desperation of people struggling to avoid an inevitable and catastrophic end. The alien's technology practically makes them invincible to the weapons of Earth, contributing all the more to the doom and gloom that permeates the film — although those familiar with the novel know how it ends. Regardless, it's a thrilling and horrific film about aliens that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Under the Skin

If you're craving a movie that will force you to ponder its themes and implications, "Under the Skin" is the arthouse project you've been looking for. This movie follows a mysterious woman, played by Scarlett Johansson, who is an alien construct. She appears human but is something else entirely underneath, as the title implies. The woman lures men into strange situations that ultimately lead to their demise. As the film progresses, it's evident that the woman is learning more about humanity and ultimately attempting to feel human herself. The film's eerie score expertly conveys a foreboding and surreal tone as viewers discover more about the woman and her true desires.

There are several different interpretations of "Under the Skin" and its ending, although the movie ultimately leaves it up to the viewer to reach their own conclusions. Just don't ponder too deeply — you might have an existential crisis.

2010: The Year We Make Contact

As a sequel to Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey," "2010: The Year We Make Contact" continues nine years after the failed Discovery mission to Jupiter. A joint operation between the Soviet Union and the United States is put into action to find the Discovery and determine what caused HAL 9000 to malfunction. Of course, the alien monolith remains nearby the Discover, which is still adrift in Jupiter's orbit. The crew begins witnessing strange energy bursts, and they uncover some unsavory truths regarding the orders HAL received from the National Security Council.

The film is purely a science-fiction adventure set in an alternate 2010 reality. Of course, the making of this film and its predecessor pre-dated the collapse of the Soviet Union. Therefore, the movie still recognizes the Soviet Union well into the future. It also highlights the tensions between the Soviet Union and the West in what seems like an extension of the Cold War into the future.


Before Roland Emmerich oversaw the invasion of Earth in "Independence Day," he directed the 1994 classic sci-fi adventure film called "Stargate." The film stars Kurt Russell as Colonel Jonathan O'Neil and James Spader as Dr. Daniel Jackson. After discovering a strange gateway covered in hieroglyphics, Dr. Jackson realizes that it's a wormhole that transports individuals across space to another planet. When O'Neill, Jackson, and several others pass through the wormhole, they find a thriving human Egyptian culture. It seems that humans from the ancient Egyptian era had crossed over and now claim to serve their god Ra. Of course, nothing is as it seems, and an alien presence is exploiting the humans for its own gain.

The film's popularity enabled multiple TV spin-offs, including "Stargate SG-1," "Stargate Atlantis," "Stargate Infinity," and "Stargate Origins." As a whole, the franchise is well-regarded in the sci-fi community with an interlocking narrative that spans films, TV series, trading card games, and video games.


While this Robert Zemeckis film doesn't really show any extensive footage of aliens, the movie's narrative revolves around finding a way to communicate with extraterrestrial life. In 1997's "Contact," Dr. Ellie Arroway, played by Jodie Foster, works in an observatory in Puerto Rico and discovers a patterned sequence of radio emissions that lends credence to the idea that there is intelligent life among the stars. There's much to uncover within the signal, and Arroway must contend with skeptics and bureaucrats who attempt to undermine her discovery.

The film is based on a novel written by the famous astrophysicist Carl Sagan in 1985. The film received positive reviews from critics who expressed that "Contact" ultimately was a celebration of science and discovery. The film did alright at the box office and joins several other classics, such as "Arrival" whose dominant theme is first contact with alien life from distant worlds.

Pitch Black

"Pitch Black" introduces audiences to the enigmatic character of Riddick, played by Vin Diesel, who would go on to appear in two other theatrical films. In this movie, he is a criminal being transported by a bounty hunter aboard a ship with a mixed group of passengers. Debris in outer space damages the ship, and they make an emergency landing on a remote planet. The planet is constantly in the daylight, as its sky holds three suns. They discover in the caves below a hostile alien creature that is harmed by light but is vicious and bloodthirsty. Much to their dismay, the passengers find evidence that an eclipse is about to occur, causing the entire planet to be shrouded in rare darkness, allowing the creature to hunt. Ultimately, Riddick's modified eyesight, which enables him to see in the dark, is the very asset the group needs to survive.

"Pitch Black" is a perfect blend of sci-fi action and horror elements. It's a character-focused story that peels back the layers and motivations of the stranded survivors as the narrative progresses, making it a worthy sci-fi adventure.

Batteries Not Included

Once again, Steven Spielberg had his hands involved with another film of extraterrestrial nature. Spielberg executive produced the 1987 film "Batteries Not Included," while the directing duties went to Matthew Robbins. The movie follows Frank and Faye Riley, apartment building managers who are being bullied by thugs hired by a new developer looking to take over the property. When the building is terrorized by vandals, the couple's tenants start questioning their safety and whether they should leave. Soon, however, two little extraterrestrial robotic ships appear and start fixing all of the damage. The tenants begin referring to them as the Fix-Its.

This endearing film doesn't aim for screams or thought-provoking themes. Instead, it's a heart-warming film mixed with themes of friendship, grief, and renewal. Beyond that, it's hard not to completely adore the tiny infant Fix-Its — likely while wishing the helpful little alien crew actually existed.

Dark Skies

"Dark Skies" is a horror film released in 2013 that will have you pondering the need for a home security system. The movie is focused on the Barrett family, who lives in a quiet, unassuming town. At one point, strange incidents begin happening, including evidence of home invasions, reorganized appliances, and birds aggressively crashing into their home. One night, the mother, Lacy, sees a shadowy figure in her son's room that instantly disappears when she turns on the light. The family eventually consults an expert who claims that their home is targeted for an alien abduction of one of their children.

The film's alien creatures are based around the humanoid descriptions of the Greys, which are the type of extraterrestrial beings associated with Roswell and other abduction accounts in history. The shadowy figures and the feature-less faces are terrifying when framed in such a manner. Also, a home invasion is scary enough, let alone having the culprits being extraterrestrials seeking to nab someone for experimentation.


Ron Howard directed "Cocoon," a 1985 film about senior citizens who discover an alien race living next door to their retirement home. These aliens come from the planet Antarea and have returned to earth after several thousand years to collect a few members of their race who were left behind and preserved in cocoons. The aliens disguise themselves as humans and are renting a home with a swimming pool which they've charged with an energy that renews life in the hopes of helping their comrades in the cocoons regain health for the trip home. A few senior citizens discover the pool and ask if they can use it. Walter, the alien leader, allows them to do so as long as they keep it a secret and don't harm the cocoons. They quickly start feeling young again, leading the rest of the retirement home to suspect something.

This film is a fun adventure featuring peaceful aliens peaceful who are just trying to recover what they've lost. The same goes for the elderly residents who ultimately receive the gift of renewed health. "Cocoon" is a classic and a must-see.


The 1984 David Lynch film "Dune" made a splash among sci-fi fans of the '80s. The Frank Herbert novel received a new film adaptation in the form of a two-part theatrical release from director Denis Villeneuve. Both the original and new films are worth seeing, but the Villeneuve version gives the material more room to breathe and doesn't feel quite as rushed as the original. "Dune" exists in the distant future where noble families vie to control the planet Arrakis. The desert planet is critical as it harbors a crucial resource, known as Spice, which enables space travel and extreme longevity. It's a hot commodity, and anyone that controls its distribution has great power throughout the universe.

The film is inherently about alien worlds. Mining Spice on Arrakis is a dangerous job because massive sandworms threaten to consume anything, living or otherwise, sets foot out in the desert. While intelligent alien beings besides humans aren't central to the plot of the "Dune" films, the narrative goes to great lengths depicting how "alien" humans have become in the far-flung future.


This 2017 horror film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds as astronauts aboard the International Space Station. They receive samples from a probe returning from Mars that could contain extraterrestrial life. The research crew successfully revives a single-celled organism which then begins growing exponentially. The crew names the organism Calvin, and they soon learn that it can use each of its cells for multiple purposes, such as building muscle mass or creating photosensory tissue. While experimenting on the creature, Calvin attacks the crew and escapes into the ship. The hostile critter begins stalking the researchers and killing them one-by-one. Of course, the devastation that ensues aboard the ISS ensures that communication is severed with Earth. 

"Life" is pretty standard in its use of horror clichés to explore the potentially catastrophic risks of approaching the unknown. While it devolves into a horrifying fight for survival, it remains a compelling portrayal of an alien entity.

Apollo 18

If you enjoy a good found-footage horror movie, "Apollo 18" might be right up your alley. While Apollo 18 mission was canceled in real life, the film explores the conspiracy theory that the mission did occur, per Popular Mechanics. The movie posits that what happened on the Moon during that mission is what caused the United States to never return. The film follows the crew of Apollo 18 on a lunar mission where they will place defense technology capable of sending an alert to the US in the event of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. What they find, however, is a hostile force hidden within the landscape of the Moon.

The film was a low-budget affair that made it a modest financial success at the box office. While critics were not kind to the film, man of whom say the film as an empty cash-in on the found-footage craze, there's definitely some thrills and entertainment value to be had in "Apollo 18."

The Faculty

"The Faculty" adopts the tension of an untrustworthy environment, similar to "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "The Thing" before it, as aliens invade disguised as humans. The film is set in an American high school and follows several students who find that the teachers and staff are actually being controlled by alien creatures that have entered their bodies through their ears. Horrifically, this is made all too apparent when they witness school faculty forcing the parasitic lifeform into the school nurse's ear. The rest of the film follows the students as they attempt to outwit the alien race and maybe even find a way to stop it.

While some of the CGI effects haven't exactly aged well, "The Faculty" still stands as a hallmark among '90s teen horror films. The cast includes many Hollywood mainstays early in their careers, such as Jordana Brewster, Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood, Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen, and Jon Stewart.


James Cameron's 2009 epic "Avatar" broke box office records at its release. This CGI-heavy journey to an alien world depicted humans encroaching on the land and resources of an indigenous alien race, which, in effect, made humans the alien invaders of this film. 

The Na'vi are a technologically primitive race who respect nature around them and live in harmony with the beings of their planet. While the human military machine is bent on extracting resources from the planet, a research team, which the main character Jake Sully joins, attempts to study the Na'vi culture. They use bio-engineered Na'vi bodies to transplant their consciousness temporarily to become one of the natives. Jake quickly feels the guilt of humanity's destruction of the Na'vi home and joins the Na'vi in the fight to save their planet.

It's an epic film with wild scenery and a gripping narrative to boot. James Cameron has promised that more "Avatar" films are on the way, so we likely haven't seen the last of the franchise just yet.


"Evolution" is a knee-slapping comedy that rips David Duchovny out of his overly-serious "X-Files" role and places him in the middle of a humorous plot. Duchovny appears as Ira Kane, a college professor who discovers alien lifeforms emerging from a crashed meteorite and are rapidly evolving. The ensemble film also features the comedic genius of actors like Orlando Jones, Seann William Scott, Ty Burrell, Julianne Moore, and Dan Aykroyd. 

"Evolution" is directed by Ivan Reitman, previously of "Ghostbusters" fame. Instead of busting ghosts, however, this crew of misfits sets out to squash a burgeoning alien threat in a wild film that never takes itself too seriously. Additionally, it leans even further into the comedy genre than the "Ghostbusters" films. The film ultimately garnered a mixed reception from critics, some of which felt the comedy fell flat. However, there is plenty for anyone looking for aliens and comedy to enjoy in "Evolution."

Captain Marvel

There is plenty of alien life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but only certain films see aliens take center stage. "Captain Marvel" follows Carol Danvers as she rediscovers her lost memories of life on Earth as she returns to the planet on a mission from an alien organization known as Starforce. 

Initially, her enemy is the Skrulls, a race of aliens long at war with the Kree. Spotting a Skrull is rather difficult given their unique shapeshifting abilities. However, Danvers is trained to sniff out the enemy. During her time on Earth she discovers her true history and begins recovering her memories. The narrative twists when she's posed with the possibility that the Skrulls are simply refugees who seek peace and that, perhaps, she has been a villain in that fight. 

It's a fun film that has its fair share of action sequences, alien encounters, and winks at the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe for fans to enjoy.

Ender's Game

"Ender's Game" is based on Orson Scott Card's 1985 novel of the same name. It stars Asa Butterfield in the titular role of Ender Wiggin. As a highly intelligent child, he is sent to a military academy where he trains to combat an alien invasion by playing a simulator game. In that game, he strategizes the movement of a real fleet of starships, which he will one day command, to vanquish the alien threat. The majority of the film follows Ender's training progress as he approaches a final harrowing test. What results is a clashing of moralistic ideals that leads to overwhelming feelings of betrayal and regret. 

"Ender's Game" offers a unique perception on the theme of hostile alien invaders, at least as far as humanity is concerned. Is humanity playing a truly peaceful and defending role against potential aggression in the film? Or are they aggressors themselves? This is one film you'll have to watch to decide for yourself.


"Paul" is an R-rated comedy that follows two pop culture nerds heading for San Diego Comic-Con. Afterward, Graeme Willy, played by Simon Pegg, and Clive Gollings, played by frequent Pegg collaborator Nick Frost, continue their road trip and eventually come face-to-face with an alien named Paul, who is voiced by Seth Rogen

Paul has a penchant for sarcasm, alcohol, and cigarettes. He tries to recruit these two friends to help him evade the feds and return to his home planet. The film is rife with raunchy comedic punches and parody humor that pokes fun at the sci-fi genre at large. While you are not getting anything nearly as profound as "Arrival," "Paul" still offers a fun journey and a look at the life of an alien who isn't much different from an average human — and maybe you'll experience a few chuckles along the way. It's just a shame Graeme and Clive can't knock back a few drinks with Paul peacefully in the public eye.

Flight of the Navigator

This 1986 sci-fi adventure film follows the adventures of a 12-year-old boy named David Freeman. The film begins in 1978, but as David is walking to pick up his younger brother, he falls unconscious and reawakens in 1986. He hasn't aged at all but finds his parents and brother have aged eight years. A NASA research facility takes in the boy to run some tests in an effort to explain his disappearance. What they find is that his mind is interlaced with alien communications. 

They are able to deduce that he was abducted and whisked away to an alien planet for the span of just a few hours. However, time dilation caused the short time to be the equivalent of eight years on Earth. Soon, David begins receiving communication from the alien spaceship and he sets out to learn more about the alien race who abducted him. 

"Flight of the Navigator" is an all-time '80s sci-fi classic. This is one alien film to watch with the whole family.