Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

20 Epic Movies Like Avatar You Need To Watch Next

From the moment that "Avatar" first hit cinema screens in 2009, the movie proved to be a huge success. The epic sci-fi film broke records and quickly became one of the highest-grossing movies of all time, with critics praising the release for its groundbreaking special effects and breathtaking alien world. Featuring the acting talents of Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sigourney Weaver, the film sparked a new franchise that director James Cameron plans to expand with multiple sequels

"Avatar" tells the story of the planet Pandora in the mid-22nd century. With humanity consuming all of Earth's resources, they look to Pandora to mine materials to help solve their energy crisis. This expansion threatens the native life of the alien world, including the humanoid Na'vi. Humans explore the planet and interact with the Na'vi using an artificially created Na'vi body that is operated by a person at a remote location.

Anyone who has seen the film will be aware of its expansive environments and awe-inspiring visuals. However, this is far from the only visually stunning sci-fi epic. Here are some other movies that are similar to "Avatar" that fans should check out.


Describing "Inception" can be a difficult proposition as the Christopher Nolan movie features the director's trademark genre-bending traits. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio in the role of Dom Cobb, a professional thief who steals information and trade secrets from victims by entering their subconscious while they sleep. He is hired to try and implant an idea into someone else's mind, a job that he takes so that he can finally return home to his children.

Like most of Nolan's films, "Inception" is a movie that gets viewers to think while they enjoy the stunning visuals. There's plenty to appreciate from a purely cinematic point of view, but the film goes on to explore complex themes in much the same way that "Avatar" does. It asks deep questions about existence and what it means to be a person, concepts that are touched upon in James Cameron's film as the protagonist interacts with the Na'vi.

Star Wars

The world of "Star Wars" has grown to encompass everything from blockbuster films and video games to comic books and toys. However, everything got started in 1977 with the release of "Star Wars: A New Hope." Tracking the exploits of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) as they fight against the evil Empire and Darth Vader alongside the Rebel Alliance. The inaugural entry in the franchise was widely praised and went on to win seven Academy Awards in categories such as best art direction and best costume design.

The movie launched one of the most successful sci-fi franchises ever to hit cinema screens, and its use of special effects and models to create stunning new worlds was groundbreaking. Like "Avatar," it takes viewers to alien planets and lets them experience different environments and species in a believable way that completely immerses them in a galaxy far, far away. Both films also have memorable musical scores to accompany the on-screen action.

The Shape of Water

Released in 2017 to widespread critical acclaim, "The Shape of Water" is, at its core, a romantic fantasy film. Guillermo del Toro directed and wrote the script alongside Vanessa Taylor, with Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones starring in the two leading roles. The story deals with a female janitor who falls in love with a mysterious amphibian creature held captive by the US government in a secret research lab.

In the same way that "Avatar" explores the relationship between humans and the Na'vi, "The Shape of Water" examines the dynamic between a human and a being who is from another world — even if it is technically not an alien. There are obvious parallels between the two romances that develop and the challenges that they have to overcome, especially as the relationships are frowned upon. However, each sees love come out on top in the end in a meaningful way.


"Prometheus" is a sci-fi horror film by Ridley Scott that features Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, and Idris Elba. The film is essentially a prequel to the "Alien" series, although i's story does not necessarily lead directly into the events of the later films. The plot tracks the actions of the crew of the spaceship Prometheus as they explore a star map that many unconnected ancient cultures once possessed. They attempt to uncover the secrets surrounding the birth of humanity and uncover who the mysterious Engineers really are.

"Prometheus" takes viewers to a new location in space, far away from Earth — something that "Avatar" does when it whisks the audience to the jungles of Pandora. Thanks to the impressive special effects and set pieces, these alien worlds are both believable and awe-inspiring. Of course, in the spirit of the "Alien" franchise, "Prometheus" is darker and more terrifying compared to the rather colorful visuals of "Avatar."

Jurassic Park

"Jurassic Park" is a sci-fi action film released in 1993. Helmed by legendary director Steven Spielberg, it stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and Richard Attenborough. Based on Michael Crichton's novel of the same name, the plot largely takes place on the island of Isla Nublar, where John Hammond has built a theme park featuring dinosaurs that have been revived using futuristic DNA extraction technology. Of course, when a group of experts visits the island to ensure its safety, things quickly go wrong, leading to dinosaurs escaping their enclosures.

The film was originally set to use stop motion effects to bring the dinosaurs to life. However, things changed when the filmmakers saw the potential of using CGI and other computer effects. This was one of the first movies to use the technology successfully, and the film depicts realistic and terrifying dinosaurs in a way that wasn't possible before. It was a groundbreaking movie, in much the same way that "Avatar" is, and contains the same sense of adventure, wonder, and drama as the James Cameron film.


Frank Herbert's 1965 novel "Dune" has had a rough time when it comes to adaptations. The original film bombed at the box office, and the 2003 miniseries found critical acclaim from critics such as The New York Times but never really reached a broad audience. Denis Villeneuve took on directing duties for the 2021 adaptation, which featured Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, and Josh Brolin. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, the story follows House Atreides as they battle for control of a hostile world.

"Dune" and "Avatar" share some striking similarities. Both take place on inhospitable worlds that can be deadly to humans, with conflict breaking out over the control of rare resources in the form of the spice melange and unobtainium. The two movies are equally stunning in their own ways and bring the alien worlds to life on screen with a scope that is sure to wow anyone who watches them.


"Interstellar" is another sci-fi epic directed by Christopher Nolan. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine, the movie focuses on a group of astronauts who are on a mission to secure a new home for humanity. This becomes necessary when Earth is depleted of almost all of its natural resources, with huge dust storms and famines occurring frequently. The astronauts travel through a wormhole near Saturn that was created by unknown beings in the past.

The premise of "Interstellar" has some important similarities with "Avatar." Both films are set in the not-too-distant future and see humanity hunting for resources or a new home in space when Earth becomes inhospitable. The two films share a grand and ambitious scale, with "Interstellar" arguably being Nolan's most audacious project yet. There are several scenes that can take your breath away, as is the case in James Cameron's "Avatar."

Clash of the Titans

The 2010 action fantasy film "Clash of the Titans"  features a star-studded cast including Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Mads Mikkelsen, Alexa Davalos, Ralph Fiennes, and Liam Neeson. A remake of the classic 1981 film of the same name, the story follows the myth of Perseus, a Greek hero famed for slaying monsters. He joins forces with gods and humans to fight against Hades, who has threatened humanity with a giant sea monster known as the Kraken.

"Clash of the Titans" failed to impress critics upon its release as it lacked a compelling story or meaningful character development. However, what it did have in spades was spectacular visuals. The film has many impressive moments that leap out from the screen and demand your attention. Combine that with the fast-paced and frantic action sequences, "Clash of the Titans" certainly has some things in common with "Avatar" and will appeal to those who want some excitement from their movie experience.

Kong: Skull Island

Cinemagoers have seen many interpretations of "King Kong" movies ever since the world's most famous giant gorilla first appeared on screens. One of the latest is the reboot "Kong: Skull Island," the second film in the "MonsterVerse" franchise. Starring Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, and Brie Larson, the story sees a group of soldiers and scientists traveling to Skull Island, where they encounter Kong and a variety of monstrous creatures who live there.

Both "Kong: Skull Island" and "Avatar" take place in a lush location filled with exotic plants and life. "Kong: Skull Island" is set on a South Pacific island that could easily be mistaken for some kind of paradise. The film includes some epic action sequences just like "Avatar" does and keeps the audience on the edge of their seat throughout the ride. It also gives an insight into how humans can work alongside mysterious creatures, with some parallels to the Na'vi in "Avatar."

Ready Player One

After Warner Bros. acquired the rights to Ernest Cline's sci-fi novel, Steven Spielberg took on producing and directing roles for "Ready Player One." Set in the near future, it sees humans use a new technology known as OASIS. OASIS is a virtual reality simulation that allows users to escape the horrors of the real world. When the creator of the software dies, a challenge begins to give the first person to complete three incredibly difficult tasks the chance to take control of OASIS. The protagonists battle against a corporation that wants to further commercialize the experience with invasive advertising.

Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, and Mark Rylance star in the movie, which, like "Avatar," features a similar technology to control the hybrid avatars used to interact with the Na'vi. That's not the only similarity, though, as "Ready Player One" showcases a problematic future for humanity. Of course, there are also the spectacular visuals, which are a different theme but still on a grand scale.


Another sci-fi film from director Denis Villeneuve, "Arrival" is a 2016 movie that features Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Tzi Ma as part of the main cast. Much of the film focuses on the attempts of linguist Louise Banks as she works with the United States Army to try and communicate with aliens who have arrived on Earth. With the clock ticking down to a possible confrontation between humanity and the otherworldly visitors, they must work fast to find a solution.

The premises of "Arrival" and "Avatar" resemble each other, as each sees humans attempting to communicate and negotiate with an alien species while the possibility of war breaking out looms overhead. Of course, one of the most important differences between the films is that "Arrival" is set on Earth while James Cameron's epic sci-fi film is set on the planet Pandora. However, fans of either movie will almost certainly enjoy the other.

Avengers: Endgame

"Avengers: Endgame" was the long-awaited culmination of everything that had come before it in the MCU. Directed by the Russo brothers, the film stars pretty much every major character from the Marvel movies that had been introduced throughout the previous phases. The remaining heroes who survived the apocalyptic Snap that occurred in "Avengers: Infinity War" work together to reverse Thanos' actions and bring back those who had disappeared.

Other than the fact that "Avengers: Endgame" takes place in space — at least some of the time, anyway — there might not seem to be many similarities between the two films. However, the two films share a tremendous sense of scale, depict a fight of good against evil, and feature a desperate struggle to survive against all the odds. If you loved the tense drama and excitement of "Avatar" along with the spectacular visuals, "Avengers: Endgame" will be right up your street.

The Day After Tomorrow

Roland Emmerich directed the 2004 sci-fi disaster movie "The Day After Tomorrow," which stars Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ian Holm, Emmy Rossum, and Sela Ward. Based partly on Art Bell and Whitley Strieber's book "The Coming Global Superstorm," the film shows one possible outcome of global warming and the disastrous consequences it would have for mankind. The film eventually features a new ice age event and is notable for depicting New York City covered in hundreds of feet of snow.

Although "The Day After Tomorrow" didn't win any awards for its storytelling or scientific accuracy, the film does have some redeeming qualities. Most of these are centered on the outstanding visual effects and the spectacular CGI used throughout the movie. There's a grand scale to everything in "The Day After Tomorrow," and the repercussions of climate change are as substantial as the conflict that occurs on Pandora in "Avatar."


Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt portray Aurora Lane and Jim Preston in the 2016 film "Passengers." Directed by Morten Tyldum, it is a sci-fi film mashed that incorporates elements from the romance genre. The pair are passengers on a colossal spacecraft heading for a new colony dozens of light-years away. When Jim is awakened from hibernation early, he spends a year alone before deciding to also awaken Aurora after he falls in love with her.

At its heart, "Avatar" is a love story about two people who are flung together in very unusual circumstances. That is exactly what happens in "Passengers" as well, as Jim and Aurora are the only two people awake onboard an isolated ship. The effects and set design in the movie help make the spaceship a believable space in the same way that Pandora appears to be a genuine alien planet — even if the controversial ending proved divisive.

Blade Runner

"Blade Runner" is one of the most essential science fiction films of all time. Based on the novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" by Phillip K. Dick, the film is directed by Ridley Scott and stars Harrison Ford as the protagonist Rick Deckard. The former cop was responsible for tracking down androids, referred to as replicants in the film, and "retiring" them. He is hired to hunt down four illegal replicants on Earth but falls in love with an advanced Nexus-6 replicant known as Rachael.

While "Blade Runner" takes place on Earth, it is a futuristic and dystopian version of the planet as alien as any planet from outer space. The visuals were highly regarded at the time of its release, and the movie creates a world just begging to be explored. Anyone who has seen "Avatar" will understand that feeling, as the planet of Pandora offers a similar environment that is ripe to be further examined.

The Matrix

This 1999 sci-fi movie from the Wachowskis kickstarted a franchise that has since spread out into multiple movies, an acclaimed anime collection, and even multiple video games. "The Matrix" features Neo (Keanu Reeves) along with Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) as they battle against machines who have enslaved humanity in a simulation of the world to use them as an energy source.

"The Matrix" deals with complex ideas and features an extensive exploration of individual perception of the world. The action-packed film manages to examine self-identity and question the nature of reality, all while showcasing stunning special effects such as Bullet Time. "Avatar" also looks at some of these philosophical themes, especially in terms of whether Jake is still himself while inhabiting the hybrid Na'vi body. Of course, "The Matrix" has its fair share of exciting action sequences that are just as impressive to watch as some of the standout scenes in "Avatar."

The Abyss

When searching for films similar to "Avatar," it makes sense to look at some of James Cameron's previous projects. "The Abyss" is a 1989 sci-fi film that stars Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Michael Biehn. Set during the Cold War, the film follows a team of an experimental drilling platform as they search for the wreckage of a sunken submarine in the Caribbean. When a violent storm compromises the mission, the crew soon realizes that the submarine was stricken by an alien threat that could end the world.

Cameron has always been an innovator and has developed a reputation in Hollywood for pushing technology to its limits. This was especially evident in "The Abyss," where early CGI was used to create the liquid aliens under the water. Although "The Abyss" and "Avatar" are very distinct films, Cameron's later sci-fi epic builds on technology that the director first used here.

The Revenant

"The Revenant" was the movie in which actor Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his Academy Award for best actor in his role of Hugh Glass. Directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, it tells the story of a frontiersman who is left abandoned in the wilderness after being attacked by a bear. To survive in the inhospitable land, Glass must then avoid various threats while trying to find his way back to civilization. 

Like "Avatar," "The Revenant" is a tale about surviving against all the odds. The Na'vi are forced to defend their lands and fight to stay alive on Pandora against the invading humans. Meanwhile, Hugh Glass has to do whatever it takes to prevent death from claiming him. Both movies are grand in scale and feature an expressive portrayal of the deadly worlds the characters find themselves in while documenting what those characters are willing to do to ensure their survival.

The Martian

Starring Matt Damon in the main role alongside Sebastian Stan, Donald Glover, and Jessica Chastain, "The Martian" is a 2015 sci-fi survival story directed by Ridley Scott. Damon's character, botanist Mark Watney, is trapped on Mars when the rest of his fellow astronauts are forced to evacuate because of a massive dust storm. With no help coming for a long time, Watney must find ways to survive on the planet by improvising to create food and water. The movie is based on Andy Weir's novel of the same name and was nominated for multiple awards.

There's the obvious shared element between "Avatar" and "The Martian" in that they both explore planets other than Earth. James Cameron's movie is set on the alien world of Pandora, while Ridley Scott's film takes place on the red planet Mars. However, what truly connects these two films is that they tell emotional stories of survival.

The Lord of the Rings

There have been many failed attempts to create a proper adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" series, including one by the Beatles. Thankfully, Peter Jackson finally found a convincing way to tell the epic story and released "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" in 2001, with the two sequels following closely afterward. Set in the fictional land of Middle-earth, the series sees Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) and a group of allies attempting to destroy the One Ring at Mount Doom to stop it from falling into the hands of the dark lord Sauron.

Although "The Lord of the Rings" and "Avatar" are very different stories, they share huge fictional worlds brought to life in spectacular fashion. Those watching either movie can easily feel that these are real places and actually imagine themselves living in either Middle-earth or on Pandora.