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We all love Alien movies but have you ever wondered what the top alien movies of all time were? We’ve put together the ultimate list of alien movies and we’ve covered all the bases, from cult classics to new kids on the block. We’ve covered every science-fiction genre – from family-friendly, to sci-fi horror, to sci-fi action. Get the popcorn ready, dim the lights and get ready to binge your brains out.
A thrilling and suspenseful film starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker. The story begins when mysterious spacecraft land all over the world, and an elite team is sent to investigate. Expert linguist, Louise Banks (Amy Adams) meets with extraterrestrial visitors to establish why they’ve come. A fatal misunderstanding causes nations to sever communications causing the situation to turn hostile. Banks and her team are faced with an almost impossible task of trying to decode the alien language fast enough to share with other nations, in a bid to avoid all-out war. They’re forced into a race against time to save both the alien visitors and all humanity. ..but will they figure out the message in time? Arrival, directed by Denis Villeneuve is based on the 1998 short story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang, and although a very new addition, Arrival is instantly a classic and a must-watch.
2. Alien (1979)
Alien is a 1979 cult classic science-fiction horror film, directed by Ridley Scott. A commercial spacecraft lands on a nearby moon, having received a distress transmission from an unknown source. Their ship sustains damage from a rocky landing and while some of the crew work to repair it, others go to investigate the distress call. They find the distress call coming from a derelict alien ship but upon entering it, they lose communication with the ship. Moments too late, the remaining crew members decipher the distress call to actually be a warning call. One of the crew is attacked by a mysterious lifeform but the attack was only the beginning…
3. The Thing (1982)
A 1982 American science fiction horror classic, directed by John Carpenter. The film begins in tragedy and mystery as a Norwegian helicopter pursues a sled dog to an American research base. The American researches approach to investigate but the Norwegian helicopter accidentally blows up, killing the passenger. Amongst the charred remains, they find the remains of a malformed humanoid. They decide the adopt the sled dog but letting him join their dogs in the kennel might not have been the best idea. The Thing is a suspenseful film where you’ll quickly learn that you can’t trust anyone.
4. Aliens (1986)
The second installment in the Alien movie franchise, starring Sigourney Weaver and directed by James Cameron. For 57 years, Ellen Ripley has been in stasis in an escape shuttle, following the destruction of her ship, the Nostromo. Having escaped a lethal alien attacked, which killed the rest of her crew, she is finally rescued. Ripley agrees to return to and investigate the exomoon LV-426, on the condition that they exterminate the alien creatures. However, their expedition does not go according to plan.
5. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
No alien movie list would be complete without this Steven Spielberg classic! ET tells the heartwarming story of Elliot, a young boy who befriends an alien. A small group of alien botanists visits Earth in an expedition to gather plant samples but they leave in a hurry as government agents arrive on the scene. In their haste, a member of their team gets left behind on earth. Elliot meets the alien, dubbed ET, and gains his trust with the help of Reese’s Pieces. After introducing his new friend to his family, they become closer and closer. The story follows the best friends as they work together to get ET back home.
6. District 9 (2009)
Directed by Neill Blomkamp, this 2009 science fiction action film is inspired by the events in Cape Town’s District Six, during the apartheid era. The story follows the discovery of a group of malnourished and ill aliens on their ship, in South Africa. The South African government captures and imprisons the population in an internment camp, known as District 9. After twenty years of confinement, one of the prisoners plans an escape when they’re being relocated to another camp. It’s risky and dangerous but his son shouldn’t suffer the same fate as his father. This film will suck you in and you’ll be on the edge of you seat, anticipating the fate of the imprisoned alien race.
7. The Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Edge of Tomorrow is a nail-biting American science action film starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. The story follows a race of Aliens, known as Mimic, landing and settling in Germany. Before long the alien invaders have taken control of Europe and Cruise and Blunt’s team are tasked with eliminating the threat for they gain more ground. This action-packed, doomsday-esque film is a must-see for any sci-fi action film fan.
8. Predator (1987)
This sci-fi action horror film is a classic amongst alien movies and it goes without saying that it’s one of the top alien movies of all time. Arnold Schwarzenegger, playing the leader of an elite paramilitary rescue team, attempts a rescue mission in Central America. Schwarzenegger and his team have no idea what they’re getting themselves into as it becomes apparent that the guerrilla-held territory holds more enemies than they originally bargained for. The rescue team try to rescue the hostages held by enemy forces but instead find themselves being hunted by an alien warrior.
9. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
We’re throwing it right back with this pick, right back to 1951! The Day the Earth Stood Still is a blast from the past but a classic nonetheless. This black and white movie, directed by Robert Wise, was voted as one of America’s most heart-pounding films. The storyline follows an extraterrestrial visitor named Klaatu and his eight-foot-tall robot, Gort, arrive on Earth. Their purpose? To deliver a message that will affect the entire human race. This film is such an iconic film it has selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry due to its ‘cultural, historical, or aesthetic significance’. It’s that’s not reason enough to watch it, I’m not sure what is.
10. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956/1978)
We’re going to continue with another golden oldie of alien movies to finish off our round-up because you cannot beat a classic. Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a 1956 American sci-fi horror film, directed by Don Siegel. This film not only has a brilliant storyline, it’s filmed in a really interesting way – it’s shot in Superscope and partially un film noir style. The storyline follows an alien invasion in a fictional Californian town, Santa Mira. Alien plant spores land on earth and grow into large seed pods, but they’re not just in invasive species. The seed pods are capable of reproducing replicas of each human on earth including memories and personalities. In this extreme case of identify fraud, you won’t know who to trust. This story of “quite” invasion is possibly the creepiest because it’s more realistic!
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