August 3, 2021

The best alien movies of all time

We are not alone in the universe … let’s hope so. Otherwise, the space would be immense and lonely. The idea of ​​life on other worlds has been essential in science fiction for a long time; As saviors, invaders, companions, friends, or even lovers, aliens have captured the collective imagination. More importantly, the stories they appear in often have something to say about us and the world we inhabit. Although we may never know if aliens are real, the stories they have inspired in the movies have left an indelible impact on our popular culture, which is why we present to you the best alien movies of all time.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke’s masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey, it largely keeps his aliens off screen. However, their influence is felt throughout the film, as the alien monoliths chart the path of human evolution in the past and present. Only one astronaut makes it to Jupiter. His mind-blowing experience there and the deliberately ambiguous ending to the plot still have fans sharing theories decades after the film’s release.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Distribution: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Rating:
G
Duration:
142 minutes

Alien (1979)

“In space no one can hear your cry.” And this list wouldn’t be complete without the original movie. Alien. This was the film that started the franchise, and xenomorphs have never been more terrifying than in that first appearance. The crew of the Nostromo ship, doomed to fail, find an alien ship and unconsciously return with an alien life form. Only Ellen Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, survived the massacre and became a cinematic icon in her own right.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Distribution: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright
Director: Ridley Scott
Rating:
PG-13
Duration:
117 minutes

Alien Nation (1988)

Alien Nation offers a bold perspective on visitors from other worlds by including them in the film as immigrant refugees rather than invaders. A total of 300,000 extraterrestrial Newcomers (newcomers) receive asylum on Earth and are integrated into human society. In the film, James Caan plays a human cop named Matthew Sykes, while Mandy Patinkin is Sykes’ Newcomer partner, Sam Francisco. Together, they reveal the mystery surrounding alien mobster William Harcourt (Terence Stamp) and also look for a way to overcome their differences.

Rotten Tomatoes: 53%
Distribution: James Caan, Mandy Patinkin, Terence Stamp
Director: Graham Baker
Rating:
R
Duration:
91 minutes

Aliens (1986)

Even if Alien was a prerequisite for this list, there is simply no excuse to exclude Aliens, the excellent sequel to James Cameron. This film amplified the action of the original film by featuring numerous xenomorphs, including the very intimidating xenomorphic queen. Decades after the original film, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is awakened from stasis and recruited for a new mission in space. In the LV-426 colony, Ripley and her new team find only one surviving human: a young woman named Newt (Carrie Henn). Ripley’s desire for revenge and to save Newt made Weaver an action movie icon.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen
Director: James Cameron
Rating:
R
Duration:
137 minutes

Arrival (2016)

Few movies describe interplanetary visitors as truly alien. Arrival He accomplishes this with creatures whose language is so complex that linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and physicist Ian Donelly (Jeremy Renner) are called in to help translate the message. The presence of the aliens triggers a world emergency, when other countries do not accept their stated intentions to help humanity. However, Banks is the first to realize that the language of aliens is both a curse and a blessing, as well as the key to their shared future.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Distribution: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Rating:
PG-13
Duration:
116 minutes

Avatar (2010)

Avatar James Cameron’s spin on alien movies by turning humans into invaders from a world not their own. Sam Worthington plays Jake Sully, a former Marine recruited to pilot an artificial body (or avatar) to better interact with the Na’vi, the natives of the planet Pandora, in order to gain their trust. But after Jake falls in love with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and comes to appreciate her people and her world, he finally turns his back on his commander, Colonel Miles Quaritech (Stephen Lang) and fights alongside his new tribe.

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Distribution: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang
Director: James Cameron
Rating:
PG-13
Duration:
162 minutes

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

For its time, Close Encounters of the Third Kind had an innovative vision towards aliens. Steven Spielberg gave the story a realistic twist, while maintaining the mystical aspects of visitors from another world. Richard Dreyfuss plays Roy Neary, a man whose life was profoundly changed when he witnessed a UFO in the sky. Roy becomes so obsessed with learning more about them that he drives home with his family. However, Roy and others like him come together to meet the aliens for the chance of the experience of a lifetime.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Distribution: Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon
Director: Steven Spielberg
Rating:
PG
Duration:
135 minutes

Contact (1997)

Contact, Carl Sagan’s classic science fiction novel, was adapted for the big screen by director Robert Zemeckis. In the film, Jodie Foster plays Dr. Eleanor “Ellie” Ann Arroway, whose quest to discover extraterrestrial life apparently pays off when she detects a signal from outer space. After decoding complex instructions to build a personal transport to create a first contact experience, Ellie’s hopes are dashed by despicable feelings and bigotry. Fortunately, Ellie gets one last chance to make her dream come true, but not in the way she hopes.

Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Distribution: Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, James Woods
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Rating:
PG
Duration:
150 minutes

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

The alien movies of the 1950s tended to be tacky and repetitive invasion stories. However, The Day the Earth Stood Still offered a different approach to the genre. The arrival of an alien, Klaatu (Michael Rennie) and his robot, Gort (Lock Martin) puts the world in a panic. So much so that no one seems to be willing to listen to this being’s message of peace. While avoiding the authorities, the alien befriends a widow named Helen Benson (Patricia Neal) and her son (Billy Gray). With Helen’s help, Klaatu finally shares his warning and greetings to humanity.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Distribution: Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe
Director: Robert Wise
Rating:
G
Duration:
92 minutes

Enemy Mine (1985)

During an interstellar war between humanity and the alien Dracs, two pilots from each side unite in Enemy Mine. Willis E. Davidge (Dennis Quaid) and his Drac counterpart, Jeriba Shigan (Louis Gossett Jr.) are initially rivals to the death while stranded on a desolate planet. But over time, a true bond of friendship forms between them. So much so that Willis takes it upon himself to educate Jeriba’s son, Zammis (Bumper Robinson), even in the face of overwhelming adversity.

Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Distribution: Dennis Quaid, Louis Gossett, Jr., Brion James
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Rating:
PG-13
Duration:
108 minutes

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial It is one of the most beloved films of all time and another winner from director Steven Spielberg. When an alien is accidentally forgotten on Earth by his own people, he befriends a boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas) and his sister, Gertie (Drew Barrymore). The children teach the alien enough about the language that he calls himself ET and asks for help to be able to return home. However, ET’s bond with Elliott complicates matters when his body begins to fail and leaves the children and the alien on the brink of death when government agents are on the prowl.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Distribution: Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Henry Thomas
Director: Steven Spielberg
Rating:
PG
Duration:
111 minutes

Independence Day (1996)

Alien invasion movies are very common, but few are as exciting as Independence Day. It’s both a disaster movie and a sci-fi movie, as a wave of ruthless alien ships decimates the planet on July 3. But on July 4, the surviving humans carry out a desperate attack to take back their world and break free from the invaders. The speech given before the final battle by President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman) still gives us chills. This was also the film that helped Will Smith become a movie star.

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Distribution: Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum
Director: Roland Emmerich
Rating:
PG-13
Duration:
146 minutes

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

The 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is one of the most disturbing alien invasion movies ever told. Instead of taking humanity by force, the aliens attack while people are asleep and replace them with seemingly perfect duplicates whose only flaw is that they cannot mimic human emotions. Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) is one of the few who discover the truth, although he does so too late to stop the aliens. However, Matthew and his friends do their best to survive. The ending of the film is legendary for its unexpected and terrifying twist.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Distribution: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, Jeff Goldblum
Director: Philip Kaufman
Rating:
PG
Duration:
115 minutes

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