Top 15 best alien movies ever that you absolutely have to see

Top 15 best alien movies ever that you absolutely have to see

For fans of action, thriller, and horror, alien movies provide these three factors in great heaps. The best alien movies today are filled with these three factors and are fantastic for anyone in the mood for an adrenaline rush.

best alien movies
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The question as to whether aliens and other life forms exist in the universe have plagued humans for many years. Through the years, many people have claimed to have seen UFOs, and more and more people are convinced that they exist.

While some are convinced that they exist, others such as Edward Snowden claim that extraterrestrials are not real or, rather, if they exist, they have not yet made contact with humans.

Best alien movies today

Human fascination with space and extraterrestrial beings has brought about some of the best alien movies from the creative minds in Hollywood.

They explore different factors: if aliens are friendly beings, if they can control minds. They delve even further into creepy subjects such as body snatching and using people as food.

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Our list of best alien movies includes some of the highest-rated films that explore the 'what ifs' of human-alien interactions.

15. Under the Skin

IMDb score - 6.3/10

  • Release date: 14th March 2014 (UK)
  • Director: Jonathan Glazer
  • Studio: A24
  • Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay

In this alien invasion movie, Scarlett Johansson plays the part of a beautiful woman who has been taken over by an alien. The nameless creature is on a mission to earth to lure and kidnap men so that they may be used as food in another dimension.

In the course of the film, the creature inside Scarlett's body learns more about humans and humanity and eventually starts rejecting its mission. It should be noted that the movie does not have a lot of dialogue in it.

Despite this, it has a very chilling and eerie feel and look that gets under the viewer's skin. This gives it a spot on our best alien movies list.

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14. Dark Skies

IMDb score - 6.3/10

  • Release date: 22nd February 2013
  • Director: Scott Stewart
  • Studio: The Weinstein Company
  • Starring: Keri Russell, Jake Brennan, Josh Hamilton

Dark Skies is the definition of what alien horror movies are. The film follows the Barrett family, who have fallen on hard times after the husband and father, Daniel, loses his job.

His wife, Lacy, now has to provide for the family as Daniel stays at home with their two young sons. In the midst of all this, things start going wrong when the family realizes that someone or something is breaking into their home, rearranging their kitchen, and standing over them as they sleep.

Daniel and Lacy now have the daunting task of protecting their children, who they now believe the unknown beings are after. The psychological horror aspect of the movie makes Dark Skies one of the best alien movies today.

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13. Venom

IMDb score - 6.7/10

  • Release date: 5th October 2018
  • Director: Ruben Fleischer
  • Studio: Columbia Pictures
  • Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed

The movie follows journalist Eddie Brock who, after hearing rumours of human experiments at The Life Foundation, goes on a mission to expose the company and its CEO, Carlton Drake.

During his investigation, he ends up possessed by one of the alien life forms, a symbiote that Carlton's company has been using on human test subjects.

From here on, Eddie and the symbiote have to learn how to co-exist in the same body as they fight to protect themselves from Carlton Drake and the earth from an oncoming symbiote army.

12. Annihilation

IMDb score - 6.9/10

  • Release date: 23rd February 2018
  • Director: Alex Garland
  • Studio: Paramount Pictures
  • Starring: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson

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Annihilation was one of the best extraterrestrial movies of 2018. The film follows five female scientists, who, mostly out of curiosity, enter The Shimmer to try and find out what goes on inside it and why none of those who go inside it ever come back out.

Beneath the creepy and beautiful imagery of the film, the psychological horror movie explores themes of the human need to self-destruct and environmental pollution.

Annihilation was rated as one of the best horror movies of 2018.

11. Cloverfield

IMDb score - 7.0/10

  • Release date: 18th January 2008
  • Director: Matt Reeves
  • Studio: Mike Vogel, Jessica Lucas, Lizzy Caplan
  • Starring: Paramount Pictures

Some of the best alien movies are those that show the viewer the creature that the characters have to fight against for their survival.

Set in New York in 2008, the film follows Rob, Beth, and their friends as they try and navigate their lives after their city has been invaded by an alien monster that seems hellbent on destroying New York.

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What starts as a romantic film about two people who are trying to find their way after a break up quickly turns into a fight to stay alive as the world crumbles under monsters and parasitic creatures.

Since 2008, two more movies about aliens by the same name have been released. They are The Cloverfield Paradox and 10 Cloverfield Lane

10. Independence Day

IMDb score - 7.0/10

  • Release date: 3rd July 1996
  • Director: Roland Emmerich
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Starring: Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell

There is no list of best alien invasion movies that does not have this film on it. Independence Day is among one of the best alien movies of all time.

The movie opens just as the earth is being invaded by an enormous UFO mothership. The ship goes on to deploy assault fortress saucers that take over 36 major cities on earth.

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The film follows Capt. Steven Hiller, President Thomas J. Whitmore, and David Levinson as they struggle against the clock to try and save the world from an invasive species that seeks to destroy humanity while simultaneously seizing the earth's natural resources to further their civilization.

Countries all over the world have to come together and work as one to find out a way to disable the more technologically superior alien forces in order to save the earth. The film's sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence, was released in 2016.

While this second installment does not make the cut for best alien movies, it is still quite good, especially for action fans.

9. They Live

IMDb score - 7.3/10

  • Release date: 4th November 1988
  • Director: John Carpenter
  • Studio: MCA/Universal Pictures
  • Starring: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster

Not all alien invasion movies involve extraterrestrial beings appearing as monsters and in giant spaceships. Sometimes, these aliens infiltrate the world slowly and live quietly among us.

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In They Live, drifter and construction worker, John Nada, finds a pair of glasses that help him realize that these beings have been living among us disguised as humans.

The invaders, with the help of the rich and powerful, have been controlling humans while taking measures to turn the earth into a world like their own. He uses these glasses to fight back and convince more people about the danger around them.

8. Invasion of the Body Snatchers

IMDb score - 7.4/10

  • Release date: 22nd December 1978
  • Director: Philip Kaufman
  • Studio: MGM Home Entertainment
  • Starring: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum

Like Independence Day, this film is considered top among the best alien movies ever made. Imagine waking up one day to find out that your family and friends had been replaced by exact duplicates of themselves, what would you do?

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This is the storyline that is explored in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. A seemingly delusional man gives his story to Dr. Hill, a psychiatrist in a California hospital.

He recounts the story about how people in his town have been body-snatched in their sleep and are quickly being replaced by extraterrestrial life forms called pod people. These pod people seek to take away humanity and individuality in search of a simplistic, stressless world.

7. A Quiet Place

IMDb score - 7.5/10

  • Release date: 6th April 2018
  • Director: John Krasinski
  • Studio: Paramount Pictures
  • Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds

A Quiet Place needs no introductions. It is one of the most celebrated horror films of all time and it was included in many lists of best alien movies 2018. It has won numerous awards and even received Golden Globes and Emmy Academy award nominations.

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While this film does not necessarily make you think about aliens outright, it makes it on our list of alien movies because of the monsters featured in it. Done almost in silence due to the monster's exceptional hearing, it showcases the actor and director's talent to the max.

A Quiet Place, Annihilation, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers can be found among some of the best alien movies on Amazon Prime

6. Close Encounters of the Third Kind

IMDb score - 7.6/10

  • Release date: 14th December 1977
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Releasing
  • Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr

Despite being released over four decades ago, Close Encounters of the Third Kind still tops many lists of alien abduction movies. It is often rated as one of the best alien movies to date.

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The movie begins with a group of government scientists who discover an old plane that disappeared almost 30 years ago.

While the plane seems fine, none of the pilots or their bodies can be found. Elsewhere all over the world, people are coming across multiple UFOs along the road or in their backyards.

Soon after, these people's way of life deteriorates as they are haunted by unexplained visions of people and an unidentified mountain.

This thriller keeps the viewer on the edge of his/her seat as they try and figure out what the aliens want, where the abducted persons are, and what might have happened to them.

5. Predator

IMDb score - 7.8/10

  • Release date: 12th June 1987
  • Director: John McTiernan
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Kevin Peter Hall, Elpidia Carrillo

A UFO flies near the earth and drops an unidentified object. Soon thereafter, an army war veteran, five of his soldiers, and a CIA commando officer are sent in to retrieve a high ranking government official from hostile insurgents in the area.

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Upon arrival, they find three skinned human corpses on the crash site. At first, the soldiers believe that hostile insurgents killed and skinned these people, but they quickly realize that there is something more sinister that is stalking, hunting, and killing them off one by one.

4. District 9

IMDb score - 7.9/10

  • Release date: 14th August 2009
  • Director: Neill Blomkamp
  • Studio: Sony Pictures/Screen Gems
  • Starring: Sharlto Copley, David James, Jason Cope

In a world where aliens and humans live side by side, the extraterrestrials are mistreated and kept in a camp that has since morphed into a slum.

In a bid to relocate the aliens further from humans to prevent more unrest and fighting, the government brings in officials to help with the relocation. Things, however, do not go according to plan when one of the officers takes pity on the aliens and tries to help.

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3. Arrival

IMDb score - 7.9/10

  • Release date: 11th November 2016 (USA)
  • Director: Denis Villeneuve
  • Studio: 21 Laps Entertainment
  • Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

The film follows Amy Adams, who plays Linguist Louise Banks, who is called to help interpret a complex alien language.

With 12 extraterrestrial spaceships hovering over different countries in the world, she has to do her best and decipher the alien language before the whole world dissolves into a war as humans panic because of the alien's presence.

This film explores the human fight or flight instinct as well as tries to answer the question as to what we would do if we knew what our future holds.

2. The Thing

IMDb score - 8.1/10

  • Release date: 4th November 1988 (USA)
  • Director: John Carpenter
  • Studio: MCA/Universal Pictures
  • Starring: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster

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With scary alien movies such as Altered, Extraterrestrial, The Village Of The Damned, The Fourth Kind, and other alien horror movies on this list, it can be hard to answer, 'Which is the scariest alien movie?'.

Despite great contenders for this position, The Thing takes the cake on being the scariest one as well as being among the top best alien movies of them all. The film is based on the 1938 John W. Campbell Jr. novella Who Goes There?

This film has been ranked multiple times as one of the best alien movies because of the creepy and quite disgusting alien form that terrorizes researchers in a station in Antarctica. The alien life form on this film can morph into several beings, including dogs and human beings alike.

It uses this ability to cause suspicion among the researchers in the base as well as to kill and consume them. The Thing is available on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Which is the best alien movie?

In most best alien movies list, The Thing will often take the number one spot as the best alien movie ever. However, in our case, we believe that Alien is the best alien movie ever made.

1. Alien

IMDb score - 8.4/10

  • Release date: 22nd June 1979 (USA)
  • Director: Ridley Scott
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt

Alien celebrated it's 40th anniversary just last year (2019). Despite being released almost 41 years ago, it beats all others as number one in the best alien movies list.

Not only is it downright scary but the hopelessness experienced by the characters as they fight for their lives is exactly what horror movies should strive for

Alien follows a seven-member crew in a commercial space tug called Nostromo. During their trip back home, they are woken up by a distress signal from a nearby ship. The team follows protocol and decides to investigate.

They all land on the moon to discover too late that it was not a ship in distress but an alien ship emitting a warning signal to all those around. The astronauts must now fight for their lives and their chance to make it back home safely.

Best alien movies on Netflix

If you have watched all of the above films, or would like to find more alien movies like these, here are some that are readily available on Netflix:

  • Extinction
  • Rim of the World
  • Spectral
  • The Host
  • Paul
  • All Men in Black movies

Some other great films that did not make it on to our top 15 best alien movies list but are still worth your time include The Day the Earth Stood Still, War of the Worlds, Extraterrestrial, and Beyond the Sky.

If you love extraterrestrial movies, then these best alien movies options should be on your list of films to watch. They are guaranteed to keep you glued to your screen.


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Clare Kamau (SEO writer) Clare Kamau is a journalist and writer with over two years of experience in the media industry and editing. She graduated from Mount Kenya University with a Bachelor's in Law.