10 Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 21st Century

Updated June 8, 2018
5 min read

Science fiction movies always bring out the nerd in you. Personally speaking, it is my favorite genre. There have been several great sci-fi filmmakers like Christopher Nolan and Ridley Scott who are still actively making movies. Having said that, it is not easy to make a good science fiction film; that’s why there are only a few of them that released this century can be classified as really great. Here is the list of top Hollywood science fiction films of the 21st century. Which is your favorite?


10. District 9 (2009)

District 9 Top 10 Sci-Fi

Call it an adventure movie, a science-fiction, or whatever you will, Neill Blomkamp’s debut film is an audaciously interesting — and entertaining — venture where he turns the concept of aliens based movies upside down. Truly original and technically brilliant, ‘District 9’ is also surprisingly touching. And that’s why it unexpectedly cracked into the Best Picture Oscar nomination list for 2009.


9. Moon (2009)

Moon Top 10 Sci-Fi

Moon is a story of an astronaut spending his last few days on moon — before returning to earth — when something goes awry. It is a movie that slowly and mysteriously builds to a great climax leaving you plenty to ponder upon. As fascinating as science fiction can get.


8. Arrival (2016)

‘Arrival’ astounds you with its concept. A concept that surprisingly no writer/filmmaker ever thought of. If ever Aliens arrive to earth, chances of them engaging in a Spielbergian warfare are less. At least not before they try to communicate with us first. What’s also beautiful about ‘Arrival’ is that at its heart, it is a story of mother and the difficult choices she has to make


7. Children of Men (2006)


Set in dystopian future when women can no longer conceive, ‘Children of Men’ uses a science-fiction premise to deliver a taut, riveting, chase-thriller that will keep you  glued to your seats from start-to-finish. Not to mention its exceptional cinematography, and Alfonso Cuaron’s — who will  feature again in the list with ‘Gravity’ — assured direction.


6. Primer (2004)


You thought ‘Inception’ and ‘Interstellar’ were challenging to understand ? Well, how about this challenge of a movie. Shane Carruth’s (who will also figure again in the list at No.1) ‘Primer’, made at a budget of mere $7000, is easily one of the most dense and difficult-to-comprehend movie ever made. Not only that. It’s also the best (Read: most practical) time-travel movie ever made. Period.

Read More: Movies Like Inception

5. Interstellar (2014)


Replete with some of the best images you would have ever seen on-screen, ‘Interstellar’ is visually breathtaking and technologically awe-inspiring. It’s flawed; but it’s beautiful. And it is also what Nolan ultimately wants it to be : A token of love from a father to his daughter. (Read full review here)


4. Gravity (2013)


You don’t watch Gravity, you experience it. In one shattering calamity after the other, film rarely gives you space and time to breathe a sigh of relief, and even if does, you are grabbed by another even more precariously poised situation the next moment. It’s tense and it’s relentless, but even within all the chaos, the visuals and the images would never fail to induce gasps and a sense of wonderment. Alfonso Cuaron, with ‘Gravity’ changed the way we will look at space based films. Forever. (Read full review here)


3. Her (2013)

Easily, one of the most imaginative movies ever made, ‘Her’ has been so masterfully crafted that it deserves to be seen for Spike Jonze’s astounding futuristic vision alone. The true worth of ‘Her’ will be realized when the idea (falling in love with an Artificial Intelligence) that it is based upon gets ultimately realized, and whenever that happens in future, I am sure people are going to look back at Her and at Spike Jonze in disbelieved awe on foreseeing the future with such disarming precision. (Read full review here)


2. Inception (2010)


Christopher Nolan’s exquisitely made mind-bender is a movie that will be brought to discussion over dinner tables for years, possibly decades to come. Accompanied by beautiful visuals, incredible score, and a highly original idea, ‘Inception’ is as innovative and cerebral movie-making can get. And that famous climax still has many heads spinning.


1. Upstream Color (2013)


Words like multi-talented and adroit seem insignificantly tiny in front of him. How do you describe Shane Carruth ? May be super-human. A one-time software engineer, he served as director, writer, producer, cinematographer, editor, music composer, casting director, production designer and sound designer on the film. And did I say he also plays the male lead in the film ? With Upstream Color, Shane Carruth has made a film so surreally complex, both narratively and thematically, that Christopher Nolan’s movies will seem fairly straightforward in contrast. Lyrical, mystifying and at the same time deeply philosophical, Upstream Color is as much a technical wizardry as it is a meditative and contemplative piece of art. (Read full review here)

Read More: Movies Like Primer


  • Hav u even heard of a gentleman by da name stanley kubrick ??? hav u heard of a movie cald “2001:a space odyssey” ??? Nd wer is alien,12 monkeys,donnie darko,back to the future? Dis is a list by an amateur who has no idea abt da classics in dis genre

  • Well i think Moon and District 9 are a lot better than Her and Gravity (i like both, especially Gravity but not in my top 10). I also enjoyed Interstellar better than Gravity.

    Her was like an episode of Black Mirror, and Black Mirror has two masterpieces that are better: “Be Right Back” (it’s similar, from 2013 and i think it came first) and “The Entire History of You”.
    And i don’t know what you thought about The Martian but for some reason i didn’t really enjoyed it, many people think it’s better than Interstellar.

  • Seriously?! Primer?! Its the most boring and shitty movie I’ve seen. There is nothing to understand because all they talk is wrong science.
    Source Code? Ever heard of that? Its better than most of these shitty movies in this list!