The best sci-fi movies on Amazon Prime Video right now

Science fiction is a genre that frequently defies expectations. In these worlds of dystopic fiction, the sky is truly the limit for where a story can go. With the genre picking up more and more steam over the last few decades, there’s always something to read, hear, and watch. If you’re a fan of sci-fi films, you’re especially in luck because Hollywood loves the realm of sci-fi to no end. Whether you’re looking for thought-provoking sci-fi drama or you just like watching spaceships and aliens, Amazon Prime has an awesome collection of films to stream this month. From the cream of the crop to some less-than-critically-acclaimed flicks, you’ll find all kinds of options on the streamer. To help you spend less time searching and more time watching, we’ve put together this list of the best sci-fi movies currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

We’ve also rounded up the best sci-fi movies on Netflix and the best sci-fi movies on Hulu if you’re in need of additional sci-fi recommendations.

In Time

In Time (2011)

In a world where time is literally money, 28-year-old Will (Justin Timberlake) is part of the backbreaking working class that can never earn a minute. With humanity engineered to stop aging at age 25, a countdown begins to a person’s pre-programmed death. But by buying and exchanging time in the form of capsules, one can re-up their existence. When Will rescues a time elitist named Henry (Matt Bomer), the thankful benefactor gifts Will an astronomical allotment of time. When Henry turns up dead, authorities believe Will to be the murderer, sending the factory worker on the run. Cleverly scripted and packed with plenty of sci-fi thrills, In Time may not be a top-shelf, quintessential sci-fi flick, but it’s one that certainly earns its spot on the genre shelf.

Rotten Tomatoes: 36%
Stars: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy
Director: Andrew Niccol
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 109 minutes

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Inception

Inception (2010)

In Christopher Nolan’s dream-diving epic Inception, Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Dom Cobb, a highly-skilled dream infiltrator known as an “extractor.” A man for hire, Dom and his team of extract experts are hired by clients to steal information through a shared subconscious space that they pre-engineer. When Dom is approached by Saito (Ken Watanabe), he offers Dom the gig of a lifetime: Implant an idea in someone’s mind instead. Dom accepts the offer to clear his criminal background, but as the dream-weaver begins assembling his team to begin the “inception” process, a daring foe closes in. A masterful sci-fi action epic from one of the 21st century’s most prominent filmmakers, Inception is a stirring adventure from start to finish.

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy
Director: Christopher Nolan
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 148 minutes

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Light of my Life

Light of My Life (2019)

In a post-apocalyptic landscape, a man only referred to as Dad (Casey Affleck) shepherds his pre-teen daughter named Rags (Anna Pniowsky) through a ravaged British Columbia, an unrelenting hellscape devoid of women. It turns out a plague vanquished nearly the entire world’s female population approximately 10 years before the events of the film. Disguising Rags as a boy, the two must constantly be on the move from bandits looking for female stragglers. A survivalist sci-fi thriller penned and directed by leading man Casey Affleck, Light of My Life explores familiar end-of-the-world terrain but through a matured and philosophical lens that Affleck’s layered script provides.

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Stars: Casey Affleck, Tom Bower, Elisabeth Moss
Director: Casey Affleck
Rating: R
Runtime: 119 minutes

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Back to the Future

Back to the Future (1985)

One of the most beloved and influential sci-fi films of all time, Back to the Future has become so imitated and emulated that it’s practically a trope in and of itself. You can see the groundwork for modern sci-fi in Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), a cool kid with a subtle nerdy streak that’s helped him form a friendship with local eccentric scientist Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd). But when Marty’s helping Doc out with an experiment, something goes awry, sending Marty back to the 1950s in a time-traveling DeLorean. Now, Marty’s landed right in the middle of his parents’ yet-to-occur relationship, and he’s causing problems. He’ll have to make sure they come together in the end, lest he fades from existence entirely. The best part? Amazon Prime has the entire trilogy, so you’re in for a full day of bingeing.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Stars: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Crispin Glover
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Rating: PG
Runtime: 116 minutes

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E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

From one beloved sci-fi classic to another! If Back to the Future is the most-imitated sci-fi movie, E.T. is probably the most parodied. That’s not to say it’s not a great movie, of course. Steven Spielberg’s unconventional tale about a gentle alien that becomes stranded on Earth and befriends a young boy in suburban California is legendary. The boy, Elliott (Henry Thomas), introduces E.T. to his little sister, and the children form a pact to keep E.T. a secret. But as E.T. becomes sick, the family is forced to reveal the secret, bringing in government intervention that may prove dire for both Elliott and the alien.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Stars: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Dee Wallace
Director: Steven Spielberg
Rating: PG
Runtime: 115 minutes

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Vivarium

Vivarium (2020)

One of the joys of Amazon Prime is discovering movies that may have otherwise fallen through the cracks. Case in point: Vivarium, a sci-fi/horror film that only had a limited theatrical release. Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg star as Gemma and Tom, a young couple who are looking for a new home. However, their experience quickly becomes a nightmare when they are trapped in a seemingly infinite row of identical houses. Something otherworldly is in play, and neither Tom nor Gemma will be happy to learn what they have to do in order to break free.

Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Stars: Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg
Director: Lorcan Finnegan
Rating: R
Runtime: 97 minutes

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Archive

Archive (2020)

What if you could bring back the dead without resorting to the supernatural? Archive presents a near future in which scientist George Almore (Theo James) is haunted by the loss of his wife, Jules (Stacy Martin). Fortunately, George happens to be one of the foremost experts on artificial intelligence, and he sees his research as a way to reunite with Jules by creating more human-like machines. But George’s problems begin to mount when his J2 robot senses that he is far more enamored with his upgraded J3 model, despite both robots sharing Jules’ personality traits.

Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Stars: Theo James, Stacy Martin, Rhona Mitra, Peter Ferdinando
Director: Gavin Rothery
Rating: TV-MA
Runtime: 105 minutes

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Lifeforce

Lifeforce (1985)

Two words: Space vampires. Lifeforce is a deliciously trashy mid-’80s flick that features Steve Railsback as Col. Tom Carlsen, the lone survivor of a shuttle mission to Haley’s Comet. Tom’s crew encountered the seemingly comatose body of an incredibly alluring woman (Mathilda May), and her two male companions. But when the humanoid aliens arrive on Earth, they reveal their true nature as they begin infecting the city of London at an alarming rate. Also, keep an eye out for a pre-Star Trek: The Next Generation Patrick Stewart as Doctor Armstrong, one of the female’s early victims.

Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
Stars: Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May
Director: Tobe Hooper
Rating: R
Runtime: 116 minutes

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Christopher Soren Kelly in Infinity Chamber

Infinity Chamber (2017)

Frank Lerner (Christopher Soren Kelly) wakes up in a futuristic prison cell after being arrested for unknown reasons. His only company within this sealed chamber is a ceiling-mounted A.I., which calls itself simply Howard (Jesse D. Arrow). Herein lies the entire premise of Infinity Chamber, a story about one man’s confused isolation in his attempt to escape. It saddles itself among the best sci-fi movies currently on Amazon Prime Video by not being typical, straying away from the overused science fiction premises of yesteryear with a host of twists and turns that would leave even some of the best chess players scratching their heads. From the reasons for Frank’s incarceration to how exactly he will get out, and then even into questioning the real functionality of this accompanying artificial intelligence, theories abound leaving the viewer strapped in, not unlike Frank himself.

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Stars: Cassandra Clark, Christopher Soren Kelly, Jesse D. Howard
Director: Travis Milloy
Rating: 13+
Runtime: 103 minutes

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Overlord, best sci-fi on Amazon Prime

Overlord (2018)

A little bit horror, a little bit sci-fi, a little bit historical fiction, Overlord is a non-stop, thrilling reimagining of D-Day. Ahead of the invasion, a squad of American paratroopers drops secretly behind enemy lines to break into a fortified church and destroy a radio transmitter that is crucial to Nazi communications. But as they march toward their goal, the soldiers realize there’s more going on in this little Nazi-occupied village than meets the eye. Turns out, the Nazis are experimenting on villagers, turning them into undead, ravenous supersoldiers, just waiting to unleash them on the Allied invasion force.

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Stars: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Pilou Asbæk
Director: Julius Avery
Rating: R
Runtime: 110 minutes

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Coherence on Hulu

Coherence (2014)

At first blush, Coherence seems like an ordinary bottle movie about a dinner party. But when a comet passes overhead, it inexplicably creates infinite realities, causing the characters to undergo countless, near-identical experiences over and over. As time continues, the science fiction and psychological horror accelerate as eight individuals begin to question the nature of reality and whether or not the people they’re with are who they say they are. The film is low-budget sci-fi at its best, shot almost entirely in one house, using mostly improvised dialogue and a severe external threat that you feel but never really see. If you like to sit on the edge of your seat, Coherence is for you.

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Stars: Emily Baldoni, Hugo Armstrong, Nicholas Brendon
Director: James Ward Byrkit
Rating: R
Runtime: 89 minutes

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Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is on Amazon Prime

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

There are many Star Trek movies on Amazon Prime, but this is the one even non-Trek fans should watch. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan saved the franchise. Director Nicholas Meyer infused Star Trek II with a very human drama at the heart of its sci-fi splendor. Admiral Kirk (William Shatner), Captain Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and the rest of the Enterprise crew are waylaid by the return of Khan (Ricardo Montalbán), a superhuman conqueror from the original TV series. Amazingly, Montalbán never shares the screen with Shatner or Nimoy. And yet Montalbán’s performance as Khan made him the quintessential Star Trek villain. Khan wants his pound of flesh from Kirk and the crew, and even the beloved heroes won’t make it out unscathed. It’s simply a great sci-fi film that deserves all of the praise it has earned over the decades.

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Ricardo Montalbán
Director: Nicholas Meyer
Rating: PG
Runtime: 113 minutes

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The History of Time Travel, on Amazon Prime

The History of Time Travel (2014)

Time travel movies are typically convoluted and filled with unnecessary plotlines that confuse more than they engage. Except, of course, 2014’s The History of Time Travel, which actually conveys a cohesive narrative in the form of a fictionalized documentary. It was written and directed by newcomer Richard Kennedy, who showcases the birth of the world’s first time-travel machine through various reports and experts. Of course, despite appearing like a godsend, time travel always comes with consequences, many of them now altering some of the most renowned events in human history.

Rotten Tomatoes: Not rated
Stars: Elizabeth Lestina, Daniel W. May, Krista Ales
Director: Richard Kennedy
Rating: 13+
Runtime: 71 minutes

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Fast Color on Amazon Prime

Fast Color (2018)

Superhero movies are very entertaining — there’s a reason they pull in big box office numbers — but it’s easy to think they all tackle the same subject matter over and over. Fast Color takes a very different approach to the superhero movie, following the story of Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a young woman who can unleash earthquakes when she has seizures. The homeless wanderer finds her way back to her family, where her superpowers are revealed — but not admired. Ruth needs to learn to control her abilities to protect herself and those around her, all while reckoning with issues of race and geography. Mbatha-Raw’s performance is sensational, while the film’s special effects can best be described as trippy at times, with sparks of beauty that can only be created with the rawest emotions. Amazon is set to air a TV series based on Fast Color, with Viola Davis serving as a producer.

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Stars: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lorraine Toussaint
Director: Julia Hart
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 100 minutes

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Gemini Man on Amazon Prime

Gemini Man (2019)

Don’t let that low Rotten Tomatoes critics score fool you, as Gemini Man still hits where it counts both in the form of a science fiction action flick and in the thrilling mystery of its cloning narrative. Even the Rotten Tomatoes user reviews agree, awarding it an 83% and hailing it as an under-appreciated sci-fi release. In Gemini Man, Will Smith plays the dual roles of Henry Brogan, an ex-Marine assassin working for the DIA, and Jackson Brogan, a younger cloned version of Henry who is sent out to terminate his former self. The script, written by Darren Lemke in 1997, lived in limbo for nearly two decades until finally finding a home at Skydance Media in 2016. The film expertly weaves in the necessary emotion-fueled portrayals Smith is best known for, and keeps audiences guessing up to its closing segments.

Rotten Tomatoes: 26%
Stars: Will Smith, Clive Owen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Director: Ang Lee
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 117 minutes

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The Man Who Fell to Earth On Amazon Prime

The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

The late David Bowie has always been regarded as otherworldly. Now that the Pentagon has come clean about the existence of UFOs, it shouldn’t be long before we learn the truth that Bowie was sent here from another galaxy to blow our minds. In a role tailor-made for the prolific musician and artist, Bowie (in his first feature film) stars as Thomas Newton, an alien who crashes on Earth in search of water to save his drought-stricken planet. Using his superior intellect and knowledge of advanced technology to sell (mainly, a self-developing Polaroid-like camera), Thomas builds a multimillion-dollar global corporation to raise money to construct a spaceship so he can transport water home to his family. But Thomas’ gentle and naive nature is no match for our corrupt world, and he soon finds himself distracted from his mission in a gin- and sex-filled affair with Mary-Lou (Candy Clark). Rip Torn and Buck Henry help round out the cast in this avant-garde cult classic.

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Stars: David Bowie, Rip Torn, Candy Clark
Director: Nicolas Roeg
Rating: R
Runtime: 139 minutes

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A.I. Artificial Intelligence, on Amazon Prime

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

The young Haley Joel Osment plays a robot boy in Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence, which was first developed by Stanley Kubrick and based upon Brian Aldiss’ own short story titled Supertoys Last All Summer Long. The emotional tale focuses on the automaton David, a prototype “Mecha child” who is adopted into the Swinton family when their son, Martin, is indefinitely hospitalized for a rare disease. Steering away from action-sci-fi flicks of its time, A.I. Artificial Intelligence is more so a movie about the possibilities for an inhuman entity to gain such feelings as love, loss, and sadness. It best drives home these concepts through activities with characters David meets along the way, such as his human mother, Monica Swinton (Frances O’Connor), the sexbot Gigolo Joe (Jude Law), and the Blue Fairy (voiced by Meryl Streep).

Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Stars: Jude Law, Haley Joel Osment, Frances O’Connor
Director: Steven Spielberg
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 145 minutes

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High Life on Amazon Prime

High Life (2019)

If you’re working your way down our list and enjoyed The Man Who Fell to Earth for the cryptic art-house film it is, then chances are you’ll appreciate High Life as well. Fifteen years in the making, renowned French filmmaker Claire Denis’ (Beau Travail, 35 Shots of Rum) dark and unsettling journey through deep space will mess with your head. Told largely through flashback, we first meet Monte (Robert Pattinson) on a ship floating through space, far outside our solar system, alone except for his infant daughter. We learn that Monte is an inmate aboard a kind of prison ship, on a suicide mission toward a black hole in the hopes of extracting energy from it to save humankind. We also learn that the inmates were part of a deep-space human reproduction experiment led by a slightly unhinged and sexually depraved doctor called Dibs (Juliette Binoche), who has been extracting sperm and eggs for her twisted plot. André “3000” Benjamin also stars as the greenhouse-tending Tcherny.

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Stars: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, André Benjamin
Director: Claire Denis
Rating: R
Runtime: 113 minutes

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The Vast of Night on Amazon Prime

The Vast of Night (2020)

The Vast of Night, a low-budget film self-funded by first-time director Andrew Patterson, is the best sci-fi gem you’ve never heard of. Written by newcomers James Montague and Craig W. Sanger, this old-school period piece manages to build a gripping sense of looming panic without the aid of big-budget special effects, mouth-dripping aliens, or explosions — it’s all on the characters. Cleverly framed as an episode of a Twilight Zone-style show called “Paradox Theater,” we’re transported to Roswell-era Cayuga, New Mexico, where small-town radio DJ Everett Sloan (Jake Horowitz) and town switchboard operator Fay Crocker (Sierra McCormick) try to get to the bottom of a strange audio frequency that’s interrupting calls during Fay’s nightly shift. Turns out they may be emanating from a UFO hovering over the town. The Vast of Night opened to critical praise last year at the Slamdance Film Festival and later that year was named first runner-up for the Midnight Madness People’s Choice Award at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Stars: Sierra McCormickBruce DavisJake Horowitz
Director: Andrew Patterson
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 90 minutes

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Split Second on Amazon Prime

Split Second (1992)

Blade Runner-alum Rutger Hauer returns to his roots in the 1992 horror sci-fi Split Second as a veteran detective named Harley Stone. Still suffering from the loss of his partner, Foster, coupled with the guilt of having an affair with Foster’s wife, Stone now must saddle up with junior officer psychologist Dick Durkin (Neil Duncan) on a case that could very well end his suffering. Together, Stone and Durkin must learn to come together in an investigation of mass serial killings perpetrated in the same vein as Foster’s own demise. Set in a far-future 2008 London now flooded due to extreme rainfall and global warming, made all the more downtrodden with a gruesome killer on the loose, Split Second is a sci-fi movie that takes heart in the noir mystery without being too cheesy with its horror tropes.

Rotten Tomatoes: Not rated
Stars: Rutger Hauer, Kim Catrall, Michael J. Pollard
Directors: Tony Maylam and Ian Sharp
Rating: R
Runtime: 90 minutes

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