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The best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now (May 2022)

As the sci-fi genre has gotten more mainstream over the past few decades, studies have pumped more money into these films, making the genre more intoxicating and mind-blowing than ever. It’s also pretty neat that our real world feels like a sci-fi dystopia sometimes, feeding all kinds of provocative storytelling into sci-fi film. Whether you’re looking for something more out of this world or down-to-earth sci-fi, Netflix has something for you. To help you find a sci-fi movie worth your time, we’ve scoured the library for the best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now.

In need of a few more suggestions? We’ve curated a guide to the best sci-fi movies on Amazon Prime Video and the best sci-fi movies on Hulu, too.

Recently added to Netflix

Gattaca (1997) new

64 %
pg-13 106m
Genre Thriller, Science Fiction, Mystery, Romance
Stars Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law
Directed by Andrew Niccol
Long in the future, humans have adopted eugenics as a prevailing science, setting individuals on a life course depending on their DNA. Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) is born with a condition that prevents him from space travel but, nonetheless, he’s impossibly determined to make his way into the prestigious GATTACA space program.

War of the Worlds (2005) new

War of the Worlds
73 %
pg-13 117m
Genre Adventure, Thriller, Science Fiction
Stars Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Miranda Otto
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning star in Steven Spielberg’s contemporary adaptation of H.G. Wells’s seminal classic alien invasion tale. Cruise plays Ray Ferrier, a divorced dockworker and somewhat estranged father who is pushed into overdrive when a strange, powerful lightning storm touches down shortly after his ex-wife drops off his teenage son and young daughter for a rare weekend visit. The storm signals an invasion that will determine the future of humankind.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Blade Runner 2049
81 %
r 164m
Genre Science Fiction, Drama
Stars Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
A worthy sequel to Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic, Blade Runner 2049 picks up 30 years after the events of the first film. Now, a new LAPD blade runner (Ryan Gosling) discovers a long-buried secret that could plunge the remaining vestiges of society into chaos. To discover the truth, the blade runner seeks out missing former blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) for answers.

Her (2013)

91 %
r 126m
Genre Romance, Science Fiction, Drama
Stars Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams
Directed by Spike Jonze
An eerie film that examines the logical extent of “falling in love with your phone,” Her is a masterclass in sci-fi drama. In a near-future Los Angeles, Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) works in a special business that writes touching, personal letters for other people. Theodore is exceptional at it yet struggles to offer the same emotional grace to himself while enduring the heartbreak when his long-time girlfriend ends things. Instead, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system that promises to become an intuitive entity in its own right based on the user’s interactions with it. Soon, he strikes up a real friendship with “Samantha,” the bright, insightful operating system that’s completely unique to him. But as their mutual friendship evolves into mutual love, things become complicated.

Spawn (1997)

34 %
pg-13 96m
Genre Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller
Stars Michael Jai White, Martin Sheen, John Leguizamo
Directed by Mark A.Z. Dippé
If Spawn had come around about a decade later, amidst the superhero frenzy and after Marvel cracked the formula, it would probably be a better movie. As such, it stands as a delightfully violent, noirish B-movie. After being double-crossed by his boss, Jason Wynn (Martin Sheen), government assassin Al Simmons (Michael Jai White) is offered the opportunity to return to Earth if he’s willing to lead Hell’s army. Reincarnated as a demonic Hellspawn, Simmons returns to Earth but refuses to do the bidding of the Devil’s henchman, instead using his new powers as a force of good.

Looper (2012)

84 %
r 118m
Genre Action, Thriller, Science Fiction
Stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt
Directed by Rian Johnson
Time travel exists in the future, but only to those who can pay for it. And usually, that means the mob uses it to send targets to the past where a hitman called a looper awaits. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is one of the best loopers around. But when his bosses send his future self (Bruce Willis) to “close the loop” on him, he needs his special skills for self-preservation and vengeance.

Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner
84 %
r 117m
Genre Science Fiction, Drama, Thriller
Stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young
Directed by Ridley Scott
Netflix may not have the best collection of sci-fi movies but they do have one of the greatest ever made. Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is the inspiration for many sci-fi films after it and helped prove that sci-fi could be mainstream. Harrison Ford plays Deckard, a retired Replicant Hunter forced back into his old job to kill four escaped Replicants from the colonies who have returned to Earth. Replicants — robots with near-perfect humanity — are outlawed on Earth. Before starting the job, Deckard goes to the Tyrell Corporation to investigate the background of the Replicants, where he meets Rachel (Sean Young), a beautiful Replicant who captures Deckard’s heart and forces him to reevaluate his job.

Snakes on a Plane (2006)

Snakes on a Plane
58 %
r 105m
Genre Action, Crime, Thriller, Horror
Stars Samuel L. Jackson, Julianna Margulies, Nathan Phillips
Directed by David R. Ellis
Okay, so it’s not really a sci-fi movie but there’s something biologically terrifying about Samuel L. Jackson fighting a bunch of snakes onboard a flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles. That counts, right? Jackson plays FBI agent Nelville Flynn, assigned to escort a key witness to a trial and ensure that no assassins can eliminate the witness. But he didn’t count on the assassins being snakes! This movie is absolutely ridiculous but a ton of fun.

The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)

The Mitchells vs. the Machines
80 %
pg 114m
Genre Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Science Fiction, Action
Stars Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph
Directed by Michael Rianda
Want to get the kids into sci-fi? This techpocalyptic animated thrill ride from Lord/Miller (The Lego MovieSolo: A Star Wars Story) ought to do the trick. Teenager Katie Mitchell has trouble connecting with her oddball family, especially when it comes to her father, who just could not be more different than Katie. But when he fears he might lose her forever when she leaves for film school, Katie’s father cancels her plane ticket to LA and takes the family on a road trip instead. Unfortunately, mid-trip, a scorned artificial intelligence (A.I.) called Pal incites a robotic rebellion, rounding up all the people of the Earth to send them out to space. Narrowly escaping capture, the Mitchells are now the last free humans on Earth, and with the help of a couple of damaged robots, they must find a way to save humanity — and their family.

Blood Red Sky (2021)

Blood Red Sky
43 %
Genre Horror, Thriller, Action
Stars Peri Baumeister, Carl Anton Koch, Kais Setti
Directed by Peter Thorwarth
What’s the last kind of plane you want to hijack? Well, relatively high on the list is a plane on which a vampire is a passenger. Yet that’s exactly what happens in Blood Red Sky, which Deadline reports is on track to becoming the most successful German-made Netflix film ever, with over 50 million views globally. In this fast-paced fusion of horror, sci-fi, and action, Peri Baumeister plays Nadja, a newly transformed vampire traveling incognito. Once the hijackers shoot her and leave her for dead, we learn exactly what she is, and soon, the villains wish they hijacked a plane with Wesley Snipes as a passenger instead.

The Swarm (2020)

The Swarm
pg-13 101m
Genre Horror, Drama, Fantasy
Stars Suliane Brahim, Sofian Khammes, Marie Narbonne
Directed by Just Philippot
Bugs. They’re smaller than us, but few things freak us out more. Director Just Philippot capitalizes on our innate fear of things that crawl and hop in his 2020 horror film The Swarm. Suliane Brahim stars as the widow Virginie, who’s trying and failing to keep her family afloat by raising locusts. When she learns the insects have developed a taste for human blood, it opens the door for her to finally make money off the things while at the same time making them more dangerous. When the inevitable comes, as Richard Brody writes for The New Yorker, the film does for grasshoppers “what Alfred Hitchcock did for birds.”

Army of the Dead (2021)

Army of the Dead
57 %
r 148m
Genre Action, Adventure, Horror, Crime
Stars Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick
Directed by Zack Snyder
What do you do when there’s a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas? Well, obviously, you take advantage of the situation and rob one of the city’s most successful casinos. At least that’s what Dave Bautista’s Scott Ward and his squad of mercenaries do in the zombie heist flick Army of the Dead. Judging by the previews for the film, Ward and his squad of mercs will need all the firepower they have and more. Unlike the shambling horrors populating your average zombie story, the undead of Vegas (sounds like a band name) not only count Elvis Presley impersonators, Vegas showgirls, and Bengal tigers among their ranks, but they’re fast, smart, and a lot more organized.

Oxygen (2021)

67 %
r 100m
Genre Science Fiction, Thriller, Drama
Stars Mélanie Laurent, Mathieu Amalric, Malik Zidi
Directed by Alexandre Aja
Waking up with no memory of your identity would be pretty bad, right? Imagine that, on top of amnesia, you’re also inexplicably trapped in a cryogenic pod that’s slowly running out of air. That’s the premise for the French language sci-fi drama Oxygen. Mélanie Laurent plays the imprisoned protagonist who has nothing but her buried memories and the pod’s uncooperative computers to piece together who she is and how to survive. Oxygen looks to be a claustrophobic and gripping thriller, and it will be available for streaming beginning Wednesday, May 12.

Spectral (2016)

pg-13 109m
Genre Science Fiction, Thriller, Action
Stars James Badge Dale, Emily Mortimer, Gonzalo Menendez
Directed by Nic Mathieu
If you’re in the mood for good ol’ fashioned alien warfare, you’ll love Spectral. This early Netflix original shows just how creative the studio could get with a slim budget despite significant action demands. An extraterrestrial force begins to wreak havoc on a war-torn European city, forcing local engineers to team up with American Special Ops to stop the invasion.

Stardust (2007)

66 %
pg-13 127m
Genre Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Family
Stars Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
A little more fantasy than sci-fi if we’re being nitpicky, Stardust nonetheless should be right up most sci-fi fans’ alleys. Based on the Neil Gaiman epic, this genre-blending epic stars Charlie Cox as a young man named Tristan, forced to venture into the realm of fairies to retrieve a fallen star and win the heart of Victoria (Sienna Miller). Instead, Tristan finds Yvaine (Claire Danes), a woman with great power who is hunted by both the king’s sons and an evil witch.

The Midnight Sky (2020)

The Midnight Sky
58 %
pg-13 118m
Genre Science Fiction, Drama
Stars George Clooney, Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo
Directed by George Clooney
George Clooney directs and stars in The Midnight Sky. With humanity on the brink of extinction, scientist Augustine Lofthouse (George Clooney) refuses to vacate his Arctic laboratory when radiation levels on Earth grow to dangerous levels. Instead, he chooses to use his lab’s computer system to search for orbiting ships deployed on missions. Intending to warn the distant crew of Aether of Earth’s impending doom, Lofthouse discovers a young girl in the lab. The two band together to brave the Arctic elements on a journey to a north-bound radio tower that will be powerful enough to send a warning signal to Aether. An effects-laced sci-fi thriller, The Midnight Sky looks and feels like similar brink-of-the-apocalypse films but with extra weight placed on the performances — notably, Clooney. It’s not a perfect film, but it more than does its job.

Outside the Wire (2021)

Outside the Wire
45 %
r 116m
Genre Thriller, Action, Science Fiction
Stars Anthony Mackie, Damson Idris, Enzo Cilenti
Directed by Mikael Håfström
In 2036, a Russian civil war has the U.S. providing wartime support to the nation. The military now fights alongside “Gumps,” robot soldiers that occupy every branch. As punishment for disobeying squad commands, Harp (Anthony Mackie), a drone pilot, is sent to Ukraine to fight alongside Leo (Damson Idris), an android super-soldier. Together, the duo is forced to take on Victor Koval, a terrorist determined to use Cold War missiles for combat. Led by two great lead performances and a medley of sci-fi action that’ll keep you glued to your seat, Outside the Wire delivers the thrills from start to finish.

The Discovery (2017)

The Discovery
54 %
r 102m
Genre Drama, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Stars Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Robert Redford
Directed by Charlie McDowell
In a reimagined modern era, proof of the afterlife is amongst us, thanks to the research of scientist Thomas Harbor (Robert Redford). With the news hitting the world by storm, suicide rates climb exponentially as people opt to begin life anew as opposed to remaining in troubling situations. Harbor’s son, Will (Jason Segel), questions his father’s studies. Meeting Isla (Rooney Mara) on a ferry, the two discuss mortality and eventually begin a relationship. When Will takes Isla to his father’s hidden compound, the nature of his father’s work comes to light in ways neither father, son, or Isla could ever expect. A wonder-filled, philosophical film, The Discovery features an intriguing story and stellar performances, especially from Segel and Redford.

The Wandering Earth (2019)

The Wandering Earth
57 %
Genre Science Fiction, Action, Drama
Cast Qu Chuxiao, Li Guangjie, Zhao Jinmai
The Wandering Earth may be the biggest film that you’ve never heard of, but it was a huge blockbuster in China. The movie takes place in the future, as the expanding sun forces humanity to literally move the Earth to another solar system. This requires Captain Wang Lei (Li Guangjie) to leave behind his son, Liu Qi (Qu Chuxiao), as his mission in space keeps him away for several years. However, both father and son will have major roles to play in order to ensure that the Earth survives its perilous journey.

Mirage (2018)

Genre Science Fiction, Thriller, Drama, Romance, Mystery
Cast Adriana Ugarte, Chino Darín, Javier Gutiérrez
Don’t be afraid to read subtitles when watching Mirage. This Spanish sci-fi film has a story that is universal no matter which language is used. Adriana Ugarte stars as Vera Roy, a woman who inadvertently discovers a way to communicate with a teenager named Nico Lasarte (Joel Illescas) 25 years in the past. After helping Nico prevent his own accidental death, Vera discovers that her own world and timeline have greatly changed. Vera’s daughter no longer exists, and her husband, David (Álvaro Morte), is married to someone else. Subsequently, Vera desperately searches for a way to regain what she lost.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018)

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
61 %
Genre Science Fiction, Mystery, Drama, Thriller, TV Movie
Cast Fionn Whitehead, Will Poulter, Craig Parkinson, Alice Lowe, Asim Chaudhry
There’s nothing else on Netflix exactly like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. This spinoff from the British sci-fi anthology series is an interactive movie that allows players/viewers to control the fate of Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead). In 1984, Stefan is a young programmer who gets the chance to adapt a “choose your own adventure” book into a video game. However, art imitates life, and Stefan is soon faced with questions about his own free will. It’s not possible to see every bit of footage from Bandersnatch in one continuous viewing. That’s why it invites repeat viewings by letting alternate choices unlock new story paths. This may not be the future of all movies, but it is a subgenre worth exploring.

Advantageous (2015)

59 %
Genre Science Fiction, Drama
Cast Jacqueline Kim, James Urbaniak, Freya Adams
Advantageous is not a flashy sci-fi movie, but it is thought-provoking. In the near future, a single mother named Gwen Koh (Jacqueline Kim) loses her job and her financial security. Desperate to provide for her daughter, Jules (Samantha Kim), Gwen volunteers for a radical experiment to transfer her mind to a younger body. However, Gwen 2.0 (Freya Adams) is a very different woman from the original model, much to the horror of Jules and even Gwen herself.

Project Power (2020)

Project Power
51 %
r 113m
Genre Action, Crime, Science Fiction
Stars Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dominique Fishback
Directed by Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Superheroes aren’t real, but their powers are. That’s the premise behind Project Power, a film that presents a near-future world in which superhuman powers can be granted to almost anyone via a special pill called Power. For five minutes, users of Power have abilities uniquely tied to them. New Orleans police detective Frank Shaver (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) openly uses Power, even against regulations. In his search for the source of Power, Frank comes across Art (Jamie Foxx), a man who may have unexpected connections to the development of the drug. This is a cautionary tale, and a fresh take on a very familiar genre.

Bird Box (2018)

Bird Box
51 %
r 124m
Genre Thriller, Drama, Science Fiction
Stars Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, Jacki Weaver
Directed by Susanne Bier
It’s understandable if you get some Quiet Place vibes from Bird Box. Both are sci-fi horror movies that deal with monsters that directly connect with human senses. In this flick, the creatures can make anyone who sees them become insane with suicidal urges. Hence the constant blindfolds to keep the entities out. Sandra Bullock plays Malorie Hayes, a woman struggling to survive in this horrific new world, while flashbacks explore how she dealt with the end of life as she knew it. Not all of the moments land, but Bird Box has its share of real scares.

See You Yesterday (2019)

See You Yesterday
74 %
Genre Science Fiction, Drama, Adventure, Crime, Action
Cast Eden Duncan-Smith, Dante Crichlow, Astro
Many sci-fi films have something important to say about the present, and See You Yesterday has a premise that seems all too timely. The story follows C.J. Walker (Eden Duncan-Smith), a revolutionary genius even as a teenager. C.J. has come up with actual working time machines, and she has a very personal reason to use them. Her brother, Calvin Walker (Brian “Stro” Bradley), has been killed during an encounter with the police. To save Calvin, C.J. and her friend Sebastian (Danté Crichlow) try to change the past. Needless to say, complications ensue.

Beyond Skyline (2017)

Beyond Skyline
46 %
r 105m
Genre Action, Science Fiction, Adventure, Horror
Stars Frank Grillo, Bojana Novaković, Iko Uwais
Directed by Liam O'Donnell
The long-delayed follow-up to 2010’s Skyline is one of the rare instances where the sequel is vastly superior to the original. This unapologetically pulpy, alien invasion B-movie shows what happens when civilians are left to defend themselves against a superior species of aliens. Frank Grillo stars as a cop at odds with his son when the aliens strike. Suddenly sent running for their lives, the father-son duo move at a breakneck pace, traversing through subterranean tunnels to the nuclear wasteland of Los Angeles to an alien ship to a rebel human base in Laos to mount a final defense. Beyond Skyline is absolutely nutty, but if you like big action, ludicrous sci-fi tropes, and good ol’ fashioned human versus alien violence, this one’s for you.

Okja (2017)

75 %
Genre Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction, Action
Cast Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Seo-hyun Ahn, Jake Gyllenhaal, Devon Bostick, Lily Collins, Steven Yuen
Bong Joon-ho earned Best Director and Best Picture Oscars for Parasite, but he was making remarkable movies well before that recognition (Okja isn’t his only entry on this list). Okja is one of his most polemical films, taking on the meat industry and capitalism at large in this touching sci-fi drama for Netflix. The story follows Mija, a young girl who has grown up in the mountains of South Korea with a fictional super-pig best friend named Okja. But when the multinational conglomerate Mirando Corporation kidnaps Okja and transports her to New York to launch an entirely new meat industry, it’s up to Mija to save her best friend. A caustic satire of the greed and grotesqueness of American food processing, Okja pokes fun at everyone from self-obsessed CEOs to bumbling, naive activists in a sci-fi romp that hits close to home.

Freaks (2019)

63 %
r 105m
Genre Science Fiction, Thriller, Drama, Mystery
Stars Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Grace Park
Directed by Zach Lipovsky, Adam B. Stein
One of the most highly regarded sci-fi films of the past few years, Freaks follows a 7-year-old girl named Chloe who has spent her entire life completely isolated from the world inside her home with her father, Henry (Emile Hirsch). Henry has told Chloe that the outside world is a terrifying, dangerous place but as she gets older, Chloe becomes too curious to not venture out into the world. This character-driven movie is dripping in tension and mystery, which slowly becomes revealed as Chloe discovers more about the world in which she inhabits. It’s a master class in how to make high-quality sci-fi on a limited budget.

I Am Mother (2019)

I Am Mother
64 %
pg-13 114m
Genre Science Fiction, Thriller
Stars Clara Rugaard, Hilary Swank, Rose Byrne
Directed by Grant Sputore
Director Grant Sputore turned a lot of heads with I Am Mother, a superbly made and terrifically acted sci-fi thriller. In the far future, humanity is seemingly extinct. An android called Mother (voiced by Rose Byrne) fulfills its primary function by attempting to revive humanity. But first, Mother raises Daughter (Clara Rugaard) for practice and teaches her how to survive in this inhospitable world. However, Daughter’s reality is shattered when she encounters a woman (Hilary Swank) from the outside, who happens to be the first human that Daughter has ever met. And once the newcomer is inside of the bunker, I Am Mother takes a decidedly sinister turn. The truth will come out, but will anyone survive to see it?

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