Here you’ll find the best sci fi movies on Netflix that you need to watch right now. It’s a genre that offers little green men, men in black, men that become lobsters, men that are giants, men that are tiny. And women too! There are plenty of gems among the new releases in sci fi that are on the platform, from the fantasy based to the dystopian, the funny to the frightening, the indie to the most-discussed titles of the culture. There’s so much worth watching, including many of the top recent sci fi movies from 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016, as well as many of the all-time greatest classics, underrated b-movies, family-friendly flicks and stories about worlds of wonder and legend, past and present and future. Just imagine! They all await you in our picks for the hottest new sci fi movies on Netflix!
The Best Sci Fi Movies on Netflix
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Please note: This list pertains to U.S. Netflix subscribers. Some titles may not currently be available on international platforms.
Best Sci Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now
You’d think Christopher Nolan would have a tough time following up The Dark Knight, but instead he gave us Inception. This high-concept sci-fi action movie unfolds in the realm of dreams, with Leonardo DiCaprio starring as Cobb, an international fugitive who orchestrates mental heists. Nolan’s singular talent for combining mind-bending storytelling with crowd-pleasing action and stunning imagery has never been more on display.
District 9 was director Neill Blomkamp’s breakout hit, one that finds a fresh new spin on the alien invasion sub-genre. In this world, a race of alien refugees dismissively known as “Prawns” are quarantined in a South African refugee camp. Sharlto Copley stars as a mid-level bureaucrat named Wikus van de Merwe, a man who finds himself growing much closer to the Prawns and their struggle than he ever would have guessed. District 9 is cleverly plotted and executed despite a fairly modest budget, and its real power comes from the fact that the movie is an allegory for South Africa’s history of apartheid.
The sequels may have dulled its appeal somewhat, but the original The Matrix remains a bona fide sci-fi classic. Nowhere outside of the anime realm have we seen such an effective blend of cyberpunk, martial arts and philosophy. The film stars Keanu Reeves in his most iconic role since Ted “Theodore” Logan, playing a solitary hacker who discovers his entire world is a digitized illusion and he may just be the messiah destined to save humanity from its machine oppressors.
The Lobster is far from the most approachable or mainstream-friendly film on this list, but we’d expect nothing less from director Yorgos Lanthimos. Fans of dystopian sci-fi hungry for something quirky and different will find exactly that in this darkly hilarious look at life in a world where singles have 45 days to either find a romantic partner or be transformed into an animal. Both Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz deliver top-notch performances as budding lovers struggling to build a relationship against the backdrop of a very strange and oppressive world.
Snowpiercer is easily one of the best comic book adaptations that most viewers don’t even realize is a comic book adaptation in the first place. Acclaimed South Korean director Bong Joon-ho made his English language debut here, chronicling a post-apocalyptic world where a handful of survivors (played by Chris Evans, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer and others) make their way through a frozen wasteland aboard an eternally moving train. Naturally, the class divide still exists in this terrible future, and the film focuses a great deal on contrasting the squalor of the rear cars with the decadent luxury of the train’s more privileged passengers.
Before he won an Oscar for directing the horror fairy tale The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro brought his oddball sensibilities to Hellboy, an adaptation of Mike Mignola’s award-winning comic book series. Ron Perlman is perfect as the title character, a demon from hell who was raised by humans to protect us from supernatural forces. The plot is perfunctory but the monster effects are spectacular, the action is cool and the lead performances by Perlman and Selma Blair, as a firestarter who can’t trust herself, are easy to fall in love with.
The biggest Marvel movie ever, and with good cause. Chadwick Boseman stars in Black Panther, a film that combines Afrofuturism with the superhero genre, giving audiences something they’d never seen before, on a scale that’s hard to imagine. Michael B. Jordan co-stars as one of the great MCU villains, and Letitia Wright steals all her scenes as a technological genius from Wakanda who puts Tony Stark to shame. This is the combination of classic heroism, bold cinematic style and meaningful themes that superhero fans yearned for. And they got it all. A popular favorite and Oscar-nominee — the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture — Black Panther is also an important moment for cinema in terms of race and culture.
Oscar Isaac stars as a brilliant billionaire inventor, who invites one of his low-level peons, played by Domhnall Gleeson, to his secluded estate. But this isn’t a friendly visit. He’s actually here to test the humanity of Isaac’s new invention, a realistic robotic woman named Ava, played to perfection by Alicia Vikander. As they question the robot’s humanity, and what it means to be human, we gradually realize that what they really can’t figure out is the female mind. Brilliant performances and a thought-provoking screenplay make Ex Machina one of the best sci-fi films of the century so far.
An alien entity takes the form of Scarlett Johansson, and stalks the streets, picking up lusty men and dragging them into a dark, inky abyss from which there is absolutely no escape. Jonathan Glazer’s experimental sci-fi film is unusually constructed, and looks and sounds like nothing else most people have seen, and Johansson gives an uncanny performance as an entity who struggles to understand what it means to be human, and to look outwardly beautiful.
In an extremely recognizable future, in which people live their lives through their phones and computers, and are so divorced from human intimacy that they have to hire people like Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) to write their personal correspondence for them, a new operating system seems more human than human beings. So it is that Theodore connects to, and falls in love with an artificial intelligence named Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). As directed by Spike Jonze, Her examines the melancholy of human disconnection in an increasingly connected world, and the complex way that emotions and romance will evolve as technology exceeds our psychological understanding.
Ben Foster wakes up from cryosleep and steps onto a spaceship overrun by mysterious monsters in Pandorum, a sci-fi thriller that owes a debt to films like Alien, but has plenty of surprises up its sleeve. Dennis Quaid co-stars as a fellow passenger who needs Foster’s help to save the day, but Foster’s journey deep into the center of the ship takes unusual and frightening turns. It’s an underrated and underseen sci-fi thriller that deserves a bigger audience.So there you have it: what to watch on Netflix right now in the world of sci fi movies. Check back here each month for new titles as Netflix adds them!
Note: This article is frequently amended to remove films no longer on Netflix, and to include more sci fi films that are now available on the service.