Alien invasion is considered to be the genre where directors and writers experiment and create modern and futuristic stories for the screen. The sky’s the limit while making these big-budget flicks, and that’s why we never stop loving them. For this piece, we looked at some of the most famous alien invasion movies loved by fans & critics that stretched and extended the boundaries of reality and were a pretty fun time. So, here is the list of the 15 best alien invasion movies of all time.
15. Starship Troopers (1997)
Starship Troopers was perhaps ahead of its time as it could not turn itself into a financially stable franchise. A film revolving around space soldiers and messy CGI aliens was not considered a “critic” appreciated look at that time. Yet, the movie captured exciting characters, unique locations, and the horrors of War.
Paul Verhoeven’s depiction of an intergalactic war was a new idea, and it paved the way for some of the greatest hits in Hollywood like Avatar and Avengers.
14. District 9 (2009)
In 2009, Hollywood discovered a unique talent in the face of Neill Blomkamp. Although his career didn’t go as promised, his debut venture (District 9) caught the eye.
Depicting a world devoid of emotion, where humanity was still the weaker force, but humans were not. An alien ship lands on earth and is possessed by the government and the army.
But it was Neill Blomkamp‘s unique stylistic choices that made this concept work. District 9 was a success with both critics and the box office.
13. The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)
He did something right if his movie was remade after 58 years. Yes, Robert Wise’s 1951 classic painted a different view of alien beings. It was a view that was not generic and somewhat true if you logically think about it.
The movie shows species from a different world coming to warn humanity of their destructive ways and of course, the human got the wrong idea. With sharp direction and slick acting, the movie made us believe that perhaps it’s us who have to correct our beliefs.
12. Men In Black (1997)
Men in Black should be on top of your list for someone looking to enjoy and have a memorable time watching an alien film. This film is a favorite for so many people. For many, it is not just another alien film. The duo of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones is a prime example of that.
The witty humor and exciting collection of aliens have made Men in Black re-watchable still to this day.
11. E.T. the Extraterrestrial (1982)
E.T. The Extraterrestrial is one of Steven Spielberg’s many crown jewels that is still loved and adored by families and young fans all around the globe. The film offered an interesting take on friendship with the help of a strong cast starring Drew Berrymore and Henry Thomas.
E.T. is a Hollywood classic that needs to be revisited and for those who haven’t seen it yet, go watch it.
10. They Live (1988)
Roddy Piper (WWE Wrestling Legend) plays John Nada, a lonely man trying to find meaning in his life. John stumbles upon some sunglasses that let him see what the world truly is. This ironic yet strong premise comes from the director who gave us “The Thing” and” Halloween.”
The film offers both action and horror and has become an 80’s sci-fi cult classic. John Carpenter rarely made a bad movie, and this one is undoubtedly not one of them.
9. The World’s End (2013)
The third movie in Edgar Wright’s Cornetto trilogy is an energetic and epic adventure. Five friends return to their hometown to finish what they left off 20 years ago (which is drinking beer from different pubs).
The film stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, among other brilliant actors. The World’s End delivers better than anticipated with beautiful direction and a clever script.
On a side note, this might be the best one from the trilogy.
8. Arrival (2016)
Other movies have a similar feel to Arrival. Yet, Arrival feels different. Where in other movies, extraterrestrial beings come to the planet for one apparent reason, the extraterrestrial beings in Arrival present a mystery that keeps you invested throughout. Amy Adams is the movie star and is under pressure end while interacting with aliens.
“What matters is how the movie ends” you probably heard that. Arrival has a similar case here, but the build-up is equally vital.
7. Independence Day (1996)
Although Roland Emmerich failed to capture the original’s magic in Independence Day: Resurgence, no one can criticize the original. There are plenty of memorable moments that still resonate with the audience.
Excellent casting, a compelling script, and interesting characters make this film one of the most enjoyable movie-going experiences.
The president’s speech still, to this day, gives us chills.
6. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
10 Cloverfield Lane could have been two movies as the film shows the struggle and horrors of the known and the unknown. Keeping the audience aware and unaware of the impending doom is what the film is so good at doing.
Three strangers who don’t trust each other one bit have to stay together during a somewhat alien invasion. With a unique dynamic between our three leads (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallaghar Jr.), 10 Cloverfield Lane brings all the horror and several uncomfortable moments in this little cult classic.
If you need chills down your throat, this is for you.
5. A Quiet Place (2018)
A Quiet Place is a perfect example of how to reshape a well-established genre. With the perfect duo of John Krasinski and his wife Emily Blunt, the film provides a world where noise is your biggest enemy as it endangers the life of everyone around you (and yours as well).
This film has everything you expect from a sci-fi horror: jump scares, unsettling silence, and a haunting monster/alien. This imaginative and well-directed horror will always be The Special One.
Although many might say that the second one was better, this one surely caught everyone by surprise.
4. Avatar (2009)
Majestic is a small word to describe Avatar. Before 2009, alien invasion was considered a semi-blockbuster genre; Avatar changed it to its core. Even greater movies have tried but failed to cross James Cameron‘s highest-grossing film of all time (Although Avengers kind of did pass them).
James Cameron’s Avatar is an incredible and astonishing mega-hit. Its jaw-dropping action and creative ideas make this movie a must-watch.
3. Alien (1979)
Alien is possibly one of the most popular first-contact franchises of all time. It made us terrified and convinced that there is only one woman who can save us all, and that’s Ripley (Sigourney Weaver). Alien is among the best works of legendary filmmaker Ridley Scott.
Outstanding acting and a visionary director behind the camera made alien an iconic sci-fi/horror classic.
You know that a franchise has strong legs when its third installment gets directed by David Fincher.
2. Close Encounter of the Third Kind (1977)
Here he is again, giving us another take on the third kind. But this time around, Steven Spielberg focuses more on the terror and destruction that might ignite when two different yet similar beings find each other.
Leading the way is our protagonist, Richard Dreyfuss, who is just electric and provides the nuance required of him. You should check this one out as it is arguably one of the greatest alien contact movies of all time.
1. The Thing (1982)
Number one for us: The Thing. John Carpenter has very successfully toyed around with the idea of the third kind. With many interpretations in his arsenal, The Thing’s might be one of the delicate and nightmarish portrayals of extraterrestrials.
With heroic performances from the protagonist (Kurt Russel), the thing is a cult classic that delivers the paranoia (expected from a Cameron) and much more.
If that’s not enough for you, check out some more amazing alien invasion movies worth your time.
- Signs (2002)
- Predator (1987)
- Under the Skin (2013)