September 25, 2022

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The Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix

There are dozens of sci-fi flicks on Netflix. Find strange ideas, commentary on current issues and space for satire. Or simply settle in for the perfect popcorn movie that allows you to shut your brain off for a couple of hours.

Scroll down for our favorite sci-fi movies on Netflix.

Starship Troopers (1997)

Tristar

I love this movie. 

A frequently misunderstood parody of jingoism, Starship Troopers has aged tremendously. On a surface level it’s also a really fun, easy watch. Get stuck in.

Don’t Look Up (2021)

Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Is this sci-fi? I think it’s sci-fi. 

It’s sci-fi. End of discussion.

Don’t Look Up is far from a perfect movie. It reeks of Hollywood faux-activism and it’s too long and way too on the nose. But it still feels important and also… quite funny? 

I think regardless of its flaws, Don’t Look Up is a movie that has had a net positive on the world and it’s worth watching.

Gattaca (1997)

Sony Pictures

Gattaca is a true science fiction movie, in that it wrestles with real scientific ideas and their potential impact on the human race. It’s a film about eugenics, essentially, but also poses big questions about predestination, and how we can push back on determinism. Very cool, very interesting. A must watch.

Looper (2012)

Looper is the movie that helped Rian Johnson get the Star Wars gig, which led to my personal favorite Star Wars movie ever, The Last Jedi.

But beyond that, Looper is just fantastic science fiction. It’s bold with its time travel choices and is just an incredibly stylish movie. Watch it.

Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982)

Is there a more critically revered science fiction movie than Blade Runner? If there is, I can’t think of it. Maybe the original Alien or The Thing?

Either way, neither of them is currently on Netflix, so Blade Runner is probably the must watch sci-fi movie on the service.

I Am Mother (2019)

Netflix

An Australian-made sci-fi thriller starring Hilary Swank and Rose Byrne, I Am Mother tells the post-apocalyptic tale of Daughter, a character raised by Mother, a robot tasked with helping repopulate the Earth. Very tense, very strange, very good.

The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)

Netflix

The Mitchells vs. The Machines is one of the smartest, most accessible kids movies of the last few years. It’s the sort of movie kids and parents can watch together and both have a blast.

I should know, my kids have made me watch this… eight times so far? Sweet.

The Colony (2021)

Netflix

I just watched The Colony recently. It’s surprisingly good!

It follows a very familiar trope: Rich people returning to Earth years after abandoning it, to find it overrun by new, unknown threats. The Colony subverts some of these cliches, however, and has some surprisingly powerful things to say about the ways in which we dehumanize one another. Well worth giving a chance. 

Okja (2017)

Netflix

Is Okja science fiction? Look it’s a stretch, but it’s a good movie. Just watch it anyway. 

Synchronic (2019)

Netflix

At CNET, we love Synchronic so much we wrote an entire article just telling people they should watch it. We called it the most underrated sci-fi flick on Netflix, and we stand by it. 

It’s annoying, inconsistent and often makes zero sense, but it’s also really great.

The Platform (2019)

Netflix

The Platform is a Spanish sci-fi horror flick with a gruesome high concept. Prisoners in a correctional facility are fed in a very unique way: Folks at the top floor get fed a ludicrous amount of food, folks below get their leftovers. Chaos ensues. 

It’s not perfect, but still well worth watching.