The sci-fi selection on Netflix includes quite a few original movies, along with beloved classics and some hidden gems. Whether you want to go to space or another dimension entirely, here are 10 of the best science-fiction movies to stream on Netflix.
Update, 11/28/22: Blade Runner 2049 left Netflix, so we’ve replaced it with a fresh recommendation. We’re still confident these are the best sci-fi movies you’ll find on Netflix.
In Jennifer Phang’s Advantageous, a single mother undergoes a radical, body-changing procedure in order to provide a more secure future for her daughter. Gwen (co-writer Jacqueline Kim) agrees to have her consciousness transferred into a new body so that she can be a better corporate representative for her employer—but of course, there are complications to the procedure.
Advantageous examines issues of race and class within the context of a heady sci-fi drama about the nature of identity.
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Part superhero story, part dystopian sci-fi, part family drama, Julia Hart’s Fast Color is a wholly unique film that takes an unexpected approach to all of its genre elements.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars as a woman with unpredictable powers who returns to her family home after years on the run. She reconnects with her mother and daughter and attempts to control her dangerous abilities, while pursued by various authorities. Hart brings equal sensitivity to the multigenerational family bonding and the fantastical displays of power.
After all of humanity is apparently wiped out, a robot that calls itself Mother (voiced by Rose Byrne) raises one teenage girl known as Daughter (Clara Rugaard). I Am Mother explores what happens when a human intruder (Hilary Swank) disrupts the carefully balanced environment that Mother has created, and causes Daughter to question everything that she’s been taught about humanity and the world outside.
It’s a thoughtful exploration of the concept of nature vs. nurture, along with some thrilling suspense as the two maternal figures battle for the allegiance of the young woman.
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Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are a mismatched pair of secret agents in Men in Black, which is essentially a buddy-cop comedy with aliens. They both work for the ultra-clandestine organization responsible for monitoring alien activity on Earth, and they team up to capture a dangerous alien that’s threatening the planet. Jones and Smith are perfectly matched as the grumpy veteran and the reckless rookie, and director Barry Sonnenfeld creates a sci-fi world that is equally goofy and awe-inspiring.
A delightful animated comedy that happens to take place during the robot apocalypse, The Mitchells vs. the Machines turns the potential end of the world into a family-bonding opportunity. The dysfunctional Mitchell family find themselves as humanity’s sole hope against self-aware robots, but they must heal their fractured relationships.
Gruff dad Rick (voiced by Danny McBride) learns to understand his artsy teenage daughter Katie (voiced by Abbi Jacobson), all while dodging deadly robot attacks in this colorful, creatively animated adventure.
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Pretty much all of Oxygen takes place in a cramped cryogenic pod just big enough to hold a single person, but the filmmakers still create a whole sci-fi world outside of those confines. Liz (Mélanie Laurent) wakes up inside the pod with no memory of who she is or how she got there, only getting the urgent warning that the oxygen level inside is at 35% and falling.
Along with a not particularly helpful AI, she must piece together her circumstances and figure out a way to escape. It’s a well-paced thriller that keeps up the tension for its entire running time, all while remaining right beside its only character.
Spanish sci-fi horror movie The Platform places its protagonist in a seemingly never-ending multi-level prison, where a moving platform descends each day from the top level, full of food. As it goes down, prisoners on each level take what they can, leaving less and less for the people below them. It’s a powerful if blunt allegory for income inequality, but it’s also an intense, often gruesome thriller, as the main character attempts to overthrow the cruel system and rally his fellow inmates.
A teenage street magician uses his scientific knowledge for both card tricks and crime-fighting in J.D. Dillard’s Sleight. Jacob Latimore plays the teen genius who develops his own device to levitate metal objects, putting it to use along with his sleight-of-hand skills to make extra money to take care of his sister.
Dillard combines the gritty drama of a working-class crime story with the technological achievements of a superhero movie, for a distinctive, affecting film about the lengths one young man will go to for the people he loves.
Possibly the greatest superhero movie ever made, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 builds on the title character’s origin story while deepening the character relationships and providing a magnificent new nemesis for Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire).
Alfred Molina plays the diabolical Doctor Octopus, who torments Peter as Peter also deals with troubles in his relationships with his girlfriend Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) and his best friend Harry Osborn (James Franco). Raimi masterfully balances these elements along with inventive, satisfying action sequences.
Director J.J. Abrams takes the venerable sci-fi franchise back to the beginning in his reboot of Star Trek. Chris Pine leads the cast of younger versions of the crew of the starship Enterprise, coming together for their first interstellar voyage.
Set in an alternate timeline, Abrams’ movie is more action-oriented than previous Trek incarnations, while still bringing in bold sci-fi ideas. Leonard Nimoy crosses over from the original series as the “prime” version of Spock, chasing a Romulan villain (Eric Bana) from one part of the multiverse to another.
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