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Best sci-fi movies on Netflix

A still from Blade Runner
(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Netflix lets you sort by genre, which is really handy when you quickly want to find something to watch. That said, if you're a sci-fi fan and you start browsing what's on offer, there's still a hell of a lot to choose from. We've decided to save you time by capturing some of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix in one place.

Below, you'll find a few sci-fi classics you've maybe already seen, and hopefully a couple of lesser-known movies you'll love if you're watching them for the first time. Either way, it'll give you an idea of the breadth of movies you've got to check out on the streaming service.

Here, then, are the best sci-fi movies on Netflix. 

Ex Machina

Alex Garland's debut is a moody sci-fi thriller about a programmer working for a search engine company (Domhnall Gleeson) who wins the opportunity to go and visit the remote, lavish-but-cold home of his morally dubious CEO (played with palpable Silicon Valley cynicism by Oscar Isaac). When he arrives, he meets the synthetic, AI-powered creation Ava, and begins to form a connection with her. This is a must-watch, thoughtful sci-fi picture with a fresh angle on well-explored themes about what it means to be human. 

Inception

Christopher Nolan challenges the perception of dreams and reality in this high-octane, high-concept thriller based on a group of thieves who steal through ‘inception’ - putting their victims in a dreamlike state, tapping into their conscience and uncovering a bevy of secrets. Leonardo DiCaprio is the head of the group, who is burdened by his past demons but his latest hit offers him a way out and puts the crew on the ultimate assignment. Nolan paints a puzzling picture with Inception, asking questions but never really offering up answers which will be frustrating to some. But stick with it and you’ll be rewarded with one of the most original and entertaining movies of this century.

Snowpiercer

Bong Joon Ho's post-apocalyptic cult favorite is set on an ice-covered Earth where the last of humanity survives on a train. This train is divided by class, with those at the front living in luxury, and those at the back living in hellish conditions. That is, until one man (Chris Evans at his best) kicks off a revolution. Like Parasite, this movie explores themes of class with genuine insight. 

Blade Runner: The Final Cut

Blade Runner is arguably the best Hollywood sci-fi movie ever made, popularizing cyberpunk and creating a vivid, rainy futuristic Los Angeles that also recalled classic noir movies. Deckard (Harrison Ford) is a blade runner, meaning he hunts down replicants – androids designed to look and behave like people – for a living. But his newest targets, an escaped group of dangerous replicants hiding out on Earth, will deeply challenge his beliefs about what it means to be human. 

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Maybe it's just The Rise of Skywalker resetting our expectations of what a bad Star Wars movie looks like, but Solo is a lot better than its disappointing box office returns suggest. It's a breezy – if unnecessary – origin movie for the famous smuggler, brought to life with real charisma by actor Alden Ehrenreich. Donald Glover's Lando Calrissian is the movie's real treat, however, along with an amazing Kessel Run set piece that takes Star Wars imagery into Lovecraftian territory.

Under the Skin

Scarlett Johansson is superb as the ethereal nameless star of Under The Skin, the latest movie by ex music video director Jonathan Glazer. Set in the highlands of Scotland, the movie follows Johansson as she tries to make sense out of life, picking up men in her van and having her way with them. Glazer has a wonderful dreamlike eye for detail, while Mica Levi’s score is sparse and scratchy, keeping you perfectly on edge throughout. As you can probably figure out, we are trying no to give too much of the plot away but once you watch, it will become clear just why Under The Skin is on our best Netflix sci-fi movies list.

Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War is definitely among the best Marvel movies, and it's stronger than its busier, more fractured successor, Avengers: Endgame. It's a race to stop alien demigod Thanos from acquiring all of the Infinity Stones and wiping out half the universe for the scattered Avengers. These events culminate in a giant battle at Wakanda – and an ending superhero fans will never forget. 

Cloverfield

Monster movie Cloverfield was the perfect modern day Godzilla for 2008, and it's still fantastic fun, even if so much of the magic comes in the first time you see it. The way it's presented as a found footage horror movie means you rarely actually see the bizarre, giant creature attacking New York City, but this only adds to the effect of the film. The other two movies with 'Cloverfield' in the title sadly have nothing on this, but this is still a more interesting example of how to do a modern day monster movie than the recent Godzilla pictures.

The Matrix

Can you believe The Matrix is now more than two decades old? You wouldn't have thought so from looking at star Keanu Reeves. The Wachowskis' vision of a world where most of humanity is connected to a big computer, living fake lives, is still one of the all-time best ideas for a sci-fi movie. The rules are carefully, smartly rolled out by the directors, providing a fascinating framework for best-in-class martial arts set pieces and cinematic shootouts. The two sequels lost the simplicity of this perfect original, yet curiously, there's a Matrix 4 on the way. Act fast if you want to watch it on Netflix US, though: it's only available until March 1 2020.