9 best sci-fi movies on Amazon Prime Video
We understood. Today’s world is a trying place. Sometimes you just want an escape route that allows you to live in another view of our present or our future. This is what makes good science fiction so appealing.
Every Amazon Prime subscriber should know that there are tons of options to choose from in the online retailer’s streaming library. There is a little something for fans of every style of sci-fi you can imagine, from comedy and horror to drama to “that’s a weird AF”.
Here is a selection of some of our favorites that you can find and launch right now.
1. The man who fell to earth
The man who fell to earth is basically HEY, but the alien in this case is a brooding 29-year-old David Bowie. (Also, HEY released six years later.) Bowie appears here in his first lead role, playing an alien who comes to our planet in search of water for his drought-stricken home world. Introducing himself to the people of Earth as an Englishman by the name of Thomas Jerome Newton, the out-of-this-world visitor uses his knowledge of advanced technology to obtain patents that make him fabulously wealthy. But his mission to save his home is complicated again and again by the most harmful traps in human life, as well as shady government figures.
Comment a lot? This surreal sci-fi work by Nicolas Roeg is a must-have for any Bowie fan (i.e. everyone).
How to watch: The man who fell to earth is now streaming for Amazon Prime Video subscribers.
2. Attack the block
In 2011, an unknown director named Joe Cornish created a sci-fi action thriller starring an unknown actor named John Boyega. Attack the block blew audiences and critics alike with its portrayal of a South London bloc besieged by aliens, with Moses of Boyega fighting on the front lines for his territory. It’s brilliantly paced, plotted and scored by Steven Price – a powerful start for the kind of talent Hollywood runs through every day. Boyega commands the screen with star power even as a teenager, teaming up with Cornish to bring his storyline to life with enviable confidence. –Proma Khosla, entertainment reporter
How to watch: Attack the block is now streaming for Amazon Prime Video subscribers.
3. Donnie Darko
With Donnie Darko, Writer-director Richard Kelly has not only delivered a great sci-fi thriller of all time, but one of the most moving tales of teenage angst ever filmed. The then 19-year-old Jake Gyllenhaal plays the main character, a struggling high school student who experiences bizarre hallucinations and dangerous incidents of sleepwalking after a freak accident. Jena Malone, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze and many more also appear.
Combining dreamlike cinematography, brilliant scripts and an utterly unmistakable soundtrack, this 2001 title strikes a tone unmatched since. Sad but beautiful, the story of a strange tragedy has been described as a sort of strongly philosophical superhero movie, and for good reason. In case you haven’t seen it, I’ll leave it at that, as this is a movie that is definitely worth enjoying intact. –Ali Foreman, entertainment reporter
How to watch: Donnie Darko is now streaming for Amazon Prime subscribers (via IMDb TV, with ads).
4. The host
ParasiteSong Kang-ho plays Park Gang-du, considered a lost cause by his family, even his young daughter Hyun-seo (Ko Asung). When toxic waste from a lab up the Han River creates a twisted monster that begins attacking humans, it takes Hyun-seo. The family is shattered – director Bong Joon Ho’s eclectic humor points his head in scenes like when the parks mourn Hyun-seo – and looks downright dubious to trust Gang-du to save his daughter.
Bong’s creature feature film in 2006 was only his third full production as a director, and became South Korea’s highest-grossing film at that time. As the creature affects everyone from gangsters to government and the Park family in particular, it is strongly reminiscent of Okja, achieved 11 years later with five times the budget. It’s a treat for fans of Bong’s storytelling to witness his evolution and a brilliant mind at work long before he won the Oscars. –package
How to watch: The host is now streaming for Amazon Prime Video subscribers.
5. The immensity of the night
It seems reductive to even call Andrew Patterson’s independent masterpiece of science fiction, but given its runtime of at least 89 minutes to have a reference to to aliens, maybe that’s all we have. Everett (Jake Horowitz), a radio jockey, and Fay (Sierra McCormick), a switchboard operator, see their night cut short by a strange audio phenomenon that disrupts the broadcast and confuses listeners. Their night goes off the rails as they follow clues to the origin of the sound and report something strange in the sky.
Vast of the night Hypnotizes the viewer not with special effects or otherworldly elements, but with grounded, meditative, even slow direction and performance. Many scenes are long, uncut takes of one or more characters speaking, and at the end it doesn’t matter what they saw in the sky or what they choose to believe in. Fay and Everett’s Night is already one they’ll never forget, and a movie that stays with you long after you’ve watched it. –package
How to watch: The immensity of the night is now streaming for Amazon Prime Video subscribers.
This charming family-friendly sci-fi movie from director Joe Dante (Gremlins!) is about a group of kids who build a working spaceship out of junk and literal dreams (for real). When they finally get what they’re looking for, they find that living in space isn’t that different from living at home. Explorers is a bit patchy due to the odd circumstances of its production, but it remains a cult classic today. It is also, perhaps more specifically, the first feature film by Ethan Hawke and the late River Phoenix, who, along with Jason Presson, play the three space teenagers.
How to watch: Explorers is now streaming for Amazon Prime Video subscribers.
7. Minority report
Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise and Crimes Against Time. What’s not to like? This 2002 blockbuster adapted from a short story by Philip K. Dick places Cruise as John Anderton, the head of a future tech policing division called PreCrime. As if modern policing weren’t bad enough already, PreCrime officers know about the crimes before they are engaged, with information delivered by Precogs, or psychics, who spend their days drugged and floating in tubs of water.
It’s a wacky premise that takes an unexpected turn when Anderton, who battled depression and drug addiction after his son’s unresolved kidnapping destroyed his family six years earlier, is pre-charged with murder. Worse, the victim is someone Anderton never even met. While it may not be as sharp as it could be as a commentary on the dangers of excessive police intervention, Minority report remains a fun show directed by Spielberg.
How to watch: Minority report is now streaming for Amazon Prime Video subscribers.
A little Bayhem has never hurt anyone. Michael Bay loves to blow things up in movies, and he’s rarely done it better than in Armageddon. This 1998 disaster movie is perhaps best known for the Aerosmith song, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”. But it was Bayhem’s heyday in the late ’90s, when Hollywood seemed obsessed with finding new and exciting ways to blow up Earth.
The existential threat in Armageddon is a ridiculously large asteroid fast approaching and discovered just over two weeks before landing and destroying the planet. The best strategy the geniuses of NASA can imagine is to plant and detonate a nuclear bomb deep inside. Lack of time means astronauts can’t be trained to dig, so NASA turns to a team of deep-sea oil drillers, led by Harry S. Stamper (Bruce Willis), for help. Ben Affleck is there too. This movie reigns so strong.
How to watch: Armageddon is now streaming for Amazon Prime Video subscribers.
Vivarium isn’t the sci-fi trip to choose if you’re looking for clear explanations or satisfying revelations. But if you’re open to a more ethereal sci-fi experience – one that will have you asking a lot of questions about the world that has been presented to you and then not answering most of them – this particularly baffling release from the director Lorcan Finnegan is worth a visit.
Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots play the role of a couple looking to buy a house. There, a suburban development billed as having “Everything you would need and want” catches their eye and they schedule a visit to one of its many identical properties. But after a bizarre tour of the house, the couple find they can’t get out of the neighborhood, with the labyrinthine rows of matching units trapping them in a sort of loop.
Things get even weirder from there, so report this one when you’re feeling a little weird. It’s visually beautiful and crazy storytelling. –A F
How to watch: Vivarium is now streaming for Amazon Prime Video subscribers.