Netflix sci-fi movies: 5 brilliant classics to stream
Netflix is home to some great classics of science fiction cinema. We highlight five of the best science fiction movies of all time that you can currently stream on Netflix.
Science fiction continues to be one of the most popular movie genres. Whether on the big screen or in the home theater, good sci-fi takes viewers into new worlds, makes them think, or simply distracts them from everyday life for a few hours.
Without the visions of genre pioneers like Ridley Scott or James Cameron, the genre would probably not be as popular today and blockbusters like Dune or the upcoming time travel action The Adam Project would not even be realized.
All the more reason to look at some timeless classics of science fiction cinema. I’ve scoured Netflix for you and dug up five of the best science fiction classics of all time.
With Blade Runner, director Ridley Scott created a science fiction masterpiece in 1982 that was ahead of its time. In its year of release, the film didn’t even recoup its production costs in the U.S. and received mixed reviews.
It wasn’t until the years passed and the director’s cut was released in 1992 that Blade Runner grew into a cult film. Scott and his cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth brought the cyberpunk aesthetic to the big screen for the first time, mixing it with stylistic elements of film noir.
The adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s sci-fi novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” is set in a dystopian vision of 2019. Earth is overpopulated, animals are nearly extinct, and a powerful corporation is developing a new planet with the help of so-called “replicants.” Those androids are hardly distinguishable from humans, evolve rapidly, and soon escape slavery. Blade Runner Deckard (Harrison Ford) is to track down and eliminate the replicants on Earth.
In 2017, director Denis Villeneuve and lead actor Ryan Gosling successfully continued Ridley Scott’s classic with Blade Runner 2049. It was recently revealed that Amazon is working on a sequel. Blade Runner 2099 is coming as a sci-fi series and Scott himself could return to the director’s chair, according to rumors.
Blade Runner ratings
- IMDb: 8,1 / 10
- Metascore: 84
- Rotten Tomatoes: 89 percent
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
With the sequel to the surprise hit “Terminator” from 1984, Arnold Schwarzenegger finally made the leap to Hollywood stardom. With a mega-budget of 100 million US dollars, James Cameron produced an action firework with entirely new special effects. Terminator 2: Judgment Day won four Oscars for best sound editing, best sound mixing, best make-up and best visual effects.
Schwarzenegger returns to the past as Terminator Type T800, tasked with protecting the future leader of the human resistance movement in the fight against the machines. In the process, the time-traveling android has to deal with the improved T-1000 model, which does everything in its power to kill the young John Connor (Edward Furlong).
Ratings for Terminator 2: Judgment Day
- IMDb: 8,5 / 10
- Metascore: 75
- Rotten Tomatoes: 93 percent
The Matrix revolutionized action cinema in 1999 and is still considered one of the great science fiction masterpieces. The Wachowski siblings featured spectacular special effects and introduced for the first time the bullet-time effect that is now popular in many action thrillers and video games.
However, Matrix not only shines on a visual level, but also raises existential-philosophical questions and draws on many great works from philosophy and theology.
The young software developer Neo receives mysterious messages and warnings until he is finally arrested. He is supposed to deliver an alleged terrorist named Morpheus and is bugged against his will. Morpheus seeks out Neo and reveals to him that he is merely living in a simulation. By taking a red pill, he learns the truth about the Matrix and man’s war against artificial intelligence.
The Matrix became a film series that would end for the time being in 2003 with the third installment, Matrix Revolutions. Eighteen years later, the franchise was continued with Matrix Resurrections.
Ratings for “Matrix
- IMDb: 8.7 / 10
- Metascore: 73
- Rotten Tomatoes: 88 percent
The Fifth Element
Between Terminator 2 and The Matrix, French director Luc Besson created one of the most successful European feature films of all time in 1997: The Fifth Element. Featuring a star-studded ensemble of Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman and Chris Tucker, Besson’s visually stunning sci-fi vision grossed over $260 million at the box office.
Once every 5,000 years, evil returns to Earth and tries to wipe out all life. Only one weapon can stop it: the fifth element. The alien nation of Modoshawan preserves the element to protect humanity. In the year 2263, a war finally breaks out. Evil races toward Earth and allies itself with weapons mogul Zorg (Gary Oldman), who is supposed to take the four stones of the elements with an army of alien mercenaries. The Modoshawan send the fifth element in the form of the young woman Leeloo to Earth to stop its downfall.
Besson’s script is certainly not blessed with coherent logic. Nevertheless, the maker of cinema hits like Léon – der Profi, Transporter or 96 Hours knows how to stage action. The Fifth Element is still popcorn cinema at its best and takes you on a fast-paced ride through a visually impressive and creative science fiction world.
Rating for “The Fifth Element
- IMDb: 7.7 / 10
- Metascore: 52
- Rotten Tomatoes: 70 percent
In 1980, Bruce Bethke wrote a short story called “Cyberpunk” and founded the sub-genre of science fiction that is still immensely popular today. William Gibson’s trilogy of novels Neuromancer, published between 1984 and 1987, finally established cyberpunk. Two years before Gibson’s first book, the manga Akira appeared in Japan.
Author Katsuhiro Otomo painted a picture of a post-apocalyptic neo-Tokyo in a near future, telling the story of violence, terrorism, political intrigue, and research beyond ethics and morality. In 1988, Otomo adapted his story for the screen as director and screenwriter. The anime Akira is still considered one of the cyberpunk classics par excellence and influenced many subsequent works up to CD Projekt Red’s action role-playing game Cyberpunk 2077.
In its premiere year, Akira landed as the most successful film of the year in Japan, ahead of Return of the Jedi Knights. For the Western world, Akira opened the door to Japan’s anime and is now seen as one of the pioneers of the worldwide success of Japanese drawing and animation.
Critics’ Reviews for “Akira
- IMDb: 8.0 / 10
- Metascore: 67
- Rotten Tomatoes: 90 percent