From the dawn of cinema, the science fiction genre has captured the imaginations of filmmakers and the audiences they’ve served. From Georges Méliès to Fritz Lang, Robert Wise to Ridley Scott, sci-fi movies have pondered humanity’s fear of the unknown and the beyond, casting sometimes bleak, sometimes exciting visions of the future.

If you’re a Prime Video subscriber and a science-fiction nut, there are some worthy options to stream on the service. Whether it’s sci-fi horror, action, comedy, or post-apocalyptic/dystopian sci-fi, there’s something for everyone. Here’s our list of flicks every sci-fi geek ought to have on their watchlist, some great, some putrid, some stuck in the middle but conceptually deft.

Want to explore more? Check out our list of the best movies on Prime Video, the best sci-fi shows on the platform, or the best sci-fi movies and shows on Netflix.

Editor's note: This article was last updated December 2022 to include Annihilation.

RELATED: The Best Fantasy and Sci-Fi Shows on Prime Video Right Now

The Tomorrow War (2021)

Image via Amazon Studios

Run Time: 2 hr 20 min | Director: Chris McKay

Cast: Chris Pratt, J.K. Simmons, Yvonne Strahovski, Betty Gilpin, Sam Richardson

There’s nothing wrong with being a little cheesy. A throwback to Independence Day, Armageddon, and the other playful science-fiction spectacles of the ‘90s, The Tomorrow Waris the perfect type of alien invasion epic that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The LEGO Batman Movie director Chris McKay creates some truly jaw-dropping action sequences, and surprisingly the 138 runtime doesn’t feel too bloated. Chris Pratt gives one of his most earnest, charismatic performances, and a subplot involving his father (J.K. Simmons) that is surprisingly heartfelt. If you’re looking for a Roland Emmerich impersonator that’s better than anything Emmerich has made in the last two decades, The Tomorrow War is for you. — Liam Gaughan

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Annihilation (2018)

annihilation natalie portman lena
Image via Paramount Pictures

Run Time: 1 hr 55 min | Director: Alex Garland

Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Oscar Isaac

Based on ​​Jeff VanderMeer’s novel, Annihilation is a large-scale, high-concept science fiction thriller directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina), who also wrote the screenplay. Starring Natalie Portman (Thor: Love and Thunder) as a biologist and former soldier, Annihilation follows her secret mission to explore the sinister phenomenon called The Shimmer in a quarantined zone. Co-starring Jennifer Jason Leigh (Hunters) and Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok), Annihilation is a unique mystery built on top of a gorgeous cinematic feat. Packed with stunning visuals, including mutating plants, intriguing creatures, and impressive landscapes, Annihilation poses fascinating psychological and philosophical questions intertwined with the story. – Yael Tygiel

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The Invisible Man (2020)

Elizabeth Moss in The Invisible Man
Image via Universal Pictures

Run Time: 2 hr 4 min | Director: Leigh Whannell

Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid

The Invisible Man is a truly terrifying film about a woman named Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss), who believes she is being stalked and gaslighted by her dead boyfriend, who has somehow been able to become invisible. With a clever plot and excellent performances – as well as an accurate and well-handled depiction of domestic violence – The Invisible Man makes for a highly effective sci-fi/horror flick. – Taylor Gates

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The Hunger Games (2012)

the hunger games katniss takes cover in the woods as she readies herself
Image via Lionsgate

Run Time: 2 hr 22 min | Director: Gary Ross

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth

The film that kicked off one of the most famous YA franchises of all time, joining the ranks of Twilight and Harry Potter, The Hunger Games is a dystopian film starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen: a skilled archer living in the poorest district of a nation called Panem. Each year, two tributes from each of the 12 districts must fight to the death in a televised event, with only one coming out victorious. When Katniss finds herself competing in the games, she must use her skills and courage to try to survive, shaking up the entire system and forming an unexpected relationship with fellow tribute Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) in the process. The Hunger Games is terrifying, clever, and endlessly entertaining. – Taylor Gates

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The Vast of Night (2019)

Image via Amazon Studios

Run Time: 1 hr 31 min | Director: Andrew Patterson

Cast: Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz, Gail Cronauer

A compelling science fiction film, The Vast of Night comes from the mind of Andrew Patterson, who directed the movie and co-wrote the teleplay with Craig W. Sanger. Set in 1950s New Mexico, The Vast of Night is both mysterious and suspenseful. It follows Fay Crocker, played by Sierra McCormick (American Horror Stories), and Radio DJ Everett Sloan, played by Jake Horowitz, as they attempt to uncover what exactly is responsible for an unexplained sound. The Vast of Night cleverly utilizes conventional tropes, taking advantage of the historical time period and allowing the story to unravel and emphasize anticipation. – Yael Tygiel

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Black Box (2020)

Mamoudou Athie in Black Box
Image via Amazon Studios

Run Time: 1 hr 40 min | Director: Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour

Cast: Mamoudou Athie, Phylicia Rashad, Amanda Christine

Black Box hails from Blumhouse, promising terrifying outcomes with an engaging and heart-stopping premise. Black Box stars Mamoudou Athie (Jurassic World Dominion) as Nolan, an emotionally tortured father who lost both his memory and his wife in a terrible accident. When Nolan participates in an experimental treatment attempting to recover his memories, he discovers a possibly horrific truth he may not be ready to accept. Supported by Phylicia Rashad(This Is Us), who appears as the doctor helping Nolan, Black Box’s breakout star is the young Amanda Christine (Ada Twist, Scientist), who hypnotizes as Nolan’s daughter Ava. – Yael Tygiel

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How I Live Now (2013)

Image via Entertainment One

Run Time: 1 hr 41 min | Director: Kevin Macdonald

Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland, George MacKay

Blending a coming-of-age tale with a post-apocalyptic dystopian narrative, How I Live Now, based on the novel by Meg Rosoff, stars Saoirse Ronan(Ladybird) as Daisy, a young woman sent to the English countryside. As she acclimates, Daisy finds herself falling in love for the first time with Eddie, played adorably by George MacKay (1917). Their story is interrupted, leading them and their family, separated and determined to reunite. Rounding out the cast is an almost unrecognizable Tom Holland (Spider-Man: No Way Home), but the foundation of the film is based on Ronan’s incredible pattern of select uniquely complex characters, which she does again, embodying the layered Daisy. – Yael Tygiel

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Love and Monsters (2020)

Dylan O'Brien in Love and Monsters
Image via Paramount Pictures

Run Time: 1 hr 48 min | Director: Michael Matthews

Cast: Jessica Henwick, Dylan O’Brien, Michael Rooker

Monsters have taken over the Earth, and survivors have scattered, living in bunkers, malls, or buses across the planet. Still heartbroken over his lost love, Joel, played by Dylan O’Brien(Teen Wolf), sets out alone on a quest to reunite with the woman he lost during the invasion, Aimee (Jessica Henwick). Love and Monsters is a romantic and comedic twist to the traditional monster movie and is just as refreshing as Zombieland was to the zombie genre. Providing a mentor role is Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy), who is a formidable foe to monsters and zombies alike. He provides a paternal element as he supports the heartthrobs, whose chemistry sizzles on screen. Co-written by Matthew Robinson, who has experience with projects that are romantic leaning, and Brian Duffield, whose background is horror, allows a clever melding of tropes and tones. –Yael Tygiel

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Bliss (2021)

Owen Wilson and Salma Hayek in Bliss
Image via Amazon Studios

Run Time: 1 hr 44 min | Director: Mike Chaill

Cast: Owen Wilson, Salma Hayek, Nesta Cooper, Jorge Lendeborg Jr.

What do you get when you combine Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mindwith The Matrix? Bliss is a familiar yet creative science fiction romance about warped reality. It’s easy to compare it to the established classics of the genre, but filmmaker Mike Cahill still manages to make the material feel unique. Bliss is set within the not-so-distant future when corporations have even more power than they do now. A lonely daydreamer (Owen Wilson) searches for a woman in his fantasies (Salma Hayek), and he discovers that she may be real. Wilson and Hayek are best known for their comedy work, so it is refreshing to see them in more serious roles. -Liam Gaughan

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Anna (2013)

Taissa Farmiga in Anna
Image via Vertical Entertainment

Run Time: ​​​​​​​1 hr 39 min | Director: Jorge Dorado

Cast: Taissa Farmiga, Mark Strong, Noah Taylor, Brian Cox

Also known as Mindscape, Anna is a film that will leave your head spinning. Anchored by a chillingly brilliant performance by Taissa Farmiga, Anna follows John Washington – a detective who can enter people’s memories. Throughout the film, John must investigate 16-year-old Anna’s case to figure out whether she’s a victim of psychological trauma or a dangerous sociopath. A combination of innovative sci-fi film, classic detective story, and heart-pounding thriller, Anna is unique and constantly engaging. If you’re in the mood for a good mystery in the vein of Vertigo or Chinatown, you’re sure to enjoy the puzzling story of Anna. - Taylor Gates

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The Lazarus Effect (2015)

Olivia Wilde and Mark Duplass in The Lazarus Effect
Image via Relativity Media

Run Time: ​​​​​​​1 hr 23 min | Director: David Gelb

Cast: Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Donald Glover, Evan Peters, Sarah Bolger

The Lazarus Effect follows a group of medical researchers who discover a serum that can bring people back from the dead. In theory, this sounds great, but anyone who has seen a zombie movie knows that this doesn’t always lead to amazing results. The Lazarus Effect is no exception. When Zoe (Olivia Wilde), one of the group’s own, gets electrocuted and has the procedure, she comes back as a superpowered – and sometimes super scary – version of herself, leaving everyone in peril. The film’s tagline is “evil will rise,” which pretty much says it all. If you’re looking for a side of horror and supernatural with your sci-fi, The Lazarus Effect is for you. - Taylor Gates

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Coherence (2013)

Coherence cast
Image via Oscilloscope

Run Time: ​​​​​​​1 hr 29 min | Director: James Ward ByrkitCast: Nicholas Brendan, Emily Baldoni, Maury Sterling, Lorene Scafaria

Shot over the course of five nights with an almost entirely improvised script, Coherence is a tremendous feature film debut from Gore Verbinski's frequent storyboard artist James Ward Byrkit, and one of the best original science fiction concepts in recent memory. Set at a dinner party reunion among old friends on the night of a rare astronomical event, tensions rise as the laws of science and the firmaments of reality bend and break over the course of one mind-bending night. Part sci-fi, part horror, the no-budget chamber piece succeeds not by banking on its fantastic concept, but seeing that concept to its completion through honest character arcs and the unsettling reality that there's nothing more frightening than the way we perceive ourselves. - Haleigh Foutch

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Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)

Keanu Reeves Alex Winter in phone booth in Bill and Ted Face the Music
Image via United Artists Releasing

Run Time: ​​​​​​​1 hr 18 min | Director: Dean Parisot

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine

Bill & Ted 3 should not be as good as it is, and yet this long-awaited sequel is terrifically entertaining while also feeling like an evolution of the franchise. The film picks up in real-time as Bill and Ted – Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter – have reached middle age and have yet to write the song that will save the universe. They’re forced to self-reflect on overdrive when they’re given a ticking clock: they must write the song before time runs out. Their fix? Go forward in time to when they’ve written the song, and steal it from themselves! The film is wonderfully goofy and silly but grounded in a true empathy for all of its characters. Bill & Ted Face the Music is a time-travel comedy with a huge, beating, softie heart. – Adam Chitwood

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Eva (2011)

daniel bruhl in eva
Image via Paramount Pictures

Run Time: ​​​​​​​1 hr 34 min | Director: Kike Maíllo

Cast: Daniel Brühl, Claudia Vega, Marta Etura, Lluís Homar

Eva is a Spanish-language science fiction film by director Kike Maíllo that will capture your attention and leave you thinking long after the credits have rolled. Set in the year 2043, in a not-so-distant future where humans and robots co-exist, a renowned cybernetic engineer named Álex (Daniel Brühl) returns to his hometown to finish the project that he had run away from some ten years prior. Before he left he had been working with his partner and then-girlfriend Lana (Marta Etura) on an SI-9 robot that was meant to resemble and act like any other child.

He sets out to find the perfect child to model the project around and, in the process, meets a ten-year-old daughter named Eva (Claudia Vega). What’s more surprising is that shortly after their chance encounter, he learns that Eva is Lana’s daughter with his brother David (Alberto Ammann), who she married after Álex left town. Eva is a truly ingenious sci-fi film that takes audiences along for a wild ride that weaves in and out of both the expected and unexpected avenues of science fiction storytelling. If you’re still reeling from the recently released After Yang, which also questions the blurred line between humanity and the machines that we shape in our image, Eva is a must-watch. – Maggie Lovitt

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The Endless (2017)

Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson in The Endless
Image via Well Go USA

Run Time: ​​​​​​​1 hr 51 min | Director: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead

Cast: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Callie Hernandez, Lew Temple

The Endless may not have dragons or fairies or swashbuckling heroes, but the indie horror-fantasy from Spring filmmakers Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead quietly builds one of the most fascinating and engrossing mythologies in the hills outside San Diego. The film follows two brothers (played by Benson and Moorhead) who return to the cult the escaped as children and discover there might be more than a few nutty cultists. Throw in some double moons, a mysterious red herb, and a game of tug-a-war that reaches high into the sky, and The Endless is packed with subtle dark fantasy to capture the imagination. Alternately funny and scary, with moments of bleak existential meditation, the semi-sequel to their 2012 festival hit Resolution is one of the best under-the-radar indies in recent memory and if you're looking for a fantastical tale that keeps one foot firmly in the real world, you can't go wrong. — Haleigh Foutch

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Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)

Malia Nurmi in Plan 9 from Outer Space
Image via Valiant Pictures

Run Time: ​​​​​​​1 hr 19 min | Director: Ed Wood

Cast: Gregory Walcott, Tom Keene, Mona McKinnon, Tor Johnson

The king of bad movies, Plan 9 from Outer Space is perhaps the magnum opus of Ed Wood— the king of bad moviemakers. This preposterous story about aliens invading earth in order to prevent humans from creating the Solaranite bomb, which will put the entire universe at risk, has ascended to cult status in the sixty years since its release. The aliens in question have a rather ambitious plot to save the universe: resurrect human corpses to prey on the living. Among them is an old man played by Bela Lugosi, who had died prior to filming. Wood solved the problem by using silent footage of Lugosi from an abandoned film called The Vampire’s Tomb. He then substituted another actor to portray the resurrected Lugosi old man character. That actor marches around covering half his face with a cape to emulate the Dracula star. This is among the many missteps of the misadventure that is Plan 9. Rife with horrendous performances and silly dialogue that sounds like what an actual alien trying to pass himself off as a human might produce, Wood’s film is still as amusing as ever.

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Starfish (2018)

Virginia Gardner in Starfish
Image via Orchard

Run Time: ​​​​​​​1 hr 41 min | Director: A.T. White

Cast: Virginia Gardner, Christina Masterson, Eric Beecroft

Experimental and abstract, Starfish will be loathed by some (calling it pretentious), cherished by others (calling it allegorically brilliant). It’s a strange, meandering film whose themes are more potent than its story. The fact is, there isn’t much of a story. Grace, the best friend of a young woman named Aubrey (Virginia Gardner) dies and, after her funeral, Aubrey breaks into her apartment and lives there. But a day later, some event occurs, seemingly ending the world. Aubrey is able to communicate with a mysterious voice on the other end of a two-way radio, who helps guide her. She’s also got cassette tapes, left for her all over town by Grace. If she can find them all and make sense of the clues within, she can undo the apocalyptic event. Oh, and sometimes there are monsters. Gardner, who is in virtually every frame, is great in the film, which is beautifully shot. And that’s all some folks will find redeeming about it. At least ten or fifteen minutes too long, writer/director A.T. White could have said what he wanted to say sooner, and with more clarity, but that’s probably part of the point. This thing is deliberately slow, intentionally vague. It’s an observation of grief and the power it holds. You’ll likely never give it a second watch, but it demonstrates the genre’s depth and broadness, however esoteric.

​​​​​​​Watch on Prime Video