Top 10 Science Fiction Movies (by Script)
So here is my list of the Top 10 Science Fiction Movies by Script. There are a lot of amazing Science Fiction movies out there. These, I think have the best writing, best dialogue, and best character development. If you haven’t seen these movies, I highly recommend them.
1 2001 by Writers: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke
Based on the 1964 Novel of the same name by Arthur C. Clarke. Kubrick was a genius. There is no doubt about this. 2001 A Space Odyssey is a masterpiece of visuals, plot, dialogue, and everything. The characters are well down. The entire script is terrific. It has both great character arcs and a message about humankind. The striking symbolism at the beginning, and the star baby, are all fantastic movie tropes at that point. The movie influenced all space movies to come.
2 The Terminator Writers: James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd, William Wisher
Created out of the fevered dream of James Cameron’s The Terminator is still surging through the internet after almost 40 years. Anytime you get into a discussion online about AI, you’ll find someone will bring up Skynet. The movie and the storyline are iconic. Cameron worked on a meager budget and created a film that has stood the test of time. Again the commentary on humans is very telling. The characters, dialogue setting, and script work so well. It’s a fantastic movie.
3 Blade Runner Writers: Hampton Fancher, David Webb Peoples, Philip K. Dick
Based on Phil K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep…
Probably one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time, Blade Runner set the standard for visuals in science fiction films. It even surpasses Star Wars in its setting and effects. With the storyline of androids being alive or not and the ending of final empathy, the movie is an outstanding piece of filmmaking.
4 Alien Writers Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett
Dan O’Bannon needs to get the credit he deserves. He also wrote Total Recall and Return of the Living Dead. With the characters, setting, plot, and theme, the movie is a tight script. Characters and conflicts are tightly constructed and presented to the audience. The film is a thrill ride at the same time as being a clever piece of exciting writing. There are plenty of plot twists here, and O’Bannon manages to make them all questions at the heart of modern science fiction.
5 The Martian Writers Drew Godd and Andy Weir
Based on Andy Weir’s serialized novels about a man stranded on Mars, I don’t think anyone would have guessed he would be such a smash hit. The movie captures so much of the novel, making what could be very dull movements exciting or even triumphant. Matt Damon does a great job in this movie, but the script pulls him through by keeping the action going when there isn’t any action. This movie could have been like Castaway, but it does not. It’s an intense piece of movie-making that keeps the drama and suspense going from the beginning until the end.
6 The Matrix Writers Lilly WachowskiLana Wachowski
The Matrix was an Original work by the Wachowskis, but it was said Gibsons’ Neuromancer heavily influenced them; The Matrix is a science fiction movie that changed all films. I know the visual effects changed movies, but when you watch this movie again, there are so many inventive ideas and scenes. Neo was taking instruction on a cell phone to his being pulled into the outside world, so many original ideas have almost become a cliche, but at the time of the movie, they were completely new. Are we living in a simulation? If we are, I hope it’s the Matrix.
7 Inception Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan is a genius. His original scripts were all Memento, The Dark Knight Trilogy, The Prestige, Dunkirk, Interstellar, and Tenet. Interstellar and The Prestige could be on this list if it weren’t for how great Inception is. The movie is all sci-fi, even though so little of it shows up in the film. The characters, conflict, plot, original concept, and everything about the movie are original, feel fresh, and suck you in. You couldn’t ask for a better movie script to guide you through all the unsanded background scenes.
8 Contact Writers James V. Hart, Michael Goldenberg, Carl Sagan
Based on Carl Sagan’s 1985 novel of the same name, Contact speaks to some truth about humanity that many sci-fi scripts miss. We can’t travel faster than light to go and meet others in the universe; maybe they will have to come to us. It also puts us uniquely positioned to measure our Faith with Science. This script has a lot going on, and it’s all masterful. Some people watch this movie once and walk away, but give it a second chance, and you’ll see a lot more going on here than once it first appears on the screen. Faith in god. Faith in Science and the fundamental question of Faith in humanity.
9 Dune Writers Frank Herbert, David Lynch
Dune the novel is hailed as one of the greatest pieces of Science fiction of all time. Star Wars famously stole many of its more “intellectual” ideas from it. Odd that Spice is a drug in both universes. Anyway, the story from the 1984 movie is a beautiful epic film with great characters and a great storyline. The movie diverges from the book a lot, but those invented ads capture some of the feelings of the original work. I’m also including the 2021 version in this. The movie sticks to the book more closely, but they’ve done a fantastic job. The script is thick with
10 Total Recall Writers Philip K. Dick, Ronald Shusett, Dan O’Bannon
Dan O’Bannon once again writes a masterful script that twists and turns until the unexpected ending. The characters are well-developed, and the movie keeps you guessing about what’s real and not real. Even after you finish the film, you may wonder if you know the story’s reality. There are some cheesy lines for Arnold in the movie, but honestly, that shows more skill on O’Bannon’s part. It’s a great script, and the movie sucks you in from beginning to end.