25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]

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25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Lionsgate/YouTube

There’s never been a better time to be a fan of sci-fi movies — especially if you’re one with a Netflix account. Though more and more streaming services make their debut every day, the one with the big red “N” logo remains a dazzling source of genre greatness. Whether you love futuristic military stories, speculative drama, or dystopian thinkers, Netflix has a flick for you. 

Wading through all the offerings Netflix presents takes precious time away from actually watching good movies, however. We here at Looper understand that struggle, so we’ve taken the time to assemble this list of stand-outs. These are the 25 best sci-fi movies available on Netflix, from space-faring sagas to post-apocalyptic fables.

Updated January 19, 2022: Like all streaming services, Netflix rotates films on and off its platform. We’ll keep you in the loop by regularly updating this list of sci-fi favorites to reflect the streamer’s current offerings. Be sure to check back every month for the very best in Netflix sci-fi.

Space Sweepers

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25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Netflix/YouTube

In the future of “Space Sweepers,” Earth is a hellscape of pollution and the richest live off-world. The crew of the spaceship Victory collects floating detritus in space and sells the scraps. These “sweepers” exist on the margins, making money where they can. One day, the crew finds a young girl named Dorothy (Park Ye-rin) who they believe to be a very valuable and dangerous android. But is Dorothy really human? While “Space Sweepers” runs a bit long, its insights into class and power are worth the ride.

  • Starring: Song Joong-ki, Kim Tae-ri, Jin Seon-kyu
  • Director: Jo Sung-hee
  • Year: 2021
  • Runtime: 136 minutes
  • Rating: NR
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
TriStar Pictures/YouTube

Arguably the best entry in the “Terminator” franchise, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” pits the souped-up liquid metal of the T-1000 model (Robert Patrick) against the older model T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Skynet sends the T-1000 to eliminate teenaged John Connor (Edward Furlong), who’s living with foster parents in the wake of his mother Sarah’s (Linda Hamilton) institutionalization. Luckily, John’s older self sends another T-800 to protect him. This film effectively deals with Sarah’s trauma, John’s growth, and the T-800’s humanization. This is a must-see classic of the genre.

  • Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong
  • Director: James Cameron
  • Year: 1991
  • Runtime: 136 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Blade Runner

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25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Warner Bros.

“Blade Runner,” which is loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,” stars Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard. An ex-cop chasing “replicants,” humanoids designed specifically for work, he is tasked with “retiring” them. Although “Blade Runner” was released in 1982, the “Final Cut” version on Netflix came out in 2007. It’s considered by many fans to be the best version of the film, and is the only one over which director Ridley Scott had total creative control. “Blade Runner” questions the nature of humanity in a way you’ll never forget.

  • Starring: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young
  • Director: Ridley Scott
  • Year: 1982
  • Runtime: 117 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Minority Report

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
20th Century Fox

This Steven Spielberg film adapts Philip K. Dick’s short story, “The Minority Report,” into a big-budget sci-fi thriller. Tom Cruise stars as Chief John Anderton, who stops “precrime” — crime that has yet to be committed, which a trio of precognitive humans foresee. When the “precogs” see a vision of Anderton murdering a stranger, he must figure out what’s happening before the authorities capture him. Spielberg excels at immersing the viewer in this strange new world, while Cruise is effectively frantic as Anderton.

  • Starring: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Year: 2002
  • Runtime: 144 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Okja

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25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Netflix

The titular creature of this environmentally conscious film is a “super pig” who becomes close to Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun), a young farm girl who raises Okja alongside her grandfather. Okja is part of an experiment by the Mirando Corporation, who are looking to breed oversized animals for enormous profit. Okja quickly becomes a pawn between corporate interests and animal rights activism, with little Mija caught in the middle. This hybrid fantasy-sci-fi film delves deeply into our relationship with animals and the food industry, as seen through the eyes of an innocent.

  • Starring: Ahn Seo-hyun, Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal
  • Director: Bong Joon-ho
  • Year: 2017
  • Runtime: 118 minutes
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Netflix

Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson), an aspiring filmmaker and tech-savvy teen, is preparing to leave home for college. When a family squabble erupts, Katie’s dad Rick (Danny McBride) decides to haul his kin across the country on a road trip, rather than send Katie to school on an airplane. But while they’re traveling, a war breaks out between robots and humans. The Mitchells must band together to save the day in this colorful, heartfelt film, which also earned accolades for its LGBTQ+ representation.

  • Starring: Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph
  • Director: Michael Rianda
  • Year: 2021
  • Runtime: 114 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Looper

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Tri-Star Pictures

In this gripping thriller, a crime syndicate uses time travel to dispose of its enemies. Assassins, known as “loopers,” do the dirty work. It’s a lucrative gig, but there’s a catch: Each looper will eventually have to kill their older self to close their own loop. What happens, you might wonder, if the older self doesn’t cooperate? That’s what looper Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) must find out when he confronts his older self (Bruce Willis). Written and directed by Rian Johnson, “Looper” is a bracing blend of sci-fi storytelling and well-choreographed violence, with some added telekinetic peril thrown in.

  • Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt
  • Director: Rian Johnson
  • Year: 2012
  • Runtime: 119 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

I Am Legend

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Warner Bros.

In this adaptation of Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel, Robert Neville (Will Smith) is a virologist who appears to be the sole survivor of a disastrous attempt to cure cancer, which has turned most human beings into vampiric creatures. Neville works to find a cure for the mutation while broadcasting a message in the hopes of finding other survivors. This adaptation is pretty loose: While the novel is a melancholy meditation on loneliness, this film is more of an action sci-fi thriller. Still, it’s effectively entertaining, especially with Smith in the lead.

  • Starring: Will Smith, Alice Braga, Dash Mihok
  • Director: Francis Lawrence
  • Year: 2007
  • Runtime: 101 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 68%

Stowaway

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Netflix/YouTube

“Stowaway” presents one heck of a moral dilemma for the crew of a mission to Mars: Their ship only has enough oxygen for three people, but a fourth person is discovered on board. More troubles soon plague the mission when experiments go awry and supplies become even more limited. Tensions mount as the odds of survival for the entire crew diminish, leaving them to make an unthinkable choice. “Stowaway” presents a thorny issue with deep feeling, beautiful cinematography, and fantastic performances.

  • Starring: Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim, Toni Collette
  • Director: Joe Penna
  • Year: 2021
  • Runtime: 116 minutes
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77%

Superman Returns

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Warner Bros.

Brandon Routh stars as the Man of Steel, who’s been missing from Earth for five years. Once he’s back, he has to deal with a betrothed Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth), who has a 5-year-old son of uncertain parentage. Moreover, arch-nemesis Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) is looking to destroy Supes so he won’t interfere with his current elaborate scheme. Routh is simply wonderful as both Clark Kent and Superman: He epitomizes the superhero’s hope for humanity and gives a performance reminiscent of Christopher Reeve’s classic portrayal. “Superman Returns” boasts a big heart and an equally big plot.

  • Starring: Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, James Marsden
  • Director: Bryan Singer
  • Year: 2006
  • Runtime: 154 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%

Level 16

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Dark Sky Films

Friends Vivien (Katie Douglas) and Sophia (Celina Martin) have lived their entire lives within a mysterious boarding school, where they are held to rigid rules involving skincare and vitamin-taking, yet never taught how to read. They believe they’re being prepped for adoption, but as the girls soon discover, the truth is far more sinister. Vivien and Sophia must find out what’s really happening before they are “adopted” — but what hope do two young girls have against a well-oiled machine? This feminist fable is thoughtful, surprising, and sharp.

  • Starring: Katie Douglas, Celina Martin, Sara Canning
  • Director: Danishka Esterhazy
  • Year: 2018
  • Runtime: 102 minutes
  • Rating: NR
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Fast Color

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Lionsgate/YouTube

Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) sets off earthquakes every time she has a seizure. After years of absence, she is finally making her way home — but Bill (Christopher Denham), a scientist who wants to study her, is hot on her heels. Once Ruth reunites with her mother, Bo (Lorraine Toussaint), things become clearer … but also more complicated. “Fast Color” gets top marks for being gorgeously shot and absorbingly effective, as well as a showcase of three generations of Black women’s lives. Not all superhero films are loud spectacles — some are quiet and contemplative, like “Fast Color.”

  • Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lorraine Toussaint, Saniyya Sidney
  • Director: Julia Hart
  • Year: 2018
  • Runtime: 100 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

What Happened to Monday

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Netflix/YouTube

Noomi Rapace plays seven sisters named for the days of the week in this unique film. Earth is overpopulated, and each family is restricted to one child. The Settman siblings keep their numbers hidden by going out only on their namesake days and working hard to present themselves as one person. Their ruse can’t last forever, though, and the Child Allocation Bureau is brutal to rule-breakers. This intriguing film is led by a great performance from Rapace — or should we say performances?

  • Starring: Noomi Rapace, Willem Dafoe, Glenn Close
  • Director: Tommy Wirkola
  • Year: 2017
  • Runtime: 123 minutes
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 61%

Freaks

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Well Go USA/YouTube

Henry (Emile Hirsch) is a father who keeps his young daughter Chloe (Lexy Kolker), locked in their dilapidated house. She’s not allowed to go outside, talk to outsiders, or get a frozen treat from Mr. Snowcone’s (Bruce Dern) ice cream truck. Why all these restrictions? Chloe and Henry are “abnormals” — people with superpowers — who will be hunted down if they’re discovered. This hidden gem is as exciting as it is thoughtful.

  • Starring: Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Lexy Kolker
  • Director: Adam B. Stein, Zach Lipovsky
  • Year: 2018
  • Runtime: 105 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Eight Legged Freaks

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Warner Bros. Pictures/YouTube

Every so often, you have to ignore the critics and just go with the fun. And “Eight Legged Freaks” offers a whole heck of a lot of squishy, spidery fun. A chemical spill near Prosperity, Arizona results in giant mutated spiders hungry for flesh. Pets and people go missing as the spider army grows inside a mine that’s set to be reopened to gold-hungry prospectors. This movie is big, loud, and silly in the best way: Watching acrobatic beasties nimbly leap onto and eat whoever gets in their path never gets old. Viewers also get to see a young Scarlett Johansson fight spiders, long before she fought alongside Spider-Man.

  • Starring: David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer, Scarlett Johansson
  • Director: Ellory Elkayem
  • Year: 2002
  • Runtime: 99 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 47%

I Am Mother

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Netflix/YouTube

Human life has been wiped out, leaving Mother (Rose Byrne), a sophisticated robot, to repopulate the Earth. Mother lives underground with Daughter (Clara Rugaard), teaching her lessons, keeping her fed, and preparing her for a mysterious exam. Their existence is upended when Daughter lets in a woman (Hilary Swank) from the ravaged outside. “I Am Mother” is a contemplative and suspenseful film that leaves Daughter wondering who she should trust — if anyone.

  • Starring: Hilary Swank, Clara Rugaard, Rose Byrne
  • Director: Grant Sputore
  • Year: 2019
  • Runtime: 115 minutes
  • Rating: TV-14
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Synchronic

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Well Go USA

A man-made drug called Synchronic is causing massive problems in New Orleans. Two paramedics, Steve (Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan), have a first-hand view of this, as they respond to calls of inexplicable deaths and accidents involving the drug. Soon enough, Steve discovers it has properties beyond just getting a user high: It allows them to travel through time. The concept of time travel contained in a pill is intriguing, and Mackie does a good job capturing Steve’s growing understanding of how it works, even as his body deteriorates.

  • Starring: Anthony Mackie, Jamie Dornan, Katie Aselton
  • Director: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead
  • Year: 2019
  • Runtime: 100 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%

Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Netflix

“Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters” is the first of an animated trilogy featuring the famous kaiju in the villain role. Thousands of years after nearly destroying all humans, Godzilla reigns on Earth. The survivors of his wrath are forced to live on a spaceship, where they search for a new planet to call home. Joining them are two different alien races who tried to ally with Godzilla, but were also driven off-world — the King of the Monsters doesn’t need help to rule. The humans and aliens decide to work together to retake the Earth from its monstrous master. Fans of anime and Godzilla should both enjoy this take on the classic kaiju.

  • Starring: Yûki Kaji, Kenta Miyake, Mamoru Miyano
  • Director: Hiroyuki Seshita, Kobun Shizuno
  • Year: 2017
  • Runtime: 89 minutes
  • Rating: TV-14
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%

Cloud Atlas

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Warner Bros. Pictures/YouTube

The time-spanning adventure “Cloud Atlas,” based on the David Mitchell novel of the same name, features Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and other stars playing multiple characters across six different eras. These storylines are vastly different: One takes place aboard a 19th century ship, while another is set in post-apocalyptic Hawaii. Yet they are united by the human experience and gorgeous visuals. “Cloud Atlas” is for fans of both the Wachowskis and expansive, experimental storytelling.

  • Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent
  • Director: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski, Tom Tykwer
  • Year: 2012
  • Runtime: 172 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 66%

The Soul

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Netflix/YouTube

A tale that mixes magical elements and hard science, “The Soul” posits that a human soul can be transferred from one person to another, via technological means. While this fantastical feat is attention-grabbing, “The Soul” puts its futuristic setting in the background, and focuses on what seems like a simple crime story. Liang Wen-Chao (Chang Chen) is an officer dying of cancer. He’s working to solve the murder of an important businessman — but things aren’t exactly what they seem. Soon enough, this whodunit becomes an intricate tale about human existence.

  • Starring: Chang Chen, Janine Chang, Christopher Ming-Shun Lee
  • Director: Cheng Wei-hao
  • Year: 2021
  • Runtime: 130 minutes
  • Rating: NR
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78% (Audience Score)

Bird Box

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Netflix/YouTube

Malorie (Sandra Bullock) must survive in a strange world where glimpsing the mysterious entities that have overrun the Earth causes a person to commit suicide. No one knows where the entities came from, or how their power works, and neither do they know how to defeat them. Thus, the survivors must learn to navigate the world while blindfolded. Director Susanne Bier mines creepy dread from the proceedings, while simultaneously presenting a grim metaphor for parenthood. The film also boasts a great performance by Bullock and a perfectly calibrated score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

  • Starring: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, Jacki Weaver
  • Director: Susanne Bier
  • Year: 2018
  • Runtime: 124 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 64%

Oxygen

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Netflix/YouTube

A woman with amnesia is trapped inside a pod that’s slowly running out of air in this taut sci-fi thriller. Elizabeth (Mélanie Laurent) has no idea what’s happening, or that her name is Elizabeth — she only knows that she needs to get out before she suffocates. Unfortunately, she doesn’t remember the administrator code she needs to be released. Why is she in this pod? Why can’t she remember anything? The answers are as complex as they are surprising. Genre great Alexandre Aja expertly directs Laurent, who gives a harrowing performance as Elizabeth.

  • Starring: Mélanie Laurent, Mathieu Amalric, Malik Zidi
  • Director: Alexandre Aja
  • Year: 2021
  • Runtime: 101 minutes
  • Rating: TV-14
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Time Trap

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Paladin

It’s bad enough to be trapped in a cave, but when that cave also contains a time anomaly, you’re in a lot more trouble. That’s the premise of “Time Trap,” in which some archeology students and their friends get stuck in a “time distortion” while searching for a missing professor. A few minutes might be elapsing inside the cave, but beyond its borders, entire years are going by. As the group struggles to find a way out, eras collide and things get really weird. “Time Trap” has a wonderfully retro feel, and the time distortions allow for some creative fun.

  • Starring: Andrew Wilson, Cassidy Gifford, Brianne Howey
  • Director: Mark Dennis, Ben Foster
  • Year: 2017
  • Runtime: 95 minutes
  • Rating: NR
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 62%

The Wandering Earth

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
Netflix/YouTube

“The Wandering Earth,” loosely based on the Liu Cixin novella of the same name, takes place far into the future, when the sun’s expansion threatens to destroy the Earth. A daring plan is conceived, which sees astronauts work to move the entire planet into the Alpha Centauri system using Jupiter’s gravity and a lot of engines. Naturally, things go wrong. This movie juxtaposes its cosmic crisis with the petty peccadilloes of humanity to tremendous effect. People will be people, after all, even as their literal world is coming apart.

  • Starring: Wu Jing, Qu Chuxiao, Li Guangjie
  • Director: Frant Gwo
  • Year: 2019
  • Runtime: 125 minutes
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%

The History of Future Folk

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix [January 2022]
FilmBuff/Netflix/YouTube

In the comedic “The History of Future Folk,” the musical duo Future Folk (Nils d’Aulaire and Jay Klaitz) play their alter-egos, General Trius and The Mighty Kevin, two aliens who wind up on Earth. Trius is sent to wipe out humanity so his fellow Hondonians can emigrate before their own planet is destroyed. However, bluegrass music inspires him to take the name Bill and blend in. Inept assassin Kevin shows up to kill Bill and complete the mission, but he winds up falling in love with music as well. This ultra-low-budget movie is a feel-good musical and an overlooked gem.

  • Starring: Nils d’Aulaire, Jay Klaitz, Julie Ann Emery
  • Director: John Mitchell, Jeremy Kipp Walker
  • Year: 2012
  • Runtime: 86 minutes
  • Rating: NR
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%
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S. Bukley/Shutterstock Conceptualized from then-struggling actor Sylvester Stallone, the “Rocky” franchise – featuring the iconic underdog boxer Rocky Balboa – grew to become one of the biggest and most well-known franchises of all ... Read more »

How Disney Almost Destroyed The Toy Story Franchise

Disney/Pixar The House of Mouse has made some wild decisions over the years. Still, easily one of the boldest was taking the company into the era of computer-generated imagery, working ... Read more »

Moonfall Review: Bad Moon Rising

Lionsgate Disaster picture auteur Roland Emmerich recently became the latest in a long line of filmmakers talking smack about the proliferation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe while promoting a new ... Read more »

The Ending Of Moonfall Explained

Lionsgate More than any of the other disaster pictures in director Roland Emmerich’s oeuvre, “Moonfall” is a film whose marketing centers around a mystery. Sure, audiences can expect plenty of ... Read more »

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch

Columbia Pictures/YouTube “Jumanji” is a family adventure movie about a board game where its hazards come to life whenever someone plays it. Starring Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, and Bonnie Hunt, ... Read more »

It's Time To Talk About That Surprise Mid-Credits Cameo In Jackass Forever

Joe Seer/Shutterstock This week the self-destructive, groin-punching boys are back in town with the arrival of “Jackass Forever.” Bees, bears, and balls are dropped on Johnny Knoxville and his team ... Read more »

The Best And Worst Things In Jackass Forever

Dooley Productions/Shutterstock Contains spoilers for “Jackass Forever” After 20 years throwing themselves off ramps, getting punched in the nuts, or torturing each other with tasers and snapping turtles, Johnny Knoxville ... Read more »

The Last Movie Bernie Mac Was In Before He Died

Tinseltown/Shutterstock On August 9, 2008, loved ones, fans and most of Hollywood mourned the untimely loss of comedic legend Bernie Mac, who passed away at the age of 50 due ... Read more »