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The 14 best sci-fi movies on Netflix in 2023

These sci-fi movies are sure to make even the most skeptical viewer pay attention

Poster for The Mitchells vs The Machines
Red John/Flickr

Have you ever found yourself looking through all the movies on Netflix, only to find that actually choosing one to watch is very taxing? That’s not even mentioning all the Netflix shows to dig through. If you know you’re looking for a particular kind of movie, that can help, but even then, there can be too many movies to choose from. Luckily, we’ve been watching tons of great sci-fi movies, and have already determined which ones rise to the top of the pile on Netflix. So if you’re looking for the best sci-fi movies on Netflix this year, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re looking for something that will keep you occupied for a whole weekend, you can also check out our list of the best sci-fi series on Netflix right now.

65 (2023)

Genre Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Stars Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman
Directed by Scott Beck, Bryan Woods
Dinosaurs are always fun for adults and children alike. Adam Driver stars in this special effects extravaganza when he tries to traverse his way through a past version of earth from 65 million years ago. The fighting scenes and the different types of monsters are both entertaining and easy to consume, making this a true popcorn flick.

Dune (1984)

Genre Action, Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars Kyle MacLachlan, Francesca Annis, Patrick Stewart
Directed by David Lynch
Most people know about the recent version of Dune, but the 1984 adaptation of the great science-fiction novel is a decent encapsulation of the time period in which it was made. The same basic plot about Paul Atreides fighting for control of Arrakis can be found here. The modern update is better, but film buffs should want to see this first go-around of the book-to-screen hit.

The Old Guard (2020)

The Old Guard
70 %
r 125m
Genre Action, Fantasy
Stars Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts
Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood
From the Netflix sci-fi collection of original movies, The Old Guard is an action movie on Netflix that’s definitely worth checking out. The story follows a warrior named Andy (Charlize Theron) and her covert group of immortal mercenaries who have been protecting the mortal world for centuries.

What Happened to Monday (2017)

What Happened to Monday
47 %
r 123m
Genre Science Fiction, Thriller, Drama, Mystery
Stars Noomi Rapace, Marwan Kenzari, Christian Rubeck
Directed by Tommy Wirkola
Jumping forward to the future: What Happened to Monday is set in a society with a strict one-child policy that is enforced by an armed and dangerous federation army. A group of identical septuplets (Noomi Rapace) attempt to live a single life as one, all assigned to and named after a day of the week. When Monday suddenly goes missing, it’s up to the rest of the family to find her and stay alive.

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

The Cloverfield Paradox
37 %
pg-13 102m
Genre Horror, Science Fiction, Action, Thriller
Stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daniel Brühl, Chris O'Dowd
Directed by Julius Onah
A strange addition to the Cloverfield film universe, The Cloverfield Paradox takes on a new setting when dimensions collide in Earth’s orbit. While a space station crew circling the planet searches for a new source of energy to prevent global war, they happen upon an alternate reality that begins to crudely overlap with their own. This film isn’t a must-see, but it is a fun twist that further adds to the lore of the Cloverfield films before its ending manages to tie all three movies together.

The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)

The Mitchells vs. the Machines
81 %
pg 114m
Genre Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Science Fiction, Action
Stars Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph
Directed by Michael Rianda
If you’re looking for a fairly new family sci-fi movie on Netflix, The Mitchells vs. The Machines is the perfect place to start. The plot follows a quirky and dysfunctional family that have some trouble communicating with one another. When the father (Danny McBride) decides to take a road trip to reconnect with his daughter (Abbi Jacobson), they find themselves stuck in a car together as the only humans who can stop the sudden robot apocalypse. If you’re a fan of fairly manic animated series, this is a great film to enjoy with the whole family.

Don't Look Up (2021)

Don't Look Up
Genre Comedy, Science Fiction
Stars Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep
Directed by Adam McKay
Adam McKay’s latest sprawling ensemble comedy is more like speculative fiction than hard sci-fi, but it nonetheless gets its point across. The film follows a pair of lowly astronomers who discover that a massive comet is on a collision course with Earth, and they have to convince anyone with real power to do something about it. The movie is about humanity’s inability to deal with an actual emergency and how willing we all seem to be to just let the world end. It also features one of the more insane casts ever assembled for a single film.
DON'T LOOK UP | Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence | Official Trailer | Netflix

Stowaway (2021)

Genre Science Fiction, Drama, Thriller, Adventure
Stars Anna Kendrick, Toni Collette, Daniel Dae Kim
Directed by Joe Penna
Telling the story of a three-person manned space mission that is faced with a moral dilemma after a fourth person is discovered onboard, jeopardizing all of their lives. Although the set design is excellent here, what makes Stowaway so fun is the way it uses its high-concept, sci-fi trappings to tell a story that is basically just a series of conversations. There’s no other-worldly threat to be dealt with here, just four people trying to deal with the unexpected ramifications of a difficult, emotional situation.
Stowaway | Official Trailer | Netflix

Okja (2017)

Genre Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Stars Tilda Swinton, Ahn Seo-hyun, Paul Dano
Directed by Bong Joon-ho
Voted the movie most likely to commit anyone who watches it to veganism five-years running, Okja is the movie Bong Joon-ho directed before he made the Oscar-winning Parasite. The movie tells the story of a relationship between a young girl and the super-pig she has been charged with raising, and it’s really about the way that animal suffering on a mass scale is tolerated because of the human desire for cheap meat. It’s a heartbreaking movie, one that is likely to leave you indignant about all the ways that the real farming industrial complex abuses animals all over the world.
Okja | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

The Platform (2019)

The Platform
Genre Drama, Science Fiction, Thriller
Stars Iván Massagué, Antonia San Juan, Zorion Eguileor
Directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
A movie with one of the clearest metaphors ever created, The Platform is a Spanish-language sci-fi movie set in a prison with more than 100 different levels. There are two roommates on each level, and the catch is that a platform descends every day containing food. Those at the top eat first, and those at the bottom are left with what’s left. The movie executes this premise perfectly, reminding us that, if everyone simply ate their share, there would be more than enough food for everyone to get a meal.
The Platform | Main Trailer | Netflix

The Midnight Sky (2020)

The Midnight Sky
Genre Science Fiction, Drama
Stars George Clooney, Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo
Directed by George Clooney
A fairly small-scale sci-fi effort that both stars and was directed by George Clooney, The Midnight Sky follows a reclusive scientist living alone in the arctic in the near future in the wake of a cataclysmic disaster on Earth. The scientist becomes determined to warn a crewed mission currently in space about the situation on earth, and eventually discovers a little girl living on the base with her. The movie is thrilling in spite of its relative smallness, and it’s also much more thoughtful and contemplative than your typical sci-fi movie.
THE MIDNIGHT SKY starring George Clooney | Official Trailer | Netflix

The Adam Project (2022)

The Adam Project
Genre Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Ryan Reynolds, Walker Scobell, Mark Ruffalo
Directed by Shawn Levy
A time travel saga about a man who has to team up with his 12-year-old self to save the world, The Adam Project is able to wring plenty of poignant emotion out of this conceit. Time travel stories can go a number of different ways, and Ryan Reynolds certainly knows how to deliver a solid joke. For every witty one-liner that The Adam Project has, though, there are also plenty of moments of genuine emotion. Thanks to a cast that also includes Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner, all of those moments work, and they make the movie around them stronger.
The Adam Project | Official Trailer | Netflix

Awake (2021)

Genre Drama, Science Fiction, Thriller
Stars Gina Rodriguez, Ariana Greenblatt, Lucius Hoyos
Directed by Mark Raso
A Netflix original, Awake tells the story of a former soldier who discovers that her daughter may hold the cure for a pandemic of insomnia that is ravaging the planet. Gina Rodriguez stars as that mother figure, and Awake gives her plenty of time to shine as a caretaker who is trying to balance her daughter’s own needs with the implications for the wider world. Awake takes some smart twists and turns along the way, but it’s engaging from its opening moments because of its strong premise.
AWAKE | Official Trailer | Netflix

The Discovery (2017)

The Discovery
Genre Drama, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Stars Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Robert Redford
Directed by Charlie McDowell
A bracingly smart, complicated movie, The Discovery is all about how the world would change if it was proved that an afterlife existed. That discovery has ramifications for the world and for the movie’s central characters, who are attempting to navigate their own relationship with death against a radically new understanding of what leaving this world might mean. Charlie McDowell’s direction is smart and assured, and the movie is tender, loving, and also devastating at times.
The Discovery | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

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Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance culture writer based in upstate New York. His work has been published in The Washington Post, The…
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