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The 15 Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix in 2021

15 Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix to Watch in 2021

There are an overwhelming number of movies on Netflix to choose from these days, and even more Netflix shows to dig through. Narrowing your search down by genre can only get you so far, and it can be hard to find exactly what you’re looking for. Luckily, we spend our time picking out the best possible sci-fi movies to stream so you don’t have to waste your time looking for them. So if you’re looking for the best sci-fi and fantasy movies on Netflix for 2021, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re looking for something longer than a movie, you can also check out our list of the best sci-fi series on Netflix right now.

Prospect (2018)

Cee (Thatcher) and Damon (Duplass) check to see if the coast is clear.
Cee (Thatcher) and Damon (Duplass) check to see if the coast is clear.

Full of suspense and desperation, Prospect is a Netflix original film that delves deeply into the concepts of family, trust, and deception. When a father and daughter searching for mining work in space finally get a job, they must face unknown threats on an alien moon to mine for a very valuable material sought by many. This film is a bit slow and driven by character development, but when considering the limitations set by a relatively low budget (less than $4 million), respect for the acting and storyline must be paid. 

Director(s): Christopher Caldwell, Zeek Earl
Main Cast: Sophie Thatcher, Jay Duplass, Pedro Pascal
Runtime: 100 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6.3

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Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

John (Furlong) hands The Terminator (Schwarzenegger) a knife to prove he is a machine.
John (Furlong) hands The Terminator (Schwarzenegger) a knife to prove he is a machine.

In arguably the best James Cameron movie, the machines of Skynet are at it again. One of the many great sequels in film history, Terminator 2: Judgement Day is an encore that takes this sci-fi story above and beyond. Spoiler alert: After the first terminator fails to destroy the Connor family line in The Terminator, another is reprogrammed and sent back in the sequel to protect a young John Connor (Edward Furlong) from a new and terrifying threat: a liquid metal T-1000 (Robert Patrick), which is a more efficient killing machine in every way possible.

Director: James Cameron
Main Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong
Runtime: 137 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.5

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The Old Guard (2020)

Andy (Theron) leads her squad into the depths of a dangerous place.
Andy (Theron) leads her squad into the depths of a dangerous place.

From the Netflix sci-fi collection of original movies, The Old Guard is an action movie on Netflix worth streaming in 2021. 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.

Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Main Cast
: Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts
Runtime
: 165 minutes
IMDb Rating
: 6.7

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Star Trek (2009)

Kirk (Pine) ascends a wall of ice after crash landing on a distant planet.
Kirk (Pine) ascends a wall of ice after crash-landing on a frozen planet in Federation territory.

A superb reboot by J.J. Abrams of the classic Original Series storyline and characters, Star Trek thrills audiences with glorious action scenes, fantastic acting, and consistent Abrams lens flares. Dared to live up to his father’s legacy and trying to regain his own pride, James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) enlists in Starfleet and begins the adventure of a lifetime, befriending Leonard McCoy and, eventually, Spock. Though the two sequels to this movie weren’t quite as well-received, this revival is a triumph on its own. Star Trek also features a short-lived appearance from Chris Hemsworth as Kirk’s father, kick-starting his mega movie career.

Director: J.J. Abrams
Main Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban
Runtime: 127 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.9

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What Happened to Monday (2017)

Tuesday through Sunday (Rapace) sit and listen to their father's wise words.
Tuesday through Sunday (Rapace) sit and listen to their father’s wise words.

Jumping forward to the future: What Happened to Monday is set in a society with a strict one-child policy, which 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.

Director: Tommy Wirkola
Main Cast: Noomi Rapace, Glenn Close, Willem Dafoe
Runtime: 123 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6.9

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Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

Harold (Ferrell) sits and thinks about his life.
Harold (Ferrell) sits and thinks about his life.

Stranger Than Fiction is one of Will Ferrell’s more serious roles, but it still works as a comedy. The story follows Internal Revenue Service auditor Harold Crick as he goes about his life, only to be suddenly afflicted by narration only he can hear. Life only gets worse for him as the narration begins to affect his work, love life, and potential death.

Director: Marc Foster
Main Cast: Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman
Runtime: 113 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.5

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Inception (2010)

Cobb (DiCaprio) explains the concept of Inception to a future client (Murphy).
Cobb (DiCaprio) explains to a future client (Cillian Murphy) that he’s actually dreaming.

In a conceptual roller coaster of consistently increasing depth, Inception is Nolan’s most popular mind-bending action movie that will make you question consciousness itself. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) performs corporate espionage by hacking into people’s dreams to steal their secrets, but he’s hired to perform a seemingly impossible task: plant an idea into someone’s mind. Though at times a bit over the top, this is one of the best Christopher Nolan films ever, featuring a solid cast and use of creative film tools to wow audiences.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Main Cast
: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy
Runtime
: 148 minutes
IMDb Rating
: 8.8

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Total Recall (1990)

Quaid (Schwarzenegger) stays alert during a doubtful explanation.
Quaid (Schwarzenegger) stays alert during a doubtful explanation.

If you’re looking to watch more of the classics, this early 1990s film is a great place to start. The story follows Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who has been having a recurring dream in which he journeys to Mars. To find out more about this dream, he purchases a holiday at a corporation that deals with memory implants. Naturally, Quaid remembers that he is actually a secret agent and must take down the evil administration on the Red Planet. Take a look at our list of the best Arnold Schwarzenegger movies for more thrillers like this.

Director: Paul Verhoeven
Main Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside
Runtime: 113 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.5

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No Game No Life: Zero (2017)

Shuvi (Kayano) analyzes the scene below.
Shuvi (Kayano) analyzes the scene below.

Based on the novel series of the same name, No Game, No Life: Zero tells the story of humanity’s struggle through the great war. Despite being the only race without magic, humans must use the true power of intellect to survive. This movie is actually the prequel to a popular anime series on Netflix.

Director: Atsuko Ishizuka
Main Cast: Alexandra Bedford, Jessica Boone, Ricardo Contreras
Runtime: 110 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.5

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Stargate (1994)

Daniel (Spader) and Col. Jack (Russell) prepare to face unknown foes.
Daniel (Spader) and Col. Jack O’Neil (Russell) prepare to face the unknown.

This underrated 1990s flick is a seriously great way to nerd out to sci-fi, mythology, and interdimensional travel all at the same time. Though the overall experience is somewhat tampered by one or two performances in the movie, the action and timely special effects are a great way to enjoy the great performances from Kurt Russell and James Spader.

Director: Roland Emmerich
Main Cast: Kurt Russell, James Spader, Jaye Davidson
Runtime: 116 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.1

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Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Scott (Cera) blocks a punch from the first of the evil exes.
Scott (Cera) blocks a punch from the first of the evil exes.

There aren’t many comedy movies on Netflix that also fit within the action and drama genre, but Scott Pilgrim vs. The World isn’t your average film. Exploring a new love, Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) must face his new girlfriend’s seven evil ex-boyfriends in battle to win her heart. If you like witty sci-fi comedies with a dash of action, then dive into the world of Scott Pilgrim.

Director: Edgar Wright
Main Cast: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin
Runtime:112 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.5

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Midnight Special (2016)

Roy (Shannon) carries Alton (Martell) through a field.
Roy (Shannon) carries Alton (Martell) through a field.

Touching and full of twists, Midnight Special is a sci-fi story helmed by the creative mind of Jeff Nichols, meaning that it might not gain critical acclaim, but it will receive deserved appreciation from a keen crowd. A father (Michael Shannon) takes his young son on the run, as government officials and religious radicals take extreme interest in the young boy’s supernatural abilities. With an incredible performance from the under-appreciated Michael Shannon, this film has much more to give than just a reliable director with an inspiring story. 

Director: Jeff Nichols
Main Cast: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst
Runtime: 112 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6.6

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The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

Tam (Zhang) and Schmidt (Brühl) are dumbfounded by a scientific anomaly.
Tam (Zhang) and Schmidt (Brühl) are dumbfounded by a scientific anomaly.

A strange addition to the Cloverfield film universe, The Cloverfield Paradox takes on a new setting when dimensions collide in Earth 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 by many means, but it is a fun twist that further adds to the lore of the Cloverfield films before it, ending in a surprise that ties them all together.

Director: Julius Onah
Main Cast
: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Brühl
Runtime
: 102 minutes
IMDb Rating
: 5.5

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Real Steel (2011)

Charlie (Jackman) and Max (Goyo) approach the ring with their fighter.
Charlie (Jackman) and Max (Goyo) approach the ring with their fighter.

When Charlie Kenton’s (Hugh Jackman) life as a boxer is cut short by a change in the business, he is forced to adapt and adopt his own prize-fighting robot, simultaneously rebuilding his fragmented relationship with his son. This robot fighting movie has all the action you need.

Director: Shawn Levy
Main Cast: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Dakota Goyo
Runtime: 127 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.1

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The Mitchells vs. The Machines (2021)

The Mitchells narrowly escape death once again.
The Mitchells narrowly escape death once again.

If you’re looking for a new family sci-fi movie on Netflix, The Mitchells vs. The Machines. The plot follows a quirky and dysfunctional family with some generational communication issues between the father and college-age daughter. 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 animated series, this is a great film to enjoy with the whole family.

Directors: Michael Rianda, Jeff Rowe
Main Cast: Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph
Runtime: 113 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.8

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