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The 10 best Sigourney Weaver movies, ranked

Alien is just the tip of the iceberg in a long, important science fiction-focused career

"Sigourney Weaver" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit
Gage Skidmore

Action and science fiction movies are often a male actor’s domain. The blood, guts, and glory of a fight between good and evil were too often stereotyped as a man’s job to complete — that is, until Sigourney Weaver came along. Weaver completely broke down the gender walls put up between women and action movies, showing audiences around the globe that the ladies don’t actually need any help to defeat the bad guys. For over four decades, Weaver has continued to stick with mostly genre-heavy work, but when she’s stepped out into the realms of comedy, drama, and even biopics, the results have been just as tremendous. We’re here to celebrate the best Sigourney Weaver movies.

10. Call Jane (2022)

10. Call Jane
Genre Drama, History
Stars Elizabeth Banks, Sigourney Weaver, Chris Messina
Directed by Phyllis Nagy

This historical drama is a poignant reminder of the struggles women have faced in the United States when trying to get an abortion, a topic that is incredibly relevant in light of political upheaval in the country in recent times. Set in the 1960s, the movie follows a group of women who try to help other women get abortions in as healthy and safe a way as possible. Weaver gives a standout performance in a rare non-science fiction outing.

9. Holes (2003)

9. Holes
Genre Adventure, Family, Drama, Comedy
Stars Shia LaBeouf, Khleo Thomas, Sigourney Weaver
Directed by Andrew Davis

Weaver plays an antagonistic desert Warden who forces young children at Camp Green Lake to dig holes repeatedly as punishment for past indiscretions. This popular children’s film is based on the critically acclaimed novel of the same name. Shia LaBeouf gives a solid performance in the lead role as Stanley, the kid whose family might be tied to whatever’s hidden underground.

8. Galaxy Quest (1999)

8. Galaxy Quest
Genre Comedy, Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman
Directed by Dean Parisot

You know how we often wonder whether action actors would be able to withstand the pressures and the perils of their movies’ plotlines if they were replicated in the real world? Galaxy Quest puts that idea to the test by hilariously spoofing the Star Trek franchise. Weaver plays one of the members of a science fiction television series that must cope with real alien life that lands on the planet. Tim Allen and Alan Rickman provide awesome performances as well. Whether you like sci-fi or just great comedy movies, you’ll enjoy Galaxy Quest.

7. Gorillas in the Mist (1988)

7. Gorillas in the Mist
Genre Drama, History
Stars Sigourney Weaver, Bryan Brown, Julie Harris
Directed by Michael Apted

Weaver was at the height of her success in the 1980s when she turned to the role of Dian Fossey, a conservationist who is credited with educating the masses on gorillas before her mysterious death in Rwanda. Gorillas in the Mist brings greater appreciation for the world’s largest primates and the scientists who have worked hard to preserve their safety and health amongst world threats such as poachers. The movie uses an acclaimed mix of costume effects and actual gorillas to depict the animals in the story.

6. Heartbreakers (2001)

6. Heartbreakers
Genre Comedy, Romance, Crime
Stars Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jason Lee
Directed by David Mirkin

Weaver teams up with Jennifer Love Hewitt for this comedic buddy romp. The two women play con artists who run into obvious complications during their criminal escapades. Other stars of the movie included Gene Hackman and Ray Liotta. Female duo comedies are always a nice change of pace from the typical male-dominated buddy comedies.   

5. Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

5. Avatar: The Way of Water
Genre Science Fiction, Adventure, Action
Stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver
Directed by James Cameron

The long-awaited sequel to Avatar was even longer and more grand than the first trip to Pandora. Sigourney Weaver returns as the daughter of her character from the first film, a rare chance for an actor to play two different roles within the same movie franchise. Underwater scenes and vivid imagery helped to make this second film nearly as much of a success as the 2009 original.

4. WALL·E (2008)

Genre Animation, Family, Science Fiction
Stars Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin
Directed by Andrew Stanton

Even in her voice acting endeavors, Weaver stays true to science fiction. One of Pixar’s best movies is a silent film, a romance flick, and a call to action for environmental change. WALL-E  takes place in a desolate future in which the titular robotic character discovers the power of love after spending his entire life roaming the planet as a garbage collector. WALL-E starts a journey on a foreign spaceship, and Weaver plays the voice of the ship’s computer system.

3. Ghostbusters (1984)

3. Ghostbusters
Genre Comedy, Fantasy
Stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver
Directed by Ivan Reitman

While Ghostbusters shouldn’t have succeeded in theory, the pure charisma of the cast was what made this horror-comedy an all-time goofy fun time at the movies. Sigourney Weaver adds some much-needed feminity to a movie that otherwise would have been overbearingly masculine with the likes of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. The influence of the ghost catchers in the film inspired many further entertainment franchises, including video games like Nintendo’s Luigi’s Mansion series.

2. Avatar (2009)

2. Avatar
Genre Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Stephen Lang
Directed by James Cameron

James Cameron knows how to work an audience in the science fiction world, and he also knows that Avatar wouldn’t have been complete without the performance of Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Grace Augustine. Weaver adds a humility and human element to the world of Pandora, a beautiful universe full of native peoples called Na’vi. Cameron’s world-building is on full display in this film, and although people complain about the box office sales resulting in a bloated reputation, there is no doubt about the influence Avatar has had on recent science fiction filmmaking.

1. Alien (1979)

1. Alien
Genre Horror, Science Fiction
Stars Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright
Directed by Ridley Scott

The movie that kicked off a science fiction phenomenon, Alien is the quintessential story of intergalactic horror and adventure. Weaver plays the boldest, most heroic action heroine of the 1980s: Ellen Ripley. Her quest to survive the perils of the extraterrestrial on the spaceship Nostromo is still just as shocking and blood-curdling as it was back in the day. No matter how many other science fiction movies Weaver appears in, she’ll always owe a lot of her success to Ridley Scott’s epic.

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Shawn Laib
Shawn Laib is a freelance writer with publications such as Den of Geek,, Edge Media Network, diaTribe, SUPERJUMP…
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