10 Best Alien Movies

27 June 2019
Our favourite alien invasions - friendly or not!

Prepare for an invasion this Sunday night on M-Net, as The Predator lands on your screen at 20:30. The alien subgenre of sci-fi is as vast as outer space, and it’s not easy picking a top ten. It’s tough leaving out titles such as Arrival, Species, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and The Thing, but since your Sunday night movie features one of the awesomest aliens of all movie time, it’s up to us to whittle our list.

Here they are, in alphabetical order. Don’t agree with our top ten? Drop your faves on social media.

  1. Aliens (1986)

No alien movie list would be complete without the franchise that’s literally called the Alien franchise. It started in 1979 with Ridley Scott’s space horror Alien, featuring the gross, gooey, and truly terrifying Giger-designed extraterrestrial and introducing us to Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley. The latest instalment, Alien: Covenant, was released in 2017, and the franchise even crossed over with Predator twice. But out of the various sequels, prequels, and crossovers, many fans and critics agree that the second movie, 1986’s Aliens – directed by James Cameron – is the strongest entry.

MORE HERE: Ten best movie sequels.

  1. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Aliens of the friendlier kind made their way into cinemas in this Steven Spielberg film. Starring Richard Dreyfus and French filmmaker François Truffaut, it follows the lights, mystery, and intrigue of UFO encounters in the American Midwest.

MORE HERE: Top five Steven Spielberg movies.

  1. District 9 (2009)

We hit the streets of Jo’burg in this South African-set sci-fi, which sees our sympathy veering more towards the aliens than the humans. However, we do find a thread of humanity through protagonist Wikus van der Merwe, played by Sharlto Copley in his feature film debut. Despite major international backing, the story, setting, director, cast, and characters make it feel 100% Mzansi.

MORE HERE: Celebrities with South African roots.

  1. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

It’s been established before that Spielberg movies will tug at your heartstrings, and this post-Close Encounters feature is one of those. A stranded extraterrestrial will make you lose your heart, as will a young Drew Barrymore, in this family film for the ages.

MORE HERE: Eight wedding movies.

  1. Independence Day (1996)

Getting back to the bad side of alien attacks is this ‘90s classic from master of disaster Roland Emmerich. Obliterating cities and blowing up the White House go hand in hand with a wise-cracking, alien-punching Will Smith and a smarter-than-all-the-rest Jeff Goldblum trying to knock sense into more ignorant characters (again).

MORE HERE: The best Hollywood explosions.

  1. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Alien attacks sometimes come from the most unlikely places, and in this rock musical it comes from an all-singing, all-killing Venus flytrap from outer space. The premise may sound ridiculous, but it’s all a ridiculous amount of fun revolving around love, music, and taking over planet Earth. This ensemble of elements is backed by a Greek chorus, with many dark chuckles originating from Steve Martin’s sadistic dentist.

MORE HERE: Ten best movie musicals.

  1. Mars Attacks! (1996)

On the note of ridiculousness, there’s this Martian romp from Tim Burton. Filled with eye-popping visuals, colourful characters, a zany sense of humour, and an endless array of A-listers having the time of their lives, Mars Attacks! offers tons of OTT, alien-attacking fun.

MORE HERE: Ten great actor-director collaborations.

  1. Men in Black (1997)

A mere year after Independence Day Will Smith met more aliens, as Agent J in Men in Black. Perfectly foiled by his dry, older counterpart in the form of Tommy Lee Jones, this pair is just the team to have around when aliens break bad. The film was followed by two sequels and an animated series. This year the franchise was revived with Men in Black: International, starring dream team Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson as MiB agents.

MORE HERE: Ten things you didn't know about Will Smith.

  1. Predator (1987)

Need to get rid of an evil beastie from outer space? Arnold Schwarzenegger is your man. He rumbles through the jungle in this sci-fi classic, in search of a dreadlocked, trophy-gathering alien who one-ups humans in almost every conceivable way. Arnie starts the search with a whole guerilla force to take down the beastie, but the hunters soon become the hunted until the Austrian Oak is the last man standing. The film was followed by three sequels (which includes your SNM, The Predator) and the above-mentioned crossovers.

MORE HERE: Top five Arnold Schwarzenegger roles.

  1. War of the Worlds

The history of this Martian invasion story starts all the way back in 1898 when the H.G. Wells' novel was released. Adaptations since then have included radio dramas, TV shows, and movies – including the 2005 Steven Spielberg version starring Tom Cruise. With the story’s focus on weaponry, space travel, and colonisation, adaptations continue to this day as the novel’s themes remained as pertinent today as they were in the 19th century.

The Predator is ready for ambush. Watch the attack in your #SundayNightMovie on 30 June at 20:30 on M-Net channel 101.