Movie night is a beloved, long-standing tradition for families all around the world. With a wide variety of movies available for streaming on different platforms, deciding what to watch can be trickier than agreeing on pizza toppings. However, the rallying call in my house never changes -- everyone wants to watch sci-fi. But which movie? Thankfully Netflix has a few good options in its library. A nice mix of originals and existing classics.
Here are our favorites, current for March 2023. Get stuck in!
Read more: The Best Sci-Fi TV Shows on Netflix
It's a little generic in terms of its aesthetic, but Jung_E is a fascinating sci-fi flick focused on AI and class warfare. Directed by Yeon Sang-ho, the creator behind the acclaimed 2016 zombie flick Train to Busan, Jung_E doesn't quite hit those giddy heights, but it's still absolutely worth watching.
I might be alone in this (or in the minority) but Minority Report is -- for me -- one of the best science fiction movies of the century. Beyond its accurate and smart universe building, Minority Report is also a high octane mystery thriller unlike anything we've seen before or since. If you haven't watched it already -- you probably have -- get on it ASAP.
There's a reason this Norwegian flick was glued in Netflix's Top 10 for a while. A ragtag group must come together in the mountain ranges to contain a giant ancient troll from wreaking havoc. A solid monster movie with impressive special effects.
The Colony (2021)
I just watched The Colony recently. It's surprisingly good!
It follows a very familiar trope: Rich people returning to Earth years after abandoning it, to find it overrun by new, unknown threats. The Colony subverts some of these cliches, however, and has some surprisingly powerful things to say about the ways in which we dehumanize one another. Well worth giving a chance.
Spiderhead is the latest movie from Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski, and also stars Miles Teller, who features in that same movie.
Spiderhead isn't quite on the same level as the superlative Top Gun: Maverick, but it's still worth watching. Based on a dystopian short story published in The New Yorker, Spiderhead takes place in a state-of-the-art prison, where drug-induced experiments are taking place with the inmates.
This Spanish time travel gem should be on your radar. A mother discovers a connection to the past, which she uses for good, but the consequences for her present are catastrophic. Mirage takes unexpected routes away from the familiar aspects of this setup, creating a satisfying climax with emotional oomph.
The Mist (2007)
The Mist is great. A sci-fi horror movie based on a Stephen King story that's got some brilliantly executed horror elements. Just be aware, it has an ending that will suck the oxygen out of your lungs. Don't say you weren't warned.
Before Tom Cruise and Joseph Kosinski teamed up on Top Gun: Maverick, there was Oblivion.
Oblivion is an underrated, and now mostly forgotten, post-apocalyptic sci-fi flick where everything isn't quite what it seems. It's ambitious and incredibly beautiful. You may have missed Oblivion at the theater, but there's never been a better time to give it a chance.
The Platform (2019)
The Platform is a Spanish sci-fi horror flick with a gruesome high concept. Prisoners in a correctional facility are fed in a very unique way: Folks at the top floor get fed a ludicrous amount of food, folks below get their leftovers. Chaos ensues.
It's not perfect, but still well worth watching.
I Am Mother (2019)
An Australian-made sci-fi thriller starring Hilary Swank and Rose Byrne, I Am Mother tells the post-apocalyptic tale of Daughter, a character raised by Mother, a robot tasked with helping repopulate the Earth. Very tense, very strange, very good.
The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)
The Mitchells vs. The Machines is one of the smartest, most accessible kids movies of the last few years. It's the sort of movie kids and parents can watch together and both have a blast.
I should know, my kids have made me watch this... eight times so far? Sweet.
At CNET, we love Synchronic so much we wrote an entire article just telling people they should watch it. We called it the most underrated sci-fi flick on Netflix, and we stand by it.
It's annoying, inconsistent and often makes zero sense, but it's also really great.
The Adam Project (2022)
The Adam Project isn't a perfect movie, but it is perfect for those seeking out an easy watch for a family movie night. Ryan Reynolds does his Ryan Reynolds thing as a time-traveling pilot working with his 12-year-old self on a mission to save the future.
Look, it's a crowd pleaser!
Don't Look Up (2021)
Is this sci-fi? I think it's sci-fi.
It's sci-fi. End of discussion.
Don't Look Up is far from a perfect movie. It reeks of Hollywood faux-activism and it's too long and way too on the nose. But it still feels important and also... quite funny?
I think regardless of its flaws, Don't Look Up is a movie that has had a net positive on the world and it's worth watching.
Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Childhood (2022)
Apollo 11 1/2 is loosely based on director Richard Linklater's childhood. An animated tale set around the time of the Apollo moon landing it stars Glen Powell, Jack Black, Zachary Levi and Josh Wiggins and features a beautiful animated aesthetic.
It's a beautifully made movie you can't afford to miss.