The Most Popular Sci-fi Movie: Exploring Popularity in the Genre

Choose the sci-fi movie you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 28, 2024 06:30
Step into a world of endless possibilities and embark on an intergalactic adventure with StrawPoll's ultimate ranking of the most popular sci-fi movies! From mind-bending alternate realities to mesmerizing tales of the cosmos, we've curated a list of cinematic masterpieces that have shaped and defined the science fiction genre. But we need your help to determine the ultimate fan favorite! Cast your vote for the most groundbreaking, awe-inspiring, and thought-provoking sci-fi film or suggest a hidden gem that deserves its moment in the spotlight. With countless galaxies to explore and infinite stories to uncover, the fate of our sci-fi movie ranking lies in your hands. Beam yourself into the action and join the conversation today!

What Is the Most Popular Sci-fi Movie?

  1. 1

    Star Wars (1977)

    George Lucas
    One of the most iconic and influential sci-fi movies of all time, introducing audiences to a galaxy far, far away.
    Star Wars (1977) is a science fiction film that takes place in a galaxy far, far away. It follows the story of a young farm boy named Luke Skywalker who discovers he is destined to become a Jedi Knight and help overthrow the evil Galactic Empire. With the help of his mentors Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, and his loyal friends Han Solo and Princess Leia, Luke embarks on a thrilling adventure to save the galaxy from the clutches of the Sith Lord Darth Vader.
    • Release Date: May 25, 1977
    • Genre: Science Fiction
    • Runtime: 121 minutes
    • Directed by: George Lucas
    • Produced by: Gary Kurtz, Rick McCallum
    Star Wars (1977) in other rankings
  2. 2
    The Matrix (1999)
    Jamie Zawinski (program); Church of emacs (screenshot) · Attribution
    A groundbreaking film that revolutionized the action genre and explored complex philosophical ideas.
    The Matrix is a science fiction action film released in 1999. It explores the idea that the world as perceived by humans is a simulated reality called the Matrix, created by intelligent machines to distract humanity while they use their bodies as an energy source. The story follows a computer programmer named Neo, who becomes aware of the Matrix and joins a group of rebels called the Morpheus' crew in their fight against the machines.
    • Release Date: March 31, 1999
    • Genre: Science Fiction, Action
    • Director: The Wachowskis
    • Writer(s): The Wachowskis
    • Main Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving
    The Matrix (1999) in other rankings
  3. 3

    Blade Runner (1982)

    Director: Ridley Scott
    A visually stunning film noir set in a dystopian future, exploring themes of identity and humanity.
    Blade Runner is a dystopian science fiction film set in a future Los Angeles of 2019, where genetically engineered beings known as replicants are used for dangerous tasks. The movie follows a retired police officer, known as a Blade Runner, who is assigned to track down and eliminate four fugitive replicants who have returned to Earth illegally to seek their maker. As the Blade Runner delves deeper into his investigation, he becomes embroiled in a deeper conspiracy that challenges his perception of reality and humanity.
    • Release Date: June 25, 1982
    • Running Time: 117 minutes
    • Genre: Science fiction, neo-noir
    • Director: Ridley Scott
    • Writers: Hampton Fancher, David Peoples
    Blade Runner (1982) in other rankings
  4. 4
    A heartwarming tale of a young boy and his alien friend, capturing the imaginations of audiences worldwide.
    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) is a science fiction film directed by Steven Spielberg. It tells the story of a young boy named Elliott who befriends an extraterrestrial creature stranded on Earth. As Elliott and his siblings help E.T. find a way home, they must also protect him from government agents who are determined to capture him.
    • Running Time: 115 minutes
    • Producers: Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy
    • Release Year: 1982
    • Genre: Science fiction
    • Director: Steven Spielberg
    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) in other rankings
  5. 5
    A thrilling adventure that brought dinosaurs to life on the big screen, pushing the boundaries of special effects technology.
    Jurassic Park is a science fiction adventure film released in 1993. It follows the story of a billionaire philanthropist who creates a theme park populated with cloned dinosaurs. When the park's security systems fail, a group of visitors and park staff must survive and escape from the rampaging creatures.
    • Release date: June 11, 1993
    • Runtime: 127 minutes
    • Genre: Science fiction, Adventure
    • Budget: $63 million
    • Box office: $1.029 billion
    Jurassic Park (1993) in other rankings
  6. 6
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
    Sanjay Acharya · CC BY-SA 4.0
    A classic sci-fi film from master director Steven Spielberg, exploring the possibility of alien life and communication.
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) is a science fiction film that follows the story of Roy Neary, who becomes obsessed with UFO sightings after a close encounter. As he unravels the mystery, he finds himself drawn to an enigmatic mountain where he may finally learn the truth behind his obsession.
    • Release Date: November 16, 1977
    • Director: Steven Spielberg
    • Writer: Steven Spielberg
    • Genre: Science Fiction
    • Duration: 137 minutes
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) in other rankings
  7. 7
    A mind-bending thriller that challenges the viewer's perceptions of reality, and boasts stunning visual effects.
    Inception (2010) is a science fiction action film directed by Christopher Nolan. The movie follows a skilled thief who is able to enter people's dreams and extract valuable information. He is given the task of planting an idea into a target's mind, a process known as inception. As the team delves deeper into the dream world, they encounter unexpected challenges and discover the complexities of the human subconscious.
    • Release Year: 2010
    • Genre: Science Fiction, Action
    • Running Time: 148 minutes
    • Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy
    • Writer: Christopher Nolan
  8. 8
    A fan-favorite entry in the Star Trek franchise, featuring a memorable villain and exploring themes of aging and mortality.
    Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) is a popular science fiction movie that serves as the second installment in the Star Trek film series. It was directed by Nicholas Meyer and produced by Robert Sallin. The movie follows the story of Admiral James T. Kirk and his crew as they face off against Khan Noonien Singh, a genetically enhanced superhuman who seeks revenge on Kirk. The film explores themes of friendship, sacrifice, and the consequences of playing with genetic engineering.
    • Release Date: June 4, 1982
    • Genre: Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
    • Running Time: 113 minutes
    • Budget: $11.2 million
    • Box Office: $96.8 million
    Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) in other rankings
  9. 9

    Back to the Future (1985)

    Robert Zemeckis
    A beloved time-travel adventure that has become a pop culture phenomenon, charming audiences with its humor and heart.
    Back to the Future (1985) is a science fiction adventure film that tells the story of a high school student named Marty McFly who accidentally travels back in time to 1955, where he must ensure his parents meet to secure his own existence in the future. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, this thrilling and comedic movie became a huge success and has since become a beloved classic.
    • Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure, Comedy
    • Release Date: July 3, 1985
    • Runtime: 116 minutes
    • Main Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson
    • Box Office: $389.1 million
    Back to the Future (1985) in other rankings
  10. 10
    The War of the Worlds (1953)
    Acme News Photos · Public domain
    A classic sci-fi film based on the H.G. Wells novel, depicting a Martian invasion of Earth and the struggle for survival.

Missing your favorite sci-fi movie?


Ranking factors for popular sci-fi movie

  1. Box office success
    One of the key factors in determining the popularity of a sci-fi movie is its box office performance. A movie that has made a significant amount of money is likely to be more popular among audiences.
  2. Critical reception
    The reviews and ratings from professional critics, such as those found on Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic, can help to determine the overall quality of a sci-fi movie. A film that has been well-received by critics is likely to be more popular among audiences.
  3. Audience reception
    Audience ratings and reviews, such as those found on IMDb or Letterboxd, can provide insight into how a general audience feels about a sci-fi movie. A movie with a high average rating from viewers is likely to be more popular.
  4. Awards and honors
    Movies that have been recognized with prestigious awards, such as the Oscars or Golden Globes, can be considered more popular due to their critical acclaim and recognition. Sci-fi movies that have won or been nominated for these awards likely have a strong following.
  5. Cultural impact
    The lasting influence and significance of a sci-fi movie on popular culture can indicate its popularity. Movies that have spawned sequels, spin-offs, or inspired a generation of filmmakers and fans are likely to be considered more popular.
  6. Online presence and fandom
    The level of engagement and enthusiasm of a movie's fan community can also be a key factor in its popularity. Movies with large, dedicated fanbases that participate in discussions, create fan art or fanfiction, and spread enthusiasm for the film are likely to be highly popular.
  7. Innovation and originality
    Sci-fi movies that introduce new ideas, technologies, or storytelling methods can become popular due to their contributions to the genre. Films that push the boundaries of what is possible in science fiction are often celebrated and have lasting appeal.
  8. Star power
    The presence of well-known and respected actors, directors, or creative teams can also contribute to a sci-fi movie's popularity. A film with a talented and recognizable cast and crew is more likely to draw in viewers.
  9. Theme exploration
    Sci-fi movies that tackle profound themes, such as the nature of humanity, the ethics of advanced technology, or the implications of space exploration, can resonate with audiences in a meaningful way. Films that explore these themes thoughtfully and compellingly are likely to be more popular.
  10. Re-watchability
    Finally, the re-watchability of a sci-fi movie is an important factor in its popularity. Movies that offer new insights or surprises upon re-watching or films that are enjoyable to watch multiple times can develop a devoted fan following.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular sci-fi movie. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or sci-fi film is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 206 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each sci-fi film once every 24 hours. The rank of each sci-fi film is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular sci-fi movie

Science fiction movies have been captivating audiences for over a century, taking us on thrilling journeys to other worlds and introducing us to unforgettable characters. From the classic films of the 1950s to the modern blockbusters of today, the sci-fi genre has never been more popular. But which movie reigns supreme as the most beloved of all time? At StrawPoll, we've surveyed thousands of movie fans to find out. Join us as we explore the fascinating world of sci-fi movies and discover the ultimate fan favorite.

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