As these 10 best sci-fi movies show, science fiction is a genre that is well suited to the big screen. Sci-fi movies take fantastic concepts and make them seem real and concrete. That’s why these ten movies aren’t just the best of their genre, they’re some of the best movies of all time, period.

  1. “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The year 2001 has long since passed and many of the promises of “2001: A Space Odyssey” have not come to fruition. Thankfully, one of those promises is the murderous AI of the HAL 9000. Perhaps the most celebrated of Stanley Kubrick’s films, “2001” offers a vision of the future that is as cold and stark as it is breathtaking. It is truly the best sci-fi movie ever.

  2. “Metropolis.” Long before Kubrick made his vision of the future, another auteur named Fritz Lang put his vision to film. “Metropolis” is a disturbing, dystopian story in which humanity is dramatically split between the haves and have-nots. It’s a silent, black and white film, but still absolutely riveting.

  3. “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” You really can’t mention sci-fi films without bringing up Star Wars. Sure, episode V is usually the fan favorite, but this is the movie that started it all. Stay away from the prequels, of course. They’re utter crap.

  4. “Blade Runner.” A fact that we just made up: 80% of all sci-fi movie reviews use the term “Blade Runner-esque.” The visual aesthetic of this movie set the standard for many sci-fi noirs to come. It’s dark, it’s gritty, and it looks amazing.

  5. “Planet of the Apes.” No, no, we’re not referring to the awful Tim Burton remake. The original “Planet of the Apes” is where it’s at. Charlton Heston was at his post-apocalyptic finest battling apes who had evolved beyond a now-savage human race. According to creationists, though, this movie never existed and Jurassic Park was only just released in theaters last year.

  6. “The Matrix.” This movie packs about ten times as much action as any other film on this list. It’s full of stylistic, special effects-laden violence, and we still can’t get enough of it. The sequels may have been utter crap, but the first “Matrix” qualifies as one of the best sci-fi movies ever.

  7. “District 9.” Who would have expected that a lo fi-looking allegory about apartheid from a South African director would make for one of the best sci-fi movies of all time? Apparently Peter Jackson, who stepped in to produce the movie. Good on him, because this is a movie that deserved to be made.

  8. “Children of Men.” Imagine a future where humankind can no longer reproduce. It sure would make trips to the local Wal-Mart a whole lot easier. It also makes for a brutal, visceral sci-fi movie starring the never-not-cool Clive Owen. Director Alfonso Cuarón made himself known to mainstream audiences by directing the third Harry Potter movie, but for fans of sci-fi this film is his masterpiece.

  9. “Inception.” This movie hurt our brains and we loved every minute of it. Set in a world where people can hang out in your dreams and use them to plant all sorts of crazy thoughts in your head, “Inception” was the rare big-budget blockbuster that actually challenges audiences. In addition, it’s a remarkable commentary on filmmaking itself.

  10. “12 Monkeys.” Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam was no stranger to quirky science fiction movies when he directed “12 Monkeys.” He had previously directed “Brazil,” another movie that arguably belongs on this list but just missed the cut. This dark tale of time travel and monkey-borne diseases featured an impressive cast, with Bruce Willis as the protagonist and Brad Pitt as a thoroughly crazy dude. When time travel is finally a reality, you should go back to early 1996 and catch this one at your local movie theater.