The 15 Best Arthouse Sci-fi Films of All Time (2022)

The 15 Best Arthouse Sci-fi Films of All Time (1)

Art-house films are usually smaller films aimed at niche markets. Many art-house directors and producers create films for artistic value, they have something to say and have more value beyond mere entertainment. Though some art-house films can also be incredibly entertaining.

Art-house often transcends genres, or utilises multiple genres to create unique films. In this sense art-house and sci-fi fit together well. Science-fiction is a genre that can be utilised for anything, from big blockbusters (Independence Day) to small obscure features shot in rented garage boxes (Primer). It mixes well with other genres like horror, action, drama and art-house.

A common theme in science-fiction is the human condition, and often sci-fi concerns itself with profound questions like what it means to be human, or the meaning of life in general. This is also something sci-fi has in common with art-house. It is therefore not strange that there are a number of great art-house sci-fi films around. They range all the way from well-known classics like ‘Stalker’ to small productions like ‘Évolution’, both of which are included on this list. Many great directors have tried their hand at art-house sci-fi, in the following list a well-rounded film fan would recognise quite a few names. Here are the greatest art-house sci-fi films.

15. Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

The 15 Best Arthouse Sci-fi Films of All Time (2)

Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which a book burns. Guy Montag (played by Oskar Werner) is a fireman, which means he looks through peoples belongings to confiscate books and burn them. François Truffaut, one of the main pioneers of the ‘French New-Wave’, tackles Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel. He paints a picture of a society complacent and wilfully ignorant. People live mostly inside, communicate through their televisions and hold vapid parties just to feel ‘popular’. Most importantly they do not read books because all those stories just serve to make you uncomfortable and unhappy.

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‘Fahrenheit 451’ is one of those stories that tends to come back every generation. The more unique aspect of ‘Fahrenheit’ specifically is that the people themselves for the most part take care of their censorship. The mysterious government in the film seems to let even the book readers at rest if only they remove themselves from normal society. And most people seem rather content not to be disturbed by books; they enjoy their superficial entertainments and numbing drugs well enough. The parallels to current society in both censorship, mass-media and rise of reality tv are clear. In most societies 1984 never truly arrived (thankfully), but our complacency is all too prevalent.

14. Timecrimes (2007)

The 15 Best Arthouse Sci-fi Films of All Time (3)

‘Timecrimes’ is an inventive little sci-fi horror that follows a man who accidentally gets send back in time. What follows is like almost all time travel movies confusing and paradoxical. However, ‘Timecrimes’ is smarter than most and uses its paradoxes to up the tension and create some unforgettable images. It drops you into the action and never lets go.

The way timetravel works in this film is that the timeloop is ‘closed’: everything that happens already happened. This way of seeing timetravel clashes with the idea of free will, but seems more logical than the timetravel that can change the past (which creates paradoxes like accidentally erasing your own existence). It does change the film into an intricate chess-game of actions and reactions. Which does not mean it is not entertaining, ‘Timecrimes’ tempo and tension alone will keep you watching.

13. Repo Man (1984)

The 15 Best Arthouse Sci-fi Films of All Time (4)

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‘Repo Man’ by director Alex Cox is one of those rare films that combine all sorts of elements that seemingly should never be combined. But the stars aligned for ‘Repo Man’ and all parts fall into place to create a dynamic strange film that grew into a cult classic.

Otto (Emilio Estevez) a young punk is tricked/recruited into becoming a repo man by Bud (a fantastically sleezy Harry Dean Stanton). The rest of the plot involves a car with a high bounty on it with something mysterious in the trunk, shady government organisations and aliens.

‘Repo Man’ is a seedy little film, and it creates a world of strange and dysfunctional characters that is fantastic to watch. Gradually the bizarre plot starts slipping into these characters lives and what the watcher gets is a unique and slyly hilarious adventure.

12. Alphaville (1965)

The 15 Best Arthouse Sci-fi Films of All Time (5)

‘Alphaville’ sees another legendary French new-wave director trying his hand at science-fiction. Here Jean-Luc Godard imagines the future off-planet city of Alphaville as a dark and rigid, and populates this world with typical film-noirish characters and plot. Especially Anna Karina’s performance with her expressive eyes as the very noir Natacha von Braun is impressive. Secret Agent Lemmy Caution is send to Alphaville to find and destroy its ruler. The city and its inhabitants are for a large part dependant on the computer Alpha 60 and their society is oppressive. Love and poetry are banned in favour of logic.

‘Alphaville’ seems to have inspired many films to come. How Godard brings the computer Alpha 60 to live reminds one of HAL in ‘2001’, and the typical Godard playing with cinematic rules has been enthusiastically adopted by directors like von Trier and even Tarantino. As always Godard here experiments with cinematic language; his use of jump-cuts, extreme-close ups and the camera moving away from what we expect to see to emphasize certain details. It may not always work perfectly but it is always interesting.

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11. Évolution (2015)

The 15 Best Arthouse Sci-fi Films of All Time (6)

‘Évolution’ is a Lovecraftian vision following a young boy living on an island where there are no men, only boys and adult women. Nicolas, played by an impressive young Max Brebant, starts finding out things are not right.

‘Évolution’ is directed by Lucile Hadzihalilovic with a precise hand. There is little exposition and when Nicolas starts exploring his environment (first the island, later a nightmarelike hospital) the scenes he encounters are rarely explained. The mood is perfectly nightmarish and director Hadzihalilovic makes each shot a painting. Meant for those that like to be immersed in a unique vision.

10. Hard to be a God (2013)

The 15 Best Arthouse Sci-fi Films of All Time (7)

Director Aleksey German spent nearly 13 years shooting this dense sci-fi film. It follows a number of scientists sent to a planet where the inhabitants destroy every person who shows intellectuality. This has made the population effectively stuck in medieval times. The group of scientist have taken over parts of this realm and rule like gods.

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‘Hard to be a God’ is not easy to grasp. It is a long film, shot in beautiful black and white in long takes and it abhors any exposition. It mostly shows obscure rituals, the world it portrays is violent, dirty and the frame always crowded with objects and people not unusually covered in what is hopefully mud.

The best way to categorise ‘Hard to be a God’ is probably that it echoes a twisted, nihilistic Tarkovsky film. The look of the film is comparable to ‘Andrei Rublev’; with its numerous peasants drudging through the mud and rain, but without the spiritual elements to hypnotise you. ‘Hard to be a God’ is, well, a hard watch. It is violent, uncompromising, and uncomfortable. But it is an absolutely unique experience.

9. Midnight Special (2016)

The 15 Best Arthouse Sci-fi Films of All Time (8)

After two highly acclaimed films (‘Take Shelter’, ‘Mud’) Jeff Nichols made this lesser-known sci-fi gem. ‘Midnight Special’ follows a father and son on the run from the authorities; the son is assumed to have special abilities the government would like to get their hands on.

‘Midnight Special’ is something of a science-fiction fairy-tale. It takes you on a tense ride, with themes of fatherhood and ethics along the way. As always Michael Shannon gives a fantastic performance, and “Midnight Special’s” final conclusion is one of beauty. You don’t need to know too much about it, just dive in.

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FAQs

Is Blade Runner an arthouse? ›

To some, beloved films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner constitute arthouse sci-fi, even with their massive budgets and wide releases.

What makes a film arthouse? ›

An art-house film is a film that is intended to be a serious artistic work rather than a piece of popular entertainment.

What is scientifically the best movie? ›

Here's a list of sci-fi movies that take scientific accuracy into careful consideration.
...
Sci-Fi Movies That Are Actually Scientifically Accurate
  1. 1 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  2. 2 Her. ...
  3. 3 Contact. ...
  4. 4 Gattaca. ...
  5. 5 Interstellar. ...
  6. 6 The Martian. ...
  7. 7 Arrival. ...
  8. 8 Blade Runner 2049. ...
26 Jan 2022

Is Blade Runner 2049 an art house? ›

Against a production budget of $150 million and who-knows for marketing, Blade Runner only managed to secure $259 million worldwide and was dubbed by one producer as "the most expensive art house movie in cinema history," according to director Denis Villeneuve in a new interview with the Telegraph.

Is Blade Runner 2049 an arthouse film? ›

'Blade Runner 2049': An art house film masquerading as a blockbuster.

What are the top 5 highest grossing movies of all time? ›

So keep your eyes here, and check in with our weekly weekend box office wrap-ups.
  • $2.847 Billion. Avatar (2009) ...
  • $2.798 Billion. Avengers: Endgame (2019) ...
  • $2.202 Billion. Titanic (1997) ...
  • $2.070 Billion. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) ...
  • $2.048 Billion. Avengers: Infinity War (2018) ...
  • $1.901 Billion. ...
  • $1.671 Billion. ...
  • $1.663 Billion.
12 Aug 2022

What is the top 10 selling sci fi franchise? ›

10 Highest-Grossing Sci-Fi Movie Franchises Of All Time
  1. 1 Marvel Cinematic Universe - $22.6 Billion.
  2. 2 Star Wars - $10.3 Billion. ...
  3. 3 Jurassic Park/World - $5 Billion. ...
  4. 4 Transformers - $4.8 Billion. ...
  5. 5 The Hunger Games - $2.9 Billion. ...
  6. 6 Avatar - $2.8 Billion. ...
  7. 7 Star Trek - $2.3 Billion. ...
  8. 8 Planet Of The Apes - $2.1 Billion. ...
24 Mar 2021

Is Avatar still the highest grossing movie? ›

Entertainment. The blue Na'vi from Avatar continue to top the list of the most successful films at the box office. The movie, which is now thirteen years old, has grossed around $2.85 billion at cinemas worldwide - just ahead of Marvel's Avengers.

Why is it called arthouse? ›

Art house is a film genre which encompasses films where the content and style – often artistic or experimental – adhere with as little compromise as possible to the filmmakers' personal artistic vision.

What is another term for the art house? ›

Synonyms & Near Synonyms for art house. art theater, cinematheque.

Is midsommar an arthouse? ›

I liked 'Midsommar' better when Nicolas Cage was in it. Ari Aster has been praised for his brand of “arthouse horror,” delivering thoroughly unsettling films while simultaneously exploring mature emotional themes.

What is the most scientifically accurate movie according to NASA? ›

Three of the Most Scientifically Accurate Sci-Fi Space Movies
  • The Martian (2015) The production crew of The Martian took great pains to be scientifically accurate, as did the book's writer Andy Weir. ...
  • Interstellar (2014) Interstellar is known for being very accurate when it comes to the visual effects. ...
  • Contact (1997)

Will there be another movie like Interstellar? ›

Tenet (2020) Christopher Nolan's return to the sci-fi genre was just as ambitious and mind-bending a project as Interstellar with the story revolving around a more grounded world of spies and supervillains but with a time travel twist.

Does sci-fi have to be scientifically accurate? ›

So your movie absolutely should be engaging, well-structured and well-executed, but it doesn't need to be accurate. If you want to gain some genuine scientific knowledge, go read a book. (In fact, go read my book!) Most scientists I know actually find sci-fi movies pretty ridiculous and laughable.

Will there be a director's cut of Blade Runner 2049? ›

Scott has tinkered with his Blade Runner over the years, resulting in various cuts of the film being released, but director Denis Villeneuve has no plans to alter Blade Runner 2049—even if fans are clamoring to see a rumored much longer cut of the movie.

What was the budget for Blade Runner 2049? ›

The biggest problem is that "Blade Runner 2049," a nearly three-hour-long sequel to a thinking man's cult sci-fi movie, ended up with a production budget estimated to be between $150 and $185 million.

Who directed Dune 2021? ›

Dune (titled onscreen as Dune: Part One) is a 2021 American epic science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve from a screenplay by Villeneuve, Jon Spaihts, and Eric Roth. It is the first part of a two-part adaptation of the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert, primarily covering the first half of the book.

Who made Blade Runner 2049? ›

Blade Runner 2049 is a 2017 American neo-noir science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green.

What is the most viewed movie of all time? ›

The Most Watched Movies of all time according to IMDB.
  • Titanic. DVD - 2012. /> ...
  • E. T. The Extra-terrestial. ...
  • The Wizard of Oz. DVD - 2009. /> ...
  • Star Wars. A New Hope. DVD - 2020. ...
  • Lord of the Rings. The Return of the King. DVD - 2004. ...
  • Terminator 2. Judgment Day. DVD - 2017. ...
  • The Lion King. DVD - 2011. /> ...
  • The Godfather. DVD - 2008. />
11 Aug 2022

Has any movie grossed 1 billion? ›

Total gross revenue: $1,000,000,000

It took over three months, but "Jurassic World Dominion" crossed $1 billion worldwide. The sequel likely crossed the number thanks, in part, to the original "Jurassic Park" cast returning to the big screen and teaming up with the newer "Jurassic World" cast in this entry.

What is the best fantasy franchise? ›

Harry Potter and the Wizarding World

The Harry Potter fantasy franchise is easily, aside from maybe Star Wars, the one on this list that has the most expansive and far-reaching universe.

Is Godzilla considered sci fi? ›

Science Fiction; Horror; War Drama.

How successful is Star Trek as a franchise? ›

Based on revenue estimates, the Star Trek franchise, created by Eugene Wesley "Gene" Roddenberry (USA, 1921–1991), is the most successful science-fiction brand originating on TV, worth in excess of $6 billion.

Who is the highest paid actor of all time? ›

Tom Cruise is the highest paid Hollywood actor, earning more than $100 million for Top Gun: Maverick, followed by Will Smith. Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel and Joaquin Phoenix all earned between earned $20-30 million.

Did no way home beat Avatar? ›

Spider-Man: No Way Home Beats Out Avatar

Spider-Man: No Way Home recently beat out Avatar to become the third highest-grossing film of all-time in the United States as it crossed $760 million in box office revenue.

What's the lowest grossing movie of all time? ›

Zyzzyx Road was released on DVD in 23 countries, including Bulgaria, Indonesia, and Portugal. By the end of 2006, it had earned around $368,000.

What are artsy movies called? ›

Some people call them art movies, independent films, indie films, arthouse films, auteur films ("auteur" is a French word which means "author") or experimental films.

How do you read an arthouse movie? ›

A Beginner's Guide to Art House Cinema - YouTube

Is the lighthouse an arthouse film? ›

1) The Lighthouse

The film was directed by Robert Eggers and is one of the must-watch arthouse horror films.

What is horror art called? ›

What is scary art called? Scary art goes by different names including Dark Art, Macabre Art, and Morbid Art. Regardless of its name, each one shares elements of horror.

Is Hereditary or Midsommar better? ›

While I find Midsommar to be an experience like no other, I still think Hereditary is the superior film since it sticks to the ribs, heart, and mind so much more. So, Hereditary wins! I would love to say that a new Ari Aster film is in the cards for the 2021 new movie releases, but unfortunately, there isn't one.

What is surreal horror? ›

This is where Surreal Horror comes in. It's not just nightmare-inducing; it's nightmarish in a literal way, by being surreal, disjointed, dreamlike, and filled with bizarre imagery, usually saying goodbye to all logic and sanity in the process.

Why is Gattaca so good? ›

Gattaca's story is both simple and brilliant: in the future, genetic manipulation allows parents to do what all parents are driven to—give their children the very best they can. In this case, that means genes that'll make them healthier, smarter, stronger, and allow them to live longer lives.

Is Jurassic Park scientifically accurate NASA? ›

The film was originally supported by NASA. The NASA scientists also voted on scientifically accurate sci-fi films and this list included Gattaca, Metropolis, Jurassic Park, Contact, and Blade Runner.

Is Jurassic Park scientifically accurate? ›

Paleontologists have uncovered countless dinosaur fossils since the original "Jurassic Park" movie came out in 1993. The discoveries have changed their understanding of how dinosaurs looked, sounded, and acted. Most of the creatures we see on screen throughout the franchise are not scientifically accurate.

Which movies are better than Interstellar? ›

More Trippy Movies Like Interstellar
  • Passengers (2016)
  • Contact (1997)
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  • After Earth (2013)
  • Looper (2012)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
  • Inception (2010)
  • Solaris (2002)
25 Apr 2021

Is there any film like 365 days? ›

While nothing out there presents exactly the same style as 365 Days has adopted, there are many similar films that have been released over the past ten years outside the polish thriller and the Fifty Shades of Grey series.

Is interstellar 2 confirmed? ›

It is expected to be released in 2022. Interstellar 2 is a game developed by DICE and published by Electronic Arts. The game was supposed to be released in 2040, but it is not yet clear if the release date has been pushed back or not.

What space movie is most accurate? ›

To answer the original question, the space movies with the most accurate physics are Contact, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Apollo 13. The movies with the least accurate physics are the Star Wars and Star Trek series.

Is foundation hard sci fi? ›

The term is formed by analogy to the popular distinction between the "hard" (natural) and "soft" (social) sciences, although there are examples generally considered as "hard" SF, such as Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, built on mathematical sociology.

Is Greenland scientifically accurate? ›

However, Greenland suffers from a scientific standpoint in two major areas - one being the lack of clarity in tracking the comet's path, and how such impending predictions are monitored in general, which almost always result in evacuation in dire scenarios.

What is the message behind Blade Runner? ›

A moral message of the movie is that it was wrong to enslave the replicants and use them as forced labor since they were so human-like in both appearance and thought process.

What is the theme of Blade Runner? ›

The film delves into the future implications of technology on the environment and society by reaching into the past using literature, religious symbolism, classical dramatic themes and film noir.

Why is Blade Runner so popular? ›

It later became a cult film, and has since come to be regarded as one of the all-time best science fiction films. Hailed for its production design depicting a high-tech but decaying future, Blade Runner is often regarded as both a leading example of neo-noir cinema as well as a foundational work of the cyberpunk genre.

Does Harrison Ford like Blade Runner? ›

Harrison Ford wasn't a big fan of Blade Runner after its 1982 release, but has more recently changed his opinion of the movie - here's why. Although Harrison Ford originally didn't have a very positive mindset about Blade Runner, there's a clear reason why his opinion about the film changed later on.

Why are there so many Asians in Blade Runner? ›

The original Blade Runner was made during a period of increased Chinese immigration into American cities – the number of American residents of Chinese origin had doubled since 1970 and would double again by 1990 – making Ridley Scott's heavily Chinese-influenced 2019 Los Angeles a realistic possibility and a reflection ...

What does the unicorn represent in Blade Runner? ›

The fact that Gaff then leaves behind a silver origami unicorn is meant to the indicate that he knows Deckard's dreams… indicating that those dreams were perhaps implanted, just like Rachael's memories… which would mean that Deckard may actually be a replicant.

Is Deckard a human or replicant? ›

Deckard takes the Voight-Kampff test and passes, confirming that he is a human. Harrison Ford, who played Deckard in the film, has said that he did not think Deckard is a replicant, and has said that he and director Ridley Scott had discussions that ended in the agreement that the character was human.

Why did Roy put a nail in his hand? ›

Stabbing His Hand Is A Tactical Decision

The anti-villain is dying in the middle of fighting Deckard, with his pale hand exhibiting signs of shutting down as Roy's replicant body gives up on its existence. To keep himself in the fight a little longer, Roy jams a nail into his hand.

Why did Roy save Deckard? ›

The first, and most obvious reason Batty spared Deckard's life is to demonstrate that he (Batty) understood the value of life, and what it meant to be “good”, better than Deckard, the supposed protagonist of the story.

Why are replicants hunted? ›

In order to eliminate those who rebelled against humans, special police units, or Blade Runners, were assigned to hunt down, as witnessed in the case of Dave Holden, who is seen administering the Voight-Kampff test on Leon Kowalski, and is shot by him.

Is Blade Runner considered a masterpiece? ›

Warner Bros. ' "Blade Runner" opened on June 25, 1982 and received a mediocre reception upon release and was nowhere near the influential masterwork that's now considered to be one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time.

Why is Blade Runner considered a masterpiece? ›

It's because the full force of the film with all of its production design, its heady themes, its score that stabs at the soul, its wounded characters and dystopian atmosphere - it's all building to this moment, where a machine becomes a man by quoting poetry into the rain as he dies.

Which Blade Runner is the best? ›

Plot wonkiness aside, Blade Runner: The Final Cut is undeniably the best version of the film. And, although it's streaming at the moment, your best bet is to watch it on Blu-ray on a big screen. And that's because the biggest difference with the Final Cut is that it just looks better.

Did Blade Runner win any Oscars? ›

Blade Runner

What is Harrison Ford's favorite role? ›

That's what makes it so surprising to learn what his actual favorite role of all time is. In an interview initially published by Gannett News, Ford reveals that he believes his best role ever is Allie Fox in "The Mosquito Coast."

Will there be another Blade Runner after 2049? ›

Blade Runner 2099, a sequel to the original and 2049, will be an Amazon Prime series rather than a movie. There are many possible reasons for this. Blade Runner 2049 is getting a follow-up in the form of Blade Runner 2099, but the new Blade Runner sequel will be a TV series rather than a movie.

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