Best sci-fi movies with 90%+ on Rotten Tomatoes

a man in cloak stands in the desert watching a massive explosion in the distance
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

It is certainly no mean feat to achieve a Rotten Tomatoes score above 90% from both the critics and the audience members. In fact, when it comes to the sci-fi genre in particular, there’s tough competition and even tougher opinions on the different approaches and themes that are dreamt up and tackled on the big screen. 

You may wonder what tales of dystopia, space, time hopping, and otherworldly beings can secure such a rating across the board. Luckily, you’re in the right place to find out. We’ve a list full of exactly that set on a backdrop of adventure and spanning a real expanse of time, from the 1900s to the present day. Proving, well and truly, that age is just a number. 

There are the best sci-fi movies of all time to explore too, of course, and while there’s some crossover from our list, you’ll be surprised by the difference. RT allows the public eye to review these titles with scrutiny and, in turn, awe. So, let’s jump into the 15 best sci-fi movies. 

If you're looking for something to watch and the entries in this guide are what you like, you should check out our guides for the best sci-fi movies and TV shows to stream on Disney Plus, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Paramount Plus.

Backwards Faces

The two main characters from the movie "Backwards Faces" are sitting on a bed with their backs turned to eachother

(Image credit: Boredumb Pictures)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 100% / Audience 98% 
  • Release date: December 4, 2022 
  • Cast: Lennon Sickles, Andrew Morra 
  • Stream on: Amazon Prime (US/UK); Tubi (Aus) 

In the 100% club and the frontrunner on Rotten Tomatoes, 2022's Backwards Faces is an indie sci-fi flick tackling the multiverse in a unique way and with adoring fans. At just over an hour long, the story unfolds with just two actors throughout; Lennon Sickels as Sydney and Andrew Morra as Ken. 

After a one-night stand, theoretical physics student Sydney is far too intrigued to walk out the door once she learns Ken claims to be from an alternate universe. Complex in its theme, much like any sci-fi tale, it tackles it with a lighthearted humor that balances it out prompting its RT score. It's an indie though, so the critic and audience reviews are far less than the bigger titles on our list. But, they still generate an extremely positive response across the board.

Quantum Cowboys

A screenshot from the movie "Quantum Cowboys" where three cowboys are riding slowly on horses with the moon in the sky

(Image credit: Fit Via Fi Film Productions)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 100% / Audience 93% 
  • Release date: June 13, 2022 
  • Cast: Kiowa Gordon, Lily Gladstone, John Way 
  • Stream on: Crunchyroll (US/UK); not available in Aus 

Bet you didn't think you'd be rambling through 1870s Southern Arizona on horseback on a list full of science fiction, but here we are. Quantum Cowboys is the tale of two drifters, Frank (Kiowa Gordon) and Bruno (John Way) as they help Linde (Lily Gladstone) on her quest to regain her land and an elusive musician.

Traversing landscapes, genres, and formats, this sci-fi Western is full of psychedelic animation sprinkled with live-action scenes. Prompting The Curb to call it a "mind bender that will have you on the edge of sensory overload." 

A Trip to the Moon

A screenshot from the movie "A Trip To The Moon" in which a pod has landed in the moon's eye and the moon cries out

(Image credit: Star-Film)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 100% / Audience 90% 
  • Release date: September 1, 1902 
  • Cast: Georges Méliès, Victor André 
  • Stream on: HBO Max (US); Amazon Prime (UK); Mubi (Aus) 

Widely considered to be the first sci-fi film ever created, A Trip to the Moon was created by French magician, actor, and director Georges Méliès. Despite its 1902 release date, it still stands strong as a true inspiration for films that have followed. 

This movie was inspired by a novel by famed author Jules Verne. If you've got an interest in the sci-fi genre, consider this movie an important piece of its history. As the title suggests, it's a trip to the moon. And, the space capsule on which they travel into the galaxy stands strong as an iconic image of the sci-fi genre when silent film was at the fore.

Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes

A screenshot from the movie "Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes" where three men look surprised around an apple computer

(Image credit: Arts Council Tokyo)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 99% / Audience 90% 
  • Release date: June 5, 2020 
  • Cast: Kazunari Tosa, Riko Fujitani, Gôta Ishida 
  • Stream on: Apple TV/Amazon Prime (US/UK); not available in Aus 

What would you do if you could predict the future… by two minutes? Cafe owner, Kato, discovers that the TV in his establishment shows him this very thing. Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is joyous sci-fi filmed on just an iPhone in a single location during the midst of the pandemic.

With an impressive Rotten Tomatoes score from critics at 99%, the National Post describes Yamaguchi's work as "an intricate and supremely enjoyable puzzle-box of a story, bursting with charm and momentum in equal measure." 


Ellen Ripley looks directly at the camera with her arms folded while other characters pose behind her

(Image credit: Twentieth Century Fox)
  •  Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 98% / Audience 94% 
  •  Release date: August 29, 1986 
  •  Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn 
  •  Stream on: HBO Max (US); Disney Plus (UK/Aus) 

Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) returns to the Aliens franchise after surviving her first run-in aboard the Nostromo. As a direct sequel and with her previous successful escape, Ellen is called upon once again to make contact with aliens after communications with a human colony on the Moon go cold.

Aliens is the second title in the popular franchise (that boasts eight in total with another on the way), but it rates a little higher from critics with an impressive 98% RT score. Released seven years after the first, James Cameron took over directing from Ridley Scott, and he took on the writing too. We'll discuss Alien later on in our list.


A metal robot receives an electrical surge

(Image credit: Universum Film)
  •  Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 97% / Audience 92%
  •   Release date: September 26, 1927 
  •  Cast: Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich  
  •  Stream on: Fubo TV/hoopla (US); BFI Player (UK); Tubi/Plex (Aus) 

Fritz Lang's Metropolis explores a city of the future with a class divide that threatens to crumble the entire civilization. The wealthy on top and laborers underground is a structure that slowly unravels as themes of political lopsidedness and dystopian fantasy seep through the 2-hour and 33-minute runtime.

In 1927, a foray into the sci-fi genre was progressive, even 25 years after A Trip to the Moon, and its execution back then has made it a firm favorite. Lauded for its ability to make an entirely silent movie about science incredibly compelling, it led critics such as the New York Daily News to call it, "drop-dead stunning".

They Cloned Tyrone

Screenshot from the movie "They Cloned Tyrone" where the three main characters are sat in a car

(Image credit: Federal Films)
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 95% / Audience 100%
  • Release date: June 14, 2023 
  • Cast: John Boyega, Teyonah Parris, Jamie Foxx
  • Stream on: Netflix (US/UK/Aus)

Trio, Fontaine, Yo-Yo, and Slick Charles are thrust together by weird events that suggest there's a government conspiracy that needs disclosing. They may first meet in less-than-legal circumstances, but what they're about to unravel is a hell of a lot worse.  

Streaming giant, Netflix, is no stranger to crafting sci-fi originals and in 2023, They Cloned Tyrone dropped to rapturous applause. The only 100% audience score featured on our list, it has prompted viewers to say this movie "blew my mind" and that it’s "super dark but super funny".

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

Luke, Leia, R2-D2 and C3P0 look out of a window at the Millennium Falcon in "The Empire Strikes Back"

(Image credit: Lucasfilm/Disney)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 95% / Audience 97% 
  • Release date: May 20, 1980 
  • Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher 
  • Stream on: Netflix (US/UK/Aus)

Watching the Star Wars movies in order is a much-debated and still ongoing conversation. If you opt for their release dates though, here’s the second title you'll end up with. And, according to its RT score, the best. 

Darth Vader is in hot pursuit of Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie. But, with Luke off to begin his training with Yoda on Dagobah, Darth targets his Rebel friends while they try to enlist help from Lando Calrissian in Cloud City. Luke must act quickly to help save them, and in turn, ends up in an iconic battle against Darth Vader that becomes one of Star Wars' most famous scenes.


The main Robot, Wall-E from the movie "Wall-E" is sitting down

(Image credit: Pixar/Disney)
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics: 95% / Audience 90%
  • Release Date: June 27, 2008
  • Cast: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin
  • Stream on: Disney Plus (US/UK/Aus)

Disney Pixar, pre-2008, had only toyed with the sci-fi genre through superhero toy Buzz Lightyear and actual superhero family, The Incredibles. So, when Wall-E came out, set entirely in space, animated fans and sci-fi fans alike rejoiced. 

Wall-E is a pleasant little robot tasked solely with collecting rubbish on an abandoned and uninhabitable Earth, compacting said rubbish, and producing it into lovely neat cubes. That is, until he stumbles upon the no-nonsense robot, EVE, who prompts him to embark on an epic adventure to discover the future of humanity.

Star Trek

A Screenshot from the 2009 movie "Star Trek" where Spock and Kirk look at each other

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 94% / Audience 91% 
  • Release date: May 8, 2009 
  • Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg
  • Stream on: Paramount Plus (US/UK/Aus) 

2009's Star Trek marked the 11th movie in the franchise and a reboot of the original Star Trek TV series, although with an entirely new cast. In the titular roles, there's Chris Pine as James T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock, embarking on their first-ever mission on the Enterprise. 

There are epic space battles and a mighty villain, Nero, as portrayed by Eric Bana to enjoy as the franchise is reinvigorated once again. The Star Trek franchise lives vastly on Paramount Plus, so it can be enjoyed on the streaming giant alongside some of the best sci-fi movies and TV shows around.  

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker are standing in close proximity in "Star Wars: A New Hope"

(Image credit: Lucasfilm/Disney)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 93% / Audience 96% 
  • Release date: December 27, 1977 
  • Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher 
  • Stream on: Disney Plus (US/UK/Aus)

With a slightly lower, but still vastly impressive RT score, there’s Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. It’s the first in the original trilogy and is truly the film that started it all. It’s Luke Skywalker’s first foray into adventure, the assembly of his crew and the maiden flight of said crew aboard the Millennium Falcon.

It’s space skirmishes of gargantuan proportions and a rescue mission that critics on RT, such as Boston Globe, applaud for being a "rare experience for both adults and kids that shortchanges neither." 

Back to the Future

Marty Mcfly and Doc conducting an experiment to see if a car can time travel in the movie "Back To The Future"

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 93% / Audience 95% 
  • Release date: December 4, 1985 
  • Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson 
  • Stream on: Apple TV/Amazon Prime (US/UK); BINGE/Paramount Plus (Aus) 

Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is thrown into a time-traveling adventure when he becomes friends with the wonderfully strange scientist, Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd). What follows is a movie full of weird and whimsical fun as Marty accidentally travels back 30 years in time, and all by speeding in the flux capacitor-fitted DeLorean.

Despite being almost 30 years old, Back to the Future made a lot of predictions that still spark a lot of conversation today. We're talking drones, fingerprint technology, smart clothing, and… the famous hoverboard.

Dune: Part Two

Paul Atreides and Chani look into at each other from a close proximity

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 93% / Audience 95% 
  • Release date: March 1, 2024 
  • Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson 
  • Stream on: N/A

Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) is at war. Following the unraveling events of 2021's Dune, a sci-fi epic based on Frank Herbert's novel of the same name, there's a lot more story to tell and Dune: Part Two steps up to the plate. Paul must unite with Chani (Zendaya) and the Fremen to enact revenge, while also balancing the very future of the universe in his hands.

The title has picked up a very impressive Rotten Tomatoes score and, despite being the sequel, impresses critics and audiences alike for picking up where the first movie built its empire. The Observer, for just one review, calls it "jaw-on-the-floor spectacular".  


Ellen Ripley is sat in a chair, talking into a headset

(Image credit: Twentieth Century Fox)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 93% / Audience 94% 
  • Release date: September 6, 1979 
  • Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt 
  • Stream on: Apple TV (US); Disney Plus (UK/Aus) 

As we've already mentioned, Aliens scraped a slightly better RT score than this, the original and first movie of the Alien franchise. Yet, it's still a wildly impressive score. Alien is where it all began. Director Ridley Scott at the helm telling the sci-fi horror tale of the commercial spaceship, Nostromo.

Sigourney Weaver in the titular role as Warrant Officer Ripley and the rest of the crew embark on a strange and ultimately deadly journey after investigating an unknown transmission. Creatures begin to emerge on their ship and there's nowhere to hide when outside is the vast expanse of the universe. 

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

The Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, looks back and points a single-barrel shotgun while on a motor cycle

(Image credit: Carolco Pictures)
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: Critics 91% / Audience 95% 
  • Release date: August 16, 1991 
  • Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong 
  • Stream on: Paramount Plus (US); Amazon Prime (UK/Aus) 

Finally, as Aliens is to Alien, the second Terminator movie is arguably the better one. Rotten Tomatoes agree, and so did we when we ranked The Terminator movies from worst to best. It's an unusual and wildly different sequel to the first. Set 11 years after the events of the original movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger as the famed T-800 is back and better than ever. 

While in the first he was set to destroy a Connor, in Judgment Day, he must protect. And Rotten Tomatoes critics laud it for its massive explosions, stuns, and entertainment factor.

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Grace Dean
Contributing Writer

Grace is a freelancer who started writing for since 2021. She's a huge fan of movies, TV, and gaming, and if she's not clutching her Xbox controller or scanning the streaming platforms for the next must-watch shows, you'll find her spending copious amounts of time writing about them on her laptop. Specialties include RPG, FPS, and action-adventure games as well as 80s sci-fi movies and book adaptations.