The Absolute Best Sci-Fi Movies To Watch On HBO Max

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Warner Bros.

Atmosphere, creativity and philosophical ideas are just some of the elements you can expect from the selection of science fiction movies HBO Max. Current blockbusters and indie gems aside, HBO Max is packed with sci-fi classics. It’s one of the best choices out there – more impressive than that, at least Netflix and Amazon Prime Video combined.

Sure it is absent in many other areas (The free trial is dead in the ground), but at least its sci-fi offerings are up to par. Scroll down to see the best of the HBO Max bundle.

The Matrix (1999)

Warner Bros. Pictures

If you haven’t seen The Matrix and somehow don’t know the main plot points, well done for avoiding spoilers for 23 years. The sequels Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions are also on HBO Max.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Watch two and a half hours of atmospheric, sumptuous spectacle, but don’t expect any conclusions on the question posed by the original Blade Runner: Is Rick Deckard a Replicant?

Bladerunner (1982)

Forever the pinnacle of neo-noir visual art, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner will never be lost in time like tears in the rain.

Principle (2020)

Warner Bros.

Love it or hate it – get it or find its “science” amazing – Tenet is breathtaking entertainment. Best Advice: Don’t question Tenet, submit to the Tenet experience.

Ready Player One (2018)

Jaap Buitendijk

Based on the popular novel of the same name by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One is a nerd’s feast that includes over 100 references to popular culture from various eras including Minecraft, Batman and Back to the Future. There’s even a story about a dystopian society finding solace in virtual reality.

Foundation (2010)

Warner Bros.

The superior Christopher Nolan film on this list.

Soylent Green (1973)

Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

A dystopian thriller starring Charlton Heston in a 2022 plagued by overpopulation, pollution and climate catastrophe. This is not a documentary.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)


“Alexa, play 2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Event Horizon (1997)

Paramount Pictures

A good bad film that brings supernatural horror to space. A crew of astronauts goes in search of a missing spaceship and uncovers malevolent forces at play.

Gravity (2013)

Gravity is the ultimate gut-wrenching spooky space movie with zero aliens in total. It follows Sandra Bullock’s Dr. Ryan Stone, an astronaut stranded in space as she attempts a seemingly impossible return to Earth.

Memory (2021)

Warner Bros. Pictures

This sci-fi mystery from one half of the duo who created Westworld (Lisa Joy) is absolutely stunning, but the interesting ideas are worth a look. Reminiscence follows Hugh Jackman’s Nick Bannister, who uses a machine that can see into people’s memories.

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

Fox of the twentieth century

Roland Emmerich, “Master of Disaster,” presents The Day After Tomorrow. The director also made this year’s moonfall, during which the moon falls out of its orbit on a collision course with the earth. You already know how fun this movie is going to be.

Independence Day (1996)

Oh look, that’s another Roland Emmerich film! This one follows Earth’s Resistance Soldiers as they put up a last-ditch stand against an alien attack, an event they schedule for July 4th.

The Butterfly Effect (2004)

Newline cinema

College student Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher) tinkers with the past and discovers how every change affects the present in The Butterfly Effect, an entertaining B-movie.

Stalkers (1979)


Make it through Stalker’s slow start and you’ll be able to say you’ve seen an existential masterpiece of Russian cinema.

Oblivion 2013)

Oblivion came from the workshop of building a sci-fi movie. Starring Tom Cruise, it follows humans at war with aliens and pays homage to ’70s sci-fi films, including The Omega Man and Silent Running. A love letter in the form of a halfway decent sci-fi action-adventure.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

Buena Vista pictures

Sci-fi comedy isn’t always a hit, and this adaptation by Douglas Adams will be either weird in a good way, given the source material, or weird in an unfunny, confusing way. My 13 year old self loved it.

Solaris (1972)


Before Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky made huge strides for sci-fi cinema with his complex, character-driven play about astronauts with wild hallucinations that may or may not be real. The 2002 American remake of Solaris is also on HBO Max, with added George Clooney romance.

Mr Nobody (2009)

Mr Nobody the kind of movie that grabs the ending and leaves you pondering on a thoughtful note. It helps to know that this is a story that explores the consequences of choices and why you shouldn’t worry about making the perfect one.

Kleefeld (2008)

Paramount Pictures

Matt Reeves has come a long way since directing this slick found-footage monster. See what he was up to before the 2022 movies Planet of the Apes and The Batman.

Me, Robot (2004)

An experienced blockbuster for reliable entertainment.

The Running Man (1987)

Tri-Star Pictures

It wouldn’t be a best sci-fi list without several Arnie films. The Running Man focuses on a game show in which criminals must try to escape from professional killers.

Scanners (1981)


A warning to body horror averse before playing this David Cronenberg sci-fi. Scanner follows humans with special abilities, including telepathic and telekinetic powers. Not the first on this list to become a cult classic after a lukewarm initial reaction, Scanners made a lasting impression, not least for a memorable head-explosion scene.

The Faculty (1998)

Miramax films

Robert Rodriguez is not the most popular among Star Wars fans at the moment, mostly for getting a character to do a pointless ballerina twirl in the divider The Book of Boba Fett Finale. Directed by Rodriguez, The Faculty isn’t great, but it’s not bad either as it follows teenagers investigating mysterious happenings at their high school.

Monsters (2010)

swindle movies

This solid British sci-fi film comes from Gareth Edwards, who went on to direct ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ and 2014’s ‘Godzilla’. His mastery of atmosphere, wonder and beauty is on display here, and all on a tight budget. Monsters follows a couple trying to traverse an “Infected Zone” filled with giant tentacled monsters.

Super 8 (2011)

Paramount Pictures

Basically, Stranger Things is set in the 70’s. Super 8 follows a group of teenagers making their own movie when a train derails and a dangerous presence begins to haunt their town.

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