Arrival, the new sci-fi invasion movie starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, is getting rave reviews — it's different and more cerebral than the invasion movies that have come before. The film follows linguistics professor Louise Banks (Adams) as she tries to communicate with aliens who've landed in a UFO as the world prepares for war; Banks and her team must race against the clock to find a way to speak with the alien visitors. Placing her own life and the lives of all humanity at risk, Dr. Banks takes a leap of faith to unravel this enigmatic extraterrestrial mystery before it's too late.
If you've already seen Arrival and want to check out a similar film — or if you want to check out some other movies before seeing it — there are quite a few heady films akin to this modern science-fiction masterpiece.
- Director: Robert Zemeckis
- Release Date: July 11, 1997
In this book-to-film adaptation, Jodie Foster plays a scientist who recieves a transmitted interstellar message from the Vega star system. Soon after, she must go head to head with James Woods, who plays the National Security Advisor, and religious fanatics who are bent on keeping the ramifications of this event quiet, as she works to make first contact with a race of beings who've yet to reveal their true intentions.
2. 'The 5th Wave'
- Director: J Blakeson
- Release Date: January 22, 2016
Chloe Grace Moretz takes the lead as Ohio teenager Cassie Sullivan in this sci-fi epic about an alien invasion — and a near completely apocalyptic Earth. Separated from her family, Cassie must join forces with a young man named Evan Walker (Alex Roe) to fight for survival and rescue her little brother Sam, during the fifth assault from nefarious alien invaders.
- Director: M. Night Shymalan
- Release Date: July 29, 2002
M. Night Shymalan brings audiences a decently terrifying and equally mysterious tale of an alien invasion. Starring Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix as two farmer brothers whose lives are changed forever when crop signs begin mysteriously showing up in their corn field. As the two work to investigate this mystery, they begin to uncover secrets that may change all of their lives forever.
4. 'The Imitation Game'
- Director: Morten Tyldum
- Release Date: January 7, 2015
There aren't aliens in this one, but similar to Arrival, it's about cracking a seemingly indecipherable code. In 1939, a young Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) is recruited by MI6 to help crack Nazi codes, including those thought to be unbreakable. His team, including Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) work tirelessly while Turing builds a machine to break the Enigma code. Full of personal strife and intertwined with a story of war with Germany and war with inner truths, The Imitation Game is a treat for any true movie lover.
- Director: Denis Villeneuve
- Release Date: March 14, 2014
From the same mind behind the upcoming Arrival, this film starring Jake Gyllenhaal sees him tackle dual — yet completely opposite — roles in this supremely mind-bending twist of a tale. It challenges the mind to see beyond what's been displayed and seek out the true nature and meaning of what the film truly wishes to express.
6. 'The Conversation'
- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Release Date: April 7, 1974
Gene Hackman stars as a surveillance expert hired by a man (Harrison Ford) to keep tabs on a young couple. While following the couple one day, he overhears a conversation between the two of them that draws him back to previous case. He becomes absolutely obsessed with the recording, endlessly wondering if the couple he's tailing are in far greater danger than he originally thought.
7. 'The Day The Earth Stood Still'
- Director: Robert Wise
- Release Date: September 28, 1951
A tale that set the stage for the many, many other movies that came after. This classic alien invasion film sees the world first coming into contact with extraterrestrial beings in the early 1950s. A spacecraft lands in Washington, D.C., bearing a message for the leaders of planet Earth: aliens have been watching the self-destruction of the human species since the beginning of the Cold War. It's up to a mother and her young son to teach the world to lay down arms and instead pursue a course of peace and tolerance.
8. 'Close Encounters Of The Third Kind'
- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Release Date: November 16, 1977
Richard Dreyfuss teamed with Steven Spielberg once again in this homage to earlier films dealing with UFO phenomenon. Rory (Dreyfuss) experiences a UFO encounter that leaves his face and arm burned, but is repeatedly told it's nothing more than his imagination. He refuses to accept that explanation and sets out, knowingly endangering his own life, in pursuit of the truth.
- Director: Phil Alden Robinson
- Release Date: September 9, 1992
Again stepping outside of the alien aspect for a moment, this film — starring Robert Redford and a slew of other mega-talented people — is a mix of espionage, code cracking and exploration into devious intentions of a wayward government. Though Redford and his team succeed in their original mission, what comes next proves to be even bigger risk if what they discover finds its way into the wrong hands.
- Director: Philippe Mora
- Release Date: November 10, 1989
In this 1989 drama-horror, Christopher Walken stars as a novelist who begins to experience tramatic extraterrestrial experiences, shared with his wife and their young son. The film is based on the book of the same name by Whitley Strieber, and he claims it's based off his own experience with aliens. Though this film was a critical and commerical flop, with most critics lambasting Walken's performance, it's still a unique exploration into the sanity of one's own mind.
11. 'The Abyss'
- Director: James Cameron
- Release Date: August 9, 1989
Ed Harris stars alongside Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as two petroleum engineers who are drafted to assist a Navy SEAL (played by Michael Biehn) in recovering a missing nuclear submarine. The location of the sub, after having been mysteriously ambushed and sunk, is down in some of the deepest and darkest unknown waters on planet Earth.
12. 'The Invasion'
- Directors: Oliver Hirschbiegel, James McTeigue
- Release Date: August 17, 2007
Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig star in this eerie sci-fi horror flick. It begins with an epidemic sweeping across the nation, turning some people into manageable, approriately behaved, Stepford Wife-like creatures while they sleep. Dr. Carol Bennell (Kidman) realizes that her son may be the key to stopping this invasion and she must race across the country to make sure that he's safely in the arms of those who aim to end the complete (emotional) annihilation of the human species.
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13. 'The X-Files'
- Director: Rob Bowman
- Release Date: June 19, 1998
A continuation of the critically acclaimed TV series, The X-Files, this film breaks with the series only in the slightest. The dynamic duo of Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson), fresh off their firing from the FBI's now-discontinued X-Files division, are working closely with FBI officials to stop a bomb from going off in Texas. The mystery of why the bomb went off — and of those who seemingly perished in the explosion — are soon revealed as Mulder and Scully take back to their old ways in pursuit of a truth that's come a great distance to be known.
14. 'Independence Day'
- Director: Roland Emmerich
- Release Date: July 3, 1996
How could I not end with one of the most iconic alien invasion films ever made? Independence Day may not be what comes to mind first when thinking about a film like Arrival, but the threat of military conflict weighs heavily over the latter. Independence Day may be more of an action flick, but it's also got drama, comedy and tragedy, all culminating in one of America's most beloved cinematic creations. Whether it's the Fourth of July or Christmas Eve, Independence Day will always have a place in our hearts and definitely in our living rooms!
Will you be checking out Arrival on November 11th? What's your favorite sci-fi alien invasion movie? Let us know below!