There Are Thousands of Sci-Fi Movies — We'll Be Impressed If You Can Name 40!


By: Ian Fortey

7 Min Quiz

Image: DreamWorks Pictures/Gran Via Productions

About This Quiz

What is it that makes the science fiction genre so fascinating and entertaining at the same time? It offers something no other genre can give audiences, and certainly not with such a variety of divergent approaches. Good science fiction can be straight-up serious and dramatic, like the film "Gravity." It can be romantic, like in "Her," and it can be the most terrifying horror you've ever seen, like "Event Horizon." 

It's one of the few genres that so effortlessly straddles every other genre while still staying true to itself. Just look at the contrast between movies like the classic "2001: A Space Odyssey" and the kitschy "Starship Troopers." One is very cerebral, while the other is non-stop action-packed fun. And yet they both have deeper layers of meaning if you watch them a certain way.

As a fan of science fiction, no doubt you're going to be aware of the big ones, like "Star Wars," "The Fifth Element" or "The Terminator," but only a true fan is going to be able to get through this whole list and name every single one of them. If you think you can do it, grab your plasma cannon, hop in your DeLorean and head off to a galaxy far, far away in this quiz.

"In space, no one can hear you scream" was how which of these movies was advertised?

The movie "Alien" was a classic that inspired an entire franchise. The legendary "chestburster" scene was filmed without most of the cast knowing what was going to happen, so when John Hurt exploded in a burst of blood and gore, no one knew it was coming and their surprised reactions were all genuine.


Richard Dreyfuss famously sculpts mashed potatoes in which of these movies?

"Close Encounters of the Third Kind" is one of the most screened movies in history thanks to a place called the Devils Tower KOA Campground. They screen "Close Encounters" every single night there as the featured movie.


Drew Barrymore starred in which of these classics?

Steven Spielberg's classic "E.T." is one of the rare movies of the genre which is fairly positive and depicts aliens as friendly. That almost didn't happen as early drafts of the script had a much more horror tone to them.


Do you know this movie in which a linguist tries to communicate with aliens?

"Arrival" starred Amy Adams and proved to be a very popular film with a bit of a mind-bending story. The original title, taken from the story that inspired the movie, was "Story of Your Life," but test audiences hated the name, so it was changed.


The internet was divided on this Rian Johnson-directed movie. What is it?

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" was part of the trilogy made by Disney after they bought the franchise from George Lucas. Lucas had already plotted parts 7 through 9, but Disney dropped nearly everything he had come up with aside from Luke living alone on an island.


Do you know which of these was rebooted in 2009?

In 2009, "Star Trek" was rebooted with a new cast playing the characters from the '60s TV show. It included a lot of nods to the original though and plenty of fun quirks most people never knew about. For instance, the sound of the doors opening on the Enterprise? That's the sound of a Russian toilet flushing.


Do you know which of these is a parody of "Star Trek"?

"Galaxy Quest" has actually been voted one of the top "Star Trek" movies ever, even though it's not a real "Star Trek" movie. There's a scene in the movie when Tim Allen's character overhears how his cast mates hate him that was apparently based on a real incident in William Shatner's life.


Which of these films made Arnold Schwarzenegger a household name?

Though not his first move, "Terminator" was arguably Arnold Schwarzenegger's biggest. This is kind of ironic given that he has barely over a dozen lines in the entire movie, a conscious decision to make him seem more robotic and distant.


Sandra Bullock and George Clooney starred in which of these?

"Gravity" was a critical and commercial success and also featured some amazing scenes. The opening shot of the movie is one 12-minute, unedited scene from start to finish that takes place in space.


You'll find Woody Harrelson in which of these?

"War for the Planet of the Apes" featured performances by both Andy Serkis as Caesar and Terry Notary as Rocket. Both actors have also played King Kong in different films as well, meaning they've clearly mastered ape acting.


Which of these is a Pixar film?

Pixar's "Wall-E" proved to be one of their most critically acclaimed films ever. It netted six Academy Award nominations, which tied it with 1991's "Beauty and the Beast" for most nominations for an animated film.


Before "Avengers: Endgame," this was the highest-grossing film of all time. What is it?

It took James Cameron four years to make the movie "Avatar." Historically he has been known as a very aggressive, borderline abusive director to work with. Word is he had a nail gun on the set of "Avatar" that he'd use on cellphones if one rang during filming.


Police stop crimes before they happen in which of these movies?

Tom Cruise starred in "Minority Report." Both Cruise and director Steven Spielberg waved their salaries to make this movie, opting instead to take 15% of the gross in lieu of their usual payday.


Which movie is about government agents keeping aliens in check?

"Men in Black" is actually based on a comic book, though it was never really advertised as being a comic book movie. Word is neither Will Smith nor Tommy Lee Jones wanted to star in the movie at first, and both had to be convinced.


Which of these movies featured Leonardo DiCaprio?

Part of the appeal of "Inception" is that the movie takes you through layers of dreams so you often don't know what's happening. That was all ignored on TV broadcasts of the movie in Japan where on-screen text told viewers what part of the dream they were in.


Which of these George Miller-directed films is the top-rated sci-fi movie on "Rotten Tomatoes"?

Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron starred in "Mad Max: Fury Road." In order to give Theron's character a fake arm, the actress wore a green cast that could be digitally edited out. Unfortunately, that same cast was so tough it broke Hardy's nose when she elbowed him by accident.


This movie features a character named Newt. What is it?

"Aliens" is one of the few sequels widely recognized as being more popular than the original. Lance Henriksen, who played Bishop in the movie, was planning on quitting acting if this role didn't work out because he was tired of small parts that went nowhere.


This movie made DeLoreans famous. What is it?

Everyone remembers the time-travelling DeLorean from "Back to the Future" but it almost wasn't even part of the film. In fact, in the original script, the time machine was supposed to be a refrigerator and not a car at all.


Matt Damon spends a lot of time alone in which of these movies?

Matt Damon gets stranded on Mars in "The Martian." Damon shot his scenes alone for over a month straight. As a result, he didn't meet or spend any time with the rest of the cast until it was time to promote the film.


Pod people are the villains in which of these films?

Word is that the original 1956 "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" contained quite a bit of humor, but audiences during test screenings didn't quite get it, and horror/comedy was not a genre yet, so much of it was edited out.


Do you remember which movie was like an alien-invasion version of "Groundhog Day?"

Emily Blunt plays Rita Vrataski in "Edge of Tomorrow." In the movie, she's able to reset a single day and become a kind of warrior hero. She uses a blade to fight in the movie because her character would have kept running out of ammo, so the sword made more sense.


Bong Joon Ho directed which of these films?

"Snowpiercer" features Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton in a truly bizarre story of a train that never stops running. Tilda Swinton's role was originally written for actor John C. Reilly and some of the lines still refer to the character in the masculine.


Do you know which movie features Scarlett Johansson as just a voice?

Scarlett Johansson plays the voice of the AI in "Her" but she wasn't the first choice. Samantha Morton originally voiced the role but the director, when editing the movie, felt they needed something different and had Johannson record the part.


Robbie the Robot was in which of these movies?

"Forbidden Planet" is a classic of the genre, and Gene Roddenberry said the film was a major inspiration for "Star Trek." It was one of the first sci-fi films to be given a substantial budget as studios didn't usually care for the genre.


Which film features Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling?

Gosling joined Harrison Ford in "Blade Runner 2049" alongside actor Jared Leto. Director Denis Villeneuve wanted David Bowie to play the role that Leto played, but Bowie died before filming began.


In which movie will you find a robot named Gort?

"The Day The Earth Stood Still" was honored by George Lucas when he named three of Jabba's minions "Klaatu," "Barada" and "Nikto" after a line in the film. The same words also appear in "Army of Darkness" as a magic phrase.


Jeff Goldblum starred in which of these movies?

"Jurassic Park" is pretty much legendary at this point, and they're still making sequels. During filming, the rain messed up the electronics of the T. Rex, and it would sometimes start moving on its own.


Bruce Willis travels through time in which of these movies?

Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt played a young Bruce Willis in "Looper" and was acclaimed for his uncanny performance. He achieved his eerily similar look and mannerisms through a combination of prosthetics and careful studying of many of Willis' past performances.


In Japan, this movie was called "Gojira." What is it?

There's a popular legend that the name Godzilla was an Americanized version of the word Gojira, but it was the Japanese production company, Toho, that first called the movie Godzilla since that is how it's pronounced in Japanese and how they wanted to advertise it in English.


Which movie features an artificial intelligence named HAL?

Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" is considered a classic of the genre even though people didn't much care for it when it premiered. On the first night, hundreds of people walked out of the theater because they didn't like the movie.


Do you know this movie that featured Keanu Reeves?

Keanu Reeves really proved his action movie chops in 1999's "The Matrix." The habit he still has today of doing his own insane stunts began in this movie — like when Reeves stood out on a 34th story windowsill to talk on the phone.


The human race is unable to reproduce in which of these movies?

"Children of Men" is based on a novel by author P.D. James. In a weird twist, the movie tweaked the story from the book to make women the reason humans can't reproduce. In the novel, however, the fertility issue is with men.


Aliens are called "prawns" in which of these movies?

Sharlto Copley, the star of "District 9," had never acted before he made this movie and has since gone on to a fairly high-profile career. He has been in several movies from the same director, Neil Blomkamp.


Natalie Portman starred in this weird sci-fi flick. What is it?

Oscar Isaac was filming "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" at the same time as "Annihilation" on adjacent lots. He was using the same trailer for both movies and apparently would sometimes film scenes from both movies on the same day.


This movie was part 3 of the "Cornetto Trilogy." What is it?

"The World's End" is the third part of the unofficial Cornetto Trilogy that was directed by Edgar Wright and starred Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The first two movies were "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz."


David Cronenberg directed this body horror/sci-fi film. What is it?

David Cronenberg's "The Fly" was a remake of a Vincent Price movie. Cronenberg's movie contained an infamous scene in which a monkey and a cat are fused in the telepod and Brundle has to beat it to death. They cut it after audiences felt it destroyed the character's humanity.


Faceless black monsters attack some London teens in which of these movies?

"Attack the Block" was the first movie of future "Star Wars" star John Boyega. He got the role after reading an ad online looking for actors. The director auditioned 1,500 actors for the various teen roles.


Peter Weller starred in which of these movies that takes place in futuristic Detroit?

"Robocop" was part action movie and part biting satire. The extremely convincing robotic walk actor Peter Weller came up with for the character was a mix of his good acting and necessity. The costume was so rigid, he could barely move in it.


Do you know which of these movies dates back to 1927?

"Metropolis" is often considered the first sci-fi film ever made. It has been so influential, not just to the genre but to the medium, that even the Vatican has selected it as an official work of art. It clearly influenced numerous later works, from "Superman" to "Star Wars."


Which 1985 film featured Robert De Niro?

Robert De Niro was uncredited in the movie "Brazil," at first because he was under contract elsewhere and was not supposed to be making other films. He also didn't take a paycheck for the movie because he wanted to be in it so badly.


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