Here is a list of some of our favorite extra terrestrial films to watch on this day of celebrating the unknown ranging from the classics to the modern classics, and including a list of not strictly UFO based but alien centric films and television shows that’ll get your sky watcher hearts racing.
The Classics- films that started the genre and obsession with aliens and unidentified flying objects entering our atmosphere. These are generally the original versions of the films, as they cannot be improved on from their groundbreaking influence on movie making for generations to come. The most notable of these being The Day The Earth Stood Still, Invasion Of the Body Snatchers, Day Of The Triffids, Plan 9 From Outer Space, War of the Worlds, and of course, Forbidden Planet.
The More ‘Modern’ Classics- beginning with Steven Spielberg‘s gentle aliens who use music and hand motions to Neill Blomkamp‘s gritty and startling modern visitors, these films continued the genre and lexicon of ufo tales.
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind: perhaps one of Spielberg’s greatest underrated works, (underrated because it’s never mentioned with the same love as Indiana Jones, Jaws, etc) this 1977 film stars Richard Dreyfuss and a beautiful score by John Williams. Vilmos Zsigmond’s visionary cinematography shouldn’t be left out, either. Totally worth a blu-ray purchase for the sound quality alone if you don’t already have it on your shelf.
E.T. The little alien that could who stole hearts and inspired an entire generation of filmgoers to want their own visitor from another star. Just make sure you find a copy of the film that has the FBI agents holding guns instead of flashlights. (No really, that’s a thing).
Starman. Perhaps not the most popular of visitor from outer space films, this Jeff Bridges film has more heart than the lot of them. But also if you like Starman, check out 2016’s Midnight Special with Michael Shannon.
Flight Of the Navigator. A ufo shows up in Florida, and forges a connection with a young boy. The ship takes him to the future where he doesn’t quite fit in despite a young Sarah Jessica Parker‘s attempt to explain who Twisted Sister is. I still want my puckmarin.
Mars Attacks. Tim Burton‘s ode to the classic 50s’ sci fi alien invasion movies, these angry green Martians with their limited dialog and sick sense of humor remain a cult favorite in the genre.
Independence Day. It’s only natural that this film make the list, as it reminded audiences what a good action film could be. Launching the blockbusters of the 90’s, ID4 still holds up and resonates with audiences. One of our favorite internet critics MovieBob does this fantastic series called “Really That Good”, and his episode for ID4 is wonderful.
Men In Black. One of the more modern (even though it was released 20 years ago) films dealing with a covert government agency who’s sole purpose is to deal with and cover up alien presence on Earth. Laughs, pretty good cgi (for the time), and a song we’re betting you still know the words to make this a must.
District 9. Probably the best modern alien film around, Neill Blomkamp’s gritty take on an alien visitation happening in the present day. Centering around prejudice and fear, the tale really makes you ask yourself how you’d respond if the same thing happened in real life.
Film titles we’re leaving off since they’re not “UFO” centric are- Any of the Alien films. This should go without saying, even though they’re not strictly ‘ufo’ based films. Still influential today, the first Alien film is hardpressed to find a modern equivalent with the same finesse and tension. Other entries include 5th Element, Heavy Metal (counts, but not all the stories include UFOs), Contact, Chronicles of Riddick, Starship Troopers, Predator, The Thing, Paul, and The Man Who Fell To Earth.
For TV binge watchers: The X-Files, Taken, Roswell, The 4400, season 2 of Fargo, Mork & Mindy, Alien Nation, both versions of V, and The Twilight Zone.
Hopefully we’ll get some additional modern films to add to this list as the years progress, it’d be nice to have fresh filmstock. What’s your favorite UFO-based flick? Let us know in the comments!