Top 10 Alien Invasion Movies

It never fails. Every summer there’s an alien invasion movie that hits the box office to steamroll critics and become a ginormous success. Does anyone remember Independence Day? This summer, the mega-film Transformers: Age of Extinction may be on approach to becoming 2014’s first billion-dollar movie.

Independence Day
Independence Day

Since it’s summer, and since everyone wants to read something quick while doing other things. I thought for Monday Mayhem I’d give you a list of my most favorite alien invasion movies ever. This list is not complete, but these alien films stick out in my mind as the ones that made summer awesome for me.

Here they are. My Top 10 alien summer flicks from least to most favorite:

10. Mars Attacks!—Released December 13, 1996, this Tim Burton film makes it feel like summer. The aliens are horrible critters bent of the destruction of humanity. What makes this film special is the hilarity that ensues once the humans finally meet the visitors.

9. Cloverfield—Released January 18, 2008, aliens couldn’t be more frightening. Bugs are not fun when they’re human-sized pests that only a shotgun can take out. Yes, another winter title, but it wouldn’t be right not to include Cloverfield in this list.

8. Alien—Released May 25, 1979, Ridley Scott created a creature so vicious, it was a wonder anyone survived. It’s not an invasion of earth, but brilliant nonetheless.

7. The Thing—Released June 25, 1982, this John Carpenter classic is sure to make you think twice before heading to a remote place in the arctic for a vacation. Make sure you know who your friends are before heading there.

6. Predator—Released June 12, 1987, the film poses a question: who would win a battle to dominate the world, Arnold Schwarzenegger or an alien schooled in the fine art of warfare? Governator jokes aside, Arnie puts the smack dab on anything remotely alien.

5. Signs—Released August 2, 2002, M. Night Shyamalan presents his version of an alien invasion based on hints and Hitchcockian deception. A worthy film to enjoy that illustrates what it would be like if aliens tried to take over an ordinary Joe’s farm.

Independence Day dogfight
Independence Day dogfight

4. Men in Black—Released, July 2, 1997, this film has it all . Aliens. Government conspiracy. Secret agencies. Not taking itself seriously, the movie provides a great escape from the ordinary hustle and bustle of ordinary life. Excellent special effects.

3. Transformers movies (all of them)—Released 2007-2014, Michael Bay’s view of an alien invasion consists of explosions, more explosions and tons of explosions. This true-to-the-genre flick blows away anything standing in its way and decimates whatever’s left.

2. War of the Worlds—Released June 29, 2005, Steven Spielberg throws his hat in the ring to present his version of malevolent beings wanting to take over the earth. Making this movie special is the survival story of one family led by Tom Cruise.

1. Independence Day—Released July 3, 1996, summer alien invasion movies haven’t been the same since. With a good helping of dogfights, sarcastic one-liners and skin-slicing thrills, this movie delivers on the promise that aliens are insidious beings with no redeeming qualities other than to become mantelpiece trophies for the survivors. Lots of action makes this the go-to film for popcorn munching viewers with a few hours to kill.

I know I’ve missed many fine titles like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and It Came From Outer Space. Thing is, I wasn’t around when they released, so I can’t really say they made my summer. But wouldn’t it have been cool to live during the days when B-movies reigned supreme?

I know I would have loved it.

[Notable mentions go to Pacific Rim and Battleship. Nothing quite beats films produced to celebrate the human spirit than those featuring humanity fighting against all odds and winning.]

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What are your favorites? Why do you like them?

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24 thoughts on “Top 10 Alien Invasion Movies

  1. Aliens was my fav! But it Signs scares the bejeezes out of me. Independence Day is right below Aliens, because the one liners hand hope and Patriotism.
    🙂

  2. I’m with you on ‘Independence Day’ taking the crown! The story telling was so balanced I was gripped all the way through and the tone always kept the suspense! I still haven’t seen Men in Black, not sure how I avoided it (I saw the music video) – it’s on my list!

  3. Independence Day isn’t one of the greatest as far as films go, but it does it’s job as an action-packed blockbuster really well. It’s more like the pick-up truck of action movies.

  4. I like your list, Jack. For me Transformers doesn’t really work but that’s just a matter of personal taste (although the trailers I have seen for the latest may bear a change in opinion). Otherwise I agree with cmdrysdale that District 9 is PDG and worth inclusion, although I don’t know how you get 11 into 10 🙂 One from me – V – the original film in 1983 had lizard costumes (pretty good for the time, slinky lizard ladies and a good story line. The 1984 TV series was pretty good as well as bringing us Robert Englund before his morph into Freddie!

    • I considered a lot of movies including District 9 and the TV series V. I had to keep it to 10, and like you said, how can you get 11 out of 10 is beyond me. I originally had a list of 17, which I had to quickly whittle down if I’d wanted to keep the post small and light for summer reading. Maybe I’ll make a Part II someday, to add to this list!

  5. I dug the creatures that grew to tremendous portions. Them was one of my favorites, also The Beast from Twenty which eats a cop in New York. That scene is a riot. There is a beast, huge and he gobbles a cop who thinks he can stop him with a hand gun. Brilliant. I made up some zombie jokes on today’s blog. Hope you dig them.

  6. How could you possibly miss the brilliant ‘District 9’ of your list? It turns the whole alien invasion idea on its head as well as being brilliantly well made. If you haven’t seen it already, I’d heartily recommend watching it.

    • I’ve seen it a number of times and love it! Thing is, as I’d mentioned to zombieaussie, I ran out of space. May one day I’ll include it in another list, a Part II, if you will!

  7. Predator, the first MIB, and ID4 are definitely at the top of the list for me. I haven’t seen it in a while, but ‘Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind’ is a big one. E.T. is another one. Honestly, there’s so many that I tend to forget and alien invasion seems to cross into a lot of other genres.

    One that I couldn’t get into that’s on your list is ‘Cloverfield’. I really tried to like that one, but I think the massive hype created unreachable expectations. My friend and I spent the whole movie wondering why the people were making such bad choices.

    Final one that I just thought of: ‘Cowboys & Aliens’.

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