LIST: Top Alien Invasion Movies

LIST: Top Alien Invasion Movies

In honor of Peter Jackson's sure-to-be SciFi hit "District 9" -- opening in theaters Friday (check for midnight showings in your area Thursday the 13th), we've cobbled together a list of our favorite alien invasion movies. If they landed on earth to terrify, teach us some moral lesson, or just to be cute, we've got them listed here.

When aliens land on Earth in the movies, their intentions are not always clear--until its's too late. Which visitors meant no harm to our planet, and which wanted to incinerate us or devour us one by one? Here's a look at the good, the bad and the incredibly ugly...

District 9 (2009)
While District 9 is a unique take on the alien invasion film, it tops our list because we're excited by the buzz. It was a big deal at Comic-Con -- voted 2nd only to Iron Man 2 in fan interest. Opening early (Thursday the 13th) in select areas, the story goes like this...

Thirty years ago, aliens made first contact with Earth. Humans waited for the hostile attack, or the giant advances in technology. Neither came. Instead, the aliens were refugees, the last survivors of their home world. The creatures were set up in a makeshift home in South Africa's District 9 as the world's nations argued over what to do with them. Now, patience over the alien situation has run out. Control over the aliens has been contracted out to Multi-National United (MNU), a private company uninterested in the aliens' welfare - they will receive tremendous profits if they can make the aliens' awesome weaponry work. So far, they have failed; activation of the weaponry requires alien DNA. The tension between the aliens and the humans comes to a head when an MNU field operative, Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley), contracts a mysterious virus that begins changing his DNA. Wikus quickly becomes the most hunted man in the world, as well as the most valuable - he is the key to unlocking the secrets of alien technology. Ostracized and friendless, there is only one place left for him to hide: District 9.

Alien vs. Predator (2004)
The satellite of a company owned by the millionaire Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen) locates in Antarctica an unidentified source of heat and a pyramid showing evidence that three different primitive cultures built it together. Located in Antarctica six hundred meters below a deactivated whaling station, Weyland organizes an expedition -- experts in their fields to explore it, including an archeologist and an electronic engineer. Lead by beautiful Alexa Woods (Sannaa Lathan), when the party reaches their target, they realize to late that the place is in fact the temple and stage grounds of an ancient war between two breeds, and humans are only bait in this game.

Starman (1984)
Jeff Bridges brings his acting talent and sheer likability to one of our favorites. An alien who has crash-landed in the United States takes on the the appearance of a woman's dead husband and enlists her help to escape from pursuing authorities and rendezvous with a spacecraft on the other side of the country. As he learns how to be more human the alien begins to take on more and more qualities of the woman's husband, drawing the woman closer.

Independence Day (1996)
In the beginning of July, a strange spaceship is heading towards Earth. Humans received a strange signal, and this has turned into a global phenomenon. It was aliens. smaller spaceships began to cover entire cities around the world. Suddenly, the wonder turns into horror as the spaceships destroy the cities. Then, when the world counterattacked, the alien ships are invincible to normal weapon systems, then The President of the United States, decides to head to area 51, to formulate a plan to defeat the aliens. Now, the fate of the world rests on a handful of surviving humans.

Predator (1987)
Dutch and a team of commandos have been sent into a Central American jungle to track down some missing airmen that were kidnapped by terrorists. By the time they get to the camp, the airmen have been butchered in a very violent fashion and the commandos retaliate on the terrorists' camp. After that's over, they wait for a helicopter to pick them up, but something strange begins to happen in the woods. It isn't long before the commandos start getting killed off and Dutch and a girl from the camp, Anna, are the only people left and fighting for their lives. But what they discover is too shocking for them to imagine. What's been killing them is the Predator, an alien that hunts rare species and make his trophies out of their skulls. And human beings are the new species he has discovered.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Another Speilberg scifi movie, planes reported missing in 1945 suddenly appear in the Mojave desert. A commercial flight is buzzed by a 'bright' object that the pilot 'wouldn't know how to describe'. Roy Neary, while working one night, has a Close Encounter... The US Government determine where the visitors plan to land and create an elaborate cover-up to keep people away. However, a group of people, including Neary, share a vision which draws them to the place and a meeting with new, and old, friends.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Not the piece of sh**t Keanu Reeves version, the original black and white classic. An alien (Klaatu) with his mighty robot (Gort) land their spacecraft on Cold War-era Earth just after the end of World War II. They bring an important message to the planet that Klaatu wishes to tell to representatives of all nations. However, communication turns out to be difficult, so, after learning something about the natives, Klaatu decides on an alternative approach.

Mars Attacks (1996)
The Martians decide to attack our planet and devastate everything. Why? Because it's fun!!! They enjoy killing people and destroy buildings; they even play bowling with the statues at Easter Isles and pose for photos in front of temples as they are blowing up. Will somebody find a way to stop them or will everyone die in the war with these short, big-brained aliens? This star-filled movie is full of dark comedy and sheer scifi fun.

Signs (2002)
After the death of his wife in a freak accident, Reverend Graham Hess questions his faith and even leaves the church. Six months later, he discovers a gigantic crop circle in his yard. Similar events happen all over the world. Graham's children think it's aliens, his brother thinks it's pranksters, and Graham doesn't know what to think. However, as more and more strange events occur, he realizes something big is coming, and it's probably not going to be friendly. Despite some unexplainable alien weaknesses--like not being able to open a door, or avoid being pummeled by a baseball bat, M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs" is a white knuckle story of alien invasion.

War of the Worlds (2005)
Ray Ferrier is a working class man living in New Jersey. He's estranged from his family, his life isn't in order, and he's too caught up with himself. But the unthinkable and, ultimately, the unexpected happens to him in an extraordinary sense. His small town life is shaken violently by the arrival of destructive intruders: Aliens which have come en masse to destroy Earth. As they plow through the country in a wave of mass destruction and violence, Ray must come to the defense of his children. As the world must fend for itself by a new and very advanced enemy not of this world, its inhabitants must save humanity from a far greater force that threatens to destroy it.

Men in Black (1997)
Based off the comic book, MiB follows the exploits of agents Kay and Jay, members of a top-secret organization established to monitor and police alien activity on Earth. The two Men in Black find themselves in the middle of the deadly plot by an intergalactic terrorist who has arrived on Earth to assassinate two ambassadors from opposing galaxies. In order to prevent worlds from colliding, the MiB must track down the terrorist and prevent the destruction of Earth. It's just another typical day for the Men in Black.

ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
A group of cuddly aliens visit earth and one of them is accidentally left behind -- stranded. A 10 year old boy, Elliot, finds the little alien and soon the two begin to communicate. E.T learns about life on earth and Elliot learns the true meaning of friendship. E.T. wants to go home, but if Elliot helps him, he'll lose his new friend. Steven Spielberg's tear-jerker was one of the first to present a truly lovable alien invader.

Transformers (2007 & 2009)
We can't NOT mention our favorite toy/robots/aliens who made an appearance this year and back in 2007, and took lots of our money at the box office. While both movies had problems--as we heralded by CBM fans ad nauseum, you can't help but hope the series continues. Based on the toys and cartoon, the Transformers series has plenty of legs as the Autobots and Decepticons battle it out on Earth and hopefully... on Cybertron. Let's hope the story lines will focus more on the Cybertonians and less on Shia Labeouf. Of course, Megan Fox can still be in it for a little eye-candy, but it would help if she didn't say anything. Am I right?

Superman (1978)
Finally, this wouldn't be if we didn't add the ultimate alien invasion movie -- Superman! The planet Krypton is doomed. Only one man, Jor-El, knows it, and rockets his infant son to refuge on a distant world called Earth. As Jor-El's son grows to manhood, he learns he possesses super-powers he must hide from the ordinary mortals around him. And so, he disguishes himself as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter.

UPDATE: As always, our awesome CBM readers have reminded us of some forgotten gems that need to be on this list. So, here are the honorable mentions... so far...
-Invasion of the Body Snatchers
-The Thing
-They Live
-The Faculty
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Joker1zero - 8/12/2009, 12:08 AM
Are Starman and ET really "Alien invasion" movies? They didnt really invade. They just kinda got stuck.

And I guess "First" or whatever.

CBM Insert: My only criteria was that it was an alien movie set on EARTH. How he got here, or what he was doin'. Meh.
MrYetti - 8/12/2009, 12:17 AM
Joker1Zero@........Technically, yes. Because what the hell were they doing here if they weren't invading? Exploring maybe? Anyway, good list. I would've avoided the shitty AVP flicks and just stuck with Alien and Aliens, and ONLY the first Predator flick. War of the Worlds was okay, but Dakota Fanning and Tom Cruise pretty much ruined it for me. How about Coneheads? Funny, and they did herald an impending invasion. Just kidding - lighten up, guys! Oh yeah......SuperMike is a tool! (we ARE still bashing that guy, right?)
Boekelaar - 8/12/2009, 12:37 AM
Shouldnt the X files fight the future be there? i mean that's about an alien invasion.

just like to add that i cant wait for District 9 which comes out tommorow in Australia :D
GUNSMITH - 8/12/2009, 1:15 AM
RemiMartini - 8/12/2009, 1:15 AM
transformers were really more robots than aliens and E.T and starman were def not trying to invade. Plus how can you put a movie that hasn't even been released yet on the list? This list is a mockery
CaptainAmerica - 8/12/2009, 1:28 AM
Robots from outer space are still aliens you idiot
DDD - 8/12/2009, 1:56 AM
How can you put a movie that isn't even out yet on the top of the list. That's jumpin' the gun a little. I think the best invading aliens movie was Independence day. It had it all, heroics, humor, big bangs and Randy Quade who was brilliant!

E.T. and Starman were lost aliens on earth not invading aliens. I think Outlander should be on this list. That was a kickbutt movie. It had Jim Caviezel in it and he's great! By-the-way I know Jim and his dad Jim Sr. personally. They're from Mt. Vernon, Washington (50 miles north of Seattle).

His dad is a chiropractor (now retired) and he saved me from a crippling back injury when I was younger. I knew Jim would be either an actor or a basketball player because he said he would be when he was just a little kid. Sure enough he chose acting and man what an actor!
DDD - 8/12/2009, 2:13 AM
Both of them were awesome! The 50's version and the 70's version with Leonard Nimoy.

And both the 70's version of "Snatchers" and Independence Day had Jeff Goldblum. How can it be any better than that.
THEPHOENIX - 8/12/2009, 2:19 AM
AVP should be after Predator IMO. And if you are judging by 'Invasions' then Independence Day tops MY list.

What about John Carpenter's 'The Thing' no love for it?

Or 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers'

But nice list all over all. Nice to see Starman gettin some love!
answer - 8/12/2009, 2:43 AM
Starman and obviously District 9 are the only ones i've not seen but I plan on changing that pretty soon!
TheMyth - 8/12/2009, 3:17 AM
Superman and Signs have no business on this list, as they both sucked ass. Mars Attacks? Men in Black? pfffffft ahahahahahahaha, this list is shit.

EDIT: The Invasion of the Body Snatchers scared me shitless as a kid.
WeaponX - 8/12/2009, 4:01 AM
Yes, throwing District 9 on the list is jumping the gun.

If we're going to get technical about invasions, the Predator shouldn't be on the list either. In AVP it was about landing on a desolate part on a foreign planet to hunt as a right of passage. No intentions of taking over. In Predator same thing, one alien hunting, not a whole army invading.

Superman wasn't invading, just a baby looking for refuge with no intentions of taking over. So that shouldn't make the list as well.
Imran - 8/12/2009, 4:28 AM
"Welcome to Earth!"
RorMachine - 8/12/2009, 6:26 AM
Starman is a classic, i love that movie.
longbowhunter - 8/12/2009, 6:49 AM
Glad to see The Day The Earth Stood Still made it. I've always thought of it as the best of the 50's era sci fi. The original Invasion Of The Body Snatchers was also very scarey.
version4 - 8/12/2009, 6:50 AM
Independence Day has to be on the top of my list of invasion movies.
"I'm a fighter pilot... I belong in the ehhrrrr!"... gotta love Bill Pullman.

I would throw "They Live" up there as well... thats a classic invasion movie. Can't wait to check out D9... dark horse of the summer!
CorndogBurglar - 8/12/2009, 7:04 AM
this article should be called "movies with aliens in them" lol. in AVP they weren't invading either, the predators were just training their young predators in the antarctic, and had been there for a very long time. they weren't invading anything. neither was the predator in the first pred movie, he was just here to hunt, not take over anything. same with close encounters. ET wasn't invading, and neither was superman, lol.
CorndogBurglar - 8/12/2009, 7:45 AM
@ teabag

i loved the mist, but those weren't aliens. the military opened a portal to another dimension and the monsters started pouring through. there's also a LOT more to that movie if you read stephen king books. stephen king is the most talented writer of novels of our time, in my opinion...
georgia49th - 8/12/2009, 8:55 AM
I thought District 9 dealt with mutants not aliens.
the Thing was a stranded alien was he not?
Independance Day is by far the best alien invasion.,
And anyhow you left out "Mars Attacks"
Tobuttica - 8/12/2009, 9:55 AM
What about "The Faculty" or even the classic greatness that it was "Killer Clowns from Outer Space"! Here's one that not many people have seen but gave me nightmares as a kid, "Night of the Creeps", or "Critters"! Both classic alien invasion/horror movies.
WulfComicFan - 8/12/2009, 10:09 AM
@ MrYetti, dude, Alien & Aliens did not take place on Earth. Actually None of the Alien quadrology did. Have you even watched them? It wasn't about invasion, there space was invaded and they took em out. PLain and simple.
WulfComicFan - 8/12/2009, 10:10 AM
@ Comicbookmovie, the first AVP sucked eggs too.
WulfComicFan - 8/12/2009, 10:10 AM
How about Slither?
ThunderCougarFalconBird - 8/12/2009, 10:51 AM
Strange list. Sorry dude, some good titles up there but the way you were going I was expecting Hulk Hogans "Suburban Commando" to be thrown in!

No "The Thing"?! That is probably THE best alien film ever! Which one was it at the end? Sure I worked it out once but can't remember!
gibbyblaylock - 8/12/2009, 11:01 AM
gibbyblaylock - 8/12/2009, 11:14 AM
what about

Earth Girls are Easy
Lilo and Stitch
X-files: Fight the Future
Spaced Invaders

All of these are just as good, if not better, than AVP.
gibbyblaylock - 8/12/2009, 11:14 AM
Okay, maybe not Spaced Invaders
WulfComicFan - 8/12/2009, 11:37 AM
@ Gibby, Spaced Invaders rocked man! I loved that movie when I was younger.
WulfComicFan - 8/12/2009, 11:38 AM
@ Comicbookmovie, if you were steering away from comedy, why Mars Attacks?
WulfComicFan - 8/12/2009, 11:39 AM
I know you said excluding, but just curious.
NubaX - 8/12/2009, 11:53 AM
ID4 is the Best up to date if you're talking actual Alien Invasion Movies!
WulfComicFan - 8/12/2009, 12:19 PM
@ Comicbookmovie, okay. Good reasoning.

@Nuba, I agree, I still love that movie. I watch it every once in awhile.
SirJediFrank - 8/12/2009, 4:04 PM
CBM hey what about the classic Ed Wood space invaders films, like THEY CAME FROM OUTER SPACE?

Teabag@ So, it is a horrible thing to do from Supermike to talk trash about your baby daughter, BUT IT IS OK to mock those poor people crossing the border. What an ass, if you ask me.
SirJediFrank - 8/12/2009, 4:06 PM
that goes for you too Grif.
superdog - 8/12/2009, 4:59 PM
The only thing e.t. Invaded was my heart :)

the faculty was awesome. Jordana brewster is da bomb!

I assume you left out the most recent day the earth stood still cause it also sucked donkey balls
ironknight27 - 8/12/2009, 5:22 PM
You know I dont get offended very easily but the "wetback" comment is offensive and yes I am Mexican-American.
thebigbadwolf - 8/12/2009, 5:56 PM
Teabag@ I really don´t see the point to put an image of the people that cosses the border, I´m from Mexico, and proud to be, and like ironknight27, don´t get offended as easily as others, but this time this really gets me. I respect all of you, because many of my friends are from your country, but don´t call them "gringos" like many people does.
superdog - 8/12/2009, 6:41 PM
When you say "from your country" i hope you know Teabag is not American he's British. He lives in England. Dam socialist.
thebigbadwolf - 8/12/2009, 6:55 PM
superdog@ new guy here, don't know all of you, so I'm sorry for this
superdog - 8/12/2009, 7:50 PM
No problem man. Welcome to the site. It's pretty cool here. Sorry if your 1st impressin is bad. Teabag is a good guy. He's all about the comedy and I don't believe he was trying to offend anyone. Try not to take it personally, but I can see where your coming from. But just for future reference alot of people on here are not in the states. There's a pretty wide range of countries and peoples represented. It's actually pretty cool that comicbooks are such a universally loved thing. Once again welcome :)
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