From 2001: A Space Odyssey to Everything Everywhere All At Once, audiences have been marvelling at the world of science-fiction on the big screen.
From alien invasions to time travel, we’ve taken a look at some of the most iconic films rooted in sci-fi origins to honour this long-beloved genre. We’ve included the age ratings, and content advice about what the films contain, so you can choose what’s right for you.
mild violence, threat
After discovering a mysterious artifact buried beneath the Lunar surface, mankind sets off on a quest to find its origins with help from intelligent supercomputer H.A.L. 9000.
There are some scenes of violence, including the film's prologue, set in Earth's pre-history, in which ape-like creatures kill animals for food and then turn on each other, using a bone as a club.
threat and horror
There are some intense sequences of threat, including when a spaceship's computer prevents an astronaut re-entering the ship. A sequence in which an astronaut encounters the source of an alien signal is intense, focussing on his fear and distress as he enters the unknown.
There is use of very mild bad language ('damn' and 'hell')
mild threat, violence
Lightyear is an animated fantasy adventure in which Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear attempts to rescue his friends marooned on a remote planet, whilst also battling a threat to the entire Universe.
threat and horror
There are scenes of fantastical threat as characters are chased and menaced by robots and other creatures intent on doing them harm. Characters are also endangered by malfunctioning space vessels, but work together to escape their predicaments and achieve reassuring outcomes. Although scenes of threat are occasionally prolonged, the intensity is broken up by comic moments.
Mild violence is of a wholly fantastical nature as good and bad characters battle each other with sci-fi laser weapons, explosive devices and darts with knockout properties. There is no realistic injury detail.
There is very mild emotional upset as a character learns of the death of a close friend from old age during his absence through a hologram message she has left him.
mild violence, mild bad language
Back To The Future Part III is an action adventure comedy sequel in which a man travels back in time to save his friend.
A character is caught in a noose which causes him to choke, before he is hauled up and briefly hanged, but he is quickly rescued. There is also a shooting and some blows to the face.
There is mild bad language including use of 'sonofabitch', 'shit' and 'asshole'.
A Wrinkle In Time is a US fantasy drama in which a girl and her brother search for their missing father in a fantastical realm.
Children are threatened by fantastical forces: they flee a vast storm, fall from great height and meet sinister red-eyed villains along their journey. A physical embodiment of evil flies through space and hits the Earth, causing explosions. Two young men, influenced by this evil, bully a homeless man.
There are moments of violence: a girl throws a ball into a bully's face; a girl is caught by the tendrils of a fantastical force and flung around.
mild threat, scary scenes
Big Hero 6 is an animated adventure about a young science genius who uses his friendship with a special robot to hunt down the man responsible for causing a devastating fire that threatened the city.
There are a lot of prolonged fight sequences between various robotic entities and between the heroes and the main villain. Nobody ever gets hurt in these fights, but there is a lot of destruction wrought and the scenes are very noisy. Some of the images of the villain, as he summons up his huge army of microbots, are a little scary.
The film also contains a narrative thread dealing with bereavement which is shown to be the principal motivating factor for the main character.
contains mild language and moderate fantasy horror
Mere seconds before the Earth is to be demolished by an alien construction crew, journeyman Arthur Dent is swept off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher penning a new edition of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
moderate violence, injury detail, threat, infrequent strong language
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a sci-fi action adventure in which the Guardians race to save Rocket's life. The action is familiar, but certain moments of injury detail are slightly grisly and occasional upsetting scenes may be distressing for some viewers.
Scenes of violence include laser gun fights, stabbings, slashings, characters being blasted by fantastical powers, and crunchy fistfights. There is occasional sight of blood - primarily from aliens - and a woman largely comprised of robotic parts contorting her broken limbs as she reforms. Another woman's arm is broken during a fight.
threat and horror
There are sustained scenes of threat during action sequences in which ships explode and people avoid falling debris. Sequences also include gun threat, and people being blasted or held by fantastical powers. There are occasional 'jump scares', including from monsters and aliens. Animals are transformed into humanoid creatures, and there are distressing scenes of animals being experimented and operated on, leaving them as robotic-animal hybrids.
There is infrequent strong language ('f**k') and milder terms including 'asshole', 'ass', 'dick', 'dickhead', 'son of a bitch', 'shit', 'piss', 'douche', 'God', 'hell', 'frickin'', 'freaking', 'screw', damn', 'butt' and 'jerk'.
There are moments of innuendo around 'touching' someone, and oblique references to promiscuity.
Aliens are briefly seen dealing an unnamed drug. Later, a man refers to dealing 'meth' in a clearly condemnatory manner.
Characters sustain various injuries, including sight of blood, burn wounds and a man's disfigured face after he has been mauled. A person is reduced to a charred corpse after being blasted by fantastical energy.
A man makes a comic reference to the shape of his defecation.
alcohol and tobacco
A man appears drunk, and there are references to it being a pattern of behaviour.
moderate violence, threat, bloody images
Dune is a sci-fi drama in which a noble household are tasked with overseeing the harvesting of a rare commodity on a desert planet, but their role makes them the target of multiple adversaries.
Scenes include close-quarters combat with bladed weapons, including slashes and stabbings resulting in brief sight of blood. There is occasional focus on bloodied blades, or blood on hands and clothes. Other sequences depict large scale attacks in which ships and buildings are bombed and explode, and a number of deaths caused by toxic gas.
threat and horror
Scenes of threat include characters being pursued and attempting to escape giant worms, flying through a sandstorm, fleeing from explosions, being held at knife point, and being targeted by remote devices that inject poison. A character is left paralysed by poison, and his body is seen naked in a chair as his enemies mock him.
There are occasional mild sex references, including in a sequence in which men's comments suggest threatening intent towards a woman. There is use of mild bad language ('ass') and milder terms including 'God', 'hell', and 'damn'. Occasional reference is made to the hallucinogenic properties of a fictional substance.
moderate violence, threat, domestic abuse, infrequent strong language
Tenet is a sci-fi thriller in which a man is enlisted to stop an evil plot involving futuristic technology.
There is infrequent strong language ('f**k'), as well as milder terms including 'bitch', 'bullshit', 'bloody' and 'piss'.
threat and horror
There are frequent tense sequences in which people are in dangerous situations, come under fire, or attempt to evade bombs. In one scene terrorists take over an auditorium and there is brief distress among the audience. There is also a scene in which an abusive husband holds his wife at gunpoint, and threatens to beat her with his belt.
Scenes include gunfights, fistfights, stabbings, use of improvised weapons, and explosions. In an interrogation scene it is implied a man's teeth are pulled out, but bloody detail is minimal. Another man is beaten to death, but the scene does not feature strong detail. A man verbally threatens another man with castration. A husband is abusive towards his wife, threatening her and later shooting her. In one scene she aims a gun at him, but he disarms and punches her. His behaviour is implicitly criticised throughout.
Discreet references are made to suicide and discriminatory behaviour. There are also mild sex references.
strong violence, language, sexualised nudity
Blade Runner 2049 is a science fiction sequel in which a Los Angeles detective investigates a mystery.
Scenes of strong violence include fights with guns and knives, resulting in bloody injuries.
There is occasional strong language ('f**k') as well as milder bad language such as 'prick' and 'shit'.
There is female breast and buttock nudity.
strong violence, sex references, language
Everything Everywhere All At Once is a sci-fi action film in which the owner of a laundrette, bored with her everyday existence, finds herself at the centre of a multiverse battle.
There are scenes of strong violence, including bloody beatings and shootings, implied stabbings, as well as emphasis on the breaking of bones. Some scenes contain slow-motion bloody detail upon impact of weapons and bullets. Other violence includes highly stylised martial arts fight sequences.
There are strong visual sex references, including references to BDSM and sexual role-play (e.g. a woman uses large dildos in a bloody beating; it is implied that two men purposefully land on pointy objects, which are subsequently revealed sticking out from underneath their clothes).
There is use of strong language ('f**k'), accompanied by milder terms ('bitch', 'shit', 'bullshit', 'piss', 'God', 'damn' and 'butt').
This work contains flashing images which may affect viewers who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy.
There are scenes of moderate, fantastical threat in which a woman is jolted from universe to universe.
strong bloody violence, language
Snowpiercer is a science fiction drama from 2013, following a rebellion on a train, in which the last surviving humans circle a frozen Earth.
A rebel stabs a soldier in the chest and cuts upward, with bloody detail. A man is stabbed through the hand, with close-up focus. There are regular fights with axes, guns and makeshift weapons.
There is use of strong language ('f**k', 'motherf**ker') as well as other terms such as 'bitch' and 'Jesus'.
It is implied that characters misuse a fictional drug. A character tearfully admits to having eaten human babies.
contains strong language, violence, gore and soft drug use
Attack The Block is a comedy sci-fi horror film about a young nurse and a gang of teenage boys who are forced to defend their London tower block from an alien invasion.
There is strong language ('f**k').
There is strong gory violence when aliens attack humans, ripping their throats and faces with sight of blood spurts and spray; a decapitation is also implied. Human characters are seen defending themselves against the aliens using a variety of weapons including baseball bats, swords and handguns. There is also a scene in which characters are robbed at gun point.
Characters are seen rolling, smoking, selling and growing marijuana.
The Matrix is a 1999 sci-fi action in which a computer hacker's reality turns upside down after he uncovers the truth about 'the Matrix'.
There are bloody shootings and prolonged fights scenes that include often repeated and targeted blows to the head and body. A knife is thrown into a man's head.
There are also several scenes of threat, as well as infrequent strong language ('f**k'), rude gestures and milder terms (for example, 'shit', 'bullshit', 'asshole', 'ass', 'crap', 'hell'), as well as brief sex and drug references.
To find out where you can stream, buy or rent these films, check out Find Any Film.
BBFC Podcast Episode 34 - Sci-Fi - Part 1
Listen to the first in a two-part series about classifying science fiction films.