20+ Movies Like Arrival That Are An Absolute Must-Watch!

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Sarthak Koul
Sarthak brings a technical perspective to the everyday aspects of life through his blogs. Breaking down the storyline of movies and shows is something he enjoys thoroughly. He firmly believes in contributing to this flawed and beautiful world in his own way. His mantra is to take things one day at a time.

Does the existence of the extraterrestrials excite you to your very core? The fact you made it here substantially increases the chances of you being a fan of Alien invasion movies. If you liked the screenplay of Arrival, you’re in for a treat. As in this article, we’ll share a list of over a dozen movies like Arrival that will captivate your interest in the Sci-Fi genre.

Based on Ted Chiang’s short story titled Story of Your Life, the science-fiction drama film features two-time Golden Globe Award winner Amy Adams in lead along with Marvel’s Hawkeye – Jeremy Renner who plays the role of a physicist, Ian Donnelly. 

Having its world premiere at the 2016 Venice Film Festival, Arrival went on to become one of the best movies of the year. The entire plot of CETI (Communication with extraterrestrial intelligence) added with Adams’ flawless performance helped  Arrival become a box office success grossing nearly $200 million.

If you like the whole Alien Sci-Fi drama genre, you better read along with the following subsections of the article as we’re are going to exploit that interest of yours with our list of movies that are similar to Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival.

Top 7 Movies Like Arrival

Movies Like Arrival
Source: YouTube

#1 District 9

First up, we’ve got Neill Blomkamp’s directorial debut with his feature film District 9. Adapted from Alive in Joburg by Blomkamp, the science fiction action film is a multinational co-production of the United States, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Set in an alternate 1982, District 9’s story explores the themes of xenophobia after an alien spaceship appears over Johannesburg, South Africa much like the initial plot of Arrival. However, the sick aliens who came to Earth seeking refugee and a safe place are forced to live in slum-like conditions.

Runtime: 1h 52min 

IMDB: 7.9/10 

Director: Neill Blomkamp

Cast: Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, David James, Vanessa Haywood, Mandla Gaduka, Kenneth Nkosi, Eugene Khumbanyiwa, Louis Minnaar, William Allen Young

#2 Contact (1997)

As clear by its name, the ‘97 Sci-Fi drama film revolves around the attempt of making the first contact with extraterrestrial life. Ring any bells with Arrival’s plot? The story is based on Carl Sagan’s 1985 novel that shares the same name as the movie.

Starring Jodie Foster who plays the character of a SETI scientist, Dr. Eleanor Arroway, goes on to find conclusive evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence after years of searching. Follow through an intense action thriller as Ellie and her colleagues set out in search of the truth by trying to decode the received alien messages.

Runtime: 2h 30min 

IMDB: 7.5/10 

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Cast: Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, James Woods, John Hurt, Tom Skerritt, Angela Bassett

#3 Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Up next, we’ve got Steven Spielberg’s science fiction film that was one of the long-cherished projects he developed with Columbia Pictures. Released in 1977, the movie ended up being both a critical and financial success winning numerous awards and grossing over $300 million around the globe. 

The plot of Close Encounters of the Third Kind follows an Indiana line worker, Roy Neary whose life is turned upside down after he comes across a close encounter with a UFO. The whole movie is just a spectacular series of events of Roy setting out on a cross-country quest in order to find the true answers to the sighting.

Runtime: 2h 18min 

IMDB: 7.6/10 

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, François Truffaut

#4 The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008)

Coming right up, we’ve got the 2000s remake of Edmund H. North’s film of the same name. Not only that, but the story of The Day the Earth Stood Still is also adapted from Harry Bytes’ fictional story of Farewell to the Master.

Starring the ever breathtaking Keanu Reeves as the alien named Klaatu and the foxy Jennifer Connely, the plot takes into an alien visit to assess the environmental damage and eventually save the Earth. Follow through with the movie as it explores the human vs extraterrestrial theme in an attempt to reflect the human infliction on the environment.

Runtime: 1h 44min 

IMDB: 5.5/10 

Director: Scott Derrickson

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Jaden Smith, John Cleese, Jon Hamm, Kathy Bates

#5 Annhilation (2018)

Take the Sci-Fi alien genre and add bits of suspenseful horror theme to it, and you get director Alex Garland’s science fiction horror thriller Annihilation. Based on Jeff VanderMeer’s novel of the same name, the movie was eventually released on Netflix.

Starring the likes of Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson among others, the plot of the movie revolves around a group of explorers in a mysterious quarantined zone known as The Shimmer. Join the protagonists in a secret and dangerous expedition in the alien-induced zone of mutating plants and animals. 

Runtime: 1h 55min 

IMDB: 6.8/10 

Director: Alex Garland

Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, Oscar Isaac

#6 Interstellar (2014)

Talking about Sci-Fi, there is not a single chance that a Christopher Nolan feature film won’t make the cut. The epic science fiction that is equally thought-provoking as it is thrilling dives deep into Arrival’s time travel aspect in a more visually audacious theme.

Interstellar’s storyline is set in a dystopian future wherein a team of explorers set out on a space trip through a newly discovered wormhole near Saturn. But will they succeed in their interstellar voyage for the search of a habitable planet to ensure humanity’s survival? Find out in one of the most realistic and scientifically accurate space movies of all time.

Runtime: 2h 49min 

IMDB: 8.6/10 

Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, Michael Caine

#7 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

With Speilberg’s second entry in the list of fantasy, science fiction movies like Arrival, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial makes it into the top 7 rankings. Featuring an all-star cast including Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, and others, the 1982 film raked in about 70x its production budget of $10.5 million.

Premiered in the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, the plot of E.T. takes into the story of a young boy named Elliot who befriends an extraterrestrial. Join Elliot in his courageous journey as he tries to figure out a way to help his alien friend escape Earth in order for it to return home all while avoiding the government.  

Runtime: 1h 55min 

IMDB: 7.8/10 

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore

Other Movies Like Arrival That Are Worth The Watch

  • Looper (2012)
  • Moon (2009)
  • Knowing (2009)
  • K-Pax (2001)
  • Ad Astra (2013)
  • Her (2013)
  • Childhood’s End (2015) ~ Series
  • Ex Machina (2015)
  • Sunshine (2007)
  • The Vast Of Night (2020)
  • Signs (2002)
  • Gravity (2013)
  • The Signal (2014)
  • Europa Report (2013)
  • The Discovery (2017)

Wrapping Up

With this, it’s time to conclude our list of movies that are similar to Arrival’s space and extraterrestrial communication theme. From some of the alien Sci-Fi flicks spread across five decades, we’ve covered over 20 movies like Arrival that are just as entertaining if not more.

Share the article with your friends if you liked the content. We’d love to hear from you! So, comment down below your favorite picks from the list. And follow Path of EX for more such lists and interesting articles related to movies and TV shows.

Feature Image Credit: Pop Culture Times

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