Alien Invasion Movies

When I first came across alien invasion movies, I guess I was no more than a kid. Naturally at the time I didn't ponder too much on their implications. The invasion movies were just that: movies about aliens who have come to conquer Earth. As I grew older and started to explore SF films in more depth, the universe of alien invasion movies was becoming an ever more interesting place.

Beyond the plots, special effects and all the hoopla, films about alien invaders, as most SF movies, deal with very common and very real anxieties:

Alien Invasion Movies
  • What if we are not safe in our homes?
  • What if anyone decides to attack us?
  • What if our loved ones were replaced with someone who just looks like them? Or better yet, if that happened could we tell the difference?
  • What if we lose our individuality?
  • What if we do not know that we are being manipulated?
  • What if someone else took over our bodies, minds?

And many, many more beguiling questions.

Generally there are three types of alien invasion movies: hostile aliens come to Earth, friendly aliens come to Earth and we, earthlings, go pay a visit to them.

Invasion of hostile aliens

They are mean and they are tough. They are wily and resourceful. Sometimes they come with a whole armada and marching band.

War of the Worlds

They announce they presence and demand surrender. That is, if we're lucky. Then we know who the enemy is and the next step is easy: out with the big guns - which we're never short of. Big brains don't hurt either.

If we are not so lucky hostile aliens come in the dead of night and in disguise. Some would live among us, take hold of the people in the high places, control governments, police, military.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Parasite aliens could ambitiously make a bid for a take-over of the entire world one person at the time.

Fist your neighbors start acting strangely (but they generally do that, right?), then your teachers, Uncle Ed... And before you know it, the whole town has gone bananas and even your pet squirrel has turned on you. But do not worry, you can learn all about these aliens from our article on the parasite and parasitoid alien species.

Friendly aliens come to Earth

Although these SF movies are usually placed in the invasion category, to call these extraterrestrials "invaders" is no way to describe them. They do not want to eat us or enslave us or anything like that.

District 9

They would just like to share Earth with us. They may have big ships and great technology, but are usually lost or may have lost their own homes. These kinds of movies usually demonstrate our inherent leeriness of all newcomers.

One would think that with all those nations, beautiful languages, colorful customs, smart women, handsome men, all kinds of flavors of ice-cream there are, humans would have got used to variety and different worldview by now. What can I say - much to evolve we Earthlings still have.

When we are the invasion force...

Humans as invaders. Ah, that's a scary thought, don't you think? We are capable of doing horrible things to each other so it isn't hard to imagine what we would do to the poor aliens whose planet has managed to whet the Earthlings' appetite for conquest.


Filmmakers do come up with really disturbing ideas when it comes to showcasing instances of human cruelty, and I confess I take any chance I get to root for the attacked aliens.

The question is, why bother wiping out some poor alien's backyard in the first place? Why would we want to invade another planet when we enough trouble taking care of our own? Think environmental issues, discrimination, famine, corrupt governments...

List of alien invasion movies




  • The Blob
  • Earth vs. the Flying Saucers
  • Invaders from Mars
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  • Invasion of the Saucer Men
  • It Came from Outer Space
  • Plan 9 from Outer Space
  • Target Earth
  • Teenagers from Outer Space
  • The Thing from Another World
  • Zombies of the Stratosphere
  • The War of the Worlds


  • Village of the Damned


  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers


  • Alien Nation
  • Bad Taste
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space
  • Lifeforce
  • Space Pirate Captain Harlock: Arcadia of My Youth
  • Superman II
  • They Live
  • The Thing


  • The Arrival
  • Body Snatchers
  • The Faculty
  • Independence Day
  • Mars Attacks!
  • The Puppet Masters
  • Starship Troopers
  • Star Trek: First Contact
  • The X Files: Fight the Future


  • Avatar
  • Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000
  • District 9
  • Dreamcatcher
  • The Invasion
  • Monsters vs Aliens
  • Signs
  • Slither
  • Terra
  • War of the Worlds


  • Battle Los Angeles

And here's what alien invasion movies do NOT show...

This short movie was produced by Greenpeace and released in 2004 starring Eddie Izzard as Brik, Jim Broadbent as Robin, Joe McFadden as Zarg.

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