10 Sci-Fi War Movies With Epic Battles That Will Give You Goosebumps
If you crave a sci-fi conflict of epic proportions on the big screen, these movies are for you.
The sci-fi genre has something for everyone, from intimate character-driven stories and dramas to breathtaking action and even horror, which has allowed it to gain fans all over the world.
It also often features epic and spectacular battles, either on the surfaces of various planets or in the cold void of space.
So, if you want to be blown away by the sheer grandeur of the clashes of armies on screen, we suggest you check out these ten movies that will give you goosebumps with their epic battles.
1. Ender's Game (2013)
Although this movie, based on the novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card, ignored many of the most thought-provoking elements of the source material, it made up for it with some pretty impressive space battles, especially the final confrontation.
In the future, humanity has long been in conflict with an alien race known as the Formics, so most gifted children are trained through an advanced combat simulation to one day become fleet commanders.
The story follows the titular Ender Wiggin, a boy who possesses an exceptional talent for commanding space combat, which earns him a place among the recruits.
2. Avatar (2009)
While James Cameron's sci-fi epic has been criticized by some fans for a rather primitive story (often compared to Pocahontas, of all things), the quality of the visuals is undeniable, allowing for some pretty incredible battle scenes.
The sequel, released in 2022, made things even more exotic by taking the story to the oceanic region of the planet Pandora, making the battles even more creative and visually stunning.
3. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Yes, we know the Star Wars franchise is more space opera than classic sci-fi, but it has so many shamelessly epic battles that it would be a crime not to mention it.
Throughout the franchise's long history, we've seen plenty of stunning large-scale battles, from the Battle of Hoth in Episode 5 to the Battle of Coruscant in Episode 3, but among the most recent installments of the franchise, 2016's Rogue One definitely takes the top spot in this category.
The final Battle of Scarif is absolutely phenomenal, shifting the perspective from the ground assault on the planet's beaches to a space battle in its orbit for an absolutely unforgettable experience.
4. Dune (2021)
While the second part of Denis Villeneuve's adaptation of the iconic sci-fi novel of the same name will show Paul Atreides' holy war against the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV in all its glory, it is still a long way from its release on March 15, 2024.
But the first part, which showed the beginning of the conflict, also had its share of absolutely breathtaking battles, such as the invasion of Harkonnens and Sardaukar on Arrakis, which nearly wiped out House Atreides.
5. Starship Troopers (1997)
The first film in the Starship Troopers franchise, directed by Paul Verhoeven, is still the best, almost three decades later, as it is a great satire of militaristic society.
In the future, humans are at war with an insectoid alien species called Arachnids, and after an asteroid launched by the aliens destroys Buenos Aires, the hometown of Johnny Rico, portrayed by Casper Van Dien, he decides to join the army.
While the story is pretty straightforward, the use of practical effects allowed the movie to age much better than one might have expected, showing the war with bugs in all its gruesome glory.
6. Pacific Rim (2013)
Although the 2018 sequel Pacific Rim Uprising was extremely disappointing and practically buried the big-screen franchise, the original, directed by Guillermo del Toro himself and released in 2013, is still an excellent epic sci-fi movie worth your time.
After humanity begins to lose the war against giant interdimensional monsters known as Kaiju, equally massive battle robots called Jaegers, operated by two pilots connected by a mental link, turn the tables in humanity's favor.
7. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, this 2014 sci-fi war movie masterfully blended the elements of alien invasion with a time-loop story, as an extraterrestrial species known as Mimics (who are among the most unique alien species in movies) used their time-bending powers to conquer Earth.
Major William Cage is covered in the blood of a unique-looking Mimic just before his death, and discovers that he can now relive a single day over and over again, giving humanity a chance to finally win the war.
8. Independence Day (1996)
This cult classic may look a little cheesy almost three decades later, but it is still an outstanding sci-fi action film that holds up incredibly well.
After an advanced alien species arrives to conquer Earth, the fate of the planet depends on a group of colorful characters, including a Navy pilot, scientists, and even the President of the United States.
9. War of the Worlds (2005)
Based on the 1898 novel The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, this movie, directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg, updated the idea a bit by setting the story in modern times, but kept the most recognizable elements of the original.
The life of Ray Ferrier, portrayed by Tom Cruise, is turned upside down the day aliens arrive to conquer Earth, setting the simple dock worker on a quest to survive and keep his family safe amidst the ongoing chaos.
10. The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
While the entire Matrix franchise revolves around the war between humans and machines, this is the third film where the conflict takes on truly epic proportions.
Revolutions may not be the best film in the series, but the final stand of Zion, the last bastion of humanity, against the never-ending wave of machines is quite gripping and makes the film worth a watch.