Sci-fi and comedy don’t often go together, but a surprisingly large number of comedy sci-fi movies should be considered for your next movie watch.
These films include great oldies like Mars Attacks! by Tim Burton and Back to the Future and newer ones like The Lobster, which feel like a fever dream.
So buckle in and prepare to enter the future where hijinks and laughs are still part of human society. Here are the best comedy sci-fi movies of all time.
First up on the list is the cult film Ghostbusters, which spawned multiple sequels and remakes, creating one of the most iconic sci-fi franchises ever.
Ghostbusters is a movie about three parapsychologists who try to be ghost hunters after losing their university research funding.
As they begin to catch ghosts successfully, they become more famous throughout the city, which leads to them hiring a fourth member to help meet the demands of ghost hunting.
However, things become more serious when they uncover the spirit of a demigod known as Zuul, a servant of an even more terrifying god of destruction.
After Zuul possesses their friend, the Ghostbusters must utilize their skills and technology to save the world from complete and utter destruction.
It is a great movie; if you haven’t already seen it, it should be the next movie you watch. Happy ghost hunting!
Starship Troopers (1997)
Starship Troopers is a 1997 military science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven.
The movie is set in the future and follows the story of Johnny Rico (played by Casper Van Dien), a young infantryman in the Mobile Infantry, a futuristic military unit equipped with powered armor suits.
The film also stars Dina Meyer as Dizzy Flores, Denise Richards as Carmen Ibanez, Jake Busey as Ace Levy, Neil Patrick Harris as Carl Jenkins, and Michael Ironside as Lieutenant Jean Rasczak. Together, they are thrust into the war against the Bugs, facing various battles and challenges.
The Earth is at war with an insectoid alien species known as the Arachnids or “Bugs,” originating from the distant planet Klendathu. The story is told through the eyes of Rico as he progresses from a high school student to a soldier and officer in the Mobile Infantry.
I hated the trailer when I first saw it and thought the movie looked ridiculous. Then, one night, when I couldn’t find anything else to rent on VHS at my local Blockbuster, I thought, “Oh, what the heck? Let’s see this.” And I immediately became a convert!
While dystopian films are nothing new, the 2008 Wall-E film helped bridge the gap between animated films and the terrifying future of a capitalistic dystopia that is left unchecked, found in many of the best sci-fi films.
For a children’s film made by Pixar, Wall-E touches on some of the most important talking points of the 21st century and does it in a way that makes it easily digestible for children.
However, just because this is technically a children’s film, it is still an amazing film to watch at any age.
It follows the story of a robot left behind on Earth whose job is to clean up the trash that humans covered the entire earth in their eternal greed for more and more.
It gives a depressing view of the future and, for its time, was quite progressive.
It is a reminder that if we don’t care for the planet, we may find ourselves in a spaceship for hundreds of years, awaiting the human race to return to Earth and once again find mighty civilizations and progress technology.
While it is a sad movie, it has a happy ending and is well worth a watch or even a rewatch if you have already seen it.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
Next up is another of the best sci-fi comedies, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, released in 1989 and became somewhat of a cult classic for its dumb humor that you find it hard not to laugh at.
The general plot of this time travel comedy is that Bill and Ted have a history assignment they have to complete for school, and unfortunately, they just aren’t smart enough to complete it.
So what do they decide? They go back through time to collect various historical figures like Socrates to bring them back to the modern era and show them in class for their assignment.
It is an incredibly stupid premise for a movie, but it’s so great that it did so well and threw it into cult status.
And to make it even better, it stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter, both excellent actors who bring charm and hijinks to the film. If you are looking for a film to help you forget the world’s troubles for a couple of hours, this is for you.
The movies were even so successful they spawned a TV show called Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures, which ran for two seasons. While many TV shows based on films fall short, this one did quite well, earning a 6.4 on IMDB and a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Lobster (2015)
If you need a movie that feels like a slight fever dream about how people have 45 days to find love or be turned into an animal, then the 2015 black comedy film and love story, The Lobster, is perfect.
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, the movie centers around a single man who goes to the hotel where all singles are sent to try to find love.
They can either successfully find love and live with their chosen partner or fail. At this point, they will be transformed into random animals and sent out into the wild, banished from humanity forever for their lack of ability to find a mate successfully.
It is a bizarre movie and raises some interesting questions, but overall, it’s just a silly movie about people who get turned into animals if they don’t find love.
So, do you think you could find love, or would you get turned into an animal? Or maybe you would prefer that. Either way, check out The Lobster for a strange yet humorous sci-fi movie!
Back to the Future (1985)
Quite possibly, the most iconic sci-fi comedy of all time, Back to the Future, has had a huge cultural impact, with many shows and movies giving homage in small ways.
Starring Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, the general plot is that Marty, a high-school student, finds himself 30 years in the past in a time-traveling DeLorean. Along for the ride is the eccentric Doc Brown, a mad scientist who has been working on time travel for decades.
After successfully turning a car into a time machine, Doc Brown goes to show it to Marty McFly, at which point he is gunned down by Libyan terrorists from whom he had swindled a large amount of plutonium. Marty flees to the past in the DeLorean, where he learns he cannot return home.
Ensue comedic hijinks as Marty tries to keep his future intact and keep his mother from falling in love with him.
Yup, you heard that right. Marty’s mother’s younger self becomes infatuated with her future son, making some weird and frankly uncomfortable scenes.
However, it is still a great classic to give a watch if you haven’t already seen it.
You might also like this list of essential sci-fi movies for filmmakers to study.
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
One of the greatest books and films ever created, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a 2005 classic starring Martin Freeman as an ordinary man who finds himself on an adventure in outer space after Earth is demolished by alien species who are creating an international highway.
Earth just happened to be in the way, and just like that, it is pulverized into specks of dust by species far more advanced than humanity.
During his adventures, Freeman meets various eccentric characters who show how absurd life and the things we worry about truly are.
From a two-headed alien president to a robot who is perpetually depressed, you will be left feeling like you just went on some higher-plane trip yourself.
While not nearly as insane as the book, the movie still captures the feeling of madness embodied through great special effects and over-the-top humor.
Overall, it is one of the best films ever created, and if you have not already seen this film, it is a must-watch for any fan of sci-fi or comedy films.
Idiocracy is a strange combination of sci-fi and comedy that somehow works despite the movie’s premise being less than amazing.
Idiocracy is a 2006 film directed by Mike Judge that explores a world where everyone has become painfully dumb and seemingly so incompetent they can do almost nothing.
Enter the main character, an average military Joe, frozen until 2505, when he finally awakens and finds the world inhabited by people dumber than him.
He is considered the smartest person there and hailed as some god by humanity who has survived despite being incredibly stupid.
As a commercial film, it failed miserably, but it still has a lot of fun comedic moments that will surely get a chuckle out of you.
Don’t expect anything too highbrow, as this film is not well-known for its intelligent social comedy or clever jokes.
Repo Man (1984)
Released in 1984, Repo Man is a fairly underrated film but still an incredible sci-fi comedy. Directed by Alex Cox, it stars Emilio Estevez as a man who has been hired to locate a Chevy Malibu that possesses something otherworldly in its trunk, with a 20,000-dollar bounty on it.
However, he is not the only one looking to repossess the car, as it has attracted the attention of multiple government agencies, who all want to get their hands on it. This leads to a desperate scramble to see who can be the first to get their hands on this car with the ability to vaporize people.
It has one of the strangest endings ever and is an incredibly weird film. However, that weirdness makes this movie such a great film to watch, especially when you are just looking for something a bit more unique than you normally watch and a good laugh. So what are you waiting for? Go give Repo Man a watch!
Mars Attacks! (1996)
If you thought Tim Burton was an eccentric film creator, you haven’t seen anything if you haven’t watched his 1996 Mars Attacks! film.
This film is one of the strangest on this list and has an all-star cast with names like Jack Nicholson, Glenn Chase, Sarah Jessica Park, and Pierce Brosnan.
In this alien invasion movie, a group of Martians come to Earth fully intent on conquering it and enslaving humanity.
However, things do not go their way, as some humans decide they would rather fight against the aliens than become their slaves for all of eternity.
This then turns what was meant to be an easy invasion into a hijinks-filled film where the Martians desperately try to conquer humanity just to get thwarted.
It is a quirky and colorful movie, utilizing the dark themes that Tim Burton is known for while adding plenty of humor.
The visual effects are also trippy, with the Martians looking like something straight out of an acid dream, with their skinless faces enough to give anyone nightmares for weeks.
The Fifth Element (1997)
The Fifth Element is another amazing sci-fi comedy and one of the few movies I have watched twice in the theater.
It’s a visual treat known for its colorful visual style (with over-the-top costumes designed by famed fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier), unique world-building, and a blend of humor, action, and romance.
The film stars Bruce Willis as Korben Dallas, a former elite commando turned cab driver embroiled in a quest to save the world.
Milla “Multipass” Jovovich co-stars as Leeloo, a mysterious and powerful female being who is the titular Fifth Element and key to preventing an impending cosmic threat.
The movie also features performances from Gary Oldman as the villainous industrialist Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg, Ian Holm as Father Vito Cornelius, Chris Tucker as the flamboyant radio host Ruby Rhod, and Luke Perry in a minor role as Billy, an assistant to a professor who discovers ancient secrets related to the Fifth Element.
The plot of The Fifth Element revolves around a prophecy concerning four mystical stones representing the classical elements—earth, water, air, and fire—and a fifth element, which together have the power to stop a great evil from destroying Earth every 5,000 years.
The film follows the characters as they race against time to gather the stones and ensure that the Fifth Element, embodied by Leeloo, fulfills her destiny.
The Fifth Element has gained a cult following, and I’m one of the followers!
Spaceballs is a science fiction parody directed by Mel Brooks, who also co-wrote the film and stars in two roles.
The movie is a comedic take on classic science fiction films, particularly the “Star Wars” franchise, with many references, gags, and spoofs related to the genre.
The story follows the heroic Lone Starr (played by Bill Pullman) and his half-man, half-dog sidekick, Barf (played by John Candy), as they try to rescue Princess Vespa (played by Daphne Zuniga) from the evil clutches of Dark Helmet (played by Rick Moranis).
Dark Helmet is attempting to steal the air supply from the planet Druidia by using a powerful weapon called the Mega Maid under the command of the incompetent President Skroob (also played by Mel Brooks).
The film is known for its silly 1980s humor, memorable lines, slapstick comedy, and commentary on the commercialization of the film industry through the merchandising of “Spaceballs” products within the movie itself.
Spaceballs has since become a cult classic, with a fan base that appreciates its humor and how it affectionately pokes fun at the science fiction genre.
It’s one of my favorite movies. I think it’s also one of Elon Musk’s favorite movies because he named two of the swiftest Model S variants after the faster-than-light travel modes in the movie, i.e., Ludicrous and Plaid.
Plaid refers to the fastest, faster-than-light travel mode in Spaceballs when the hyperspace begins to look like a 3D Scottish tartan. You can see it as a small plaque on the back of the Model S.
Spaceballs (and Musk, apparently) break for nobody!
Galaxy Quest (1999)
Galaxy Quest is the final movie on this list, one of the best sci-fi comedy films ever created.
The ultimate parody of Star Wars and Star Trek, this movie features Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver, and Tim Allen, who must help an alien species keep their world safe from savage alien invaders.
Why is this group of people chosen by this alien race? Because the alien race thought the sci-fi show they were in was real, they did not understand the concept of actors and movies.
This creates one of the greatest science fiction films of all time and one of the most hilarious movies ever gracing this Earth.
Every step of the way, viewers are treated to hijinks, sarcasm, off-the-cuff jokes, and a cast who understand their characters and give an amazing performance.
If you had to choose any movie on this list, Galaxy Quest should be it because it is one of the best sci-fi movies you will ever watch.
While sci-fi films are often dystopian or dark, the genre still has many comedy films worth watching. If you enjoyed this article, check out Scary Astral Projection Horror Movies You Need To See for some dark horror sci-fi.