What are some of the best science fiction screenplays that screenwriters can learn from?
Reading how-to books and articles about screenwriting can only take you so far.
The best education you can receive to ready yourself for screenwriting greatness is to watch movies and — more importantly — read movie scripts. Our partners at The Script Lab understand the importance of this and you’ll find that most of the scripts available in this list are through them.
As you read more scripts, you’ll quickly see that there’s no single way to write a screenplay. Yes, there’s a general format and structure to follow for most, but the best thing that you can do is read as many screenplays as you can to see what works best for you and your stories.
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Here we present one-hundred and thirty-one Sci-Fi screenplays that you can use as roadmaps to creating your own science fiction cinematic stories.
Note: Many of the screenplays will differ from the final cut of the movies due to film editing, shooting draft changes, and the fact that some are earlier drafts. Also, some of the scripts don’t adhere to the general contemporary guidelines and expectations that novice screenwriters should abide by. When in doubt, always err on the side of using those guidelines and expectations. Some scripts follow a dated format while others are written by established professionals that have format leeway and are allowed to go beyond the general 90-120 page count guideline.
Read ScreenCraft’s The Differences Between Screenwriting Rules, Guidelines, and Expectations and Does Correct Screenplay Format REALLY Matter? to learn more about format guidelines and expectations!
*Click on each image to read the script!*
In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.
2001: A Space Odyssey
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.
2010: The Year We Make Contact
A joint U.S.-Soviet expedition is sent to Jupiter to learn what happened to the Discovery… and H.A.L.
A frustrated writer struggles to keep his family alive when a series of global catastrophes threatens to annihilate mankind.
A civilian diving team is enlisted to search for a lost nuclear submarine and faces danger while encountering an alien aquatic species.
Astronaut Roy McBride undertakes a mission across an unforgiving solar system to uncover the truth about his missing father and his doomed expedition that now, 30 years later, threatens the universe.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
Adventurer, brain surgeon, rock musician Buckaroo Banzai and his crime-fighting team, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, must stop evil alien invaders from the eighth dimension who are planning to conquer Earth.
After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as a distress call, its landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious lifeform, and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun.
Ellen Ripley is rescued by a deep salvage team after being in hypersleep for 57 years. The moon that the Nostromo visited has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, colonial marines have impressive firepower, but will that be enough?
After her last encounter, Ellen Ripley crash-lands on Fiorina 161, a maximum-security prison. When a series of strange and deadly events occur shortly after her arrival, Ripley realizes that she has brought along an unwelcome visitor.
200 years after her death, Ellen Ripley is revived as a powerful human/alien hybrid clone. Along with a crew of space pirates, she must again battle the deadly aliens and stop them from reaching Earth.
Alien vs. Predator
During an archaeological expedition on Bouvetøya Island in Antarctica, a team of archaeologists and other scientists find themselves caught up in a battle between the two legends. Soon, the team realizes that only one species can win.
In 1988, Earth makes the first contact with an alien civilization. In 1991, these aliens, known as Newcomers, slowly begin to be integrated into human society after three years of quarantine.
A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into a mysterious zone where the laws of nature don’t apply.
After discovering that an asteroid the size of Texas is going to impact Earth in less than a month, N.A.S.A. recruits a misfit team of deep core drillers to save the planet.
A linguist works with the military to communicate with alien lifeforms after twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world.
A paraplegic Marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home.
Back to the Future
Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown.
Back to the Future II & III
The sequel script to Back to the Future was originally a screenplay entitled Paradox. The script was split into two. After visiting 2015, Marty McFly must repeat his visit to 1955 to prevent disastrous changes to 1985 without interfering with his first trip. Stranded in 1955, Marty McFly learns about the death of Doc Brown in 1885 and must travel back in time to save him. With no fuel readily available for the DeLorean, the two must figure out a way to escape the Old West before Emmett is murdered.
Battle: Los Angeles
A squad of U.S. Marines becomes the last line of defense against a global invasion.
Beneath the Planet of the Apes
The sole survivor of an interplanetary rescue mission searches for the only survivor of the previous expedition. He discovers a planet ruled by apes and an underground city run by telepathic humans.
A blade runner must pursue and terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.
Blade Runner 2049
A young blade runner’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for thirty years.
A bureaucrat, in a retro-future world, tries to correct an administrative error and becomes an enemy of the state.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Roy Neary, an electric lineman, watches how his quiet and ordinary daily life turns upside down after a close encounter with a UFO.
An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.
Dr. Ellie Arroway, after years of searching, finds conclusive radio proof of extraterrestrial intelligence sending plans for a mysterious machine.
Unless a comet can be destroyed before colliding with Earth, only those allowed into shelters will survive. Which people will survive?
At the bottom of the ocean, the DeepStar Six has just discovered a new and deadly alien menace.
A police officer is brought out of suspended animation in prison to pursue an old ultra-violent nemesis who is loose in a non-violent future society.
In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she’s Divergent and won’t fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it’s too late.
A Duke’s son leads desert warriors against the galactic emperor and his father’s evil nemesis when they assassinate his father and free their desert world from the emperor’s rule.
Edge of Tomorrow
A soldier fighting aliens relives the same day over and over again, the day restarting every time he dies.
In an oppressive future where all forms of feeling are illegal, a man in charge of enforcing the law rises to overthrow the system and state.
Escape from New York
In 1997, when the U.S. president crashes into Manhattan, now a giant maximum-security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in to rescue him.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his homeworld.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a medical procedure to have each other erased from their memories.
A young programmer is selected to participate in a ground-breaking experiment in synthetic intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a highly advanced humanoid A.I.
A rescue crew investigates a spaceship that disappeared into a black hole and has now returned…with someone or something new on-board.
A scientist is nearly assassinated. In order to save him, a submarine is shrunken to microscopic size and injected into his bloodstream with a small crew. Problems arise almost as soon as they enter the bloodstream.
The Fifth Element
In the colorful future, a cab driver unwittingly becomes the central figure in the search for a legendary cosmic weapon to keep Evil and Mr. Zorg at bay.
A football player and his friends travel to the planet Mongo and find themselves fighting the tyranny of Ming the Merciless to save Earth.
The alumni cast of a space opera television series has to play their roles as the real thing when an alien race needs their help. However, they also have to defend both Earth and the alien race from a reptilian warlord.
In a future where genetics are programmed, a genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel.
A giant reptilian monster surfaces, leaving destruction in its wake as it strides into New York City. To stop it, an earthworm scientist, his reporter ex-girlfriend, and other unlikely heroes team up to save their city.
Two astronauts work together to survive after an accident leaves them stranded in space.
In a near future, a lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with an operating system designed to meet his every need.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
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.
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
The scientist father of a teenage girl and boy accidentally shrinks his and two other neighborhood teens to the size of insects. Now the teens must fight diminutive dangers as the father searches for them.
A thief who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a C.E.O.
The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy Earth. Fighting superior technology, mankind’s best weapon is the will to survive.
A hapless store clerk must foil criminals to save the life of the man who, miniaturized in a secret experiment, was accidentally injected into him.
A team of explorers travels through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity’s survival.
Invaders From Mars (1986)
A boy tries to stop aliens who have taken over his town and are attempting to brainwash its inhabitants.
In 2035, a technophobic cop investigates a crime that may have been perpetrated by a robot, which leads to a larger threat to humanity.
The Iron Giant
A young boy befriends a giant robot from outer space that a paranoid government agent wants to destroy.
A man living in a futuristic sterile colony begins to question his circumscribed existence when his friend is chosen to go to the Island, the last uncontaminated place on earth.
The Island of Dr. Moreau
After being rescued and brought to an island, a man discovers that its inhabitants are experimental animals being turned into strange-looking humans, all of it the work of a visionary doctor.
Jason Voorhees returns with a new look, a new machete, and his same murderous attitude as he is awakened on a spaceship in the 25th century.
Transported to Barsoom, a Civil War vet discovers a barren planet seemingly inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians. Finding himself a prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter Woola and a princess in desperate need of a savior.
A pragmatic Paleontologist visiting an almost-complete theme park is tasked with protecting a couple of kids after a power failure causes the park’s cloned dinosaurs to run loose.
Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World
A research team is sent to the Jurassic Park Site B island to study the dinosaurs there, while an InGen team approaches with another agenda.
Jurassic Park 3
A decidedly odd couple with ulterior motives convince Dr. Grant to go to Isla Sorna for a holiday, but their unexpected landing startles the island’s new inhabitants.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space
Aliens who look like clowns come from outer space and terrorize a small town.
A prince and a fellowship of companions set out to rescue his bride from a fortress of alien invaders who have arrived on their home planet.
In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits — someone like Joe — who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by sending back Joe’s future self for assassination.
Lost in Space
The Robinson family was going into space to fight for a chance for humanity. Now they are fighting to live long enough to find a way home.
Mad Max: Fury Road
In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in search of her homeland with the aid of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshipper, and a drifter named Max.
Earth is invaded by Martians with unbeatable weapons and a cruel sense of humor.
An astronaut is stranded on Mars after his team assumes him dead, and must rely on his ingenuity to find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.
A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.
The Matrix Reloaded
Neo and his allies race against time before the machines discover the city of Zion and destroy it. While seeking the truth about the Matrix, Neo must save Trinity from a dark fate within his dreams.
The Matrix Revolutions
The human city of Zion defends itself against the massive invasion of the machines as Neo fights to end the war at another front while also opposing the rogue Agent Smith.
Men in Black
A police officer joins a secret organization that polices and monitors extraterrestrial interactions on Earth.
Men in Black 3
Agent J travels in time to M.I.B.’s early days in 1969 to stop an alien from assassinating his friend Agent K and changing history.
In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder.
Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet’s power problems.
A veteran assigned to extract Earth’s remaining resources begins to question what he knows about his mission and himself.
As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.
A commercial transport ship and its crew are marooned on a planet full of bloodthirsty creatures that only come out to feast at night. But then they learn that a month-long eclipse is about to occur.
When aliens misinterpret video feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war, they attack the Earth in the form of video games.
Planet of the Apes (1968)
An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved.
Planet of the Apes (2001)
In 2029, an Air Force astronaut crash-lands on a mysterious planet where evolved, talking apes dominate a race of primitive humans.
A team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle find themselves hunted by an extraterrestrial warrior.
Amidst a territorial gang war in 1997, a sophisticated alien hunter stalks the citizens of Los Angeles and the only man between him and his prey is veteran L.A.P.D. officer, Lieutenant Mike Harrigan.
A group of elite warriors parachute into an unfamiliar jungle and are hunted by members of a merciless alien race.
Following clues to the origin of mankind, a team finds a structure on a distant moon, but they soon realize they are not alone.
A Quiet Place
In a post-apocalyptic world, a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing.
Ready Player One
When the creator of a virtual reality called the OASIS dies, he makes a posthumous challenge to all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune and control of his world.
Astronauts and their robotic dog AMEE (Autonomous Mapping Evaluation and Evasion), search for solutions to save a dying Earth by searching on Mars, only to have the mission go terribly awry.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
A substance designed to help the brain repair itself gives advanced intelligence to a chimpanzee who leads an ape uprising.
In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories.
A Scanner Darkly
An undercover cop in a not-too-distant future becomes involved with a dangerous new drug and begins to lose his own identity as a result.
A psychologist is sent to a station orbiting a distant planet in order to discover what has caused the crew to go insane.
A soldier trained from birth is deemed obsolete and dumped on a waste planet where he is reluctantly taken in by a community of defenseless, stranded wayfarers.
When retired engineer Frank Corvin is called upon to rescue a failing satellite, he insists that his equally old teammates accompany him into space.
An interstellar teleportation device found in Egypt leads to a planet with humans resembling ancient Egyptians who worship the god Ra.
Humans in a fascist, militaristic future wage war with giant alien bugs.
Star Trek (2009)
The brash James T. Kirk tries to live up to his father’s legacy with Mr. Spock keeping him in check as a vengeful Romulan from the future creates black holes to destroy the Federation one planet at a time.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
When an alien spacecraft of enormous power is spotted approaching Earth, Admiral James T. Kirk resumes command of the overhauled USS Enterprise in order to intercept it.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
With the assistance of the Enterprise crew, Admiral Kirk must stop an old nemesis, Khan Noonien Singh, from using the life-generating Genesis Device as the ultimate weapon.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
Admiral Kirk and his bridge crew risk their careers stealing the decommissioned Enterprise to return to the restricted Genesis Planet to recover Spock’s body.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
To save Earth from an alien probe, Admiral James T. Kirk and his fugitive crew go back in time to San Francisco in 1986 to retrieve the only beings who can communicate with it: humpback whales.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
On the eve of retirement, Kirk and McCoy are charged with assassinating the Klingon High Chancellor and imprisoned. The Enterprise crew must help them escape to thwart a conspiracy aimed at sabotaging the last best hope for peace.
Star Trek: Generations
With the help of long-presumed-dead Captain Kirk, Captain Picard must stop a deranged scientist willing to murder on a planetary scale in order to enter a space matrix.
Star Trek: First Contact
The Borg travel back in time intent on preventing Earth’s first contact with an alien species. Captain Picard and his crew pursue them to ensure that Zefram Cochrane makes his maiden flight reaching warp speed.
Star Trek: Nemesis
The Enterprise is diverted to the Romulan homeworld Romulus, supposedly because they want to negotiate a peace treaty. Captain Picard and his crew discover a serious threat to the Federation once Praetor Shinzon plans to attack Earth.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Two Jedi escape a hostile blockade to find allies and come across a young boy who may bring balance to the Force, but the long dormant Sith resurface to claim their old glory.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Ten years after initially meeting, Anakin Skywalker shares a forbidden romance with Padmé Amidala, while Obi-Wan Kenobi investigates an assassination attempt on the senator and discovers a secret clone army crafted for the Jedi.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Three years into the Clone Wars, the Jedi rescue Palpatine from Count Dooku. As Obi-Wan pursues a new threat, Anakin acts as a double agent between the Jedi Council and Palpatine, and is lured into a sinister plan to rule the galaxy.
Star Wars Episode VI: A New Hope
Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a Wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire’s world-destroying battle station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the mysterious Darth Vader.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
After the Rebels are brutally overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader.
Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi
After a daring mission to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, the Rebels dispatch to Endor to destroy the second Death Star. Meanwhile, Luke struggles to help Darth Vader back from the dark side without falling into the Emperor’s trap.
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Three decades after the Empire’s defeat, a new threat arises in the militant First Order. Defected stormtrooper Finn and the scavenger Rey are caught up in the Resistance’s search for the missing Luke Skywalker.
A former cop turned street-hustler accidentally uncovers a conspiracy in Los Angeles in 1999.
In 1984, a human soldier is tasked to stop an indestructible cyborg killing machine, both sent from 2029, from executing a young woman whose unborn son is the key to humanity’s future salvation.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her teenage son from a more advanced and powerful cyborg.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
A cybernetic warrior from a post-apocalyptic future travels back in time to protect a 25-year old drifter and his future wife from an advanced robotic assassin and to ensure they both survive a nuclear attack.
In 2018, a mysterious new weapon in the war against the machines, half-human and half-machine, comes to John Connor on the eve of a resistance attack on Skynet. But whose side is he on, and can he be trusted?
A drifter discovers a pair of sunglasses that allow him to wake up to the fact that aliens have taken over the Earth.
A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.
The Time Machine
Hoping to alter the events of the past, a 19th-century inventor instead travels 800,000 years into the future, where he finds humankind divided into two warring races.
In the twenty-fifth century, a time when people have designations instead of names, a man, THX 1138, and a woman, LUH 3417, rebel against their rigidly controlled society.
A factory worker, Douglas Quaid, begins to suspect that he is a spy after his visit to Recall — a company that provides its clients with implanted fake memories of a life they would like to have led — goes wrong and he finds himself on the run.
The son of a virtual world designer goes looking for his father and ends up inside the digital world that his father designed. He meets his father’s corrupted creation and a unique ally who was born inside the digital world.
The Truman Show
An insurance salesman discovers his whole life is actually a reality TV show.
In the distant future, a small waste-collecting robot inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.
War of the Worlds
As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival in this sci-fi action film.
In a future where the polar ice-caps have melted and Earth is almost entirely submerged, a mutated mariner fights starvation and outlaw “smokers,” and reluctantly helps a woman and a young girl try to find dry land.
Wild Wild West
The two best special agents in the Wild West must save President Grant from the clutches of a diabolical, wheelchair-bound, steampunk-savvy, Confederate scientist bent on revenge for losing the Civil War.
Ken Miyamoto has worked in the film industry for nearly two decades, most notably as a studio liaison for Sony Studios and then as a script reader and story analyst for Sony Pictures.
He has many studio meetings under his belt as a produced screenwriter, meeting with the likes of Sony, Dreamworks, Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers, as well as many production and management companies. He has had a previous development deal with Lionsgate, as well as multiple writing assignments, including the produced miniseries Blackout, starring Anne Heche, Sean Patrick Flanery, Billy Zane, James Brolin, Haylie Duff, Brian Bloom, Eric La Salle, and Bruce Boxleitner. Follow Ken on Twitter @KenMovies