5 best Netflix sci-fi movies to watch on the 4th of July

Doc Brown in "Back to the Future."
Universal Pictures / Universal Pictures

Many people like to celebrate Independence Day with a little escapist cinema, and what other genre can do that better than science fiction? Netflix currently has dozens of sci-fi films that can spark viewers’ imaginations and provide a nice treat for the whole family.

So with the free time they have for the Fourth of July, audiences should sit down and stream these five films, which make up the best sci-fi films that Netflix has to offer.

Need more recommendations? Then read our guides to the best movies on Netflix, best comedies on Netflix, and best action movies on Netflix.

Godzilla Minus One (2023)

Godzilla strikes an impressive pose in a poster for "Godzilla Minus One."
Toho / Toho

Directed by Takashi Yamazaki, this story follows a World War II kamikaze pilot (Ryunosuke Kamiki) struggling with PTSD after facing the titular creature, which returns to terrorize Japan years later. Featuring Oscar-winning visual effects made on a small budget, this kaiju masterpiece took the film industry by storm in 2023, and it continues to wow audiences after its recent streaming debut.

Godzilla Minus One isn’t just a thrilling and explosive monster movie. It’s also a tender and poignant tale about people trying to rebuild their lives together in the wake of a terrible tragedy. It tackles issues of war and mental health and builds upon the original film’s themes.

The Wandering Earth (2019)

A young man standing in a frozen tundra in "The Wandering Earth."
China Film Group Corporation / China Film Group Corporation

This Chinese blockbuster depicts a future in which humanity has thrust the Earth out of orbit to pilot it away from an expanding sun, plunging the planet into a second Ice Age as it travels to the other side of the solar system. In the midst of it all, a young man (Qu Chuxiao) teams up with his foster sister (Zhao Jinmai) and his astronaut father (Wu Jing) to prevent the Earth from colliding with Jupiter.

This record-breaking interstellar adventure is a unique and exciting mix of The Day After Tomorrow and the visually stunning sci-fi movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. While it may seem like another mindless popcorn flick ripped right out of Hollywood, one can’t help but be captivated by its ambitious scope, eye-popping visuals, and emotional story about love, hope, and unity.

The Adam Project (2022)

Ryan Reynolds looks up to the sky in "The Adam Project."
Doane Gregory/Netflix / Doane Gregory/Netflix

A young boy’s life is forever changed when he meets his older self, who has crash-landed in the present while trying to prevent his wife’s murder at the hands of the world’s future tyrant.

Reminiscent of Star Wars and Back to the Future, this film from director Shawn Levy (Deadpool & Wolverine, Free Guy) delivers a hilarious and self-aware time-traveling adventure elevated by the performances of Walker Scobell, Ryan Reynolds, and Mark Ruffalo. Brimming with snappy jokes and genuine heart, The Adam Project makes for a funny and thrilling roller coaster that the whole family can enjoy this summer.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)

Miles Morales falls through a multiverse portal in "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse."
Sony Pictures Animation / Sony Pictures Animation

When a D-list supervillain threatens the fate of his world, Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) must swing into action and save his loved ones with the help of even more Spider-People from across the Multiverse. Into the Spider-Verse may have been a masterpiece of comic book cinema, but this sequel takes everything about the original film and raises the bar tenfold.

Thanks to its vibrant animation, rapid-fire humor, and emotional metanarrative, Across the Spider-Verse is a powerful and enthralling blockbuster that only gets better with each viewing, offering a breath of fresh air in this overwhelming age of superhero media.

Back to the Future (1985)

Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox in "Back to the Future."
Universal Pictures / Universal Pictures

The world was forever changed in 1985 when young Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and his scientist pal, Dr. Emmet Brown (Christopher Lloyd), tested the world’s first DeLorean time machine, with the former accidentally going back to the year 1955. Though the film has been out for almost 40 years, Back to the Future continues to captivate countless audiences, young and old. In fact, it’s challenging to find someone who hasn’t watched or heard of this classic movie.

Thanks to its clever story, unique humor, and charismatic characters, director Robert Zemeckis’ film has stood the test of time and remained a landmark and benchmark of sci-fi cinema. Many people have wanted to go back to the past at least once in their lives, and Back to the Future is the ultimate adventure for those who want to escape into a thrilling and funny trip through time.