Best Movies of All Time + top 20

The Best: ALIENS

Aliens have always been a part of the cinematic culture. From the birth of cinema, filmmakers have had a fascination with life amongst the stars. In 1902, Georges Méliès created a film about a trip the moon, where a group of scientists encountered another race of human-like organisms. Flash forward all the way to present day, and we have upcoming alien-centric films like Battleship and Men in Black 3. And in all that time in between, a slew of extra-terrestrials have graced the silver screen, and many of them have become ingrained into the public consciousness.

About a year ago, I first made a list chronicling my favorite cinematic extra-terrestrials. It wasn't a very in-depth post - I basically just put pictures of my favorite movie aliens in a list, and that was that. Ever since, I've been wanting to revamp the post a little bit, and seeing as I've been in a science-fiction sort of way for the past few weeks, I figured now was as good a time as any. And so, I've compiled a list of my twenty favorite aliens from film. The only real stipulations are that the character has to have appeared in at least one feature-length film, and the character must have origins on a planet other than Earth. I'll list them in descending order, so if you wanted to see my favorite, make a jump down to the bottom of this post. That being said, I hope you enjoy this list!

20. SelenitesFirst Appearance: Le Voyage dans la lune (1902)

At the beginning of this post, I mentioned a little Georges Méliès film called Le Voyage dans la lune, which translates into English as A Trip to the Moon. It was a short film, spanning less than twenty minutes, but in that time, the world caught glimpse of what may have been the first cinematic creatures from outer space: the Selenites. Although a tad bit menacing, these creatures proved to be rather weak - it took only a blow to the head to destroy them. Despite this, they still provided the basic framework for every alien species that would ever be created in the medium of film, and for that, we should all be glad. We all should tip our hats to the brilliance that Méliès brought to the screen, both for creating these otherworldly creatures as well as creating the beginnings of the science-fiction genre.
19. EwoksFirst Appearance: Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
Although I was tempted simply to list Wicket (pictured above) in this position, I ultimately chose to place the Ewoks as a whole onto this list. While Wicket is easily the most instantly recognizable of the bunch, it was the entire Ewok clan that helped the Rebel Alliance bring down the Empire in Return of the Jedi. And to think that all it took was a bunch of furballs using antiquated weaponry to bring down some of the most technologically-savvy villains in the galaxy. And they still managed to be cute and cuddly through it all. These guys were so beloved that they managed to nab two made-for-television spin-off flicks, and that alone has to say something.
18. AliensFirst Appearance: Toy Story (1995)Voiced by: Debi Derryberry
It'd be tough for me to leave these guys out of this list. Having grown up alongside the Toy Story franchise, their antics have become ingrained into my own consciousness. Whether they're worshiping the all-powerful claw or claiming their eternal gratefulness to a certain Mr. Potato Head, there's something terribly endearing about these three-eyed squeaky toys. The fact that they've become popular enough to last through three Toy Story films is also a tad bit incredible, but it's not something I'm really arguing against. They just know how to bring a smile to the audience's face.
17. SpockFirst Film Appearance: Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)Portrayed by: Leonard Nimoy
I know that Dr. Spock has been around much longer than the first Star Trek film, but his inclusion in that film is what makes him eligible for this list. It was always nice to have a bit of a counter-balance to William Shatner's Captain Kirk, and as is evidenced by some of the film sequels, Spock had a much larger importance to the overall story than one could have originally imagined. Nimoy was perfect for the role, although I do think that Zachary Quinto did a fantastic job with the 2009 reboot.
16. AliensFirst Appearance: Independence Day (1996)
These guys were some of the first aliens that ever gave me nightmares. Those of you who have been reading me for a while will remember these aliens' inclusion on the list of ten films that traumatized me, and to this day, they're still one of the creepier ones I've seen on the silver screen. They were equipped with an biomechanical exoskeleton that was creepy enough, but the smaller creatures housed inside those suits are just as spine-tingling. Their reflective eyes don't offer you any insight into what they might be thinking, and that might be the most terrifying part of all.
15. Kal-El / SupermanFirst Appearance: Superman (1978)Portrayed by: Christopher Reeve
I know you're probably thinking, "Superman isn't an alien, is he?" Although it's not really the way most of us think about him, his past tells us that he is, in fact, an extra-terrestrial. Born on the planet Krypton before its ultimate demise, this superhuman individual finds a home on planet Earth, where he becomes the savior of many and the spoiler of criminals everywhere. But at his base, Kal-El is a man of Krypton, and it's this little tidbit that makes him eligible for this list.
14. GonzoFirst Appearance: Muppets from Space (1999)Voiced by: Dave Goelz
Throughout Muppet history, the Great Gonzo was constantly referred to as a "whatever." He never resembled anything earthly, and as a result, he and his friends never knew just how to classify him. All of that changed with 1999's Muppets from Space, which finally gave Gonzo a sense of self in declaring him an extra-terrestrial. Having always been one of my favorite Muppets, I was glad to see that Gonzo was finally given a home and a sense of community rather than have him remain stuck as the "only one of his kind," so to speak.
13. PaulFirst Appearance: Paul (2011)Voiced by: Seth Rogen
In a send-up of nearly every classic sci-fi film that's ever graced the silver screen, you'd think that a movie like Paul would manage to bring us something a little bit different in terms of their alien. And why Paul's look is about as classic as you can get (although the resemblance is explained in the film), Paul's personality is about as different and out there as the possibility of having an alien encounter. This wise-cracking, pot-smoking extra-terrestrial turned the concept of a friendly alien on its ear when Paul hit theaters in 2011, but underneath all the jokes and the rudeness, Paul has quite a big heart, and that's what makes him all the more endearing.
12. AliensFirst Appearance: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
As I wrote in my review of Close Encounters (link above the picture), this film changed the game a bit for the sci-fi alien sub-genre. Before Close Encounters was released, the concept of an alien coming to Earth was usually as a result of some sort of violent invasion; however, this film helped re-shape the extra-terrestrial identity into the possibility for a friendly encounter between human and alien. And although the aliens themselves are a little bit dorky, their method of communication with their human counterparts makes them all the more mystical. It's simply difficult not to like them.
11. Iron GiantFirst Appearance: The Iron Giant (1999)Voiced by: Vin Diesel
Animation has seen its fair share of alien life, but none is more fascinating than the Iron Giant from the 1999 film of the same name. The idea of an alien race made up of mechanical parts wasn't out of the blue in 1999 - you can thank the Transformers for that - but the Iron Giant was something a little bit different. The relationship he creates between himself and the young Hogarth is beautifully-crafted, and it makes for quite the turn of events as the film goes about its business.
10. PrawnFirst Appearance: District 9 (2009)
 The biggest sci-fi blockbuster of 2009 was easily James Cameron's Avatar, but there was a smaller sci-fi flick that I thought outperformed the big-budget vehicle on every level, including in its visual effects. While Avatar was winning all the awards, I was strongly making the case for District 9's beautifully-crafted Prawn, whose intricate bodies were the most complex I had ever seen brought to life on-screen. The fact that they fit seamlessly into a real-life environment only enhanced the brilliance of their creation, and it made them seem all the more realistic. That alone should give them the nod over a long list of other computer-generated aliens.
9. ThingFirst Appearance: The Thing (1982)
Don't let the above picture fool you into thinking you know what this crafty alien looks like. The whole point of The Thing is that we never truly know who or what this alien is because it has the ability to take on the shape of any living organism with which it comes in contact. This little feature makes it one of the more fascinating additions to the list as well as one of the more frightening. To think that the characters had to guess as to whether the people around them were themselves or were, in fact, this "thing" makes the concept of this alien incredibly terrifying.
8. BarfFirst Appearance: Spaceballs (1987)Portrayed by: John Candy
Barf, which is short for Barfolomew, is a race of alien known as a Mog, which is short for half-man, half-dog. He appears in the 1987 spoof Spaceballs, which plays off many of the classic sci-fi films of the 1970s and 1980s. Barf himself is a bit of a play on the Chewbacca character from the Star Wars franchise, but he's a tad bit funnier than his Wookiee counterpart. And he manages to be one of the funnier parts of the film, so that's an added bonus.
7. KlaatuFirst Appearance: The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)Portrayed by: Michael Rennie
Although he looks just like a human, Klaatu is actually a man from another planet. He comes to Earth in order to warn the human population that the creatures in the universe have noticed the human penchant for violence, and that if they cannot change their ways, the planet may be destroyed. I always thought there was a bit of a religious feeling towards the film, and a lot of it stems from the somewhat Christ-like Klaatu. Rennie plays him well, and the character offers a timeless message that we should all hear.
6. Audrey IIFirst Appearance: Little Shop of Horrors (1986)Voiced by: Levi Stubbs
If you have a giant plant like a venus fly trap that sings and feeds on blood, you can be sure that I'm going to be intrigued. Add the fact that it can sing, and I'm going to be hooked. That's exactly what we're getting in Little Shop of Horrors, and Audrey II is every bit as charismatic as he sounds. And despite the fact that he is inherently evil, it's still incredibly difficult to hate him entirely. There's just so much to love!
5. Kro-Bar & LattisFirst Appearance: The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2001)Portrayed by: Andrew Parks & Susan McConnell
Most readers won't have any idea as to whom Kro-Bar and Lattis are, but for the few who do, I'm sure they'll nodding with approval at their inclusion on this list. Natives of the planet Marva, the husband and wife duo lands on planet Earth and find themselves stranded until they can find the element atmosphereum, which powers their spacecraft. In their quest to find it, they stumble upon a nefarious plot crafted by none other than the lost skeleton of Cadavra. If any of this sounds a little ridiculous to you, then you're guessing correctly. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra is a send-up of 1950s B-movies, and it's nearly perfect in every way. And Kro-Bar and Lattis are simply astounding.
4. ChewbaccaFirst Appearance: Star Wars (1977)Portrayed by: Peter Mayhew
How could I possibly leave Chewie off this list? The big guy has to deal with so much throughout the course of the Star Wars saga, and he still manages to hold his head high and become one of the series' central heroes. Whether it's dealing with Han's shenanigans or having to listen to being called a "walking carpet," the universe's most famous Wookiee has plenty on his plate. And still, there's something endearing and affectionate about him, and there's plenty of reason as to why he's featured so highly on this list.
3. E.T.First Appearance: E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)Voiced by: Pat Welsh
I would argue that E.T. is easily one of the most beloved cinematic extra-terrestrials ever to grace the silver screen. There's something about this long-necked, short-legged brown creature from outer space that's absolutely lovable. Maybe it's his physical appearance. Maybe it's the way he talks. Maybe it's his loving and generous personality. Maybe it's those brilliant eyes that truly show off his emotions. Whatever the case, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a movie-goer who doesn't think that E.T. belongs on a list like this. And even thirty years later, he's just as beloved as he was back in 1982.
*****2. XenomorphsFirst Appearance: Alien (1979)
When I think of a terrifying alien, this is the first image that pops into my head. When you have a film simply titled Alien, you can be sure that it's going to at least offer you some sort of extra-terrestrial life. The fact that it gave the world one of the most menacing and fearsome creatures ever put to celluloid is something else entirely. What's so scary about the Xenomorph is that it's horrifying in every stage of its life. It starts out by being laid into the stomach of its host. Once it reaches a certain age of maturity, it bursts out of the host's chest, killing them almost instantly. Finally, it grows into the nearly-unstoppable creature picture above. And through a number of sequels and spin-offs, the Xenomorph has continued to be terrifying, even if the movies in which its appeared have become more and more lackluster. At the end of the day, I'd still hate to run into one of these guys.
1. YodaFirst Appearance: Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)Voiced by: Frank Oz
I had a lot of trouble choosing the top spot for this list, but it ultimately came down to Yoda, who embodies so many different character qualities throughout his time in the Star Wars saga. When you first meet him, he brings a bit of comedic relief. Then, he turns into the mentor and teacher, leading Luke on his path towards becoming a Jedi. And in the prequels, Yoda is given even more dimensions, showing off an even greater hotheadedness than we saw in the initial trilogy. But what's truly most appealing about Yoda is that, in his heart, he's one of the truest characters to grace the screen in the Star Wars films. He has a very distinct sense of what's right and wrong, and he will do whatever it takes in order to ensure that justice prevails. If that means using force, then he'll do it. If it means using words, he'll do that as well. The sage of the cinematic alien world, there should be no doubt that Yoda is the best. The top of the list, he is.

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