42 of the Best Geek Movies of All Time: How Many Have You Seen?

Dave Parrack 05-11-2014

Geek” has, in recent years, morphed from being a negative epithet to a positive term for anyone with an interest considered niche or nerdy. This change for the better means people are now happy to call themselves geeks, and has led to the entertainment industry catering more and more to this potentially lucrative market.


Hollywood has taken full advantage of this, with geek movies such as the current crop of comic-book movies proving to be box-office gold. But what, you may be wondering, are some of the best movies for geeks ever released? Wonder no more, my fellow geeks, as we have compiled a list of 42 of the best geek movies of all time. 42? Yes, 42.

The Best Movies For Geeks

We recently asked you, What Is Your Favorite Geek Movie? You didn’t let us down, and plenty of you told us all about the geek movies you love. We have pared all of these suggestions down to a 42-strong list containing some (but not all) of the best geek movies of all time.

The following 42 films, as presented in no particular order, should appeal to geeks of all shapes and sizes 10 Websites Geeks of All Stripes Should Bookmark We geeks know what we are and revel in our existence as our place in society grows ever stronger. We are geeks, we are proud, and we're not going anywhere. As the Internet becomes a... Read More . The genres covered include comedy, horror, sci-fi, action, and drama. Time travel is prevalent, as are dystopian futures, bizarre gadgets, encounters with aliens, and paranormal adventures.


42 Of The Best Geek Movies Of All Time…

  • Star Wars
  • Back To The Future
  • Logan’s Run
  • Men In Black
  • Tank Girl
  • Dune
  • Terminator
  • Robocop
  • Wall-E
  • Weird Science
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Ghostbusters
  • Pi
  • Iron Man
  • Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
  • Akira
  • Office Space
  • Brazil
  • Minority Report
  • Blade Runner
  • Tron
  • The Matrix
  • The Social Network
  • The Number 23
  • Spaceballs
  • Jobs
  • Contact
  • War Games
  • The Internship
  • Independence Day
  • I, Robot
  • Inception
  • Source Code
  • Twelve Monkeys
  • Revenge Of The Nerds
  • Primer
  • The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes
  • Army Of Darkness
  • Total Recall
  • The Butterfly Effect
  • Memento
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

Some of these movies haven’t got particularly high ratings on IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes, but then arbitrary ratings mean little in the big scheme of things. Inclusion on this list means each of these films appeals to at least one of the geeks who reads MakeUseOf on a regular basis. And a MakeUseOf geek is surely the only kind of geek that matters.

There is only one logical thing to do with a list as lengthy as this: determine how many of the movies mentioned you have actually seen. I have personally seen 36 out of the 42, and there are two I had never even heard of before compiling this list. Now it’s your turn to get involved by telling us how many of the 42 geek movies listed above you have seen.

Complimentary Comments

In order to compile this list of the best geek movies, we received a lot of great comments from the MakeUseOf readership. Great comments included those from Xoandre, Callum, and likefunbutnot. The applause for the best comment goes to Hildy J, who earns our admiration and affection for this gem:

Oft cited:
2001 [because: space]
Tron [because: operating systems]

Off the wall:
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy [because: 42]
Spaceballs [because: the schwartz]
The Rocky Horror Picture Show [because: alien transsexuals]

We loved this comment because it names five exceptionally geeky movies which are all brilliant in their own way but which will appeal to entirely different audiences. The short, snappy reasons for naming these movies all hit the spot too.


Image Credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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  1. Christine Ballone
    August 23, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    I saw almost all of them. There are so many more: the golden compass, Jupiter ascending, John carter of mars, all rated not very successful at the BO.I that regard I am the outsider in my family considered a sci-fi and fantasy freak( my husband has not seen any of the movies) but they all come running if their computers and tablets don’t work lol!

  2. Joao
    October 25, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    We could easily go for 100, 200 or more movies. Then again, we would all have different lists, agree or disagree with this or that movie. Me included...

    I got 38 of 42. Maybe 39 of 42. I'm not sure about Weird Science. can't quite remember.

    Just a reminder: Bill & Ted. Excellent!


  3. Braden
    August 5, 2016 at 12:39 am

    Jurassic park, no?

  4. justin
    June 9, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    How is Batman Dark Knight not on here? Or Avengers 1? Come to think of it, I hardly see ANY comic book movies.

  5. Squalle
    December 6, 2015 at 11:32 am

    What about Planet Of The Apes? It's about time travel. That's pretty geeky, right? lol

    I have to be honest, I just finally saw all 5 in the last 4 days, finally. I've seen all the new ones as they came out, just never got around to watching the old ones until I saw them on HBO GO the other day, all 5!

    When my wife heard me say that I'd never saw them, she gave me this look... like she didn't know who I was. She may have been thinging about divorce, I don't know. lmao

    Well, then I find out that she's only seen the first 2, so now I can give her the look. BAM!

  6. Squalle
    December 6, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Ok, I've seen 30 of the original 42 from this list. I haven't got all the way through the comments yet though.

    I just have to say, most of these were great great movies, with one exception...

    2001: A Space Odyssey

    It took me three sittings to get through that damn thing. Ugggg!

  7. kusuma
    December 24, 2014 at 8:22 am

    The 6th Day
    Johnny Mnemonic

    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
    Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

  8. rjeff
    December 16, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    The Best is as yet unmentionned: Forbidden Planet (1956)

  9. Nicole
    November 19, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    I have only seen 28 of the 42, but now I know what I'm doing during fall break!
    Also, for anyone interested, I put the list on iCheckMovies so you can keep track!

  10. Aaron Sun Camacho
    November 6, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    Cloak and dagger
    My science project

    • Anonymous
      November 25, 2014 at 8:07 pm

      Teresa. Norma. Angular

  11. suzybel
    November 6, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    I've seen about half of those listed, and I have to say War Games is my favorite.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      That's a great film. I suspect our personal favorites are dictated by age and and how old we were when they first came out. Is that the case here?

    • suzybel
      November 7, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      I think I watched it because my 8 year old son wanted to watch it, and I'm in my 60's now. That was about 31 years ago? I've been a geek movie watcher since. Anything sci-fi or "Harry Potterish". The rest of my family thinks I'm weird. They think I should be watching comedies and romance.

  12. lifeh2o
    November 6, 2014 at 11:27 am

    The list of these 42 movies on IMDB

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      That's awesome, thank you for doing that. It's really interesting sorting them by rating etc.

    • Helplle
      November 9, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      Use to following link to extract the IMDb IDs from the list so they can be imported into Couchpotato: helplle.com/

  13. Gerry
    November 6, 2014 at 6:32 am

    The wording is "42 OF the best", so there's no claim that the list is exhaustive. That's a good thing, because many of those suggested in the comments are as good as or better than those on the list. There doesn't seem to be any criteria for being a geek movie, just whatever the geeks who made the list like. I've seen 34 of those on the list and most of those in the comments, and fully agree that the original "The Day the Earth Stood Still", which I saw in the theater during its initial release, should be on any such list. I also nominate the MST3K version of "This Island Earth".

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      Thank you. You're completely correct. This is merely a list of some of the best geek movies ever made. It's not complete by any means, and I limited the selection to those suggested in the comments of the previous post.

    • Squalle
      December 6, 2015 at 11:23 am

      I'm convinced that it is damn-near impossible to keep track of EVERY single movie you've seen. I started a database site years ago to keep track of all the movies I've seen and I'm STILL finding ones that make me think... "oh, that's gotta be in there... oh, it isn't"

      Maybe some day I'll get caught up...

  14. TechnoHippie
    November 5, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    Forgot 3 good ones:

    Hackers II - takedown

  15. Michael Dowling
    November 5, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    I really liked Day the Earth Stood Still,the original,not the POS remake.It's very dated now,but the special effects are spot on,and the story is compelling.Michael Rennie was great as Klaatu,IMHO.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      I personally liked both versions, but I know the remake left a lot of people cold. Great choice.

  16. dragonmouth
    November 5, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Those may be the 42 most popular "geek" movies among MUO readers. Whether they are the 42 "best" is highly arguable. It is interesting that all these movies are relatively recent, which, I assume, reflects the demographics of MUO readership.

    Even though the term "geek" was invented in the 1950s, geek movies were made long before that.
    Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" - 1927
    "The Shape of Things to Come" - 1936
    "The Day the Earth Stood Still" - 1951, not the schlock propaganda remake of 2008
    "The War of the Worlds" - 1953, not the 2005 Spielberg remake
    "On the Beach" - 1959
    "Dr. Strangelove" - 1964
    These movies inspired and influenced many movie makers, actors and writers.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      No one is saying they're the best 42 in existence, just that this 42 are highly watchable. I was very careful with the wording of the title to avoid any arguments such as this one.

      All of the movies you suggest are great. I just wish you'd have mentioned them when the question was asked so that I had the opportunity to include them in the list!

    • dragonmouth
      November 6, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      "No one is saying they’re the best 42 in existence"
      No, they are not but you're just playing with semantics.

      "I just wish you’d have mentioned them when the question was asked"
      I must have missed the original poll. Anyway, I doubt they would have made the Top 50 Most Popular. The majority of the audience is too young, too enamored with Computer Generated Special Effects to appreciate the oldies. I wonder what they would say the special effects in Georges Melies" "From the Earth to the Moon" :-)

  17. Dark Passenger
    November 5, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    I'm surprised there isn't any Star Trek franchise representation (I don't care enough to pick which one).
    Maybe Godzilla 1954 or Fritz Lang's Metropolis (the original sci-fi movie), just to get at least ANY old-time movies represented?
    Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (or the remake) because the protagonist is a hacker.
    Zardoz, Aliens, Mad Max II, Run Lola Run, Solaris or Barbarella would easily fit in this list as cult classics.
    But obviously the #1 ultimate Geek movie of them all is Tarkovsky's Stalker.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      I was tempted to sneak Star Trek in there, but I chose to let its omission stand.

      Metropolis is a great addition to the list. There are definitely enough left to do another list at a later date.

      I'll be honest and admit I have never heard of Stalker.

  18. Leah
    November 5, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    I've only seen 17. Not even half.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      That's your weekends for the rest of the year sorted then! ;)

  19. kj
    November 5, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Have only seen 26 because so many on this list are awful.

    +1: Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      That was suggested, but in order to stick to the 42 I had to leave some off. Which ones do you think are awful?

  20. spacyzuma
    November 5, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Wait! Hold up!!

    'Serenity' isn't on that list! Really?!

    Serenity was the film made from the cancelled 'Firefly' series. Both didn't make a lot of money, but the film was a lovely scifi movie!!

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      By mentioning it now you have added it to the list :)

      I only included ones suggested in the previous post, so Serenity didn't make it. I must admit I wasn't all that impressed by it anyway.

    • Sebastian
      November 21, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      I think Serenity was especially good, if you had seen Firefly before. It neatly wrapped everything up and tied all loose ends.

      If you hadn't seen the series, it was probably hard to get into it.

    • Squalle
      December 6, 2015 at 11:25 am

      Seconded! I still can't believe that show was even cancelled!! It's still got a HUGE following, they could bring it back at any time.

  21. yanalkazan
    November 5, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Where's Real Genius?

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      He's currently writing a reply to your comment...

  22. Ed
    November 5, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    I'm surprised "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" didn't make the list. That's one of the most quoted movies among me and my geek friends.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      It was suggested but I felt there were more geeky alternatives. I guess it was geeky in a different way than I had previously envisioned.

  23. Bob
    November 5, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Have seen 36 of 42. Didn't know anything about The Number 23 or Source Code; was "meh, who cares" about Jobs and The Social Network; and chose not to see The Butterfly Effect and the Internship

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      The Butterfly Effect is a surprisingly good film, despite Ashton Kutcher. Source Code is also very, very good.

  24. Anonymous
    November 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    I've seen them all :-D

  25. Roch
    November 5, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Dark Star (Bomb, arm yourself.)

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      Ooh, I have never even heard of that... let's hope it's on Netflix.

  26. Leopardmask
    November 5, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    I've seen 15 but my dad probably has at least 30 and wants to show me more of them.

  27. Tim
    November 5, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Akira and Primer are the only two I haven't seen. There are a few more that should at least be honorable mentions though... Zapped! And the Revenge of the Nerds come to mind.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      Akira is weird but extremely compelling. Primer is a must-see if you like time travel.

  28. penguin
    November 5, 2014 at 12:51 pm


    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      It was suggested, but as many people hate that film as love it, so I left it off. Sorry!

  29. CJ
    November 5, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Thrilled to see The Number 23 on the list. That movie was very underrated. It held my attention and surprised me all the way to the last second. If you haven't seen it, you must.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      I agree. I thought Jim Carrey did a good job with it too, so the hate seems a little misplaced.

  30. Eric
    November 5, 2014 at 11:04 am

    I'll show my age here but here's some real geeky movies that I grew up with along with a summary:
    Cloak & Dagger - government secrets hidden in a game cartridge
    D.A.R.Y.L. - boy with a robot brain steals an SR-71
    Flight of the Navigator - boy's brain is filled with star charts of unknown galaxies
    The Wizard - Movie length Nintendo commercial
    Space Camp - Training simulation in a real shuttle actually launches the kids in space with only one real astronaut
    The Explorers - 3 kids get the same dream of building a circuit that allows them to create a force field sphere that allows them to go into space

    • Yield
      November 5, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      Colossus The Forbin Project

    • d4ryl3
      November 5, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      My parents aren't geeky, but they named me after D.A.R.Y.L. and added an E at the end. Haven't watched it though.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      Oh man, Flight Of the Navigator is an excellent film. I wish it had made the list. I definitely think a follow up is in order in a few months time.

  31. Sam
    November 5, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Where's The Island, Equilibrium, Starship Troopers and Mission to Mars?

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      I don't know, where are The Island, Equilibrium, Starship Troopers and Mission to Mars?

      Oh, sorry, I thought this was the start of a geeky joke!

      The simple answer is no one suggested them, so they couldn't make the list.

  32. Eileen Souza
    November 5, 2014 at 10:10 am

    I have seen 32 of the 42 best geek movies. There were several that I had never heard of.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Will you be seeking them out to watch in the future after seeing them on this list?

  33. M4A
    November 5, 2014 at 8:45 am

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy? Really?

    Akira is good movie too, recommended.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      It might not be the best movie, but it's still highly watchable for anyone who has read the books. At least in my opinion.

  34. Imran Ali
    November 5, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Firewall is also a good one

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      That's a good film. Underrated IMHO!

  35. Earl
    November 5, 2014 at 3:31 am

    I have seen 40 of the 42, I haven't seen "Pi" or "The Number 23" but will look for them.

    It's an awesome list, and so many more could have made it on there for all types of reasons, but as far as the most influential geek movie (or series) Star Wars would rank above everything else (that's if Star Trek is not included as they are spin-offs from TV series).

    Star Wars has influenced more people, genres, writers, technicians, engineers, and yes... geeks. Love it or hate it - Star Wars was a beacon to all of us at some point in our life - if only to point out how great movies could be (or couldn't be in the case of Episode I).

    • Shakiestnerd
      November 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      2nd Star Trek - have to add Galaxy Quest. Anything that engenders something like trekkers/trekkies has to peg the geek-o-meter.

    • dragonmouth
      November 5, 2014 at 8:46 pm

      "Star Wars has influenced more people, genres, writers, technicians, engineers, and yes… geeks."
      I beg to differ. Although Star Wars was technologically cutting edge, its general premise has existed in Sci-Fi for decades. George Lucas admitted quite a few times that he got the inspiration for the series from books written during the Golden Age of Sci-Fi. Star Wars is nothing more than the visualization of E.E. Smith's "Lensman" and Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" books.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      @Earl Definitely seek those movies out, they're gems.

      @Shakiestnerd I wish someone had suggested Galaxy Quest.

      @dragonmouth There's an element of George Lucas bringing it to the mainstream through movies though. You surely have to give him credit for that.

  36. Noah Robertson
    November 5, 2014 at 2:29 am

    Brilliant reference to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in the title.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 6, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      I'll be honest, this was going to be 50 of the best geek movies, and then I seized an opportunity to geek out.

      The Number 23 was also 23rd on the list until I lifted Star Wars to the top to tie in with the picture!