20 Best Movies About Friendly Aliens

20 Best Movies About Friendly Aliens

In the majority of sci-fi movies, the extraterrestrials tend to be nefarious or self-centered. Somehow, the strange-looking beings from all other sections of the galaxy find humans to be detestable, so they always attempt to take over Earth or make humankind extinct. Unfortunately, a good number of them normally end up victorious, thanks to their special abilities and superior technology.

However, there are a couple of films where the aliens are friendly. They might not warm up to the entire world, but they are shown to build special bonds with the protagonists, something that makes them very likable. The following sci-fi flicks show how humans and creatures from outer space can coexist peacefully and empower each other.

20 Earth to Echo (2014)

The alien in Earth to Echo (2014)
Relativity Media

Earth to Echo pits the cybernetic alien, Echo, and his human friends against malicious individuals that are trying to capture him in order to use him for scientific experiments. The friendship is born when the trio of Alex, Munch, and, Tuck finds Echo in the Nevada desert. The buddies do everything in their power to protect him, and as expected, various obstacles keep emerging along the way.

Away from the hunter-hunted dynamics, Earth to Echo has hilarious dialogue, majorly because Echo only answers yes or no questions. Moreover, audiences are likely to appreciate the camera techniques used in the film. The views switch between handheld cameras, phone cameras, and even the robot’s eyes, making this one of the most impressive found footage movies ever made.

19 The Cat from Outer Space (1978)

A scene from The Cat from Outer Space
Prime Video

In most alien movies, the production team goes to great lengths to create special designs for the creatures. Sometimes they look awful, while on other occasions, they are mere copies of what genre loyalists have seen many times before. Well, in The Cat from Outer Space, director Norman Tokar and his team prove that all the makeup and costume work isn’t necessary. Here, the alien is simply a cat.

While piloting a flying saucer, the cat named Zunar-J-5/9 Doric-4-7 is captured by US government agents who force him to explain his agenda. In captivity, a scientist befriends the alien and persuades him to open up, learning that the feline is searching for a special element to repair his spaceship. To the cat, the element is known as “Org 12” but the scientist realizes that it’s actually ordinary gold. He thus goes behind his superiors’ backs to help him get it.

18 The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

A scene from The Day the Earth Stood Still
20th Century Fox

There is a much more recent version of The Day the Earth Stood Still, but it’s nowhere close to being one of the great remakes of classics. Audiences would be advised to watch the original version directed by Robert Wise because it has a better soundtrack, better performances, and most importantly, better dialogue.

Right from the opening sequences, it’s clear that the alien named Kaatu means no harm. His first words are the typical, “I come in peace, and in goodwill,” which he says after the US Army surrounds him. However, it has a special message: Earth needs to stop creating dangerous weapons or else extraterrestrial powers will be forced to intervene. Even though the government remains hostile towards Kaatu and even tries to kill him, he maintains his reasonableness and reminds everyone to keep his words in mind. Additionally, he forms a strong friendship with a widow and her daughter over the course of the movie.

17 The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

David Bowie looks in the mirror in The Man Who Fell to Earth
British Lion Films

Adapted from Walter Tevis’s bestselling 1963 novel of the same name, The Man Who Fell to Earth follows the alien, Thomas, who comes to Earth to harvest water for his drought-stricken planet. Presenting himself as an Englishman, Thomas introduces his home planet’s technological inventions as his own, then patents them, making himself extremely wealthy in the process. With the money, he makes a machine that will enable him to transport water back home.

The Man Who Fell to Earth stars David Bowie, who gives a surprisingly good performance, despite having had little acting experience before taking on the role. His character remains likable throughout the film, going on to strike a strong friendship with a lawyer and fall in love with a woman who introduces him to Earth’s customs. Unfortunately, the government learns of his activities and tries to intervene.

16 Earth Girls Are Easy (1988)

 A scene from Earth Girls Are Easy
Vestron Pictures

Few would have thought that aliens are lustful too until director Tony Garnett decided to close the ‘80s with one of the weirdest alien movies ever. In Earth Girls are Easy, the adventures of three hairy extraterrestrials begin when their ship gets knocked off course because they were busy ogling at a sunbathing woman on Earth. They land on her pool and when she realizes they are friendly, she takes them to her beautician for a full-body shave.

Earth Girls are Easy has Jim Carrey in the lead, meaning potential viewers can expect all forms of absurdity. The humor majorly stems from the aliens discovering they have very attractive bodies beneath the fur and consequently finding it easy to seduce Earth’s women. Plenty of interesting relationship arcs emerge along the way, and in the climax, the woman that welcomed them even chooses to go with them because she is in love.

A scene from Contact
Warner Bros.

When a path to a far point in the galaxy where aliens reside is discovered, office politics takes center stage. Various astronauts assigned to the SETI program, all desire to be selected for the mission, but only one can go. Dr. Ellie Arroway, who discovered the radio signal, is eventually chosen and upon reaching the distant planet, she is welcomed by an alien that looks like her dead father.

Matthew McConaughey stars here as a Christian philosopher that is skeptical about the existence of aliens. He would go on star in a similar project (Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar), years later. Audiences will also appreciate the efforts to make things as realistic as possible, Over the course of Contact, real-world personalities such as Larry King and Jay Leno make appearances.

14 Mac and Me (1988)

A scene from Mac and Me
Orion Pictures

Of all the things that can cure aliens, Coca-Cola is what audiences would least expect to do the job. Well, there is an obvious case of product placement in Mac and Me, but watching the protagonist Eric working hard to get more soda in order to save the dying family of his beloved alien friend MAC (Mysterious Alien Creature) is truly heartwarming.

Events inMac and Me center around the titular alien, who had come to Earth with his family in search of subterranean water. While fleeing from government agents, he ends up befriending Eric. Initially, they are hostile to each other because of Mac’s tendency to destroy things, but Eric warms up to him after learning that he can fix things easily. Ultimately, Eric helps him save his dying family

13 The Iron Giant (1999)

A scene from the animated alien movie, The Iron Giant
Warner Bros.

In The Iron Giant, the alien is a 50-foot-tall robot that can eat power lines and railroad tracks. The film is adapted from Ted Hughes’ 1968 novel, The Iron Man, but was conveniently renamed to avoid confusion with the Marvel character of the same name.

Interestingly, superhero pop culture references are sprinkled all over the movie. The alien’s 9-year-old friend shows him several comic books as he is teaching him about Earth’s culture and in a scene where he blocks a missile, he declares, “I am Superman!” Besides that, the voice cast is star-studded. The giant is voiced by Vin Diesel, while Jennifer Aniston and Christopher McDonald also have supporting roles.

12 Arrival (2016)

Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner in Arrival (2016)
Paramount Pictures

There is a strong incentive for movie lovers to watch Arrival as it’s not only directed by Denis Villeneuve but also has a very strong cast that includes Amy Adams, Forest Whitaker, and Jeremy Reiner. Further proof of the film’s quality lies in the fact that it received a whopping eight Oscar nominations, winning one for Best Sound Editing.

Based on Ted Chiang’s 1998 story “Story of Your Life,” Arrival centers around the attempts by various world governments to figure out what the extraterrestrial wants after 12 different ships suddenly appear on the skies of different nations. It’s eventually revealed that the aliens only want to strike a friendly deal, but before audiences learn that, they are taken through a roller-coaster of emotions that make the viewing experience worth it. War is teased on multiple occasions, but it never happens, so the movie heavily relies on dialogue to impress.

11 Meatballs Part II (1984)

The alien from Meatballs Part II
Prime Video

Meatballs Part II isn’t primarily an alien movie. It’s more about business rivalry, as it involves attempts by the owner of Camp Sasquatch to prevent the owner of Camp Patton from buying the entire lake for himself. In classic comedy fashion, they agree to solve the dispute via a boxing match. Whoever wins, gets the lake.

The extraterrestrial subplot pops up about halfway through the film as it’s revealed that campers are hiding a young alien that has been dropped on Earth to learn the culture. However, this minor story ends up being the best part of the movie. The alien is shown to be extremely hilarious, constantly, repeating the question, “”Me Ted, who are you?” Interestingly, the campers hear “Meathead” instead of “Meathead,” so they give him that name. When the alien is picked at the end, audiences learn that his name is Mr. Idontwannagotosummercamp, meaning he was forced to come to Earth.

10 Batteries Not Included (1987)

A scene from Batteries not included
Universal Pictures

Batteries Not Included has compassionate and resourceful aliens that come to the rescue of residents of an apartment block after a property developer tries to bully them into moving. When the tycoon’s goons break peoples’ things to intimidate them, the extraterrestrials suddenly show up and help them with repairs. Consequently, they are nicknamed “The Fix-Its.”

There are plenty of adorable things about this breed of aliens, notably the fact that they consume electrical and metal objects in order to survive. In general, Batteries Not Included is packed with numerous adorable scenes featuring the humans and the “Fix’Its,” notably one where a “Fix-It” mother gives birth to a stillborn baby before one of the residents takes apart his TV set and uses the parts to revive it.

9 Transformers (2007)

Bumblebee innTransformers 2007
DreamWorks Pictures

It’s sometimes easy to forget that the characters in the Transformers franchise aren’t typical robots, but aliens. Each of the installments is about a group of humans teaming up with the Autobots to fight the Decepticons or other villainous groups, but the first movie has the most heartwarming scenes between the two species.

Watching Bumblebee help Sam Witwicky to woo his crush, Mikaela, is guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face, and so is watching Optimus Prime carefully explaining the conflict in Planet Cybertron to humans. Additionally, Transformers has way better visuals than other alien movies, and given that it involves cars, it’s very palatable even for people that generally don’t like alien movies.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Universal Pictures

E.T. the Extraterrestrial is widely considered one of the best Steven Spielberg films and the verdict is mostly influenced by the visuals and the wholesome friendship arc between the young Elliot and E.T. After learning that the alien was left behind, the boy bonds with him and attempts to help him discover his way home.

Though Spielberg also uses the cliché arc of government operatives hunting after the alien, he makes his movie distinguishable in different ways. For example, Elliot and E.T. bond so much that they are able to share emotions. When E.T. drinks beer while Elliot is at school, the boy gets drunk too. And when E.T. watches a movie kiss from John Wayne’s The Quiet Man, Elliot suddenly feels the urge to kiss his crush in school. Additionally, E.T. the Extraterrestrial has arguably the most emotional ending out of all the friendly alien flicks.

7 Supersonic Saucer (1951)

A scene from Supersonic Saucer
MUBI

Supersonic Saucer is somewhat of an early version of Transformers since the Venusians are capable of transforming into flying saucers in order to travel around the galaxy. One of them named Meba finds his way to Earth where he lands in a Cardiff boarding school and befriends school children. When a gang attempts to capture him, the kids vow to protect him.

The visuals appear dated by today’s standards, but the story in the alien flick flows smoothly and without any major flaws. After all, it is written and produced by Frank Wells, the son of the prolific English writer, H. G. Wells. There are plenty of hilarious awkward moments too, all of which stem from Meba’s failure to understand the human language. Thankfully, the kids make an effort to teach him.

6 Starman (1984)

A scene from John Carpenter's Starman
Columbia Pictures

Starman is an ‘80s sci-fi classic, yet the initial reception was poor. The movie performed poorly at the box office, something that was partially blamed on John Carpenter’s decision to switch genres. Mostly known for making horror and thrillers, the renowned director opted for a romantic comedy, and even though audiences didn’t warm up to it immediately, they did so with time.

In the film, the extraterrestrial named Starman is more of a tourist/explorer. He shows up to see what Earth is like, but his ship gets shot down by government forces. He then flees to the widow Jenny’s home where he not only uses her dead husband’s hair string to clone a human body for himself but also ends up falling in love with her, Some of Starman’s most adorable moments include Jenny teaching Starman how to drive and Starman curing Jenny’s infertility.

5 Paul (2011)

Universal Pictures

Paul has nefarious government agents too, but it is the big names in the cast give audiences the incentive to watch. So do the jokes and slapstick moments, which keep coming at a higher rate than they do in some of the most critically acclaimed comedy movies. After all, there is Simon Pegg and Seth Rogen here, two actors that rarely have a bad day in the office.

It’s no surprise that Paul has familiar storylines. After all, it’s a direct parody of Steven Spielberg’s alien flicks, notably E.T. the Extraterrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. And that’s something the director himself clearly approved of as he even makes a cameo voice appearance where he discusses the former film, claiming it’s about to become a huge hit.

4 Cocoon (1985)

A scene from Cocoon (1985)

That Ron Howard’s Cocoon only won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects feels unfair because it also has one of the best-ever alien-related screenplays. In it, a group of peaceful aliens comes back for large cocoons they left at the bottom of the ocean 10,000 years ago. In order to keep them alive, they rent a house with a pool next to a retirement. Soon, a group of elders sneaks into the pool to swim, and to their surprise, they are cured of all their ailments and begin feeling young again.

Generally, Cocoon is all about friendship as the aliens even forgive the elderly citizens when they destroy one of the cocoons. And the bond grows so deep that the aliens offer the retirement home members a chance to go to their home planet with them. There, they are guaranteed to never grow older and remain immortal. Fed up with the struggles of disease and old age, many of them take up the offer.

3 The Brother from Another Planet (1984)

The Brother in hiding in Brother From Another Planet
Cinecom Pictures

Joe Morton (better known for his roles as Rowan Pope from Scandal and Silas Stone in Zack Snyder’s Justice League) stars here as an alien in human form that escapes slavery from his home planet and hides in Harlem. Because he has three-toed feet and can’t speak properly, he makes a point to wear shoes all the time and keeps conversations one-sided.

Apart from brilliantly using an alien plot to condemn slavery, The Brother from Another Planet, features the most inclusive cast of any alien movie. During his adventures in Harlem, the man simply known as The Brother gets to interact with a West Indian woman, a Latinx man, an Arab man, and a Korean shopkeeper. He is also shown to have plenty of cool powers such as being able to fix things by simply placing his hands over them.

2 Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

Sonic the Hedgehog
Paramount Pictures

Adapted from the popular Sega games, Sonic the Hedgehog chronicles the adventures of an anthropomorphic hedgehog on Earth after his guardian helps him flee the conflict on his own planet. The titular character eventually forms a friendship with a local sheriff and together, the duo attempts to stop the evil Dr. Robotnik.

Sonic the Hedgehog remains a refreshing entry into the alien arena because it subverts most of the tropes. The protagonist has no communication problems. Instead, he churns out plenty of incredible one-liners. Besides that, he isn’t sluggish in movement. He movies at supersonic speed, making him a perfect alternative to other human pop culture speedsters like The Flash and Quicksilver.

1 Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

A scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Columbia Pictures

Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounter of the Third Kind also features friendly aliens. It takes a while for the friendship arc to be established, but that’s what makes the movie awesome. Initially, it’s all about the curiosity of the protagonist Roy, who attempts to convince people about the existence of aliens but some (like his wife) find him annoying and delusional.

Close Encounter of the Third Kind was nominated for eight Oscars (winning two) hence it’s definitely an essential movie for all cinephiles. The film’s legacy cannot be understated either. Today, it’s largely credited with launching the late ‘70s and ‘80s wave that saw numerous alien films being released by major studios.

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