Inspiring, evocative and ultimately so very human; Fans regard Contact as one of the best science fiction of all time. This multidimensional sci-fi has far surpassed its generic frontiers through its imagery and captivating performances. If you are a film enthusiast who wishes to see illusionistic movies like Contact, we have curated a list that should fit well with your taste. Adapted from Astronomer Carl Sagen’s novel of the same name, Contact is a sci-fi movie directed by Robert Zemeckis. A radio astronomer played by Jodie Foster called Dr Ellie Arroway, loses her research funding after not achieving much success in gaining any important data from an extraterrestrial programme. When the programme is about to end, she discovers a binary message from the Vega star system. After she is able to prove first contact with the Extraterrestrial intelligent species, due to the sensitive nature of the programme, she has to deal with high-pressure National security. The film involves a wormhole time exploration of Ellie’s childhood and discoveries that challenge human faith.
List of Movies Like Contact
- Ad Astra
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- The Day the Earth Stood Still
1. Arrival (2016)
Arrival is a creation of the brilliant director Denis Villeneuve and is considered one of the best science-fiction movies of all time. Arrival perfects everything any Sci-fi movie hopes to deliver. The movie is based on a short story called ‘Story of Your Life’ by Ted Chiang which primarily deals with searching for the reason the alien crafts have arrived and what they want from Earth.
Arrival incorporates skilful non-linear elements of story-telling with a soundtrack and visuals that speak a deeper truth of human communication and how bound by the time our memories tend to be. Amy Adams’ performance is quite stunning here. If you’re following this list of films and wan to watch movies like Contact, I’m sure you’ll love Arrival. Check it out.
2. Ad Astra (2019)
Directed by James Gray, Ad Astra is set in a future where space travel is far more advanced and frequent than today. It follows the story of astronaut Roy McBride. He has been appointed on a top secret journey to fix a problem known as ‘The Surge’ which knocks electronics all across the galaxy.
The pulses of the said problem are believed to be coming from the Lima Project which was a space expedition led by Roy’s father Clifford McBride, where he went missing. Hence, Roy’s mission becomes a journey of revelations about the advancement of space travel, a search for his father and also a search for something divine, like a God. Calm, stunning, and frightening, the movie gives a distinctly modern answer to man’s search for the divine. If you want to watch similar movies like Contact that feature beautiful futuristic visuals of space, this one is for you.
3. Interstellar (2014)
When Nolan’s Interstellar came out in 2014, people were mesmerised. The beautiful story, the stunning visual effects, the emotional acting performance, and –most noteworthy, Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack made Interstellar a masterpiece of wonder and amazement.
Here, in the story– Earth becomes uninhabitable in the future. A farmer and ex-NASA pilot, Joseph Cooper (McConaughey), is tasked to pilot a spacecraft with a team of researchers to find a new planet for humans. Thematically, the intensity of time, love, sacrifice and the mere idea of exploring the vast universe is transcendent beyond words. Interstellar is easily at the top of my recommendations for movies like Contact.
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968 )
2001: A Space Odyssey is a true sci-fi cinematic classic. The director of this film, Stanley Kubrick, was an exceptional visionary. There are few movies that can match up to the greatness of this one. This 1986 film touches on the themes of artificial intelligence vs. mankind. It makes us wonder if artificial intelligence could also have feelings or if it is just programmed to simulate them.
The movie is an abstract visual, innovative, and poetic masterpiece. Especially the opening dawn of man sequence, which is honestly unforgettable. For me, this is not only Kubrick’s best movie but also a milestone in the genre. It is pretty long, at around 2h 29m, and it is slow, which I agree with. But it is never dull. The use of classical musical pieces like Beautiful Blue Danube beautifully reflects the grand existence of humanity. If you want to see movies similar to Contact, 2001: A Space Odyssey, without a doubt, should be on your watchlist.
5. Sunshine (2007)
A team of international students are sent on a dangerous mission called Icarus II in hopes of reigniting the dying Sun with a nuclear fission bomb. Set in 2057, Sunshine sets a scenario where due to the dying sun, life on earth is also dying. Whether the crew succeeds in attempting to revive the star is to be seen. Many unexpected challenges will control what the journey entails.
Following the success of the small-budget film 28 Days Later, the director Danny Boyle, Screenwriter Alex Garland and Actor Cillian Murphy teamed up again. Sunshine with a larger budget, created grand sequences of space exploration and colonisation. Sunshine’s dialogues have an everlasting effect. Viewers are mesmerised by the endurance of humanity’s faith in this movie. Sunshine is a great underrated option for sci-fi films like Contact.
6. Annihilation (2018)
Annihilation directed by Alex Garland is another movie adaptation on this list. A Sci-fi movie with psychological horror elements, this story follows a group of explorers. Jena, a biologist and a former soldier joins a mission so that she can find out what happened to her husband in a mysterious place called ‘The Shimmer’ and save him. She discovers jarring truths about this ecological and genetic blending zone.
This movie is about more than just a woman exploring an inexplicable bubble to save her loved one. For many reasons, it reflects humanity’s collective impulse of destroying the environment leading towards self-destruction. Annihilation’s simple motivation and terrorising reality is worth a watch if you are looking for similar films like Contact.
7. Gravity (2013)
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity is a Sci-fi thriller starring exceptionally talented actors Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Dr Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission with the veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky ( George Clooney). On one of their routine spacewalks things go wrong and their space shuttle is destroyed. Ryan and Matt are stranded in space.
In this survival story, humanity’s resilience even in the most improbable catastrophes is inspiring. Sandra’s heartfelt performance is worth every praise. The movie brings a simple element of love as the strongest motivation for humans when Dr Ryan and Matt talk about their family and Children. Gravity’s quiet and impressive cinematography reinforces our compassion for the protagonist. There are few movies that can translate such emotions and Gravity is one of them, which is why if you want to see movies similar to Contact, this has to be on your list.
8. Moon (2009)
The Sci-fi Drama Moon follows an Astronaut called Sam Bell as he has a life-threatening encounter at the end of his three-year stint on the far side of the Moon. Initially, he works there alongside his computer, GERTY and sends back Earth packages of resources that help people on our planet diminish the power problems that they have been facing.
The film positions the challenges a human can face to survive in the vastness of the universe. The unprecedented situations are magnificent, Moon is surely the most underrated movie in this list. The claustrophobic, suspenseful and chilling story is sure to leave you spellbound. If you enjoy movies like Contact, then surely check out Moon.
9. The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
A remake of the 1951 movie of the same name, The Day the Earth Stood Still stars Keanu Reeves as Klaatu and Jennifer Connelly as Dr Helen Benson. Directed by Scott Derrickson, the Sci-fi Drama is about an alien humanoid visitor, Klaatu and a giant Robot counterpart who visit earth. Klaatu and other such alien humanoids determine whether human civilization with destructive habits deserves to live. Dr Benson and her stepson soon discover that the seemingly threatening outer space being Klaatu is actually a friend of humanity and try to convince him to stop their extinction.
While many think Keanu’s portrayal of the character felt cold, dedicated fans defend his choices to be true to the nature of a foreign intelligent life. The movie’s message of peace and desire is portrayed decently. Though a fairly unpopular movie, it is a good choice if you want to watch movies like Contact.
If you’re interested, you can also check out the original The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) after watching this film.
Here are a few movies like Contact that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless:
- The Martian
- K- Pax
- Independence Day
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind