10 Most Romantic Sci-fi Movies, According To Ranker

The recently released HBO series, The Time Traveler’s Wife, depicts the bizarre love story between Henry DeTamble, a man who sporadically travels through time, and Clare Abshire. It’s not the first adaptation of the 2003 novel of the same name, with director Robert Schwentke’s 2009 film being a popular version of it as well.

This is why it’s not surprising that users on Ranker have included the movie in their list of the most romantic sci-fi films of all time. The highest-rated movies blend the genres perfectly, often using the science fiction elements as challenges or to influence the relationships between the main characters.

Note: Ranker lists are live and continue to accrue votes, so some rankings may have changed after this publishing.


10 Arrival (2016)

Available to stream on Prime Video.

Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner in Arrival

Often cited alongside the best sci-fi movies of the decade, arrival depicts the measures world leaders and governments take after mysterious alien crafts land around the world. It mainly shows the perspective of the linguist, Louise Banks, who is tasked with finding a way to communicate with the extraterrestrial beings.

Alongside Louise is the physicist Ian Donnelly, who works with her to identify and explain the symbols the aliens use. They support each other through the stressful process, which is made worse by the pressure from their government. A mind-blowing twist changes the nature of their relationship completely and reframes the way the protagonist sees the world around her.

9 Another Earth (2011)

Available to rent on Apple TV.

Rhoda and John in Another Earth.

After an exact copy of earth appears in Another Earth, 17-year-old Rhoda Williams and John Burroughs cross paths in a tragic way. In her attempts at making up for her mistake, the protagonist forms an unexpectedly close bond with the broken man, who has no idea who she really is.

The twisted relationship between Rhoda and John is built on a foundation of deception and pain. While the love that blossoms between them is genuine, the film explores the possibility of a second chance through the new earth that still looms above them.

8 Blade Runner (1982)

Available to rent on Apple TV.

Rachael and Deckard in Blade Runner

Set in a dystopian future where synthetic humans known as replicants work in space colonies, Blade Runner follows the story of Rick Deckard, who comes out of retirement to hunt down a group of fugitive replicants led by Roy Batty. Along the way, he encounters Rachael, a replicant who believes she’s a human being.

Among the several things that still hold up about Blade Runner is the unique relationship that forms between Rick and Rachael. It’s her experiences that help him understand how evil the Tyrell Corporation is and how replicants are just as deserving of love and life as anyone else.

7 The Age Of Adaline (2015)

Available to rent on Apple TV.

Adaline and Ellis meet in the elevator

When 29-year-old Adaline Bowman gets into a dangerous accident in The Age of Adaline, something magical happens that causes her to stop aging. This complicates her relationships with her family, friends, and lovers, as there are consequences that come with her condition, making it both a gift and a curse.

Just when Adaline gets used to her life on the run, she meets someone who changes her world forever. Ellis Jones reminds her how to live without holding back and learns how to navigate her immortality with her, which isn’t as permanent as it initially seems.

6 Gattaca (1997)

Available to stream on Netflix.

In the not-too-distant future of Gattaca, people’s DNA determines their lot in life, which is bad news for Vincent Freeman. He’s one of many born as “In-Valids,” or conceived through natural means without the use of biometrics used on “Valids.” Since genetic discrimination is allowed and even encouraged, Vincent’s chances of achieving his dream of going to space are close to zero.

While hatching a plan to join the space program, Vincent meets the Valid, Irene Cassini. Even though she’s a Valid, she’s limited by a mistake that makes her susceptible to heart failure. Their bond highlights the injustices and inequalities that people face in a world where eugenics has become normalized.

5 Palm Springs (2020)

Available to stream on Hulu.

Palm Springs movie poster

When Nyles and Sarah meet and hook up at a friend’s wedding in Palm Springs, they end up stuck in a time loop that tests their patience with life, the world, and each other. They relive the same day and attend that wedding over and over again while coming up with increasingly outrageous stints to try to escape their predicament.

The likable main characters in Palm Springs soon turn on each other, as it’s impossible to stay calm in their absurd situation. While there have been several movies to explore time loops, there’s nothing quite like the humorous and charming premise shown through Nyles and Sarah’s experiences in the comedic movie.

4 The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)

Available to stream on HBO Max.

Based on the 2003 novel of the same name, The Time Traveler’s Wife tells the story of Henry DeTamble, a librarian with a strange genetic disorder that causes sporadic time travel. He forms a relationship with Clare Abshire, who he meets as a child and eventually re-connects with when she’s an adult and a promising artist.

The movie explores their complicated marriage, particularly Clare’s hardships as she struggles to cope with being alone for long periods of time. It’s their love that keeps pulling Henry back, but there comes a point where they both question if that’s enough.

3 About Time (2013)

Available to rent on Apple TV.

About Time

The men in Tim Lake’s family have a unique ability in About Time – they can travel back in time and relive their happiest moments as often as they want. Tim uses his newfound skill to help improve his love life, which teaches him important lessons about the limits and consequences of time travel.

Tim learns to better appreciate his relationship with Mary thanks to time travel, as whenever something terrible occurs, he just goes back to correct the event. He soon realizes that he can’t fix everything without sacrificing something, which is a problem that he and Mary grapple with throughout the course of the film.

2 Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)

Available to stream on Peacock Premium.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey

The cult classic Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a film that mostly takes place in Joel Barish’s mind. Furious that his ex-girlfriend Clementine Kruczynski decided to use the services of the firm Lacuna to erase all memories of him, he makes the decision to do the same and forget her.

No matter how hard he tries, though, something always seems to pull them back together. Since the device used in the movie starts with the worst memories towards the end of the relationship, Joel realizes too late that he does not want the procedure. As happy moments between him and Clementine replay in his head, he fights to keep what he can.

1 Passengers (2016)

Available to rent on Apple TV.

Passengers (2016) - Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence

Set in a future where interstellar travel is possible, Passengers tells the story of the engineer Jim Preston and the journalist Aurora Lane, who are passengers on the Avalon. The sleeper ship is meant to transport thousands of colonists to a faraway planet known as Homestead II, which is a journey that will take 120 years to complete.

When Jim and Aurora are prematurely awakened from their pods, they contemplate what their life together could be like on the ship. Betrayals, an asteroid, and a third passenger complicate their relationship, which can only endure so much.

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