The Best Sci-Fi Movie Trailers of All Time

Tuesday, 20 October 2015 - 3:30PM
Star Wars
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Tuesday, 20 October 2015 - 3:30PM
The Best Sci-Fi Movie Trailers of All Time
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Thanks to JJ Abrams and his gang, everyone has gone slightly trailer crazy over the last 24 hours. The latest trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a rare beast. It was emotive, action-packed, had an incredible soundtrack, and most importantly gave very little away about the driving force of its plot, but could it ever be considered as one of the best this genre has ever seen?


You may (or may not) have been angered by what went on in Prometheus, but there's no denying that this was a fantastic trailer. Even if the movie didn't, this trailer did a classic sci-fi franchise the service it deserved.


Of course, Prometheus was really just following in the footsteps of one of the all time great sci-fi trailers. The trailer for Ridley Scott's Alien was haunting, suspenseful and gave away absolutely nothing about the movie's key plot points. Plus, title cards have never been so bloody terrifying as they were in these 2 minutes.

Man of Steel

Ok, this was a teaser and not a full trailer, but we just had to put it on the list somewhere. It was this teaser that got us giddy with expectation for Zack Snyder's Superman tale, with Russell Crowe's voice over as Jor-El and the bleak imagery promising a Superman movie the likes of which we had never seen. It's just a shame the full product couldn't live up to the hype this teaser generated.

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Speaking of failing to live up to the hype of a trailer, let's cast our minds back to 1999. It was a time when it didn't take much to get Star Wars fans excited; we'd been starved of a new movie for almost two decades and were as hungry as ever to revisit the Galaxy Far Far Away. Then this trailer dropped and everyone lost their mind. Much like the new trailer for The Force Awakens, this Phantom Menace trailer perfectly blended the old with the new, giving everyone the highest hopes for what lay ahead.


The person responsible for picking this Smashing Pumpkins song as the backing to this trailer deserves a medal. Soundtrack aside, Zack Snyder is something of a master when it comes to trailers, and this piece for Watchmen may even trump his trailer for 300, which is no mean feat.

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road was not only a great movie, it also had one of the best pre-release marketing campaigns we've seen in years. The trailers and posters felt refreshingly vibrant, and the timing of the cuts in this particular piece were damn near perfect.

2001: A Space Odyssey

There was no dialogue in the trailer for Kubrick's classic, but then again, no dialogue was needed. Imagine watching this trailer without having seen the movie or read the book. You'd have no idea what the hell was going on, but you'd be desperate to get to the theater to find out. This is another great example of letting a soundtrack do the leg work, and though Strauss's 'Also sprach Zarathustra' was composed back in the late 1800's, it now feels synonymous with this piece of Science Fiction history.


"BWAAAM. BWAAAAM. BWAAAAM." Many have tried to replicate the Hans Zimmer fart methodology for trailers, but few have succeeded.

A Clockwork Orange

You wouldn't think it would be possible to sum up Kubrick's weirdest work in just 1 minute, but somehow this trailer gets it absolutely right. A true work of art.


Sometimes it's ok to give away a whole scene in a trailer, especially when that scene is as good as the one selected by JJ Abrams to promote his 2008 movie, Cloverfield. Much of what made Cloverfield great is present in this trailer, and it fed off of the driving force of the plot..."We want to see the giant monster!"

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

"Once he was programmed to destroy the his mission is to protect it." That line is so 80's it hurts, but this trailer will always be a classic. If only Terminator: Genisys had been able to emulate it without, you know, blowing the entire plot of the movie.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Nobody really knew what to expect with Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, and it's for that reason that this trailer simply has to be put on this list. After the trailer for James Gunn's movie was released, Guardians of the Galaxy went from being labelled "the straw that would break Marvel's back" to one of the most exciting movie prospects of 2014. Ooga Chacka, baby.

The Dark Knight

Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins impressed many a hardened Batman fan, but it wasn't until the trailer for The Dark Knight landed that fans realized quite what was happening with this franchise. Ledger's performance was the centerpiece of both the movie and the trailer, and both were made great because of it.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This may seem like a knee-jerk reaction, but last night's trailer for The Force Awakens has so much going for it that it's hard to imagine it not being on a similar list in 10 years time. Packed full of action and nostalgia, there are few trailers that have been able to generate this amount of excitement for a movie while giving away so little. This was an artfully constructed trailer that slowly ramped up the action as it introduced the light and dark sides of the movie's character cast. The teasers and trailers for this movie have been so close to perfect that Star Wars fans are starting to get anxious at just how good this movie could be. We were fooled once back in 1999, but this feels different...doesn't it?
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies
Star Wars
Star Wars: The Force Awakens