The alien invasion remains perhaps the most well-known storyline in science-fiction cinema. Its appeal is simple: While we may yearn to know whether there is life in the universe beyond the human race, we wonder what would happen if they came to us first — and weren't friendly. That premise takes center stage this week in Independence Day: Resurgence, which takes place 20 years after Earth fought back in the original Independence Day and finds the aliens — bigger and meaner — returning to finish the job they started.
But alien invasions aren't always conducted by massive space vessels blasting all our landmarks to smithereens. They can be insidious and undetectable; they can spring from our past, from seed pods, from within a mother's womb. You'll find all those and more in this list. What you won't find here are superhero films that use alien villains, kaiju movies that involve extraterrestrials and alien abduction tales — if we incorporated all of those, we'd be here for days.
Here are our nominees for the 30 best alien invasion movies, ranked in reverse order. Do you agree with our picks? Did we miss a favorite of yours? Let us know below.