Sci Fi

10 Nice Sci-Fi Films About Clones

For all its stunning visual effects, otherworldly threats, dystopian futures, and mind-bending narratives, the beating heart of science fiction is an endeavor to find new answers to the age-old question ‘what does it mean to be human?’. Films about clones are particularly well versed in this area as, whether they’re contained horror movies or action blockbusters, they inherently pry into how we view ourselves and how we view humanity.

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Each of these films specifically focus on the idea of cloning and the many consequences, both good and not so good, success in that particular pursuit could bear. From understated dramas to action-packed epics, these movies may have you seeing double, but they leave you with plenty to contemplate by the time the credits roll.

1 ‘Oblivion’ (2013)

Image via Universal Pictures

A high-concept sci-fi blockbuster, Oblivion deals with everything from cloning and programming to alien invasion and the destruction of Earth. Set decades after an alien force waged a costly war with humanity, the film follows a veteran and his partner as they extract resources from the diminished planet and repair drones which hunt alien scavengers on the surface.

All is not as it appears however, and Jack (Tom Cruise) soon learns that the history he’s been taught is a lie, and he is but one of millions of clones helping to eliminate the last human survivors. While Oblivion is a little jumbled at times, its winding narrative produces some surprising twists and its underlying message of free will opposing programming was enticing when explored.

2 ‘Infinity Pool’ (2023)

A young woman and a man sinlking in a pool in the poster for Infinity Pool.
Image via Neon

A mind-bending, psychosexual rollercoaster of unnerving imagery, sci-fi spectacle, and pitch-black satire, Infinity Pool could become one of the cult hits of 2023. From Brandon Cronenberg – son of body horror master David Cronenberg – the film follows a wealthy couple whose luxurious vacation goes awry when they are charged with vehicular manslaughter.

Terrified given the fictional foreign nation imposes the death penalty for such crimes, they are soon relieved to learn they can allow an identical copy of themselves to be created to face their punishment instead. The freedom from accountability sets James (Alexander Skarsgård) on an intoxicating path of violence, hedonism, and horror and offers a scathing commentary on how the rich so easily avoid facing the consequences of their actions.

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3 ‘The Boys from Brazil’ (1978)

Dr Josef Mengele and Nazi Hunter Ezra Lieberman meet.
Image via 20th Century Fox

Bolstered by its leading men, The Boys from Brazil is completely mind-boggling in both its premise and the conclusions to comes to. It follows an aging Nazi hunter who learns of a secret operation in which Dr. Josef Mengele (Gregory Peck) is using Hitler’s DNA to develop cloned babies with the hope one of them will grow up to initiate a Fourth Reich.

While the ridiculous story is full of uncertain twists and turns, the film itself was a surprisingly effective thriller thanks to its electric pacing and the moral intrigue of its story. Its conclusion was brilliantly compelling, erring in favor of free will but doing so in a way that was as eerily haunting as it was though-provoking.

4 ‘Swan Song’ (2021)

Image via Apple

A wonderful example of how little is needed to make sci-fi work at its compelling best, Swan Song is a wonderfully confined character study. Mahershala Ali shines in dual roles as a loving family man who, when diagnosed with a terminal illness, is given the option of sparing his family from grief by cloning himself without them knowing.

The overpowering theme of death and loss and the impossible decision Cameron (Ali) must make ensure that the film is far from a joyous watch, but it is a rewarding one. Offering a brilliant perspective to the ethical questions surrounding cloning, as well as whether it is right to spare loved ones from heartache, the film picks at the viewer’s brain right up until the very end.

5 ‘Us’ (2019)

The tethered Wilson family introduce themselves to their doppelgängers
Image via Universal Pictures

Proving that his debut horror hit Get Out wasn’t a one-hit wonder, Us solidified Jordan Peele’s standing as one of the most enticing modern filmmakers. The psychological thriller brings an eerie sci-fi element to home invasion horror when the Wilson family’s coastal vacation is interrupted by their deranged and disturbing doppelgängers.

The “tethered” as they call themselves, are the abandoned by-products of a government experiment to create clones which could be used to influence people’s lives. Rebelling against their miserable, underground existence, the tethered storm the outside world in a murderous spree which Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) and her family must fight to survive.

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6 ‘Never Let Me Go’ (2010)

Image via 20th Century Studios

A romantic sci-fi drama, Never Let Me Go asks the ‘what does it mean to be human?’ question in a manner that is strikingly poignant and devastatingly heartbreaking. The film follows three childhood friends coming to terms with the fact that they are clones who have been created to serve as disposable organ donors.

With terrific performances from Andrew Garfield, Carey Mulligan, and Keira Knightley, the film’s lead trio struggle, fight, and concede as they question whether it’s best to submit to their purpose or rebel against it. The compelling nature of the parallel world paints a haunting picture of human nature and morality which is an essential underrated film for lovers of contemplative sci-fi stories.

7 ‘The Prestige’ (2006)

christian bale and hugh jackman talk in the streets in the prestige
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

The sci-fi themes within The Prestige are underlying at best, but they simmer away to become more impactful the longer the film goes on. Set in the 1890s, it follows two feuding stage magicians trying to win the crowd by performing increasingly daring, dangerous, and astounding tricks.

The endeavor leads Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) to Nikola Tesla (David Bowie) who discusses the invention of a machine which can transport someone instantaneously. As is revealed near the end of the film, the machine wasn’t a transporter so much as a duplicator, with Angier routinely killing the copies made by trapping them in water-filled tanks under the stage. A harrowing tale of obsession, The Prestige is arguably Christopher Nolan’s most underrated movie.

8 ‘Logan’ (2017)

Dafne Keen and High Jackman in 'Logan'
Image via 20th Century Fox

An incredible blend of superhero action and neo-Western grit, Logan follows an aging Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) as he reluctantly accepts a job to escort a young mutant to a safe harbor on the American-Canadian border. It isn’t long before Logan learns that Laura (Dafne Keen) was created from his own DNA.

That isn’t the only cloning in the film though, as Dr. Zander Rice (Richard E. Grant) also creates X-24, a vicious Wolverine clone designed to follow orders without question. Used to define the callousness of the antagonists, cloning – and the engrained ethical dilemma behind it – plays a pivotal role in making Logan one of the most raw and powerful superhero films ever made.

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9 ‘Jurassic Park’ (1993)

T-Rex attack in Jurassic Park
Image via Universal Pictures

While it may not be about cloning quite like the other films on this list are, Jurassic Park still uses the sci-fi concept to great effect. Having successfully cloned dinosaurs, Dr. John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) wishes to share his creation with the world in the form of a wondrous theme park, but his eagerness and his naivety prove to be his undoing.

While Hammond himself had pure intentions, his creation caught the attention of a rival, leading to a security breakdown which saw the dinosaurs roam free, endangering the lives of everyone at the park. The cautionary tale of cloning and capitalist greed has become a major theme of the Jurassic World reboot franchise.

10 ‘Moon’ (2009)

Two clones stand in a lunar base.
Image via Sony Pictures Classics

A staggering triumph from debut director Duncan Jones, Moon proves that small-scale sci-fi can still pack an almighty punch when dealing with themes relating to humanity and free will. Set on a lunar station on the far side of the moon, Moon follows Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), a lone engineer whose three-year tenure at the base is nearing its end.

Eager to return to Earth and be reunited with his family, he makes a disturbing discovery when a clone of himself arrives at the station. Thought-provoking, mesmerizing, and heartbreaking, Moon is a criminally underrated sci-fi hit which excels off the back of its profoundly human story and Rockwell’s incredible dual performances.

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