James Cameron knows a thing or two about directing successful sequels. That’s something we’ll talk about again a little bit later on in this list. But what makes his accomplishments with Aliens so impressive is the fact that he managed to deliver a sequel every bit as good (if not better) as the Ripley Scott original – a movie he had nothing to do with.
Set years after Alien, the 1986 sequel sees Sigourney Weaver return as Ellen Ripley, who leads a group of Colonial Marines to the moon on which she first crossed paths with the dreaded Xenomorph aliens. What follows is a powerful and action-packed adventure so drastically different to its predecessor that it feels like it belongs in a completely different franchise. And yet, it’s every bit as thrilling and terrifying.
Aliens is widely considered one of the greatest films of the ’80s and for good reason. Nearly 40 years later and the franchise has yet to produce anything close to the standard of this one. It’s a gripping and explosive reinvention of the Alien saga that turned cinema’s greatest survivor into one of its all-time greatest action heroines. And the Aliens were pretty awesome, too.