Outer space is often the topic of science fiction movies and it’s not hard to see why. There’s something that’s just so fascinating about the great unknown, isn’t there? And besides the dark, an expanse of space is a great setting for fantastic stories and the bringing to life of possibilities. Here are 10 of the best space movies of all time.
Top 10 Best Space Movies of All Time
Solaris (2002) is a remake of Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 version and holds the honor of being one of the few remakes which managed to match the original’s success while giving the story a new twist.
The film stars George Clooney as a widowed psychologist mourning the loss of his who is tasked to investigate a group of researchers and crew in an isolated space station in orbit around a strange planet.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh and one of his first credited screenplays, the film delves into the topic of the nature of memories in an affecting and mysterious manner.
The Martian (2015)
In The Martian (2015), we follow a crew of NASA scientists on a space expedition to the red planet. Unfortunately, they accidentally leave behind a crew member, Mark, after their craft is hit by a storm. Alone on a lifeless planet, Mark is then left to fend off for himself for more than a year as his crew tries to send him a rescue mission.
The film was a hit both among critics and in the box office garnering numerous nominations and wins from prestigious award-giving bodies. The Martian is one of the year’s best space films.
Moon (2009) is another movie that tells the story of an astronaut in a strange place. This time it’s Sam Bell, an astronaut on the end of a three-year mission on the moon and his encounter with GERTY a computer he has been working with.
The film takes a turn to suspense and thriller category when Sam realizes that the company he has been working for might have a sinister plan to replace him. Moon is not your usual sci-fi space movie as it doesn’t rely on CGI and theatrics to get its point across. Instead of wowing you with visuals, it‘s goal is to disturb your mind.
Apollo 13 (1995)
We’ve got to commend Ron Howard for being able to turn what could’ve been a predictable retelling of a historic moment that everyone already knows into a tension-filled movie that left viewers on the edge of their seats.
As you may have already known, the film is based on the unfortunate Apollo 13 mission. It centers on the flight’s three astronauts Lovell, Haise, and Swigert on what was to be a routine trip to the moon which goes horribly wrong. You may know the film from it’s most quoted line, “Houston, we have a problem”. Apollo 13 is considered to be one of the best space movies of all time.
Of course, a list of the best space movies is not complete without a mention of this science fiction horror classic.
The film, set centuries into the distant future, follows the horrifying story of a crew manning a mining vessel and their unfortunate fate after a group of bloodthirsty aliens got into their spacecraft and begins killing them off.
A fresh take on the slasher movie genre that became popular in the 1970s, the film introduces an other-worldly killer in the form of aliens instead of the usual masked serial killer.
Watch Sigourney Weaver in her most badass role as Ripley, outsmart and outwit the alien monster that boarded her crew’s craft in this dark film set in space.
The Right Stuff (1983)
Now for something a little bit less scary and more dramatic, here’s The Right Stuff (1983).
The film tells the story of the initial beginnings of America’s space program. Focussing on the story of the Mercury astronauts, it shows the astronauts’ trials and tribulations in both their personal and professional lives as they try to fulfill their sworn duty.
Although it failed to attract crowds at the box office, the film is well-received by critics. They praised the film’s portrayal of America’s young space program and the people that are behind its success and failures.
It seems that space movies are seeing a resurgence in the 2010s with films like The Martian, Gravity and now, Interstellar (2014).
This Christopher Nolan film serves as both a warning and an inspiring story of how humans can successfully come together to save humanity from destruction by making a science fiction trope a reality– transporting mankind to a new planet.
But before that can happen, a group of NASA astronauts and scientists must make the initial travel to the planet which involves going through a wormhole to see which of the three potential planets can be our new home.
Here we have the original Solaris by Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky.
Deemed to be one global cinema’s best achievement, the film is a contemplative take on the significance of human life centering on the concepts of the discovery of the self and identity.
It tells the story of a mourning psychologist sent on a trip to investigate what happened to a spaceship’s crew who all seem to have lost their minds.
Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity (2013) stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as a pair of engineer and astronaut who faces disaster on what was supposed to be a routine spacewalk in which they are left alone in the darkness after their craft is destroyed.
The film definitely lived up to its marketing hype with critics describing it as an ‘overwhelming physical experience — a challenge to the senses that engages every kind of dread’. It also won big at the Oscars on the year of its release winning seven awards including one for best director and visual effects. Gravity is one of the best space movies ever.
2001: Space Odyssey (1967)
Adapted from an Arthur C. Clarke short story, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1967) is one of Stanley Kubrick’s greatest work and the science fiction genre’s landmark films.
2001: A Space Odyssey tells the story of a group of astronauts who are on a mysterious mission. Aggravating their uncertain fate is the strange malfunctioning of their ship’s computer called HAL.
What other space movies should we have added to the best space movies list? Tell us your picks in the comments below!