The Best Space Movies of All Time

Space movies are a genre that can be hard to pin down. They’re usually either about people who live in space or those that have gone there. Either way, they have some of the most impressive visuals and special effects to be found anywhere in the film. 

However, the best space movies are more than just characters in astronaut helmets, explosions, and dazzling colors; they’re also thrilling stories. Here is a list of some of the greatest space movies ever made.

  • Spaceballs

Spaceballs is an insane Mel Brooks comedy that runs at warp speed. Although it isn’t his best film, it’s difficult to list space movies without including Mars Attack!, the greatest space comedy ever made. Spaceballs is a brilliant parody of Star Wars. It brilliantly combines Darth Vader’s Dark Helmet with Han Solo’s Lone Starr, and Barf, his dog-ish sidekick.

  • Contact

This Jodie Foster film features a rare kind of space beast. Dr. Arroway is the character and must race to find out who is contacting Earth from the far reaches. Indeed, there isn’t much space except for the amazing closing scenes, but this movie was a thoughtful, patient sci-fi movie about the unknown beyond our planet.

  • Wall-E

Wall-E is on Earth to clean up the mess caused by humanity’s actions. He finds another robot that was on a scanning mission and sends him to the remains of the third sun rock. The two embark on an adventure across the universe that will touch your heart like no other space story. Wall-E is still one of Pixar’s most important achievements thanks to its amazing visuals and a more important environmental message.

  • Moon

Moon stars Sam Rockwell. It’s a movie about a future miner who is sent home to bring alternative fuel to Earth. His health begins to deteriorate just as he is about to return home. He meets a younger version himself and is given the task of figuring out the truth before they are both discovered. Duncan Jones, David Bowie’s son, made a remarkable debut with this quiet, amazing sci-fi thriller.

  • Gravity

This Alfonso Cuaron-directed sci-fi masterpiece features an orbital camera and extreme realism. Sandra Bullock is a remarkable actor who spends most of the movie alone and trying to survive the horrors of space. Do you want to become an astronaut? This is not after you’ve seen this thrilling tale, in which the villain is the unforgiving vacuum space.

  • Apollo 13

Ron Howard is a hard man to argue with. One of the greatest space movies ever made is his 1995 summer blockbuster about a near-fatal mission to the moon that went wrong. This film, starring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, is a classic example of the genius, fear, and intelligence that makes us truly human.

  • Hidden Figures

One of the best space movies does not show its stars lifting off the ground. Hidden Figures is the story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji Perhenson), Dorothy Vaughan(Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae). It tells the real story of the three women who played a crucial role in getting John Glenn into orbit.

  • Star Wars

It is the most successful sci-fi film franchise of all time. Without George Lucas’ Star Wars, much of what we see today wouldn’t have been possible. Although it borrowed much of its characters and structure from pulp action-adventure, the special effects and concept of “droids” were truly groundbreaking.

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey

Humanity has not come any closer to solving the mystery of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, more than a decade later. It is a remarkable feat of imagination and technical filmmaking, which remains the Hollywood equivalent of putting a man with an astronaut helmet and suit on the Moon. Kubrick’s directing in A Space Odyssey is so great that many still believe that he was the one who helped to fake the U.S. Government’s moon landing. Although it is slow and confusing, 2001 is unrivaled in terms of visual mastery and ideas. 2001 remains the benchmark for sci-fi movies and laid the foundation for today’s genre.

The Future of the Space Movie Genre

In honor of what is almost certainly going to be one of the greatest movies ever made, this list of the best space movies begins with one of the few pure space movies that were made.

There are a few other notable space movies, but many are either too esoteric, too cerebral, or have too little spectacle for this list. In addition, The Right Stuff has been selected to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, and understandably, many can’t bring themselves to watch it anymore.

No matter where you stand on the issue of whether space can be conquered, there’s no doubt that it’s beautiful. In the meantime, you can have a peek at some of the most breathtaking photos of Earth taken from space.

Those amazing alien worlds just keep on getting better and better.

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