If you’ve bought one of our personalized star maps, or you’re thinking about buying one, the chances are you feel an affinity with the stars. Now, this might be a stretch but then you might also be interested in movies about the stars, or movies taking place near the stars – in space. Even if I’ve completely lost you, this list was a lot of fun to make and you might just find a new movie to watch and enjoy. That’s the plan anyway. Without further ado, here are our Top 20 Space Movies of All Time:
1. Star Wars (1977-2019)
If we divided up all the Star Wars movies, then half of the top 20 would be taken up by them. For the sake of variety, we’ve bundled them all together into the number 1 slot. This is an epic movie series which, if you haven’t seen, should be right at the top of your to-watch list. This movie franchise even gave birth to a religion. Need we say more?
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Written and directed by Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey has become an iconic space movie. This is a true space exploration movie. After a strange artefact is discovered on the moon, a quest to find the origins of humankind is triggered. A supercomputer called H.A.L. 9000 helps the astronauts along their way. Although this movie is more than 50 years old now, it remains one of the greatest space movies (and also one of the greatest movies) of all time.
3. Apollo 13 (1995)
Starring Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon, Apollo 13 quickly established itself as a classic space movie. The movie is less about a voyage into space, but a desperate attempt to return to earth after the spacecraft sustains huge damage. It’s worthy of a bronze medal on our top 20 space movies of all-time list!
4. Gravity (2013)
This movie blew audiences away in 2013, winning 7 Oscars. Unsurprisingly, two of these Oscars were for Cinematography and Visual Effects. It is visually breath-taking. Movies usually fill every second with dialogue, music or other noises. Gravity utilized the power of silence, along with images of space which looked so real you felt you were there. Powerful performances by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney topped it off.
5. Alien (1979)
The first in a classic series directed by Ridley Scott. It’s a simple premise: astronauts are trapped on board with a deadly alien species. This successful recipe has drawn fans back time and again. The first Alien movie is arguably the best with a cast including Tom Skerritt and Sigourney Weaver.
6. Armageddon (1998)
I can easily imagine another universe in which this movie is the number one, and perhaps it is your favourite? Stars including Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton and Ben Affleck head out into space to stop an asteroid the size of Texas (a little like the one which wiped out the dinosaurs) from hitting earth. There’s a hidden link between Armageddon and Star Wars. If you knew that J.J. Abrams wrote the screenplay for Armageddon and also directed The Force Awakens (2015) and The Rise of Skywalker (2019), then give yourself full marks!
7. The Martian (2015)
Have you ever felt lost and alone? The Martian will put your experiences into perspective. An astronaut (Matt Damon) find himself stranded and abandoned on Mars when his team assume he must have died. Will he ever get home? This suspenseful space movie will keep you glued to your seat. Matt Damon’s performance is also stellar (excuse the pun).
8. Interstellar (2014)
Written and directed by the brilliant Christopher Nolan, some of Earth’s brightest minds and best explorers travel through a wormhole in a fight to save humanity, and find a planet which can support human life. This movie includes excellent performances from Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway and it has a superb music soundtrack by Hans Zimmer.
9. First Man (2018)
This is the biopic of Neil Armstrong: the first man to walk on the moon. I’m not sure much more needs to be said. Other than it stars Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy and Jason Clarke. A movie which had to be made and has to be seen.
10. Solaris (2002)
This is the story of a psychologist (George Clooney) who has to investigate the mental health of a crew on a lone research station in orbit around a mysterious planet. Solaris won 2 Oscars and was nominated for 11 more. You get an insight into the mental stresses on being isolated in outer space. Well worth the watch!
11. Event Horizon (1997)
The same pun coming up again: Event Horizon has a stellar cast. Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill and Kathleen Quinlan are all abroad this epic space movie. A rescue mission for a disappeared spaceship takes a turn when a new, unknown passenger appears onboard the lost spaceship. Excellent visual quality considering this movie is nearly 23 years old now.
12. Moon (2009)
Astronaut Sam Bell encounters something strange while he is helping to send energy resources back to earth with the help of his computer GERTY. It may seem like a simple premise but there’s a lot to get your teeth into in this excellent movie starring Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey and Dominique McElligott.
13. Sunshine (2007)
You may already know the sun won’t last forever. Sunshine imagines this time is much closer than you might have thought (2057) and an international team of astronauts are sent to reignite the sun with a nuclear fission bomb. Directed by Danny Boyle and starring Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne and Chris Evans, this is a must-see space movie!
14. Star Trek into Darkness (2013)
A little like with Star Wars, we wanted to represent the humungous body of work that is Star Trek which is deserving of huge recognition in the world of space movies and TV.
The legendary Captain Kirk, played by Chris Pine, leads the crew of the Enterprise and finds a terrifying force within their midst. Points again go to anyone who knew that the director of Star Trek into Darkness is J. J. Abrams. He keeps popping up!
15. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
Where to start with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? This has to be one of the most creative stories ever written which is all thanks to Douglas Adams. From the start we are plunged into a slightly comic, very surreal and even slightly believable world in which the protagonist Arthur Dent (played by Martin Freeman) must evacuate Earth as it has been 'scheduled for demolition'. It turns out there’s a lot of bureaucracy in space which we were painfully ignorant of. That’s just the beginning of Arthur’s exploration of the civilised universe.
16. Wall-E (2008)
Wall-E is our odd one out in the list: it’s animated. But it earned its place on this list when it worked its way into our hearts. An unloved waste-collecting robot accidentally ends up on a journey into space which will not only decide his fate, but the fate of all mankind. With 92 awards and 93 nominations to its name, you can’t ignore Wall-E when it comes to deciding your next space movie.
17. Blade Runner (1982)
Some will prefer Blade Runner 2049 (2017) and that’s fair enough. The original Blade Runner built up quite a cult following who may well disagree, but let’s put that debate to one side and just say watch them both!
Directed by Ridley Scott, Blade Runner is possibly one of Harrison Ford’s greatest and best-known movies. A blade runner (Harrison Ford) must find and kill four ‘replicants’ (superior beings who can only be detected using the ‘Voight-Kampff’ test) who have stolen a spaceship and are now seeking to find their creator on Earth. Blade Runner is a part of movie history: add it to the queue!
18. Avatar (2009)
If you don’t remember the buzz about Avatar when it came out it won’t take long to find someone who does. Avatar crossed so many boundaries in movie making and, to be honest, it’s hard to think of a movie which has gone further since. Directed by James Cameron this movie follows the fictional story of a marine sent to Pandora (a moon) but he soon finds himself in a moral dilemma as his orders come into conflict with the emotional bonds he forms. This is a fantasy adventure like no other!
19. Avengers: Endgame (2019)
If you like sci-fi meets action, you are bound to love the Avengers series. I wouldn’t recommend starting with Avengers: Endgame but it’s certainly one of the best. As the title hints, this isn’t the beginning of the series. Watch all the associated Marvel movies e.g. Iron Man, The Hulk and Thor and then work your way through the Avengers movies. If you really want to do it right, then watch them chronologically. You don’t have to, but it makes the storyline easier to follow.
Welcome to a whole new world of mythology across space and time where the seemingly different world of say Captain America and The Hulk are brought together through the ultimate team of Avengers. Hint: Don’t forget to wait until the credits have finished because there’s often a bonus cliff-hanger right at the end.
20. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Again, there have been a few Thor movies and if you haven’t seen the earlier Thors then do. Thor: Ragnarok doesn’t blow its previous movies out of the water but it certainly does them justice. Thor must save his home planet from being destroyed by the ruthless Hela. The classic Thor cast are here: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston and Cate Blanchett. Remember, if you like Thor, you’ll probably like the rest of the Marvel series and the Avengers movies which connect them all.
How do you think we did? Would you add any or change any? We love hearing your feedback about our star maps but we also want to get to know you. And hey, we can handle the criticism! If you think Avengers was way too low down on the list, let us know. Also, let us know if you enjoyed any of these recommendations. You can either get in contact via email or our social media gates are wide open too. Happy watching!