If you are looking for great movies to watch at home alone or with friends and loved ones, then we are here to recommend you with a few movies that are set in space. Sci-fi lovers would most likely know about the movies we will mention in this article, but for those that have yet to watch a sci-fi or science fiction movie, the films we will recommend are sure to be the best gateways to the genre. So, without further ado, here are the best movies about space and the stars.
Genre: Fantasy Adventure
Star Wars has become a global phenomenon since its inception in 1977. Created by George Lucas, Star Wars is a space opera that takes place in a fictional galaxy far, far away. The franchise features a multitude of characters, including iconic figures like Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader. The story follows the battle between the Rebel Alliance and the evil Empire, with themes of good versus evil, redemption, and the power of the Force.
The opening crawl and the iconic theme music that accompanies it is another scene that has become synonymous with Star Wars. The duel between Luke and Vader in The Empire Strikes Back is also a fan favorite, showcasing the emotional turmoil and stakes of the battle.
Star Wars is one of the best movies about space and the stars because of its ability to capture the imagination and transport audiences to a galaxy far, far away. The film’s iconic characters, stunning visual effects, and epic storytelling make it a timeless classic that has captured the hearts of generations. The intricate details of the Star Wars universe, from the lightsabers to the droids, have become ingrained in popular culture and continue to inspire science fiction enthusiasts.
The popularity of Star Wars was also evident in the toy industry, as the action figures produced by a toy company called Kenner also became a massive success, as the company earned more than $100 million from the toy line alone. To know more about the Kenner action figures, read our article titled “Things to Know About the Kenner Star Wars Action Figures.”
2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey is a science fiction masterpiece directed by Stanley Kubrick and released in 1968. The film tells the story of a journey to Jupiter with HAL, a computer that can perceive feelings. The voyage began after the discovery of a mysterious black monolith that has affected human evolution. The movie is known for its groundbreaking visual effects and philosophical themes. Kubrick’s attention to detail, use of classical music, and non-verbal storytelling makes it a film that demands multiple viewings to fully appreciate. Its ambiguous ending has sparked numerous interpretations and discussions among film enthusiasts.
The film features several iconic scenes that have become synonymous with the movie’s legacy. The opening sequence, which depicts the rise of human civilization, is a stunning visual feast that sets the tone for the rest of the film’s storyline. The scene where the monolith is discovered on the moon has become a hallmark of the movie’s eerie and mysterious atmosphere. Lastly, the part where astronaut Dave Bowman confronts the computer HAL 9000 has been regarded as a tense and emotional moment in the film.
Beyond the stunning effects and realistic set design, Jupiter Ascending, directed by the Wachowski siblings, explores complex themes such as destiny, power, and identity, making it a thought-provoking and intellectually stimulating watch.
The movie centers around Jupiter Jones, played by Mila Kunis, a young woman who works as a housemaid and dreams of a better life. However, when a group of aliens arrive on Earth to claim her, Jupiter discovers that she is the reincarnation of the matriarch of a powerful alien dynasty. With the help of a genetically engineered soldier named Caine, played by Channing Tatum, Jupiter embarks on a dangerous journey to claim her inheritance and protect Earth from those who wish to destroy it.
Jupiter Ascending is a must-see for fans of science fiction and space exploration, and is a testament to the power of creative storytelling and innovative filmmaking.
Ad Astra follows the journey of astronaut Roy McBride, played by Brad Pitt, as he embarks on a mission to search for his father, who disappeared during a space mission to find intelligent life outside our planet.
The story takes place in the near future, where humanity has colonized the Moon and Mars, and Roy must travel to the edge of the solar system to uncover secrets that threaten the survival of humanity.
The film’s visual effects and breathtaking cinematography immerses viewers in the vastness of space and the isolation astronauts face.
Just like Star Wars, Star Trek is a science fiction franchise that has captured the hearts of millions around the world. Its series of movies follow the voyages of the Starship Enterprise and its crew on various missions throughout the galaxy.
One of the pioneers in the outer space film genre, the Star Trek featured William Shatner as the charismatic Captain James T. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as his logical first officer, Spock, and DeForest Kelley as the gruff yet compassionate Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Leonard McCoy. Each film in the franchise has its own unique plot, but at their core, they all center around the values of Starfleet and the crew’s loyalty to each other.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy (and its own sequels) follows the adventures of a group of misfits who come together to save the galaxy from a powerful villain, Ronan the Accuser. The plot revolves around Peter Quill, also known as Star-Lord, who steals a mysterious orb that contains a powerful gem.
As Quill tries to sell the orb, he becomes the target of Ronan and his henchmen. In order to save the galaxy, Quill teams up with Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot to stop Ronan from using the gem to destroy the planet Xandar. The franchise is filled with action, humor, and heart, making it a fan favorite in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Directed by James Cameron, Avatar follows a paralyzed former marine, Jake Sully, who is given the opportunity to take on the identity of a genetically engineered humanoid known as an “Avatar.” Sully is tasked with infiltrating the native Na’vi people of Pandora in order to gain their trust and convince them to relocate from their sacred land.
However, as Sully becomes more involved with the Na’vi and falls in love with one of their own, he begins to question the motives of his own people and ultimately must choose between his loyalty to his own kind and his newfound loyalty to the Na’vi.
Avatar is a masterful blend of action, romance, and political commentary, making it a timeless classic in the world of science fiction cinema.
Starship Troopers follows the story of a young man named Johnny Rico, who decides to enlist in the military after his girlfriend leaves him to join the Federation’s military intelligence agency. Set in a futuristic society where citizenship is earned through military service, Rico must fight against a race of giant insects known as the “Bugs” who threaten to destroy humanity.
Alongside his fellow soldiers, including his best friend Carl and the beautiful pilot Carmen, Rico navigates the dangers of war and struggles with his own beliefs about the morality of the military and the value of human life.
Blade Runner stars Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, in a dystopian future where genetically engineered individuals, known as replicants, are hunted down by blade runners.
The film’s cast also includes Sean Young as Rachael, a replicant who develops a romantic interest in Deckard, and Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty, the leader of a group of replicants on the run. The plot of Blade Runner revolves around Deckard’s mission to track down and eliminate the replicants while grappling with the moral implications of his actions.
Also regarded to be a masterpiece is Blade Runner: 2049, a sequel to the original Blade Runner movie. This time, the film follows the story of a replicant blade runner named K (played by Ryan Gosling) who sets out on a mission to find and retire a rogue replicant who holds the key to a dark secret that could potentially destroy the remaining society. As K delves deeper into his investigation, he uncovers a shocking revelation that could change the course of human and replicant history
This film centers around the desert planet of Arrakis, also known as Dune. The story follows the young hero, Paul Atreides, as he navigates the treacherous political landscape of the planet and struggles to fulfill his destiny as the prophesied messiah of the desert people. Along the way, he must contend with the rival factions vying for control of Arrakis, including the powerful and malevolent House Harkonnen and the mysterious and mystical Fremen.
The highly anticipated film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s bestselling sci-fi novel boasts an impressive and diverse cast of actors, such as Timothée Chalamet, who plays Paul. Joining him are Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides, Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck, and Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho. The supporting cast includes talented actors such as Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Stellan Skarsgård, and Dave Bautista.
Contact centers around Dr. Ellie Arroway, a brilliant and dedicated scientist who is determined to make contact with extraterrestrial life. After years of searching, she finally receives a message from a distant planet that contains instructions for building a machine that will enable her to travel there. However, her discovery is met with skepticism and disbelief from the scientific community and the government.
The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis and starred Jodie Foster as the lead character, Dr. Ellie Arroway. Alongside Foster, the cast boasts the talents of Matthew McConaughey, who plays a religious philosopher and love interest to Foster’s character. Additionally, the film features strong supporting performances from Tom Skerritt, William Fichtner, and James Woods.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Solaris revolves around psychologist Chris Kelvin, played by George Clooney, who is sent to investigate the strange occurrences happening on a space station orbiting the planet Solaris. The crew members are experiencing hallucinations of their loved ones, which are brought to life by the planet’s mysterious ocean. The plot of Solaris is a fascinating exploration of the human psyche and the nature of reality. The cast, which also includes Natascha McElhone, Jeremy Davies, and Viola Davis, delivers strong performances that heighten the emotional impact of the story.
Sunshine is a thriller that centers around a team of astronauts who are sent on a mission to reignite the dying sun with a massive nuclear bomb, in an attempt to save Earth from freezing over.
Directed by Danny Boyle and written by Alex Garland, the film boasts an impressive cast that includes Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Rose Byrne, and Michelle Yeoh.
Moon (2009) follows the story of Sam Bell, a solitary astronaut who is nearing the end of his three-year stint on a lunar mining base. Sam’s only companion is an artificial intelligence named GERTY, who helps him maintain the station and stay connected to Earth. As Sam’s time on the moon comes to a close, he begins to experience strange hallucinations and discovers a dark secret about the true nature of his mission.
The film stars Sam Rockwell in a tour-de-force performance as Sam Bell, and Kevin Spacey as the voice of GERTY.
The Martian (2015)
This Ridley Scott directed film is based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Andy Weir. The movie tells the story of Mark Watney, an astronaut who is left behind on Mars after his crewmates believe him to be dead during a fierce storm. The movie follows Mark’s survival journey as he struggles to maintain his sanity and find a way to communicate with Earth. The Martian received critical acclaim for its scientific accuracy, stunning visuals, and the leading performance by Matt Damon.
One memorable scene in The Martian is when astronaut Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon) uses his resourcefulness and ingenuity to grow potatoes on Mars. This scene portrays the resilience of the human spirit and the power of determination. Another iconic scene is when the crew of the spacecraft Hermes decides to defy orders and return to Mars to rescue Watney. This scene highlights the importance of teamwork and loyalty, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.
The film accurately represents the Mars landscape with its rust-colored surface and the barren and rocky terrain. The telescope used in the film, a fictional Ares III MAV (Mars Ascent Vehicle), allows the audience to see the planet’s surface in great detail, highlighting the intricate ridges and craters.
Apollo 13 is a historical drama based on a real-life space mission, which occurred in 1970. Directed by Ron Howard, the movie is an adaptation of the book “Lost Moon” by astronaut Jim Lovell and journalist Jeffrey Kluger. It chronicles the events surrounding the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, which was intended to be the third manned mission to land on the moon but was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded in space.
Starring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and Bill Paxton as the three astronauts stranded in space, Apollo 13 retells how their colleagues and NASA personnel worked tirelessly to bring them back safely to Earth.
The film’s iconic scenes include the moment when the explosion occurred, the efforts of the astronauts and the mission control team to solve the problems and the tense atmosphere during the re-entry of the spacecraft.
Apollo 13 is regarded to be one of the best films about astronomy because of its detailed and realistic portrayal of space exploration and the challenges that astronauts face is both thrilling and informative, offering audiences a glimpse into the incredible achievements of NASA and the individuals who risk their lives to advance our understanding of the universe.
Directed by Christopher Nolan, the film tells the story of a group of astronauts who embark on a mission to find a new home for humanity in a distant galaxy after Earth becomes uninhabitable. The movie is known for its stunning visual effects and intricate plot that delves into complex scientific theories such as time dilation and black holes.
Perhaps the most striking scene in Interstellar is when the crew of the Endurance spacecraft first enters the wormhole, a breathtaking sequence that showcases the incredible visual effects that make this movie so stunning. Another pivotal moment is when Cooper, played by Matthew McConaughey, watches a video message from his children that he missed due to time dilation. This scene is emotionally charged and highlights the sacrifices made by explorers who venture into the unknown. The final scene, where Cooper reunites with his grown-up daughter, is a heart-warming conclusion that leaves a lasting impression on viewers.
Interstellar’s portrayal of space travel is both realistic and breathtaking, capturing the majesty and danger of exploring the unknown. The film’s exploration of time dilation, wormholes, and black holes is grounded in scientific principles, making it an intellectually stimulating experience for audiences.
Genre: Historical Drama
Hidden Figures is a biographical drama that depicts the untold story of three African-American women who worked at NASA during the height of the Space Race. The film is directed by Theodore Melfi and stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe as Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, respectively.
The film follows the women as they overcome the challenges of discrimination and segregation in the workplace to make significant contributions to the space program. The film also features supporting roles from Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, and Jim Parsons.
First Man is a biographical drama by Damien Chazelle and written by Josh Singer. The movie chronicles the journey of Neil Armstrong, the first human to step on the moon. Ryan Gosling plays the lead role of Armstrong, portraying his personal and professional struggles leading up to the historic Apollo 11 mission.
The cast also features Claire Foy as Janet Armstrong, the astronaut’s supportive wife, and a strong supporting cast including Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, and Corey Stoll.
The Right Stuff
The Right Stuff is a captivating portrayal of the seven original American astronauts and their groundbreaking journey to space. Directed by Philip Kaufman and released in 1983, this film is based on Tom Wolfe’s book of the same name.
The cast features some of Hollywood’s finest actors, including Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager, Ed Harris as John Glenn, and Dennis Quaid as Gordon Cooper. The film beautifully captures the competitive spirit of these pilots as they strive to become the first Americans to orbit the earth.
Spaceballs, a science fiction parody, was released in 1987 and directed by Mel Brooks. The plot follows the villainous Dark Helmet, played by Rick Moranis, and his quest to steal the air supply of planet Druidia. Princess Vespa, portrayed by Daphne Zuniga, is his target.
The film’s protagonists are Captain Lone Starr, played by Bill Pullman, and his sidekick Barf, a half-man, half-dog character played by John Candy. Together, they join forces with Vespa to save her planet from Dark Helmet’s evil intentions. The film’s ensemble cast also includes Mel Brooks himself, who plays several roles, including the wise Yoda-like character named Yogurt.
Galaxy Quest is a 1999 sci-fi comedy film about a group of washed-up actors who played the roles of the crew on a Star Trek-like television show called Galaxy Quest. When they are mistakenly brought on a real space adventure, they must use their acting skills to save an alien race from a genocidal warlord.
The cast is led by Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, and Tony Shalhoub, all of whom give standout performances. The film received critical acclaim for its clever satire and affectionate tribute to sci-fi fandom, making it a beloved cult classic.
Paul W.S. Anderson’s horror Event Horizon follows a crew of astronauts who are sent on a rescue mission to investigate the disappearance of the experimental spacecraft Event Horizon. The ship, equipped with a gravity drive that allows it to travel faster than the speed of light, has reappeared after seven years of being lost in space.
The cast stars Laurence Fishburne as the captain of the rescue ship, Sam Neill as the designer of the Event Horizon, and Kathleen Quinlan as the medical officer.
The 1979 science fiction classic, Alien, revolves around the crew of the spaceship Nostromo on a mission to investigate a signal from a nearby planet. The plot takes a dark turn when the crew discovers a deadly alien creature that begins to hunt them down one by one. The cast features esteemed actors such as Sigourney Weaver as the iconic protagonist Ellen Ripley, Tom Skerritt as Captain Dallas, and John Hurt as Kane.
The standout performance, however, belongs to the late Swiss artist H.R. Giger, who designed the disturbingly beautiful creature that has haunted audiences for over decades.
High Life is a psychological thriller directed by Claire Denis that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018. The movie is about a group of convicts who have been sent on a dangerous mission to explore a black hole in space in order to earn their freedom.
The cast includes Robert Pattinson as Monte, a former death row inmate who is now the lone survivor on the mission, and Juliette Binoche as Dr. Dibs, a scientist who conducts experiments on the crew. The supporting cast also features notable actors such as Mia Goth, André Benjamin, and Lars Eidinger.
Genre: Disaster Thriller
Armageddon is a 1998 sci-fi disaster film that features an all-star cast, including Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, and Liv Tyler. The movie tells the story of an asteroid the size of Texas that is headed towards Earth and the team of oil drillers who are sent to destroy it with a nuclear bomb. The plot is tense and high-stakes, with a ticking clock element that adds to the sense of urgency.
The performances from the cast are impressive, with Willis delivering a powerful portrayal of the team leader and Affleck providing comic relief as the cocky young driller. Tyler also shines as the emotional heart of the movie, playing the daughter of Willis’ character.
Independence Day is a disaster blockbuster flick released in 1996, directed by Roland Emmerich. The plot of the movie centers around an alien invasion on Earth, where the aliens are determined to exterminate humankind.
The movie follows a group of individuals, including the President of the United States, a scientist, a pilot, and a group of soldiers, as they work together to take down the aliens and save the planet. The film boasts an all-star cast, starring Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, and Vivica A. Fox.
Gravity is a visually stunning thriller directed by Alfonso Cuarón that took the world by storm upon its release in 2013. The movie stars two astronauts, Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), who are stranded in space after their shuttle is destroyed by debris from an exploded satellite. The plot revolves around their struggle to survive as they navigate through the dangers of space and try to find a way back to Earth.
The 2008 animated film Wall-E, tells the story of a small waste-collecting robot named Wall-E who embarks on a journey through space to save humanity from its own destruction. The film takes place in a dystopian future where Earth has become uninhabitable due to excessive pollution, and humans have abandoned the planet on a luxury spaceship.
The cast includes Ben Burtt as the voice of Wall-E, Elissa Knight as the voice of EVE, Wall-E’s love interest, and Jeff Garlin as the voice of the spaceship’s captain.
Because of how popular Wall-E was among kids in the late 2000s, Disney was able to earn a lot from the movie’s merchandise, which included toys and clothing. Wall-E also revived the popularity of one particular product that appeared in one of its scenes, and this product is Big Mouth Billy Bass, an animatronic prop or toy that can move and sing songs on its own (as long as it has batteries). To know more about Big Mouth Billy Bass, check out The Most Nostalgic “As Seen on TV” Toys of the 1990s.
Directed by Jon Favreau, Zathura is a fantasy adventure film released in 2005. The movie revolves around two young brothers, Walter and Danny, who discover an old board game in the basement of their house. To their surprise, the game takes them on a thrilling journey through outer space, where they encounter dangerous aliens, malfunctioning robots, and a mysterious astronaut.
The cast features talented young actors Josh Hutcherson and Jonah Bobo as the brothers, as well as Dax Shepard, Kristen Stewart, and Tim Robbins in supporting roles.
From epic space operas to intimate character studies, the best movies about space and the stars offer a thrilling glimpse into the wonders and dangers of the final frontier. Whether exploring the limits of human endurance or encountering strange new life forms, these films push the boundaries of what is possible and challenge us to ponder our place in the universe.