Go beyond our galaxy with these breathtaking movies about space
Believe it or not, people have been making movies about going to space since 1902. Le Voyage Dans la Lune, created by Georges Méliès shows a man taking a rocket ship to the moon and having an adventure there. The film was about twelve minutes long, but it captured humanity’s fascination with the universe around us.
Our movies have come a long way since then. In 2012, director Richard Garriott filmed an eight minute short, titled Apogee of Fear, entirely while aboard the International Space Station. For over a hundred years, space has inspired some of the great narratives and most breathtaking visuals put to film.
Movies about space run the gamut from campy science fiction adventures to pulse-pounding thrillers. Here are four of the greatest space films of all time.
2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick released 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968, and it remains one of the most visually stunning films of all time. The movie was inspired by the short stories of science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke. Kubrick & Clarke wrote the film’s screenplay together, and Clarke wrote a novel concurrently with the film’s production.
A Space Odyssey is remembered for using special effects innovations to create an accurate representation of space travel a year before humanity landed on the moon. The film’s story is dense to the point of being impenetrable, but even with modern technology, no one has ever made a better looking space movie.
This 2015 adaptation of a science fiction novel by Andy Weir was directed by the one & only Ridley Scott. Scott is most often associated with another movie about space, 1979’s Alien. While The Martian wasn’t as popular or revolutionary, it’s an excellent space movie that’s more approachable than most.
The Martian is about an astronaut who becomes stranded on Mars during a scientific expedition. The movie is essentially a survival & rescue story, but it’s filled with warm, comedic performances from people like Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, and Donald Glover. This is a great, straightforward space movie to sit back and enjoy.
This film falls firmly on the horror end of the spectrum. In 1997, director Paul W.S. Anderson and writer Philip Eisner created a movie that lived up to its tagline, “Infinite Space. Infinite Terror”. The plot follows a crew of astronauts responding to a distress signal from the long-lost ship Event Horizon.
When the crew arrives on the Event Horizon, they quickly realize that whatever caused it to break down may be coming after them next. More than twenty years later, this movie’s depiction of space as a cold, sinister place is still terrifying. Horror fans and space fans, rejoice. There’s a film to satisfy you both.
Christopher Nolan is synonymous with films that have epic and complicated plots. Interstellar is no exception. In the too-near future, the Earth is quickly becoming inhospitable to human life. Joseph Cooper, played by Matthew McConaughey, is an ex-NASA pilot who is asked to go into deep space to find a suitable home for humanity.
Interstellar is the best-looking movie about space since 2001: A Space Odyssey. In more ways than one, Nolan’s film is a love letter to Kubrick & Clarke’s creation. Interstellar digs into the nitty gritty of space travel more than most movies in its genre. It uses the Theory of Relativity as a plot device and shows massive ships floating against a breathtaking backdrop of stars. What more could you want?
There’s hundreds more movies about space out there, but those are some of the gems, in various genres. From intrigue to romance to horror, space films have it all. What’s your favorite?