This entire year could be a turning period for a space tour, with a number of the latest manned craft due for trial and various space tourism designs promoted to get off the ground ultimately. It’s a big move towards a future that’s been described in fiction for decades. Here, we’ve selected our personal favorite movies about space, which implies nothing set widely on Earth, or where the frame is just a backdrop to a narrative that could be set wherever (so no Star Wars). A true space film is one that centers largely on the struggles of surviving outside the heated embrace of Earth – and all the drama which plays out facing the dizzying scale of the universe.
1. First Man (2018)
Clocked to match with the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings, First Man returned the threats encountered by Neil Armstrong and co-workers into clear relief. Starring Ryan Gosling as Armstrong, First Man opens with the initial tests of what would ultimately turn to the Apollo 11 mission, as it presents the astronauts competing for choice and the honor of being the chief to walk on Earth’s satellite, and engaging with unusual test variants of the lunar lander. But it hits up added gear when the selected three get into space, the overall landing course is gripping, truly awe-inspiring cinema.
2. The Martian (2015)
Andy Weir’s science-laden story of an astronaut stranded on Mars operates because of the lengthy, comprehensive internal discussion of the chief character, Mark Watney. Translating the best-seller to the huge screen, where the audiences are less forgiving of in-depth screeds about the complications of developing potatoes in low pressure– was a tough challenge, but director Ridley Scott binds it. The Martian blends the nail-biting drama of Gravity with the ability on show in Apollo 13 as a unit on Earth struggles to save Watney.
3. Interstellar (2014)
The universe is huge and Interstellar makes you feel that. This is Christopher Nolan, with all the necessary IMAX nobs and numbers turned up to height. Nolan’s excellent trick here is to take all the cinematic devices at his end, and make any new ones – and utilize them to communicate the painful distinction between the dimension of the cosmos and the dangerous indifference of a petite band of individuals. And it’s this contrast, even when the things flips to the fantastical, that manages Interstellar floored. This is a story about human endurance, but also an ode to our perception of the awe-inspiring, terrifying majesty of the universe. You can stream it on Netflix.
4. Gravity (2013)
It took three years to do the specific influences for Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón’s tense, a disorientating film about a first-time astronaut (Sandra Bullock) who gets trapped in orbit after the space shuttle is crushed by debris from a blasted satellite. The movie, which also stars George Clooney as the head of the shuttle team, is one of the most triumphant films of all time, with critics applauding its cinematography and Bullock’s performance – which included difficult, empty hours in a spinning gear. You can stream it on Amazon Prime Video.
5. Moon (2009)
Duncan Jones’ directorial appearance is a thrilling twist on the ‘stranded in space’ analogy. It supports Sam Bell – who is nearing the edge of a three-year stint opening helium on the shady side of the moon when he starts fantasizing. It’s a sad, emotional movie that stands apart from many other space movies in terms of tone – reviewers loved the cinematography, and Sam Rockwell’s act as protagonist Sam Bell.
6. Wall-E (2008)
When the pollution makes the Earth untenantable, humans travel into space, leaving after a small but defined trash-compacting humanoid. One day a bright new robot named Eve comes to the planet to watch for signs of life, and Wall-E makes new friends, bestowing her the life he has made for himself. When they get a plant, Wall-E is hurried away to the spaceship that now houses humankind, where he inspires a humanoid rebellion to help humanity get back on track. Wall-E has all the trademarks of a space movie but packaged in a charming, family-friendly style– although it a depiction of a quiet human race afloat in the stars hit a caution note.
So, these are some of the best space movies of all time you can watch with your friends and family.