A Trip to the Moon
A group of astronomers plan a trip to the moon and they find they're not alone. This classic 1902 silent film was inspired by Jules Verne's novels From the Earth to the Moon and Around the Moon. French director George Méliès combined theatrical sets with a few camera tricks to give the world the first short movie set in outer space.
2001, A Space Odyssey
Critics, historians and moviegoers consider this film the mother of all modern sci-fi films. Premiered in 1968, Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of the novel written by Arthur C. Clarke pushed the limits for the visual effects industry and set a new standard changing what to expect from a space film forever.
The first entry on George Lucas's space opera saga is another cornerstone for excellence in visual effects. After 2001 chance how we saw space, Star Wars refined the craft and gave us epic battles and dogfights. Industrial Light and Magic was created in order to improve the visual effects in the film and rapidly became the most important provider in Hollywood.
The crew of a mining ship lands on a planet answering a rescue signal and they find themselves facing an unexpected eight passenger. Ridley Scott's horror film set in a cargo ship gave one of the most honest taglines in movie history: "In Space, no one can hear you scream".
Starship C-57D reaches planet Altair IV in order to determine what happened to an Earth expedition that was sent a couple of years ago and find that the only survivor is immune to the planetary force that destroy a whole civilization thousands of years ago. This sci-fi classic is often compared to William Shakespeare's The Tempest.
In a future where plant life on Earth has become extinct, a botanist has to save the last geodome carrying a greenhouse on the space freighter he is on board. Director Douglas Trumbull was in charge of visual effects on 2001, A Space Odyssey and his work on this film is also flawless.
In the XLI century, the United Earth president appoints Barbarella to retrieve mad scientist Durand Durand who has created a ray that could destroy humanity. Based on the French comic book with the same name, controversial French director Roger Vadim directed his then wife Jane Fonda in this over-the-top erotic space adventure.
The crew of Capricorn One, the first manned mission to Mars, is removed from the cockpit and relocated to a secret base against their will in order to film a staged arrival to the red planet. Though this movie is not exactly space film, the conspiracy revolting the doomed Capricorn One mission is interesting enough to be part of this list.
After a malfunction, the Apollo 13 crew has to abort the planned moon landing and find a way to return home alive. This Ron Howard directed film is the only entry in this list based on a real story. Many of its zero gravity scenes were filmed on a NASA special plane used to train astronauts on how to manage themselves in this situation.
In a doomed Earth where crops are dying, NASA sends a former astronaut in a mission to find a new habitable world that can serve as a surrogate planet. This project was once a possible project for Steven Spielberg, but he stepped down in 2009 and moved to Christopher Nolan.
The Last Starfighter
An average teenager get the high score in the arcade game Starfighter and is recruited by its creator to be part of an elite squad of defenders of the planet Rylos. This popular 80s film is one of the earliest to make extensive use of computer generated graphics for its special effects.
A psychologist travels to a space station orbiting the fictional planet Solaris in order to treat its skeleton crew of three who has fallen into separate emotional crises. Director Andrei Tarkovsky filmed this adaptation of Stanisław Lem's novel of the same name in order to create a film with emotional depth as he saw most of western science fiction as shallow.
A deteriorating ship named Dark Star continues its mission to destroy "unstable planets" that might interfere with Earth's colonization of the far reaches of space. This dark comedy is the first motion picture directed by John Carpenter, who also wrote the script with Dan O'Bannon (later writer of Alien). It began as a student film when they were studying at USC and it grown to a feature length film which had a limited release in 1974.
After being adrift on stasis for 57 years, Ellen Ripley has to return to the planet were the creature that killed her entire crew was found. James Cameron developed this "Rambo on space" sequel who difers with the slow pace and terror themed first part, but is one of the fan favorites of the movie series.
A private expedition to one of Jupiter's moons, Europa, has a technical failure and all communications with Earth are lost. At the same time, the crew finds out they might not be alone on the satellite.
Europa Report was filmed during the explosion of false found footage films, where stories are narrated in the form of edits of supposedly encountered film.
Starship Event Horizon was lost during her maiden voyage and suddenly appeared in a decaying orbit near Neptune. The vessel Lewis and Clark is sent to rescue possible survivors, but the crew will found something else.
This movie had a troubled production history and it was eventually rushed to meet an early premiere date as Titanic was delayed and 20th Century Fox needed to fill the spot.
When a mission to Mars goes wrong, an astronaut is left for dead on the planet. Inommunicated with his crewmembers and NASA, he improvises how to survive until someone comes to rescue him. Based on the novel written by Andy Weir, it was highly praised as a realistic depiction on how someone could survive in a hostile environment with some key knowledge.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
The crew of the newly refitted USS Enterprise has to stop an alien probe who destroys everything on its way and it heading to Earth. Esthetically beautiful but slow in terms of narration, Star Trek: The Motion Picture was a hit for the fans of the TV series. Luckily its sequel, The Wrath of Khan, recaptured the spirit of the original series and spanned numerous sequels.
A federal marshall is assigned to a tour of duty to the Jupiter moon of Io and ends reluctantly investigating the death of a couple of miners. Director Peter Hyams said he wanted to film a western in space and ended up doing a version of High Noon in a jovian moon.
Space debris hits a space shuttle on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope and the only two survivors are adrift in space and they have to find a way to return to Earth before they run out of oxygen. Gravity is considered one of the best films of this decade due to its story and the excellent visual effects who submerged the moviegoer into the vast space.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Arthur Dent discovers his house is about to be demolished in order to make way for a bypass but is not aware that Earth is going to be demolished in order to make way for a space bypass. Douglas Adams's cult radio comedy broadcast was adapted into a series of novels, comic books, an English TV series and finally this movie.
A cleaning robot on a polluted and abandoned Earth might have found a partner in a surveillance robot that just landed. Considered one the best movie from Pixar, WALL-E is a silent film for the first 30 minutes and evolves into a tender, emotional and highly critical on consumism movie.
A group of extraterrestials mistake an old Star Trek-like TV series for historical documents and take the actors to their spaceship to help them to fight against a mortal enemy. Galaxy Quest serves well as a comedy and a spoof of some fandoms that can't differ the fiction of their beloved characters from the actor who plays.
Earth is fighting a war against the Dracs, a reptile race. After crashing into a inhabited planet, a human and a drac have to solve their differences in order to survive their impending doom. Enemy Mine accomplishes what good science fiction is better known: disguise a sensitive issue like racial war and comment on in.
A man is about to complete a three year mission in a mining facility on the far side of the Moon and is facing a personal crisis when is about to return to Earth. Moon's modest budget didn't impact on its success, winning several film festivals and launching the career of director Duncan Jones.
The crew of starship Serenity keeps fleeing from the Alliance in a future where an Earth civil war has recently ended. This movie is a rare case, as it serves as a finale for Josh Whedon's series Firefly, a fan-favorite sci-fi western abruptly cancelled by the Fox network after 14 episodes.
After an unsuccessful attempt to send a man-piloted mission to the moon, a scientist, a space enthusiast General and an aircraft magnate join forces to build the perfect rocket to accomplish their mission. Destination Moon is the first American film to depict the inherent dangers of space travel and the difficulties that a lunar mission might have.
The Black Hole
Starship USS Palomino is returning home when the crew detects a lost vessel defying a black hole's massive gravitational pull. This movie is Disney's response to the space fever that Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind and the first one from the company to receive a PG rating.
Conquest of Space
Human kind not only is space flight capable, it also construct a space station called "The Wheel". Inside it, a young man is considering returning to Earth but a new promotion gives him the command of the vessel that will perform the first flight to Mars. Production followed technical concepts that Wernher von Braun, creator of the Saturn V Rocket, conceived as plausible for the future of space exploration.
An unmanned probe has detected an Earth-like planet in an opposite side of the sun, so NASA sends a mission to collect further data. Known in the USA as Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, it was conceived by british writers Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, creators of the popular "Supermarionation" puppet television series Thunderbirds, Joe 90 and Stingray among others.
Abbott and Costello go to Mars
The starring duo accidentally enters into a rocket and land into New Orleans, where they think its Mars. When a pair of bank robbers also enters into the rocket, the four of them are launched into space where they land into the real planet Venus. Despite its title, Abbott and Costello's characters never reach the red planet.
The Adventures of Pluto Nash
In a future where mankind has established a lunar colony, an ex-convict tries to retrieve his night club that was taken away from a mysterious business man who knows him more than he knows. This failed Eddie Murphy comedy is considered one of the biggest box office bombs in movie history, retrieving only $7.1 million from a $100 million budget.
Planet Spaceball has squandered all of its fresh air and its president plans to steal neighbor planet Druidia's air by kidnapping its king daughter. This hilarious comedy serves as a spoof, not only to Star Wars, but to another science fiction hits such as Alien, Planet of the Apes and Star Trek.
The Phantom Planet
In the eve of a mission to Mars a starship mysteriously disappears, and rumors starts to spread about "phantom planets" and "space monsters". Mars mission astronauts are sent to investigate this, only to find danger and the threat of death. This low budget film was presented as a double picture with Assignment Outer Space.
Battle Beyond the Stars
Farmers of a peaceful planet are threatened by a space tyrant who will use a superweapon that can convert their world into a small star so they hire a s group of mercenaries will try to stop this . Producer Roger Corman conceived this film as "The Magnificent Seven in space" and despite its modest budget it grossed a great amount in the box office.
Starship Ikarie XB-1 is sent to a mysterious "white planet" orbiting Alpha Centauri and its crew has to adjust to life in space during its 28 month journey. This Czechoslovak science fiction film is considered one of the best of the genre produced in the eastern bloc, an it is believed to inspire Stanley Kubrick while researching for 2001.
Mission to Mars
In the year 2020, a man expedition to Mars goes wrong and an astronaut coordinates the rescue mission who might suffer the same destiny. Gaining mainly negative reviews, Mission to Mars is a rare entry on Brian De Palma filmography, and definitely not one of the best films in his career.
Earth is facing impending doom as the Sun is dying, and a mission is sent to reignite the star with a massive nuclear device. Director Danny Boyle wanted to explore the psychological journey of the characters, so he ensemble an international cast, had them living together and made them learn about the science their character knows as a form of method acting.
The Terran Confederation and the cat-like Kilrathi Empire are at war, and the latter is seeking the total eradication of human life. Spaceship Tiger Claw is trying to intercept a Kilrathi fleet heading to Earth in order to prevent a massive attack. Loosely based on the videogame franchise Wing Commander, this film took too many liberties adapting its source material and it was panned by fans of the game and critics.
A young man is fascinated by the legendary stories of a space captain who might have hidden a loot into a mysterious "Treasure Planet" and suddenly finds a map with a possible location for it. This Disney animated film is an homage to Robert Louis Stevenson's adventure novel Treasure Island and combines 2D animation with 3D. Unfortunately it bombed in the box office and was one of the main reasons why Disney briefly stopped producing traditionally animated films.
As an ecological disaster is threatening Earth, first attempts on terraforming in Mars starts as a success but they suddenly stopped. A mission is sent to investigate and finds that something went wrong and the habitat placed on the planet is destroyed. Red Planet is the only film of director Antony Hoffman, who has mainly directed TV commercials.
A massive asteroid is heading for Earth, so NASA trains and dispatches a group of miners to intercept it and destroy it. Though considered not a very great movie, Michael Bay's over the top action secuences and Aerosmith's hit "I don't want to miss a thing" guaranteed a box office success.
After Earth is destroyed by an attack from a race called the Drej, a young man must find the Titan, a ship designed by his father that might be the key to recover most of Earth's flora and fauna. This animated movie was 20th Century Fox big bet to consolidate an animation studio of their own. Nevertheless, the movie tanked and Fox Animation Studios was closed ten days after the film's premiere.
Football player Flash Gordon has to stop Ming the Merciless, emperor of planet Mongo, who plans to destroy Earth creating natural disasters. Using a campy aesthetic reminiscent of the Batman TV series of the 60s, Flash Gordon was a success in the United Kingdom but failed overseas. Later it would gain a cult following, helped by Queen's soundtrack for the film.
James Bond must face Hugo Drax, a megalomaniac entrepeneur who plans to wipe out all life on Earth while breeding a new master race inside the space shuttle Moonraker. Though For Your Eyes Only was the planned sequel for 1977s The Spy who Loved Me, EON Productions rushed the development of Moonraker in order to cash in the space-crazed scenario that Star Wars left.
Airplane II: The Sequel
In an unspecified future, an airplane heading for the Moon malfunctions and once more a gag filled forced landing is on the order. Despite lacking the team that brought the original Airplane! and though basically a ripoff of the original film but placed in space, is still funny enough and can be considered a fairly decent sequel.
A decaying Soviet artificial satellite is about to crash to Earth and NASA sends a repairing crew consistin of former Air Force test pilots who weren't able to become astronauts in the late 50s. This film was highly regarded as the four main actors (Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland and James Gardner) give solid performances.
Two people are awakened 90 years too soon from an induced hibernation during a mission to find a planet that can sustain mankind. The script for Passengers was written in 2007 and it took around eight years to be produced. It gained negative reviews due to the main plotline wher Chris Pratt's character is the one who takes Jennifer Lawrence's out of hibernation.
Members of the International Space Station uncover the first real evidence of life on Mars, but what they have found might be a death sentence. Though this film reprises the Alien formula of a threat in close quarters, it delivers a thrilling narration with the right balance of science fiction and horror.
The Last Days on Mars
The crew of a martian research base is nineteen hours away to complete their six-month research mission, but they receive readings that might prove evidence of life on the planet. Critically panned by the critics, a Rotten Tomatoes review says "The Last Days on Mars proves as cinematically barren as the titular planet".