Best Movies Set in Outer Space

For cinema’s more than a century of existence, countless films set in outer space have already been made. Yet, there are those that really stand out that they are often included in the lists of the best science-fiction, fantasy, action, thriller, and horror movies of all time. These renowned motion picture pieces include those under the categories: mainstream or independent; narrative fiction or documentary; and live-action or animation.

All-Time Classic: “2001: A Space Odyssey”

“2001: A Space Odyssey” by Stanley Kubrick is a legendary film notable for its pioneering special effects work, intensive research leading to scientific accuracy, and aesthetic elements raising the bar of what the film language can offer on screen. Written by Kubrick and sci-fi author, inventor, and futurist Arthur Clarke, this 1968 masterpiece presents a grand epic about evolution, technology, artifical intelligence, and life outside the Earth. It uses the power of visuals, sound effects, and music to create a spellbinding viewing experience that transcends beyond what its literal story readily offers to the audience. This all-time classic was chosen for preservation at the National Film Registry.

Blockbuster Favorite: “Star Wars”

Since its initial release in 1977, the “Star Wars” universe has continuously expanded its scope in various artistic and literary domains and platforms. From the intergalactic wars to the planets and the varying creatures thriving in them, the “Star Wars” canon readily reshaped people’s outlook on sci-fi adventures and blockbuster offerings. This George Lucas masterwork proves not only the franchise’s viability in the box office with two successul film trilogies, but also how it has become its own mythology. Through the years, it has already formed its own sub-culture with a large cult following and fan base. It continues to reinforce itself in pop culture through a series of adaptations and merchandise items and a number of fan clubs, conferences, and conventions.

Indie Opus: “Moon”

The 2009 independent sci-fi offering “Moon” is a compelling and thought-provoking film about a man who encounters a personal crisis as a solitary astronaut working on the far side of the moon. Helmed by Duncan Jones for his debut feature, this indie film is a landmark achievement in varying respects. Amidst its minimal budget, the way the production handles its challenging visual effects requirements is impressive and awe-inspiring. The different aspects of the production work together to translate the film’s promising concept into an audio-visual opus.

Animation Classic: “WALL-E”

The stellar visuals and ingenious storytelling of the 2008 Pixar film “WALL-E” is as perfect as a love story can ever get. At the same time, this robot-starred animated classic by Andrew Stanton is filled with such humanity that can rival many other great films’ touching human characters. This picture strikes the heart through its uniquely artful cinematic presentation. It successfully mounts a post-apocalyptic story into a delightful tale exploring love, loneliness, perseverance, pitfalls, and possibilities.

Breathtaking Documentary: “Hubble 3D”

The 2010 3D documentary “Hubble 3D,” also known as “IMAX: Hubble 3D,” chronicles the space mission of the seven Space Shuttle Atlantis astronauts set to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. This film by Toni Myers allows the viewers to experience an amazing journey beyond the Earth through real-life footage of space and first-hand shots coming from the Hubble itself. In between the spectacular imagery it features, this documentary consistently puts heart into its storytelling as it follows the day-to-day duties of the astronauts in their mission.

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