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Our Top 51 Favorite Space Movies of All Time, Ranked

Our Top 51 Favorite Space Movies of All Time, Ranked

The library of available movies about or set in outer space seems almost as vast as the universe itself. Many of these atmospheric films can be neatly packaged under the science fiction genre, but within that category they span action, adventure, drama and, of course, horror (because there are plenty of scenarios that could happen in orbit that most would find horrifying).

With that much space-themed content at our fingertips, where do we even begin? Let’s look at some of the top movies about space for you to watch now.

Your personal binge-fest of the best space movies of all time starts in T-minus right now with DIRECTV!

What are the Best Space Movies of All Time?

Here’s our list of 51 of the top space movies ever made. We’re starting with our picks for movies rooted in science fact or true stories about space exploration, then we’ll explore titles from the sci-fi realm.

1. ‘Interstellar’

Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is a mind-bending masterpiece that offers a profound meditation on human existence, time, love and the unbreakable bonds that define us. The film’s narrative, centered around Matthew McConaughey’s compelling portrayal of astronaut Cooper, intertwines the quest for a new home for humanity as Earth’s biosphere erodes with the personal struggle to return to his family.

Nolan’s ambitious storytelling is complemented by the film’s groundbreaking visual effects, which bring the wonders and terrors of space to life. Interstellar challenges audiences to contemplate their place in the universe, making it an emotional, thought-provoking experience. It sets the bar for what can be considered among the best space movies.

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2. ‘Apollo 13’

The true story of Apollo 13 is a gripping testament to the resilience of the human spirit through the lens of the famously ill-fated lunar mission. Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon and Bill Paxton deliver compelling performances as the astronauts faced with the daunting task of returning to Earth after an onboard explosion jeopardizes their mission — and their lives. The film balances technical accuracy with human drama, making the audience feel the palpable tension and collective effort of the ground crew and astronauts in overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. Apollo 13 is not just a story of survival but a tribute to the ingenuity and determination inherent in space exploration.

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3. ‘Hidden Figures’

Hidden Figures shines a light on the untold stories of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, three African American women whose mathematical genius was integral to NASA’s most pivotal missions during the Space Race. The film is a powerful celebration of intellect, perseverance and the breaking of racial and gender barriers.

With standout performances by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe, Hidden Figures spotlights the personal and professional challenges faced by these brilliant women, offering an inspiring viewing experience that underscores the importance of diversity and inclusion in STEM fields.

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4. ‘The Martian’

The Martian combines the tension of a survival drama with the ingenuity of science fiction, telling the story of astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) as he struggles to survive on Mars after being left for dead. Adapted from Andy Weir’s novel, the film brings humor and humanity to the fore in the face of insurmountable odds.

The film is celebrated for its scientific realism, clever problem-solving and the theme of cooperation in the pursuit of a common goal. The film’s ability to balance technical accuracy with accessible storytelling makes it a compelling and inspirational tale of human resilience and the indomitable spirit of exploration.

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5. ‘The Right Stuff’

The Right Stuff is an epic chronicle of the early days of the U.S. space program, focusing on the lives and careers of the Mercury Seven astronauts. The film is a tribute to the bravery and pioneering spirit of these astronauts, blending historical accuracy with dramatic storytelling. Its portrayal of the competitive and dangerous nature of space exploration, along with compelling character studies, makes The Right Stuff a classic in the genre, celebrating the human drive to push beyond known boundaries.

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6. ‘Gravity’

Gravity is a technical marvel and a deeply human story of survival, resilience and rebirth. The movie follows Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), an astronaut who must confront her past and find the will to survive after a catastrophic accident leaves her stranded in space with fellow astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). The film’s visual effects and innovative use of 3D technology immerse audiences in the vast, terrifying beauty of space, while its tight narrative ensures that the human element remains at the heart of the story.

Gravity not only pushes the boundaries of cinematic technology but also offers a poignant exploration on the human experience, making it a particularly innovative entry in the science fiction genre.

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7. ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’

“Open the pod bay doors, HAL.” Just about every sci-fi fan can quote that line from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is a testament to its impact on the genre. The film was way ahead of its time, inviting viewers into a profound exploration of human evolution, technology and the unknowns of space.

It’s attention to scientific detail, combined with its innovative visual effects and iconic score, creates an immersive experience that is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally resonant. From the enigmatic monoliths to the chillingly calm demeanor of the HAL 9000 computer, 2001 challenges audiences to ponder the nature of consciousness and humanity’s place in the cosmos. Kubrick’s masterful direction ensures that 2001: A Space Odyssey remains a timeless classic space movie.

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8. ‘Contact’

Robert Zemeckis’s Contact delves into the profound implications of extraterrestrial communication. Jodie Foster’s compelling portrayal of Dr. Ellie Arroway thoughtfully explores themes of faith, science and the search for meaning in the universe. Contact features a deep commitment to scientific plausibility and philosophical depth, presenting a nuanced dialogue between skepticism and belief.

The film’s visual effects and narrative structure tell Arroway’s story against a backdrop of the grandeur and mystery of the cosmos, making it a standout film for those who seek both intellectual and emotional stimulation.

9. ‘Dune: Part Two’

Dune: Part Two elevates director Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s legendary sci-fi epic to new heights. The continuing saga of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) follows the uprising he leads against the interstellar elite, with Villeneuve skillfully balancing the narrative’s grand scale with superb character development, exploring the themes of destiny, ecological stewardship and the human spirit.

The film’s visual storytelling, supported by Hans Zimmer’s haunting score, complements the narrative’s complexity, which has earned Dune: Part Two nods as potentially the best sci-fi film ever made.

10. ‘Dune: Part One’

In Dune: Part One, Villeneuve crafts a visually stunning and narratively rich introduction to the universe of Frank Herbert’s Dune. The film explores the perilous sands of Arrakis, a planet at the heart of a cosmic struggle for control of the valuable substance “spice.” Villeneuve’s adaptation is notable in its attention to detail, from the intricacies of intergalactic politics to the profound spiritual journey of its protagonist. The film’s striking visuals and immersive world-building, rooted in Villeneuve’s ability to stay true to Herbert’s original novel, set a new benchmark for science fiction epics.

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11. ‘Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back’

The Empire Strikes Back is widely regarded as the best that the Star Wars series has to offer. Under Irvin Kershner’s direction, the film expands the Star Wars universe introduced in A New Hope, drawing on darker themes, more complex character development and a narrative boldness that was unprecedented at the time.

The movie deepens the conflict between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire, setting the stage for personal revelations that resonate throughout the saga. The movie introduced one of the most iconic on-screen moments and lines of all time — Darth Vader’s revelation that he is Luke Skywalker’s father — and introduces the beloved Yoda. The Empire Strikes Back set a new high standard for cinematic sequels.

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12. ‘Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope’

The space epic that started it all. George Lucas’s Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope revolutionized the genre and with its imaginative worldbuilding, iconic characters and groundbreaking special effects. The film follows Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) from humble farm boy to galactic freedom fighter and war hero.

Lucas’s vision created a cinematic universe that spans dozens of feature length movies and television shows and continues to captivate audiences to this day. A New Hope not only launched one of the most enduring franchises in film history, but also inspired a new generation of filmmakers and fans.

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13. ‘Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi’

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi brings the original Star Wars Trilogy to a close, deftly weaving personal redemption arcs with larger themes of family, rebellion, tyranny, and hope. The film masterfully continues the dark undertones of The Empire Strikes Back and pits them against a sense of hope and renewal.

The climactic confrontation between Skywalker, Vader and Emperor Palpatine, as Rebel and Imperial forces clash outside, encapsulates the series’ enduring themes of hope and redemption. The lovable Ewoks are notably introduced in this film and the resolution of the arcs of key characters like Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) provides a satisfying conclusion to a classic, legendary saga.

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14. ‘Alien’

Ridley Scott’s Alien is a masterclass in fusing the science fiction and horror genres, introducing audiences to a nightmarish vision of the possibilities and consequences of exploring outer space. The film evokes primal fears through its claustrophobic setting and the relentless, brooding threat of its titular creature, the xenomorph. Sigourney Weaver’s iconic portrayal of Ellen Ripley redefined gender roles in science fiction, while the film’s masterful pacing and tension, paired with H.R. Giger’s disturbing alien design create an immersive and unsettling experience that has influenced countless films in the decades since its release.

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15. ‘Aliens’

The sequel to our last film, Aliens, takes the horror foundation of its predecessor and expands it into an action-packed battle for survival directed by James Cameron. Set years after the original, Ripley confronts her deepest fears as she returns to the now-colonized planet LV-426. Cameron’s direction balances energetic action sequences with character-driven storytelling, deepening our emotional ties to Ripley and her makeshift family.

The introduction of the Colonial Marines, along with advancements in special effects, amplifies the film’s intense atmosphere, making Aliens a standout sequel.

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16. ‘Armageddon’

Michael Bay’s Armageddon blends high-octane action with the deep-seated human fear of global catastrophe, crafting a film that is both a thrilling spectacle and a testament to human ingenuity and resilience. The story centers around a ragtag group of oil drillers sent to space to plant a nuclear bomb on an asteroid and prevent it from colliding with Earth.

With an ensemble cast that includes Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck, Armageddon explores themes of sacrifice, heroism and love against the backdrop of impending doom. Its blend of spectacular visual effects, emotional depth and a memorable soundtrack captures the essence of ’90s blockbuster cinema, making it a memorable entry in the space disaster film genre.

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17. ‘Arrival’

Arrival redefines alien encounter films with an introspective approach and linguistic focus, exploring ideas around communication, time and the human condition. Amy Adams delivers a great performance as Dr. Louise Banks, a linguist tasked with deciphering the language of mysterious alien visitors. The film’s narrative structure, complemented by its atmospheric score and cinematography, evolves to probe deeper themes of unity, grief, and the choices that define us as the film goes on.

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18. ‘Planet of the Apes’

Franklin J. Schaffner’s Planet of the Apes is a landmark sci-fi movie, blending adventure, social commentary and cutting-edge makeup art. George Taylor, played by Charlton Heston, is an astronaut who finds himself stranded on a world where apes have evolved into the dominant species. Beyond its iconic twist ending, the film is a poignant critique of humanity’s flaws, including war, prejudice and environmental degradation. Planet of the Apes will leave you questioning what it means to be human.

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19. ‘E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial’

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial is a heartwarming story of friendship and innocence, capturing the wonder of childhood through the eyes of Elliott, a young boy who befriends a stranded extraterrestrial. Steven Spielberg delivers masterclass in storytelling, seamlessly blending elements of fantasy, drama and adventure to explore themes of loneliness, empathy and the bonds that transcend worlds. E.T.‘s iconic score amplifies the story’s emotion, making it an immediate and timeless success.

20. ‘Star Trek (2009)’

J.J. Abrams brought the Star Trek series back into the mainstream with his 2009 film, blending homage with innovation. The film retraces the origins of the USS Enterprise crew, with a new generation of actors stepping into the roles of beloved characters like Captain James Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Scotty (Simon Pegg).

Abrams’s direction injects a sense of urgency and accessibility into the Star Trek lore, making it relevant for a contemporary audience while respecting the series’ roots. The film’s success lies in its ability to balance breathtaking special effects and action scenes with emotional depth and a sense of adventure, all hallmarks of the classic Star Trek universe.

21. ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’

Star Trek: Into Darkness continues the high-stakes adventures of the USS Enterprise crew, delving into themes of vengeance, loyalty, and the moral complexities of leadership. The film features dynamic performances as Kirk (Pine) and Spock (Quinto) take on the vengeful and powerful Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) in a contemporary take on the Star Trek universe, balancing action-packed sequences with the philosophical underpinnings of the original series and characters. Into Darkness stands out for its characters’ depth, striking special effects work, and its ability to bridge the gap between long-time fans and newcomers to the Star Trek saga.

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22. ‘Avatar’

Avatar is a visual marvel that pushed the boundaries of filmmaking technology to create a fully immersive experience. It was one of the highest-budget films of all time, and among the earliest examples of 3D theatrical experiences. Set on the lush alien world of Pandora, the film tells the story of Jake Sully, a paraplegic marine who becomes entangled in the conflict between the indigenous Na’vi and the humans that have arrived on the planet to colonize it.

Avatar is celebrated for its groundbreaking use of 3D technology and motion capture, creating a vivid, living world that captivated audiences. Beyond its technological achievements, the film explores themes of environmentalism, colonial exploitation, identity and belonging, offering a poignant reflection on humanity’s relationship with nature.

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23. ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is considered the best entry in the Star Trek franchise, blending high-stakes space opera with iconically deep character development. The film revisits the enmity between Captain Kirk and Khan, exploring themes of revenge, aging and sacrifice.

The battle of wits between Kirk and Khan, coupled with the emotional resonance of Spock’s ultimate sacrifice, elevates the film beyond conventional sci-fi fare with its exploration of friendship, duty, and the human condition. The Wrath of Khan remains a benchmark for not just the Star Trek series, but all of science fiction cinema.

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24. ‘The Fifth Element’

The Fifth Element is a vibrant, eclectic blend of science fiction and comedy, known for its unique visual style and eccentric storytelling. The film follows cab driver Korben Dallas as he becomes entangled in a cosmic quest to save Earth alongside the enigmatic Leeloo.

With memorable performances by Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich and Gary Oldman, The Fifth Element is a cult classic that stands out for its inventive design and witty script. The film is a kaleidoscope of futuristic aesthetics, offering a thrilling ride that has left fans raving for years.

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25. ‘Independence Day’

Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day is an iconic film that epitomizes the summer sci-fi blockbuster. After aliens mount a large-scale invasion of Earth, a diverse ensemble cast led by Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman square off against the extraterrestrial threat.

Independence Day is celebrated for its memorable action sequences, individual stories of heroism and unity, special effects and Pullman’s stirring speech as President Whitmore. The film’s blend of humor, action and patriotism has become a template for the otherworldly disaster film genre.

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26. ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy brings the beloved sci-fi comedy novel to the big screen. The film follows Arthur Dent as he navigates the galaxy after Earth’s destruction, guided by an intergalactic guidebook.

With a cast including Martin Freeman and Zooey Deschanel, and voice acting from Stephen Fry, the film captures the spirit of the source material through its quirky characters, whimsical narrative and satirical take on life and the universe.

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27. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

Guardians of the Galaxy stands out in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for its top-notch humor, beloved soundtrack and colorful ensemble of anti-heroes. The film follows the unlikely formation of a group of intergalactic misfits, including Peter “Starlord” Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket Racoon (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel), as they find themselves holding the fate of the galaxy in their hands.

Among the most popular of the MCU films, Guardians of the Galaxy blends high-stakes action with heartfelt moments, all while maintaining a light-hearted tone and vibrant visual style. The sequels, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. II and III, retain the spirit of the original, making for an unforgettable trio of films.

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28. ‘Ad Astra’

James Gray’s Ad Astra is a journey into the depths of space and the soul. Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) embarks on a perilous mission to the outer edges of the solar system in search of his missing father.

The film blends elements of adventure and psychological drama, exploring themes of isolation, parental relationships and the existential quest for meaning in our lives. Ad Astra is well-paced with spectacular visuals and an introspective narrative, offering a contemplative take humanity’s place in the universe.

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29. ‘Starship Troopers’

A film adaptation of Phillip K. Dick’s satirical take on militarism, propaganda and the nature of war, Starship Troopers explores a society where citizenship is earned through military service, following a group of young soldiers through the horrors of an interstellar war against an insectoid alien species.

The film is notable for its over-the-top violence, tongue-in-cheek dialogue and subversive commentary on fascist aesthetics. Starship Troopers stands as a cult classic, beloved for its clever blend of action, visual effects and cynical take on the glorification of war.

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30. ‘Gattaca’

Gattaca is a thought-provoking exploration of genetics, identity and destiny in a future where one’s entire life is determined by their DNA. The film follows Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke), who dreams of space travel but is marginalized due to his natural birth in a genetically optimized society. Gattaca is celebrated for its sleek aesthetic, compelling narrative and the ethical questions it raises regarding eugenics, discrimination and the human spirit’s resilience.

With strong performances by Hawke, Uma Thurman and Jude Law, the film crafts a meticulously designed world that serves as a backdrop for a timeless story of ambition and the inherent value of human imperfection.

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31. ‘Lost in Space’

The 1998 adaptation of the classic television series Lost in Space catapults the Robinson family into the depths of the unknown, marrying science fiction and family drama. The film reimagines the original’s campy charm with a darker tone and complex special effects, as the family embarks on a mission to find a new home for humanity but finds themselves veering off course.

While it received mixed reviews, Lost in Space is a nostalgic journey that explores the sacrifices and challenges of exploration and survival in the vast expanse of space.

32. ‘Event Horizon’

Event Horizon is a chilling blend of science fiction and horror, set aboard a spacecraft that re-emerges from a black hole with a new and malevolent entity on board. The film delves into the psychological torment of its crew as they confront their darkest fears at the hands of the sinister forces at play. With its claustrophobic setting and gruesome visuals, Event Horizon has garnered a cult following for its intense and disturbing exploration of the unknown depths of space.

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33. ‘Prometheus’

Ridley Scott’s controversial prequel to the groundbreaking Alien series explores the origins of humanity and the malevolent alien species that predates them. With a cast led by Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron, Prometheus has a deep story centered around the consequences of seeking answers to life’s most profound questions. While it sparked debate among fans for its connections to the Alien saga, Prometheus was praised for its breathtaking visual effects and provocative themes.

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34. ‘Deep Impact’

Deep Impact offers a humanistic approach to the disaster film genre, focusing on the personal stories and emotional journeys of its characters in the face of a comet on a collision course with Earth. The film interweaves the stories of the teenage astronomer who discovers the comet, a veteran astronaut tasked with diverting it, and a reporter uncovering the truth.

Deep Impact‘s emphasis on the emotional and societal ramifications of a global threat, rather than solely on the spectacle of destruction, make it stand out from similar films. Themes of sacrifice, reconciliation, and the resilience of the human spirit mix with impressive visual effects to produce a poignant and thought-provoking take on the disaster movie formula.

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35. ‘Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens’

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens reignited the iconic saga’s appeal, blending nostalgia with new lore to bridge generations of fans. Set three decades after the fall of the Empire, the film introduces a new threat, the First Order, and new heroes like Rey, Finn, and Poe, while reuniting audiences with beloved characters such as Leia Organa, Han Solo, R2D2, and C-3P0. J.J. Abrams puts his experience working on Star Trek to work to masterfully balance homages to the original trilogy with fresh storytelling, delivering thrilling action sequences and compelling yet familiar character arcs while setting the stage for an entirely new trilogy.

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36. ‘Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi’

Rian Johnson’s Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi takes bold narrative risks, challenging established lore and character arcs to explore new thematic depths. The film delves into the complexities of heroism, failure, and the weight of legacy through the journeys of Rey, Kylo Ren, and a reclusive Luke Skywalker. Johnson’s take on the Star Wars series offers a visually stunning and emotionally nuanced chapter in the saga, sparking debate among fans with its unexpected twists and fundamental reinterpretations of how the Force works. The Last Jedi stands out for its willingness to subvert expectations, its exploration of moral ambiguity, and its contributions to the series’ mythos, making it a polarizing yet pivotal installment in the franchise.

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37. ‘Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker’

J.J. Abrams returns to conclude the Skywalker saga with Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, weaving together threads from the previous films to offer a grand finale. The film faces the daunting task of reconciling the trilogy’s divergent paths, focusing on the final battle against the resurrected Emperor Palpatine and the culmination of Rey and Kylo Ren’s intertwined destinies.

Despite its ambitious scope and imperative to satisfy the wider Star Wars fanbase, the film has sparked discussions regarding its pacing, narrative choices and its place within the broader Star Wars legacy, making it a topic of continued debate among enthusiasts and critics alike. Nonetheless, it brings the full arc of the Star Wars saga home.

38. ‘Wall-E’

Pixar’s Wall-E is a masterful blend of animation and science fiction that tells a compelling and heartfelt story of loneliness, love and environmental stewardship through the eyes of a solitary waste-collecting robot. Set in a future where Earth has been abandoned due to rampant consumerism and environmental neglect, Wall-E’s encounter with the sleek robot EVE sets off an adventure across the galaxy. Directed by Andrew Stanton, the film is notable for its minimal dialogue, relying instead on rich visuals and expressive animation to convey its narrative.

Wall-E is celebrated for its critique of human excess, its touching exploration of connection and purpose and its innovative storytelling, making it a landmark film in animation and a poignant commentary on humanity’s impact on the Earth.

39. ‘Alien: Covenant’

Alien: Covenant continues to explore the origins of the iconic xenomorphs while delving deeper into themes of creation and artificial intelligence. As a sequel to Prometheus and a prequel to the original Alien series, the film follows the crew of the colony ship Covenant as they discover a seemingly idyllic planet harboring dark secrets.

Alien: Covenant intertwines the horror and sci-fi elements of its predecessors with philosophical musings on human and synthetic life, driven by Michael Fassbender’s dual performance as the androids David and Walter. The film’s visual aesthetics, combined with its tension-filled narrative, contribute to the expanding lore of the Alien franchise, offering fans a blend of familiar terror and new explorations into the series’ thematic underpinnings.

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40. ‘Alien vs. Predator’

Alien vs. Predator merges two of sci-fi’s most iconic franchises into a singular cinematic showdown. Set in an ancient pyramid buried beneath the ice of Antarctica, the film pits the deadly xenomorphs against the formidable Predators, with humans caught in the middle of their interstellar conflict. While the concept of combining these universes was met with anticipation, the execution divides fans and critics alike.

The film is appreciated for its action sequences and special effects but has been criticized for its departure from the darker, more atmospheric tones of the individual series. Alien vs. Predator is an ambitious crossover that serves as something of a novelty for fans of the franchises, offering thrilling encounters even as it strays from the deeper thematic elements that defined the original films.

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41. ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’

Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind stands as a seminal work in the science fiction genre, offering a visionary and optimistic portrayal of extraterrestrial contact. The film follows the intertwined lives of individuals drawn to a mysterious mountain following encounters with UFOs, leading to a government-concealed rendezvous with alien life forms. Spielberg’s direction crafts a sense of awe and wonder, focusing on the human and emotional aspects of first contact rather than the fear and paranoia typically associated with the genre.

The film’s groundbreaking visual effects, iconic five-note musical motif and compelling performances, especially by Richard Dreyfuss, contribute to its enduring legacy. Close Encounters is celebrated for its imaginative approach to alien life, its technical craftsmanship and its contribution to the sense of mystery and possibility that defines the best of science fiction.

42. ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story stands out within the Star Wars universe as a gritty, ground-level tale of rebellion against the Galactic Empire, focusing on the team of unlikely heroes tasked with stealing the plans to the Death Star. The film weaves new characters and their personal stories into the larger Star Wars tapestry, offering a darker, more war-centric perspective, especially in its ending. Rogue One is praised for its character development, particularly that of Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor, its thrilling action sequences and its seamless integration into the saga’s chronology, bringing the story full circle with its climactic and emotional connection to A New Hope.

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43. ‘Galaxy Quest’

Galaxy Quest is a beloved parody and homage to Star Trek and its fan culture, blending humor, heart and science fiction. Featuring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman, the film follows the cast of a canceled space opera TV show who become real-life heroes when they’re mistaken for their characters by actual aliens.

The film’s clever satire, combined with genuine affection for the genre, makes Galaxy Quest a rare comedy that resonates with both die-hard sci-fi fans and general audiences, celebrating and poking fun at the conventions of space adventures.

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44. ‘Spaceballs’

Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs is a hilarious parody of the Star Wars saga and other sci-fi classics, known for its slapstick humor, witty puns and irreverent take on the genre’s tropes. The film follows the hero Lone Starr and his sidekick Barf as they attempt to rescue Princess Vespa from the evil Spaceballs. With iconic characters like Dark Helmet and Yogurt, Spaceballs lampoons everything from Star Trek to Planet of the Apes, proving Mel Brooks’ genius in blending comedy with genre satire. Its enduring popularity is a testament to its clever humor, memorable lines and the affectionate way it pokes fun at the conventions of science fiction.

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45. ‘Space Sweepers’

Space Sweepers is a South Korean space opera that presents a visually rich and action-packed story set in a futuristic world where Earth has become nearly uninhabitable. The film follows the crew of a space junk collector ship who discover a humanoid robot named Dorothy that’s wanted by space terrorists. With its diverse cast and dynamic storytelling, Space Sweepers combines the themes of environmentalism, inequality and redemption.

46. ‘Solaris’

Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris is a hauntingly beautiful and meditative exploration of grief, memory and the human condition, set against the backdrop of a mysterious alien planet. The film diverges from traditional sci-fi by focusing on the psychological and emotional impact of the space environment on its protagonist, a psychologist sent to investigate the crew’s strange hallucinations aboard a space station orbiting Solaris. Tarkovsky’s use of long takes and visual poetry, along with its existential themes, makes Solaris a profound and introspective work that challenges the conventions of the genre.

47. ‘Sunshine’

Danny Boyle’s Sunshine is a visually stunning and philosophically engaging film about a team of astronauts on a mission to reignite the dying sun and save humanity. The film blends elements of thriller and horror within its sci-fi framework, exploring themes of sacrifice, madness and the awe-inspiring power of the sun.

With its strong ensemble cast and Boyle’s distinctive direction, Sunshine is celebrated for its tension-filled narrative and the compelling moral dilemmas faced by its characters.

48. ‘Stowaway’

Stowaway is a tense and emotionally driven space survival drama that centers on the crew of a mission to Mars who discover an accidental stowaway shortly after launch. The film explores the ethical and logistical challenges of dealing with unexpected events in the calculated environment of space travel, highlighting themes of responsibility, sacrifice and human resilience.

49. ‘Serenity’

Joss Whedon’s Serenity continues the story of the canceled TV series Firefly, offering a space western adventure that blends action and humor with heart. The film follows the crew of the spaceship Serenity as they navigate a galaxy ruled by a totalitarian government while harboring a fugitive with a dangerous secret. Serenity is praised for its sharp writing, compelling characters and Whedon’s ability to balance diverse genre elements, providing a satisfying conclusion for fans of the series and a standalone adventure for newcomers.

50. ‘Treasure Planet’

Disney’s Treasure Planet offers a bold and imaginative sci-fi twist on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Treasure Island, setting the tale of adventure and piracy in a fantastical universe of alien worlds and interstellar ships. The film combines traditional and computer animation to create a visually captivating setting where solar sails and spaceports exist alongside classic pirate lore.

The film follows young Jim Hawkins as he embarks on a journey across the universe to find the legendary Treasure Planet. Despite its initial underperformance at the box office, Treasure Planet has gained appreciation for its innovative design, dynamic characters and the heartfelt coming-of-age story at its core, showcasing Disney’s ability to reimagine classic tales in new and exciting contexts.

51. ‘Life’

Life is a gripping sci-fi thriller directed by Daniel Espinosa, set aboard the International Space Station, where a crew of astronauts discovers a rapidly evolving life form that threatens all life on Earth. The film is a tense and claustrophobic experience that explores the horrors of encountering an alien organism in the isolated environment of space.

With a strong cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds, Life delves into themes of curiosity, survival and the unintended consequences of scientific discovery. Its suspenseful narrative and effective use of the space setting make it a thrilling addition to the alien encounter subgenre, drawing comparisons to classics like Alien for its intensity and atmospheric tension.

Watch All the Best Space Movies on DIRECTV

So there you have it. That’s our list of the very best that the space exploration and sci-fi genre has to offer. Start working your way through this list on DIRECTV today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What DIRECTV package do I need to watch all these movies?

DIRECTV Premier package has the premium movie channels, however you can watch great movies on networks such as TNT, TBS, FX and more! Those channels are available in the CHOICE package

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