Best 20 Space Movies Of All Time

The exploration of the universe gives filmmakers infinite possibilities and a thousand different worlds to explore. That's what makes space movies so enjoyable – you get to suspend belief completely for a while and immerse yourself fully in a fabulous and entertaining story. The best space movies are not just amazing visual effects, though. They need a great story, too - something we can all relate to.

In our list of the top 20 space movies and their IMDb scores, we've kept that in mind, putting together a list that includes family favourites and stories with real impact. So sit back, grab the popcorn, and let's take a look at the best must-watch space movies.

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - 8.3

It all starts here, with one of the most epic and best space movies ever. The discovery of an alien artefact on the moon sparks a journey into the solar system for two astronauts and a malignant supercomputer, HAL9000. Starring Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, and Daniel Richter.

2. Star Wars: Episode IV - Return of the Jedi (1983) - 8.3

Regarded as one of the best Star Wars films and one of the best space movies for its iconic characters and dramatic story, Episode IV sees the rebels intent on destroying the second Death Star and an epic battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Billy Dee Williams.

3. WALL-E (2008) - 8.4

An adorable family movie about a waste-collecting robot who inadvertently saves the future of humanity. Starring Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, and Fred Willard.

4. Alien (1979) - 8.5

One of the greatest space movies of all time, Alien is the terrifying tale of a spacecraft’s encounter with a deadly alien lifeform. Starring Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, and Veronica Cartwright.

5. Interstellar (2014) – 8.7

A search for ‘Planet B’ after Earth becomes uninhabitable takes humankind into the cosmos to find a new home. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Mackenzie Foy.

6. Armageddon (1998) - 6.7

With an asteroid hurtling towards Earth that will obliterate all life as we know it, this must-watch space movie tells how a misfit team attempts to save the planet. Starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, and Liv Tyler.

7. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – 8.0

A family favourite from the Marvel Universe, this rip-roaring tale tells of a gang of intergalactic criminals charged with stopping a fanatical overlord from taking over the universe. Starring Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, and Zoe Saldana.

8. Aliens (1986) - 8.4

Ellen Ripley is revived and sent to re-establish contact with a colony but encounters her nemesis, the Alien Queen and her children. Starring Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn, and Paul Reiser.

9. Apollo 13 (1995) – 7.7

This incredible true story tells how the seemingly doomed crew of Apollo 13 were brought back to Earth through the brilliance and ingenuity of NASA scientists. Starring Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, and Gary Sinise.

10. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) – 7.7

Starring the original crew of the USS Enterprise, this non-stop action film and one of the best space movies ever made sees Kirk battle against Khan to avenge the death of his son. Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, and James Doohan.

11. Ender's Game (2013) – 6.6

Ender Wiggin is about to discover that war with an alien insectoid species will test his humanity to the limit as he goes into battle. Starring Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, and Abigail Breslin.

12. Stargate (1994) – 7.0

When an alien artefact is found and activated, a US team travels to another world to free enslaved people and battle their god-like overlords. This is one of the best space movies of all time that inspired several TV shows and spin-off movies. Starring Kurt Russell, James Spader, Jaye Davidson, and Viveca Lindfors.

13. Galaxy Quest (1999) – 7.4

A hilarious comedy that sees the fading stars of a TV space show transported onto a real spaceship to help a gentle race survive the vicious army led by an evil alien general. Starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, and Tony Shalhoub.

14. Star Trek (2009) – 7.9

A modern update of the original Star Trek story sees Kirk go into battle against the Federation’s arch-enemies, the terrifying and relentless Romulans. Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, and Leonard Nimoy.

15. The Martian (2015) – 8.0

A stranded astronaut on Mars has to fight to survive and signal Earth to let them know that he is still alive. Will Earth get his message and send help? A must-watch space movie. Starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, and Kate Mara.

16. Gravity (2013) – 7.7

Two astronauts must work together to survive after being left stranded when their space shuttle is destroyed. Starring Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris, and Orto Ignatiussen.

17. Sunshine (2007) – 7.2

When the sun begins to die, a team of astronauts are sent on a dangerous mission to try and reignite the core and save mankind. Starring Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Chris Evans, and Cliff Curtis.

18. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) – 6.7

A hugely entertaining comedy based on the original BBC radio series. Arthur Dent is having a terrible day. Then a Vogon constructor fleet destroys not just his house but the planet too. Fortunately, his friend Ford Prefect saves him just in time. Starring Martin Freeman, Yasiin Bey, Sam Rockwell, and Zooey Deschanel.

19. Contact (1997) – 7.5

After years of scanning the heavens, a scientist finally finds proof that aliens exist, and they are sending her plans for the construction of a mysterious machine. Are they benevolent, or is mankind facing a new enemy? One of the best space movies of all time, with a mesmerizing performance by Jodie Foster. Also starring Matthew McConaughey, Tom Skerritt, and John Hurt.

20. Event Horizon (1997) – 6.6

After missing for over seven years, a spaceship mysteriously reappears. A rescue crew has to go onboard and try to work out what happened and are forced to fight for their own survival. Starring Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, and Joely Richardson.

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