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50 best space movies of all time

  • #20. District 9 (2009)

    - Director: Neill Blomkamp
    - Stacker score: 89.4
    - Metascore: 81
    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Runtime: 112 minutes

    “District 9” sees an alien species set up camp on Earth. Using the xenophobia humans display against aliens as an allegory for the racism of South Africa’s apartheid, this found-footage mockumentary turns the glamour of interspecies contact into a biting critique of contemporary affairs.

  • #19. The Lego Movie (2014)

    - Directors: Christopher Miller, Phil Lord
    - Stacker score: 89.4
    - Metascore: 83
    - IMDb user rating: 7.7
    - Runtime: 100 minutes

    Many were skeptical that a concept as vague as “Lego” could be adapted into a compelling film. Lord and Miller, rising stars in the comedy and animation genres, proved even the most serious doubters wrong. “The Lego Movie” is 100 minutes of intense action, side-splitting dialogue, and creative animation. Anchored by an all-star cast, “The Lego Movie” is family friendly perfection.

  • #18. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

    - Director: Denis Villeneuve
    - Stacker score: 89.9
    - Metascore: 81
    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Runtime: 164 minutes

    Previously in this slideshow, we referred to director Denis Villeneuve as “a powerful force in the speculative science fiction genre.” Consider this film Exhibit B. “Blade Runner 2049” is beautiful in its tragedy, or perhaps tragic in its beauty. Anchored by a deeply empathetic performance from Ryan Gosling and featuring Ana de Armas, Mackenzie Davis, Jared Leto, and others, “Blade Runner 2049” is a worthy sequel to its groundbreaking predecessor.

  • #17. Star Trek (2009)

    - Director: J.J. Abrams
    - Stacker score: 89.9
    - Metascore: 82
    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Runtime: 127 minutes

    Like “The Force Awakens,” this film was preceded on this list by its sequel, “Star Trek: Into Darkness.” 2009’s “Star Trek” likewise contains all the charm of the original series, with big-budget special effects and a stellar (pun intended) cast.

  • #16. Avatar (2009)

    - Director: James Cameron
    - Stacker score: 89.9
    - Metascore: 83
    - IMDb user rating: 7.8
    - Runtime: 162 minutes

    The highest-grossing movie of all time, despite the ongoing efforts of “Avengers: Endgame,” “Avatar” brought eye-popping CGI to a global audience in a classic story of colonialism, romance, and resistance. Cameron waited nearly a decade, until 2005, to make the film as the technology wasn’t advanced enough in the 1990s to complete his vision. The wait paid off, both financially and in the stunning visuals of the film, which hold up very well 10 years later.

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  • #15. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

    - Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
    - Stacker score: 90.5
    - Metascore: 78
    - IMDb user rating: 8.4
    - Runtime: 181 minutes

    The climax fans waited a decade for, “Avengers: Endgame” sees the titular characters reeling from the events of the prior film and navigating a strange world. Some are focused on undoing the fallout of Infinity War, while others just want to move on and accept the world as it is. The three-hour runtime flies by as our heroes find a promising way forward.

  • #14. Blade Runner (1982)

    - Director: Ridley Scott
    - Stacker score: 92.2
    - Metascore: 84
    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Runtime: 117 minutes

    Directed by Alien’s Ridley Scott and loosely based on a book by sci-fi master Philip K. Dick, “Blade Runner” focuses on Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard, a retired “blade runner,” tasked with hunting down and killing renegade androids known as replicants, just like he used to. The film takes place entirely on Earth; however, it’s a grimy and squalid one, as anyone with significant wealth has already left for the off-world colonies. Though space travel doesn’t feature directly, the film questions technology’s effect on the environment and human interactions.

  • #13. The Iron Giant (1999)

    - Director: Brad Bird
    - Stacker score: 92.2
    - Metascore: 85
    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Runtime: 86 minutes

    Sci-fi films have a peculiar tendency of underperforming at the box office, only to be treated as a cult classic and idolized long after they left the theatres. Such is the case with “The Iron Giant,” the directorial debut of “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille” director Brad Bird, which sees a young boy befriending a giant robot who fell from the sky. Featuring an all-star cast of voice actors, including Vin Diesel as the titular automaton, “The Iron Giant” is a gem in Bird’s stellar filmography.

  • #12. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

    - Director: Steven Spielberg
    - Stacker score: 92.7
    - Metascore: 90
    - IMDb user rating: 7.6
    - Runtime: 138 minutes

    Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” is considered one of best science-fiction films of all time. A smash hit with critics and audiences alike, the movie is about a blue-collar Indiana man who finds his life completely changed after a chance encounter with a UFO. Praised for its originality, the movie has been instrumental in leading many to believe we may not be alone after all.

  • #11. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

    - Director: Stanley Kubrick
    - Stacker score: 93.3
    - Metascore: 84
    - IMDb user rating: 8.3
    - Runtime: 149 minutes

    Sci-fi movies would look a lot different without “2001,” undoubtedly the most influential film of the genre ever to hit the silver screen. The precarity of artificial intelligence, the vastness of space, and the possibility of extraterrestrial life are among the themes explored by Kubrick’s masterpiece. From the visuals to the score, “2001” earns its spot among the greatest films of all time.

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