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50 best space movies of all time

  • #10. The Right Stuff (1983)

    Directed by Philip Kaufman
    - Stacker score: 88.5
    - Metascore: 91
    - IMDb rating: 7.9
    - Votes: 52,149
    - Runtime: 193 min

    The films on this list that deal with America’s space program each focus on a different period. Such is the case with “The Right Stuff,” which focuses on the Mercury program of supersonic flight, sometimes in the sub-orbital region of space, which took place between 1958 and 1963. Based on the bestselling book by the same name, “The Right Stuff” was, like many others on this list, a box office failure though it was beloved by critics and remains a modern classic.

  • #9. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

    Directed by Steven Spielberg
    - Stacker score: 88.5
    - Metascore: 91
    - IMDb rating: 7.9
    - Votes: 337,618
    - Runtime: 115 min

    “E.T. phone home,” mutters the titular character as he attempts to contact his home planet, and audiences around the world fell in love. The timeless story of an intimate friendship between a boy and his alien friend, “E.T.” has resonated with generations of families, and is widely considered one of the greatest films of all time.

  • #8. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

    Directed by Don Siegel
    - Stacker score: 88.5
    - Metascore: 92
    - IMDb rating: 7.8
    - Votes: 40,762
    - Runtime: 80 min

    The fact that the oldest film on this list also makes the top ten is notable; many of the deep questions posed by old sci-fi movies seem dated to us (are “Star Trek’s” communicators any better than an iPhone?). However, the fear of someone you love seeming just a little off still raises goosebumps on the flesh of any viewer. The culprit: alien pods that, when they reach maturity, duplicate humans entirely, though the duplicates are devoid of any emotion.

  • #7. Apollo 11 (2019)

    Directed by Todd Douglas Miller
    - Stacker score: 89.1
    - Metascore: 88
    - IMDb rating: 8.3
    - Votes: 6,817
    - Runtime: 93 min

    The only documentary on this list, “Apollo 11” consists solely of archival footage and is absent of narration, commentary from talking heads, or re-creations. The film presents the story of the titular mission, moonwalk and all. There’s not much else to say here, just a word of advice: see it on the biggest screen you can find.

  • #6. Blade Runner (1982)

    Directed by Ridley Scott
    - Stacker score: 89.1
    - Metascore: 89
    - IMDb rating: 8.2
    - Votes: 628,615
    - Runtime: 117 min

    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.

  • #5. Solaris (1972)

    Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky
    - Stacker score: 89.1
    - Metascore: 90
    - IMDb rating: 8.1
    - Votes: 70,070
    - Runtime: 167 min

    At the same time Americans were celebrating a comeback victory in the Space Race, Soviet Russians were dealing with their own questions of space travel and communism’s place in the future. Such is the case with “Solaris,” a Soviet film, which questions the limits of human rationality in a gorgeous, haunting, nearly three-hour production.

  • #4. Gravity (2013)

    Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
    - Stacker score: 90.1
    - Metascore: 96
    - IMDb rating: 7.7
    - Votes: 713,126
    - Runtime: 91 min

    Cuarón, the five-time Oscar winner and director of “Children of Men” and “Roma,” tried his hand at an outer-space thriller in 2013’s seven-time Oscar winner “Gravity,” starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as stranded astronauts doing whatever it takes to return home. As evidenced by the awards, Gravity was received warmly by both critics and fans, who praised the realistic visuals, performances from the leads, and stirring score.

  • #3. Alien (1979)

    Directed by Ridley Scott
    - Stacker score: 90.6
    - Metascore: 89
    - IMDb rating: 8.5
    - Votes: 716,219
    - Runtime: 117 min

    Facehugger, Xenomorph, Chestburster; the titular alien in “Alien” takes many forms, all of them terrifying, as the creation of gory special effects and a dark imagination. The crew of the spaceship Nostromo is hopelessly outmatched against this unique evil, though they never stop trying to kill it, even as more and more humans fall victim to the alien’s attacks. A straightforward human-versus-nature story, the movie manages to slip in a biting critique of mega-corporations which are more interested in the bottom line than human lives.

  • #2. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)

    Directed by George Lucas
    - Stacker score: 91.7
    - Metascore: 90
    - IMDb rating: 8.6
    - Votes: 1,124,039
    - Runtime: 121 min

    What is there to say about “Star Wars?” The 1977 film has established itself in every corner of our collective consciousness, from the global fame of its cast to the innumerable sci-fi and adventure films it influenced, not to mention the films in the franchise still being released every couple of years. The soundtrack is iconic, the characters are legendary, and the story of a chosen hero leading the galaxy to victory has inspired millions of young people all across the globe.

  • #1. WALL·E (2008)

    Directed by Andrew Stanton
    - Stacker score: 93.2
    - Metascore: 95
    - IMDb rating: 8.4
    - Votes: 908,845
    - Runtime: 98 min

    “WALL·E’s” striking depiction of Earth as a barren wasteland, destroyed by the forces of climate and human overconsumption, is made even more impactful through the film’s choice to not include human dialogue for much of the film. The titular robot is an emotive trash compactor, the only one left on Earth, meant to clean up the planet’s waste; imagine his shock when a futuristic robot arrives, searching the planet for any sign of organic life. When humans are finally shown, they’re nearly comatose and incapable of social relationships, as work has become obsolete thanks to automation. A story about finding a purpose in the universe's vastness, “WALL·E” has the right mix of charm, complex storytelling, beautiful visuals and soul-searching questions to land at the top of our list.

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