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Best Space Movies

Updated on July 13, 2011


What does it mean to you?

Does it mean adventure or inspiration?

Or perhaps it means death and destruction?

Or maybe it even means peace and calmness?

Space is so vast and so incomprehensible that what you feel when you look up into that black expanse - that feeling of insignificance - is unique to your own imagination. You see a distant star and your mind races, it whirls, it envisions. What the picture depicts is soley up to you and I guess that's the wonder of the universe - at least for the time being.

What's the quote again?

"The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible."

When we look up into the stars we have a feel, a very small feeling, that in the end the universe and existence is simple. The beauty is ours to harness and utilize.

You're probably wondering what the point of that little anecdote was and it's point was to help illuminate what makes a best space movie. What are the best space movies? Well they are the movies that depict everything that was stated above - the adventure, the inspiration, the truth, the simplicity of the complexity.


Here is a list of the best space movies (in no particular order):


Maybe the best space movie of all time.  Definately one of the best space movies.
Maybe the best space movie of all time. Definately one of the best space movies. | Source

2001: A Space Odyssey

If you are surprised that this is on the list then you've never seen the movie. It laid the foundation of what space movies should be; it is the god father or space movies, one of the best space movies of all time.

Stanley Kubrick teamed up with Arthur C. Clarke to write what is arguably one of the greatest space stories of our time. What's it about? Well it's about adventure into the unknown - an unknown that is both real and metaphysical. It's the year 2001 and humans have found an unusual object on the moon. I don't need to say more; the rest, they say, is history.

2001: A Space Odyssey one of the classic space movies and is still beloved around the world today.


Aliens is a scary space movie.
Aliens is a scary space movie. | Source


Another classic space movie. Aliens is a different kind of space movie then 2001: A Space Odyssey but that doesn't take away of its effectiveness as well as its depiction of space. This more of a scary space movies, bringing out the edges and flaws of the expanse of space; it also raises the question of other life out there and how we would appear to them (in this case as something worth killing.)

The special effects are incredible in aliens; the action is jaw-dropping; and the suspense can be heart-stopping. All of it put together makes the story of Ripely against the aliens one of the best space movies.


Star Wars is one of the best space movies.  It's also one of the only space movies to be accepted by our cultural medium.
Star Wars is one of the best space movies. It's also one of the only space movies to be accepted by our cultural medium. | Source

Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back

In every best space movies list there has to be at least one star wars movie. It's the zenith what space fantasy can be, proving that the imagination of space can actually be as grand as we make it out to be. The Star Wars franchise are all classic space movies; they all deserve to be on a top ten space movies list. But, if I had to pick one, it has to be Empire Strikes Back.

Empire Strikes Back is the classic conflict in any type of grand, over-arching story. It's where the characters go through the most turmoil, have the most revelation, and under go the most change. This is all more than true in the second Star Wars movie made. The problems and imagination in Empire Strikes Back make us yearn for the next movie.

Star Wars is also a different kind of space movie. It's not a truly scary and isolate movie like Aliens is; it's not philosophically reaching as 2001 either. It's an imagination movie, one that embraces the fact that the universe is much to large to just have one intelligent life force. It has many flaws - but that makes it that much better. It's without a doubt one of the best space movies of all time.


Contact, one of the best movies about space, touches on both the beauties of the universe as well as the beauty found in human beings.
Contact, one of the best movies about space, touches on both the beauties of the universe as well as the beauty found in human beings. | Source


This is my personal favorite space movie. Why? Because I feel like it touches all the important aspects of space, while at the same time remaining human and having an imagination. Is it the best space movie of all time? No, probably not. But does it deserve to be on a top ten space movies list? Yes.

Contact is based off the book by the late Carl Sagan, one of the greatest astronomy authors of out time (he wrote the book 'Cosmos' one of the most renowned space books in the world). The story is how we, as humans, first make contact with other life in the universe. The story follows how mankind reacts to this discovery and how we evolve in the process.

"They should of sent a poet..." is one of the lines in the movie when the main character sees a glimpse of what may be the center of the galaxy.

This is one of the best space movies because it doesn't try to understand the universe. It takes the more human approach: vague bewilderment of the grandeur.


Not as grandeur as some space movies, but still just as touching.
Not as grandeur as some space movies, but still just as touching. | Source


This may be a bit reaching to put on a best space movies list - but maybe not. WALL E tells one of the fundamental stories of human beings and the universe. It's a story about how we are destroying the planet and that one day we are going have to leave and find a better place to live.

Is there one out there?

Or are we alone?

WALL E isn't so much about the details of space or even the adventure. It's more about how the universe is always in our peropherals, always there, watching, waiting.

To quote another movie:

"The only thing to make the emptiness bearable is each other."



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    • vanchen profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from British Columbia

      Thanks for the comment, Ian. You're right, 'ET' and 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' are classics. I wrote this a couple years ago and I chose 'Walle'(which seems a little out of place in a top space movies list) due to its heavy environmental and futurism overtones. I thought then (as I think now) that our future in space hinges on the future of our planet - in other words, if the planet fails we will be forced to find a suitable habitat elsewhere in the universe.

    • alian346 profile image


      6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Thank you for writing this Hub, vanchen.

      I adore '2001' and 'Contact' - these are very thought provoking movies and passionately made. I remember seeing '2001' when it first came out. In those heady days we believed that all of the space travel stuff in the movie would come true before we were 50! It is so well done and realistic and it has stood the test of time. Both it and 'Contact' are movies of wonderment.

      Two movies I would include would be 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' and of course 'ET' - not really a space movie, I know, but still makes everyone laugh and cry.



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