10 Best Space Movies Of All Time

These films own the final frontier.

Starchild 2001 Space Odyssey

Whether fighting beings from the other end of the universe, sitting alone above the Earth in a tin can or finding out who your real dad is, space movies have it covered.

Space has been a staple of contemporary cinema since the Cold War made it glamorous, and if the major studios' continuous involvement is anything to go by - Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars, Star Trek - the race for bigger, bolder and brighter feats of intergalactic wonder might never slow down.

This selection of films covers all aspects of space, going between genres and exploring the great, dark, cold unknown in unique ways, with tightly wound isolation dramas, tongue in cheek comedies and galaxy-busting epics. The acting, soundtracks and visuals perfectly showcase and make familiar so much of which is still unknown.

Honourable mentions go to a handful that did not make the list, including bleak psychological thriller Sunshine (Danny Boyle), pitch-perfect Trek parody Galaxy Quest (Dean Parisot) and genre-and-logic-bending The Fountain (Darren Aronofsky), but those that are here represent the sheer diversity the broad 'space movie' umbrella has to offer.

10. High Life (2018)

Starchild 2001 Space Odyssey

Nothing evokes the disorientation and isolation of outer space quite like Claire Denis' High Life, with its broadly nonlinear, disjointed narrative, juxtaposing life and death in cold darkness and artificial light, beset by a stream of bleak and powerful images.

Robert Pattinson is Monte, a monastic astronaut-cum-criminal drifting through space aboard a cuboid ship, on a doomed mission seeking alternative energy sources from black holes. All the while, the crew are experimented on by the unhinged Dr Dibs (Juliette Binoche) as she attempts to fulfil her ambition of artificial insemination in space.

It is a curious choice to make a space film narrower with the old European widescreen 1.66:1 aspect ratio, as this is an environment that so readily calls for grand landscapes of stars and nothingness; High Life, however, is more concerned with looking inward and backward than onward and upward.

Nonetheless, visually, the film creates a strange status quo of convincing, or at least original, space visuals and, at times, quite home-made set design. But perhaps that's the point.

The anti-Interstellar, High Life is a contemplative, philosophical and unique take on the space movie that, for better or worse, sometimes has a strong feel of von Trier.


Writer, editor and lifelong critic of test screenings, money men and films-by-committee.