List

Out of this World Movies

By Cecilia Cygnar

Whether they are set in space or about the space race, these films are sure to get you ready for "take off." Since there are so many, I'm not including any alien-driven movies on this list. Or any series movies (Star Wars, Star Trek, etc.)

  • 2001, A Space Odyssey

    2007

    OK, I'm not a fan of this film, but, it's on the list because it's the first serious space classic. This is on many film critics' and fans' "best of" lists. Just not mine.

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  • The Right Stuff

    2003

    Astronauts are a rare breed and in the 1960s, even rarer than they are today. This is the first film to take you behind the scenes of NASA and the men involved. I felt this film was almost documentary-like in its content, though it is much more personal and human than that.

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  • Forbidden Planet

    1999

    Definitely more camp than substance, this cult classic came out in the same era of The Creature From the Black Lagoon, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Don't let that deter you.

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  • Apollo 13

    1998

    As if Tom Hanks needed another "classic Tom Hanks" film on his resume. This film capped off a string of great 1990s films starring Hanks, one right after another (A League of Their Own, Sleepless in Seattle, Philadelphia, Forrest Gump).

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  • Contact

    1997

    When we think space, we think many things, one of which is scientist and Cosmos (1980) host Carl Sagan (Billions and Billions). Well, he wrote a novel about guess what? Space!

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  • Space Cowboys

    2001

    Sort of like if the astronauts of The Right Stuff were members of AARP! Fun and highly entertaining with a great inspiring message: determination has no age limit.

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  • Moon

    2009

    An odd, quirky film that gives us good insight into what living in space might be like. Apparently, it's not all fun and excitement.

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  • Prometheus

    2012

    I know I said no series movies, and technically director Ridley Scott has said this is a prequel to his 1979 classic Alien. This one is more about space than aliens anyway.

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  • Gravity

    2014

    Set entirely in space (except for the very end), this film won director Alfonso Cuarón an Oscar. When you watch it, you will see why. Astronaut Scott Kelly apparently watched this one while in space. If that's not a ringing endorsement, I don't know what is.

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  • The Martian

    2016

    Akin to 2009's Moon (see above) about what life would be like alone in space. Difference here is Matt Damon's character is marooned not by choice. And he's not losing his mind (for the most part).

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  • Hidden Figures

    2017

    Added here because even though it is not set in space, it's entirely about the space race and how NASA used these persistent and super smart ladies to put astronauts on the moon.

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