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To Infinity and Beyond: The Best Space Movies

By Say Peng  /  20 Aug 2019 (Tuesday)

There is something about space movies that are enthralling and enticing for us.

Perhaps we are attracted to the infiniteness and mystery of space itself.

Space has also been a source of fascination for filmmakers since the beginning. 

One of the first space movies was the 1918 silent film Himmelskibet or A Trip to Mars.

As filmmaking and visual effects technology improved, space movies became easier to make but more difficult to get right.

Here are some of the space films that we think are the best in the genre.

Ad Astra

Brad Pitt plays astronaut Roy McBride who travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of humans on Earth.

In space, he discovers secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos.

James Gray has been consistently making good movies since his debut in 1994 with Little Odessa, so we have high expectations of Ad Astra. 

Ad Astra is in Competition this year at the Venice International Film Festival and will be screening InCinemas here on 19 September.


Christopher Nolan's Interstellar follows Matthew McConaughey's character Joseph Cooper, who has to travel through a wormhole in space to individually survey twelve potentially habitable planets.

Nolan admitted to being inadvertently influenced by what he called the "key touchstones" of science fiction cinema, including Metropolis (1927), 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, Star Wars and Alien.

What most people may not know is that Interstellar is secretly Nolan's love letter to his daughter Florence.


Most of the epic space movies mentioned here as well as many others not mentioned are usually about the directors and the filmmaking. The focus is usually not on the actors. But in Gravity, the film is great not only because of the jaw-dropping cinematography but as important, because of Sandra Bullock's performance.

Bullock has been in some iconic films like Speed and Miss Congeniality, but she is not known for her performing skills. In her decades-long career, she's only been nominated for the Oscars twice, winning it once for The Blind Side.

Her performance in Gravity proves that there is a sensitive and great actress somewhere in her. 

And of course, Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography took the long take technique so far up the scale that has not been matched till today. 


Tarkovsky is cinema's poet laureate. 

Few filmmakers can rival the kind of images that Tarkovsky has put on screen, and Solaris is one of his most beautiful and metaphysical films.

Based on Stanisław Lem's novel of the same name, Solaris is a meditative psychological drama about three scientists on board a space station who are each struggling with emotional and psychological issues due to the alienation of being in space for too long. 

Although Tarkovsky felt that Solaris was a failure, the film won the second prize at the Cannes Film Festival and is today considered one of the best films ever made.

2001: A Space Odyssey

For most film fans, this is the space movie of space movies.

This film has inspired countless directors from George Lucas to Ridley Scott to Christopher Nolan, although Tarkovsky admitted to disliking it, calling the film "phony on many points" and "a lifeless schema with only pretensions to truth."

What are your favourite space movies? Share with us in the comments.
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