The 30 films about Space that made the history of cinema

Space, the Moon, the Sun, the stars, life on other planets. And again: spaceships, astronauts, galaxies, man’s journeys beyond the borders of the earth. Here are the ingredients that inspired directors and producers. Knowledge and the unknown, fantasy and science have captivated millions of spectators all over the world because discovery has no age.

Space films were liked, liked and (perhaps) will continue to be liked with their sci-fi stories, their impossible challenges and their special effects. They keep making us daydream, waiting for space tourism to become a reality thanks to the pharaonic investments of billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

What was the first science fiction film?

“A Trip to the Moon”, signed by the French director Georges Méliès, is the first science fiction film in the history of cinema. It was produced in France in September 1902, shot in the Star Film studios near Paris and cost 10,000 francs at the time. The film is a parody loosely based on two novels: “From the Earth to the Moon” by Jules Verne and “The first men on the moon” by HG Wells. The film lasts only 15 minutes but was a great success all over the world. It was the first film to fall into the network of piracy: the American inventor and entrepreneur Thomas Edison in fact distributed it in person in America after illegally making copies.

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What is the most watched space movie in the world?

At the top of the ranking of the most watched films about Space is undoubtedly “2001: A Space Odyssey” from 1968. A success at the box office, a triumph on television. It is considered by critics and the public a masterpiece. Enough to have become the bible of film science fiction. The film was produced and directed by American director Stanley Kubrick, who co-wrote the script with Arthur C. Clarke, who wrote the novel of the same name. The shooting of the film lasted four years, with a cost of 10 million dollars, of which 6 and a half million only for the special effects.

The best recent space movies

First place awarded to “Interstellar”, the cinematographic pearl signed by Christopher Nolan. The film is considered the heir to Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The plot? It chronicles astronaut Cooper’s mission to find another galaxy with a new world that can accommodate what’s left of humanity, trapped on a now dying Earth. Spectacular cinematography and soundtrack by German composer Hans Zimmer tug at the viewer’s emotional strings for one of the best sci-fi films in recent years.

On the second step of the podium is “Gravity” directed by Alfonso Cuaròn, winner in Hollywood with 7 Oscars in 2014. It is the story of Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and cosmonaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), adrift in Space after a Shuttle accident. Critics appreciate it because it is a hymn to life and rebirth. Wonderful photography by Emmanuel Lubezki, excellent 3D special effects.

In third place, a title that intertwines issues that are more current than ever today such as the environmental emergency, climate change, sustainability and safeguarding the Earth. This is the animated film “Wall-E” made by Pixar. An ecological fairy tale complete with a love story, starring a friendly garbage collection robot, left alone on an uninhabited Earth crushed by pollution and garbage. Equipped with consciousness, developed after 700 years of continuous activity, Wall-E sees his routine interrupted by the arrival on the planet of Eve, a high-tech automaton with which he immediately falls in love. To conquer her, the robot will embark on a spectacular adventure in space, where he will become the unlikely savior of mankind.

And still worth mentioning: “Survivor – The martian” of 2015 signed by Ridley Scott, with Matt Damon in the role of astronaut Mark abandoned by mistake on Mars. “First Man” of 2018 directed by Damien Chazelle and film adaptation of the life of NASA astronaut, Neil Armstrong. Speaking of Luna, a special mention goes to “Moon” from 2009, the first feature film directed by advertising director Duncan Jones, also known as Joey Bowie (son of the famous singer David Bowie). The film, which was written especially for actor Sam Rockwell, pays homage to the sci-fi films Jones loved in his youth, such as “2002: The Second Odyssey” (1972), “Alien” (1979) and “Atmosphere Zero”. (1981), with the aim of recreating the climate of science fiction films of the seventies and eighties.

What are the most famous Space movies?

The title par excellence is “2001: A Space Odyssey” which marked an epochal change in the history of cinema. Kubrick’s film is not only a science fiction story with special effects, it is also a quest for human identity, the discovery of self and destiny on Earth.

In the ranking of the most famous films on Space compiled by the newspaper “The New York Times” a prominent place is occupied by “Apollo 13”, also for the cult phrase: “Houston, we have a problem”. Starring Tom Hanks, in the role of US astronaut from NASA Jim Lovell, the film tells the real story of the US space mission, part of the Apollo program, which took off on April 11, 1970 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was supposed to be NASA’s third lunar mission and instead it went down in history due to the failure that prevented the moon landing and made it difficult to return to Earth.

To remember also the saga of “Alien”, from the original of 1979 by Ridley Scott to the films that followed: “Aliens – Final Clash” by James Cameron in 1986 “Alien” by David Fincher of 1992, “Alien – The Cloning” by Jean-Pierre Jeunet in 1997, “Alien vs. Predator” by Paul WS Anderson in 2004, “Aliens vs. Predator 2” by the Strause brothers in 2007. A long cinematic ride that then returns to the starting square with Ridley Scott again who first branded “Prometheus” (2012) and then “Alien: Covenant” (2017).

Also successful in theaters around the world were “Armageddon: Final Judgment” with Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck, as well as the blockbuster “Independence Day”, directed by Roland Emmerich and starring Will Smith and David Levinson. A sci-fi movie with the imaginary alien invasion of the Earth, with attacks on the symbolic monuments of the United States.

Also unforgettable is the saga with the thirteen “Star Trek” films, produced from the first in 1979 to the last in 2016. Here are the titles in chronological order:

  • “Star Trek” (1979);
  • “The Wrath of Khan” (1982);
  • “Finding Spock” ​​(1984);
  • “Route to Earth” (1986);
  • “Star Trek V – The Final Frontier” (1989);
  • “Route into the unknown” (1991);
  • “Generations” (1994);
  • “First Contact” (1996);
  • “The Insurrection” (1998);
  • “Nemesis” (2002);
  • “Star Trek” (2009);
  • “Into Darkness” (2013);
  • “Star Trek Beyond” (2016).

From one saga to another with “Star Wars: Star Wars”, the masterpiece created by George Lucas, which is made up of three trilogies. The first: “Star Wars” (1977), “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “Return of the Jedi” (1983). The second: “The Phantom Menace” (1999), “Attack of the Clones” (2002) and “Revenge of the Sith” (2005). The third: “The Force Awakens” (2015), “The Last Jedi” (2017), “Episode IX” (2019).

“The Challenge”, the first Russian film shot in Space

The first film to be shot in space is “The Challenge”. The Moscow director Klim Shipenko has created an extraordinary work, together with Yulia Peresild, the Russian actress who stars in this film which recounts the life and work on the International Space Station (SI).

The Soyuz spacecraft, carrying cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, director Shipenko and Peresild, left on October 5, 2022. The goal? Shooting the first film on board the Space Station which, in the not too distant future, could also host Tom Cruise with a crew following him.

Filming for “The Challenge” took a total of twelve days. On October 17, 2022, the Russian spacecraft returned to Earth touching the soil of Kazakhstan.

It should be remembered that the successful “space production” of the film “The Challenge” was possible thanks to the collaboration between Roscosmos (Russian Space Agency), Channel One and the Yellow, Black and White studio.

Which country produces the most films about space?

Although there is neither a ranking nor an ad hoc study, the impression is that the United States is at the top of the ranking. Followed by India, China, England, South Korea. These are the countries that have so far produced the most films dedicated to Space. Productions that were also made by Russia, Canada and Japan.

Has NASA ever made a movie?

The US Space Agency has never directly produced a film about space. But the short film between science fiction and historical reportage “Lunar” includes an important post-production and animation intervention carried out on the NASA images that documented the Apollo mission. “Lunar”, which was produced by the motion designer and art director Christian Stangl and set to music by his brother Wolfgang, makes the viewer relive the race to conquer Space, which started in the Soviet Union in 1957 with the Sputnik mission and culminated with the landing of the first astronaut on the moon in 1969.

Which actors have been trained by NASA?

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” actors Kelly Marie Tran (as Rose Tico) and Naomi Ackie (as Jannah) went to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston (USA) to train as real astronauts, following the training of those who are preparing for missions on the Space Station and in the future on the Moon and Mars.

The movies on Space to see absolutely

The following is a list of movies about Space to see (and review) absolutely:

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey;
  • Aliens;
  • Mission to Mars;
  • Apollo 13;
  • Apollo 18;
  • Solarity;
  • Gravity;
  • Interstellar;
  • Moon;
  • The martian;
  • First man;
  • Star Wars;
  • contact;
  • Ad Astra;
  • event horizon;
  • High Life;
  • life;
  • Armageddon;
  • Star Trek;
  • Proxima;
  • space cowboys;
  • Point of no return;
  • Zero atmosphere;
  • The right to count;
  • October sky;
  • Marooned in Space;
  • The black hole;
  • Europe reports;
  • The pandorum.

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The 30 films about Space that made the history of cinema – SpacEconomy 360