In space, no one can hear you scream...but your neighbors might as you check out our list of space movies guaranteed to give you interstellar delight. From cosmic horror to lovable robots, we've got a films that will send anyone's imagination into warp speed!
The Last Starfighter
What It’s About: After finally achieving the high score on Starfighter, his favorite arcade game, everyday teenager Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) meets the game’s designer, Centauri (Robert Preston) — who reveals that he created Starfighter as a training ground for developing and recruiting actual pilots to help fight a war in space. Whisked away from the banality of his trailer park life to a distant alien planet, Alex struggles to use his video game-playing skills to pilot a real ship, with real lives at stake.
Who’s In It: Lance Guest, Robert Preston, Dan O’Herlihy, Catherine Mary Stewart, Barbara Bosson, Norman Snow, John O’Leary, Chris Hebert
Our Favorite Scene: You don’t think all aliens look like people do you? When confronted with species from across the galaxy, how would you react? Not only does Centauri shock Alex with his first look at a real life alien, but the Alex-bot that gets left on Earth gives a few shocks of his own.
What It’s About: In the year 10191, a spice called melange is the most valuable substance known in the universe, and its only source is the desert planet Arrakis. A royal decree awards Arrakis to Duke Leto Atreides and ousts his bitter enemies, the Harkonnens. However, when the Harkonnens violently seize back their fiefdom, it is up to Paul (Kyle MacLachlan), Leto’s son, to lead the Fremen, the natives of Arrakis, in a battle for control of the planet and its spice. Based on Frank Herbert’s epic novel.
Who’s In It: Kyle MacLachlan, Sting , Francesca Annis, Leonardo Cimino, Brad Dourif, José Ferrer, Linda Hunt, Freddie Jones
Our Favorite Scene: Just one? This movie is a visual feast and there are literally dozens of moments that should make this list. But for us, the one scene that really sets the stage doesn’t have flashy space battles or massive sandworms… It’s just a box, and Paul is first confronted with not just his own fear, but the truth of his being and the nature of the universe as a whole.
What It’s About: After floating in space for 57 years, Lt. Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) shuttle is found by a deep space salvage team. Upon arriving at LV-426, the marines find only one survivor, a nine year old girl named Newt (Carrie Henn). But even these battle-hardened marines with all the latest weaponry are no match for the hundreds of aliens that have invaded the colony.
Who’s In It: Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, William Hope, Jenette Goldstein
Our Favorite Scene: Again, so many to choose from, but while the first Alien film relied on subtlety and diversion, this one steps into the action arena and bombards us with all out man vs. xenomorph battles. But our favorite moment? The climactic battle between the never-before-seen alien queen and a loader-suited Ripley will have us saying “Get away from her, you B****!” at every family function and sporting event.
2001: A Space Odyssey
What It’s About: An imposing black structure provides a connection between the past and the future in this enigmatic adaptation of a short story by revered sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke. When Dr. Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) and other astronauts are sent on a mysterious mission, their ship’s computer system, HAL, begins to display increasingly strange behavior, leading up to a tense showdown between man and machine that results in a mind-bending trek through space and time.
Who’s In It: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter, Leonard Rossiter, Douglas Rain, Margaret Tyzack, Robert Beatty
Our Favorite Scene: Movies don’t get more “slow burn” than this, but our favorite scene is before the full story even unfolds. We love the extended opening sequence showing the monoliths appearing in before the dawn of man, and seemingly ushering in an era of evolution for our ape ancestors.
The Fifth Element
What It’s About: In the 23rd century, a New York City cabbie, Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), finds the fate of the world in his hands when Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) falls into his cab. As the embodiment of the fifth element, Leeloo needs to combine with the other four to keep the approaching Great Evil from destroying the world. Together with Father Vito Cornelius (Ian Holm) and zany broadcaster Ruby Rhod (Chris Tucker), Dallas must race against time and the wicked industrialist Zorg (Gary Oldman) to save humanity.
Who’s In It: Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Ian Holm, Milla Jovovich, Chris Tucker, Luke Perry, Brion James, Tommy “Tiny” Lister
Our Favorite Scene: The Opera. There are some fun, standout moments in this movie overall, but this singular scene has become one of the most iconic moments in sci-fi films in the past 20 years (if not ever). The hauntingly beautiful mashup of traditional operatic vocals with techno beats and a fight scene is probably one of our favorite sequences ever.
What It’s About: In Earth’s future, a global crop blight and second Dust Bowl are slowly rendering the planet uninhabitable. Professor Brand (Michael Caine), a brilliant NASA physicist, is working on plans to save mankind by transporting Earth’s population to a new home via a wormhole. But first, Brand must send former NASA pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and a team of researchers through the wormhole and across the galaxy to find out which of three planets could be mankind’s new home.
Who’s In It: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, Mackenzie Foy, Timothée Chalamet
Our Favorite Scene: It’s been called the most scientifically-accurate depiction of what a black hole potentially looks like, and after the very first black hole was captured on film, we can see why. So much detail was put into creating realistic visuals that our favorite moment is most certainly the crew’s initial, breathtaking contact with this spatial phenomenon.
What It’s About: In a distant galaxy, planet Spaceball has depleted its air supply, leaving its citizens reliant on a product called “Perri-Air.” In desperation, Spaceball’s leader President Skroob (Mel Brooks) orders the evil Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) to kidnap Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) of oxygen-rich Druidia and hold her hostage in exchange for air. But help arrives for the Princess in the form of renegade space pilot Lone Starr (Bill Pullman) and his half-man, half-dog partner, Barf (John Candy).
Who’s In It: Mel Brooks, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, George Wyner, Michael Winslow
Our Favorite Scene: Gosh. Spaceballs is a goldmine of classic Mel Brooks humor, one-liners, and characters. But the moment that really gets our goat? It’s actually a scene that has NOTHING to do with the plot, but is a parody of a scene that has gone down in movie history as one of the most surprising and horrific moments ever: the Chest-Burster from Alien. But of course, Spaceballs gives it a fantastic Mel Brooks twist, with singing, dancing, and a recommendation to never order “The Special.”
What It’s About: WALL-E, short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class, is the last robot left on Earth. He spends his days tidying up the planet, one piece of garbage at a time. But during 700 years, WALL-E has developed a personality, and he’s more than a little lonely. Then he spots EVE (Elissa Knight), a sleek and shapely probe sent back to Earth on a scanning mission. Smitten WALL-E embarks on his greatest adventure yet when he follows EVE across the galaxy.
Who’s In It: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Fred Willard, John Ratzenberger, Kathy Najimy, Sigourney Weaver, Bob Bergen
Our Favorite Scene:Wall-E is basically overflowing with moments that tug the heart strings or make us giggle like a hyena, but the one that gets us every time is his solitary watching of a scene from Hello, Dolly! In what should be a scenario best shared with someone you love, Wall-E must hold the only hand he has available: his own. It’s such a tender moment that shows us how much he longs to share love and friendship with someone else.
What It’s About: In modern-day Egypt, professor Daniel Jackson (James Spader) teams up with retired Army Col. Jack O’Neil (Kurt Russell) to unlock the code of an interstellar gateway to an ancient Egypt-like world. They arrive on a planet ruled by the despotic Ra (Jaye Davidson), who holds the key to the Earth travelers’ safe return. Now, in order to escape from their intergalactic purgatory, Jackson and O’Neil must convince the planet’s people that Ra must be overthrown.
Who’s In It: Kurt Russell, James Spader, Jaye Davidson, Viveca Lindfors, Alexis Cruz, Mili Avital, Leon Rippy, John Diehl
Our Favorite Scene: How do you turn on a millennia-old alien artifact? And when you finally do, what do you do next? Well, the moment the Stargate comes to life is breath-taking, and to this day remains one of the most impressive, original moments across any science fiction film. Btw… it’s called “the Woosh”.
What It’s About: When the Event Horizon, a spacecraft that vanished years earlier, suddenly reappears, a team is dispatched to investigate the ship. Accompanied by the Event Horizon’s creator, William Weir (Sam Neill), the crew of the Lewis and Clark, led by Capt. Miller (Laurence Fishburne), begins to explore the seemingly abandoned vessel. However, it soon becomes evident that something sinister resides in its corridors, and that the horrors that befell the Event Horizon’s previous journey are still present.
Who’s In It: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Richard T. Jones, Jack Noseworthy, Jason Isaacs, Sean Pertwee
Our Favorite Scene: Event Horizon is a truly terrifying film, and at the center of its ominous nature is the Gravity Drive. The first time we are introduced to this mechanized marvel, we are given the sense that it is not only the power source for the ship’s space-folding technology, but also a living, beating heart at the center of an inter-dimensional beast. The lights of the drive, coupled with the pulsing drone it emits is truly a moment that sets our nerves on edge.