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50 best space movies of all time

  • #40. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

    Directed by James Gunn
    - Stacker score: 75
    - Metascore: 67
    - IMDb rating: 7.7
    - Votes: 485,395
    - Runtime: 136 min

    Until 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were mostly confined to Earth, with a few sojourns to Asgard with Thor. However, like its predecessor which appears further down this list, “Guardians 2” is set entirely in space, where Chris Pratt’s Peter “Star-Lord” Quill was raised following his childhood abduction from Earth. With only retro songs to remember his home planet by, Star-Lord searches for answers with his band of reluctant heroes, among them a talking raccoon and sentient tree.

  • #39. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)

    Directed by George Lucas
    - Stacker score: 75
    - Metascore: 68
    - IMDb rating: 7.6
    - Votes: 643,095
    - Runtime: 140 min

    Though the trilogy of films that served as prequels to “Star Wars: Episode IV” generated ire from fans and critics alike, there’s a lot to enjoy in “Revenge of the Sith,” in which Anakin Skywalker must choose between the light side of the Jedi and the dark power of the Sith. Though the romance between Hayden Christensen’s Anakin and Natalie Portman’s Padmé is… unconvincing, the twists and turns are exciting enough to watch that they’ve now been immortalized as viral memes.

  • #38. On the Silver Globe (1988)

    Directed by Andrzej Zulawski
    - Stacker score: 76
    - Metascore: 72
    - IMDb rating: 7.4
    - Votes: 1,810
    - Runtime: 166 min

    Based on the novel of the same title by Jerzy Żuławski, a Polish novelist famous for his “Lunar Trilogy,” of which “Silver Globe” is the first, this film sees a stranded group of astronauts start a new civilization on an alien planet. With detailed costumes and exquisite sets, this film confronts themes of religion and custom. In all, “Silver Globe” is an incredibly ambitious work, with stunning, visionary production.

  • #37. Moon (2009)

    Directed by Duncan Jones
    - Stacker score: 76
    - Metascore: 67
    - IMDb rating: 7.9
    - Votes: 312,111
    - Runtime: 97 min

    Many sci-fi movies have grand sets, impressive special effects, and daring heroes; others use the context of sci-fi to explore the human condition. That’s the case with “Moon,” which sees Sam Rockwell as a lonely helium-3 miner on the far side of the moon, cut off from human contact for three years as he works. When he begins to suffer hallucinations, not even the viewer will be able to tell what’s real and what’s imagined.

  • #36. Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

    Directed by J.J. Abrams
    - Stacker score: 77.6
    - Metascore: 72
    - IMDb rating: 7.7
    - Votes: 446,408
    - Runtime: 132 min

    The sequel to Abrams’ warmly received 2009 “Star Trek” reboot, “Into Darkness,” sees the same crew headed by Chris Pine’s James T. Kirk in a new adventure, tracking a mysterious villain played by Benedict Cumberbatch in a sneering, intense performance. With all the thrills and twists of the original “Star Trek” television series with the blockbuster budget of a J.J. Abrams flick, “Into Darkness” is a solid entry in the space-opera canon.

  • #35. Hidden Figures (2016)

    Directed by Theodore Melfi
    - Stacker score: 79.2
    - Metascore: 74
    - IMDb rating: 7.8
    - Votes: 171,509
    - Runtime: 127 min

    Everyone remembers where they were when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Fewer people remember—or ever knew about—the groundbreaking scientists and mathematicians that made that walk possible, many of them women of color, during a time when segregation was still enforced. Led by stirring performances from Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, Octavia Spencer, and others, “Hidden Figures” is a heartwarming story about overcoming obstacles both on the ground and in the air.

  • #34. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

    Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
    - Stacker score: 79.7
    - Metascore: 68
    - IMDb rating: 8.5
    - Votes: 675,374
    - Runtime: 149 min

    After 18 films and 10 years, the beginning of the final climax of the Marvel Cinematic Universe arrived, along with Josh Brolin’s Thanos, the most terrifying villain our heroes have ever faced. With Thanos intent on tracking down the infinity stones, mystical objects capable of immense power, with the goal of eliminating half of all life in the universe, the Avengers set out across space to stop him.

  • #33. Serenity (2005)

    Directed by Joss Whedon
    - Stacker score: 79.7
    - Metascore: 74
    - IMDb rating: 7.9
    - Votes: 270,390
    - Runtime: 119 min

    Not to be confused with the astoundingly awful 2019 film by the same title, 2005’s Serenity is a final love letter to the series “Firefly,” which follows the crew of the spaceship Serenity. Though the television series failed with audiences, a passionate cult of Joss Whedon fans convinced Universal Studios to bankroll a film meant to wrap up unresolved threads, which fans were overall pleased with.

  • #32. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

    Directed by Taika Waititi
    - Stacker score: 79.7
    - Metascore: 74
    - IMDb rating: 7.9
    - Votes: 485,865
    - Runtime: 130 min

    After “Thor: The Dark World,” received lukewarm reviews, Marvel brought in New Zealand director Taika Waititi to spice up the franchise. The result: a colorful, hilarious romp through space featuring Chris Hemsworth’s Thor facing off against Jeff Goldblum’s The Collector and Cate Blanchett’s Hela, along with (and sometimes opposed to) his brother Loki, played by an always-conniving Tom Hiddleston. Some old friends and foes make surprise appearances, and among fans of superhero movies, it’s a must-see.

  • #31. Apollo 13 (1995)

    Directed by Ron Howard
    - Stacker score: 79.7
    - Metascore: 77
    - IMDb rating: 7.6
    - Votes: 246,879
    - Runtime: 140 min

    “Failure is not an option.” Those are the words uttered by NASA flight director Gene Kranz, played by Ed Harris, after an explosion disrupts a planned moon landing in this docudrama adapted from real events. Starring Tom Hanks, Kevin Costner, Kevin Bacon, and Bill Paxton as stranded astronauts, this heart-pounding thriller will have you at the edge of your seat, even if you know the outcome.

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