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50 best space movies of all time

  • #20. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

    Directed by Denis Villeneuve
    - Stacker score: 83.9
    - Metascore: 81
    - IMDb rating: 8
    - Votes: 377,433
    - Runtime: 164 min

    Previously in this slideshow, we referred to director Denis Villeneuve as “a powerful force in the speculative science fiction genre.” Consider this film Exhibit B. “Blade Runner 2049” is beautiful in its tragedy, or perhaps tragic in its beauty. Anchored by a deeply empathetic performance from Ryan Gosling and featuring Ana de Armas, Mackenzie Davis, Jared Leto, and others, “Blade Runner 2049” is a worthy sequel to its groundbreaking predecessor.

  • #19. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015)

    Directed by J.J. Abrams
    - Stacker score: 83.9
    - Metascore: 81
    - IMDb rating: 8
    - Votes: 785,755
    - Runtime: 136 min

    Achieving a higher place on this list than its sequel, “The Last Jedi,” this first entry in the third “Star Wars” trilogy introduces a new cast of characters and brings back some fan favorites to fight against the First Order, the next iteration of the franchise’s evil colonialist empire. Featuring standout performances from newcomers Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, and Oscar Isaac, and an anti-heroic return to form for Harrison Ford, “The Force Awakens” will fill you with the same childlike wonder of the original trilogy.

  • #18. The Lego Movie (2014)

    Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
    - Stacker score: 83.9
    - Metascore: 83
    - IMDb rating: 7.8
    - Votes: 304,645
    - Runtime: 100 min

    Many were skeptical that a concept as vague as “Lego” could be adapted into a compelling film. Lord and Miller, rising stars in the comedy and animation genres, proved even the most serious doubters wrong. “The Lego Movie” is 100 minutes of intense action, side-splitting dialogue, and creative animation. Anchored by an all-star cast, “The Lego Movie” is family friendly perfection.

  • #17. Avatar (2009)

    Directed by James Cameron
    - Stacker score: 83.9
    - Metascore: 83
    - IMDb rating: 7.8
    - Votes: 1,046,562
    - Runtime: 162 min

    The highest-grossing movie of all time, despite the ongoing efforts of “Avengers: Endgame,” “Avatar” brought eye-popping CGI to a global audience in a classic story of colonialism, romance, and resistance. Cameron waited nearly a decade, until 2005, to make the film as the technology wasn’t advanced enough in the 1990s to complete his vision. The wait paid off, both financially and in the stunning visuals of the film, which hold up very well 10 years later.

  • #16. Star Trek (2009)

    Directed by J.J. Abrams
    - Stacker score: 84.4
    - Metascore: 82
    - IMDb rating: 8
    - Votes: 556,833
    - Runtime: 127 min

    Like “The Force Awakens,” this film was preceded on this list by its sequel, “Star Trek: Into Darkness.” 2009’s “Star Trek” likewise contains all the charm of the original series, with big-budget special effects and a stellar (pun intended) cast.

  • #15. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

    Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
    - Stacker score: 85.9
    - Metascore: 78
    - IMDb rating: 8.7
    - Votes: 453,084
    - Runtime: 181 min

    The climax fans waited a decade for, “Avengers: Endgame” sees the titular characters reeling from the events of the prior film and navigating a strange world. Some are focused on undoing the fallout of Infinity War, while others just want to move on and accept the world as it is. The three-hour runtime flies by as our heroes find a promising way forward.

  • #14. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

    Directed by Stanley Kubrick
    - Stacker score: 85.9
    - Metascore: 82
    - IMDb rating: 8.3
    - Votes: 544,149
    - Runtime: 149 min

    Sci-fi movies would look a lot different without “2001,” undoubtedly the most influential film of the genre ever to hit the silver screen. The precarity of artificial intelligence, the vastness of space, and the possibility of extraterrestrial life are among the themes explored by Kubrick’s masterpiece. From the visuals to the score, “2001” earns its spot among the greatest films of all time.

  • #13. The Iron Giant (1999)

    Directed by Brad Bird
    - Stacker score: 85.9
    - Metascore: 85
    - IMDb rating: 8
    - Votes: 156,994
    - Runtime: 86 min

    Sci-fi films have a peculiar tendency of underperforming at the box office, only to be treated as a cult classic and idolized long after they left the theatres. Such is the case with “The Iron Giant,” the directorial debut of “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille” director Brad Bird, which sees a young boy befriending a giant robot who fell from the sky. Featuring an all-star cast of voice actors, including Vin Diesel as the titular automaton, “The Iron Giant” is a gem in Bird’s stellar filmography.

  • #12. Aliens (1986)

    Directed by James Cameron
    - Stacker score: 87.5
    - Metascore: 84
    - IMDb rating: 8.4
    - Votes: 602,340
    - Runtime: 137 min

    In several places on this list, sequels fared worse in the hearts of critics and audiences than the film that came before. Such is the case with “Aliens,” the sequel to 1979’s “Alien,” though Empire magazine named it the greatest sequel of all time. The franchise has yet to recapture the magic since “Aliens,” a terrifying thriller of galactic proportions starring Sigourney Weaver in an Emmy-nominated performance as Ellen Ripley, a hero for a spacefaring generation.

  • #11. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

    Directed by Irvin Kershner
    - Stacker score: 88.0
    - Metascore: 82
    - IMDb rating: 8.7
    - Votes: 1,054,945
    - Runtime: 124 min

    Another of the best-received sequels of all time, Empire had a lot to live up to when it premiered three years after “Star Wars: Episode IV.” Luckily, the story matured from “chosen one saves universe” into a more complex series of blows and counter-attacks. With cinema’s most famous twist in the middle, Empire recaptures all the magic of the original and further explores the galaxy far, far away.

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