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The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel

Updated May 20, 2020 5.1k votes 849 voters 25.8k views35 items

List RulesVote up the greatest realistic films about exploring the cosmos.

Space travel movies can be fantastical, but the top films about the galaxy feature realistic stories about astronauts. The best astronaut movies spotlight characters confronting unknown elements in the outer reaches of space. This is a list of the greatest realistic space movies including everything from Apollo 13 to Gravity to The Right Stuff.

What films will you find on this list of the best movies about astronauts? 2001: A Space Odyssey is known for its hyper-realistic depiction of space, so it's hard to believe that this Stanley Kubrick-directed film was released back in 1968. The dangers of relying on technology and encountering extraterrestrial life were among the themes of this classic movie. Contact is another one of the best realistic space movies - though according to NASA, its fellow 1997 release Gattaca is even more plausibleHidden Figures tells the real-life story of three African-American mathematicians who assisted NASA's space program. Other good movies featured on this list include Europa Report, Space Cowboys, and The Martian.

Do you have a favorite realistic space movie? Give the best films a vote up and please add any good movies that are missing. Then, check out our list of the best animated space movies.

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  • 1
    Apollo 13
    297
    76

    Apollo 13

    Tom Hanks, Bryce Dallas Howard

    Released1995

    Directed byRon Howard

    Apollo 13 is a 1995 American historical docudrama film directed by Ron Howard. The film stars... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 2
    The Martian
    333
    113

    The Martian

    Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain

    Released2015

    Directed byRidley Scott

    The Martian is a 2015 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, based on the novel by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 3
    Interstellar
    343
    137

    Interstellar

    Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey

    Released2014

    Directed byChristopher Nolan

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  • 4
    The Right Stuff
    209
    63

    The Right Stuff

    Jeff Goldblum, Ed Harris

    Released1983

    Directed byPhilip Kaufman

    The Right Stuff is a 1983 American drama film that was adapted from Tom Wolfe's best-selling... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 5
    2001: A Space Odyssey
    231
    81

    2001: A Space Odyssey

    Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter

    Released1968

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

    2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 6
    First Man
    167
    61

    First Man

    Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy

    Directed byDamien Chazelle

    First Man is a 2018 American historical biographical drama film directed by Damien Chazelle. A... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 7
    Contact
    187
    82

    Contact

    Matthew McConaughey, Jodie Foster

    Released1997

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

    Contact is a 1997 American science fiction drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis. It is a... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 8
    Gravity
    205
    112

    Gravity

    Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

    Released2013

    Directed byAlfonso Cuarón

    Gravity is a 2013 science fiction thriller film directed, co-written, and produced by Alfonso... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 9
    Moon
    123
    68

    Moon

    Kevin Spacey, Mary Tyler Moore

    Released2009

    Directed byDuncan Jones

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  • 10
    Hidden Figures
    149
    97

    Hidden Figures

    Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer

    Released2016

    Directed byTheodore Melfi

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  • 11
    Passengers
    119
    92

    Passengers

    Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt

    Released2016

    Directed byMorten Tyldum

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  • 12
    Mission To Mars
    84
    67

    Mission To Mars

    Tim Robbins, Don Cheadle

    Released2000

    Directed byBrian De Palma

    Mission to Mars is a 2000 science fiction film directed by Brian De Palma from an original... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 13
    2010
    38
    19

    2010

    Helen Mirren, John Lithgow

    Released1984

    Directed byPeter Hyams

    2010 is a 1984 American science fiction film written and directed by Peter Hyams. It is a... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 14
    Space Cowboys
    94
    86

    Space Cowboys

    Clint Eastwood, Jon Hamm

    Released2000

    Directed byClint Eastwood

    Space Cowboys is a 2000 American space adventure film directed and produced by Clint Eastwood.... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 15
    Ad Astra
    44
    32

    Ad Astra

    Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones

    Released2019

    Directed byJames Gray

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  • 16
    Europa Report
    70
    67

    Europa Report

    Sharlto Copley, Michael Nyqvist

    Released2013

    Directed bySebastián Cordero

    Europa Report is a 2013 science fiction film directed by Sebastián Cordero, and starring... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 17
    Sunshine
    69
    67

    Sunshine

    Rose Byrne, Chris Evans

    Released2007

    Directed byDanny Boyle

    Sunshine is a 2007 British science fiction thriller film directed by Danny Boyle. The film was... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 18
    Armageddon
    38
    41

    Armageddon

    Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis

    Released1998

    Directed byMichael Bay

    Armageddon is a 1998 American science fiction disaster thriller film, directed by Michael Bay,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 19
    The Astronaut's wife
    28
    32

    The Astronaut's wife

    Charlize Theron, Johnny Depp

    Released1999

    Directed byRand Ravich

    The Astronaut's Wife is a 1999 American science fiction/thriller film directed and written by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 20
    Silent Running
    10
    7

    Silent Running

    Bruce Dern, Ron Rifkin

    Released1972

    Directed byDouglas Trumbull

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  • 21
    Event Horizon
    54
    70

    Event Horizon

    Laurence Fishburne, Jason Isaacs

    Released1997

    Directed byPaul W. S. Anderson

    Event Horizon is a 1997 British-American science fiction horror film. The screenplay was... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 22
    Marooned
    31
    40

    Marooned

    Gene Hackman, Gregory Peck

    Released1969

    Directed byJohn Sturges

    Marooned is a 1969 Eastmancolor American film directed by John Sturges and starring Gregory... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 23
    Salyut 7
    12
    15

    Salyut 7

    Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Pavel Derevyanko.

    Released2017

    Directed byKlim Shipenko

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  • 24
    Solaris
    41
    57

    Solaris

    Anatoly Solonitsyn, Natalya Bondarchuk

    Released1972

    Directed byAndrei Tarkovsky

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  • 25
    Red Planet
    37
    52

    Red Planet

    Val Kilmer, Carrie-Anne Moss

    Released2000

    Directed byAntony Hoffman

    Red Planet is a 2000 science fiction thriller film directed by Antony Hoffman, starring Val... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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