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869 voters

The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel

Updated May 20, 2020 5.2k votes 869 voters 26.5k 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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  • Apollo 131
    300
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    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
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  • The Martian2
    331
    114

    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
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  • Interstellar3
    344
    136

    Interstellar

    Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey

    Released2014

    Directed byChristopher Nolan

    Interstellar is a British-American 2014 science fiction epic film directed by Christopher...  more
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  • The Right Stuff4
    207
    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
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  • 2001: A Space Odyssey5
    230
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    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
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  • Contact6
    185
    83

    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
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  • First Man7
    156
    63

    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
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  • Gravity8
    197
    114

    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
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  • Moon9
    119
    69

    Moon

    Kevin Spacey, Mary Tyler Moore

    Released2009

    Directed byDuncan Jones

    Moon is a 2009 British science fiction drama film co-written and directed by Duncan Jones. The...  more
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  • Hidden Figures10
    145
    99

    Hidden Figures

    Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer

    Released2016

    Directed byTheodore Melfi

    Hidden Figures is a 2016 American biographical drama film directed by Theodore Melfi, based on...  more
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  • Passengers11
    115
    95

    Passengers

    Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt

    Released2016

    Directed byMorten Tyldum

    Passengers is a 2016 romantic science fiction thriller film directed by Morten Tyldum and...  more
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  • Mission To Mars12
    83
    68

    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. In 2020, a manned...  more
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  • Space Cowboys13
    94
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    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
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  • 201014
    39
    24

    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
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  • Ad Astra15
    46
    35

    Ad Astra

    Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones

    Released2019

    Directed byJames Gray

    Ad Astra is a 2019 American epic science fiction thriller film directed by James Gray. Twenty...  more
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  • Approaching The Unknown16
    57
    50

    Approaching The Unknown

    Mark Strong, Luke Wilson
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  • Sunshine17
    69
    66

    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
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  • 400 Days18
    60
    58

    400 Days

    Caity Lotz, Brandon Routh

    Released2015

    Directed byMatt Osterman

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  • Europa Report19
    68
    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
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  • Armageddon20
    42
    44

    Armageddon

    Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis

    Released1998

    Directed byMichael Bay

    Armageddon is a 1998 American science fiction disaster thriller film, directed by Michael Bay,...  more
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  • Silent Running21
    12
    8

    Silent Running

    Bruce Dern, Ron Rifkin

    Released1972

    Directed byDouglas Trumbull

    Silent Running is a 1972 environmentally-themed American science fiction film starring Bruce...  more
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  • Event Horizon22
    53
    69

    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
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  • The Astronaut's wife23
    27
    35

    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
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  • Marooned24
    30
    41

    Marooned

    Gene Hackman, Gregory Peck

    Released1969

    Directed byJohn Sturges

    Marooned is a 1969 Eastmancolor American film directed by John Sturges and starring Gregory...  more
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  • The Astronaut Farmer25
    26
    38

    The Astronaut Farmer

    Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton

    Released2006

    Directed byMichael Polish, Polish brothers

    The Astronaut Farmer is a 2006 American drama film directed by Michael Polish, who co-wrote...  more
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