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The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel 

Ranker Film
Updated May 20, 2020 3.9k votes 792 voters 24.7k views 35 items

List Rules Vote 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
The Martian is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig

Released: 2015

Directed by: Ridley Scott

The Martian is a 2015 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, based on the novel by Andy Weir. An astronaut (Matt Damon) becomes stranded on Mars after his team assume him gone, and must ...more

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2
Apollo 13 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Tom Hanks, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ed Harris

Released: 1995

Directed by: Ron Howard

Apollo 13 is a 1995 American historical docudrama film directed by Ron Howard. The film stars Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, and Ed Harris. The screenplay by William Broyles, ...more

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3
Interstellar is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Damon

Released: 2014

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Check out more shows and movies like Interstellar!

Interstellar is a British-American 2014 science fiction epic film directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine. The film ...more

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4
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop

Released: 1968

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay was written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, and was partially inspired by ...more

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5
The Right Stuff is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Jeff Goldblum, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid

Released: 1983

Directed by: Philip Kaufman

The Right Stuff is a 1983 American drama film that was adapted from Tom Wolfe's best-selling 1979 book of the same name about the Navy, Marine and Air Force test pilots who were involved in ...more

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6
Contact is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Matthew McConaughey, Jodie Foster, Jay Leno

Released: 1997

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Contact is a 1997 American science fiction drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis. It is a film adaptation of Carl Sagan's 1985 novel of the same name; Sagan and his wife Ann Druyan wrote the ...more

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7
Gravity is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris

Released: 2013

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón

Gravity is a 2013 science fiction thriller film directed, co-written, and produced by Alfonso Cuarón. It stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts, and sees them stranded in ...more

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8
First Man is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Corey Stoll

Directed by: Damien Chazelle

First Man is a 2018 American historical biographical drama film directed by Damien Chazelle. A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling), and the legendary space mission ...more

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9
Moon is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Kevin Spacey, Mary Tyler Moore, Kaya Scodelario

Released: 2009

Directed by: Duncan Jones

Moon is a 2009 British science fiction drama film co-written and directed by Duncan Jones. The film follows Sam Bell, a man who experiences a personal crisis as he nears the end of a three-year ...more

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10
Hidden Figures is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe

Released: 2016

Directed by: Theodore Melfi

Hidden Figures is a 2016 American biographical drama film directed by Theodore Melfi, based on the non-fiction book by Margot Lee Shetterly. The story of a team of female African-American ...more

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11
Passengers is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
abarton added Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen

Released: 2016

Directed by: Morten Tyldum

Passengers is a 2016 romantic science fiction thriller film directed by Morten Tyldum and written by Jon Spaihts. It stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt as two people who awake, 90 years too ...more

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12
Space Cowboys is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Clint Eastwood, Jon Hamm, Jay Leno

Released: 2000

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Space Cowboys is a 2000 American space adventure film directed and produced by Clint Eastwood. It stars Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, and James Garner as four older "ex-test ...more

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13
Mission to Mars is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Tim Robbins, Don Cheadle, Gary Sinise

Released: 2000

Directed by: Brian De Palma

Mission to Mars is a 2000 science fiction film directed by Brian De Palma from an original screenplay written by Jim Thomas, John Thomas, and Graham Yost. In 2020, a manned Mars exploration ...more

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14
Sunshine is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Rose Byrne, Chris Evans, Mark Strong

Released: 2007

Directed by: Danny Boyle

Sunshine is a 2007 British science fiction thriller film directed by Danny Boyle. The film was adapted from a screenplay written by Alex Garland about the crew of a spacecraft on a dangerous ...more

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15
Europa Report is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Europa Report Sharlto Copley, Michael Nyqvist, Christian Camargo

Released: 2013

Directed by: Sebastián Cordero

Europa Report is a 2013 science fiction film directed by Sebastián Cordero, and starring Christian Camargo, Anamaria Marinca, Michael Nyqvist, Daniel Wu, Karolina Wydra, and Sharlto ...more

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16
Ad Astra is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga

Released: 2019

Directed by: James Gray

Ad Astra is a 2019 American epic science fiction thriller film directed by James Gray. Twenty years after his father (Tommy Lee Jones) left on a one-way mission to Neptune in order to find signs ...more

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17
2010 is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Aviator added Helen Mirren, John Lithgow, Candice Bergen

Released: 1984

Directed by: Peter Hyams

2010 is a 1984 American science fiction film written and directed by Peter Hyams. It is a sequel to Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, and is based on Arthur C. Clarke's novel ...more

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18
The Astronaut's Wife is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Aviator added Charlize Theron, Johnny Depp, Joe Morton

Released: 1999

Directed by: Rand Ravich

The Astronaut's Wife is a 1999 American science fiction/thriller film directed and written by Rand Ravich. It stars Johnny Depp and Charlize Theron.
19
Event Horizon is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Laurence Fishburne, Jason Isaacs, Sam Neill

Released: 1997

Directed by: Paul W. S. Anderson

Event Horizon is a 1997 British-American science fiction horror film. The screenplay was written by Philip Eisner and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. The film stars Laurence Fishburne and Sam ...more

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20
Armageddon is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Aviator added Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis, Liv Tyler

Released: 1998

Directed by: Michael Bay

Armageddon is a 1998 American science fiction disaster thriller film, directed by Michael Bay, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and released by Touchstone Pictures. The film follows a group of ...more

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21
Marooned is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Gene Hackman, Gregory Peck, Lee Grant

Released: 1969

Directed by: John Sturges

Marooned is a 1969 Eastmancolor American film directed by John Sturges and starring Gregory Peck, Richard Crenna, David Janssen, James Franciscus, and Gene Hackman. It was based on the 1964 ...more
22
The Astronaut Farmer is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
David Wilkins added Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, J.K. Simmons

Released: 2006

Directed by: Michael Polish, Polish brothers

The Astronaut Farmer is a 2006 American drama film directed by Michael Polish, who co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Mark. The story focuses on a Texas rancher who constructs a rocket in ...more
23
Solaris is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
Anatoly Solonitsyn, Natalya Bondarchuk, Jüri Järvet

Released: 1972

Directed by: Andrei Tarkovsky

Solaris is a 1972 Russian science fiction art film adaptation of Polish author Stanisław Lem's novel Solaris. The film was co-written and directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. The film is a meditative ...more

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24
Silent Running is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
fred3rd1 added Bruce Dern, Ron Rifkin, Joseph Campanella

Released: 1972

Directed by: Douglas Trumbull

Silent Running is a 1972 environmentally-themed American science fiction film starring Bruce Dern, featuring Cliff Potts, Ron Rifkin and Jesse Vint. It was directed by Douglas Trumbull, who had ...more

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25
Ranker Video
Vladimir Krakov added Salyut 7 Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Pavel Derevyanko.

Released: 2017

Directed by: Klim Shipenko