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The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel

Updated May 20, 2020 5.0k votes 840 voters 25.7k 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 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    291
    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 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    325
    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
    The Right Stuff is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    207
    62

    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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  • 4
    Interstellar is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    337
    136

    Interstellar

    Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey

    Released2014

    Directed byChristopher Nolan

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  • 5
    2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    224
    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 is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    165
    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 is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    186
    81

    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 is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    202
    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

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  • 9
    Moon is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    118
    68

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 10
    Hidden Figures is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    149
    96

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 11
    Passengers is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    119
    91

    Passengers

    Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt

    Released2016

    Directed byMorten Tyldum

    Passengers is a 2016 romantic science fiction thriller film directed by Morten Tyldum and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 12
    Mission To Mars is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    82
    66

    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 is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    37
    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

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  • 14
    Space Cowboys is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    93
    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 is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    41
    31

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 16
    Europa Report is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    67
    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 is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    66
    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 18
    Armageddon is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    38
    40

    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 is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    28
    30

    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 is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    8
    7

    Silent Running

    Bruce Dern, Ron Rifkin

    Released1972

    Directed byDouglas Trumbull

    Silent Running is a 1972 environmentally-themed American science fiction film starring Bruce... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 21
    Marooned is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    31
    39

    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
  • 22
    Salyut 7 is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    12
    14

    Salyut 7

    Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Pavel Derevyanko.

    Released2017

    Directed byKlim Shipenko

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  • 23
    Event Horizon is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    50
    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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  • 24
    The Astronaut Farmer is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    27
    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 25
    Red Planet is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel
    35
    50

    Red Planet

    Val Kilmer, Carrie-Anne Moss

    Released2000

    Directed byAntony Hoffman

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