50 Best Space Movies, According to Rotten Tomatoes

Star Trek Beyond

Humanity has been looking to the stars since time immemorial. The idea of exploring the vast reaches of space and everything that encompasses it is breathtaking on every level. As such, it should come as no surprise that films have explored space many times over.

When it comes to the 50 best space movies, according to Rotten Tomatoes critics, the results are intriguing. There are some expected fan favorites — no, Star Wars isn’t the best space movie or even in the top 10 — but also some surprising entries. Here are the 50 best space films of all time.

1. Alien

Alien
Photo Credit: 20th Century Studios.
  • Tomatometer: 98%
  • Runtime: 1h 57m

Released in 1986, Alien is still the epitome of what makes a space movie. The beloved classic is riveting with its horrifying exploration of isolation and Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley trying to survive the unknown.

2. Aliens

Aliens
Image Credit: 20th Century Studios
  • Tomatometer: 98%
  • Runtime: 2h 17m

The sequel to the sci-fi horror classic is somehow as captivating as the first. The action and alien horror threats are bigger and better than ever before as Weaver once again nails Ripley’s character.

3. Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe

Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe
Photo Credit: MTV Entertainment Studios.
  • Tomatometer: 97%
  • Runtime: 1h 26m

Beavis and Butt-Head explore space and the future in this ridiculously over-the-top comedy parody sci-fi film that somehow works surprisingly well.

4. The Mitchells vs. the Machines

The Mitchells vs the Machines
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.
  • Tomatometer: 97%
  • Runtime: 1h 54m

It is up to a young girl and her family to save the entire planet from a threat that aims to destroy Earth. Goofy, heartwarming, and well-animated, this is sci-fi fun for all ages.

5. Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet
Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
  • Tomatometer: 96%
  • Runtime: 1h 38m

This gripping 1950s space narrative explores the mystery behind a missing group of scientists and what happened to them in the far-distant world of Altair IV.

6. Gravity

Gravity
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.
  • Tomatometer: 96%
  • Runtime: 1h 31m

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney carry this well-written storyline about two astronauts left to die in the middle of deep space with no hopes of survival.

7. Arrival

Arrival
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.
  • Tomatometer: 95%
  • Runtime: 1h 56m

Arrival is less interested in seeing extraterrestrial life in space and more so intrigued by what could realistically happen when a linguistics professor tries to interpret what aliens on Earth wish to tell humanity.

8. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Everything Everywhere All at Once
Photo Credit: A24.
  • Tomatometer: 95%
  • Runtime: 2h 12m

Everything Everywhere All at Once is a sci-fi film that is best watched without knowing anything. Michelle Yeoh takes viewers on a journey unlike any other.

9. The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Day the Earth Stood Still
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.
  • Tomatometer: 95%
  • Runtime: 1h 32m

This is a timeless 1950s tale of when a UFO lands on Earth and how the world reacts to this history-making moment.

10. WALL-E

WALL·E
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures.
  • Tomatometer: 95%
  • Runtime: 1h 37m

Pixar’s unbelievably masterful sci-fi epic about a futuristic Earth where a singular robot cleans up the planet and eventually learns about the wider galaxy.

11. Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.
  • Tomatometer: 94%
  • Runtime: 2h 15m

This is a classic tale about talented people who wish for nothing more than to encounter aliens from outer space.

12. Star Trek

Star Trek
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.
  • Tomatometer: 94%
  • Runtime: 2h 6m

The modern remake of the beloved deep sci-fi franchise sees the origin story of Captain Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise.

13. Star Wars Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm.
  • Tomatometer: 94%
  • Runtime: 2h 4m

A 1980s sci-fi masterpiece that still stands the test of time, this second — or, ahem, fifth — film in the series follows Luke Skywalker as he fights back against the evil Empire and learns about his Jedi family.

14. War for the Planet of the Apes

War for the Planet of the Apes
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.
  • Tomatometer: 94%
  • Runtime: 2h 22m

This tale continues the story of Caesar and the other wisened apes as they attempt to rage war on humanity, hoping to cement themselves as worthy of living on Earth.

15. Prey

Prey
Photo Credit: 20th Century Studios.
  • Tomatometer: 93%
  • Runtime: 1h 39m

This prequel film to the Predator series is a classic throwback. Following a Comanche tribe battling against a high-tech alien from space, it is filled with horror, gore, and survival.

16. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

Star Wars: Episode IV
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm.
  • Tomatometer: 93%
  • Runtime: 2h 1m

This is where it all began. The first in the unforgettable Star Wars franchise first introduced audiences to the Empire, Rebels, Jedi, and the Force.

17. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Captain Phasma
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.
  • Tomatometer: 93%
  • Runtime: 2h 16m

The seventh movie in the long-running series and the first under Disney’s banner feels like a return to the original series in some of the best ways while introducing fans to a new generation of Force-wielders.

18. Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok
Image Credit: Marvel Studios
  • Tomatometer: 93%
  • Runtime: 2h 10m

This third film follows the god of thunder, Thor, as he encounters a galactic gladiator contest and his sister Hela.

19. Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy
Photo Credit: Marvel Studios.
  • Tomatometer: 92%
  • Runtime: 2h 1m

Marvel took to the skies with this film, introducing audiences to a ragtag group of unexpected heroes as they attempt to stop the evil Ronan from taking control of a special orb.

20. Solaris

Solaris
Image Credit: Mosfilm
  • Tomatometer: 92%
  • Runtime: 2h 49m

This follows a psychologist as he attempts to figure out what happened to a space station's dead and distraught citizens in a gripping, mysterious drama.

21. Star Trek: First Contact

Star Trek First Contact
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.
  • Tomatometer: 92%
  • Runtime: 1h 50m

This 1996 film in the series follows the crew of the USS Enterprise attempting to stop the Borg in the far-flung past.

22. The Endless

The Endless
Photo Credit: Well Go USA Entertainment.
  • Tomatometer: 92%
  • Runtime: 1h 51m

This follows two brothers who previously escaped a cult that follows UFOs and their journey to investigate the mysterious happenings surrounding the group.

23. 2001: A Space Odyssey

A Space Odyssey
Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
  • Tomatometer: 91%
  • Runtime: 2h 19m

This 1968 film is to thank for many of the modern space movies out there. It shows what happens when a machine becomes too smart and retaliates against a group of astronauts aboard a spaceship.

24. Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc
  • Tomatometer: 91%
  • Runtime: 1h 53m

Tom Cruise excels in this strange mix of alien warfare on Earth and Groundhog Day as he relives the same fight over and over.

25. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
  • Tomatometer: 91%
  • Runtime: 2h 32m

Controversial but ultimately widely loved, the eighth film in the franchise sees Rey learn under the tutelage of Luke Skywalker. At the same time, the villainous Kylo Ren attempts to grow his relationship with her.

26. The Martian

The Martian
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox
  • Tomatometer: 91%
  • Runtime: 2h 22m

Matt Damon carries this entire film as a lone man left for dead on Mars. He captivates in his mission to survive and, hopefully, make it back home to Earth.

27. Galaxy Quest

Galaxy Quest
Photo Credit: DreamWorks Pictures.
  • Tomatometer: 90%
  • Runtime: 1h 44m

This comedy follows a group of actors who are given a chance to save an alien race from their demise.

28. Moon

Moon
Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing International.
  • Tomatometer: 90%
  • Runtime: 1h 37m

Moon is an engrossing look at the mental health and trauma of an astronaut who is getting ready to end his time mining on the moon.

29. Vesper

Vesper
Photo Credit: Condor Entertainments.
  • Tomatometer: 90%
  • Runtime: 1h 52m

In Earth's far future, a young girl has to survive alongside her father and use her hacking skills to make way for a bright future.

30. I Am Mother

I Am Mother
Photo Credit: Netflix.
  • Tomatometer: 89%
  • Runtime: 1h 55m

In this space movie, a young girl finds herself raised from birth by a motherly robot who might be too overprotective and hellbent on its job.

31. Annihilation

Annihilation
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.
  • Tomatometer: 88%
  • Runtime: 1h 55m

The main character, Lena, explores Area X and discovers a horrifying landscape in space that aims to take her out permanently.

32. Color Out of Space

Color Out of Space
Photo Credit: RLJE Films.
  • Tomatometer: 86%
  • Runtime: 1h 51m

This is a technicolor horror trip as a family aims to survive against a group of aliens that threaten to kill and color their very lives.

33. Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.
  • Tomatometer: 86%
  • Runtime: 2h 2m

The crew of the USS Enterprise crash-lands on an alien planet in this sequel, requiring them to survive against the evil Krall and find a way off-world.

34. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

The Wrath of Khan
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.
  • Tomatometer: 86%
  • Runtime: 1h 53m

The second film in the beloved sci-fi franchise sees Captain Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise must take on the memorable Khan once again.

35. THX-1138

THX 1138
Photo Credit: American Zoetrope.
  • Tomatometer: 86%
  • Runtime: 1h 28m

Before ever creating Star Wars, George Lucas created this strange futuristic look at humanity living underground and not being allowed to have feelings. It explores two people who find themselves on the run after falling in (illegal) love.

36. Avengers: Infinity War

Infinity War
Photo Credit: Marvel Studios.
  • Tomatometer: 85%
  • Runtime: 2h 29m

This climactic Marvel film follows various superheroes like Iron Man and Spider-Man as they fight across Earth and the solar system to take down the galactic threat of Thanos.

37. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

guardians-of-the-galaxy-vol-2-2017
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
  • Tomatometer: 85%
  • Runtime: 2h 15m

Peter Quill and the rest of the Guardians return in this sequel space film, where they are faced with a threat that is far more personal than ever before.

38. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.
  • Tomatometer: 84%
  • Runtime: 2h 14m

This prequel film follows a group of unlikely allies who find themselves with the chance to change the entire war against the Galactic Empire. If they are able to steal the plans of the monstrous Death Star, that is.

39. Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.
  • Tomatometer: 84%
  • Runtime: 2h 12m

This reboot sequel follows Captain Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise as they attempt to take control of a weapon of mass destruction that could decide the future of the known galaxy.

40. Ad Astra

Ad Astra
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.
  • Tomatometer: 83%
  • Runtime: 2h 4m

A man embarks on a space-faring journey to Neptune to discover what happened to his missing father and everything else happening in the universe.

41. Dune

Dune
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.
  • Tomatometer: 83%
  • Runtime: 2h 35m

This space epic from 2021 graced viewers with an adaptation of the famous sci-fi novel, exploring a man with a destiny of visiting a war-torn planet where spice is king.

42. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

Star Wars: Episode IV
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm.
  • Tomatometer: 83%
  • Runtime: 2h 13m

The third movie in the original trilogy, this movie sees Luke Skywalker and the rest of the Rebels fight back against the Empire’s forces in one final battle for the fate of the galaxy.

43. Avatar

avatar
Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.
  • Tomatometer: 82%
  • Runtime: 2h 35m

James Cameron’s award-winning and record-breaking CG film about the planet of Pandora and the conflict that happens between humans and the Na’vi there.

44. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Star Trek IV
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.
  • Tomatometer: 82%
  • Runtime: 1h 58m

The fourth movie sees the USS Enterprise embark on its next adventure: traveling back in time to find extinct whales that can save all of Earth.

45. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Star Trek VI
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.
  • Tomatometer: 82%
  • Runtime: 1h 49m

This far more personal film sees Captain Kirk charged for the murder of a powerful Klingon ally. Spock takes center stage as he attempts to find out the truth of this monumental crime.

46. The Man Who Fell to Earth

The Man Who Fell to Earth
Photo Credit: British Lion Films.
  • Tomatometer: 82%
  • Runtime: 1h 58m

This is the story of an alien who arrives on Earth in hopes of getting help for his home planet but ends up falling in love with a woman and also out of luck with the United States government.

47. Predator

Predator
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.
  • Tomatometer: 80%
  • Runtime: 1h 47m

The original 1987 classic follows Arnold Schwarzenegger and a group of soldiers as they try to survive an alien threat that is far more powerful than them.

48. Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel
Photo Credit: Marvel Television
  • Tomatometer: 79%
  • Runtime: 2h 4m

This is the origin story of Captain Marvel, a Kree superhero in 1995 who has a mysterious past that is at the heart of the current conflict with the Skrull.

49. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

Episode III
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.
  • Tomatometer: 79%
  • Runtime: 2h 20m

The epic finale to the prequel trilogy sees Anakin Skywalker’s final descent into becoming the unforgettable Darth Vader and how the fall of the Jedi and the Republic came to be.

50. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Star Trek III
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.
  • Tomatometer: 78%
  • Runtime: 1h 45m

Captain Kirk is distraught after the apparent loss of Spock and takes the Enterprise on a deadly journey to the Genesis Planet in hopes of finding a trace of his fallen comrade.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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Author: Cody Perez

Bio:

Copywriter, experienced editor, website creator, PR associate, consultant

  • Expertise: Gaming, Pokémon, movies, TV shows, PR, and creative writing
  • Education: BS in Business Economics (specializing in Business Management), minor in Japanese from Tokyo International University
  • Helped lead or create websites, such as GameRevolution, VGR, RPGInformer, MangaInsider, FandomPost, POKUniverse, and more.
  • Helped launch various indie video games, tech startups, and consulted for YouTube Shorts
  • Writer in the entertainment industry since starting in high school in 2011

Experience: Cody Perez started his career as a journalist and creative writer in the tech and gaming spaces in 2011 while in the middle of high school. Since then, he has produced thousands of high-quality, researched articles for some of the largest entertainment websites in the world, including IGN, Destructoid, Siliconera, Digital Trends, DotEsports, and many more. He also was the lead editor at GameRevolution, growing the site to reach its consistent, historical peak of 8 million MUV the entire time he worked there. Cody also helped launch various successful sites, such as VGR (2 million MUV in a year), POKUniverse, and RPGInformer.

Cody brings together his passion for tech and gaming to his work life, so he can enjoy his hobbies nearly 24/7. He has now taken his expertise and experience with subjects like gaming and Pokémon to Wealth of Geeks, where he is often found creating new lists and reviews, or editing older content to bring it up to the company standard.