The Best Space Movies of the Last 10 Years

Take a look at how space has been portrayed in film over the past decade, from nonfiction movies such as First Man to space fantasy in the Star Wars movies.
  • movies, space travel, films

    This series of slides takes a look at how well Hollywood has depicted space over the past decade. We’ve included a wide range of films, since Hollywood has taken a broad view of space in recent years. Some of the films such as First Man and Hidden Figures are based on history, while others such as the two recent Star Wars movies follow the familiar lines of space fantasy.

    A number of the films such as Arrival, Annulation, District 9, and Life take a look at alien species that come from space, while others such as Gravity, Moon, and The Martian take a space-based look at a near future. Altogether, it’s been a healthy and creative decade for space in film.

  • movies, space travel, films


    Interstellar is a 2014 science fiction film directed, co-written, and co-produced by Christopher Nolan with Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. The film is set in a dystopian future where humanity is struggling to survive. The film follows a group of astronauts who travel through a wormhole near Saturn in search of a new home for humanity. (Source: Paramount)

  • movies, space travel, films


    Gravity is a 2013 science fiction thriller directed by Alfonso Cuarón, who also co-wrote, co-edited and produced the film. It stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as American astronauts who are stranded in space after the mid-orbit destruction of their Space Shuttle. The story follows their attempt to return to Earth. (Source: Warner Bros. Pictures)

  • movies, space travel, films

    The Martian

    The Martian is a 2015 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon adapted from the novel of the same name by Andy Weir. The film depicts an astronaut's lone struggle to survive on Mars after being left behind, and efforts to rescue him, and bring him home to Earth. (Source: 20th Century Fox)

  • movies, space travel, films


    Passengers is a 2016 American science fiction romance film directed by Morten Tyldum and written by Jon Spaihts. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt as Aurora Lane and Jim Preston, respectively. The plot depicts two people who are awakened ninety years too early from an induced hibernation on a spaceship, transporting thousands of passengers, travelling to a distant colony planet. (Source: Columbia Pictures)

  • movies, space travel, films


    Moon is a 2009 science fiction film directed by Duncan Jones and written by Nathan Parker from a story by Jones. The film follows Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), a man who experiences a personal crisis as he nears the end of a three-year solitary stint mining helium-3 on the far side of the Moon. (Source: Sony Pictures)

  • movies, space travel, films


    Arrival is a 2016 American science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Eric Heisserer. It is based on the 1998 short story, "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang, and stars Amy Adams. The film follows a linguist enlisted by the U.S. Army to discover how to communicate with aliens who have arrived on Earth, before tensions lead to war. (Source: Paramount)

  • movies, space travel, films


    Annihilation is a 2018 science fiction horror film written and directed by Alex Garland, based on the novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer, staring Natalie Portman. The story follows a group of scientists who enter "The Shimmer,” a mysterious quarantined zone of mutating plants and animals. (Source: Paramount)

  • movies, space travel, films

    District 9

    District 9 is a 2009 science fiction action film directed by Neill Blomkamp, written by Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, and produced by Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham. It is a co-production of New Zealand, the United States, and South Africa. The film was adapted from Blomkamp's 2006 short film “Alive in Joburg.” When a population of sick and malnourished insect-like aliens are found aboard an alien ship, the South African government confines them to an internment camp called District 9. (Source: TriStar Pictures)

  • movies, space travel, films

    First Man

    First Man is a 2018 American biographical drama film directed by Damien Chazelle and written by Josh Singer. Based on the book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen, the film stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong and follows the years leading up to the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon in 1969. Steven Spielberg serves as an executive producer. (Source: Universal Pictures)

  • movies, space travel, films

    Hidden Figures

    Hidden Figures is a 2016 American biographical drama film directed by Theodore Melfi and written by Melfi and Allison Schroeder. It is loosely based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly about black female mathematicians who worked at NASA during the Space Race. The film stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury and other missions. The film also features Octavia Spencer as NASA supervisor and mathematician Dorothy Vaughan and Janelle Monáe as NASA engineer Mary Jackson. (Source: 20th Century Fox)

  • movies, space travel, films


    Life is a 2017 American sci-fi horror film directed by Daniel Espinosa, written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds. The film follows a six-member crew of the International Space Station that uncovers the first evidence of life on Mars. (Source: Sony Pictures)

  • movies, space travel, films

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens (also known as Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens) is a 2015 American epic space-opera film produced, co-written and directed by J. J. Abrams. It is the first installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following Return of the Jedi (1983), and the seventh episode of the main Star Wars film franchise. This is the first Star Wars film to not significantly involve franchise creator Geor ge Lucas. Set 30 years after Return of the Jedi, the film follows Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron's search for Luke Skywalker and their fight alongside the Resistance, led by General Leia Organa and veterans of the Rebel Alliance, against Kylo Ren and the First Order, a successor to the Galactic Empire. (Source: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

  • movies, space travel, films

    Under the Skin

    Under the Skin is a 2013 science fiction film directed and co-written by Jonathan Glazer, loosely based on the 2000 novel by Michel Faber. It stars Scarlett Johansson as an otherworldly woman who preys on men in Scotland. Glazer developed Under the Skin for over a decade; he and co-writer Walter Campbell pared it back from an elaborate, special effects-heavy concept to a sparse story focusing on an alien perspective of the human world. (Source: StudioCanel and A24)

  • movies, space travel, films

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi (also known as Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi) is a 2017 American epic space-opera film written and directed by Rian Johnson. It is the second installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following The Force Awakens (2015), and the eighth episode of the main Star Wars film franchise. The plot follows Rey as she receives Jedi training from Luke Skywalker, in hopes of turning the tide for the Resistance in the fight against Kylo Ren and the First Order, while General Leia Organa, Finn, and Poe Dameron attempt to escape a First Order attack on the dwindling Resistance fleet. (Source: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 19 years, 17 of them for Design News . Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years, he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.


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