8 Must-See Outer Space Films

Planeta Bur

What is wrong with Hollywood? Today’s movie makers seem incapable of delivering a first-class film about the worlds beyond earth. It all started with Jupiter Ascending (2015), a gorgeous, but unwatchable space opera, and it was all pretty much downhill after that. In recent months, we were assaulted with Life (2017). If there was an award for best preview followed by worst movie, this film would win it. Then, there was the disappointing and dreary sequel, Alien: Covenant (2017). It was followed by the incredibly boring Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017). Some have high hopes for Avatar 2: Return to Pandora (2018). I am not one of them.

What went wrong?

In the 1960s, America invented space mania. Now, here we are again, getting all excited about space travel. Heck, Vice President Pence has even vowed to “make the American space program great again.” He promised (channeling his inner William Shatner) we would go to places “our children’s children can only imagine.”

Yet, our space movies are getting lamer.

Since the dawn of the Space Age, the cinema has helped shape in our imagination the possibilities of the world beyond earth. It is worth revisiting some of these classic films—if for no other reason than to see how little progress we have made.

Here are eight films that inspire us not just to greater deeds in the great beyond, but also maybe to come up with some better movies here at home.

8. Milcząca Gwiazda (1960)

A Polish/East German film that has an international crew on the Soviet spaceship Cosmostrator traveling to another planet in the hopes of making contact with an alien civilization. The film was re-edited, dubbed into English, and released under the title First Spaceship on Venus. While the special effects and set design were awesome for the times, what distinguishes the movie was inserting a plot that was more than just fighting space bugs. The crew finds Venus to be both a dead and deadly planet. The plot is laced with warnings about environmental degradation and the devastation of nuclear war. The U.S. television series Star Trek (1966-1969) would later adopt this approach of fusing science fiction cinema with contemporary social issues.