Here at RunPee we lean heavily into covering science fiction movies, since we’re huge geeks. You’ve probably noticed. 😉 We especially love movies about scientists and space.
There are many wonderful space movies featuring astronauts as heroes…which, of course in real life they are. Think of the training and deprivations these outstanding people undergo to travel and live in an environment so hostile to life. They need to have the emotional maturity to withstand living in extreme close proximity to others and play well. And then, when they come home, their bodies have to adjust to Earth gravity again and rebuild. You really do have to have The Right Stuff.
Here’s a quick list of some of our favorite Astronaut Films. While you’re in quarantine, you may as well honor our real life astronauts by giving these films a rewatch! Our space men and woman rotating home right now report they’re returning to a world straight out of a dystopian science fiction movie._
Cool Astronaut Movies to Watch Right Now (not in any special order)
- The Right Stuff (1983) — A classic. ‘Nuff said.
- Apollo 13 (1970) — A film I can watch over and over, and never get bored. Dan and I even made a trip to the Kennedy Space Center just to see the Crawlers, Vehicle Assembly Building, Saturn V, and Captain Jim Lovell‘s space gear. (I told you we were Super Geeks here!)
I wish I had a review to share, but you know, when you love a movie this much it’s actually hard to sit down and write about it. (Same reasoning behind my lack of Lord of the Rings reviews.)
- Hidden Figures (2016) — A wonderful look at the lady geniuses of color serving NASA as human mathematical computers during the Project Mercury era. I fell in love with these fine astronauts who didn’t care they were taking orders from women, and minority women at that. Way to go, Mercury heroes!
- Gravity (2013) — Fictional story of a woman astronaut in series of cascade failures of the space habitats orbiting Earth. I don’t love this film, but it’s exciting, certainly. It’s worth the price of admission alone just to catch the iconic “fetal pose” — and I’ll say no more. You’ll know it when you see it. (And too bad about George Clooney!)
- Interstellar (2014) — Dan saw this one and reviewed it…and I still haven’t seen it. There are reasons. But I look forward to catching another space flick with my man Matt Damon (see The Martian, below).
- First Man (2018) — I’m not a fan of taciturn people in general, and I admit it annoys me that such a man got all the glory of walking on the moon first. (“Armstrong, really?” said Tom Hanks as Lovell.) Neil Armstrong didn’t seem to enjoy his moon walk, if the movie is to be accepted as truth. And Armstrong didn’t go on to talk at schools or do much of anything to promote NASA or share the wonder of science. It’s just a wasted opportunity. Buzz Aldrin was only moments behind him, and apparently he was bounding around the lunar site like a caffeinated Tribble. As one does. I wish he’s been the First Man…
Anyway, the movie is a nice, slow burn, and the space scenes — when we get to them, are lovely.
- The Martian (2015) — A fictional survival tale that seems as real to me as Apollo 13, and just as rewatchable. My crush on Matt Damon hit its stride here. I also read the novel, which I HIGHLY recommend. Much more ‘sciencing the shit’ out of Mars in the book.
Remember that scene in Apollo 13 where Houston scientists have to fit a round filter into a square plug using only a handful of junk? The whole movie is an extended version of that great (real) moment.
- Ad Astra (2019) — So, this film is sloooow. It’s mostly closeups of Brad Pitt (Brad Astra?) looking pained. But in the background are some exciting imagery of space developments on the Moon (I had to laugh that we went to the freaking Moon and built a MALL), on Mars, and within the empty spaces between the outer planets. Worth seeing just for the lunar rover chase sequence.
- Lucy in the Sky (2019) — Somehow RunPee Mom saw this instead of me. Sometimes that happens. It’s on my Watch List.
- Life (2017)– Life is a super scary horror movie, be warned! Fictional first contact situation on a space station that goes very, very wrong. This movie made me sick. I had to get the Peetimes, or else I would have left right after something happens with Ryan Reynolds.
- 2001 (1968) — (And sequels). A wild exploration of space and thought, sentient computers, alien obelisks, and the evolution of mankind from Homo erectus to…space baby? Director Stanley Kubrick was a weird one! A beautiful, iconic film that takes its time to get where it’s going. Relax and enjoy this old space classic.
(Dis)Honorable Space Movie Mention
- Armageddon (1998) — I asked myself if this was worthy of inclusion on our Astronaut Movie List. The main characters are not actually astronauts, although we did see them undergo some training. But Armageddon is complete space fantasy, not space science. I’ll give this a mention only because it’s still pretty fun and it features Earth in peril, which is timely right now. We’re having our own Viral Armageddon. And mostly because it features “astronauts” with The Wrong Stuff, so it bookends this list nicely.
I know I left some astronaut movies out, but I did try to stick to somewhat realistic astronaut depictions, in most cases within our solar system. And I left out documentaries, because that should be a whole separate article. Do you agree with my list — should I have mentioned Planet of the Apes? What are your favorite astronaut films? Please comment below!
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Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)