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SPACE: MOVIES AND TV-MOVIES ABOUT SPACE

Copyright 1996,1997 by Magic Dragon Multimedia.
All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission.
May be posted electronically provided that it is transmitted unaltered, in its entirety, and without charge. Updated 9 May 1997: 124 film hotlinks Many of these also deal with aliens Those that do NOT have aliens are marked with an asterisk (*) Those that are particularly recommended are marked with an exclamation point (!) (recommendations based on the Space content, not escapist entertainment value as such) Cast, plot summaries, and popularity ratings of the films below courtesy of The Internet Movie Database: ! 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Probably the greatest science fiction film of all time, this spectacular collaboration between Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick remains unique for its combination of realism, transcendent visionary philosopy and special effects. Critics of its time never understood. ! 2010 (1984) sequel to 2001 Arguably the greatest science fiction film sequel of all time, weak only by comparison with 2001 itself. The spacewalk sequence in Jupiter space is astonishing, with or without John Lithgow, and with the spaceship crusted with Sulfur thrown up by Io volcanoes the kind of touch that only Clarke provides. Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953) Mixes the worst of otherwise funny team with banal sci-fi stereotypes. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension(1984) One of the few films created to be a cult classic and yet succeeding anyway. Really a parody of sci-fi films, with Rastafarian aliens and John Lithgow's unforgettable and over-the-top Dr. Lizardo. C'mon now, where's the sequel? Alien (1979) Truly scary, with great art direction, but so blatantly ripped off from fiction by A. E. Van Vogt that he won a nice settlement. Alien 3 (1992) They should have used the William Gibson screenplay instead. Alien Contamination (1981) Alien Intruder(1993) Alien Nation (1989) (TV) Alien Nation: Dark Horizon (1994) (TV) Aliens (1986) Sequel possibly more spine-tingling than original. Aliens Cut My Hair (1992) Gay comedy *! Apollo 13 (1995) Would have been one of the 5 best science fiction films of all time, except that it actually happened. Absolutely inspiring example of the teamwork behind every spaceflight, so rarely shown in fiction or documentary. Makes techno-nerds proud to be Americans. Atomic Submarine, The (1959) Babylon 5 (1993)(TV) Barbarella (1968) Jane Fonda and Marcel Marceau, based on the comic, with 8 writers including Terry Southern and director Roger Vadim. Sexy sci-fi parody. Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) Edited-together mish-mash of Japanese film and postproduction by virtually every low-budget entity in Hollywood. Battlestar Galactica (1978)(TV) See my analysis of the TV series in Ultimate SF TV Guide *The Black Hole (1979) although free of aliens, I cannot recommend this, due to its many scientific errors (i.e. flaming asteroids...) *!Blue Planet (1990) fine IMAX film Breeders (1986) Aliens rape virgins. "Not recommended" is an understatement. The Brother from Another Planet (1984) Sweet and thoughtful comedy about black alien in Harlem *!Capricorn One (1978) the paranoid premise here is that NASA fakes a manned Mars mission; whereas I'm apalled that many citizens believe this premise, it is done well in this film Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) The ultimate UFO movie, not equalled to this day. Unfortunately focuses on wish fulfillment rather than SETI. Cocoon (1985) Combines aliens with the human desire for eternal youth. Cocoon: The Return (1988) Communion (1989) The crime is that science fiction Whitley Streiber's novel was marketed as nonfiction Coneheads (1993) Sporadically amusing spinoff of Saturday Night Live routine. *! Conquest of Space (1955) from the Chesley Bonestell/Willie Ley book, produced by George Pal, directed by Byron Haskin, great special effects, with a somewhat muddied plot about a secret Mars mission pretending to be a Moon mission, but the space station and Mars ship look cool over 30 years later. Creature (1985) Critters 4 (1991) Dark Star (1973) a parody of space movies, with deliberately absurd premises (i.e. missions to blow up "unstable" star systems) The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) Science fiction classic, from the Harry Bates short story, except with the twist ending eliminated. Deep Space (1987) total waste of time, except for Julie Newmar *! Destiny in Space (1994) IMAX movie narrated by Leonard Nimoy (voiceover) Dirty Pair: Project Eden (1987) Multi-genre Japanese animation: sci-fi/mystery/satire *! The Dream is Alive (1985) IMAX movie narrated by Walter Cronkite, with various astronauts including Sally Ride Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2th Century (1953) amusing animated parody of Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon sci-fi * Dune (1984) There are some lovely shots of planets, but the film lost much of the rigorously extrapolated desert planet ecology created by novel author Frank Herbert The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Made a lot of money. Good computer game, too. Call me a heretic, but I think that the Star Wars trilogy set science fiction films back 50 years, by emphasizing Space Opera as a genre, rather than the scientifically and philosphically deeper material to be found in Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein. Stapledon, et al. Enemy Mine (1985) faithful adaptation of the Barry Longyear novel ET: The Extraterrestrial (1982) Astrophysics Ph.D. and science fiction bestselling author David Brin calls this an evil movie, for painting the scientists as bad guys. The last thing you should do, if you discover an extraterrestrial, is to hide him in a suburban closet. Explorers Explorers (1985) Ethan Hawke/River Phoenix kidflick about alien starship Fire in the Sky (1993) Remember: in UFO films like this, "based on a true story" is not exactly synonymous with "documentary" Fire Maidens from Outer Space (1954) Atlantis orbits Jupiter??? *! For All Mankind (1989) 13 astronauts featured in this documentary with atmospheric Brian Eno soundtrack Forbidden Planet (1956) sci-fi classic, but space travel special effects seem dated From Beyond (1986) adaptation of an H. P. Lovecraft novel. H. P. Lovecraft actually cared quite a bit about astronomy, and wrote an astronomy column for a newspaper at one time. He claimed to have been a true science fiction author (as well as a significant fantasy/horror author and poet) for "predicting" the discovery of Pluto, in his fictional Yog-Suggoth, a fungus planet far beyond Neptune. The Hidden (1987) Kyle MacLauchlan ("Dune", "Blue Velvet", "Twin Peaks") in an FBI crime/horror film with an alien plotline *! Hail Columbia! (1982) IMAX film narrated by James Whitmore Hangar 18 (1980) High Desert Kill (1989) (TV) Honneamise no tsubasa (1987) Japanese space-war satire Horror of the Blood Monsters (1970) * Ice Pirates (1992) free from aliens, but based on the totally nonsensical premise that humans have an interstellar flight capability but need to carry water from world to world as a commodity. Invaders (1992) (TV) Invisible Invaders (1959) It Came from Outer Space II (1996) It Conquered the World (1956) Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (1969) Jerry & Sylvia Anderson film about a countersolar planet, i.e. one exactly on the opposite side of the sun from Earth, which in 1969 was well-known not to actually exist Just Imagine (1930) Amazingly silly notion of a 1980 as imagined in 1930, with a ludicrous Mars mission to a planet of dancing girls ruled by a fat man who never leaves his throne. People have numbers rather than names, an idea long since handled better in the Russian novel "We" by Yevgeny Zamyatin. Kaijuu Daisenso (1975) Part of the Godzilla series King Dinosaur (1955) Korabl prisheltsev (1985) Russian film, whose title translates as "The Spaceship of Aliens" The Last Starfighter (1984) Comic-booky plot, but nicely acted and with the best use of supercomputer animation for its time. Liquid Sky (1983) pionering mix of sci-fi and punk *! Man in Space (1956) Short subject by Disney Manhunt in Space (1954) Not to be confused with "Man in Space" -- several episodes of the "Rocky Jones" TV series edited together. The Man from Planet X (1951) UFO Gothic *! Marooned (1969) Based on a novel by Martin Caidin, this inspired the actual Apollo-Soyuz missions, the first joint U.S.-U.S.S.R. space mission Marvin the Martian in the Third Dimension (1996) Bugs Bunny saves the Earth, again. Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983) Meteor (1979) Missile to the Moon (1959) Moon 44 (1989) Moonraker (1979) The name is Bond, James Bond, astronaut... Moontrap (1989) My Stepmother is an Alien (19??) Music of the Spheres (1977) Night of the Blood Beast (1958) Nightbeast (1983) Orbita mortal (1968) Outer Space Jitters (1957) Phantom from Space (1953) Plan 9 from Outer Space (1958) Celebrated today as the single worst sci-fi film of all time Planeta Burg (1962) Prison Ship (1984) Queen of Outer Space (1958) Razbeg (1982) Real Men (1987) Resident Alien (1991) (TV) Repo Man Okay, it has an alien in a car trunk, but who can be annoyed at a film that has automobile repossessors following Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics? Return of the Aliens: The Deadly Spawn (1984) Return of the Jedi (1983) More of that Star Wars stuff *! The Right Stuff (1983) Superb adaptation of Tom Wolfe's novel of Mercury 7 astronauts, warts and all. Several astronauts I've talked to resent the soap-operaization of exaggerated conflicts between eagle scout John Glenn and the more rebellious others, but appreciate the intensity of passion for the viewpoint of the test-pilot astronauts coping with the unknowns of space and the all-too-knowns of bureaucracy. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) Only by a stretch is this cult-classic space-related, with Tim Curry as a Transylvanian Transexual alien Roswell (1994) (TV) Pretends to be a documentary, but has a didactic agenda. I saw this previewed in the company of SETI expert and sceptic Dr. Thomas McDonough, and he admitted being roughly 1% convinced. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) as dumb as it sounds Savage (1973)(TV) Der Schweigende Stern (1959) also known as "First Spaceship to Venus" Sex Trek (1990) Paramount's attorneys gritted their teeth; there was nothing they could do to stop this turkey Sol, sol skin a mig (1996) Solaris (1972) I think I'll recommend this, even though it does have one single alien, an ocean that covers an entire planet. Why? Because this Andre Tarkovky directed film makes the case from the Stanislaw Lem novel that an alien might be utterly incomprehensible to humanity. A philosophical alternative to idiotic films in which aliens are just people in funny makeup. Space Probe Taurus (1963) Space Ship Sappy (1957) Was this the best that Hollywood could do in the year that the Russian Sputnik put us into the Space Age? *sigh* Spaceballs (1987) Mel Brooks waited too long to get this parody of Star Wars to the marketplace. Often (but not always) hilarious, the self-awareness of this film gives it a certain edge. "Darth Vader" becomes "Dark Helmet" SpaceCamp (1986) Sphere (1997) Michael Crichton, or was it Stephen King, re-invents the sci-fi wheel in this tale of an underwater alien spacecraft Starship Invasions (1977) Star Trek films {to be done} several hotlinks to be added to the top Star Trek web pages Star Wars (1977) Stargate (1994) Well, maybe high-tech Egyptians aren't aliens, but their gods are... The Terrornauts (1967) Total Recall (1990) This Shwartzenegger blockbuster mangled Philip K. Dick's fine story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale." Arthur C. Clarke was contacted by the producer, but after he saw an early script, he said he wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. Grotesquely inaccurate vision of Mars colony. No, your eyes don't pop out if you're dumped into a vacuum, nor can you manufacture a complete atmosphere in a minute. Violent nonsense. Time Runner (1993) The Transformers: The Movie (1986) Ingenious Japanese action toys debased into stupid animated TV, and then made into an even worse film. I refused to take my son to it. Twelve to the Moon (1960) Uchu Kaisoku-sen (1961) also known as "Invasion of the Neptune Men" Ukroscheniye Ognya (1972) also known as "The Taming of the Fire", USSR space biopic Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965) aliens, monsters, dinosaurs, robots, whatever... it's got 'em all Walkin on Sunshine (1997) Farce Warum die UFOs unseren Salat klauen (1979) Who's Out There? (1975) Within the Rock (1996) The Wizard of Mars (1965) John Carradine stars in this adaptation from L. Frank Baum's "Oz" series. Technical advisor: Forrest J. Ackerman.
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Compiled by Magic Dragon Multimedia

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Copyright 1996,1997 by Magic Dragon Multimedia.
All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission.
May be posted electronically provided that it is transmitted unaltered, in its entirety, and without charge.