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What defines a space movie? Does it actually have to take place in space and, if so, how much? Plus, how far away from Earth should we boldly go before breaching parameters of plausibility? These are questions we asked ourselves while compiling the best space movies available to watch on streaming, with a digital rental or purchase, or with physical copies (if you still prefer those).
We decided to focus mainly on classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey and modern masterpieces like The Martian which involve the exploration of worlds beyond Earth, but are told almost entirely from the perspective of Earthlings. What these astronauts (by choice or even by necessity) find on their adventures range from the mysterious to the macabre, or inspire homesickness. The following are our 14 favorite space movies and where to find them, starting with one of the subgenre’s most shocking true stories.