The 15 Best Movies About Being Lost In Space
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The 15 Best Movies About Being Lost In Space

It isn’t that wild of an idea to imagine an astronaut uncontrollably hurtling through space, but the thought of it is one the most heart-stopping feelings there is, and that has been depicted in the best movies about being trapped in space. Being all alone and in a climate they can’t survive in is one of the biggest fears people have on Earth, so when that’s in space, the tension is unlike anything else. So many movies have managed to convey that feeling of stress, anxiety, and isolation in many different ways, and though it might induce anxiety, it’s also endlessly entertaining.

There are so many films about being lost in space that it has almost become a sci-fi subgenre in its own right, especially since many are generally among the best sci-fi movies as it is. For better or worse, they come with tons of tropes and clichés of their own. Whether it’s overly ambitious scientists going off the beaten path or crash-landing on an alien-infested planet, there are so many lost-in-space movies that are equal parts thrilling and exhausting. The best movies about being trapped in space wring out almost every possible emotion from its audience, including loneliness, excitement, emptiness, and even joy, and sometimes all at once, but they almost always depict existential dread.



15 The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

The crew of The Cloverfield Paradox looks shocked at something on the ship

2018’s The Cloverfield Paradox expands on the Cloverfield monster series tenfold, as the film takes the franchise into space, and the inhabitants of the station don’t just get lost in space but lost in different dimensions too. Just like any solid sci-fi horror movie, 2018’s The Cloverfield Paradox focuses on the crew member’s fight for survival in the hostile void, and the reveal in the final shot is an absolute shock to the system. The Cloverfield Paradox isn’t the greatest movie about being trapped in space, but it has inspired the theory that all three Cloverfield movies take place in different dimensions, which makes the film way more interesting.

14 Passengers (2016)

Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in space suits in Passengers

Passengers is an interesting lost-in-space movie because it takes advantage of the isolation that’s common in most films of its ilk, but that’s the catalyst for a much more meaningful narrative about companionship. The movie follows two passengers (Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence) who wake up prematurely from suspended animation, and how they cope with the loneliness of being lost in space, as well as having them make some unethical decisions. Passengers could use more elements of sci-fi, as it lacks the excitement that most other lost-in-space movies do, but it’s still an entertaining popcorn flick with two charismatic lead actors.

13 Life (2017)

David screams in a space suit in Life

Life follows a crew of astronauts that discovers life on Mars, which would be the greatest discovery of humankind if it wasn’t for that organism becoming a deadly, intelligent lifeform. The movie is a mix between the 1980s classic horror flick, The Thing, and, weirdly enough, the Tom Hardy superhero movie, Venom. The 2017 release has drawn comparisons to the superhero movie because they both explore the idea of a symbiotic relationship between humans and alien life. There are so many similarities that it has been speculated that Life is a secret Venom prequel, which surprisingly makes sense.

12 Strange World (2022)

Strange World characters smiling and holding each other

Strange World bombed at the box office, as the film lost Disney over $200 million. However, though it’s a rare Disney flop, its failure isn’t a reflection of the film’s quality. The animation is just as great if not better than any Disney movie that came before it, and the narrative about a crew of explorers lost in space is refreshingly light. Given that every other movie with the same subject is so harrowing and morbid, Strange World is exactly what the genre needed, making it one of the best movies about being trapped in space because it’s the only fun animated lost-in-space movie that exists.

11 Pitch Black (2000)

Riddick uses his enhanced eyes in Pitch Black

Pitch Black follows a crew that crash-landed on a planet full of deadly aliens and unknown creatures, and the only person who can protect them is Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel). Riddick is one of the 2000s’ most underrated anti-heroes, and outside the Fast and Furious franchise, Riddick is Diesel’s best character. He is the beating heart of the movie, and his gravelly voice and sheer brawn make him the perfect mysterious anti-hero. The movie started the Chronicles of Riddick franchise, but none of the follow-ups reached the level of greatness that Pitch Black did.

10 Event Horizon (1997)

Sam Neill as Dr. William Weir in his twisted state in Event Horizon

In Event Horizon, after 18 people disappeared on board a ship, a new crew investigates what happened to them, but not without so many weird occurrences happening, as the ship jumps through black holes. Event Horizon is one of the most claustrophobic sci-fi movies there is, and the title refers to the boundaries around black holes and the events that happen in them, which don’t affect the observer. Though the movie might not have been well received by critics, it actually went on to inspire Interstellar, so much so that the way that Billy explains black holes is the same way Dr. Romilly explains it in the Christopher Nolan-directed film.

9 Prometheus (2012)

Engineer's body breaking down at the start of prometheus

After a crash landing on a barren wasteland after a storm, the crew members on board the titular ship make mistake after mistake in Prometheus, and it leads to bloodshed and DIY alien abortions. When Prometheus was first released, there were such high expectations for the movie, and it was going to be nothing but disappointing if the movie didn’t detail the meaning of life. However, the movie instead turned out to be a decent Alien prequel that frustratingly laid down a ton of questions but didn’t give any answers, but it’s still one of the best movies about being trapped in space.

8 Ad Astra (2019)

The Moon pirate ambush in Ad Astra

With the title being Latin for “to the stars,” Ad Astra sees Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) go on a space mission to try and find his father, whose obsession is to discover alien life. Ad Astra has one of the most realistic depictions of space travel in a movie, and the surreal visuals and isolation in space leave Ad Astra with many parallels to 2001: A Space Odyssey. The 2019 release is stunning and the story is so deep, but interestingly enough, even if general audiences didn’t love the movie quite as much as the critics did.

7 Sunshine (2007)

A silhouette figure stares at the sun in Sunshine

Sunshine follows a crew of astronauts that attempts to stop another ice age on Earth by going on a mission to reignite the dying sun. When it comes to the best movies about being trapped in space, Sunshine is the best at depicting just how vast and endless space really is, as the sun is far from the limit of exploration in the movie. The intense feeling of isolation it creates is palpable. Few films can make audiences feel like humanity makes up a microscopic part of the universe and that humanity has barely discovered a fraction of what’s out there. With its incredible ensemble cast that includes Cillian Murphy, Michelle Yeoh, and Chris Evans, Sunshine is director Danny Boyle’s most well-crafted movie.

6 The Martian (2015)

Mark walks across mars in The Martian

Though it was bizarrely nominated for Best Comedy at The Golden Globes, The Martian is a sci-fi movie through and through. Not only is it one of the best of the past decade, but one of the very best movies about being lost in space. Though he isn’t exactly lost, as Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is very much aware he’s on Mars, he is alone and ultimately left for dead on the planet. With The Martian being director Ridley Scott’s big return to sci-fi, few other filmmakers that are so adept at tackling lost-in-space movies, as Scott has made so many of them.

5 Gravity (2013)

Ryan Stone in space fixing a satellite in Gravity

So many of the best movies about being trapped in space feel so isolated, as they feature just one or two main characters, but nobody has carried a sci-fi film on their shoulders better than Sandra Bullock does in Gravity. As it follows Ryan (Bullock) working on a space station, Gravity has incredible CGI and the movie is visually stunning, but Bullock’s performance as she’s spiraling through space completely out of control is what ties the film together. The long, sprawling shots and depth of field make the idea of Ryan being completely alone in space that much more exhausting, and it’s one of the best 3D movies ever made.

4 Alien (1979)

Ripley holding a cat in Alien

In Alien, though the crew members are in stasis until they reach their destination, they are all woken up early when they detect a transmission from a nearby moon. Despite protests, the crew agrees to land on the moon, which is the biggest mistake they could have ever made. With most of the movie taking place on the Nostromo with the crew members trying to survive the alien’s wrath, being lost in space isn’t exactly the problem at hand, but it doesn’t help the situation either. The combination of space travel and being hunted by the xenomorph makes it the most terrifying movie about being lost in space ever.

3 Interstellar (2014)

Cooper hugging a crying Murph in Interstellar

Though Interstellar might be polarizing, the movie’s practical and digital effects and the way the narrative ties together in the epic finale makes it one of the best movies about being trapped in space. The film isn’t just about space travel, but time travel and parallel universes too, and as so many of the characters get scattered throughout time, space, and different dimensions, it’s more heart-stopping and intense than any other movie about being lost in space. Interstellar is the gold standard of space travel movies, whether it’s the transcendent visuals, the sweeping score from Hans Zimmer, or its ambitious scope.

2 Planet Of The Apes (1968)

The Statue of Liberty poking out of the beach at the end of Planet of the Apes

The whole of Planet of the Apes takes place on Earth, which is a plot twist that’s well-known to those who haven’t even seen the movie. However, after becoming stranded on a planet that he believes to be unknown, George (Charlton Heston) is completely lost in space, even if he is on his home planet. Right up until the final few minutes of the two-hour movie, audiences are none the wiser either. Though it was originally planned to be found in the Planet of the Apes jungle, the moment George finds the half-buried Statue of Liberty on the beach remains one of the most startling endings to a movie to this day.

1 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

A shot of the Discovery One approaching Jupiter in 2001: A Space Odyssey

Arguably the most ambitious movie ever made, especially considering the limitations in the film industry at the time, 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the most comprehensive movies about space travel ever made. Just like all of the best Stanley Kubrick movies, The 1968 movie is so open to interpretation, as everything that happens when David Bowman (Keir Dullea) is being perpetually thrust through space is so bizarre. Between traveling through the psychadelic trip that is the stargate, and ending in a house in the middle of the universe, of all the best movies about being trapped in space, nobody has ever been more lost in space than Bowman.