Adventure Movies

14 Best Space Movies on Netflix to Watch in Any Universe

March 1, 20248 Mins Read

Ever since Alan B. Shepard became the first American in space in 1961, we’ve been obsessed with the stars — and what’s beyond them. It’s only natural that this fascination with the galaxies would translate to the movies. Whether it’s watching fictional astronauts band together to stop an asteroid hurtling toward Earth or watching real astronauts talk about their experiences living in zero gravity, these stories are as fascinating as they are entertaining.

Here, we highlight 14 movies about space (some fictionalized, some based on real life, and a few documentaries) you can watch right now, no countdown to liftoff required.



Adam Sandler goes out of this world in this new sci-fi drama, based on the 2017 novel Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfař. The actor stars as Jakub, an astronaut who’s six months into a solitary research mission. Far from Earth and his wife, Lenka (played by Carey Mulligan), Jakub begins seeking answers to his relationship issues — and to the mysteries of the universe — from Hanuš, a mysterious creature he inexplicably finds hiding aboard his ship (voiced by Paul Dano). Kunal Nayyar and Isabella Rossellini also star in the Johan Renck–directed film.

‘Rebel Moon’

Rebel Moon — Part One: A Child of Fire

Fans of space operas or Zack Snyder films (or both), strap in for an intergalactic double feature. Rebel Moon — Part One: A Child of Fire, streaming on Netflix now, is the maiden voyage in this universe — following Sofia Boutella as Kora, a former soldier for the Imperium, the ruthless military force of the Motherworld. When the Imperium threatens a small farming colony on a distant moon, Kora makes it her mission to recruit warriors from across the galaxy to join her rebellion. Boutella is joined on-screen by Djimon Hounsou, Michiel Huisman, Charlie Hunnam, Anthony Hopkins, and more, and their saga continues when Rebel Moon — Part Two: The Scargiver releases on April 19.

‘Space Sweepers’

Space Sweepers

The year is 2092, and four space sweepers (three humans and one android) travel through space collecting debris in their ship The Victory now that Earth has become uninhabitable. The crew’s latest find is a big one: a crashed space shuttle with a 7-year-old girl living inside. After the team recovers her, they realize there’s a bit more to her story, and they find themselves in a dangerous situation as one secret after another begins to unravel. Song Joong-ki, Kim Tae-ri, Jin Seon-kyu, and Yoo Hae-jin star in this Korean sci-fi film directed by Jo Sung-hee.

A man in an astronaut suit laughs as a woman watches him with arms folded


Life in space can be challenging even when everything goes right. And nothing goes quite right in this 2021 sci-fi thriller directed by Joe Penna. Stowaway begins with astronauts played by Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim and Toni Collette starting their two-year mission to Mars only to find — you guessed it! — a stowaway (played by Shamier Anderson) on board. This accidental extra passenger means there won’t be enough oxygen or supplies for the full journey for all four people. What unfolds is a twisty space take on a classic moral dilemma: Who would you throw off a sinking (space)ship?

An older man and young girl lean against a tent with snow on it

The Midnight Sky

If there were one man left who could save civilization, thank goodness it’s George Clooney. He directs and stars as Augustine Lofthouse, a man all alone on the Arctic ring. Everyone else has evacuated the Earth’s surface after a catastrophic disaster, but he stayed behind because he’s already dying — and it’s good he did. He discovers an interplanetary craft called Aether, which is returning to Earth from Jupiter’s habitable moon. The crew of the Aether (played by Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Tiffany Boone, Demián Bichir and Kyle Chandler) are completely unaware the population has been wiped out. Augustine’s literal dying mission is to make contact with the Aether crew and help them get back to Jupiter.

An anguished woman crawls across snow in a spacesuit

The Wandering Earth

Imagine that the Earth is dying and the entire population needs to get to the Alpha Centauri system to survive. But instead of going on spaceships, they go … on the Earth. That’s the premise of this Chinese sci-fi thriller: In order to evade Earth’s giant red sun in 2061, humanity bands together to turn the planet into its own “ship.” They install engines to help power the whole world to travel to safety in another solar system. Sound difficult? Yes, it certainly has its challenges. Citizens encounter so many disasters on the surface that they must build large cities underground. But somehow this crazy concept works: The Wandering Earth is one of China’s highest-grossing films of all time.

A woman sleeps in a bed with electrodes on her head


If you’re claustrophobic, you may want to proceed with caution. This French sci-fi thriller takes place in space — but mostly in a small cryogenic chamber in space. The film begins with a woman (Mélanie Laurent) awakening in the small space with no memories of who she is or why she’s there. With the assistance of an AI called MILO (voiced by Mathieu Amalric), she’s able to contact emergency services, but they’re not able to help. Making matters worse: The oxygen levels in her chamber are running out and MILO won’t release her. The film is a race for time — and air — that will have you holding your breath.

A young person stares out a window in a spacesuit

Captain Nova

Can’t decide if you want to watch space travel or time travelCaptain Nova has both! The Dutch sci-fi movie sees a 37-year-old astronaut (played by Anniek Pheifer) traveling 25 years back in time to save the Earth from a catastrophic environmental collapse. The only problem is that once she lands, she’s her 12-year-old self. As a tween, she bands together with a boy named Nas (played by Marouane Meftah) to find and stop the man responsible for escalating global warming. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to listen to a 12-year-old from the future.

An overhead shot of a mountain with a scientific facility nearby

Black Holes: The Edge of All We Know

The first ever photo of a supermassive black hole was released to the world in April 2019, but mankind has been fascinated with the concept of this unknown phenomenon for much longer. This 98-minute documentary explores what we know about this type of wonder in space while also showing how Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) founding director Shep Doeleman and his team were able to capture that image. Much like the photo, this film was years in the making and includes interviews and insights from the late theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.

Two people walking on a spaceship

Orbiter 9

Imagine spending your whole life alone in space. Chances are you’d have some fantasies about somebody coming to save you — and that’s exactly what happens to Helena (Clara Lago) in the Spanish film Orbiter 9. Helena has spent her whole life aboard the titular spaceship after her parents died by suicide in order for her to survive on the remaining supplies. She was raised by the ship’s computer, but now that Helena is in her 20s, the ship is boarded by a (handsome) engineer named Alex (played by Álex González). The film plays out as part mystery, part romance as you quickly learn that things aren’t what they seem.

Men wearing headsets stare at computer screens

Return to Space

After the US retired the NASA space shuttle program in July 2011, private enterprises popped up in their place. That program suspension kicked off a two-year journey for Space X and founder Elon Musk to send their own shuttles to the International Space Station. Return to Space documents that journey: From the Falcon 1, which was the first private fully liquid-fueled launch vehicle to orbit the Earth; to Falcon 9, their reusable rocket that made it to the ISS; to Crew Dragon Demo-2, the first manned test flight of the Crew Dragon. It ultimately ends with the spacecraft Endeavour launching on May 30, 2020. You can relive all of these milestone achievements through the 2022 documentary.

A group of young people walking together wearing flight suits

The Mars Generation

This documentary, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017, follows a group of self-professed space nerds as they attend NASA’s Space Camp, which is held in Huntsville, Alabama. These teens go through limited astronaut training while learning about math, science and engineering. Highlighting the achievements of the space program and the potential for Mars exploration and the future, this doc is a must-watch for any future astronaut wannabes.

An animated young boy hangs upside down in a spaceship

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood

The story of the 1969 moon landing has been retold time after time in all sorts of mediums, but it still seems to fascinate. Apollo 10 1/2 is an animated film by Richard Linklater that finds a new, fictionalized way to tell the moon landing story: through the eyes of a fourth grader who becomes the first person to land on the moon. The film, which features the voices of Glen Powell, Jack Black, Zachary Levi and Josh Wiggins, allows us to look back at that historic event through the eyes (and imagination) of a young child. It’s bound to spark nostalgia and excitement for space in an entirely new way.

Two women with headsets in the cockpit of an aircraft

Mercury 13

Despite the space race story being told endlessly, it’s possible many don’t know that there were female astronaut hopefuls at that time as well. The documentary Mercury 13 seeks to bring to light these women history has forgotten. Thirteen American women were part of a private program that tested and screened women for spaceflight. Although they went through nearly the same program as NASA astronauts, they never saw space — or even met as a whole group.

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