Science Fiction is easily one of the most popular film genres. The genre has crossed all entertainment mediums with one of the most committed fanbases in the business. With this, the majority of films about space are fictional. The stories told are ones of great adventures, mysteries of the unknown, and often serve as metaphors for real-world problems. Yet, the most poignant movies about space center on the true stories of space research, missions, and the real people that made it all possible.

This list shares great films that are all based on true stories. Two were nominated for Best Picture. These films explore the challenges that faced many different types of people to advance space science and get a man to the moon and beyond. As space research pushes into a new era here on earth, take a look back at movies about space that tell the truth about where it all started.

October Sky (1999)

Synopsis: John Hickam (Chris Cooper) is a West Virginia coal miner who loves his job and expects his sons, Jim (Scott Miles) and Homer (Jake Gyllenhaal), to follow in his footsteps. But Jim gets a football scholarship, and Homer becomes interested in rocket science after seeing Sputnik 1 crossing the sky. John disapproves of his son’s new mania, but Homer begins building rockets with the help of friends and a sympathetic teacher (Laura Dern). Rocketry, he hopes, will prove his ticket to a better life.

Available on: Peacock

Hidden Figures (2016)

Synopsis: Three brilliant African-American women at NASA — Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) — serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world.

Available to Rent/Buy: Disney +

First Man (2018)

Synopsis: Hoping to reach the moon by the end of the decade, NASA plans a series of extremely dangerous, unprecedented missions in the early 1960s. Engineer Neil Armstrong joins the space program, spending years in training and risking his life during test flights. On July 16, 1969, the nation and world watch in wonder as Armstrong and fellow astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins embark on the historic Apollo 11 spaceflight.

Available to Rent/Buy: Amazon Prime Video

Apollo 13 (1995)

Synopsis: This Hollywood drama is based on the events of the Apollo 13 lunar mission, astronauts Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) and Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) find everything going according to plan after leaving Earth’s orbit. However, when an oxygen tank explodes, the scheduled moon landing is called off. Subsequent tensions within the crew and numerous technical problems threaten both the astronauts’ survival and their safe return to Earth.

Available to Rent/Buy: Amazon Prime Video

RELATED: 5 South Korean Films to Watch if You Loved Parasite

The Dish (2000)

Synopsis: The true story of a group of eccentric scientists who are responsible for manning a satellite dish inauspiciously located on a remote Australian sheep farm. Much to NASA’s alarm, the unconventional Aussie team — led by Cliff Buxton (Sam Neill) — are the world’s only hope for receiving the historic images of man’s first steps on the moon. With help from the colorful cast of local characters, the crew struggles to overcome a series of mishaps.

Available to Rent/Buy: Amazon Prime Video

BONUS: The Right Stuff (1983)

Synopsis: This adaptation of the non-fiction novel by Tom Wolfe chronicles the first 15 years of America’s space program. By focusing on the lives of the Mercury astronauts, including John Glenn (Ed Harris) and Alan Shepard (Scott Glenn), the film recounts the dangers and frustrations experienced by those involved with NASA’s earliest achievements. It also depicts their family lives and the personal crises they endured during an era of great political turmoil and technological innovation.

Available to Rent/Buy:  Amazon Prime Video

Have more true story movies about space to add? Share in the comments!

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