There’s a movie coming to theaters next week that has a great early buzz on it: “First Man,” starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. It promises to be a dramatic adventure retelling of the story of Armstrong, Apollo 11 and the U.S. space program. There’s already Academy Award buzz for Gosling.
There are some other great space-based films out there, some of them retelling real stories, other fantasies. Before you go see Gosling in “First Man,” here’s your chance to catch up on other cosmic stories.
All are on the streaming services, some for free, most available for rent.
Apollo 13 (1995)
As real as it gets, “Apollo 13” tells the story of the fated mission in April 1970. The side of a ship blows out on the way to the moon. Only through the combined efforts of the three astronauts (played by Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon) and the crew back on the Earth were the men saved.
Capricorn One (1977)
What if the moon landing was faked? We’ve all heard that before. But this film imagines a Mars shot called “Capricorn One,” and then the aftermath when it turns out it was faked. A tense drama with some funny moments, it stars James Brolin, Sam Waterston and O.J. Simpson as the deceived astronauts and Elliot Gould as the intrepid reporter who’s out to find the truth.
“Gravity” was a space thriller set around a disaster during a space walk. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star in this critically acclaimed film — which was panned by NASA scientists, by the way! Make up your own mind.
This is a film of future space exploration starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. In this future, the Earth is falling apart, with another Dust Bowl on the way. Scientists are convinced that the only way to rescue mankind is to transport it to a new home, using a wormhole. But first, a team of astronauts must take the leap to find the new planet.
American astronauts find themselves stranded (a common theme, it seems) on the way home from a new space station. A daring rescue is begun, but a hurricane headed for the launch site may doom astronauts anyway. In many ways, this movie foresaw the plight of Apollo 11 just six months before the real near-disaster. Starring Gene Hackman, Richard Crenna, James Franciscus and Gregory Peck.
The Martian (2015)
Matt Damon is on a mission to Mars when a fierce storm causes him to lose contact with his crew and the Earth. He’s left behind, then must draw on his own wiles to survive and then signal Earth that he’s still alive. A nicely nominated and awarded movie.