(Photo by Think Film /Courtesy Everett Collection)

38 Moon Movies To Celebrate The Moon Landing

The moon and the Earth: Name a more iconic duo in the galaxy. They’ve been around for almost as long as each other, separated by a mere 30 million years. They rotate in synchronicity. And sometimes the moon blocks the Sun for some cool Earth shade. You don’t see Jupiter and Titan being such BFFs. And we hear Oberon and Uranus aren’t even on speaking terms.

And for as long as Earth’s greatest, overachieving inhabitants have gifted themselves the invention of cinema, we humans have sought to depict the moon on screen. 1902’s A Trip to the Moon created the movies’ first iconic single image, a rocket ship face-planted in a crater, mythologizing the moon as sphere of whimsy, wonder, and fantasy. After July 20, 1969, the moon was gifted a new definition, one of scientific achievement and human triumph.

On the 50th anniversary of the moon landing by a crew of three American astronauts with the full power of NASA behind them, Rotten Tomatoes pays tribute with every moon movie to ever sprout its own Tomatometer. These are narrative movies set on the moon (H.G. Wells’ First Men in the Moon, Airplane II: The Sequel), and about going to the moon (First Man, Apollo 13), and expansive documentaries (In the Shadow of the Moon, For All Mankind). They’re also movies about the moon landing itself, like The Dish and Moonwalkers. And we’re featuring movies where the moon is significantly visited (2001: A Space Odyssey, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me), or where the moon is thematically woven into the plot, such as A Walk on the Moon or Under the Same Moon.

Ready to make a spacewalk to Earth’s closest and oldest friend? Then hop in for our guide to 38 moon movies — we guarantee you’ll be over the proverbial celestial satellite! Alex Vo

#1

A Trip to the Moon (1902)
100%90%

#1
Adjusted Score: 100000%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Astronomers go on an expedition to the moon.... [More]
Directed By: Georges Méliès

#2
Adjusted Score: 100596%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Wallace and Gromit enjoy a day out with a difference when a quest to find cheese prompts a visit to... [More]
Starring: Peter Sallis
Directed By: Nick Park

#3
Adjusted Score: 44829%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The history of the Apollo 8 lunar mission and the three men on the crew.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Hildebrandt

#4

Apollo 11 (2019)
99%90%

#4
Adjusted Score: 108706%
Critics Consensus: Edifying and inspiring in equal measure, Apollo 11 uses artfully repurposed archival footage to send audiences soaring back to a pivotal time in American history.
Synopsis: Never-before-seen footage and audio recordings take you straight into the heart of NASA's most celebrated mission as astronauts Neil Armstrong,... [More]
Directed By: Todd Douglas Miller

#5

The Dish (2000)
96%81%

#5
Adjusted Score: 98830%
Critics Consensus: A feel good movie without an abundance of mush.
Synopsis: The true story of a group of eccentric scientists who are responsible for manning a satellite dish inauspiciously located on... [More]
Directed By: Rob Sitch

#6

Apollo 13 (1995)
96%87%

#6
Adjusted Score: 100982%
Critics Consensus: In recreating the troubled space mission, Apollo 13 pulls no punches: it's a masterfully told drama from director Ron Howard, bolstered by an ensemble of solid performances.
Synopsis: This Hollywood drama is based on the events of the Apollo 13 lunar mission, astronauts Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), Fred... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 99109%
Critics Consensus: Director David Sington poetically interwove 20th Century's cosmonautic history with its effect on the public's view of their country, their heroes and their future.
Synopsis: In 1961, NASA started its Apollo program to realize President John F. Kennedy's dream of putting a man on the... [More]
Directed By: David Sington

#8

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
92%89%

#8
Adjusted Score: 103370%
Critics Consensus: One of the most influential of all sci-fi films -- and one of the most controversial -- Stanley Kubrick's 2001 is a delicate, poetic meditation on the ingenuity -- and folly -- of mankind.
Synopsis: An imposing black structure provides a connection between the past and the future in this enigmatic adaptation of a short... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#9

Things to Come (1936)
90%55%

#9
Adjusted Score: 93679%
Critics Consensus: Eerily prescient in its presentation of a dystopian future, Things to Come's special effects may be somewhat dated, but its potent ideas haven't aged at all.
Synopsis: It's Christmas 1940, and Everytown resident John Cabal (Raymond Massey) fears that war is imminent. When it breaks out, the... [More]

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 96401%
Critics Consensus: The Last Man on the Moon takes a justifiably reverent look at a largely unexplored chapter in the history of American space exploration -- and a side of astronaut's lives that's rarely considered.
Synopsis: Astronaut Eugene Cernan discusses his two missions to the moon, and what he loved and lost in the process.... [More]
Directed By: Mark Craig

#11

For All Mankind (1989)
95%91%

#11
Adjusted Score: 95516%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Directed by Al Reinert and with music scored by Brian Eno, "For All Mankind" provides a testament to NASA's Apollo... [More]
Directed By: Al Reinert

#12
Adjusted Score: 94390%
Critics Consensus: Bursting with Terry Gilliam's typically imaginative flourishes, this story of a possibly deranged Baron recounting his storied life is a flamboyant and witty visual treat.
Synopsis: During the "Age of Reason" of the late 18th century, the Turkish army lays siege to a European city where... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#13

Moon (2009)
90%89%

#13
Adjusted Score: 97456%
Critics Consensus: Boosted by Sam Rockwell's intense performance, Moon is a compelling work of science-fiction, and a promising debut from director Duncan Jones.
Synopsis: Astronaut Sam Bell's (Sam Rockwell) three-year shift at a lunar mine is finally coming to an end, and he's looking... [More]
Directed By: Duncan Jones

#14
Adjusted Score: 88398%
Critics Consensus: This inspirational 3D IMAX film approximates for audiences what it is like to set steps on the moon.
Synopsis: Buzz Aldrin described the lunar surface as "magnificent desolation." He is one of only 12 astronauts who have walked on... [More]
Directed By: Mark Cowen

#15

First Man (2018)
87%67%

#15
Adjusted Score: 109342%
Critics Consensus: First Man uses a personal focus to fuel a look back at a pivotal moment in human history - and takes audiences on a soaring dramatic journey along the way.
Synopsis: Hoping to reach the moon by the end of the decade, NASA plans a series of extremely dangerous, unprecedented missions... [More]
Directed By: Damien Chazelle

#16

The Mouse on the Moon (1963)
86%50%

#16
Adjusted Score: 23285%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When the tiny nation of Grand Fenwick suffers a plumbing malfunction, Prime Minister Rupert Mountjoy (Ron Moody) decides to use... [More]
Directed By: Richard Lester

#17

Mock Up on Mu (2008)
86%40%

#17
Adjusted Score: 24787%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Old NASA footage, trailers from Hollywood movies and TV series and scripted dramatizations combine to depict fictional tales about space... [More]
Directed By: Craig Baldwin

#18

Despicable Me (2010)
80%83%

#18
Adjusted Score: 87358%
Critics Consensus: Borrowing heavily (and intelligently) from Pixar and Looney Tunes, Despicable Me is a surprisingly thoughtful, family-friendly treat with a few surprises of its own.
Synopsis: Supervillain Gru, a man who delights in all things wicked, hatches a plan to steal the moon. Surrounded by an... [More]

#19

Nude on the Moon (1960)
80%33%

#19
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Louis Silverman

#20

Countdown (1968)
71%28%

#20
Adjusted Score: 21563%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A scientist (James Caan) replaces a military officer (Robert Duvall) as an astronaut on a space-race moonshot.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#21

First Men in the Moon (1964)
67%53%

#21
Adjusted Score: 57391%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Around the turn of the 20th century, Joseph Cavor (Lionel Jeffries), a brilliant British scientist, creates his own spacecraft and... [More]
Directed By: Nathan Juran

#22

Under the Same Moon (2007)
73%82%

#22
Adjusted Score: 76029%
Critics Consensus: If Under the Same Moon is often manipulative, it is also heartfelt, and features strong performances from its leads.
Synopsis: Single mother Rosario (Kate del Castillo) leaves her young son Carlitos (Adrian Alonso) in the care of his grandmother and... [More]
Directed By: Patricia Riggen

#23

A Walk on the Moon (1999)
72%71%

#23
Adjusted Score: 72603%
Critics Consensus: An impressive showcase for Diane Lane and an assured debut from director Tony Goldwyn, A Walk on the Moon finds absorbing period drama within a family at a crossroads.
Synopsis: Unfulfilled housewife Pearl Kantrowitz (Diane Lane) suffers in quiet misery as the tumultuous events of the summer of 1969 unfold... [More]
Directed By: Tony Goldwyn

#24

Woman in the Moon (1929)
75%72%

#24
Adjusted Score: 43422%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Spaceship passengers reach the orb and learn if its atmosphere can sustain human life.... [More]
Directed By: Fritz Lang

#25

Operation Avalanche (2016)
68%53%

#25
Adjusted Score: 71559%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Recruited by the CIA in 1967, young filmmakers (Matt Johnson, Owen Williams) shoot footage of a fake moon landing after... [More]
Directed By: Matt Johnson

#26

Destination Moon (1950)
67%47%

#26
Adjusted Score: 67284%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A team composed of an aerospace scientist (Warner Anderson), an ex-Air Force general (Tom Powers) and an industrialist (John Archer)... [More]
Directed By: Irving Pichel

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 55427%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this film of unconnected humor sketches, bad movies and late-night television are parodied extensively. A doctor (Griffin Dunne) has... [More]

#28
Adjusted Score: 56052%
Critics Consensus: Provides lots of laughs with Myers at the healm; as funny or funnier than the original.
Synopsis: In his second screen adventure, British super spy Austin Powers must return to 1969, as arch-nemesis Dr. Evil has ventured... [More]
Directed By: Jay Roach

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 18479%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Following the Civil War, demolition expert Victor Barbicane (Joseph Cotten) develops the world's most powerful explosive, Power X. When other... [More]
Directed By: Byron Haskin

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 30869%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Though haunted by combat memories, heroic pilot Ted Striker (Robert Hays) agrees to return to the cockpit to man the... [More]
Directed By: Ken Finkleman

#31

Moonwalkers (2015)
42%42%

#31
Adjusted Score: 43310%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In 1969 London, a CIA agent (Ron Perlman) and the manager (Rupert Grint) of a rock band must find a... [More]

#32

Iron Sky (2012)
41%37%

#32
Adjusted Score: 41851%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The Nazis build a moon base in 1945 and hide there until 2018 when they plan to return to power.... [More]
Directed By: Timo Vuorensola

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 44627%
Critics Consensus: Its special effects -- and 3D shots -- are undeniably impressive, but they aren't enough to fill up its loud, bloated running time, or mask its thin, indifferent script.
Synopsis: Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and his new girlfriend, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), join the fray when the evil Decepticons renew their... [More]
Directed By: Michael Bay

#34

Cat-Women of the Moon (1953)
40%34%

#34
Adjusted Score: 12161%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: They wear black tights and lure astronauts (Sonny Tufts, Victor Jory, Marie Windsor) lunar.... [More]
Directed By: Arthur Hilton

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 42106%
Critics Consensus: It's undeniably visually impressive, but like its predecessor, Independence Day: Resurgence lacks enough emotional heft to support its end-of-the-world narrative stakes.
Synopsis: As the Fourth of July nears, satellite engineer David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) investigates a 3,000-mile-wide mother ship that's approaching Earth.... [More]
Directed By: Roland Emmerich

#36

Apollo 18 (2011)
24%23%

#36
Adjusted Score: 26031%
Critics Consensus: A boring, suspense-free Paranormal Activity rip-off that feels long even at just 90 minutes.
Synopsis: Apollo 17 was the last U.S.-sponsored lunar voyage -- or was it? Hours of found footage, classified for decades, point... [More]

#37
Adjusted Score: 11132%
Critics Consensus: The Superman series bottoms out here: the action is boring, the special effects look cheaper, and none of the actors appear interested in where the plot's going.
Synopsis: Seeing the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a nuclear arms race that could lead to Earth's destruction,... [More]
Directed By: Sidney J. Furie

#38
#38
Adjusted Score: 7269%
Critics Consensus: The Adventures of Pluto Nash is neither adventurous nor funny, and Eddie Murphy is on autopilot in this notorious box office bomb.
Synopsis: "Pluto Nash" is an action comedy set on the moon in the year 2087, starring Eddie Murphy as the title... [More]
Directed By: Ron Underwood