(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!

#1
Adjusted Score: 100%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A Trip to the Moon is the most famous of the over 500 short films produced by cinema pioneer Georges... [More]
Directed By: Georges Méliès

#2
Adjusted Score: 100.721%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: It's another bank holiday in northern England, and eccentric inventor Wallace and his faithful dog, Gromit, are sitting around the... [More]
Starring: Peter Sallis
Directed By: Nick Park

#3

First to the Moon (2018)
100%

#3
Adjusted Score: 37.562%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: First to the Moon follows the story of the first astronauts to actually leave the Earth's atmosphere. This documentary features... [More]
Directed By: Paul J. Hildebrandt

#4

Apollo 11 (2019)
99%

#4
Adjusted Score: 106.299%
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: Apollo 11 is a cinematic space event film fifty years in the making. Featuring never-before-seen large-format film footage of one... [More]
Directed By: Todd Douglas Miller

#5

The Dish (2001)
96%

#5
Adjusted Score: 98.757%
Critics Consensus: A feel good movie without an abundance of mush.
Synopsis: In this comedy, as American astronauts prepare to make one giant leap for mankind, a small Australian town stumbles through... [More]
Directed By: Rob Sitch

#6

Apollo 13 (1995)
95%

#6
Adjusted Score: 100.844%
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: "Houston, we have a problem." Those words were immortalized during the tense days of the Apollo 13 lunar mission crisis... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#7
Adjusted Score: 98.235%
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: Between 1968 and 1972, nine American spacecraft voyaged to the Moon, and 12 men walked upon its surface. They remain... [More]
Directed By: David Sington

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 104.628%
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: A mind-bending sci-fi symphony, Stanley Kubrick's landmark 1968 epic pushed the limits of narrative and special effects toward a meditation... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#9

Things to Come (1936)
93%

#9
Adjusted Score: 98.882%
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: 94.991%
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: When Apollo astronaut Eugene Cernan stepped off the moon in 1972 he left his footprints and his daughter's initials in... [More]
Directed By: Mark Craig

#11

For All Mankind (1989)
94%

#11
Adjusted Score: 94.54%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This documentary utilizes the official film footage taken by NASA and the astronauts during various Apollo missions. The footage was... [More]
Directed By: Al Reinert

#12
Adjusted Score: 95.62%
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: The tale of the enchanting adventures of Baron von Munchausen on his journey to save a town from defeat. Being... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#13

Moon (2009)
90%

#13
Adjusted Score: 95.948%
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: An astronaut miner extracting the precious moon gas that promises to reverse the Earth's energy crisis nears the end of... [More]
Directed By: Duncan Jones

#14
Adjusted Score: 88.207%
Critics Consensus: This inspirational 3D IMAX film approximates for audiences what it is like to set steps on the moon.
Synopsis: Audiences will be transported to the surface of the moon to walk alongside the 12 extraordinary astronauts who have been... [More]
Directed By: Mark Cowen

#15

First Man (2018)
87%

#15
Adjusted Score: 105.955%
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: On the heels of their six-time Academy Award (R)-winning smash, La La Land, Oscar (R)-winning director Damien Chazelle and star... [More]
Directed By: Damien Chazelle

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 81.249%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: From Richard Lester, the director of 1980's Superman II and the 1964 A Hard Day's Night, comes this less-successful sequel... [More]
Directed By: Richard Lester

#17

Mock Up on Mu (2008)
86%

#17
Adjusted Score: 25.111%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Craig Baldwin offers a bracing mixture of fantasy, fact and bizarre speculation in this satiric science fiction story which... [More]
Directed By: Craig Baldwin

#18

Despicable Me (2010)
81%

#18
Adjusted Score: 86.629%
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: A mysterious criminal mastermind has stolen one of the pyramids in Egypt, sparking a fit of jealous envy in evil... [More]

#19

Nude on the Moon (1960)
80%

#19
Adjusted Score: 58.405%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

#20

Countdown (1968)
80%

#20
Adjusted Score: 48.569%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Improvisational director Robert Altman hadn't yet found his cinematic "voice" when he helmed the conformist, stick-to-the-script Countdown. James Caan is... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#21
Adjusted Score: 67.755%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: First Men in the Moon is an H.G. Welles cinemadaptation from director Nathan Juran. When scientists in the year 1964... [More]
Directed By: Nathan Juran

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 75.921%
Critics Consensus: If Under the Same Moon is often manipulative, it is also heartfelt, and features strong performances from its leads.
Synopsis: The debut feature from director Patricia Riggen, this drama centers on a young boy's journey across the U.S./Mexico border to... [More]
Directed By: Patricia Riggen

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 72.851%
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: Tony Goldwyn's A Walk on the Moon is a wonderfully realized, nostalgic (if you are as old as I am)... [More]
Directed By: Tony Goldwyn

#24
Adjusted Score: 75.455%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This silent presentation tells the story of people who take a trip to the moon and discover water, atmosphere and... [More]
Directed By: Fritz Lang

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 69.499%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In 1967, during the height of the Cold War, two young CIA agents (Matt Johnson and Owen Williams) go undercover... [More]
Directed By: Matt Johnson

#26

Destination Moon (1950)
64%

#26
Adjusted Score: 64.961%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A surprisingly prophetic depiction of space travel that won an Oscar for Best Special Effects, Destination Moon traces the flight... [More]
Directed By: Irving Pichel

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 59.649%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The 1987 portmanteau comedy feature Amazon Women on the Moon lampoons several film genres in general and the 1954 sci-fi... [More]

#28
Adjusted Score: 55.473%
Critics Consensus: Provides lots of laughs with Myers at the healm; as funny or funnier than the original.
Synopsis: Austin Powers -- fashion photographer, denizen of Swingin' London, international espionage agent, and bane of dental hygienists everywhere -- returns... [More]
Directed By: Jay Roach

#29
Adjusted Score: 38.337%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The resurgence of interest in Jules Verne following the release of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) led to a... [More]
Directed By: Byron Haskin

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 43.084%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: With the Jerry Zucker-Jim Abrahams-David Zucker team absent, this sequel to the cash-cow 1980 spoof Airplane once again finds garrulous... [More]
Directed By: Ken Finkleman

#31

Moonwalkers (2016)
42%

#31
Adjusted Score: 42.61%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After failing to locate the legendary Stanley Kubrick, an unstable CIA agent (Ron Perlman) must instead team up with a... [More]

#32

Iron Sky (2012)
39%

#32
Adjusted Score: 39.66%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In the last moments of World War II, a secret Nazi space program evaded destruction by fleeing to the Dark... [More]
Directed By: Timo Vuorensola

#33
Adjusted Score: 42.985%
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: Shia LaBeouf returns as Sam Witwicky in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. When a mysterious event from Earth's past erupts... [More]
Directed By: Michael Bay

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 33.001%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Cat Women of the Moon tells the tale of a group of American space travellers who confront a hostile tribe... [More]
Directed By: Arthur Hilton

#35
Adjusted Score: 37.319%
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: We always knew they were coming back. After INDEPENDENCE DAY redefined the event movie genre, the next epic chapter delivers... [More]
Directed By: Roland Emmerich

#36

Apollo 18 (2011)
24%

#36
Adjusted Score: 25.488%
Critics Consensus: A boring, suspense-free Paranormal Activity rip-off that feels long even at just 90 minutes.
Synopsis: Officially, Apollo 17, launched December 17th, 1972 was the last manned mission to the moon. But a year later, in... [More]

#37
Adjusted Score: 14.364%
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: Superman (Christopher Reeve) tries to save the world from nuclear destruction at the hands of Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) in... [More]
Directed By: Sidney J. Furie

#38
Adjusted Score: 5.984%
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: Eddie Murphy gets way, way out in this futuristic sci-fi comedy. In the year 2087, the Earth's natural resources have... [More]
Directed By: Ron Underwood

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