Since ancient times people have been watching the Moon each night and Earth’s satellite has played an important part in influencing human mythology, art and science. This rocky, crater studded orb has captivated mankind’s imagination through the ages and was even the subject of the first science fiction film ever made, A Trip to the Moon (1902). Since then there has been a multitude of Moon related movies made, both serious and whimsical, although only a smattering over the last three decades. With a surprisingly short list to choose from, here is my selection of the 10 most entertaining moon movies of recent times listed in chronological order:
For All Mankind (1989) 8.1
Director: Al Reinert
IMDB Rating: 8.1
This documentary movie not only honors the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, but also the story of mankind’s odyssey to the moon. For All Mankind creates the impression of a single space journey and using fascinating NASA footage and audio interviews encapsulates the tireless efforts and wonderment of the astronauts and crew working back in Houston.
A Grand Day Out (1989)
Director: Nick Park
IMDB Rating: 7.8
One night, Wallace and Gromit are wondering where to spend the upcoming bank holiday when they discover they have run out of cheese at home. This leads the duo to build a rocket and go on a Moon holiday because, as everybody knows, “the moon’s made of cheese.”
Apollo 13 (1995)
Director: Ron Howard
IMDB Rating: 7.5
Apollo 13 is based on a true life story about the ill-fated third Moon landing mission. In 1970, astronauts Lovell, Haise and Swigert are three days into a Moon mission when an on-board explosion deprives the crew of its oxygen and power supplies. The Apollo 13 crisis immortalized the words “Houston, we have a problem,” after which the three men face a desperate struggle to get home safely.
The Dish (2000)
Director: Rob Sitch
IMDB Rating: 7.1
Based on a true story, this quirky comedy tells the story of the Apollo 11 moon landing and The Parkes Radio Telescope observatory in New South Wales, Australia. The first nine minutes of the broadcast saw NASA alternate between the tracking antennas at Goldstone in California and Honeysuckle Creek in Canberra, Australia, but this movie concentrates on what happened after NASA switched to the remote Australian Parkes station located
right in the middle of an Australian sheep farm.
Magnificent Desolation (2005)
Director: Mark Cowen
IMDB Rating: 6.8
Between 1969 and 1972, NASA’s Apollo missions attempted 7 Moon landings, six of which were successful bar the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission. Starting with Apollo 11 and ending with Apollo 17, a total of twelve men have walked on the surface of the moon and this documentary pays homage to those missions. In addition, ‘Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D’ commendably gives the viewer an impression of what its like to actually visit Earth’s only natural satellite.
In the Shadow of the Moon (2007)
Director: David Sington
IMDB Rating: 7.9
This documentary offers a compelling account of the historic Apollo space program, as poignantly told by its surviving astronauts. Stunning NASA film footage, images and fascinating interviews reveal a tantalizing glimpse into the souls of the first men ever to set foot on a celestial body outside of the planet Earth.
Director: Duncan Jones
IMDB Rating: 8.0
Lunar Industries employee Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) alongside his computer, GERTY, are the sole occupants of a Helium-3 mining base on the Moon. Towards the end of his 3 year stint in space, Sam has an accident in his lunar harvester and soon after begins to suspect that something is very odd about his life on the lunar station.
Despicable Me (2010)
Director: Chris Renaud
IMDB Rating: 7.6
Beneath a black house in a quaint suburban neighborhood lies a vast secret hideout headed by super-villain Gru alongside his small army of minions. After a mysterious criminal genius steals one of the pyramids in Egypt, a jealous Gru then resolves to go one further by using a shrink ray to steal the Moon right out of the sky.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
Director: Michael Bay
IMDB Rating: 6.3
During the Autobots and Decepticons war, a Cybertronian spacecraft crashes on Earth’s Moon with a technology capable of changing the tide of the alien civil war. In 1969, NASA then manages to send the Apollo 11 crew to investigate the disturbance but 40 years after the the wreck’s discovery the alien war threatens to engulf the Earth. Ok, this movie may have been slated for its Holywood excesses, but it did boast stunning special effects, in addition to a cameo appearance by none other than Buzz Aldrin himself.
Iron Sky (2012)
Director: Timo Vuorensola
IMDB Rating: 6.1
In the final throes of World War II, a covert Nazi space program sets up a secret base on the dark side of the moon in order to evade destruction. The Nazis then construct a massive space fortress along with a fleet of flying saucers and some 70 years later plan to conquer Earth and return to power. This tongue-in-cheek offering may not be the greatest moon movie ever made and was way over the top but it still had its moments, as well as stunning CGI.