35 Sci-Fi Movies to Watch If You Loved Interstellar
If you love all things science fiction, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. At the time of its release in 2014, Interstellar was one of the top-grossing films of the year, and with a standout cast including Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, it earned quite a few fans. Nolan’s Interstellar was inspired by the works of theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, who worked as both an adviser and executive producer for the film, injecting the real science behind some of Nolan’s most abstract and perplexing ideas. Interstellar, which was released just four years after Nolan’s box-office smash Inception, explores themes of time travel, alternate universes, and philosophical ideas of human connection and the meaning of life.
Interstellar takes place in the year 2067, when the future of humanity and Earth itself are at risk due to several environmental factors, including crop blights and severe dust storms. Joseph Cooper (McConaughey) is a former NASA pilot who lives on a farm with his two children, enjoying life removed from his job. With humanity’s survival on the line, Cooper is recruited by NASA to travel on the Endurance spacecraft and fulfill Plan B, a mission that involves finding an inhabitable planet for humans to survive and start a new civilisation. While on this mission, Cooper, along with the NASA crew members on Endurance, soon discover that time exists in a wormhole, and their task is much more complicated than they initially thought.
Despite being released in the mid-2010s, the legacy of Interstellar continues to influence the world of science-fiction films, inspiring us to dig deeper into our understanding of outer space and the forces outside our current reality. If you loved the mystifying themes of Interstellar, these 35 movies will satisfy your desire to dive deeper into the world of space exploration and the metaphysical.
Movies Like Interstellar: Gravity
What would you do if you were stranded in space with no hope of returning home to Earth? This terrifying idea is explored in Alfonso Cuarón’s 2013 film, Gravity. Medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) has a simple task on her first space mission: to upgrade technology on the Explorer space shuttle. When a storm of debris completely destroys the Explorer, along with most of its crew, Dr. Stone and astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) are forced to think quickly and critically in order to survive in space. Gravity hauntingly dives into the risks of human exploration as well as the intriguing yet terrifying mystery that is space, much like Interstellar.
Movies Like Interstellar: The Martian
Based on the novel of the same name by Andy Weir, The Martian centres on astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon), who is on a mission to Mars along with his crew members on the Area III spacecraft. When a storm of dust and debris interferes with their mission, the team is ordered to evacuate. Before he can leave, Watney is hit by debris and presumed dead. The other crew members return to Earth only to find out that Watney survived and is now stranded on Mars without enough necessities to survive. It is now up to Watney to utilise his skills in order to live long enough for a crew to rescue him. Similar to Interstellar, The Martian examines the difficult consequences of space exploration, as well as how far the human mind can stretch in order to survive.
Movies Like Interstellar: Ad Astra
Interstellar showcases the vast nature of space while also highlighting the human desire to connect with powers greater than our own, and Ad Astra carries that same theme throughout the film. Following in his father’s footsteps, astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) travels to space on a risky mission to uncover the forces behind solar-energy surges that threaten humanity. In addition to his mission, McBride is searching for his missing father, Clifford, who disappeared on a space voyage 30 years prior. Alongside a stellar cast that includes Tommy Lee Jones and Donald Sutherland, Ad Astra takes you to space and beyond in a contemplative, grand way.
Movies Like Interstellar: Oblivion
Touching on the theme of humanity and our relationship to space like Interstellar, Oblivion also forces viewers to look into our own moral choices. In the year 2077, drone repairman Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is one of the few survivors on Earth following several decades of war between humans and alien invaders known as “Scavs.” As the survival of humanity was threatened by this invasion, people relocated to Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. When frequent visions and recurring memories interfere with his job of maintaining energy flow to Titan, Harper must face a decision that could save or destroy humanity for good.
Movies Like Interstellar: Moon
With stunning visuals and incredible writing, Moon truly taps into your mind, just like Interstellar. Astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is on a three-year job on the moon for Lunar Industries, which is responsible for providing clean fuel to be used on Earth. As his contract comes to an end, Sam is anxious to return home and be reunited with his wife and children, until he unexpectedly discovers another human on the moon with him – a clone of himself. In a twist of events, Sam now must figure out how this clone came to be while preserving his sanity at the same time.
Movies Like Interstellar: Sunshine
Interstellar examines the survival of humanity after natural disasters, and Sunshine touches on this same idea. Fifty years from now, human survival is at risk as the sun starts to die. In an attempt to revive the sun and save Earth, a team of astronauts are sent out on a complicated mission with a nuclear bomb determined to boost the sun again. A quick change of plans soon disrupts their original mission and leaves the group asking more questions than finding answers about the dying state of the sun. Featuring Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Rose Byrne, and Michelle Yeoh, Sunshine forces you to ponder the impossible.
Movies Like Interstellar: Arrival
After 12 mysterious spaceships land in different locations on Earth, linguist professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is tasked with something equally terrifying and difficult – to decipher alien language and attempt communication with the aliens. With the help of the US military, Banks uses the best of her skills to decode their symbols and avoid miscommunication with the creatures, which would inevitably lead to a world war of disastrous proportions. Similar to Interstellar, Arrival dives into the world of the unknown and human attempts to rationalise life outside of Earth.
Movies Like Interstellar: Passengers
Sleeper spaceship Avalon is journeying to a distant colony planet transporting over 5,000 passengers. On the spaceship, the passengers are in a temporary state of hibernation, only set to awaken once they arrive at the planet, which is 120 lightyears away. When a collision with an asteroid causes damage to the spaceship and awakens passenger James Preston (Chris Pratt), he awakens Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), a fellow passenger, to keep him company. The two gradually fall in love and must face the reality of aging on the ship before reaching the colony. If you loved the loving, human connections in Interstellar, Passengers is another great movie for you.
Movies Like Interstellar: Contact
There is nothing quite like the relationship between a father and daughter. The significance of this connection is highlighted in both Interstellar, between father Joseph and daughter Murphy Cooper, and in Contact, between father Ted and daughter Eleanor Elloway. Dr. Eleanor Elloway (Jodie Foster) learned to love the idea of communicating to extraterrestrial beings from her father, Ted (David Morse). After he died, she made it her purpose to uncover the mysteries of the universe and prove that contact can be made with other beings outside our normal world. When Dr. Elloway discovers a message from space, it is up to her and her colleagues to decode it and reveal its meaning.
Movies Like Interstellar: Solaris
Love can motivate and inspire us to do just about anything, often interfering with our minds and how we understand the world. Love is a strong theme in Interstellar, just as it is in Solaris. Psychologist Chris Kelvin (George Clooney) is approached by the DBA, an organisation responsible for space exploration, to travel to space and investigate strange occurrences on the station orbiting Solaris. Once Kelvin arrives in space, he discovers that most of the crew either died or disappeared, further propelling his investigation. Despite this startling discovery, Kelvin remains determined to help the remaining crew members, until his deceased wife appears. A whirlwind of emotions overtakes him, causing Kelvin to have trouble differentiating between what is real and what is not, and the bounds of love blur these lines and make this mission more complex than originally thought.
Movies Like Interstellar: First Man
Plenty of space films are fantasy and not based in reality, with its mysterious and unknown nature leaving a lot to the imagination. First Man, however, is based on the very real story of astronaut Neil Armstrong and his legendary trip to the moon in 1969. Armstrong, known as the man who landed on the moon, had a more personal and complicated life journey prior to his arrival on the moon. Based on the book of the same name by James R. Hansen, First Man shows how Armstrong overcame personal tragedy to go on one of the most important space missions of all time.
Movies Like Interstellar: Apollo 13
Arguably, the moon landing is one of man’s greatest achievements, but in terms of human intelligence, teamwork, and determination, the Apollo 13 mission takes the cake. In Apollo 13, astronauts Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon), and Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) are travelling to the moon, inspired by the incredible mission with Neil Armstrong. The group journey to space, and during a routine maintenance check as requested by Mission Control, an explosion occurs, and the crew are now left with a damaged spacecraft. The remainder of the film highlights the efforts (and ultimate success) of the Mission Control Center to safely bring the men home. If “Houston, we have a problem,” and “failure is not an option” are in your vocabulary, you can thank Apollo 13!
Movies Like Interstellar: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Notably the most influential space film of all time, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey eerily explores the vastness of space and the forces that lie within it. In year 2001, Dr. Dave Bowman and a crew of astronauts are on a mission to Jupiter on the spacecraft Discovery One. The operations of the craft are controlled by HAL, an artificially intelligent computer. When Dr. Bowman becomes suspicious of HAL’s ability to perform, he discovers that the computer has a mind of its own and ulterior motives that contrast his. Alongside the storyline, the film has beautiful imagery and music throughout, making it an incredible watch.
Movies Like Interstellar: Deep Impact
While a majority of space films focus on exploration, a number of them center on apocalyptic disasters and the implications on the survival of humanity. When a seven-mile-wide comet is headed straight for Earth, the US government brainstorms ways to deflect it or blow it up before it wipes out all of humanity. In an effort to destroy the comet, a spacecraft named Messiah is sent into space, carrying a crew of astronauts and nuclear bombs. When the bombs detonate, the plan backfires and the comet splits in two, forcing everyone to fight for survival.
Movies Like Interstellar: The Right Stuff
Based on the book of the same name by Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff examines the early years of the United States Space Program. From 1958 to 1963, Project Mercury sought to send man to space and within Earth’s orbit prior to the Soviet Union, popularly known as the “race for space.” With revered actors Sam Shepard, Ed Harris, and Dennis Quaid and with a great sense of humour and edge, The Right Stuff showcases the Mercury Seven astronauts and the first successful human-occupied spaceflights.
Movies Like Interstellar: 2010: The Year We Make Contact
A sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, the film takes place nine years after the failure of the Discovery One mission. Now, Dr. Heywood Floyd (who was present on the original mission) and crew members are returning to space on the Discovery Two in an attempt to reactivate the HAL system and reveal the secrets of what happened on the original spacecraft. Simultaneously, however, the Soviets are preparing their own space mission to Discovery One, and the two forces are racing to be the first to reach it.
Movies Like Interstellar: Space Cowboys
In the 1950s, test pilots Frank Corvin (Clint Eastwood), William Hawkins (Tommy Lee Jones), Jerry O’Neill (Donald Sutherland), and Tank Sullivan (James Garner) were determined to be some of the first people to go to space, but their dreams were undercut by NASA boss Bob Gerson. Forty years later, NASA is tasked with preventing a Soviet satellite from entering the atmosphere and crashing into Earth. Upon discovering that Corvin was behind the technology of the satellite, NASA enlists the help of Corvin, along with his former crewmates, to go to space and stop the satellite.
Movies Like Interstellar: The Black Hole
When thinking of Disney, precious cartoon characters and princesses come to mind, not suspenseful science-fiction films. The Black Hole, released in 1979, centres on the crew of the USS Palomino, a craft set to explore the unknown depths of space. As the spaceship is traveling through space, the crew discover a black hole with an abandoned ship, the USS Cygnus, in it. Apprehensive but curious of their discovery, the crew investigate the ship and find that it is being commanded by Dr. Hans Reinhardt (Maximilian Schell), who has dangerous plans of entering the black hole.
Movies Like Interstellar: Looper
Interstellar shows the infinite nature of time and space and the wormhole in which it exists. Looper similarly bends our traditional view of time with its action-packed storyline. The film takes place in 2077, and time-travelling assassin Joe Simmons (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is one of the most sought-out assassins in the world. When Simmons is enlisted by the mafia to travel back 30 years to murder and dispose of anyone who threatens their organisation, he willingly takes on the job. Soon, however, Simmons is directed to go on a mission to kill himself in the future (Bruce Willis) and has to make the decision to “close the loop,” which would inevitably change the course of his life.
Movies Like Interstellar: Silent Running
Similar to Interstellar, Silent Running highlights the effect of human actions on the environment and the consequences of those actions for the survival of humanity. When the plant life on Earth is mostly extinct, the government creates a series of greenhouse pods in space meant to preserve as much plant life as possible. Botanist Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern) carefully tends to the plants, but this is soon interfered with when orders are sent for the crew of the Valley Forge spacecraft to come home and destroy the greenhouses. Protecting all that he has worked for, Lowell clashes with his crew and tries to preserve what is left.
Movies Like Interstellar: Armageddon
The 1990s were filled with plenty of grim, apocalyptic films. Armageddon, similar in plot to Deep Impact, which was released in the same year, centers on human efforts to stop a large meteor from coming into contact with Earth and wiping out all of humanity. Following a meteor shower that impacted New York City, NASA scientists detect a meteor the size of Texas is headed straight to Earth. To prevent this catastrophic event from occurring, NASA enlists the help of deep-core driller Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis) to go to space and drill a nuclear bomb in the meteor to destroy it.
Movies Like Interstellar: Alien
The Alien film franchise is one of the few that has continued to reach audiences across multiple decades, and this is where it all began. In the future, the crew of spaceship Nostromo are preparing to return to Earth when Mother, the ship’s artificial-intelligence operating system, identifies a nearby moon. The crew are awakened from hypersleep to investigate the nearby moon, only to encounter alien eggs and violent alien creatures, which kill anything in sight to “host” new eggs and grow their population. With the leadership of officer Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the crew must do everything in their power to contain the alien creatures and survive.
Movies Like Interstellar: Mission to Mars
Led by an incredible cast including Tim Robbins, Don Cheadle, and Gary Sinise, Mission to Mars follows a team of astronauts as they take part in a rescue mission for crew members of a previous Mars exploration disaster. Upon arriving to Mars, they discover all but one of the crew members has survived. The survivor, Luke Graham (Cheadle), informs them about the intense storm that manifested on the planet and wiped out his fellow crew members, but the storm is much more complex than originally understood. It is up to the rescue crew to bring Graham back home and gather information about the mysterious storm that caused such devastation.
Movies Like Interstellar: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Acclaimed filmmaker Steven Spielberg has written and directed a number of science-fiction movies in his lifetime, most notably E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Roy Leary (Richard Dreyfuss) leads an ordinary life as an electrical lineman in Indiana. When widespread power outages affect his town, Leary goes out to investigate the power lines, when he experiences a sudden shower of intense light around him. Obsessed with the encounter he experienced, Leary goes to great lengths to determine what happened to him and what forces exist beyond his understanding.
Movies Like Interstellar: Red Planet
In the year 2056, planet Earth is nearly uninhabitable due to environmental issues caused by pollution and overpopulation. Humanity’s only chance at survival is to colonize Mars, so a team of astronauts lead a mission to the planet to determine if the conditions on Mars are sufficient to support human life. When their spacecraft is damaged after an explosion, the group must work together to survive while maintaining their sanity. Though the film didn’t garner much commercial appreciation upon its release, it has had a lasting impact that makes viewers ponder their own mortality and greater existential thoughts, similar to Interstellar.
Movies Like Interstellar: Dune
The legacy of David Lynch’s 1984 film, Dune, is felt to this day, with a cult-following among fans and, most recently, a revitalised adaptation released in 2021. The film centres on rival families, the Atreides and the Harkonnens, as they fight for control of Arrakis, a planet that is abundant in melange, a drug that gives inhabitants the ability to time travel. Main character Paul Atreides is the son of Duke Leto, who was killed by Baron Harkonnen. Now, he must fill his father’s footsteps and fight for the survival of his family while finding his own purpose as a leader of the people.
Movies Like Interstellar: Edge of Tomorrow
In Interstellar, Cooper is able to travel through time to reach his dearest loved ones and potentially manipulate the sequence of events that lead to his journey to space. In Edge of Tomorrow, time exists in a loop, where Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is forced to relive the same day over and over again. When aliens invade London, Cage is enlisted to fight against them, dying within minutes of his battle. To his shock, however, he wakes up and realises that he is reliving that same day. With this knowledge, Cage tries to change the trajectory of events each day to defeat the aliens.
Movies Like Interstellar: Journey to the Center of the Earth
While Interstellar focuses on the unknown and space exploration, Journey to the Center of the Earth centres on what lies underneath our Earth’s surface. Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser) is a volcanologist who, outside of his job, is on a journey to find his missing brother. After discovering a series of notes left behind by his brother, Max, he travels to his last known destination and falls into a hole leading him to the center of Earth. Mystical and imaginative, Journey to the Center of the Earth explores a world outside of space and inside our own planet.
Movies Like Interstellar: Life
A recurring theme in several science-fiction movies that centre on space is the consequence of human curiosity in unfamiliar spaces. Life follows a crew of astronauts on the International Space Station as they research and investigate evidence of extraterrestrial life in soil found on Mars. When they bring the organism found in the soil to life, the organism quickly forms into a creature and the group must deal with the consequences of this unknown creature being revitalised. Not only do they have to worry about their own survival, but they also have to contain and kill the creature before it reaches Earth.
Movies Like Interstellar: Tenet
The fluidity and construction of time is a recurring theme in several Christopher Nolan movies. It is present in Interstellar and in Nolan’s 2020 film, Tenet. An unnamed CIA agent (John David Washington) is tasked with an incredibly heavy mission: to travel through time and prevent the onset of World War III. The world is on the brink of a third world war due to the evil motives of Russian oligarch Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh), who is dying of cancer. Due to his billionaire status, Sator selfishly believes that he should be exempt from suffering and wants the rest of the world to pay for his suffering, creating a nuclear bomb to wipe out all of humanity.
Movies Like Interstellar: After Earth
Featuring father-son duo Will and Jaden Smith, After Earth looks into the depths of love between parent and child, similar to Interstellar. After returning from a tour, Gen. Cypher Raige (Will Smith) takes his son Kitai (Jaden Smith) on his last working assignment before retirement. While on the ship, an asteroid storm damages their spaceship and forces it to crash on Earth. As a result of the accident, Cypher is left with severe injuries, leaving young Kitai to find the necessary tools on the unfamiliar planet to keep them alive. In unknown territory, the bond between family will keep them alive.
Movies Like Interstellar: Transcendence
Researcher Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is determined to create artificial intelligence capable of expressing human emotions. His insatiable desire to discover the unknown and expand the human mind has consequences in his life and closest relationships, including with his wife and best friend. When there is an attempt to kill Dr. Caster by the opposition, his, wife Evelyn Caster (Rebecca Hall), and best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany) transfer his consciousness to an AI system, but their actions soon backfire. Whether or not Caster can be contained in an AI system and what he’ll have the power to do once in there are unclear.
Movies Like Interstellar: A Wrinkle in Time
In Interstellar, the idea of time travel isn’t far fetched; in fact, it’s accessible through a wormhole. Though not as science fiction-y as Interstellar, Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time, based on the 1962 novel of the same name, dives into this subject in a lighthearted way. Thirteen-year-old Meg Murray (Storm Reid) struggles in life after the disappearance of her astrophysicist father, Dr. Alexander Murray (Chris Pine). One night, three magical women appear to Meg’s brother, Charles (Deric McCabe), and reveal that they want to help the two find their lost father. The three, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which, take Meg and Charles on a journey through time to find Dr. Murray and reveal what happened to him.
Movies Like Interstellar: Stowaway
MTS-42 is a mission that is focused on determining if human life can be sustained on Mars. Led by Commander Marina Barnett (Toni Collette), the crew of the mission go on a journey to the distant planet only to find that there is a stowaway on their spaceship. The stowaway ultimately destroys their oxygen supply, and the group are left with a moral dilemma – deciding which of the members are worthy of life and which one has to die. If you like your space dramas with a side of ethical questioning, this movie is sure to make you think.
Movies Like Interstellar: Mr. Nobody
Told in two different storylines, Mr. Nobody examines the implications of our decisions and how even small choices can affect life as we know it. In 2092, Nemo Nobody (Jared Leto) is the last mortal human on Earth, with advances in technology giving all other humans the ability to be immortal. When reflecting on his life, Nemo finds that he has conflicting memories of how he grew up and who his parents were, making him question the limitations of time and human existence. If you’ve ever wondered about immortality and the limitations of memory, you’ll enjoy the questions raised in this movie.