The 10 Best Movies About The Moon

On the night of August 11, 2023, Russia sent a space station to the Moon for the first time in 47 years, and on August 19, it crashed on the surface of the satellite. If you have been following the fate of Luna-25 with bated breath, continue to follow the flight of the Indian Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft. Perhaps you also began to dream of one day visiting the Earth’s natural satellite yourself (who knows, in the role of a tourist or a colonist), then we suggest watching several films, the events of which unfold on the Moon or on the way to it. By the way, they began to be filmed almost immediately after the advent of cinematography.

A Trip to the Moon

Year: 1902
Country: France
Director: Georges Méliès
IMDb: 8.2

A Trip to the Moon is a black-and-white silent film by French director Georges Méliès and one of the earliest examples of cinema. The film tells the story of a group of scientists who go to the Moon in a special capsule. They travel through outer space, overcome various obstacles and dangers, and when they arrive on the Moon, they encounter unusual creatures and the mysterious atmosphere of an unknown world.

Based on Jules Verne’s science fiction novels From the Earth to the Moon in 97 Hours and 20 Minutes and Around the Moon, the eight-minute (at 12 frames per second) film, released in 1902, became a reference point for the visual effects and visualization of the fantastic storyline for many years to come, and inspired many future directors. The film demonstrated the possibilities of cinema in the field of creating fantastical worlds and immersing the audience in an adventurous atmosphere. Today, this movie is considered a classic and a masterpiece of silent cinema. When making the film, Méliès used the techniques of stunt cinema’s impressive special effects for their time, such as the revival of objects, the illusion of weightlessness, and “explosions” on the surface of the Moon.

The First Men in the Moon

Year: 1919
Country: United Kingdom
Director: Bruce Gordon and J.Lay
IMDb: 6.9

This film is now considered lost – there is almost only one frame left of it (this one), and, of course, there is no trailer.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Another classic film of the black-and-white silent film era is the 1901 British adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel The First Men on the Moon, filmed in 1919.

“The First Men on the Moon” became an important stage in the development of the science fiction genre in cinema, among other things, because it allowed the audience to get in touch with the idea of exploration and conquest of space and imagine what the future of humanity beyond Earth could be like. The film, like the novel, captivated contemporaries so much that in 1964 and 2010, British remakes of this story were released, directed by Nathan Juran and Damon Thomas, respectively. Their plots generally repeated Wells’s novel, but, for example, in Juran’s version, the ending was taken from another work of the writer – “War of the Worlds”: the death of the lunar civilization there occurs from terrestrial viruses.

Girl in the Moon

Year: 1929
Country: Germany
Director: Fritz Lang
IMDb: 7.2

As the reader has already noticed, the singing films on the “moon” theme were often film adaptations. Similarly, Woman on the Moon, a 1929 film directed by German director Fritz Lang that was another revolutionary step in the history of cinema and science fiction, was based on the fantasy novel by Thea von Harbou, the author of the script for the legendary film Metropolis and Lang’s wife at the time.

In Woman on the Moon, we see a group of scientists, engineers, and adventurers who rush to Earth’s satellite in search of rare minerals. Their adventures include launching a rocket, overcoming gravitational challenges, and interacting with mysterious creatures that inhabit the Moon.

The visuals and daring shots were impressive for their time: in particular, director Fritz Lang used cutting-edge technology to create a realistic representation of a trip to the Moon. “The Woman on the Moon” laid the foundations for future films about space travel and became a kind of monument, or artifact, to the history of the development of the film genre of science fiction.

Cosmic Journey

Year: 1935
Country: USSR
Director: Vasily Zhuravlev
IMDb: 6.9

The 1935 Space Flight, directed by Soviet director Vasily Zhuravlev, is one of the first full-length films about space travel. It’s still a black-and-white silent movie, but it’s ambitious. The film shows the exciting adventures of the heroes in space and their encounters with unexplored worlds.

The film tells the story of three brave astronauts who go to the Moon and Mars in search of new knowledge. They overcome many difficulties and dangers, see incredible landscapes, and encounter strange life forms in space. “Space Flight” recreates the atmosphere of a time when the very field of exploration of the universe was emerging, and the dream of flying into space was unattainable. The visual effects of the film allowed contemporaries to plunge into the fascinating and incredible world of space. This is the first Soviet film about space; it made a great contribution to the development of the science fiction genre in our country.

Destination Moon

Year: 1950
Country: USA
Director: Irving Pichel
IMDb: 6.3

And what about the “moon” cinema in America? “Destination Moon” (1950) is the first full-length color and voice-over film in our selection, dedicated to adventures on the Earth’s only natural satellite. It is the first color feature for the entire American sci-fi genre.

Based on the novel by American science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein, “The Galileo Rocket Ship,” “The Destination Moon” tells the story of a group of enthusiastic scientists who set out to build a rocket that would take them to the Moon. After years of hard work, they succeed. However, freed from the force of gravity, astronauts face the threat of complete equipment failure and other joys of the absence of gravity. However, the main unpleasant discovery awaits them already on the Moon. Upon arrival at their destination, the team realizes with horror that they have no fuel left for the way home.

From the Earth to the Moon

Year: 1958
Country: USA
Director: Byron Haskin
IMDb: 5.1

The events of another American film on the “moon” theme, “From the Earth to the Moon” (1958), unfolded immediately after the American Civil War, that is, around the 60s of the 19th century. According to the plot of the film, immediately after the end of the war in Baltimore, enthusiasts organize the Cannon Club. One of these brave men, gunsmith Impy Barbicane, is inspired by the idea of creating a cannon whose projectile could reach the Moon. An interesting detail: preliminary calculations give Barbicane confidence to assert that the technology of the time was quite capable of building such a gun. Further, Barbicane manages to attract the attention of the whole world to his idea and raise several million dollars for a large-scale project (this is about 18 times more than today’s US dollars).

Like the plot of “A Trip to the Moon” in 1902, the plot of “From the Earth to the Moon” is based on the novel by Jules Verne, but the action is transferred to realities closer in time and more understandable to the average American. And Byron Haskin’s film, unlike Georges Méliès’s early masterpiece, is a work of color and sound.

The Mouse on the Moon

Year: 1963
Country: United Kingdom
Director: Richard Lester
IMDb: 6.3

The 1963 British comedy Mouse on the Moon, directed by American director Richard Lester, is an ironic look at the “lunar” and, more broadly, space fever that swept the world in the 1960s.

The plot of the film revolves around a fictional microstate, the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, which is threatened with financial ruin due to problems with its only export commodity, wine: the current harvest turns out to be unfit for drinking. The country’s prime minister then decides to turn to the United States for a loan to finance his participation in the moon race ostensibly, but in reality, to save the duchy. Since no one from Grand Fenwick is going to the Moon, the Prime Minister asks a local scientist to set off a small explosion during the “launch” of the rocket to make it look like they actually spent the money as planned and promised.

You’ll find out how the launch will go from the film – be sure to watch it because Lester managed to masterfully mix elements of parody, political satire, and science fiction and show the absurdity and sometimes absurdity of political decisions and the scale of corruption in the pursuit of prestige and victories.

A Grand Day Out with Wallace and Gromit

Year: 1989
Country: United Kingdom
Director: Nick Park
IMDb: 7.7

“Picnic on the Moon” is the second cartoon in the series of clay shorts “The Incredible Adventures of Wallace and Gromit,” directed by the British Nick Park in 1989 and telling the adventures of the extravagant inventor Wallace and his very intelligent dog Gromit.

According to the plot of this particular cartoon, one night, a big cheese lover, Wallace, and his dog, Gromit, are thinking about how they should spend the weekend. We decided that we should go to a place where there was a lot of cheese, especially since the supply of cheese at home had just run out. It quickly turns out that in Nick Park’s universe, the Moon is made of cheese, so Wallace builds a rocket, and the friends take off.

When they arrive on the Moon, they have a picnic there and taste moon cheese. Along the way, Wallace and Gromit accidentally wake up a lunar “automaton robot” who has a long-held dream of visiting a ski resort on Earth. You can find out how your friends’ adventures end by watching the short film – you will spend less than half an hour on it.

Apollo 13

Year: 1995
Country: USA
Director: Ron Howard
IMDb: 7.7

Ron Howard’s Hollywood blockbuster Apollo 13, starring Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon, released in 1995, is inspired by real events and tells the story of a mission to the Moon that turned into a struggle for astronauts to survive and return home.

In Apollo 13, viewers follow the fate of astronauts Jim Lavelle, Fred Hayes, and Jack Swigert, who set off on a third mission with the goal of landing on the Moon. When their ship encounters technical problems, the goal of the mission changes – now, the heroes will have to fight for survival.

Howard’s film explores the courage and determination of man in extreme conditions, as well as the ability of the professional community — in this case, aerospace professionals — to mobilize efforts on Earth to bring astronauts back.

Apollo 13 combines dramatic tension with visual effects that are impressive for the mid-90s (the film won two Academy Awards for Best Sound and Best Editing) and also surprises with the accuracy in the details of recreating events.


Release year: 2009
Country: United Kingdom
Director: Duncan Jones
IMDb: 7.8

Released in 2009, British director Duncan Jones’ chamber sci-fi drama Moon 2112 is a kind of meditation on human identity and loneliness in space, referring to such masterpieces of the genre and cinema as a whole, such as Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris.

Luna 2112 takes viewers to a future in which Earth’s resources are running low, causing humanity to turn its gaze to the Moon in search of a solution to its many problems. Lone astronaut Sam Bell, played by Sam Rockwell, spends the last weeks of his three-year shift at the lunar base, an automated station for the extraction of rare gas. Two weeks before the end of his contract and return to Earth, Bell must meet his replacement, and this meeting will change his life forever, questioning the astronaut’s very awareness and understanding of his own identity.

In his film, Duncan Jones explores the psychological features of being alone for a long time in a confined space, the desire of a person to understand his past and place in the universe, as well as the nuances of the possible consequences of the influence of artificial intelligence and other high technologies on humanity.

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