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This Saturday, July 20th, marks the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. BBC America is celebrating on the eve of the anniversary with Wonders of the Moon, premiering on Friday, July 19 at 10/9c. On the anniversary itself, you can look for Moon Landing Live at 9/8c.

In the meantime, one small step for man… is eight moon-inspired movies for mankind:

1.  A Trip to the Moon (1902)

In 1902, Georges Méliès directed and starred in A Trip to the Moon. This was over sixty years prior to the actual moon landing. The French film follows a group of astronomers on an expedition to the Moon. It starts off pretty straightforward with them exploring the surface, but when they run into inhabitants called Selenites… their trip takes a turn.

2. Destination Moon (1950) 

In the 1950 film Destination Moon a group of scientists and military officers fight for the U.S. to be the first country to send a rocket to the Moon. The group is successful… but, once there, we hear an astronaut say, “We’re stuck here. Who got me here? I didn’t want to come.” Oh boy, that is some serious doom and gloom. Let’s hope things turn around, for his sake.

3. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey premiered in 1968, one year prior to the Moon landing. It follows Dr. Heywood Floyd (William Sylvester) on a trip to an intergalactic space station, which calls for a layover on the Moon. The planet is fully functioning with an outpost and even Moonbuses for transport. Kubrick not only took us to the moon but also introduced video chat and tablets, long before they were actually invented.

4. Moontrap (1989) 

In 1989’s Moontrap, Colonel Jason Grant (Walter Koenig) discovers an abandoned spaceship, containing a pod and mummified human body. He brings the artifacts back to Earth and it’s revealed they originated on the Moon. When the pod takes on a life of its own, becoming a killing machine, Grant rockets back to the Moon to search for ways to destroy his “souvenirs.”

5. Apollo 13 (1995)

Ron Howard‘s 1995 Apollo 13 is a docudrama, detailing a mission to the Moon that had to be aborted because of an on-board explosion. Rather than pursuing a landing, it becomes a story of survival. The film stars Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise and Kevin Bacon.

6. In the Shadow of the Moon (2007)

2007’s In the Shadow of the Moon is a documentary examines what really happened on NASA’s Apollo missions. The movie includes footage and materials that had not been opened in over 30 years. You can also look for interviews with Apollo-era astronauts including Al Bean, Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, John Young, David Scott, Charlie Duke, Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt.

7. Moon (2009)

In Duncan Jones‘ 2009 movie Moon we meet astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), who is stranded on the Moon. He’s all by himself and the isolation is getting to him, because he admittedly is talking to himself. We then meet… another Sam Bell. It’s not clear if there are actually two men, or if one is a clone, or, a hallucination. The men tolerate each other’s company while they wait to be rescued.

8. First Man (2018) 

It only seems right to round out this list with 2018’s First Man, the story of Neil Armstrong and what it took to get to the Moon. The biopic stars Ryan Gosling as the famed astronaut with Claire Foy as his supportive wife, Janet, who played a major role in making sure her husband was prepared for the mission before him.

Bonus: And while not a movie, we’ll leave you with Frank Sinatra‘s “Fly Me to the Moon.”

Do you have a new respect for the Moon at this point!?

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Filed Under: #SpaceWeek, Moon Landing
By Brigid Brown