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The 1990s were the golden years. ‘Cinnamon Mini Buns’ cereal was still around. Everyone’s favorite kind of jam was Space Jam. And Bill Clinton was or was not having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. Really — what’s not to love about the ’90s?
Click here to see 15 Star-Quality Recipes from Famous '90s Movies (Slideshow)
The decade was an important time for Hollywood, too. Director Quentin Tarantino was the new big thing. Julia Roberts was the romantic-comedy queen. And neither Macaulay Culkin nor Lindsay Lohan was on drugs — yet.
If you’re from the millennial generation, chances are, your fondest film nostalgia dates back to the last decade of the 20th century. Of course, when your favorite videotapes are beginning to fossilize and even your DVD player is starting to look outdated, how are you suppose to take a trip down memory lane?
We have an idea — and guess what? It has to do with food.
While movies from the food film genre get the most culinary cred — be it ramen from Tampopo (1985), boeuf bourguignon from Julie & Julia (2009), or ratatouille from, er, Ratatouille (2007) — we think some of cinema’s best food scenes are actually from films that, on the surface, have nothing to do with cooking.
Take When Harry Met Sally as an example. This 1989 Nora Ephron classic about best friends falling in love arguably includes one of the most famous scenes in cinema history about a turkey sandwich. (We’d more likely moan over Katz’s pastrami, but that’s neither here nor there). To this day, the iconic New York deli still hangs a sign above the table where the scene was shot: “When Harry Met Sally…. Hope you have what she had! Enjoy!”
Similarly, one of the most famous movie scenes about pasta comes from another romantic-comedy — and an animated one at that. Surely, you already know what we’re referencing: the spaghetti scene from Disney’s Lady and the Tramp. It’s been almost 60 years since this classic premiered and still, noodles have never seemed more sentimental.
To our disappointment, however, movies don’t come with recipes. What gives, right? As the silver screen’s characters enjoy Hollywood-styled sustenance, we’re stuck with greasy popcorn and overpriced candy. Where’s the justice?
Taking Katz’s lead, we think the best way to reunite with our favorite ’90s characters is to “have what they’re having.” So put on your jean jacket, dig that VCR out of the attic, and start up the stove. Inspired by iconic food scenes, we’ve collected 15 recipes to take you back to the “phattest” years of your life: from Tarantino’s famous Big Kahuna Burger to Parent Trap-style homemade Oreos (with peanut butter!). The results are even more enticing than Cinnamon Mini Buns cereal — a standard that we, of course, take very, very seriously.
Find out what was popular when your parents were kids, or take a nostalgic trip down memory lane from your own childhood:
Developed as a car accessory to give drivers an alternate to listening to radio stations so they could listen to their own song selections. Motorola manufactured the first players, which were installed in Ford automobiles. Many record companies were quick to put many of their artists on the new format, but by the mid 1970s, most record labels had stopped producing music in 8-Track tape format because the quality was not good and they were bulky and inconvenient. Cassette tapes and vinyl records replaced 8-Tracks by the late 1970s.
When you would shoot it, the cork would pop out and hit your assailant.
Extremely short, form-fitting, denim cut-off shorts worn by young women, originally in the American South. They were named after the character Daisy Duke (portrayed by actress Catherine Bach) in the American television series , The Dukes of Hazzard.
4. Dashboard Hula Girls
A small hula girl doll that attached to your car dashboard and danced when the car moved.Made popular by California surfers.
Saturday Night Fever (John Travolta), ABBA, Donna Summer, The Village People, Dance Fever, Bee Gees, and The Jackson Five.
Earth Shoes were designed to promote a natural and healthier way of walking. Wearing the shoes would result in a better posture and help with back pain and breathing.
When feeling insecure or unhappy with your life, people would have others just verbally abuse and degrade them until you felt worthless. Then they would be rebuilt and reborn as a useful member of society. Basic tenets of EST is (Erhard Seminars Training), a therapy developed by an encyclopedia salesman named Warner Erhard. His first training sessions were held in a small apartment, soon to take place in the conference rooms of expensive hotels.
8. Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific
A popular shampoo that makes your hair smell 'terrific' after you used it.
Popularized in Hawaii as well as other surf towns by the surfers.
A hit TV show about life in the 1950s. Fonzie was a James Dean type ultra cool guy who rode a motorcycle and could always get a date.
11. Mexican Jumping Beans
In 1974, the United States was in the midst of a national fuel crisis due to the OPEC oil embargo. Travelers were forced to wait in lines for hours just to get a tank of gas. Most cars to that point were not very fuel-efficient and people looked for a new method of transportation, which could allow them to travel efficiently and reasonably.
The moped, which was half bicycle / half motorcycle had existed for years in Europe but had not made it to the United States, in part because of safety restrictions implemented by the Department of Transportation. In 1972, Serge Seguin of France wrote his Masters thesis on the European moped. After receiving two mopeds and a small amount of money from a company called Motobecane, Seguin traveled throughout the United States promoting the vehicle. After lobbying Congress on its fuel efficiency benefits, Seguin was able to get more than 30 states to devise a specific vehicle classification for the bikes. The bikes had very small engines and often could not exceed 40 miles per hours. What they could do, however, was run for up to 220 miles on one tank of gas. Because of the problems caused by the aforementioned energy crisis, mopeds caught on like wildfire, with more than 250,000 people in the United States owning one in 1977. Alas, as gas prices eventually moved down and automobile companies devised more efficient cars, the mopeds popularity and usefulness began to fade.
More than a million people bought Pet Rocks as Christmas gifts in 1975. Gary Dahl, of Los Gatos, California, had the idea while joking with friends about his easy-to-care-for pet, a rock. This pet ate nothing and didn't bark or chew the furniture. Pet Rocks were sold with a funny manual that included tips on how to handle an excited rock and how to teach it tricks. By 1976, Gary Dahl was a millionaire and Pet Rocks were the nation's favorite pet.
14. Rocky Horror Picture Show
For well over 25 years, fans have flocked to midnight screenings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The original movie came out in 1973 as a British musical. It was then turned into a motion picture, which was released around the time of the dying our glam rock scene. Then, it was to be screened "only" at midnight, later the decision turned out to be a stroke of genius. Midnight movie going had become popular among young film buffs and turned the movie into an instant cult classic.
15. Star Wars Action Figures
After the popular Star Wars movies there was a cult following with many fans who couldn't get enough of their favorite characters. Many youths started collecting action figures of Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and more.
People started the craze of taking off all their clothes and running across the field at major sporting events. A streaker ran across the stage of the Oscars in 1973 while it was being broadcast live on TV. There was even a 1970's song written about streakers called "The Streaker". Streaking was popular for only a couple years and soon faded, probably because people were being arrested for streaking.
Considered to be pop art, this fad was a challenge. You could choose from a variety of unassembled kits ranging from ships to animals. The kits included a board (often covered in black velvet), nails, and enough string that had to be wound around the nails as instructed. They took many hours to complete and could hung on the wall as a conversation piece.
Revolution began with Pong in 1972, which spawned Atari (1978) and those little hand-held football games.
19. Trans Am automobiles
A muscle car that became popular after the movie Smokey & the Bandit which starred Burt Reynolds and Sally Field.
They looked like a top and you could roll the tip across the floor to get just the tip spinning and then set it down and watch it go.
15 Movie Quotes About Food That’ll Make You Hungry
Movie quotes are fun, but they’re even more fun when they’re about food. We live and breathe food here at Spoon, so it only makes sense that we’re going to quote movies by following this theme. Ranging from cinematic classics to early 2000’s teenage dramas, these quotes are sure to make you laugh, reminisce on some of your old favorite films, or reach for a snack. Enjoy.
1. Parent Trap
Photo courtesy of theodysseyonline.com
This movie is pure cinematic gold. We were blessed with two pre-teen Lindsay Lohans, an exciting summer camp, a very flawed plan to bring these twins’ parents back together, and the most epic handshake of all time.
The scene where Hallie and Annie are trapped in the isolation cabin and bond over peanut butter and Oreos is what everyone secretly wishes would happen at sleep-away camp: delicious food and a long-lost twin? Score. Try these Oreo recipes for some Parent Trap-inspired fun.
2. Mean Girls
GIF courtesy of bdawnfit.com
Because this line is a little more appropriate than “is your muffin buttered?” Mean Girls taught us the rules of female friendships, which go beyond wearing pink on Wednesdays to supporting each other and putting slut-shaming on mute. That is so fetch.
3. She’s the Man
Let’s take a moment to throw it back to Amanda Bynes’s acting days. She’s the Man challenged gender roles and social norms, and we watched Viola try to please her debutant mother. Viola’s love of Gouda cheese and secret crush on Duke (Channing Tatum) make this movie a must-see.
GIF courtesy of uk.pinterest.com
This is arguably one of the most quotable movies of our time. Buddy the Elf is bound to put you in the holiday spirit no matter what time of year it is, and his sugary diet is one for the books. If you want to take notes from Buddy on how to incorporate sugar into each meal, check out these ways to eat candy for breakfast. True health.
5. Napoleon Dynamite
2004 was a great year for ligers, solo dance performances, and tater tots. Napoleon taught us to do “whatever we feel like, gosh,” and to be true to ourselves. Learn how to up your tater tot game with this bacon grilled cheese recipe.
6. Forrest Gump
Photo courtesy of iconicinspiration.com
Truth be told I’ve never actually seen Forrest Gump — I know, I know I’m way behind on my movie watching — but I have still heard this line tossed around in everyday speech. If you’re inspired to make your own bite-size chocolate goodies, try out some dark chocolate avocado truffles. You’ll know exactly what you’re going to get.
7. A Cinderella Story
Photo courtesy of lovelyish.com
Hilary Duff slayed in this modern day twist on the classic fairy tale Cinderella. Hilz plays Sam, who is taught and then teaches others what it really means to be true to yourself. She doesn’t put up with that mean clique trying to tear her down, or her stepmom who replaces the cozy diner Sam’s father owned with tacky decorations, sushi and donuts.
8. High School Musical
GIF courtesy of playbuzz.com
And we can’t forget his créme brûlée. “It’s a creamy, custard-like filling with a caramelized surface.” We support you and your baking, Zeke, and encourage you to keep challenging that status quo.
9. Finding Nemo
GIF courtesy of reddit.com
An important message. Bruce proves to all of us how important willpower is, and there is no denying the animated masterpiece that is Finding Nemo. If this quote ironically made you crave some sushi, learn how to master it in 60 minutes.
10. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
A childhood cartoon classic. Snow White challenges the idea that “an apple a day will keep the doctor away.” But, ya know, maybe you’ll get your prince charming. So eating a poisoned apple could be worth it??
Photo courtesy of quirkyjones.wordpress.com
Juno and Bleeker are actually a perfect couple. However awkward they are individually, they work when they’re together. Through pregnancy and the adoption process, we wind up with a happy couple who goes together like mac and cheese.
Photo courtesy of hlntv.com
“Ogres have layers, onions have layers… you get it? We both have layers.” To be fair, I would probably snap at Donkey if I had to travel far, far away with him for days on end, too. You can’t deny, though, that everybody loves a parfait.
13. Miss Congeniality
GIF courtesy of tumblr.com
Sandra Bullock is hangry. You’re not you when you’re hungry. Have a Snickers. Or take notes from Gracie Hart and pack some doughnuts in your bra before you de-bomb a pageant show. Either works.
14. Ice Age
Please buff up on your movie knowledge if you didn’t recognize this one. Ice Age is one of my favorite movies, and I quote it at every opportunity that I have. With summer not so far away, it’s time to stuff yourself with melons. Or opt for some honeydew mojitos — your choice.
15. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Photo courtesy of twitter.com/PotterMemory
Never stop eating. Ron knows that in times of stress, sometimes eating in the best option. Plus, a bottemless buffet in the Great Hall sounds too good to pass up.
1957-1960: German chocolate cake
German chocolate cake isn't actually German, says NPR, and was instead named for Sam German, the creator of a sweet baking chocolate aptly called German's Chocolate. Even though the chocolate hit the market in 1852, it wasn't until 1957 that it became hugely popular — and German himself had nothing to do it with. When a Texas baker sent her chocolate cake recipe to a Dallas newspaper, people tried making it for themselves and absolutely loved it. German's sweet baking chocolate was the key ingredient, and the cake was so popular their sales rose around 73 percent.
Chefs Tell Us Where To Find The Best Steak In The Country
How you order and eat your steak is more than a matter of preference. It’s also an indicator of taste and personal development. If you wanna argue about that, seek out someone who prefers well-done New York strip with a side of ketchup. On one hand, your meat, your rules. On the other, both the overcooking and the condiments mask the taste of some really fine aged beef, so it’s like buying $300 jeans and spray painting them. Why go to the expense in the first place?
There are all sorts of unspoken rules that pervade the steakhouse experience. Most people stick to medium-rare orders. But, savvy connoisseurs know tougher cuts ― like tri-tip, hangar, flank, skirt steak, and flap steak ― need time for their fibers to loosen up. Those need to be cooked past medium-rare. Knowing things like that, or that filet mignon is best not ordered on its own because it lacks flavor, mark you as an insider. And touching steak sauce is an affront, one that leaves jaded servers making meaningful eye contact with one another to signal yet another meat rube in the dining room.
Everything I know about steak, I learned on television under the tutelage of culinary personalities — watching people get dragged for their violations. I am not in a position to give you the definitive cut and temperature for the cultured carnivore. However, I do know a lot of really fine chefs, so I contacted them and asked about the best steaks they’ve ever ordered. Check out their answers, luxuriate in some beef porn, and hop into the comments to tell me that the best steak in the world is the one that you make. You know you want to.
Hawaii Volcano House (Hawaii National Park, HI)
Chef Erica Abell — Chef, Boneyard Bistro
I stayed in Hawaii a few years back, and almost every night for a week, I dined at the Volcano House and ordered the grilled New York steak, perfectly cooked and paired with a buttery lobster tail and locally grown mushrooms … amazing. It might have just been the island air and the fact that we were sitting, staring at a beautiful star-filled sky with an active volcano glowing in the distance, or it’s just one damn good steak!
Jamie Oliver was born and raised in the village of Clavering in Essex. [ citation needed ] His parents, Trevor and Sally Oliver, ran a pub/restaurant, The Cricketers, where he practised cooking in the kitchen with his parents.  He has one sibling, sister Anne-Marie [ citation needed ] and was educated at Newport Free Grammar School.
He left school at the age of sixteen with two GCSE qualifications in Art and Geology  and went on to attend Westminster Technical College now Westminster Kingsway College.  He then earned a City & Guilds National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in home economics. 
Oliver's first job was a pastry chef at Antonio Carluccio's Neal Street restaurant, where he first gained experience at preparing Italian cuisine, and developed a relationship with his mentor Gennaro Contaldo later in his career Oliver employed Contaldo to help run his collection of high street restaurants, Jamie's Italian.  Oliver moved to The River Café, Fulham as a sous-chef. He was noticed there by the BBC in 1997, after making an unscripted appearance in a documentary about the restaurant, Christmas at the River Cafe. 
In 1999, his BBC show The Naked Chef debuted, and his cookbook became a bestseller in the United Kingdom.  That same year, Oliver was invited to prepare lunch for the then-Prime Minister Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street. 
After three series of Naked Chef programmes (The Naked Chef, Return of the Naked Chef & Happy Days with The Naked Chef) for the BBC, Oliver moved to Channel 4 in the United Kingdom, where his first series was a documentary, Jamie's Kitchen, which followed the setting up of Fifteen restaurant in London. The restaurant, in Westland Place, London continued to train young adults who have a disadvantaged background for careers in the restaurant business until its closure on 21 May 2019.  
In June 2003, Oliver was awarded an MBE for his services to the hospitality industry.  Although it is customary to wear morning dress or a lounge suit for the event, Oliver did not wear a tie with his brown Paul Smith suit, saying: "I like ties but I prefer not to wear one when I am nervous." 
In 2005, Oliver initiated a campaign originally called "Feed Me Better" to move British schoolchildren towards eating healthy foods and cutting out junk food. As a result, the British government also pledged to address the issue. His public campaign for changes in nutrition resulted in people voting him as the "Most Inspiring Political Figure of 2005", according to a Channel 4 News annual viewer poll.  His emphasis on cooking fresh, nutritious food continued as he created Jamie's Ministry of Food, a television series where Oliver travelled to inspire everyday people in Rotherham, Yorkshire, to cook healthy meals. Another television series is Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution (2010–11), where he travelled first to Huntington, West Virginia and then to Los Angeles to change the way Americans eat, and address their dependence on fast food. 
Oliver's holding company, Jamie Oliver Holdings Ltd., earned enough for Oliver to have been listed on The Sunday Times list of richest Britons under 30.  
In December 2009, Oliver received the 2010 TED Prize. 
He hosted Jamie's 15 Minute Meals on Channel 4, which aired for 40 episodes in 2012. 
Oliver is the second-best-selling British author, behind J. K. Rowling, and the best-selling British non-fiction author since records began.  As of February 2019, Oliver has sold more than 14.55 million books, generating just under £180m for the chef. 
Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group Edit
In June 2008, Oliver launched a restaurant, Jamie's Italian, his first high street business venture, in Oxford, England.  At its peak, there were 42 Jamie's Italian restaurants in the UK. The brand was franchised and includes branches in the UAE, Australia (which Oliver part-bought back in November 2016 after its founders went bankrupt),  Canada, Cyprus, Iceland, Ireland, Russia, Turkey, Singapore and Hong Kong.
In January 2017, Chief Executive Simon Blagden announced the closure of six restaurants in the UK affecting 120 jobs, at sites in Aberdeen, Cheltenham, Exeter, Royal Tunbridge Wells, and in London at Ludgate and Richmond. 
In January 2018, as part of an agreement with creditors to secure £71.5M of debt, JORG proposed to enter the UK company Jamie's Italian Ltd into a company voluntary arrangement, seeking rent reductions on eight outlets and closing a further 12 in Bath, Bristol, Bluewater, Chelmsford, Harrogate, Kingston, Milton Keynes, Reading, and St Albans, and Greenwich, Piccadilly and Threadneedle Street in London. As part of the agreement, court papers revealed that Jamie's Italian had debts of £71.5m, including £2.2m in wages owed to staff £30.2m of overdrafts and loans £41.3m owed to landlords, HM Revenue and Customs, suppliers and other creditors with £47m of the debts covered by loans from HSBC Bank and Oliver's other companies.   
In 2009, Oliver's chain of cooking school/delis, Recipease, opened in several locations in the UK including Brighton, Battersea, and Notting Hill in London. By the end of 2015, all stores had been closed.
In 2011, Oliver set up Barbecoa, a barbecued meat-based restaurant with his friend, American barbecue expert Adam Perry Lang. There were two outlets, both in London, one in Piccadilly and a second in St Pauls. In 2014 the Piccadilly outlet voluntarily closed for 24 hours after hygiene inspectors gave it the second-lowest rating. The Times reported they had found mouse droppings, mouldy carcasses and out-of-date meat.  In February 2018, JORG confirmed that they had "instructed a firm of real estate agents to ascertain the potential value and market suitability of two of our sites".  On 19 February 2018, Barbecoa Ltd went into administration, with Oliver immediately buying back the St Paul's site in a pre-packed agreement via a new subsidiary. 
The group went into administration on 21 May 2019 with 22 of 25 restaurants closed and 1,000 jobs lost.  Jamie's Italian restaurants and Jamie Oliver's Diner at Gatwick Airport continued operations until they were sold to catering company SSP. Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall at Watergate Bay, as well as 61 overseas locations and the catering services operated by Aramark in the U.S., are all operated by franchisees so they were unaffected. 
In January 2020, KPMG, the firm administrators, said that most of the £80 million Jamie Oliver's restaurant chain owed after its collapse in May 2019 will not be recovered. Hundreds of suppliers, as well as some town councils, will bear the brunt of the losses.  In 2020 an employment tribunal ruled that Oliver's restaurants broke labour laws by failing to consult employees prior to making them redundant.  
From June 2000, Oliver became the public face of the Sainsbury's supermarket chain in the UK, appearing on television and radio advertisements and in-store promotional material. The deal earned him an estimated £1.2 million every year, although neither J. Sainsbury nor Oliver has ever discussed the exact figure.   By 2004, the company had made 65 advertisements with him, but the arrangement was not without controversy. Oliver was reported to have admitted that he does not use supermarkets, despite regularly having "product placement" in his early TV series.
He criticised Sainsbury's CEO Justin King when Oliver slammed the "junk" sold by supermarkets that ends up in the lunchboxes of millions of children. King reportedly hit back, saying: "Dictating to people—or unleashing an expletive-filled tirade—is not the way to get engagement."  In July 2011, after eleven years, the partnership between Oliver and Sainsbury's ended. The final television advertisement was for Christmas 2011. 
Oliver also markets a line of non-stick pans and cookware for Tefal and has appeared in Australian television commercials for Yalumba wines, using Del Boy's catchphrase of "Lovely Jubbly". 
In August 2013, Oliver and Canadian supermarket chain Sobeys announced a partnership in improving nationwide nutrition and advertising campaigns.  In October 2013, he began a partnership with the Australian chain Woolworths Supermarkets on a series of better nutrition initiatives and advertising campaigns. 
In January 2016, Oliver and HelloFresh, an international meal kit subscription service, announced a partnership to incorporate his recipes to the weekly subscription deliveries. Customers receive one recipe written by Jamie Oliver with all the exact ingredients and steps for the dish. HelloFresh also agreed to the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation per Meal Box in addition to supporting other Foundation activities. 
In September 2018, Oliver created a series of recipes and tips for Tesco and participated in the promotion of the company's food products. 
In 2005, Oliver was widely criticised by animal rights groups for slaughtering a lamb on his TV show without first stunning it, with PETA stating that it showed to the public problems with the methods used within slaughterhouses. PETA spokesman Sean Gifford said that it was hoped the footage "could turn the more die-hard carnivore into a vegetarian". British TV regulator Ofcom reported seven complaints from the public. 
Oliver has been known for his comments about other chefs and has spoken out against Marco Pierre White, who has been critical of Oliver in the past, and the swearing of Gordon Ramsay. 
In 2005, Oliver embarked upon his school dinners campaign to improve the quality of food fed to pupils in schools. While the campaign was arguably successful,  at the time it was a controversial shake-up for students and parents, some of whom believed that the students should have a healthy option available, but still, be given the choice as to what they want to eat.
In 2011, Oliver, an advocate of cooking meals from scratch and using local produce, caused controversy after it turned out the sauces used in Jamie's Italian in Glasgow were from an industrial park almost 400 miles (640 kilometres) away in Bicester.  That same year, he came under fire for lack of food safety protections in his restaurants and illnesses associated with under-cooking mincemeat that may have been contaminated with E. coli. 
Oliver and Gordon Ramsay are spokespeople for the "Big Fish Fight", which campaigns for sustainable seafood, but were criticised for their use of endangered fish.  
Oliver was criticised for underestimating the cost of supposedly cheap food he encouraged poor people to prepare for themselves, also for an unrealistic view of poverty in Britain and round the Mediterranean.  Cookery writer and poverty campaigner Jack Monroe stated that Oliver's comments "support damaging myths that poor people are only poor because they spend their money on the wrong things, rather than being constrained by time, equipment, knowledge or practicalities".  Monroe added, "When I was living on £10 a week for food, because of mistakes with housing benefit payments, I didn't need a hug. I needed a fiver, just to have a little bit more to eat. I didn't need [a trip] to Sicily to see how the street cleaners ate, I needed someone to point out that the 21p can of kidney beans could be the staple ingredient in a nutritious meal. I needed practical advice about what to do with the tins of food given to me by the food bank." 
In 2014, Oliver became the culinary face of Woolworths Supermarkets.  Oliver came under strong criticism over the funding of the advertising surrounding his relationship with the supermarket. 
"Moreover, in this case he is not a spectator but effectively a beneficiary of these demands on our farmers. If he doesn't approve of Woolworths' ethics, he can withdraw from the campaign, and refund his endorsement fee. In the last 12 months, the average vegetable grower has gone from making a small profit to making a loss. In the same 12 months, Mr Oliver's wealth rose by an estimated £90 million. Now we know how."   
In February 2017, Oliver criticised the Red Tractor scheme, earning the ire of farming leaders, such as Minette Batters, the president of the NFU. Oliver said: "Chickens are bred to grow fast with a high ratio of meat to bone, but this makes them heavy so they can struggle to walk. I think people would be shocked by the reality of what we are buying. I personally wouldn’t feed it to my kids."  Batters pointed out that: “There are a lot of people on tight budgets and they must not be disadvantaged in all of this. It is about making sure we can provide quality affordable, safe, traceable food to everybody regardless of budgets, regardless of background.” 
In 2019, Oliver partnered with Royal Dutch Shell to offer a Jamie Oliver Deli by Shell branded range at 500 Shell petrol stations in the UK for £5 million. The deal was criticised as a way to improve their image due to Shell's lack of action on climate change, corruption and bribery allegations and damaged Oliver's image of working in the interests of children and for action on climate change.      
Oliver conceived and established the Fifteen charity restaurant, where he trained disadvantaged young people to work in the hospitality industry. Following the success of the original restaurant in London, more Fifteens have opened around the globe: Fifteen Amsterdam opened in December 2004, Fifteen Cornwall in Newquay in May 2006 and Fifteen Melbourne in September 2006 with an Australian friend and fellow chef Tobie Puttock.  Fifteen Melbourne has since closed, as has Fifteen Cornwall.  
Oliver began a formal campaign to ban unhealthy food in British schools and to get children eating nutritious food instead. Oliver's efforts to bring radical change to the school meals system, chronicled in the series Jamie's School Dinners, challenged the junk-food culture by showing schools they could serve healthy, cost-efficient meals that kids enjoyed eating.  His efforts brought the subject of school dinners to the political forefront and changed the types of food served in schools. 
Oliver's Ministry of Food campaign began in 2008 with the Channel 4 series of the same name and the opening of the first Ministry of Food Centre in Rotherham. More MoF Centres have since opened in Bradford, Leeds, Newcastle/North-East, Stratford (now known as Food Academy) and Alnwick. Ministry of Food Centres and trucks have opened in Australia in Ipswich, near Brisbane and Geelong, Melbourne. State governments in Australia provided funding for these Centres. [ citation needed ]
In December 2009, Oliver was awarded the 2010 TED Prize for his campaigns to "create change on both the individual and governmental levels" to "bring attention to the changes that the English, and now Americans, need to make in their lifestyles and diet".  In 2010, he joined several other celebrity chefs on the series The Big Fish Fight, in which Oliver and fellow chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Gordon Ramsay made a variety of programmes [ clarification needed ] to raise awareness about the discarding of hundreds of thousands of saltwater fish because the fishermen are prohibited from keeping any fish other than the stated target of the trawl.  He is a patron of environmental charity Trees for Cities. 
Oliver's net worth was estimated in 2014 at £240 million. 
On 13 May 2001, Oliver's series The Naked Chef won the BAFTA award for Best Feature at the prestigious 2001 British Academy Television Awards, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, London. 
In June 2003, Oliver was awarded the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.  A proponent of fresh organic foods, Oliver was named the most influential person in the UK hospitality industry when he topped the inaugural Caterersearch.com 100 in May 2005.  The list placed Oliver higher than Sir Francis Mackay, the then-chairman of the contract catering giant Compass Group, which Oliver had soundly criticised in Jamie's School Dinners. In 2006, Oliver dropped to second on the list behind fellow celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.  In July 2010, Oliver regained the top spot and was named as the most powerful and influential person in the UK hospitality industry once again. 
On 21 August 2010, Oliver won an Emmy for Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution at the 62nd Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards. The series tackled the problem of childhood obesity in America. 
In 2013, Oliver was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal College of General Practitioners for his work in tackling childhood obesity by improving the nutritional value of school dinners. 
On 29 October 2015, Oliver was listed by UK-based company Richtopia at number 2 in the list of 100 Most Influential British Entrepreneurs.  
In July 2000, Oliver married former model and writer Juliette Norton, usually known as "Jools".  They have five children.  Poppy Honey Rosie (born 18 March 2002), Daisy Boo Pamela (born 10 April 2003), Petal Blossom Rainbow (born 3 April 2009), Buddy Bear Maurice (born 15 September 2010) & River Rocket Blue Dallas (born 8 August 2016). 
Oliver has severe dyslexia, and read his first novel (Catching Fire) in 2013, at the age of 38. 
In 2015, Oliver told The Times magazine that he had lost 2 stone (28 lb 13 kg) in three months by changing his diet and getting enough sleep. 
During the summer of 2019, Jamie and his family moved into Spains Hall, the 16th century mansion in Finchingfield, Essex. The £6m property is located on a 70-acre estate and includes a six-bedroom farmhouse, three-bedroom lodge, swimming pool, tennis court and converted stables. 
Oliver was chosen by Disney Pixar to provide the British English voice of health inspector in the animated movie "Ratatouille". 
|1999–2001||The Naked Chef||3 series plus 3 specials|
Oliver's first series. The title was a reference to the simplicity of Oliver's recipes and has nothing to do with nudity. Oliver has frequently admitted that he was not entirely happy with the title, which was devised by producer Patricia Llewellyn.
In the UK edit of the show, the opening titles include a clip of him telling an unseen questioner, "No way! It's not me, it's the food!" The success of the programme led to the books "The Naked Chef" (1999) Return of the Naked Chef (2000) and Happy Days with the Naked Chef (2001).
|Pukka Tukka||Channel 4 special (2000)|
|2002||Oliver's Twist||52 episodes|
|Jamie's Kitchen||A five-part 2002 documentary series. It followed Oliver as he attempted to train a group of disadvantaged youths, who would, if they completed the course, be offered jobs at Oliver's new restaurant "Fifteen" in Westland Place, London, N1.|
|2003||Return to Jamie's Kitchen||2 episodes|
|2005||Jamie's School Dinners||A four-part documentary series. Oliver took responsibility for running the kitchen meals in Kidbrooke School, Greenwich, for a year. Disgusted by the unhealthy food being served to schoolchildren and the lack of healthy alternatives on offer, Oliver began a campaign to improve the standard of Britain's school meals. Public awareness was raised and subsequently the British Government pledged to spend £280m on school dinners (spread over three years). Tony Blair acknowledged that this was a result of Oliver's campaign. Following the success of the campaign, Oliver was named "Most Inspiring Political Figure of 2005" in the Channel 4 Political Awards 2006. In episode 2 of Jamie's School Dinners, Oliver's Fifteen London restaurant was visited by former US President Bill Clinton, who asked to see Oliver. Oliver declined. [ why? ] [ clarification needed ] 36 people showed up for a booking of 20 and many of them were on a South Beach Diet and refused the special menu that had been prepared, although it had been approved in advance. |
|Jamie's Great Italian Escape||A six-part travelogue series, was first broadcast on Channel 4 in Britain in October 2005. It follows Oliver as he travels around Italy in a blue VW van (plus a trailer for cooking). He is about to turn 30 and this is his personal adventure to rediscover his love of cooking. |
|2006||Jamie's Kitchen Australia||10 episodes|
|2007||Jamie's Chef||A four-part series continuing where Jamie's Kitchen left off. Five years and fifty trainees later, this series aims to help the winning trainee establish their own restaurant at The Cock, a pub near Braintree, Essex. The charitable Fifteen Foundation retains ownership of the property and has provided a £125,000 loan for the winner, Aaron Craze, to refurbish the establishment. As of 13 January 2008, the Cock has closed down and reopened as a regular pub.  |
|Jamie's Return to School Dinners (2007)||One-off programme which revisits some of the schools from the earlier School Dinners series as well as exploring how rural schools without kitchens can improvise to ensure children get a hot, nutritious meal during the school day. [ citation needed ]|
|Jamie at Home||Featured Oliver presenting home-style recipes and gardening tips, with many ingredients coming from his substantial home garden in Clavering, Essex. Jamie at Home airs on the Food Network in the United States. Due to licensing restrictions, only two recipes from each Jamie at Home episode appear online also, access to recipes is limited to users within the United States. |
|2008||Jamie's Fowl Dinners||A special with Jamie backing Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's "Hugh's Chicken Run" in trying to get the British to eat free range chickens. |
|Jamie's Ministry of Food||A four-part series that aired from 30 September to 21 October 2008  based in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.  Oliver aimed to make the town "the culinary capital of the United Kingdom" and tried to get the town's inhabitants to learn how to cook fresh food and establish healthy eating as part of daily life.  The 'Pass It On' campaign also featured in this series with the local townspeople being taught one of a selection of recipes and passing it on to family members and friends.  The 'Pass It On' campaign gained a following on the social networking website Facebook which has a group and fan page with users signing up to chart their progress. As a result of the series, the first Ministry of Food Centre was set up in Rotherham offering cooking classes to local people. Further Ministry of Food Centres have opened across the UK and in Australia. [ citation needed ]|
|What's Cooking? with Jamie Oliver||Video game|
|2009||Jamie Saves Our Bacon||Part of Channel 4's British Food Fight Season, a thematic sequel to Jamie's Fowl Dinners. In the special, Oliver looks at the state of pig farming in the UK and EU. It was broadcast on 29 January 2009. |
|Jamie's American Road Trip||A Channel 4 series following Oliver in the US, where he meets and learns from cooks at street stalls, off-road diners and down-to-earth local restaurants. Along the way, he picks up new recipes and learns how other cultures adapt when they come to the USA. |
|Jamie's Family Christmas||A short series (5 episodes) on Channel 4 with Oliver cooking traditional and new Christmas dishes. Unusually, the series includes members of Oliver's family: a family member (wife, children, sister etc.) appears in a supporting role with the preparation of particular recipe interspersed with more traditional Jamie alone delivery to an off-camera person. First broadcast 15 December 2009. |
|2010–2011||Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution||A series that aired during 2010 and 2011 on ABC in the United States. In the first season, Oliver visited Huntington, West Virginia, statistically one of the unhealthiest cities in the US, to try to improve its residents' eating habits. In 2010, the show won an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Programme.  In the second season Oliver visited Los Angeles, where his crusade to change school meals was met with resistance. Oliver was ultimately barred from filming at any Los Angeles public school. The show's cancellation was announced by ABC in May 2011, two weeks before the final episode of the season had aired. In one episode it showed what mechanically separated chicken looks like.  The program also aired in the United Kingdom on Channel 4 under the title Jamie's American Food Revolution, Australia on Channel 10 under the original title, and in Malaysia on TLC channel (Astro Channel 707) under the original title.|
|Jamie Does.||A Channel 4 series of 6 episodes following the success of Jamie's American Road Trip. Oliver travels across Europe and North Africa, cooking local dishes. Known as Jamie Oliver's Food Escapes in the US. Countries visited include Morocco, Spain, Greece, France, Italy and Sweden.|
|2010||Jamie's 30-Minute Meals||A Channel 4 series of 40 episodes aired during October–November. The programme focused on home-cooked meals that could be put together within the titular timeframe, using simple, 'not cheffy' techniques, with an emphasis on educating viewers about the cooking processes themselves. |
|Jamie's Best Ever Christmas||Two-part Christmas special. Also broadcast as "Jamie's Kids Best Ever Christmas" in some regions.|
|2011||Jamie's Dream School||A Channel 4 series that looks at young people's educational problems and attempts to uncover whether they are down to personal circumstance, society or the education system itself. It also examines how the new teachers get on as they try to translate their real-life expertise into the realities of the classroom. Professor Robert Winston, historian David Starkey, barrister Cherie Blair, journalist and political aide Alastair Campbell, actor Simon Callow, now-disgraced artist Rolf Harris, musician Jazzie B and Olympic gold medallist Daley Thompson all offer their opinions during the series. As a result of the series, many of the pupils return to education and one, Danielle Harold, pursues an acting career and wins a role in BBC's long-running soap opera, Eastenders. [ citation needed ]|
|Jamie's Fish Supper||A one-hour special show in which Oliver cooked 10 fish recipes as a part of Big Fish Fight campaign. |
|Jamie Cooks Summer||A one-hour special in which Oliver cooked summer dishes in various outdoor locations. |
|Jamie's Great Britain||A six-part series in which Oliver travels the length and breadth of the country in search of new ideas and inspiration for recipes and to find out what makes British food great. |
|Jamie's Christmas with Bells On||Two-part Christmas special. Filmed at Jamie Oliver's Essex home and featuring family and friends, the program provides a collection of Christmas classics and new ideas.|
|2012||Jamie's 15-Minute Meals||Following on from the success of "Jamie's 30 Minute Meals", with people becoming ever more time-poor, the 15-Minute Meals series showed, in real time, how delicious fresh meals could be put together in a quarter of an hour. Based on the recipes in the Jamie's15 Minute Meals book.|
|MasterChef Australia (series 4)||Guest Chef|
|Jamie & Jimmy's Food Fight Club||4-part series with childhood friend Jimmy Doherty. The series is based around a "studio" in a café at the end of Southend Pier, Essex which Jamie and Jimmy would visit as children. The series also involves "food fights" with other European countries – for example, a competition to see whether British artisanal beers and ales are better than their Belgian counterparts.|
|2013||Dream School USA||US version of Jamie's Dream School with actor David Arquette in the mentoring role.|
|Jamie's Money Saving Meals||Six-part series based on the recipes in the Save with Jamie book which aims to help people to save money while still cooking delicious food using fresh ingredients and some store cupboard staples. A second series aired from June 2014 in the UK. Also known as Save with Jamie in some regions, with slightly different formatting and titles, as well as less focus on the Pricing (as this was tailored to UK pricing).|
|2014 -||Jamie & Jimmy's Friday Night Feast||Oliver and Doherty join forces again at their end-of-the-pier café to make top feasts for the weekend. This series focused on championing "lost" British classic foods such as the Bedfordshire clanger and Maid of Honour Tarts and each episode features a different Celebrity in the Café helping them cook.|
|2014||Jamie's Comfort Food||An eight-part series based on the recipes in the Jamie's Comfort Food book which aims to teach people how to make rich, fun and delicious comfort food for larger groups. In some regions the series was re-edited into six episodes.|
|Jamie's Cracking Christmas||Christmas special in which Jamie Oliver aims to raise Christmas cooking to a new level with recipes including roast goose, cheeky cocktails and a panettone treat.|
|2015||Jamie's Super Food||An eight-part series which focuses on the recipes in the Jamie's Super Food book which aims to teach people how to make rich, fun and delicious food that tastes good and is full of nutrients and is good for us. During the series Jamie Oliver travels to some of the healthiest places in the world to uncover the secrets of how people there live longer and healthier lives. The series also featured a one-off documentary called "Jamie's" Sugar Rush which looks at the Sugar in products and why we should be worried about it, that was screened in the UK prior to the start of the Series.|
|Jamie's Night Before Christmas||Christmas special in which Jamie presents his classic and new festive favourite recipes.|
|2016||Jamie's Super Food Family Classics||An eight-part series which follows on from the original Jamie's Super Food series and focuses on the recipes in the Jamie's Super Food Family Classics book which aims to teach people how to make rich, fun and delicious Family "Classic" meals that taste good and is full of nutrients, good for us and that the whole family will enjoy.|
|Jamie Oliver's Christmas Cookbook||Jamie Oliver has been cooking Christmas for his family for 20 years. In this one-off Christmas special he wants to show us his ultimate recipes – the ones he’s decided that really are the very very best for Christmas. Based on the book of the same title.|
|2017-2020||Jamie's Quick & Easy Food||Eight-part series based on the recipes in the 5 Ingredients: Quick & Easy Food book which aims to show people how to cook great food from just 5 Ingredients that is Quick and Easy. While only 8 episodes have aired in the UK (as of February 2018), 18 Episodes were filmed  and have aired internationally. A further 8 episodes were aired in the UK in the late Summer of 2018, meaning only 2 episodes have not aired in the UK. Series 4 (four episodes) aired in the UK in the Summer of 2020. |
|2017||Jamie's Italian Christmas||One off Christmas Special, where Jamie makes an Italian inspired Christmas Feast.|
|2018||Jamie Cooks Italy||Jamie and Gennaro go on a tour of Italy where they cook up some dishes and meet some of the local people.|
|Jamie's Quick & Easy Christmas||Christmas special in which Jamie Oliver applies his quick and easy principles to cooking at Christmas.|
|2019||Jamie's Meat-Free Meals / Jamie's Ultimate Veg||Jamie wants people to eat less meat and try more vegetables, finding inspiration from countries around the world to cook a stunning collection of stunning and hearty and healthy veg dishes are easy and delicious.|
|Jamie's Easy Christmas Countdown||Christmas special that was first shown on 15 December 2019 on Channel 4. |
|2020||Jamie: Keep Cooking and Carry On||Premiered on 23 March 2020, Jamie prepares food with limited ingredients and substitutions, for the locked down and homebound, for the crowd isolated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Episodes are filmed on Jamie's and his family's phones, with his family serving as crew.       The show has been criticised for using techniques and ingredients not found in a typical home, instead only found in a home where people cook traditionally or ambitiously. |
|Jamie: Keep Cooking Family Favourites||A television series based on the recipes from Oliver's 7 Ways book, which aims to show people how to cook simple, affordable and delicious meals using common household ingredients. Series one premiered 17 August 2020 on Channel 4.  Series two premiered on 22 February 2021 on Channel 4. |
|Jamie: Keep Cooking at Christmas||Two-part Christmas special, first shown during December 2020 on Channel 4 |
|Jamie and Jimmy's Festive Feast||Jamie & Jimmy's Friday Night Feast Christmas special with special guests Joe Wicks & Sam Smith, premiered on 29 December 2020 on Channel 4. |
Other television appearances Edit
Oliver has twice guest-hosted Channel 4's The Friday Night Project and has made two appearances in the "Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car" segment of BBC Two's Top Gear. In his first appearance he attempted to make a green salad in the back of his Volkswagen Microbus, which was fitted with a Porsche engine, while the Stig drove it around the Top Gear test track. [ citation needed ]
Oliver is the second British celebrity chef (after Robert Irvine) to appear as a challenger on Iron Chef America, taking on Iron Chef Mario Batali in 2008 in a losing battle with cobia as the theme ingredient. 
Oliver was one of the judges in the Oprah's Big Give hosted by Oprah Winfrey in the United States in 2008. 
The Happy Days Live tour was Oliver's first live show in 2001 and included several dates in the UK and Australasia. Performing to sold-out venues, he cooked on stage and interacted with the audiences with competitions, music and special effects only usually seen in pop concerts. He took the audiences by surprise by singing and drumming to a song called Lamb Curry written by his longtime friend Leigh Haggerwood. [ citation needed ]
Oliver took to the road once more in 2006 on an Australian tour where he performed in Sydney and Melbourne. Following the entertaining format of his first live show, the 2006 Australian tour featuring special guests including mentor Gennaro Contaldo, and students from Fifteen London. He performed a new song written by Leigh Haggerwood called Fish Stew which Oliver cooked to and also drummed along to at the end of the show. The shows were featured in a one-off TV documentary called Jamie Oliver: Australian Diary. 
The Cocktail Everyone Was Obsessed With The Year You Were Born
Everyone's got a favorite sip, but which one was all the rage when you entered the world?
Is it your favorite or your most hated?
Arguably one of the most well-known aperitifs, this classic was created by Count Camilo Negroni, who wanted to add extra kick (a.k.a gin) to a traditional Americano cocktail.
Following a faux-Polynesian craze of the 1920s, this cocktail inspired by the "exotic East" consists of gin, grenadine, cherry brandy, and sour mix .
Back in the day, this half-vodka half-tomato juice concoction was a standard morning pick-me-up. And its purpose still holds up today during weekend brunches everywhere.
This upgrade to a standard glass of champagne was first invented during World War I, but became insanely popular once Prohibition was repealed in 1933, when everyone wanted to celebrate with a glass of bubbly.
Wartime rations made most booze hard to come by, bur rum remained plentiful thanks to President Roosevelt's Good Neighbor policy, which encouraged trade with Latin America, Cuba and the Caribbean. What we know as a frozen, strawberry-flavored sip today, was a simple&mdashand super popular&mdashlime drink during World War II.
Invented by a bartender in Brussels, this vodka-Kahlua combination was first served to American socialite Perle Mesta, who was serving as the ambassador to Luxembourg at the time.
The ease, and subsequent boom, of gin manufacturing led to the rise of the martini during prohibition, but it took on a new identity and garnered immense popularity in the 1950s, when the U.S. began importing vodka from Russia.
Mid-century bars were totally ruled by whiskey. The Old Fashioned and Manhattan were top choices, but whiskey sours were the ultimate party drink&mdashespecially because sour mix was such a staple at the time.
Created by bartenders as a mockery of a man who'd been besmirching the names of hundreds of New Yorkers, this sweet-and-sour gin drink became a go-to thirst-quencher.
Soon after a tiki craze took over California, this fruity blend of aged rum, curacao, orgeat, and lime juice helped transport Americans to a far away island.
In an era dominated by clear spirits like vodka, an Italian liqueur called Galliano made its stateside debut in this orange juice drink.
Apparently the Rolling Stones drank so many of these babies that Mick Jagger joked their 1972 tour was called "the cocaine and Tequila Sunrise tour." After that, it became so wildly popular that The Eagles wrote a song dedicated to the drink .
The more cocktail culture became mainstream, the more it was influenced by pop culture. So it only makes sense that the 1980s show Miami Vice and the song "Do You Like Piña Coladas?" skyrocketed the Piña Colada to enormous heights.
Sugary mixers totally took over the '80s, and margs were easy to whip up with bottled mixes and a cheap shot of tequila. Its popularity also sparked an overall resurgence in Mexican cocktails during this decade.
Wine coolers, also known as spritzers, were a No. 1 with drinkers in the late 1980s&mdashespecially after bottled versions made their way to grocery stores and celebs like Bruce Willis plugged Seagrams.
No wonder '90s babies still have an affinity for nostalgia. This decade was all about Gen X childhood throwbacks in pop culture and food, of course, was no exception. In 1990, boozy milkshake emerged, teaming spirits like Kahlua, Crème de Cacao, and bourbon with fan-favorite scoops.
Loaded with liquor, the Long Island was named for the New York region it was concocted in&mdashway back in 1976. But it didn't enter its prime until the 1990s, when people decided to throw back fun, tasty drinks that packed a serious punch.
While this refreshing wine cocktail was originally created in the 1940s, its popularity soared with the rise of brunch culture. Bright peach puree and bubbly Prosecco make for a perfectly pink drink to pair with any morning meal.
This variant on a traditional 1920s Side Car was thought-up in 1996 by legendary mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim and contains only three ingredients:
spiced rum, orange curaçao and homemade lemon sour . It became insanely hot once he introduced it to the crowds in Las Vegas.
This blend of Kahlua, vodka, and cream has been around for more than 50 years, but it was plagued with the reputation of "girly dessert drink." (Yeah, we're rolling our eyes, too.) But when the 1998 Cohen Brothers film The Big Lebowski hit theaters, the cocktail and the movie both became cult classics.
It comes as no surprise that the fame of this drink is entirely thanks to Sex and the City, which debuted in 1998. As the go-to sip for Carrie Bradshaw and her girl gang, it became an instant hit at bars across the country.
Back before anyone knew about the sketchy effects of this mixture&mdashaka the early 2000s, this was the most genius concoction to fuel a night out on the town.
If you were one of the lucky kids who occasionally got a candy bar in your lunchbox, you might have had a Hershey Bar None or two. These candy bars went through a couple of iterations before being discontinued, but we'll fondly remember them as the chocolate wafers with chocolate filling, coated in more chocolate.
These crackers looked just like a little piece of swiss cheese and had a robust cheese flavor. They were perfect for our lunch bags to go along with whatever sandwich we had on any particular day. Now, if you want these crackers, you have to make a trip to Canada, the only place they're still available (though under the Christie brand).
9 Christopher Eason
Observers of the wildly popular 90s show, Star Search, seem to think that the key to life (key as in singing anyway), was actually losing on the show. Christopher Eason might not be a name you recognize, unless you are an avid watcher of Star Search of course. Nonetheless, his chain of melody got the best of Christina Aguilera all those years ago. This former star search winner often comes up in conversations whenever Christina Aguilera sends someone away on The Voice. Her words, while meant to be encouraging for performers who don’t make the cut, could simultaneously come across as discouraging for the man she lost her crown to. Perspective sure is a doozy.
Inside Edition reports that while Mr. Eason hasn’t seen the same successes as his former competitor, he also hasn’t given up the microphone. This captivating crooner's boyish looks have given way to adult charm and his childhood dreams have yet to materialize beyond that of a barrister slinging cappuccinos across the counters of America, but don't give up on him just yet. History has shown us that “age ain’t nothing but a number” for many a singing contestant. Can you guess which recording artist from this list made that expression famous?
Share All sharing options for: The 25 Best Space Movies, Ranked
Disney/Warner Bros./20th Century Fox/Ringer illo
Outer space is everywhere: Not only are we physically surrounded by it, but we’re inundated with images of it, both real and fictional. NASA’s long-lived Cassini mission is ending this week, just after its even longer-lived Voyager mission marked its 40th anniversary. SpaceX is about to launch the most powerful operational rocket in the world. Star Trek is returning to TV, The Martian author Andy Weir is returning to bookshelves, and Destiny 2 and a new Metroid release are bringing gamers back to the stars. Please join us at The Ringer as we celebrate and explore the cultural resonance and science of space all week long.
Space: It’s the final frontier, the place where no one can hear you scream, and a boundless backdrop that squashes any man’s ego. Or so we’ve been told by three of the best space movies ever, as determined by the semi-rigorous ranking process we’re presenting today.
Whether a story unfolds in the past, the present, or the future — in our own galaxy or one far, far away — space makes a great setting for film. For one thing, it’s always trying to kill characters, which raises the storytelling stakes. Its scale, and the speed required to traverse it, make space a natural special-effects showcase. And most importantly, the inhuman emptiness of space forces characters to confront their private fears and self-doubts even as it inspires existential and epistemological questions that fascinate us all. It’s no wonder that Hollywood never stops making space movies. (Brad Pitt, James Gray, and Insterstellar’s cinematographer are at work on another epic right now.) Our appetite for them is as vast as the vacuum.
We’ve seen several space movies added to the index in 2017, from the great to the terrible (and everything in between), and we still have the annual Star Wars installment (and, uh, Geostorm) to salivate over. But today’s exercise is an attempt to determine the best space movies of all time, with a list of nominees dating back decades.
To qualify for the list, it’s not sufficient for a film to be sci-fi (Blade Runner doesn’t count). Nor are aliens alone enough (sorry, E.T., Close Encounters, and Arrival). The prerequisite is simple: To be eligible, a movie has to be at least partly set in space. Some of the movies below entirely take place in space, while in others, space makes more of a cameo. But if you’re wondering why a movie you love didn’t make our cut, an absence of actual space scenes might explain the snub.
To arrive at our ranking, we stuck to almost the same formula we followed in our ranking of Good Bad Movies earlier this year. First we canvassed our staff for favorite-space-movie nominees. After weeding out nonqualifiers (apologies to Alien Nation) and supplementing the list with some worthy candidates that weren’t mentioned, we ran the resulting 55 films through the equation below:
Let’s take this one acronym at a time.
CR stands for Cultural Relevance and, in the words of Good Bad Movie maven Andrew Gruttadaro, “was determined by multiplying a movie’s number of Google News hits in the last year (with 1 point being awarded per 100 hits) by the number of years it’s been since that movie’s release.” We want to reward movies that never grow old, becoming artistic touchstones and constantly resurfacing in our cultural conversation. Of course, this metric favors movies that belong to ongoing series such as Star Wars, Star Trek, and Avatar — which, judging by Google, James Cameron has at least been busy discussing, if not directing — but that’s OK, since sequels help draw attention (and devotion) to the originals.
RT stands for Rotten Tomatoes score. This time around, we aren’t targeting poorly reviewed movies, so the higher here, the better (although not all of our leaders are completely critic-approved).
PO stands for Public Opinion. Last week, we asked you — that is, those of you who follow The Ringer on Twitter and happened to see this tweet — to select your 10 favorite films from our list of 55. More than 5,500 readers responded. After the crowdsourced picks came in, we tabulated the vote totals and ordered each movie from 1 to 55, with first place receiving 55 points, second place receiving 54 points, and so on.
With each of those three components in hand, we did the arithmetic to calculate each movie’s GSS, or Great Space Score. The higher the score, the higher the ranking.
Now that you know the methodology, you, like Lewis Pirenne in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, might be thinking, “Space, man, have you no respect for science?” To which we, like Foundation’s Anselm haut Rodric, say, “Science be damned!” (Foundation has very lifelike dialogue.) No, not really — we like science. But movie greatness is more than a matter of math, so there’s room to disagree.
We hope you’ll join us on this top-25 journey when you’ve touched down at the bottom of the page, you’ll find a link to the rankings for the full 55. We’re now T-minus one paragraph away from the rankings, so it’s time to stare at your screen and start saying that stuff is a go.
Remember to check back for more space-related content throughout the week. And don’t miss our interview elsewhere on the site Monday with Industrial Light & Magic effects legend John Knoll, who had a hand in the looks of a few of the films below. — Ben Lindbergh
Just Missed the Cut
Total Recall (1990)
Directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Total Recall is a perfectly weird space movie, a standout of ’90s science fiction. In it, Schwarzenegger frantically yelps “Two weeks!” while his old-lady disguise malfunctions when he’s trying to infiltrate the planet Mars. Later, he kills a henchman named Richter by dragging him in front of a moving elevator and bisecting his arms from the rest of his body then he holds up both arms and says, “See you at the party, Richter!” I really, really love Total Recall. — Andrew Gruttadaro
Danny Boyle’s Sunshine, which recently turned 10, is the ultimate “except for the ending” film. Most of the movie perfectly captures the oppressive silence of space, channeling the serene-yet-sinister stateliness of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Andrei Tarkovsky. Boyle understands that aliens, enemy spacecraft, and crazed killers aren’t the only things that make space scary the unforgiving environment, and the small-but-costly slip-ups that can occur under intense pressure, are terrifying enough. I just wish he could do over the third act, which transitions too abruptly and cryptically into shaky-cam slasher horror that almost — but not quite — spoils the exquisite setup. —Ben Lindbergh
The Fifth Element (1997)
The Fifth Element was released in 1997, and it would still be ahead of its time if it came out today. It’s a fantastical depiction of the future that never loses sight of the essential absurdity of human beings and the societies we create. The movie is a two-hour acid trip with Chris Tucker and Gary Oldman turning it up to 11 in supporting roles, yet it somehow manages to remain grounded with a strong leading performance from Bruce Willis and a love story between him and a supernatural being who was built in a lab from alien DNA. Luc Besson, the writer and director, caught lightning in a bottle with this one: It shouldn’t work, but it does. — Jonathan Tjarks
Hidden Figures (2016)
That we have the technology for space exploration in 2017 is incredible. That the same technology also existed in the 1960s, long before the internet, smartphones — hell, even calculators became commonplace? It’s frankly unbelievable. Hidden Figures puts that intelligence into perspective via the stories of three African American women whose brilliant number-crunching launched John Glenn into orbit. It’s a truly “untold” story, and one of the most compelling ever put to film. — Rubie Edmondson
Interstellar brought me on an emotional voyage unlike anything I’ve felt before. I saw it three times in IMAX over the first few weeks of its release because I may never again come so close to experiencing the sensation of traveling through space and time. Its booming sounds and striking images physically enthralled me. The way in which it fused both the fantastical and the familiar mentally captivated me. The plot holes don’t hamper the journey through wormholes and black holes, because no film will bring you closer. Interstellar is cinematic magic that brought me to a place that’s hard to reach as you get older: a place of childlike wonder. — Kevin O’Connor
25. Galaxy Quest (1999)
“How did I come to this?” an anguished, purple-head-pronged Alan Rickman asks early in Galaxy Quest, moments before a hungover and oblivious Tim Allen strides into the green room, an hour late to his own fan convention. Galaxy Quest is a thought experiment taken to its most chaotic, delightful, and even tentacly heart-warming extremes, a loving portrait of a galactic cargo cult that simultaneously makes fun of everything and takes all of it completely seriously. Sure, Allen has since outed himself as the worst kind of internet troll — but in Galaxy Quest, we can still enjoy him at his David Duchovny–esque best. The film is a perfect send-up of Star Trek fandom as well as a perfect sci-fi voyage in its own right. It is, just in general, perfect, and never — never — something to be skipped over in its deservedly infinite cable syndication loop. — Claire McNear
24. Gattaca (1997)
An original sci-fi movie with top-of-the-line movie stars and a cameo from Gore Vidal. Remember when that was possible? Gattaca is a story about the dangers of eugenics centered on three objectively genetically blessed white people, but once you get past that minor hurdle, Andrew Niccol’s 1997 feature is the best kind of thought experiment — pointed and human-scale in a way that encourages us to emotionally invest in its hypotheticals. In keeping with the theme of this list, though, Gattaca’s vision of space is less futuristic than old school. It’s still the last frontier, an impossible dream for Ethan Hawke’s Vincent, a naturally conceived human being in a society where everyone’s been genetically engineered for perfection, and Uma Thurman’s Irene alike. And when Vincent finally gets there, it’s pure catharsis. Gattaca’s a deeply American movie about how DNA shouldn’t be and isn’t destiny that shockingly flopped at the American box office, but at least we appreciate it now. — Alison Herman
23. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Sure, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has its issues. There’s a blind character who offs Stormtroopers with a staff. There is classic Star Wars plot armor in the form of crucial information being available only via physical media. (The internet doesn’t exist, but intergalactic travel does?) There’s a creepy CGI reincarnation. And — spoiler alert — you can’t count on getting to know any of your new friends better in future installments.
But as a wise man once wrote on the internet, Rogue One is the best popcorn war movie since Saving Private Ryan. Taken that way — as a war movie set in space instead of as a meaningful installment of a larger mythology (which it still is, IMO) that is both still being formed and was largely set in stone long ago — Rogue One is immensely entertaining. Yes, it’s dark, but so is life. Whether or not Rogue One should be counted as one of the best space movies of all time comes down to how you answer a simple question:
22. The Martian (2015)
The Martian begins as most tales of disaster do: with unexpected weather and very bad luck. One moment Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is just a botanist on Mars, studying dirt and wisecracking with his suspiciously good-looking crew members. The next, he is abandoned on a planet whose entire environment is antithetical to his existence. There are no alien invasions or flashbacks to his beautiful wife and children back home, just shots of Watney, who is forced to confront a set of circumstances that most likely end in death. What follows is an intricate study in triage, both for Watney — who switches from panicked, to despondent, to determined that he will “science the shit” out of his survival — and his dedicated saviors back home. (Shout out to Donald Glover as the token oblivious-yet-brilliant aerodynamicist.) The movie’s most thrilling moments don’t come in the form of explosions or fantastical space tomfoolery, but via the inventive victories cooked up by Watney and his very loyal support system. I never thought I would tear up witnessing a space botanist discover the first potato sprout in a farm that he fertilized with his own shit, but that’s The Martian’s charm: It’s a movie about making due with a handful of supplies and your brain, a love letter to the power of intellect. — Alyssa Bereznak
21. Contact (1997)
Growing up Catholic, I think I liked Contact so much for the whole “science versus religion as told by Jodie Foster versus Matthew McConaughey” storyline. But really, just the whole scene where Foster is being hurled around the galaxy still makes me wish Contact: The Theme Park Ride existed, and also I am very glad 3-D was not a thing at the time the movie came out. Oh, and how about that whole mirror scene in the beginning?! How did they shoot that?! Just kidding, we all know now, but here’s a very fun Reddit thread about it. So many layers! — Molly McHugh
20. Wall-E (2008)
Wall-E is the most experimental and audacious film Pixar has ever made. As far as animated movies for kids go, this one stands out for having the most socially responsible message since FernGully, its use of live action actors in quick-cut scenes, and essentially being a silent film for the entire first half. Wall-E poetically issues a stern warning about the consequences of society’s blatant disregard for the planet and our increased dependence on automation and technology while sending a ray of hope via the uncompromising spirit of life. Plus there’s an adorable robot love story and beautiful animation. — Zach Mack
19. Space Jam (1996)
Rumors circulate every few years about a Space Jam sequel, but it’s never going to happen. Only once in this world will a superstar athlete who quit mid-career to be a mediocre athlete in another sport decide to participate in a 88-minute image-rehabilitation project that is also a full-length children’s movie about greedy aliens who want to enslave a beloved Warner Bros. property but also agree not to enslave said property if it can beat them in basketball. Also, Bill Murray is too busy for this shit now.
No, we have to enjoy Space Jam for the bizarre, embarrassing, perfect miracle that it is: a slapstick commercial for the NBA, Michael Jordan, Looney Tunes, and physically impossible dunks. — Kate Knibbs
18. Star Trek (2009)
I first watched Star Trek as a begrudging favor to a friend. She “liked science fiction” and I “decidedly did not,” but I figured there are worse things than staring at Chris Pine for two hours while he swaggers around causing mayhem as a young Captain Kirk (at least that’s how the film was advertised to me). This is where I admit that I had never seen an episode of the original series, nor did I have much of a concept for it beyond character names and the fact that it involved space. However, by the bar fight scene I was intrigued, and once the stoic Spock is forced to admit that he was emotionally compromised by the death of his mother, I was feeling a bit emotionally compromised myself.
This is a movie about happenings in space, sure (and there are definitely a lot of CGI renderings, strange species, and shots of the wiiide vaaaastness of spaaace to prove it). But it’s also a film about emotion and family and the things that link people (and Vulcans) to one another. It’s raw in some places and not-so-great in others, but as my introduction to the Star Trek universe, it was memorable. —Megan Schuster
17. Independence Day (1996)
Some space movies are about the majesty of space, the sublime wonder of the void, the mindblowing possibility of contact with a celestial other. Not Independence Day, which is essentially a film about how much aliens suck and America rules. Instead of glorifying worlds beyond ours, the ultimate summer popcorn flick turns alien life into a formidable but punchable villain, and the results are far more charming than they have any right to be. “WELCOME TO EARTH!” Will Smith bellows, an irresistible avatar for jingoism. Jeff Goldblum outsmarts his galactic foes using the power of 1990s computer technology in a plot point so stupid it can only be wonderful. Independence Day is a dumb, beautiful celebration of our dumb, beautiful world. — Kate Knibbs
16. Predator (1987)
If it wasn’t for the fact that the words “ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER” and “PREDATOR” flash across the screen within the first few seconds, there’d be no way to distinguish between this movie’s opening scene and that of any of the Star Wars films. Even the music is Star Wars-y.
And fine, the next hour and 47 minutes take place in a Central American jungle and specifically not in space, but the first minute and a half lays it all out for us: Whatever it is our big-bicepped heroes are dealing with, it’s not of this world. They’re not gonna be on a level playing field with this mysterious figure as it lurks about in an OG invisibility cloak. As we quickly find out, not even (most of) America’s biggest sexual tyrannosauruses can contend with an invisible alien trophy-hunter with thermal goggles and a shoulder-mounted missile-launcher. After indulging in a game of cat-and-mouse, the Predator takes out Blain (ex real-life Navy SEAL Jesse Ventura), and Mac (Bill Duke) sees his translucent outline run into the jungle. This sets in motion one of the most satisfying and gratuitous shows of firepower in movie history: For a full 86 seconds, these dudes just bite their lips and shoot from the hip — with the most ridiculous collection of guns a small team of vehicle-less commandos could carry.
Sure, they’ve got the old reliables — the MP5s, M16s, and an M60 — but these guys also humped an automatic grenade launcher into the bush, Billy (Sonny Landham) carries an M-16 with a shotgun attached to it, and, most impressively and improbably, Blain is carrying around a fucking gatling gun. But the week’s worth of ammo they burnt through is all for naught they kill nothing, and from there, Dutch and his crew finally start to understand that they’re completely outmatched — and that they’re being hunted. Without spoiling too much of the fun, I’ll say that Dutch goes Apocalypse Now on Predator’s ass, relying on a few primitive methods of warfare. He’s so cunning that the Predator develops a grudging respect for his quarry, abandons all the high-tech alien weaponry that puts him at such an advantage, and decides instead that this beef should come down to a good old-fashioned fisticuffs. It’s great in every way. —Danny Kelly
15. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
Think back for a moment to the tremendous pressure The Force Awakens faced before its opening in 2015: a critical community burnt out on cynical IP plays a massive fanbase already stung by one bungled addition to their beloved original trilogy the possibility that even if this revival wasn’t an abomination, it’d be a pointless retread. You likely don’t remember that build-up because J.J. Abrams’s revamp arrived on the scene fully formed and ready to make a billion dollars: effortlessly diverse, cognizant of its heritage, and taking full advantage of the 21st century with some gorgeous (and frequently practical!) special effects. The Force Awakens works because it offers archetypes that feel both universal and of the moment: a villain literally related to Darth Vader (who nonetheless smacks of the beta masculinity that gave us Gamergate) and another orphan-turned-prophesized hero (who, when she wielded a lightsaber, still sent chills down my spine). Episode VII pulled off the near-impossible and sealed Star Wars’ reputation as the best-managed mega-franchise in the business. Shout out to you, Kathleen Kennedy, and take some notes, Marvel and DC. —Alison Herman
14. Planet of the Apes (1968)
The original Apes isn’t really a space movie compared to some on this list, but its protagonist is an astronaut, and it does start in space. It also makes the most of the several minutes it spends there. You’re more likely to remember “You maniacs!” or “You damn dirty ape!” or Charlton Heston’s maniacal, meme-able laugh than anything George Taylor says in the opening scene (while smoking, as astronauts do), but as an encapsulation of space’s appeal as a setting, one could do worse than this quote: “Seen from out here, everything seems different. Time bends. Space is boundless. It squashes a man’s ego. I feel lonely.”
Like most great space movies, Apes is imbued with wonder and mystery, and like most successful sci-fi, its depiction of a different time isolates and amplifies the flaws of our own. Almost half a century later, the film’s effects and costumes look all of their age, but the story still works as a cautionary tale and an allegory about racial conflict. After four direct sequels and two reboots (which has spawned two well-received sequels of its own), the end of Apes is nowhere in sight.
Planet of the Apes went into wide theatrical release a few days before 2001: A Space Odyssey, so it’s appropriate that it also precedes 2001 on our ranking. — Ben Lindbergh
13. Gravity (2013)
This will sound like an overstatement or an exaggeration, but, truly, it is not: Watching Gravity in the theater was a profoundly moving experience for me. I thought that every single part of it — Sandra Bullock’s forced-into-heroism heroism George Clooney’s perfectly chiseled fearlessness the terrifying soundtrack the way that Alfonso Cuarón dangled the tiniest morsel of hope in front of everyone with the thinnest piece of thread — was exactly perfect. Gravity does what every movie about space should aspire to do, which is to make you feel entirely inadequate and unimportant (HOW CAN I POSSIBLY MATTER WHEN MEASURED UP AGAINST THE BIGNESS OF SPACE. ) while also making you feel like maybe that empty feeling in your chest you can’t outrun is something more than just nothingness — it’s your literal connection to the universe, big and vast and beautiful and terrifying and perfect. — Shea Serrano
12. Spaceballs (1987)
Carl Sagan may or may not have uttered the phrase “billions and billions” during his pop-cosmology TV series a generation ago, but it is an accurate descriptor of how many jokes are contained within Mel Brooks’s sublime outer-space farce. Spaceballs, of course, is the defining parody of the self-serious Star Wars. Brooks calls up the major elements of George Lucas’s universe — the princess, the secret prince, the shaman, the sidekicks both furry and robotic, the villains, the white-helmeted soldiers — and wrings all of them for laughs.
There is a committed band of cultists who trade one-liners back and forth in knowing shorthand. “I’m surrounded by assholes.” “Merchandising! Merchandising!” “Please, please, don’t make a fuss. I’m just plain Yogurt.” And, a personal favorite, “What’s the matter, Colonel Sandurz? Chicken?” (Here is where I disclose that the actor who played the target of the chicken joke, the pro’s pro George Wyner, is a longtime friend of my wife’s family.)
Now that I’ve announced my bias, I’ll leave you with the film’s best scene, a bit of meta-comedy featuring Rick Moranis and Wyner in which they watch a VHS tape of Spaceballs and fast-forward to the moment in the film when the two characters are watching a VHS tape of Spaceballs. It’s a masterful bit of writing and acting whose intricate wordplay recalls Tom Stoppard and nimble delivery honors Abbott and Costello. And it all happens in space.
11. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
You can split the Marvel Cinematic Universe into two eras: Before Guardians and After Guardians. The 10th movie in the franchise, Guardians of the Galaxy, was the first Marvel movie to feel like it had a separate personality. Without the weight of the Avengers to bring him down, director James Gunn created a film that was surprising, compelling, and genuinely fun — and not in a cheap, look-at-that-big-explosion kind of way.
Chris Pratt is excellent as intergalactic cool-jerk Peter “Starlord” Quill — the perfect combination of invested heroism and detached sarcasm, a quality that’s welcome in a movie featuring a blue villain and planets called Morag and Xandar. (Pratt’s star power has been overstated since, but watching Guardians, you can at least understand why he broke out.) Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, and Bradley Cooper round out the crew as Quill’s various extraterrestrial companions — Diesel literally plays a tree who can only say three words — and Guardians blossoms into an endlessly enjoyable origin story about a mismatched, ragtag group of heroes. The soundtrack’s pretty great, too. Nothing against Iron Man or Captain America, but Guardians of the Galaxy makes it hard to come back to Earth. —Andrew Gruttadaro
10. Avatar (2009)
It took all of five years for James Cameron’s story of Jake Sully and the Na’vi to become a punch line. Maybe less than that. How did this happen? How did the most successful non-sequel story in movie history become a landmark for jokes about febrile alien tails, Cameron’s notorious self-absorption, and Sam Worthington’s un-starriness? Cameron’s largesse made the movie a target, but its province is what made it forgettable — Avatar was one of the great moviegoing events of the 21st century, a bombastic and painterly exertion of force. But it looked bad — cheap, even — on TVs. More so on computer and tablet screens. The digital imagery that Cameron employed to bring the blue-skinned Na’vi to life has also aged poorly in the intervening decade. But what is most lost about Avatar’s initial, thunderous impact is not the film’s reach for a visceral grandeur or technological audacity — two of Cameron’s lifelong pursuits — but its intergalactic story of species at odds.
Avatar is a space movie in much the same way The Searchers is a Western. It captures a conflict between races, one militaristic and ceaseless in its quest for dominance, the other more spiritual but no less equipped for battle. And like The Searchers, John Ford’s complex, cockeyed summation of race and power in the American West, Avatar portrays its native people with a simplistic nobility and violent underbelly. Avatar is not quite the iconic vision of a world that has passed us by that The Searchers is. But it does show what could be in a fractured future — privatized military leading the way through the cosmos in search of valuable wares from vulnerable far-off lands. It’s not so much a parable as a straight warning. Careful what you go searching for in space — you just might find it. — Sean Fennessey
9. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
At its best, Star Trek is less about the action than it is about problem-solving and Asking Big Questions — the reboot movies suck precisely because the franchise was handed over to the chuckleheads from Lost, who aggressively and resolutely do not understand this — and Wrath of Khan is all about aging, mortality, fatherhood, the limits of human agency, and not one but three different questions about scientific ethics. (Also, apropos of nothing, I always thought Merritt Butrick was really good as David Marcus.)
It’s one of the best examples of one of the best Star Trek movie traditions: Having the bad guy played by a big-name guest actor who swings from his (or her) heels. It’s also a high point for the Kirk–McCoy–Spock Freudian Trio, punctuated by Spock sacrificing his own life to save the ship — an act born on its face out of simple logic, but executed out of profound love and foreshadowed in Spock’s birthday gift of A Tale of Two Cities. It’s OK to cry. I won’t tell anyone. — Michael Baumann
8. Apollo 13 (1995)
Apollo 13 is the least existential space movie ever made, and that’s probably why it’s the most rewatchable one. It is a love letter to American ingenuity and a testament to the charms of Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon being trapped in a flying thimble together. It also features one of the great exhale crescendos in blockbuster history. It’s easy to tell a story where everything that can go wrong does go wrong, but this is a movie where everything goes right. The quiet moments are tender (Kathleen Quinlan’s Marilyn Lovell listening to the radio as her husband goes around the dark side of the moon) the funny moments are hilarious (“I think old Swigert gave me the clap. Been pissin’ in my relief tube.”) and the scary moments are terrifying (“Houston, we have a problem.”).
Most space movies are about things that are out of our control and beyond our comprehension — whether it’s ideas (like the search for the meaning of life) or technology (like jumping to hyperspace) — but not Apollo 13. Every button gets pushed, every dial gets turned, guys have to ballet dance around headphone jacks, and air filters need to be built out of tube socks and duct tape. It’s a practical, human movie about a time when humans looked at something as impractical as landing on the moon and attacked the problem practically. Work the problem, people. —Chris Ryan
7. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Space is glorious and space is terrifying it follows that a great space movie should induce in its viewer both wonder and horror. With all due respect to Jack Torrance, I truly believe that 2001: A Space Odyssey is Stanley Kubrick’s scariest movie. There’s such an elegance and simplicity to its dread. Studios have wasted the equivalent of small nations’ GDPs trying to craft intricately creepy CGI villains — and they will never surpass a bone-chillingly indifferent red dot named HAL. Alfonso Cuarón spent $100 million trying to get a single shot as existentially panic-inducing as that silent moment when Frank realizes his line has been cut and he’s going to spend the rest of his short life hurtling through space. Filmmakers have been trying to top this movie for almost 50 years now, and no one (not even Christopher Nolan) has succeeded. Sure, Hollywood’s monkey-suit technology has come a long way since 1968, and none of the human performances in 2001 are particularly memorable (I will mail you a dollar if you can name the lead actor in this film without Googling), but these feel like small flaws when taken against the monolithic greatness of this film. Imagine making a space movie a year before the goddamn moon landing and it still looking fresh five decades later. Even 16 years after its once-futuristic-sounding namesake, to watch 2001 is to open the pod bay doors… of your mind. — Lindsay Zoladz
6. Aliens (1986)
Of all the installments in the Alien film franchise, this one holds up the best. If Alien is a horror film in space, Aliens would be a war thriller, also in space. The film’s writer and director, James Cameron, does a masterful job expanding upon what little we previously knew about Ellen Ripley, the Weyland-Yutani Corp, and the terrifying and murderous xenomorphs to tell a tense story about survival, empowerment, and corporate greed. Also, the answer to the question posed early in the film — “So who’s laying these eggs?” — is one of the best big reveals in film. Period. — Zach Mack
5. The Right Stuff (1983)
This is one of my favorite movies ever in any genre. It pulls off the fine balancing act of recognizing the absurdity of the early Cold War — it’s hard not to laugh at the hypermasculinity and jingoism of the Space Race — while also embracing it. Is it ridiculous to look at test pilots as the last cowboys, as Sam Shepard literally rides his horse to Pancho’s Happy Bottom Riding Club? Sure, but those guys were also really cool. This film lives in the moment before liftoff, buoyed by one of the greatest movie soundtracks ever and incredible performances from top to bottom: Shepard’s gunslinger Chuck Yeager, Levon Helm’s resourceful Jack Ridley, Fred Ward’s aggro Gus Grissom, Ed Harris’s manic boy scout John Glenn, Dennis Quaid’s class clown Gordo Cooper, and Pamela Reed as his wife Trudy, whose struggle to “maintain an even strain” breaks your heart more and more each time you watch it. But the performance that characterizes the movie best is Donald Moffat’s outrageous LBJ. It’s broad, it’s preposterous, it’s hyperbolic, but it’s also a major historical figure going berserk over issues of colossal geopolitical importance. This movie is beautiful, hilarious, sad, dramatic, and hysterical. — Michael Baumann
4. Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi (1983)
An anonymous member of The Ringer’s staff counts Return of the Jedi as their favorite Star Wars movie, an opinion so misguided that I’m withholding their name to protect their reputation. Jedi is worse in almost every way than the two films that came before it. It’s a true tonal bridge between the original trilogy and the prequels, one that rejects the riveting darkness of The Empire Strikes Back in favor of cuddly Ewoks, clumsy retconning, superweapon recycling, and a virtually consequence-free climax. The too-long Tatooine sequence, bogged down by “Lapti Nek” (or way worse, “Jedi Rocks”), feels like it belongs to a different movie than the three-pronged climax, and Boba Fett’s sarlacc encounter was so lame that the expanded universe had to undo his death.
Yet to paraphrase Luke, there is still good in Jedi, including Luke’s entrance at Jabba’s palace, the speeder-bike chase, and everything in the throne-room scenes, one of which features maybe my favorite minute-or-so snippet on any Star Wars soundtrack. The movie is still incredibly quotable, from “You’re gonna die here, you know” to “The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.” Most of all, it’s just satisfying to spend more time with these characters, whose chemistry is intact even though Harrison Ford barely wanted to be back.
Jedi is clearly riding the coattails of its predecessors (and the Google-results inflation of its successors) to its elite placement on this list. But man, they’re amazing coattails. — Ben Lindbergh
3. Alien (1979)
It’s the silence in Alien that’s worse than anything. The way the music fades out as the alien egg cracks open, moments before the fleshy monstrosity latches onto Kane’s spacesuit. The bizarre tranquility of him resting in the medical ward while a human-incubated nightmare is strapped to his face in a mating ritual from hell. The suffocating stillness — punctuated only by the clinking of chains — just before the fully-grown alien makes its debut to devour Brett. Now 38 years old, Alien continues to horrify because of the quiet that orbits the loud, graphic moment at the heart of the film, when the titular beast erupts from Kane’s stomach. There’s dread of the unknown before the alien birth and fear that something more disturbing will happen afterward. The second shoe never drops, and Alien morphs into an action-thriller as Ripley scrambles to escape. But it’s those eerie, empty moments that make this one of the best space movies of all time. —Victor Luckerson
2. Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
This is the best Star Wars movie. It gave us, in the span of a few minutes, both the “I love you.” / “I know.” exchange and “I am your father.” It gave us the most dramatic lightsaber battle of any of the seven movies — after Darth Vader and Obi-Wan just sort of poked at each other in a hallway for a couple minutes at the end of A New Hope, Vader chases an increasingly terrified Luke across Cloud City, pummeling him with pipes and boxes, literally beating the arrogance and optimism out of our hero. That sense of “Oh wow, this really isn’t going to be that easy, and that’s horrifying,” pervades the story, as Luke, Leia, and Han suffer an onslaught of defeats and unexpected obstacles to rival the string of lucky breaks they’d skated by on in the last movie. That makes a two-hour movie with five or six distinct acts fly by. — Michael Baumann
1. Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (1977)
The one that started it all. George Lucas changed science fiction, and the movie industry in general, with the first Star Wars movie. Forty years later, Disney is making billions off the universe Lucas created. Lucas was a master synthesizer, liberally borrowing from sources as varied as Flash Gordon and Akira Kurosawa, but he owed his greatest debt to Joseph Campbell, the writer who popularized the idea of “the hero’s journey,” the archetypal story at the heart of mythological tales in every human society. The young man from humble beginnings receives a call to adventure then waffles on whether to leave home until he meets a mentor who sets him on his path, where he finds new allies who help him triumph over his ultimate fear. Once you set that story in space, it pretty much writes itself. Most of the movies inspired by A New Hope, including the prequels, copied the surface-level stuff — special effects, epic space battles, and witty banter from an attractive young cast — without understanding the underlying framework. Star Wars works because it speaks to a deep desire in the human heart watching it without rooting for the main characters is like trying to keep your leg in place when someone taps your kneecap. The Star Wars universe continues to expand, but people will always watch and love this movie. — Jonathan Tjarks
Click here for the full ranking of 55 space movies.