Interstellar Hits 5th in 'Most Accurate Sci-Fi' List - See Who Beat It

Interstellar Hits 5th in 'Most Accurate Sci-Fi' List - See Who Beat It
Image credit: Legion-Media, Warner Bros.

If you think Interstellar is the most scientifically accurate science-fiction movie out there, think again.


  • Chris Nolan's Interstellar is known for its incredible scientific accuracy, but considering these other top contenders, it's far from the most honest sci-fi movie out there.
  • Interstellar managed to predict the true appearance of a black hole five years before scientists were able to photograph one.
  • There are a lot of sci-fi movies out there, but only one includes real scientific experiments.

Interstellar is certainly one of Christopher Nolan 's best films to date. In addition to its phenomenal acting, fantastic score, and inspiring visual effects, the film has received critical acclaim around the world for its scientific accuracy. Thanks to the movie, we all now know the true horror of being so close to a black hole. However, it's not necessarily the most accurate sci-fi film out there.

5. Interstellar (2014)

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For those who may have forgotten, Interstellar is the Nolan brothers' big attempt at a sci-fi epic, in which ex-NASA pilot Joseph Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and a team of other astronauts travel through a wormhole to find a new habitable planet to save the population of a dying Earth. The plot may sound far-fetched, but the film's production relied heavily on the knowledge of real-life experts, such as theoretical physicist Kip Thorne.

With the help of such experts, the story was based on some real scientific theories that depict phenomena such as wormholes, black holes, and space travel in potentially very real ways. Remarkably, Interstellar's quest for accuracy was so precise that five years after the film's release, real photographs taken by the Event Horizon Telescope in 2019 showed that black holes in reality are extremely similar to those depicted in the film.

4. Deep Impact (1998)

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To summarize the plot of Deep Impact, it is basically a less action-packed version of Armageddon, without Bruce Willis' stone face and Aerosmith's love ballads. But what it lacks in intense stares and epic rock music, it makes up for in theoretical accuracy. The plot follows a teenage astronomer (Elijah Wood) who discovers a large comet that is headed straight for Earth. But instead of the world averting catastrophe as in most sci-fi disaster movies, all attempts to stop the event ultimately fail.

When the comet hits the planet, Deep Impact pulls no punches in depicting the reality of such an apocalypse. Huge tsunamis wipe out most of the Earth's continents, the atmosphere changes for the worst, and there are fears of an Impact Winter: the global freezing caused by enormous amounts of dust and other debris in the atmosphere. Considering how the movie ends, I'm not sure if this is a disaster movie or a horror one.

3. Contact (1997)

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The second Matthew McConaughey film to appear on the list, this one also stars the talented Jodie Foster. In this sci-fi drama, Foster plays a scientist at the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) who discovers a message from an unknown alien race.

Unlike alien interactions in other films of its kind, Contact is a movie that instead focuses on the social implications of first contact with humanity; in fact, the alien species is never directly seen. The movie is an honest example of how the world would react to the discovery of a message from outer space. The story also touches on advanced theories of science and mathematics, making it even closer to reality than fiction.

2. Apollo 13 (1995)

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From acclaimed director Ron Howard and top actors Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton and Ed Harris comes this inspiring retelling of the true events of the Apollo 13 space mission. Unlike the other films on this list, which are fictional stories based on plausible and theoretical events, the plot of this thrilling docudrama is rooted in historical fact.

While elements of this award-winning blockbuster have certainly been embellished for dramatic effect and artistic style, the film remains as true as possible to real-life events, the people portrayed, and the work of NASA and astronauts in space. Extensive research was done prior to the production of the film, including interviews with many individuals and NASA personnel. Each of the lead actors also underwent real astronaut training to prepare for their roles.

1. The Martian (2015)

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The final and perhaps most accurate sci-fi movie to date has to be none other than The Martian. Starring Matt Damon as the fictional botanist and astronaut Mark Watney, who is accidentally stranded on Mars during a mission. With the help of NASA scientists on Earth and his former crew, he must fight for his survival until a suitable time when he can be rescued.

What makes this movie so incredibly accurate is its precise attention to detail. Many of the real-life dangers of both space travel and trying to inhabit a planet like Mars are depicted. As Watney must "MacGyver" the few resources he has to survive, the movie shows a number of scientific experiments that demonstrate the core disciplines of physics, biology, and chemistry that the character must use.

In truth, the movie could not be more grounded in reality if it tried, and that is why it deserves to be at the top of this list. The Martian presents the best of fiction while remaining true to the very real laws of science.