According to a certain iconic TV show, space is the final frontier, and how is one to transverse this said final frontier without a spaceship? See, a spaceship is an important thing, so it deserves to have a list. Here is that list. But before we get to the actual countdown and all that jazz, we should probably look at a few spaceships that did not make the list. I mean, we had to do the cutoff somewhere, but that doesn’t mean numbers eleven and twelve and so on, don’t deserve a bit of onscreen recognition as well. In other words, we don’t want to make the runner-up spaceships cry, do we? No, we do not.
With that being said, please allow me to run down a few runners-up. In no particular order, these are: The Gunstar from The Last Starfighter; The Prawn Mothership from District 9; the flying saucers from The War of the Worlds, as well as the quite similar saucers from Mars Attacks!; The Axiom form WALL-E; The Eva Pod from 2001; The Icarus from Planet of the Apes and The Icarus II from Sunshine; The Prometheus from Prometheus; those big ass ships mothers from Independence Day; The Eagle 5 from Space Balls; The Heart of Gold from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; The Future Ship from The Fountain; The Serenity from Serenity (and Firefly); The Space Ark from When World’s Collide; Doctor Who’s TARDIS; The Battletsar Galactica ship, pretty much every ship in the retro kitschy Flash Gordon; and from Star Wars, The X-Wing, The Tie-fighter, and pretty much every other ship. I would also be remiss if I did not mention the Jetson’s family car. Yeah, I know, it’s technically not a spaceship, but hey, it’s still pretty freakin’ cool, so I’m including it dammit. But enough of these preliminary shenanigans, we’ve got a countdown to get to.
And awaaaaaaay we go…
Special Mention: The Death Star from Star Wars
Okay, technically The Death Star isn’t a spaceship so much as a space station. It’s definitely not a moon (and no, it’s not too big to be a space station, Han). But space station or not, this beast can travel through space, albeit at a very slow pace, and it should be mentioned on this list somewhere, so here it is.The only real complaint I have about the place is the tiny yet oh so obvious design flaw that allowed Luke to destroy the damn place. Really Grand Moff, you couldn’t have put in a little spackle in that hole?
10.) The Rocket from Le Voyage dans la Lune
This entry betrays my love for classic cinema and my vehement cinephilia. Made my French film pioneer Georges Melies, waaay back in 1902, Le Voyage dans la Lune, or A Trip to the Moon, for those non-French speakers in the crowd, is considered the first science fiction movie, as well as one of the most influential films ever made. That iconic shot of the bullet shaped rocket crashing into the eye of the moon is one of the best known and best loved images from cinematic history.
9.) United Planets Cruiser C57-D from Forbidden Planet
This is one of my all-time favorite sci-fi films. Granted, a lot of that probably has to do with the way Anne Francis looks in that scantily clad wardrobe of hers, but even outside of this, Forbidden Planet is a great genre movie. The film, and more specifically the ship, a beautiful flying machine indeed, is most notable for being the first time in movies where humans are shown going to other planets in a ship of their own making. But really, you do need to check out what Anne Francis looked like in this film. Google her now. I’ll wait.
8.) Slave 1 from The Empire Strikes Back
I remember back in 1979, a year before The Empire Strikes Back (known as Episode V to newbie fans) came out, and therefore a year before the character of Boba Fett would make his big screen debut, the appearance of a brand new action figure. It acted as a teaser for the upcoming sequel to Star Wars (Episode IV, yadda yadda), but what a teaser. This bounty hunter of few words (somewhat based on Clint Eastwood’s Man with no Name character – Lucas is a big Spaghetti Western fan) quickly became a fan favorite upon release of the film, and his ship, the Slave-1, quickly became one of the coolest ships in the galaxy – even if he did have Han Solo carbonited away inside.
7.) USCSS Nostromo from Alien
The tagline read: “In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream.” Granted, as an eleven year old, I probably shouldn’t have been taken to the drive-in to see this film in the first place, but nonetheless, there I was, hiding half behind a blanket in the back of the family station wagon, wishing the re-release of The Jungle Book, which had played first in the Saturday night double bill, was still playing. Needless to say, nightmares ensued. I’ve since grown to love this film, though I might still hide partially behind a blanket while watching it, and the images of the crew being picked off one by one throughout the creepy H.R. Geiger-designed halls and hulls of the Nostromo, is still terrifyingly glorious.
6.) The Borg Cube from Star Trek: The Next Generation
It’s big, it’s strange, it’s deadly, it’s square, and resistance is freakin’ futile. It’s the Borg ship, baby! This Trek Universe pseudo-race first appeared in Season 2, Episode 16 of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and would go on to become a formidable foe to Picard and the gang. Hell, they even made an entire movie about ’em. But it wasn’t just this assimilatin’ race that made the Borg so groovy. It was their big square spaceship that did it. Well, that and Seven of Nine, but what can a guy do about that?
5.) Klaatu’s Ship from The Day the Earth Stood Still
The Day the Earth Stood Still is easily one of the best science fiction movies ever made, acting as a big influence on both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, and its iconic status is still with us to this day – and no, I am not talking about that godawful Keanu Reeves remake from a few years back. Appearing on screen in 1951, it is this ship that pretty much became the standard bearer for all future spaceships. Klaatu barada nikto.
4.) The Close Encounters of the Third Kind Mothership
The five most famous notes in sci-fi history are tied together with communicating with this big bright-ass spaceship. Close Encounters was that other sci-fi movie that came out in 1977. You know, the one from some guy named Spielberg. Watching it as a kid, the most memorable parts were Richard Dreyfuss creating Devil’s Tower out of mashed potatoes, Dreyfuss at the railroad tracks, waving the spaceships to go by, and the finale appearance of that giant mothership with enough lights to make the Wyoming night as bright as the Wyoming day.
3.) Discovery One from 2001: A Space Odyssey
This is one of my all-time favorite films, and even aside from that, ya gotta admit this is one groovy looking spaceship. Granted, a megalomaniacial computer system may take over the place every now and again, but other than that, it seems like a fun place to hang out and get some zero gravity jogging in. Yeah sure, you might get locked out, and a certain aforementioned megalomaniacal computer system just won’t open those damn pod bay doors, but still, it’s a damn fine ship if ya ask me. Daisy Daisy…
2.) The USS Enterprise from Star Trek
Yeah yeah, I know. I’m about to get like a billion pieces of hate mail (or hate e-mail or hate tweets or whatever happens these days) from all the Trekkers out there, but sorry kids, The Enterprise, in any of its many incarnations (I prefer the TOS version myself), is only good enough for second place here. Now this is not to demean The Enterprise in any way. After all this iconic ship did make it all the way to number two. It is a pretty cool ship, isn’t it? Why yes it most certainly is.
1.) The Millennium Falcon from Star Wars
Yes sir. This is the best damn spaceship in all of existence. First of all, it’s flown by Han Solo and Chewbacca (and Lando Calrissian sometimes). Secondly, if it were not for The Millennium Falcon, Luke would have been killed by Darth Vader and the Empire would have won. Thirdly, if not for The Millennium Falcon, this time piloted by Lando, they would not have destroyed the second in construction Death Star, and again, the Empire would have won. Are ya seein’ a pattern here? So, hands down, the best damn ship in all the galaxy, the ones close by and the ones far, far away.
That’s it gang. See ya ’round the web.