Mars in the movies: Films inspired by the red planet

The Martian brought in more than US$630 million at the worldwide box office. © 2015 Twentieth Century

PARIS: From little green invaders to the loneliness of space exploration, Mars has always fed our cinematic imaginations.

As NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance goes forth, here’s a selection of films based on the red planet, on one of our nearest neighbours in space.

Total Recall

A science-fiction classic. Paul Verhoeven featured Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone in an adaptation of the short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale by Philip K Dick in 1990, and a remake starring Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale came out in 2012.

Directed by Paul Verhoeven
With Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone
Trailer of the 2012 remake:

Ad Astra

In 2019 Brad Pitt played NASA astronaut Roy McBride on a mission to Mars to find his father, played by Tommy Lee Jones, who’s been lost in space for 16 years.

The film was presented in official competition at the Venice Film Festival.

Directed by James Gray
With Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Liv Tyler

The Martian

Yet another success for Ridley Scott, this film saw Matt Damon play an astronaut left for dead on Mars after a mission turned to disaster.

Alone, he must find ways to survive on the uninhabitable planet. The feature won two Golden Globes, including one for Damon’s performance.

Directed by Ridley Scott
With Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig

Mission to Mars

Brian De Palma’s film, released in 2000, portrayed a NASA team sent to the red planet for the first time in… 2020.

Upon their arrival, the astronauts experience a strange phenomenon that cuts off their communication with Earth. A new team is sent to save them.

Directed by Brian De Palma
With Gary Sinise, Tim Robbins, Don Cheadle

Mars Attacks!

One of Tim Burton’s wackiest cult films. With a star-studded cast, this parody depicts the invasion of Earth by the little green men from Mars.

Although they are welcomed by the United States with open arms, it soon becomes clear that they plan to take over and exterminate the human population.

Directed by Tim Burton
With Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Pierce Brosnan, Danny DeVito, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J Fox, Natalie Portman