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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 are five films that represent Mars in movies, one of our nearest neighbours in space.

Total Recall

Directed by Paul Verhoeven, this is a science-fiction classic, especially under the ‘Mars in movies’ category. 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.

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, directed by James Gray, was presented in official competition at the Venice Film Festival.

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.

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.

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.