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The Top 10 Movie Spaceships

Movie spaceships are legion, but which is the most awesome in the universe? We ranked the 10 best, completely subjectively. Some rules: We only drew from the movies (TV spaceships like the Battlestar Galactica — which is killer — and the Draconian Marauder from Buck Rogers don’t count), and we only included legitimate spacecraft. Flying cars and unmanned rockets don’t count. Turns out there are almost too many awesome spaceships to count, so we offer apologies in advance to the Borg cube, the Imperial Star Destroyer, the X-Wing Fighter, various other Star Trek and Star Wars tertiary ships, many many other cool movie cruisers, and umpteen flying saucers that just didn’t make the cut.

10. The Thunder Road (Explorers) – Plusses: Invisible. Powered by as little as a nine volt battery. Inertia-free. Impervious to damage; can tunnel through the earth even without effort. Minuses: Named after a Bruce Springsteen song. Kids only.

9. Gunstar (The Last Starfighter) – Score high enough on a video game and you might be recruited to fly a Gunstar and defend the Frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan armada — for real! Weapons are standard, but it has a little bonus: The ‘Death Blossom,’ which automatically targets every ship in range and destroys it. Why they didn’t just build that kind of thing into the regular weapons system remains a mystery.

8. Mothership (Independence Day) – Despite its absurd susceptibility to human-made computer viruses, this bad boy has one of the most impressive weapons arsenals in the history of film. It’s also enormous: a quarter the size of the moon. Inside it carries 30 or so smaller ships, each larger than Manhattan, loaded with awesome building-destroying laser beams, and impervious to all conventional weapons except for Randy Quaid.

7. Klingon Bird of Prey (Star Trek series) – Birds of Prey never seem to fare very well against Federation starships, but their winged shape makes them one of the more killer designs in the pantheon of filmed spacecraft. Too bad about the bare-bones interiors, though. Throw in some comfy leather chairs and you’ve got the Ferrari of spaceships. Bonus points for the kickin’ cloaking device. (Whoops: Sorry, the whales were on one of these guys, not the Enterprise… thanks emailers.)

6. Discovery One (2001: A Space Odyssey) – This massive, pencil-like ship is designed for long-range exploration, features three EVA pods for single-user exploration, a centrifuge where artificial gravity is created, and an, er, slightly buggy computer system, the HAL 9000. Despite the tech trouble, HAL’s unblinking red eye is hypnotically awesome.

5. Apollo 13 (Apollo 13) – The only reality-based spaceship on this list, and unquestionably the most heroic. It only flew the one time, it broke en route to the moon, and barely made it back to earth in one piece… and then they had Kathleen Quinlan waiting for ’em. Ugh.

4. Heart of Gold (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) – Never mind the oddball design (inspired by a teacup), the Heart of Gold’s Infinite Improbability Drive lets it pull off a pretty cool stunt: Traveling through every point in the universe at the exact same time. Don’t think about it too hard, and instead enjoy the ship’s personable computer and robot staff.

3. Nostromo (Alien) – The Nostromo is little more than a space tugboat, pulling a giant ore refinery through space. Though it has no weapons, when given the (famously complex) command to self-destruct, it really goes off with a bang. An underrated ship, it could land on planets and scope out foreign lifeforms… which turned out to be not such a great idea after all.

2. U.S.S. Enterprise (various versions) (Star Trek series) – It originated on TV, but the Enterprise really started showing off in the movie series. Early ships were distinguished by photon torpedoes, phasers, and a predilection for self-destruction, but it’s the only ship here that can legitimately go back and forth through time. Holodeck? Sweet. And those transporters are pretty killer, too. Later revisions to the ship allowed it to split into two separate pieces. Now that’s trekkin’!

1. Millennium Falcon (Star Wars series) – It’s probably no surprise that the Falcon is number one on this list, but really, who would have thought that a scrappy smuggler’s freighter would end up being so critical in saving the galaxy? Outfitted with laser turrets, a speedy hyperdrive, and with ample room for up to eight passengers, the Millennium Falcon deserves the top spot easily. You find another ship that can make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, you gimme a call.

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