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7 Movies Like Apollo 10 1/2 You Must See

April 3, 2022

Written, directed and co-produced by Richard Linklater: Apollo 10 1/2 is a coming-of-age animated film. The story takes place in the Houston area in the days leading up to and during the historic Apollo 11 mission. The protagonist is Stan, a fourth grader with a very vivid imagination, while an older version of him (Jack Black) serves as the narrator. Growing up in what is arguably the core of human progress, Stan envisions being recruited for the eponymous moon mission. The film is based on Linklater’s childhood and that of his siblings, friends and several others who lived in the area at the time. If you’ve seen Apollo 10 1/2 and like it, here’s a list of recommendations. You can watch most of these Apollo 10 1/2 like movies on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.

7. Stand By Me (1986)

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‘Stand by Me’ is the ultimate film about childhood, friendship and nostalgia. Based on the 1982 novella The Body by Stephen King, the story revolves around four boys – Gordie, Chris, Vern and Teddy – and their journey to find the body of a missing youth in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Oregon found in the summer of 1959. Both Apollo 10 1/2 and Stand by Me are wistful homages to times gone by. They celebrate the past and the meaning it had for the protagonist. The narrator in Stand by Me is the older version of one of the protagonists, Gordie, who grew up to be a writer.

6. Only Yesterday (1991)

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This Studio Ghibli gem tells the story of Taeko Okajima, a 27-year-old woman who travels from Tokyo to Yamagata to stay with her older sister and her in-laws. During her journey and after arriving at her destination, she becomes intensely nostalgic about her childhood. She looks back on her past with nostalgia and remembers her first experiences with romance and lovesickness, puberty and the overwhelming demands of her studies. Meanwhile, her adult self deals with issues like her job and her love life. Like Apollo 10 ½, Only Yesterday evokes the bittersweet aspect of the past.

5. Crooklyn (1994)

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Director Spike Lee co-wrote the screenplay for Crooklyn with his siblings Joie and Cinqué Lee. Set in 1970s Brooklyn, the semi-autobiographical film tells the story of the Carmichael family from daughter Troy’s perspective. In Crooklyn, Lee shows the almost surreal life in Brooklyn through eccentric characters and humorous situations. The main character matures significantly as the film progresses, especially after tragedy strikes the family and she has to take care of her younger siblings. Like Apollo 10 ½, Crooklyn underscores how environment affects a person in their formative years.

4. Minari (2020)

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Photo credit: Josh Ethan Johnson / A24

Writer-director Lee Isaac Chung’s film Minari takes its name from a species of water dropweed that has many uses. She serves as a metaphor for the Yi family and their efforts to make a home for themselves in rural Arkansas. Like Apollo 10 1/2 and several other films in this list, Minari is semi-autograph. He explores the proverbial American Dream from the perspective of the Yis, a South Korean family. Just as Apollo 10 1/2 is a love letter to Houston, Minari is a love letter to Arkansas. Both films take time to explore contemporary social ills, but the focus remains on the core themes of each film. Apollo 10 ½ is about the moon landing, Minari is about immigration.

3. The Tree of Life (2011)

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Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life is a magnificent display of Malick’s titanic filmmaking skills. It is metaphysical and realistic at the same time. Since its release, there has been much speculation about the film’s seemingly autobiographical aspects. Like Apollo 10 1/2, The Tree of Life is primarily set in 1960s Texas and focuses on the protagonist’s youth, his relationship with his family and his attempts at self-discovery. The Tree of Life revolves around the O’Brien family in the context of the history of humanity and planet Earth.

2. Persepolis (2007)

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When Apollo 10 1/2 is about the first moon landing, Persepolis documents another important event in human history: the Iranian revolution in the 1970s. Like Apollo 10 ½, Persepolis is an animated film. It is an autobiographical story by Marjane Satrapi, who directed the film with Vincent Paronnaud. The story of the revolution and the following years is told in flashbacks. The film openly depicts the Iranian people’s struggle against the Shah of Iran and how religious conservatives gradually took power in the country.

1. Boyhood (2014)

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Boyhood is a remarkable film in concept as well as execution. It is one of Linklater’s best creations. Some of the Apollo 10 ½ themes are also present here, including childhood, fantasy, and family. The story follows Mason Evans Jr. from the age of six to eighteen while growing up in Texas and documents various aspects of his life. Linklater and his team shot the film in several stages from 2002 to 2013, with the same actor, Ellar Coltrane, playing Mason Jr. at different stages of the character’s life.