On Disc

at Amazon

In the far reaches of space, a small crew, 20 years into their solitary mission, find things beginning to go hilariously wrong.



(original story and screenplay), (original story and screenplay)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A police sergeant and an unlikely band of criminals defend a closing LA precinct office on New Years Eve against an army of gang members.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Austin Stoker, Darwin Joston, Laurie Zimmer
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A research team finds a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church. If opened, it could mean the end of the world.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Donald Pleasence, Lisa Blount, Jameson Parker
Starman (1984)
Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An alien takes the form of a young widow's husband and asks her to drive him from Wisconsin to Arizona. The government tries to stop them.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, Charles Martin Smith
The Fog (1980)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Legend says that Antonio Bay was built in 1880 with blood money obtained from shipwrecked lepers, which no one believes. On the eve of the town's centennial, many plan to attend the celebrations, including the murdered lepers.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh
Comedy | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

After a freak accident, a yuppie turns invisible and runs from a treacherous CIA official, while trying to cope with his new life.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Chevy Chase, Daryl Hannah, Sam Neill
Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An insurance investigator begins discovering that the impact a horror writer's books have on his fans is more than inspirational.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Sam Neill, Jürgen Prochnow, Julie Carmen
They Live (1988)
Action | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A drifter discovers a pair of sunglasses that allow him to wake up to the fact that aliens have taken over the Earth.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster
Someone's Watching Me! (TV Movie 1978)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A woman is being watched in her apartment by a stranger, who also calls and torments her. A cat-and-mouse game begins.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Lauren Hutton, David Birney, Adrienne Barbeau
Action | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In 1997, when the U.S. president crashes into Manhattan, now a giant maximum security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in to rescue him.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine
Christine (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A nerdish boy buys a strange car with an evil mind of its own and his nature starts to change to reflect it.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul
Vampires (1998)
Action | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A vengeful vampire slayer must retrieve an ancient Catholic relic that, should it be acquired by vampires, will allow them to endure sunlight.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: James Woods, Daniel Baldwin, Sheryl Lee
Certificate: GP Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In a future where all flora is extinct on Earth, an astronaut is given orders to destroy the last of Earth's botany, kept in a greenhouse aboard a spacecraft.

Director: Douglas Trumbull
Stars: Bruce Dern, Cliff Potts, Ron Rifkin


Complete credited cast:
Brian Narelle ...
Cal Kuniholm ...
Dre Pahich ...


Low-budget story of four astronauts in deep space, whose mission is to destroy unstable planets in star systems which are to be colonised. The late Commander Powell is stored in deep freeze, where he is still able to offer advice. As their mission nears completion, they must cope with a runaway alien which resembles a beach-ball, faulty computer systems, and a "smart bomb" who thinks it is God. Written by Alexander Lum <aj_lum@postoffice.utas.edu.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Bombed out in space with a spaced-out bomb! See more »


Comedy | Sci-Fi


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

9 February 1979 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Estrella oscura  »

Box Office


$60,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Original Version) | (Director's Cut) | (original student film)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Co-writer Dan O'Bannon later reused the "alien mascot" section of the film as the basis of his script for Alien (1979). See more »


In the elevator shaft, Pinback's long hair keeps on pointing towards the wall whenever he moves his head away from it, revealing the shaft to be a tunnel, with him laying on the ground instead of standing on the ledge. See more »


Pinback: [making video diary entry] I do not like the men on this spaceship. They are uncouth and fail to appreciate my better qualities. I have something of value to contribute to this mission if they would only recognize it. Today over lunch I tried to improve morale and build a sense of camaraderie among the men by holding a humorous, round-robin discussion of the early days of the mission. My overtures were brutally rejected. These men do not want a happy ship. They are deeply sick and try to ...
See more »


Benson Arizona
Music by John Carpenter
Lyrics by Bill Taylor
Vocals by John Yager (uncredited)
[Played over the opening and closing credits]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Science fiction with a funny bone
7 April 2004 | by (Dallas, TX USA) – See all my reviews

I saw this movie for the first time at the USA Film Festival. Held here in Big D every spring, the USAFF showcases films produced here in the USA. (No foreign films)

Each night they would show two new films, plus a retrospective film from the actor or director being honored that year. After the film, the film critic who selected the film would interview one or more of the people involved with the film's production.

Towards the end of the week, I arrived at the Bob Hope Theatre (on the SMU campus) to find a notice on the chalkboard: one of the films had cancelled out, and "Dark Star" a "sci-fi comedy" would be shown in its place.

Bringing science fiction and comedy together is a tricky business: usually either the SF content or the humor suffers. Or both.

I ended up being pleasantly surprised. The special effects were a little cheesy (Carpenter originally shot it as a film student, on a film students "budget"), but the characters were funny, and they got off some nice riffs.

Carpenter and O'Bannon (who also co-wrote the first "Alien" movie) produce a collection of odd characters on an extended mission. For the last 20 years they've been travelling the galaxies in search of "unstable planets" to destroy.

Unfortunately, the crew is falling apart. Boredom, apathy, mechanical malfunctions and a puckish alien mascot ensure that things only get worse and worse.

There's a clever parody of a scene from "2001" occurs when one of the bombs can't be released and has to be talked out of exploding.

And there's a reverse reference to one of O'Bannon's own script for "Alien" when the alien gets free and one of the crew has to track the thing down. (O'Bannon refers to this as "Alien" turned upside-down: instead of the alien chasing the crew, one of the crew chases the alien)

Lots of fun. Eight stars.

25 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Very funny Movie to a 1970s 15 year old jim_85258
Dark Star is not supposed to be a 'Comedy' at all. Stellartoa
How is this a comedy? tezz27000
Remakes - Dark Star - Sam Rockwell pam-bradley1
Dark Star is utter tripe anthony_suleiman
Comedy Sci-Fi samueldtodd
Discuss Dark Star (1974) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page