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Alien (1979)

R  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi  |  22 June 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 518,539 users   Metascore: 83/100
Reviews: 1,075 user | 379 critic | 22 from Metacritic.com

The commercial vessel Nostromo receives a distress call from an unexplored planet. After searching for survivors, the crew heads home only to realize that a deadly bioform has joined them.



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Top Rated Movies #52 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 15 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Helen Horton ...
Mother (voice)


A commercial crew aboard the deep space towing vessel, Nostromo is on its way home when they pick an SOS warning from a distant planet. What they don't know is that the SOS warning is not like any other ordinary warning call. Picking up the signal, the crew realize that they are not alone on the spaceship when an alien stowaway is on the cargo ship. Written by blazesnakes9

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The scariest movie ever made... just got scarier. (UK 2003 re-release) See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sci-fi violence/gore and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

22 June 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alien: The Director's Cut  »

Box Office


$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£208,081 (UK) (31 October 2003)


£379,140 (UK) (7 November 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (as Dolby Stereo)


(Eastman Kodak)|

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


All of the names of the main characters were changed multiple times by Walter Hill and David Giler during revisions of the original script by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett. The script by O'Bannon and Shusett also had a clause indicating that all of the characters are "unisex," meaning they could be cast with male or female actors; consequently, all of the characters are only referred to by their last name (Dallas, Kane, Ripley, Ash, Lambert, Parker, and Brett), and the few gender-specific pronouns (he/she) were corrected after casting. However, Shusett and O'Bannon never thought of casting Ripley as a female character. See more »


(at around 11 mins) Dallas informs the crew that Mother, the ship's computer, has interrupted their journey having intercepted a transmission of unknown origin, an acoustical beacon that repeats at intervals of 12 seconds. Acoustics is a branch of science dealing with sound. Sound is a mechanical wave that requires a medium, like air or water, in order to propagate. There is none of that in space. The tagline of the movie, "In space no one can hear you scream" also applies to an acoustical beacon. See more »


[first lines]
Brett: This is the worst shit I've ever seen, man.
Parker: What you say? You got any biscuits over there?
Ripley: Here's some cornbread.
Parker: Cornbread. Yeah.
Lambert: I am cold.
Parker: Still with us, Brett?
Brett: Right.
Kane: Oh, I feel dead.
Parker: Anybody ever tell you you look dead, man?
See more »


Referenced in Mad About You: The Painter (1993) See more »


Incidental music from 'Symphony No. 2 ('Romantic')
by Howard Hanson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The mother of all movies
31 January 2005 | by (Spain) – See all my reviews

Back in early 20th century, Lumière brothers didn't have a clue of what they were playing with. I'm freaking sure that if somebody could have magically told them that thanks to their work, a movie like 'Alien' would have been made in the future, they both would have died of a sudden, shocked by the consequences of their labor, like an honest scientist would if he was shown an evil use of his research. In that sense, but in the best way imaginable, 'Alien' is the atomic bomb.

In my opinion, 'Alien' is the only perfect movie in the history of cinema. Of course, this could be debatable, but of all the films I've watched since I was born, this is the only one in which I haven't been able to find the slightest flaw. It gets a golden ten out of ten. Bright, solid and massive.

I could go on with a panegyric, but I'll try to be short and accurate:

The direction is just perfect. Every shot is marvellous, every movement of the camera is breathtaking. There is absolutely nothing you could add or subtract. Touch it, and you spoil it. Seriously.

The acting is splendid. The performances build a credible world centuries away. I don't know about you, but this take on the future was unveliabably acceptable. Sigourney Weaver is more than a revelation, John Hurt is a master, and the rest are nothing short of marvellous.

The script is a work of art, the story is mesmerizing, well-constructed, well-developed, and free of absurd twists. Its simplicity and efectiveness are yet, 25 years after, to be matched.

The atmosphere is pure genius. Gothic, claustrophobic and sometimes baroque. The use of light and dark is beyond description, the use of sound is as creepy as it gets.

The FX are the best possible for 1979. In the time of the release, some scenes were stomach churning.

The score. Jerry Goldsmith's work matches the images so perfectly it seems to bleed from them. It is and will be the best soundtrack for a sci-fi flick in space ever.

The tagline. "In space, no one can hear you scream". THIS is a tagline.

And, of course... the alien. The only alive creature that can steal Weaver the movie. Its design is the most innovative I've seen. It has spawned dozens of disgraceful imitations. This is the real deal. Not only the look, but the complete design of a life form, including biological features. Acid instead of blood. Jaws inside jaws. What more could you possibly want? This is how a movie is done.

A very good sign of a movie that has gone down in history is the amount of collectively well remembered scenes. Well, 'Alien' has so many that I won't go into it. This movie contains so many iconic scenes that has become an icon itself.

So, what else? I urge all young directors to watch this movie a zillion times, as I've already done, and take notes all along. But not in order to rip off from it, as many others have done, but to learn, learn, learn, learn and learn how a movie should be done. 'Casablanca'? You must be joking.

Oh, I almost forget! There's a lovable cat in it.


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