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Alien (1979)

R  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi  |  22 June 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 518,684 users   Metascore: 83/100
Reviews: 1,075 user | 380 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?


The writing partnership between Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett came about when Shusett approached O'Bannon about helping him adapt a Philip K. Dick story to which he had acquired the rights. That was "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale," which later became Total Recall (1990). O'Bannon then said that he had an idea that he was stuck on, about an alien aboard a spaceship, and that he needed some assistance. Shusett agreed to help out, and they tackled the alien movie first, as they felt it would have been the cheaper of the two to make. See more »


When the chestburster erupts out of Kane, Lambert is shown with a terrified/disgusted expression and can be heard saying, "Oh God," when she is by the blood spatter but her lips don't move. 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 Howard the Duck (1986) See more »


Eine kleine Nachtmusik'
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (as W.A. Mozart)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Classic horror
16 October 2001 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The further we go in special effects, the more movies show us and ignore the unseen, the more people will return to dark horrors like this one.

It's hard to look at this film without considering the sequels and knowing the alien itself, however when made the alien was mostly unseen and a mystery. It's difficult to forget what you've seen, but it's important to approach this film first if possible rather than joining the series late.

It's amazing that this is over 20 years old - apart from the actors looking so young, the film doesn't feel dated at all. The sci-fi visions here are still bleak and futuristic as they were then - this is not the Star Trek vision of the future. The foreboding exists long before John Hurt spills his secret, Scott's direction is excellent throughout. Once the alien is "born" the tension is cranked up and the characters dispatched one by one (a formula we know oh-so well now!)

However here the characters are not merely alien-food but have some dimension to them. Weaver is excellent, while the support cast is full of great support actors (Stanton, Kotto, Hurt, Skerritt, Holm), but of course the real star is the one we see least of.

We barely see the alien in full detail, most of the time it is set in shadows, moving with deadly intent.The alien here is not simply a killing machine as seen in later films but is cruel with it. Witness the alien trap a female crew member and slowly rub up her leg, moving with slow seductive movements before moving with terrifying speed to kill another crew member sneaking up behind it. The slow movements betray the alien's pure cruelty.

The film is a study in terror. It may not be as action packed as the other films in the series but it brings the claustrophobia of being hunted to a new level.

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