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Alien (1979)

 -  Horror | Sci-Fi  -  22 June 1979 (USA)
8.5
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 420,667 users   Metascore: 83/100
Reviews: 1,025 user | 362 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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Title: Alien (1979)

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Top 250 #50 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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 a alien stowaway is on the cargo ship. Written by blazesnakes9

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

spaceship | egg | warning | parasite | alien | See more »

Taglines:

A word of warning... See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

22 June 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alien: The Director's Cut  »

Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£208,081 (UK) (31 October 2003)

Gross:

$1,983,690 (USA) (28 November 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (as Dolby Stereo)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The alien's habit of laying eggs in the chest (which later burst out) was inspired by spider wasps, which are said to lay their eggs "in the abdomen of spiders." This image gave Dan O'Bannon nightmares, which he used to create the story. But spider wasps (pompilidae) lay eggs on their prey, not inside them, after which the wasp maggots simply snack on the sting-paralyzed spiders. O'Bannon may instead have been thinking of either ichneumon wasps or braconid wasps. The ichneumon drills a single egg into a wood-boring beetle larva, whereas braconids inject eggs inside certain caterpillars. Both result in fatal hatch-outs more alike to O'Bannon's alien. See more »

Goofs

When trying to abort the countdown, the cancellation instructions Ripley follows with her finger are actually just a French translation of the detonation instructions she followed earlier. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in Jennifer's Body (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Iconographic Horror
23 April 2005 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

ALIEN received mixed reviews when it debuted in 1979--largely from science fiction critics, who accused it of being little more than a sort of Friday the 13th in Outer Space, a blood-and-gore horror flick given a futuristic twist via special effects. But while these accusations have more than a little truth, it has been an incredibly influential film--and even today, in the wake of CGI effects, it still holds up extremely, extremely well.

The story is well known: the crew of an interstellar craft responds to what seems a distress signal, only to encounter a remarkably lethal alien life form that boards their ship and sets about picking them off one by one. Some of the special effects are weak (the alien spacecraft and the android "revival" are fairly notorious). There is little in the way of character development, the film has a fairly slow pace, and the story itself is predictable; you can usually guess who is going to die next.

BUT. The art designs are incredible: the entire look of the film, from the commercial nature of the spacecraft to the iconographic alien itself (brilliantly envisioned by Giger) is right on the money. Director Ridley Scott encouraged his cast to ad lib from the script, and the result is a shocking sense of realism--and the somewhat slow pace of the film and the predictability of the story gives it a sense of relentless and ever-mounting paranoia that is greatly enhanced by the tight sets and camera set-ups. With its odd mixture of womb-like organics and cold mechanics, ALIEN is a film calculated to send even the most slightly claustrophobic viewer into a fit of hysteria.

The entire cast, led by Tom Skerrit and Sigorney Weaver, is very, very good--and the film abounds with memorable images and scenes ranging from John Hurt's encounter with the alien egg to Skerrit's search of the ship air ducts to Weaver's terrifying race against time as the ship counts down to self-destruct. Seldom has any film been so consistent in design, cast, direction, and out-and-out fear factor, and although certain aspects of ALIEN are open to legitimate criticism the end result is powerful enough to bring it in at a full five stars. A word of warning, however: you'll need to send the kids to bed for this one. And you'll probably be up half the night afterward yourself! Recommended.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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