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The Brother from Another Planet (1984)

R  |   |  Comedy, Sci-Fi  |  7 September 1984 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 4,414 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 21 critic

A mute alien with the appearance of a black human is chased by outer-space bounty hunters through the streets of Harlem.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rosanna Carter ...
West Indian Woman
Ray Ramirez ...
Hispanic Man
Yves Rene ...
Haitian Man
Peter Richardson ...
Islamic Man
Ginny Yang ...
Korean Shopkeeper
Leonard Jackson ...
Maggie Renzi ...
Noreen's Client
Minnie Gentry ...
Mrs. Brown
Bernice (as Ren Woods)


The Brother is an alien who has crash-landed on Earth, in New York City. While mute, strongly empathic, and able to fix things, he resembles a Black man with strange feet. His attempt to make a place for himself in Harlem is an allegory for the immigrant experience in the United States. Meanwhile, two bounty hunters from the Brother's home planet arrive and try to capture him. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He's not just another out-of-towner. See more »


Comedy | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some drug content and brief nudity | See all certifications »





Release Date:

7 September 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Apo allon planiti  »

Box Office


$350,000 (estimated)


$3,700,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


John Sayles stated that in choosing the steel drum for the music on this movie, with its unusual and technological, yet still organic, quality, he was partly influenced by the zither music from Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949). See more »


When the Brother is sitting in the bar for the first time, in shots of the boy playing the video game, a crew member's head can be seen intermittently between the back of the video game and the wall. See more »


Fly: (about Harlem) I'd rather be a cockroach on a baseboard up here than the Emperor of Mississippi.
See more »


Referenced in Lab Rats: Principal from Another Planet (2014) See more »


Sung by Jeff Anderson
By Jeff Southworth and Martin Brody
Sweet Melodies Publishing/ASCAP
See more »

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User Reviews

Strange and unique quiet drama...
6 June 2007 | by (Evansville, Indiana USA) – See all my reviews

1st watched 6/6/2007 - 7 out of 10(Dir-John Sayles): Strange and unique quiet drama about a man who lands on earth as an escapee from another planet where he was apparently a slave. Joe Morton, as this brother from the other planet has no dialogue but effectively portrays a true illegal alien. He really is a frail being who just wants to do good and be needed. He is being hunted by what appears to be his owners but he affects everyone he comes across in such a positive way that they get behind him 100% and keep these thugs from getting him. He eventually earns his money by fixing things with his otherworldly powers(once he realizes that stealing isn't right) and even gets to the point of hunting down a drug dealer in Harlem who has caused the demise of a young one in the neighborhood. This character is probably the most likable alien that has ever been put on the screen(next to maybe E.T.) and it's definitely a departure from most films. The low production value is certainly evident but the character and the storyline keeps you interested and rooting for this unlikely hero from another planet. These were the type of quiet independent movies that were made in the 80's when it was truly "seen" that the budget was low, but the makers only cared about creating a worthwhile project and John Sayles definitely did that with this one. This 80's relic is not to be missed by a true cinemaphile or anyone who wants to see the benefits of good deeds even if it's coming from someone with feet a little different than ours.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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