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The Brother from Another Planet (1984)

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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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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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


Welcome to a world of crude beauty... of danger and excitement... of wonders, legend, and imagination... Welcome to Harlem, Brother. 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 has said that a number of the people in the film crew, including some of the black crew, prior to the production of this movie, had never ever even been to Harlem. See more »


When the kid finishes showing The Brother the card trick, he says "I've got another trick. I can make all the white people disappear." The train enters the next station and all the white people proceed to exit the train. The Kid says "See?", but you can see, right next to him, there is a white woman sitting down and she never leaves the train. See more »


Sam: [talking about The Brother] What am I supposed to do?
Fly: You the city, Sam. Figure out where to put him.
Sam: Men's shelter.
Smokey: Too smelly.
Sam: Okay. The Hilton. You got the tab?
Smokey: What they pay you for?
Sam: I just make phone calls. You want him out, you could call the cops.
Fly: Cops? Oh, man.
Smokey: He knew the death seat when he sat down on it.
Sam: It's not like I got to drum up more business for the city, you know?
See more »


Referenced in The Big One (1997) See more »


Promised Land
Sung by Mattie Moultrie Wilson, Madeline Wilson and the Laborers in the Vineyard All Community Choir
By Mason Daring and John Sayles
Sweet Melodies Publishing/ASCAP
See more »

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User Reviews

A beautiful movie
30 September 2003 | by (Dallas, TX USA) – See all my reviews

When Rod Serling created the classic "Twilight Zone" TV show, he presented it as a harmless fantasy/SF show when it was actually a series of morality plays.

In this film you have John Sayles' take on the same concept. He talks a standard SF cliche -- the stranded ET -- and uses it as the jumping-off place for a story about something altogether different. He doesn't appear at the end, like Serling, and tell you what the moral or message was.

Rather than talk about all that (art appreciation and interpretation is pretty much a subjective affair), I would like to say a word or two about the performance of Mr. Joe Morton as the eponymous character:


The Brother is totally mute. And yet Morton's performance knocks the poop out of any piece of acting you could name. Human and humane, empathetic and sympathetic. This guy will have you laughing and crying right along with him.

An incredible performance. Well worth the price of the rental, and the popcorn, and the gas that you burned up picking it up and...

26 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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