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Starman (1984)

An alien takes the form of a young widow's husband and asks her to drive him from Wisconsin to Arizona. The government tries to stop them.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Robert Phalen ...
Tony Edwards ...
John Walter Davis ...
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Cop #1
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Cop #2
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Hot Rodder (as Sean Faro)
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Cook (as Buck Flower)
Russ Benning ...
Ralph Cosham ...
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Storyline

Jenny Hayden never did get over the death of her husband. So when an alien life form decides to model "himself" on the husband, Jenny is understandably confused if not terrified. The alien, or Starman, as he is called, has a deadline to meet, and kidnaps Jenny in order to meet it. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He has traveled from a galaxy far beyond our own. He is 100,000 years ahead of us. He has powers we cannot comprehend. And he is about to face the one force in the universe he has yet to conquer. Love. See more »

Genres:

Romance | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 December 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's Starman  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$28,700,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The make and model of the car that the Starman and Jenny Hayden go cross-country in was a hotted-up orange and black 1977 Ford Mustang Cobra II coupé . See more »

Goofs

At the first stop for fuel, Jenny "rolls" down the window to speak with the attendant, but the action and sound are that of a power window. The Mustang II was never offered with power windows. See more »

Quotes

Starman: [after seeing the dead deer] Do deer eat people?
Jenny Hayden: No.
Starman: Do people eat people?
Jenny Hayden: Of course not. What do you think we are?
Starman: I think you are a very primitive species.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in K-PAX (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

All I Have to Do Is Dream
(1958)
Written by Boudleaux Bryant and Felice Bryant (uncredited)
Published by House of Bryant Publications and Acuff-Rose Publications, Inc.
Performed by Jeff Bridges (uncredited) and Karen Allen (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
You may be shocked to read that this is one of the best science fiction movies ever made
16 November 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

John Carpenter directed "Starman" in 1984, hot off the mega-success of the landmark horror movie "Halloween" in 1978 and the cult science fiction/adventure flick "Escape from New York" in 1981. "Starman" was a significant departure and change-of-pace from all of Carpenter's earlier works.

While essentially a science fiction story involving all the essentials

  • aliens, the United States Army, government cover-ups, a countrywide


chase adventure and what's this, an intergalactic love story? - Carpenter is able to make sense of the material in such a way that it is both respectful to the sci-fi genre, the sci-fi fans, and to the audience members who may not give a crap about this sort of stuff and only want their corn popped.

The biggest surprise about "Starman" is the script by Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon. They're able to strip a laughable story of all that makes it laughable and create something new, something that is intelligent, heart-warming, action-packed, and romantic. Carpenter takes his cues from the material and makes everything in this wondrous sci-fi/action piece his own. And who can forget that awesome synthesizer score by Jack Nitzsche (strange since Carpenter usually composes his own film scores)?

Evans and Gideon's script, taking its cues from "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951) and "E.T. the Extraterrestrial" (1982), concerns an alien who has come to Earth after answering an invitation he found on the Voyager II space probe. However, his ship is attacked by fighter jets and he manages to make it to the Wisconsin cabin of young widow Jenny Hayden (Karen Allen), still grieving the death of her husband. After sampling DNA taken from a lock of hair of her late husband, the alien grows into a human clone of him, where he is now played by the actor Jeff Bridges.

After overcoming the obvious speech barrier when he learns to speak in English, Starman then requests that Jenny Hayden drive him from Wisconsin to Arizona, where he will meet the mother ship that will take him back to his home planet. Unfortunately, they only have a few days before he'll die from what we can only guess is exposure to our atmosphere. Matters are further complicated when the military becomes involved, desperate to catch Starman at all costs, much to the horror of laboratory rat Mark Shermin (Charles Martin Smith). Along the way, Jenny grows from being fearful of this visitor from another planet, to respecting him and finally loving him, while he gets to learn about human beings and BEING human.

It's not enough to say that both Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen are this film's magical centerpiece. They certainly make for one of the most dynamic, unusual and interesting screen couples in cinematic history, certainly one of the best screen couples in the history of science fiction cinema. The real stand-out of course is Bridges. This is a role that he rightfully received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for. We see no trace of the actor "Jeff Bridges" in there, all we see is "Starman," defined largely by his awkward mannerisms and patterns of speech, and it is a skillful, humorous, and touching performance that is the pure anti-thesis to Carpenter's earlier "The Thing" (1982).

John Carpenter, unfortunately, has not received a whole lot of recognition for this picture. Although it remains his only film to go to the Oscars, I only hope that this touching, once-in-a-lifetime science fiction/adventure-romance gets the recognition it so rightfully deserves.

10/10


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