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Aliens (1986)

R  |   |  Action, Horror, Sci-Fi  |  18 July 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 445,844 users   Metascore: 87/100
Reviews: 1,055 user | 238 critic | 9 from

The planet from Alien (1979) has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, the rescue team has impressive firepower, but will it be enough?



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Top 250 Movies #65 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Al Matthews ...
Daniel Kash ...
Cpl. Dietrich (as Cynthia Scott)
Tip Tipping ...


Fifty seven years after Ellen Ripley survived her disastrous ordeal, her escape vessel is recovered after drifting across the galaxy as she slept in cryogenic stasis. Back on earth, nobody believed her story about the "Aliens" on the planet LV-426. After the "Company" orders the colony on LV-426 to investigate, however, all communication with the colony is lost. The Company enlists Ripley to aid a team of tough, rugged space marines on a rescue mission to the now partially terraformed planet to find out if there are aliens or survivors. As the mission unfolds, Ripley will be forced to come to grips with her worst nightmare, but even as she does, she finds that the worst is yet to come. Written by Brian Rawlings

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There are some places in the universe you don't go alone. See more »


Action | Horror | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for monster violence, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

18 July 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alien 2  »

Box Office


$18,500,000 (estimated)


$85,200,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (1992 special edition)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Aliens was the last of the series in which Stan Winston would do the special effects. The torch was then handed to veterans Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. for Alien³ (1992) and Alien: Resurrection (1997). See more »


The shuttle pilot's seat has ejection handles. Since the shuttle travels between atmosphere & space, wouldn't ejection would be more dangerous than remaining on-board, both for the pilot AND passengers? Not necessarily so - pilot ejection would still be practical for atmospheric flight, and a sufficiently advanced seat could include a deployable bubble or shell for surviving space or even atmospheric re-entry - In the early 1960s, NASA designed a number of concepts for ejection seats that could be used to escape from a spacecraft in Earth orbit and allow an astronaut to safely re-enter the atmosphere. Passenger or payload recovery would be more problematic. But again, an integrated system of the future might provide reasonable survival capability. See more »


[first lines]
Salvage Team Leader: Bio-readouts are all in the green, looks like she's alive. Well, there goes our salvage, guys.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The ALIENS title forms slowly during the opening credits. The full title isn't seen until the opening credits are finished, and the "I" illuminates brightly. See more »


Referenced in Alien Hunter (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Compelling, far superior sequel to sci-fi classic (8/10)
17 February 2001 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland) – See all my reviews

Seven years after barely surviving events on board the Nostromo in Ridley Scott's classic sci-fi horror ALIEN, Sigourney Weaver reprised her role as Warrant Officer Ripley for one of the most compelling and critically-acclaimed sequels of all time. Canadian director James Cameron had already struck gold with the Arnold Schwarzenegger starring vehicle THE TERMINATOR (1984), after his somewhat inauspicious feature film directorial debut with the long-forgotten, Dutch-backed PIRANHA II: THE SPAWNING 3 years earlier. ALIENS would further cement Cameron's growing reputation as a first-rate director of high-tech, fast-paced, adrenaline-pumping action thrillers, from which there would normally be no let-up once they got going.

When Ripley is rescued from drifting aimlessly through deep space, she is horrified to learn that not only has she been asleep for 57 years, but the planet on which she had encountered the original alien all that time ago has since been colonized. At first no-one will heed her warnings or completely believe the story she gives at an official enquiry as to what happened to her and her fellow Nostromo crew members. But then contact is lost with LV-426, and despite initially throwing Ripley "to the wolves" (as she herself puts in), The Company, through representative Carter J. Burke (Paul Reiser), suddenly finds itself in a position of having to ask Ripley for help, finally persuading her to return to the planet that still consumes her every nightmare, as an advisor to a motley group of very tough colonial marines expecting this to be just another run-of-the-mill "bug-hunt". But how wrong that assumption turns out to be!

I would argue that ALIENS far surpasses its celebrated predecessor in almost every aspect. Obviously the sheer spectacle of what is basically a Vietnam war movie in space is particularly awe-inspiring - the impressive sets, the many excitingly-staged combat sequences, the aliens themselves (interestingly enough, although through fast cutting and appropriate camera placement it seems as though there are hundreds of aliens being blasted to kingdom come - or else picking off the gung-ho marines one by one - in reality no more than 6 aliens are ever seen in any one shot). But the human drama element of this sequel is also greatly heightened, primarily by the introduction of "Newt" (wonderful little Carrie Henn, in her only film role), who turns out to be the sole survivor of recent events on LV-426, becoming a kind-of surrogate daughter to Ripley, which leads to several touching moments and gives the story a surprisingly effective emotional core in the midst of all the otherwise pre-eminent carnage.

Amongst the talented supporting players are Cameron regulars Michael Biehn (THE TERMINATOR, THE ABYSS) and Bill Paxton (bit part in THE TERMINATOR, TRUE LIES, TITANIC), and Cameron's punchy dialogue includes such suitably macho wisecracks as - Hudson (Paxton): "Hey Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?" Vasquez (a pumped-up Jenette Goldstein): "No, have you?" Nominated for 7 Oscars, including Weaver as Best Actress (again this confirms the general class on display, as it is fairly rare for the Academy to recognize the acting qualities inherent in this type of predominantly action-driven movie), the film went on to win for Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Effects Editing. Further, almost inevitable sequels followed in 1992 and 1997, but I prefer to think of the terrifying perils of Ellen Ripley as ending on this high note.

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