The Puppet Masters (1994)

R  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  21 October 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 6,718 users  
Reviews: 60 user | 42 critic

The Earth is invaded by alien "slugs" that ride on people's backs and control their minds.



(novel), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mary Sefton
Alex Holland
Tom Mason ...
President Douglas
Marshall Bell ...
General Morgan
Nicholas Cascone ...


Strange aliens land in the Midwest, taking over people's minds in order to spread their dominion. Sam Nivens and Andrew Nivens, aided by Mary Sefton, are part of a government agency who must stop the the aliens before the aliens get to them... Written by Steve Fenwick <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Trust No-one.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 October 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Robert A. Heinlein's The Puppet Masters  »

Box Office


$8,638,072 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the french dubbed version Donald Sutherland's voice is dubbed by actor Jean-Pierre Cassel. See more »


After leaving the radio station, a possessed man goes through the windshield of the car, leaving a large, jagged hole. The next shot from inside the car shows an unbroken windshield. See more »


[After Sam rescues Andrew by shooting him]
Andrew: [musingly] I can't believe you shot me.
Sam: Well, what would you have done?
Andrew: [nonchalant] Oh, I'd have shot you, of course.
See more »


Referenced in Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

This just ain't Heinlein...
22 June 2003 | by (London) – See all my reviews

How the producers got away with calling this "Robert A. Heinlein's Puppet Masters" amazes me - because the only resemblance to Heinlein's genuinely chilling short story about Titan 'slugs' are the character names. That's it. None of the wonderfully satirical espionage group shenanigans, none of the gripping suspense, none of the character development, and none of the setting. "Puppet Masters" is not supposed to be set in 1994, it's supposed to be set in 1957 - but a different 1957 to the one we know. I mean, this film didn't even attempt the flying cars or the hand-held lasers. Like so many new sci-fi films made from older literature classics, the fiction has been cut out like some sort of hideous tumor and the science has been exaggerated to make sure the audience knows it's SCIENCE fiction. The fact that the science is largely irrelevant is lost on most modern screen writers

  • and this movie is no exception.

Another example of a perfectly good story that has been shredded to make it 'fit' Hollywood's version of science-fiction, which is largely made up of clanking robots, flashing lights and explosions.

"The Faculty" was a good SF movie. And it was right - Body Snatchers is a rip-off from this story, but it never pretended to be anything but. Faculty had some enjoyable sequences. It wasn't perfect, and elements were laughable, but despite this, it was true to itself..._this_ film was just the massacre of a perfectly good story.

I only hope anyone else who ever tries to make a movie of a Heinlein classic will stick to the book and make a decent movie, not rehash the story until it sounds good - because they sounded good before.

20 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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