IMDb > The Puppet Masters (1994)
The Puppet Masters
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The Puppet Masters (1994) More at IMDbPro »

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User Rating:
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Popularity: ?
Up 13% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Robert A. Heinlein (novel)
Ted Elliott (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for The Puppet Masters on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
21 October 1994 (USA) See more »
Trust No-one.
The Earth is invaded by alien "slugs" that ride on people's backs and control their minds. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Disappointing... See more (60 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Donald Sutherland ... Andrew Nivens

Eric Thal ... Sam Nivens

Julie Warner ... Mary Sefton

Keith David ... Alex Holland

Will Patton ... Dr. Graves

Richard Belzer ... Jarvis
Tom Mason ... President Douglas

Yaphet Kotto ... Ressler

Gerry Bamman ... Viscott

Sam Anderson ... Culbertson

J. Patrick McCormack ... Gidding
Marshall Bell ... General Morgan
Nicholas Cascone ... Greenberg

Bruce Jarchow ... Barnes

Benjamin Mouton ... Higgins

David Pasquesi ... Vargas

Andrew Robinson ... Hawthorne

Benj Thall ... Jeff
Bo Sharon ... Casey
Nick Browne ... Mike
Donna Garrett ... Miss Haines
William Wellman Jr. ... Doctor

Elizabeth Sung ... Technician #1
Dinah Lenney ... Technician #2

Tom Dugan ... Operator #1

Dale Dye ... Brande
John C. Cooke ... Lt. Abbey

Julian Scott Urena ... Infantryman (as Fabio Urena)

Michael Shamus Wiles ... Capt. Earley

Todd Bryant ... Soldier
Don James ... Soldier

J. Marvin Campbell ... Soldier
James Pearson ... Merging Soldier
Evan C. Morris ... Danny
K.T. Vogt ... Slugged Woman
Dale Harimoto ... Anchorwoman

Alexa Jago ... Wendy Markham
Eric Briant Wells ... Vince Hayward

Marianne Curan ... Newscaster
Katy Summerland ... Graves' Assistant
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Bill Blair ... Slugged Businessman (uncredited)
Joyce Lasley ... Secretary (uncredited)
John Lizzi ... Military Communications Officer (uncredited)

Directed by
Stuart Orme 
Writing credits
Robert A. Heinlein (novel)

Ted Elliott (screenplay) &
Terry Rossio (screenplay) and
David S. Goyer (screenplay)

Produced by
James P. Axiotis .... field producer (as James Axotis)
Michael Engelberg .... executive producer
Ralph Winter .... producer
Original Music by
Colin Towns 
Cinematography by
Clive Tickner 
Film Editing by
William Goldenberg 
Casting by
Sharon Howard-Field 
Production Design by
Daniel A. Lomino 
Art Direction by
James Hegedus 
Set Decoration by
Cloudia Rebar  (as Cloudia)
Costume Design by
Tom Bronson 
Makeup Department
Greg Cannom .... special makeup effects
Ann Masterson .... makeup department head
Keith VanderLaan .... makeup effects supervisor: Cannom Creations
Production Management
Andrew G. La Marca .... unit production manager
Lorie Zerweck .... unit manager: second unit
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jeffrey J. Dashnaw .... second unit director
Michael Grossman .... first assistant director
Pamela Kuri .... second assistant director
Molly M. Mayeux .... second assistant director: second unit
J.B. Rogers .... first assistant director: second unit (as James B. Rogers)
Art Department
Fred Apolito .... propmaker
Jason Bedig .... leadman
Gina Cafasso .... art department coordinator
Joseph Calta .... stand-by painter
Michael Diersing .... construction coordinator
William J. Durrell Jr. .... assistant art director
Scott E. Handt .... construction foreman
Chuck Herrmann .... property assistant
Scott Lafferty .... propmaker
Alan Manzer .... set designer
Karl J. Martin .... set designer
Bruce Richter .... carpenter
Jim Zemansky .... property master
Clyde Zimmerman .... paint supervisor
Steven Hintz .... propmaker (uncredited)
Sound Department
Andrew Adams .... utility sound
Robert J. Anderson Jr. .... sound mixer
Rick Ash .... sound re-recording mixer
Julia Evershade .... supervising adr editor
Dennis Fuller .... boom operator
Mark A. Mangini .... supervising sound editor
John Pospisil .... sound designer
Geoffrey G. Rubay .... sound editor
Curt Schulkey .... supervising sound editor
Solange S. Schwalbe .... foley supervisor
Dean A. Zupancic .... sound re-recording mixer
Special Effects by
Roy Arbogast .... special effects
Roland Blancaflor .... foam runner
Roland Blancaflor .... special effects technician: Cannom Creations
Greg Cannom .... special makeup effects creator
Gustavo R. Ferreyra .... special effects technician
Linda Frobos .... sculptor
Glen Hanz .... sculptor
Louis Kiss .... runner
John Logan .... creature effects production coordinator
James McLoughlin .... moldmaker
Larry Odien .... mechanics and animatronics designer
Larry Odien .... special effects supervisor
Kevin Pike .... special effects set foreman
Stephen Prouty .... moldmaker (as Steve Prouty)
Anton Rupprecht .... mechanic
Aaron Sims .... painter
David Sosalla .... animatronics
David Sosalla .... creature effects coordinator
Todd Tucker .... moldmaker
Keith VanderLaan .... on-set coordinator
Robert E. Watson .... moldmaker
Mike Wever .... special effects technician
Gary Zink .... special effects
Jaime Galindo .... special effects laborer (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Michael Curtis .... main title animation
Dorne Huebler .... digital supervisor
John R. McConnell .... digital artist
Peter Montgomery .... visual effects supervisor
Winston Quitasol .... digital compositor
Wally Schaab .... digital artist
Gregory J. Barnett .... stunts (as Greg Barnett)
Bobby Bass .... stunts
May Boss .... stunts
Charlie Brewer .... stunts
Jeff Brockton .... stunt performer
Jeffrey J. Dashnaw .... stunt coordinator
Jan M. Davis .... aerial stunt coordinator
Annie Ellis .... stunts
Kenny Endoso .... stunts
Danny Epper .... stunts
Christian J. Fletcher .... stunt double
Lance Gilbert .... stunts
Jeff Imada .... stunts
Jeff Jensen .... stunts
Josh Kemble .... stunt performer
Henry Kingi Jr. .... stunts
Billy D. Lucas .... stunts
Lisa McCullough .... stunts
Bennie Moore .... stunts
Chad Randall .... stunt coordinator: second unit
Moe Viletto .... skydiving stunt safety coordinator
Thomas Robinson Harper .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Marsha Blackburn .... still photographer
Mark 'Boylee' Boyle .... loader
John J. Connor .... director of photography: second unit
John T. Connor .... assistant camera: "a" camera
Gary Dagg .... key grip
Anthony Gaudioz .... camera operator
Joe Kelly .... best boy grip
Jerry L. Marshall .... rigging grip
Peter McAdams .... grip
Charlie McIntyre .... rigging gaffer
Brennan Price .... lighting technician (as Brennan L. Price)
Ronald J. Pure Jr. .... electrician
John 'Fest' Sandau .... assistant chief lighting technician
Cricket Sloat .... dimmer board operator
Dan Kneece .... Steadicam operator (uncredited)
Casting Department
Douglas Wright .... casting associate
Transportation Department
Chris Basso .... production van driver operator
Phil Strauss .... driver: cast
Don Tardino .... transportation coordinator
Other crew
Rory J. Aylward .... technical advisor: military
Susan Bierbaum .... script supervisor
Jan M. Davis .... jumper (as Jan Davis)
Pall Grimsson .... production assistant
Brad Hood .... jumper
Mike Hoy .... pilot
Wendol Jarvis .... film commissioner
Samuel F. Kinder .... craft service
Michael Kolko .... set estimator
Darrin Lipscomb .... assistant location manager
Larry Madrid .... animal trainer
Bobby McDonald .... pilot: huey 212 pilot (as Bob McDonald)
Laurie Morgenthal .... production assistant
Alan D. Purwin .... aerial coordinator
Alan D. Purwin .... pilot
Michael Roberts .... production accountant
Tom Sanders .... skydiving coordinator
Risé Stefani .... technical advisor
Jeffrey D. Stevens .... key set medic
Michael Tamburro .... pilot: jet ranger
Derek Wade .... Asst. Production Coordinator
Robert 'Bobby Z' Zajonc .... pilot: jet ranger

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Robert A. Heinlein's The Puppet Masters" - USA (complete title)
See more »
Rated R for violence, sci-fi gore and brief language
109 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:M | Canada:14A (Manitoba) | Canada:AA (Ontario) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Finland:K-16 | France:U | Germany:16 | Hungary:16 | Iceland:16 | Singapore:PG | South Korea:15 | Sweden:15 | UK:15 | USA:R (certificate #33291)

Did You Know?

In the french dubbed version Donald Sutherland's voice is dubbed by actor Jean-Pierre Cassel.See more »
Continuity: When asked for the town's population, the figure is stated as 10,001. The population on the sign shown at the beginning is 10,079.See more »
Niven:It's the kid from the spaceship. Get him off the car.See more »
Movie Connections:


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
9 out of 16 people found the following review useful.
Disappointing..., 3 July 2004
Author: mentalcritic from Southern Hemisphere

Like Stephen King, Robert Heinlein is an author whose work is frequently adapted into Hollywood screenplays. Also like Stpehen King, the results of adapting Heinlein's work into the format of film rarely live up to the potential set by the material. The major difference between the two authors is that an adaptation of Heinlein usually gets better the further it strays from the source, so long as it sticks to the spirit. Ironically, the Verhoeven/Neumeier adaptation of StarShip Troopers remains the best that Hollywood has come up with so far.

The problem with The Puppet Masters as a film is that after a well-constructed setup in which the aliens are made entirely plausible, even somehow real, it descends rapidly into yet another action/sci-fi hybrid in the vein of Predator or Aliens. This in itself wouldn't be so bad, except for two things. One, Heinlein's stories were always intended as the exact opposite kind of science-fiction. Two, the mixture of the two elements leaves the film unbalanced. The second half feels very disjoined from the first.

The scientific concepts shown in the film are not perfect, but they give it an atmosphere that many horror films of the era lack. However, the science of the film is not the only key to making a great story. Where it falls down is in the Transition. The Transition from one moment to the next leaves gaps of logic that disconnects the audience from the story. The questions of how on Earth one thing got here or there are never adequately answered. Telling us that something escaped never works as well as showing us, and unfortunately, this production of The Puppet Masters never does enough of the latter.

The acting doesn't help matters a lot. Donald Sutherland is very competent as usual, but the script gives him little to distinguish his character from the other several dozen that he's played in an almost identical manner. Julie Warner stands out as the character who grabs the viewer's attention, by fair means and foul. Eric Thal, on the other hand, is like Keanu Reeves. You could replace him with a wooden plank that has a mean face painted on it, and nobody would know the difference. Richard Belzer stands out in an almost-wordless cameo. Anyone else in the film never gets the chance to distinguish themselves.

The second half and inadequate characterisation of the film would have been easy to overcome if only one of them were present. The only problem is that third, fourth, even fifth problems are added. One major problem is the sheer volume of exposition that is delivered through dialogue. It is one thing to tell us how character X felt sensation Y at moment Z. To do this without flashbacks or recapping footage from new angles is a difficult ask at best, and with a cast of this calibre, it simply shouldn't be done.

Ironically, the concept of The Puppet Masters was done slightly better in a direct-to-video sequel to StarShip Troopers. The concept of an alien parasite using a host for a sinister purpose was also done better in The Thing. If you've already seen those films, then The Puppet Masters is worth checking out. If not, I'd recommend checking them out first. A 5 out of 10 from me.

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Falls Apart During the Second Half SA-Dude
*Spoiler* What's with the 'lame' plot twist? GregNSyd
Interesting bit of trivia I'm suprised no one else seems to notice... petekrug17
Everyone Take Your Shirts Off Frog-Legs
I liked it jlfitz-2
Eric Thal chickchat
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