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The Arrival (1996)

PG-13  |   |  Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  31 May 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 24,057 users  
Reviews: 109 user | 55 critic

Zane, an astronomer, discovers intelligent alien life. But the aliens are keeping a deadly secret, and will do anything to stop Zane from learning it.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Shane ...
JPL Guard #1
Phil Gordian / Mexican Guard
Phyllis Applegate ...
Mrs. Roosevelt
Alan Coates ...
DOD #1
DOD #2
Tony T. Johnson ...
Catalina Botello ...
N.C.A.R. Woman
Georg Lillitsch ...
Computer Tech


Zane (Charlie Sheen), a young, mild-mannered astronomer discovers an extraterrestrial radio signal. After being fired from his organization for reporting this to his superior, he takes a chance on discovering the truth: that his workplace is not quite what it seems to be and a sinister conspiracy is at work. The aliens are keeping a deadly secret, and will stop at nothing to prevent Zane from learning it. Written by vishakbt1

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


I'm a ride-share hostage. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sci-fi violence and terror, and for brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

31 May 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shockwave  »

Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$184,261 (USA) (26 July 1996)


JPY 20,609,500 (Japan) (15 November 1996)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The length of the first signal is 42 seconds. The number 42 is, in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, "The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything", calculated by an enormous supercomputer over a period of 7.5 million years. See more »


(at around 14 mins) In the lecture about terraforming Mars, the lecturer talks about "raising the temperature ten fold". No scientist would say this: it's virtually meaningless as it depends on the temperature scale used. See more »


Phil Gordian: If you can't tend to your own planet, you don't deserve to live here.
See more »


References A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) See more »


Ramblin' On My Mind
Performed by Robert Lockwood Jr.
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User Reviews

smart, well-made sci-fi
7 March 2002 | by See all my reviews

Intriguing sci-fi thriller stars Sheen as a brilliant but paranoid astronomer whose obsession with his quest to discover intelligent life puts him at odds with his neglected girlfriend. He discovers a strange signal from outer space, but is fired when he tries to make it public. Deciding to take matters into his own hands, he stumbles upon the existence of aliens that have already invaded the Earth and are using a sophisticated technological scheme to try and take it over. Brainy thriller abandons guns, explosions, and car chases in favor of actual science and clever plotting. Starts off slow, but only gets more and more interesting as it goes along, with an effectively edgy performance from Sheen that's right on target. ***

52 of 59 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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This movie is so 90s it hurts FootwearQuality
6.2 ?! Totally underrated movie cmccabe43
Painfully Underatted Movie!!! djtrix26
'Do you want to see the ruins, my friend?' erinw91
One of the best sci-fi movies ever! Frozilla_Firefox
This is Half-Life: The Movie Goldie15
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