The Arrival (1996)

PG-13  |   |  Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  31 May 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 24,272 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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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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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 »


When Zane is talking to Gordian about the signal, Zane smashes the gyroscope. But a few seconds later, the top of the gyroscope can clearly be seen revolving in the bottom right hand corner. See more »


Zane Ziminski: What do I want to do? I want to blow a hole in your head and donate your organs to science, but I've got a few questions first.
See more »


References Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) See more »


Snatch It Back And Hold It
Written by Junior Wells
Performed by Junior Wells
See more »

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User Reviews

Humor Made This Sci-Fi Work
3 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This aliens vs. earth film succeeded because it added humor to the suspense story and Charlie Sheen did a great job adding to that with an expression-filled face that made he and this film fun to watch.

Story-wise, most of it made no sense as Sheen got out of one impossible scrap after another but good sci-fi special effects and suspense helped make the story interesting and fast-moving. You get caught up in the story and don't care if their are plenty of holes in it. It's also pretty tame, language-wise. Lindsay Crouse provides the female interest and Ron Silver the villain, a familiar role for him.

The film was popular enough to make a sequel, but that horrible. Don't waste your time on that one.

26 of 37 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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