The Arrival (1996)

PG-13  |   |  Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  31 May 1996 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.3/10 from 24,281 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.



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Arrival II (1998)
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.8/10 X  

A computer hacker (Patrick Muldoon) learns of the plot of the backwards-kneed aliens to take over the Earth using their shape-shifting talents.

Director: Kevin Tenney
Stars: Patrick Muldoon, Jane Sibbett, Michael Sarrazin
Arrival (2013)
Short | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

When a mysterious object falls from the sky, the lives of two brothers will be changed forever.

Director: Joshua Hoareau
Stars: Addam Bramich, Tanya Braunovic, Caleb McClure
Action | Comedy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A maverick skydiver and a former KGB agent team up to stop the Russian mafia from stealing gold.

Director: Deran Sarafian
Stars: Charlie Sheen, Nastassja Kinski, James Gandolfini
The Chase (1994)
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Escaped convict Jack Hammond takes a woman hostage and sets off for the Mexican border with the police hot on his tail.

Director: Adam Rifkin
Stars: Charlie Sheen, Kristy Swanson, Henry Rollins
Biography | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An Arizona logger mysteriously disappears for five days in an alleged encounter with a flying saucer in 1975.

Director: Robert Lieberman
Stars: D.B. Sweeney, Robert Patrick, Craig Sheffer
Red Planet (2000)
Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Astronauts, and their robotic dog AMME, search for solutions to save a dying Earth by searching on Mars, only to have the mission go terribly awry.

Director: Antony Hoffman
Stars: Val Kilmer, Carrie-Anne Moss, Tom Sizemore
The Arrival (2013)
Short | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

Nick, once a promising web designer finds himself in a world that no longer needs his skills. He must choose between a tempting offer from the very company that is killing his industry, or to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

Directors: Nick Pettit, Michael Poley
Stars: Ryan Carson, Alan Johnson, Thomas Leyva
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A decorated firefighter has his wife and son leave him because of his violent tendencies, including playing a game of Russian Roulette with his wife. Only trouble is he believes that the ... See full summary »

Director: Craig R. Baxley
Stars: Charlie Sheen, Mare Winningham, David Andrews
Impostor (2001)
Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

In the future, an alien race uses androids as bombs to attack Earth. A government weapons specialist is accused of being one such android and sets out to prove his innocence.

Director: Gary Fleder
Stars: Shane Brolly, Vincent D'Onofrio, Gary Sinise
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

Bobby Bishop (Sheen) is a special assistant to the President of the United States. Accidentally, he meets his friend professor Pochenko on the street. Pochenko has time to tell Bishop about... See full summary »

Director: George P. Cosmatos
Stars: Charlie Sheen, Donald Sutherland, Linda Hamilton
Navy Seals (1990)
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

During a rescue mission, a Navy Seals team discover that a newly formed terrorist group have access to deadly US built Stinger missiles, and set out to locate and destroy them.

Director: Lewis Teague
Stars: Charlie Sheen, Michael Biehn, Joanne Whalley
Loose Women (1997)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  

On the brink of turning 30, friends Rachel Gail and Tracy navigate the clubs of New York City dissing on their relationships and men in general

Director: Paul F. Bernard
Stars: Sherry Ham-Bernard, Melissa Errico, Marialisa Costanzo


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


The greatest danger facing our world has been the planet's best kept secret...until now. 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 »


Ilana tells Zane that the flower field she examined at the beginning of the film is 90 miles from the North Pole. Even if the ice pack melted, there would be no soil for plants to grow in, as the nearest land is more than 400 miles away. See more »


Zane Ziminski: What's your point? There's always something that gives me false hope? That I'm wasting my life?
Char: I didn't say that. But you know, it's interesting that you did.
See more »


References The Chase (1994) See more »


Written by Barbara L. Jordan, Eddie Ruperto, and Christopher Rhyne
Performed by Eddie Ruperto
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Conservatives Are Really World Destroying Aliens
25 September 2015 | by (Kneels Under The Light) – See all my reviews

Spoilers Ahead:

Yes, I know, if you are a conservative, like me, try not to pick up on the movie's implied insult my header captures. This is quite a good movie, actually. Zane picks up some signal from space and finds himself without a job and his boss telling everyone he is a wacko and not to employ him. With a little scientific ingenuity, he rigs up his own giant dish using the his neighbors' satellites. He traces the signal down to Mexico where he sees his own boss' face on another guy. The movie plays like a deep mystery that will keep your interest all the way until the ending. The effects are excellent as is the alien climate control terraforming plot. There are some truly frightening scenes including one that will have you checking your bed for the rest of your natural life. This is one of the movies I always cite when I attack House Of Games, you will not believe this is the same Lindsey Crouse that gave such a wooden reading in that overrated bore fest. She is excellent here as a scientist that is down in Mexico also, who runs into Zane, who is checking out the rapidly heating up earth. She is in the above scene I warned you about. The aliens frame Zane for her murder and from here on out the movie is like The Thing.

You will never know who to trust or who is part of this conspiracy. The aliens have these little spherical steel balls that create artificial black holes that clean up all their nefarious deeds. Sheen excels in this movie, I liked him in Platoon but he really does this crazy, on the edge guy well. Ron Silver plays his creepy boss who throws him out but later we discover he is one of the leaders of the Alien TerraForming process. One of the best scenes, worth owning the movie for, is where Zane infiltrates one of their TerraForming factories and discovers what they really look like and this machine that puts our skin over their nasty looking bodies so they can pass for us. They have one weakness: they hate the cold. Zane saves his group in the showdown with this helpful vulnerability. There is a little comedy but not much on the whole, it is one intense, relentless movie. I dare you to guess who is the alien in Zane's little group; hint, it is the last person you would suspect. The movie was released at the same time as Independence Day and was knocked out of theaters by that blockbuster.

The movie is a little slow in the beginning. We spend a bit too much time with Char and Zane's boring domestic problems. Once we get down to Mexico, the movie is all go and no stop. The aliens can do this creepy thing with their knees allowing them to jump to ridiculous heights. The movie builds to an effects showdown at the very end that is extremely well done. The ending will surprise you and is well written. Even with the slow part, at the very beginning, this is a movie well worth owning. Crouse steals the movie in a little role; want to appreciate this director? Go watch the same actress in House Of Games and tell me directing doesn't matter. You will not believe this is the same actress. The intensity is the star of the movie; once it gets going, it grabs you. It plays the old he / she is an alien until you will be completely as paranoid as Zane. A Good Movie.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
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
Discuss The Arrival (1996) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: