113 user 60 critic

The Arrival (1996)

PG-13 | | Sci-Fi, Thriller | 31 May 1996 (USA)
1:57 | Trailer

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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.



3,590 ( 1,728)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Shane ...
JPL Guard #1
Mrs. Roosevelt
Alan Coates ...
DOD #1
Buddy Joe Hooker ...
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 »


Sci-Fi | Thriller

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 USA:

$184,261, 26 July 1996

Gross USA:

$14,048,372, 18 August 1996
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The landscapers shape the front yard shrubbery into rear end sex toys. See more »


While in the terraforming factory in Mexico, an alien is pushed from a height and screams - in a human voice - as he falls. At other times, however, when the aliens are in some form of distress, most notably as they are being frozen in the finale, their distress cries are in their alien language. See more »


Calvin: This is like looking for a needle in a haystack full of needles.
See more »


Followed by Arrival II (1998) See more »


Dos Arbolitos
Arranged by Robert W. Schachner
Performed by Mariachi Sol
See more »

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User Reviews

A smart, well done Alien movie.
29 October 2003 | by See all my reviews

I had the pleasure of watching this film in the theater and to be quite honest that is the way it should be seen. Its a well done movie about aliens visiting earth, overall the story is nothing original (but it does have more then a few tricks up its sleeve) and is your typical Alien invader movie.

Watching this on television years later its hard to appreciate just how well this film was shot. One scene in particular involving a large dish and someone almost falling off the side of it almost caused me to make a mess in my pants when first watching the film on the big screen.

When I saw it the theater was mostly empty (not good for the movie, but it probably allowed us to enjoy it some more) and it was its first run (did it have a second?). Its sad the film didn't do as well as it should have, at the time it was the best alien related movie in theaters (I seem to remember independence day being out at the same time).

My one gripe is a somewhat weak ending (especially considering the strength of the rest of the movie). Overall it is an entertaining and somewhat thought provoking film that you won't regret watching unless you don't like movies that emphasize suspense instead of action. And there is a LOT of suspense in this film. It doesn't skimp on action either but it saves it for the end of the movie where it belongs and makes some sense.

Some people may not like its message either but I didn't have a problem with it and it certainly didn't get overly preachy. People voice their opinions on screen just as someone would do in real life, and I don't have a problem with that. The real focus of the movie is aliens, not the environment. If you fixate on the environmental message in the movie then you probably have some issues or just don't get this type of movie. Global warming is more of a subplot that leads Mr Sheen in a certain direction and nothing more.

The special effects are fairly spartan but effective and nicely creepy when they are used.

Some of the characters are kind of annoying but are necessary, and don't detract from the film overall.

A worthwhile rental, especially if you have a large TV to watch it on.

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