6.3/10
25,376
110 user 56 critic

The Arrival (1996)

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

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
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.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews
Popularity
2,204 ( 303)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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
Biography | Drama | Fantasy
    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 5.7/10 X  

Astronauts, and their robotic dog AMEE (Autonomous Mapping Evaluation and Evasion), 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
Arrival (2013)
Short | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 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 5.8/10 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
Sphere (1998)
Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A spaceship is discovered under three hundred years' worth of coral growth at the bottom of the ocean.

Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson
Screamers (1995)
Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

(SIRIUS 6B, Year 2078) On a distant mining planet ravaged by a decade of war, scientists have created the perfect weapon: a blade-wielding, self-replicating race of killing devices known as... See full summary »

Director: Christian Duguay
Stars: Peter Weller, Roy Dupuis, Jennifer Rubin
The Arrival (1991)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  

An old man, who has been near a fallen meteor, starts to get younger and younger, with a terrible thirst for blood.

Director: David Schmoeller
Stars: John Saxon, Joseph Culp, Robin Frates
Impostor (2001)
Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    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
Soldier I (1998)
Action | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A soldier is dumped on a waste disposal planet and lives among a community of crash survivors on the planet and takes it upon himself to defend his new home when genetic engineered soldiers are ordered to eliminate the crash survivors.

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Stars: Kurt Russell, Jason Scott Lee, Jason Isaacs
Edit

Cast

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

Storyline

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

Taglines:

For centuries we've been watching the skies, when we should have been watching our backs. See more »

Genres:

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

31 May 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shockwave  »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$14,048,372 (USA) (16 August 1996)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

At 3:14 mins into the opening of this movie, on the computer with a yellow sticky note on a computer monitor it could be seen the words "results from last HIV set, lunch at noon". Ironically this year 2016 , 20 years after this film was released, Charlie Sheen, the lead actor of this film announced he was HIV-positive. See more »

Goofs

The large black scorpion above the light switch in Llana's room has no stinger. See more »

Quotes

[right before he kills an alien]
Zane Ziminski: Do you want to see the ruins, my friend?
See more »

Connections

References E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Ramblin' On My Mind
Performed by Robert Lockwood Jr. (as Robert Jr. Lockwood)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The first sign of proof that David Twohy is the next John Carpenter.
18 May 2003 | by See all my reviews

*** 1/2 out of ****

Writer/director David Twohy accomplished the near-impossible in the summer of 1996; he delivered a fun, fast-paced AND intelligent sci-fi thriller with The Arrival, an intriguing, thought-provoking film that was unfairly ignored in theaters at the time of its release (most viewers chose to see Twister, M:I, Independence Day). The movie has a classic premise about a radio astronomer (Charlie Sheen) who receives a signal from outer space that may or may not have come from extraterrestrial life.

To say anymore would be unforgivable, as Twohy packs in believable twists and turns throughout the plot, which is fun without insulting the brain, and complex without ever bogging down in mind-numbing confusion. The script does have a few head-scratchers here and there (I was particularly miffed that Lindsay Crouse's character, an environmentalist, wasn't familiar with the concept of terraforming) and some contrivances, but they're hardly bothersome and aren't noticeable until a second viewing.

As good a screenwriter as Twohy is, he's even more adept as a director (further proven by Pitch Black, a superbly crafted deep-space thriller with a script not even half as smart as The Arrival's). With great pacing and precise editing, Twohy builds momentum with each discovery Sheen unfolds, until it culminates to an edge-of-the-seat climax that's quite satisfying (unlike...cough...cough..."V: the Final Battle", Independence Day).

The cast is all-around effective, with Sheen delivering a surprisingly terrific performance as the paranoid astronomer. It's great to see an intelligent protagonist who thinks his way out of tight jams, rather than shooting and blowing up everything in sight. No one else gets half of Sheen's screentime, but Ron Silver is nicely ambiguous as his boss, and Teri Polo, however underused, is fine as Sheen's girlfriend. Lindsay Crouse also makes a good impression as an environmentalist studying some strange activity.

On a technical level, some sci-fi fans might be a little disappointed. Those weaned on "V" and ID4 will notice the lack of large-scale special effects. Sorry, no disc-shaped motherships here. Still, the visuals present are mostly decent, certainly passable enough that they don't become a distraction to the plot. Despite the use of CGI in its more primitive stages (this was '96, after all) the effects are still occasionally excellent and imaginative, such as the spherical object those tight-lipped men wield. Composer Arthur Kempel's score adds a bit more tension to the already excruciating suspense, and evokes a creepy atmosphere during the film's quieter moments.

Remember, folks, The Arrival is a rarity, a once in a while example of how pure movie magic can be created when we've got dedicated filmmakers who want to intrigue the audience rather than catering to demographics just for the sake of box office returns. Forget Independence Day, The War of the Worlds, or V and its sequel, The Arrival is the most satisfying cinematic depiction of alien invasion to date.


49 of 63 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
6.2 ?! Totally underrated movie cmccabe43
This movie is so 90s it hurts FootwearQuality
Painfully Underatted Movie!!! djtrix26
One of the best sci-fi movies ever! Frozilla_Firefox
This is Half-Life: The Movie Goldie15
'Do you want to see the ruins, my friend?' erinw91
Discuss The Arrival (1996) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?