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Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

PG-13 | | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller | 29 July 2011 (USA)
1:40 | Trailer

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A spaceship arrives in Arizona, 1873, to take over the Earth, starting with the Wild West region. A posse of cowboys and natives are all that stand in their way.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 7 more credits »
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1 win & 17 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Luke Claiborne (as Matt Taylor)
Cooper Taylor ...
Maria (as Ana De La Reguera)


The Old West.. where a lone cowboy leads an uprising against a terror from beyond our world. 1873. New Mexico Territory. A stranger with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don't welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). It's a town that lives in fear. But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known. Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he's been, he realizes he holds a secret that could give the town a ... Written by Universal Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


First contact. Last stand.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of western and sci-fi action and violence, some partial nudity and a brief crude reference | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




Release Date:

29 July 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cowboyok és űrlények  »

Box Office


$163,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$36,431,290 (USA) (29 July 2011)


$100,215,116 (USA) (28 October 2011)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (extended)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Cowboys and Aliens director Jon Favreau starred in The Big Empty in 2003. In one of the last lines of the film, Kelsey Grammer dismisses Favreau's account of the events that had occurred as a tale "of Cowboys and Aliens." See more »


When Jake is hit by a member of his old gang, the lower half of his face is quite bloody in one shot but remains perfectly clean in every other. See more »


[first lines]
Wes Claiborne: [to Jake] We're riding towards Absolution. You know how far west we are?
[Jake doesn't answer]
Mose Claiborne: Maybe he's a dummy.
Wes Claiborne: Is there a reason you're not answering my question?
Mose Claiborne: Look here, Pa. He's got iron on his wrist. He's been shot. Could be done broke out of hoosegow. Might be worth bounty.
Wes Claiborne: Might could be.
See more »


Featured in Maltin on Movies: Cowboys & Aliens (2011) See more »


Apache War Dance
Written and Performed by The Mescalero Apache Tribe
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Looks good, superb cast but painfully predictable.
13 August 2011 | by (Novelist of The Final Version) – See all my reviews

Its 1873; New Mexico Territory; an  Outlaw and a Cattle Rancher must put aside their differences to stop Alien invaders hellbent on experimenting on humans and stripping the land of its gold.

There's something kooky about the title Cowboys and Aliens, B-movie-ish, yet, exciting, enticing and genius. However, even with the star talents including Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, with the striking Olivia Wilde and excellent Sam Rockwell Cowboys and Aliens still falls short of expectations. The script is bland, every effort has gone into developing the two main leads but at a cost of the rest of the characters, the basic story and plot.  

The special and practical effects are well integrated and executed but while fantastic they are nothing that hasn't been seen before, reminiscent of District 9, Independence Day to name a few. Considering director's Jon Favreau fun and exciting Iron-man outings this offering is less satisfying. It's not the mishmash of classic genres that's the problem, it's the lazy, predicable story telling. 

The films opening is strong and intriguing, building up to the tension of Ford's character Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde meeting with Craig's Jake; its Jones meets Bond, perfect. Both are excellent giving weight to the proceedings. Horses are flipped, guns and gauntlets go wild, aliens leap and stomp on cowboys. But after the first few alien attacks the film wavers onto familiar territory. Although it has a fabulous cast beneath its hat and sweeping, breathtaking Western landscapes under it's belt - it buckles under it's own weight. 

Even with its somewhat serious tone it's not brave enough to explore or commit to its own themes leaving it underdeveloped. But it also omits much needed fun leaving the whole film unseasoned and as empty as the plains of Arizona. Debatably, flop Wild Wild West (1999) infused the sci-fi and Western genre more successfully. 

Cowboys and Aliens is entertaining, it looks good, has a superb cast but it's painfully predictable and just not that great.

66 of 99 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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