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The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

Trailer
1:45 | Trailer
An alien must pose as a human to save his dying planet, but a woman and greed of other men create complications.

Director:

Nicolas Roeg

Writers:

Paul Mayersberg (screenplay), Walter Tevis (from the novel by)
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Popularity
4,572 ( 380)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Bowie ... Thomas Jerome Newton
Rip Torn ... Nathan Bryce
Candy Clark ... Mary-Lou
Buck Henry ... Oliver Farnsworth
Bernie Casey ... Peters
Jackson D. Kane Jackson D. Kane ... Professor Canutti
Rick Riccardo Rick Riccardo ... Trevor
Tony Mascia ... Arthur
Linda Hutton Linda Hutton ... Elaine
Hilary Holland Hilary Holland ... Jill
Adrienne Larussa ... Helen
Lilybelle Crawford Lilybelle Crawford ... Jewelery Store Owner
Richard Breeding Richard Breeding ... Receptionist
Albert Nelson Albert Nelson ... Waiter
Peter Prouse Peter Prouse ... Peters' Associate
Learn more

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Storyline

Thomas Jerome Newton is a humanoid alien who comes to Earth to get water for his dying planet. He starts a high technology company to get the billions of dollars he needs to build a return spacecraft, and meets Mary-Lou, a girl who falls in love with him. He does not count on the greed and ruthlessness of business here on Earth, however. Written by Gene Volovich <volovich@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You're only welcome if it's beneficial to us See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While filming at an old Aztec burial ground in the New Mexico desert, the production had to deal with a boisterous "Hells' Angels" motorcycle gang camping nearby. See more »

Goofs

The blanks that Newton and Mary-Lou fire at each other for fun, don't seem to have any effect. In reality, blanks can cause serious injury, especially when fired at such close range. (In the making of the film, they probably used a special theatre gun, which doesn't emit anything at all. Or the gun was unloaded and the sound and smoke were added later. Anyway, in the story, it's a real gun loaded with blanks.) See more »

Quotes

Mary-Lou: Oh, come on, Tommy. Don't go now. Give us another chance.
[whispers]
Mary-Lou: You won't find anyone else like me, you know. You won't find anyone who'd do for you like I've done for you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the original U.S. theatrical release, the "Hello Mary Lou" sequence with the gun was missing. It was restored when the movie was broadcast on pay cable. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: The Musk Who Fell to Earth (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Devil's On the Loose
(instrumental)
Written by John Phillips
Song is used as the "Nathan Bryce" theme when his character is first introduced on a college campus.
See more »

User Reviews

 
Loving the alien
25 January 2017 | by LejinkSee all my reviews

I like Nicolas Roeg's films although I don't claim to always "get" or enjoy every minute of them. They're always fantastically shot in a crisp, realistic style, he often pushes back the boundaries, particularly with the censors, and they frequently have scenes which stick long in the memory. However, they often seem to have just as many longueurs, with off-beat characters and non-linear narratives. Maybe I'm the problem...

Anyway David Bowie here plays a part which seemed to haunt him for years to come, in the aftermath of the film alone, he used images from the movie for two of his album covers, a 12-inch single sleeve while it also seems to inspire tracks on his "Station To Station", "Low" and "Scary Monsters" albums not to mention the famous "Ashes To Ashes" video. Bowie was at an artistic peak musically although off stage he was hopelessly hooked on cocaine, in fact just watch the contemporary BBC Arena documentary on him, "Cracked Actor" and he looks here as if he's just walked on-set from there. So can he act then...?

Well if there was one part he was born to play, it was this one, the alien misfit who conquers the world, but to be honest, while he certainly has a presence, you wouldn't say he was extended much. Looks great though.

The film stop-starts its way on his space invader odyssey, as he leaves his family life on Mars (or wherever it is) to start inventing items which quickly become society's new fashion must-haves. He picks up, (or rather she does him) an adoring if simplistic hotel chambermaid and garners a back-up team to make him a vast fortune, his target being to amass enough funds to build a spaceship to take him back home. But something happens on his way to heaven as unsurprisingly, he's abducted by government officials, where he's subjected to excruciating tests which wouldn't be out of place in an animal cruelty lab. Resistance however is futile and the mysterious Mr Newton by the end is a washed-up drunk, still resigning himself to his earth bound fate. In one of the film's most telling lines, he forgives his captor-torturer, as he admits his own race would gave treated a visiting earthling in the exact same way.

There's solid back-up to Bowie's central role with a variety of convincingly portrayed stock characters. Roeg pushes the permissive button pretty far here with more than a smattering of nudity in the sex scenes, not ignoring the fact that males frequently get naked too when being intimate.

I would still say there were too many scenes which for me played like Bowie's own cut-up method for lyrics at around this time, by which I mean I found them puzzling, strange and unconnected. And why no Bowie soundtrack?

Still, an interesting if confounding movie, as strangely addictive in its way as television is to Newton.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 April 1976 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Man Who Fell to Earth See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,922, 26 June 2011

Gross USA:

$100,072

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$162,388
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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