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The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

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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)
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
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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 | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 April 1976 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Mann, der vom Himmel fiel See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,343, 15 July 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$100,072
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

During the first sex scene between Nathan Bryce and his student, her bra keeps changing from partially off to on to completely off to on again. See more »

Quotes

Thomas Jerome Newton: They're so strange here, the trains.
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Soundtracks

Mandala
Written & Performed by Stomu Yamashta
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User Reviews

 
Is it art, or is it pornography?
11 October 2003 | by Ilker YucelSee all my reviews

I have just watched "The Man Who Fell to Earth" from beginning to end after seeing several scenes here and there from years of flipping past the sci-fi channel or whatever other channel this film might've been shown on. I must say that I think it is one of the most interesting films I've ever seen. Now before you start thinking this is going to be a review of blind worship, stop for a moment and remember that just because something is interesting doesn't mean it's likeable. Art is not meant to be appealing. It's meant to cause a reaction, it's meant to make you think, it's meant to make you uncomfortable. Art forces feelings upon you that you might rather not experience, so whether you like it or not, this film is a work of art. But some art...in fact a lot of art...is trash. Is this movie trash? Some say yes, some say not. Some think it's brilliant, others think it a waste of time. Some think the narrative's dependence on visual stimulus as opposed to linear storytelling is a touch of cinematic beauty, while others dismiss it as experimental tripe.

Somebody wrote a scathing review saying that if you like junk like "Lost Highway," you might enjoy this movie. Well, no offense meant, but I'd like to say that this person has made clear that he can't see past what's appealing. Why watch something that's unappealing you might ask? Because that's what art's supposed to do...it challenges you and your values. Sometimes it reinforces them, and sometimes it will blatantly attack them. You have to draw your own conclusions and interpretations. "The Man Who Fell to Earth" is no different. Yes, the film seems to jump from time to time, one scene juxtaposed with a scene that takes place 20 years later, a flashback that may or may not be a flashback, it is confusing. I know I was confused. It's not a linear narrative...it's telling a story through pictures, with occasional words just to make sure you have a little more than an inkling as to what you're supposed to be seeing. Personally, I would be interested to see the movie without dialogue...like "Aeon Flux," a story can be told philosophically and artistically without words.

What is the story? Well...quite simply, David Bowie, in his first and probably one of his best on-screen performances, is an alien on Earth trying to find a way to get water back to his world. Is it as simple as it sounds? Not by any means. But you have to believe it to see it. You will be confused, you might even be offended (there's a lot of sexually explicit scenes that border on pornography), but one way or the other, this film is meant to be visually stimulating. What you see will make you think...if you're repulsed by it and feel the urge to turn it off, then it's simply not your kind of movie.

On the whole, I like this movie, though I must be in a certain mood to watch it. It is not easy to watch, there are long stretches without dialogue, and when there is dialogue, it's often confusing. But no matter what, I like what I was seeing on the screen. I do feel like watching it again because I know there is more to absorb and take in, there's more to think about that I missed before. But that's the kind of person I am...I want to think, and I want that discomfort this movie gives me because I am alleviated by the need to solve it, not dismiss it. Bowie is in fine form, probably used to alienation being a Brit in America, and having played his own Ziggy Stardust character in the past. The rest of the cast performs rather competently, although nobody's performance shines as much as Bowie's (although Candy Clarke is pretty good in some scenes, and Rip Torn's deadpan performance is a bit of dry humor).

Dispute me if you must, I give this movie ***1/2 out of ****.


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