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


Nicolas Roeg


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





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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


You have to believe it to see it See more »


Drama | Sci-Fi


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Reportedly, according to the DVD doc Watching the Alien (2003), David Bowie's fee for the soundtrack was US $250,000. See more »


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 »


Nathan Bryce: Why'd you come here?
Thomas Jerome Newton: Where I come from, there's a terrible drought. We saw pictures of your planet on television. We saw the water. In fact, our word for your planet means - planet of water.
Nathan Bryce: You watched it all on television?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The US theatrical release of the film was drastically altered. Not only were 20 minutes cut (including the gun sequence) but some scenes were rearranged and a few scenes had different camera angles. See more »


Referenced in Fringe: Grey Matters (2009) See more »


A Fool Such as I
Written by William M. Trader
Performed by Hank Snow
See more »

User Reviews

Obtuse and frustrating sci-fi art film
1 April 2011 | by Red-BarracudaSee all my reviews

The Man Who Fell To Earth is ultimately a frustrating film. The phrase 'the sum of its parts is greater than the whole' definitely applies. At times it's brilliant and original, but it's effectively brought down by its overlong running time and relentlessly obtuse presentation. It begins very promisingly but falls away in the final third, where it just loses focus and direction. Visually, as can be expected from Nicolas Roeg, it's often quite excellent, with his usual bold editing techniques in place too. The cinematography is very good and David Bowie certainly looks the part. Roeg certainly had a thing for using singers in lead roles. He also utilized Mick Jagger in Performance and Art Garfunkel in Bad Timing, and Bowie like those other two is used to good effect. He doesn't really need to act very much; Bowie in the mid 70's was an almost alien-like creature to begin with. I thought Candy Clark was very good as Mary-Lou. She brought some warmth to the proceedings which was appreciated.

Like Roeg's work in general, there is hardly any humour here. He was primarily a visionary auteur and The Man Who Fell To Earth is undoubtedly a work that allows him to express himself in a highly personal way. But unlike in Performance, Walkabout, Don't Look Now and even Bad Timing the technique never seemed to achieve an overall whole. My feeling is that I would need to re-watch this movie in order to develop a better appreciation of it. On first impressions, it's a collection of great moments within an impenetrable whole. A very strange film though.

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Release Date:

8 April 1976 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Man Who Fell to Earth See more »


Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,922, 26 June 2011

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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