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Alien (1979)

R | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 22 June 1979 (USA)
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After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as a distress call, its landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious lifeform, and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun.

Director:

Ridley Scott

Writers:

Dan O'Bannon (story), Ronald Shusett (story) | 1 more credit »
Popularity
260 ( 103)
Top Rated Movies #52 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 16 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tom Skerritt ... Dallas
Sigourney Weaver ... Ripley
Veronica Cartwright ... Lambert
Harry Dean Stanton ... Brett
John Hurt ... Kane
Ian Holm ... Ash
Yaphet Kotto ... Parker
Bolaji Badejo ... Alien
Helen Horton Helen Horton ... Mother (voice)
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Storyline

In the distant future, the crew of the commercial spaceship Nostromo are on their way home when they pick up a distress call from a distant moon. The crew are under obligation to investigate and the spaceship descends on the moon afterwards. After a rough landing, three crew members leave the spaceship to explore the area on the moon. At the same time as they discover a hive colony of some unknown creature, the ship's computer deciphers the message to be a warning, not a distress call. When one of the eggs is disturbed, the crew realizes that they are not alone on the spaceship and they must deal with the consequences. Written by blazesnakes9

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The scariest movie ever made... just got scarier. (UK 2003 re-release) See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sci-fi violence/gore and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 June 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alien: The Director's Cut See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,527,881, 25 May 1979, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$78,900,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$203,630,630
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2004 Director's Cut)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (as Dolby Stereo)

Color:

Color (Eastman Kodak)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The release and success of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) has often been stated as instrumental in getting this movie made. The screenplay for this movie had been written for Twentieth Century Fox, but the studio was not very interested in financing a science fiction movie at the time. When Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) became a big hit, Fox was very eager to continue their recent success of space-themed science fiction movies as quickly as possible. With a finished screenplay ready for production, they wasted no time in greenlighting the project. See more »

Goofs

In the takeoff sequence the "entering orbit" announcement is heard just after emerging from the clouds - this is impossible because the atmosphere ends at a much higher altitude than the top of clouds/dust layers, and the orbital speed cannot be reached in air even above a small planetoid, moreover, there must be a horizontal acceleration stage out of the atmosphere to gain the speed necessary for the orbital insertion. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Brett: This is the worst shit I've ever seen, man.
Parker: What you say? You got any biscuits over there?
Ripley: Here's some cornbread.
Parker: Cornbread. Yeah.
Lambert: I am cold.
Parker: Still with us, Brett?
Brett: Right.
Kane: Oh, I feel dead.
Parker: Anybody ever tell you you look dead, man?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title of the movie is slowly created one line at a time at the top of the screen during the opening credits, starting out with the I, then the forward slash in A and the slash in N, and then the vertical lines in L and E (so it looks like / I I I \). After that, the ensuing lines of each letter are added slowly one at a time until the title is fully visible. See more »

Alternate Versions

Scenes trimmed or deleted in the 25th Anniversary Edition:
  • The camera panning right towards Dallas before he goes into the hallway to talk to Mother.
  • The scene where Ripley talks to Ash if Mother translated the Alien Transmission.
  • After Ash losses contact with Dallas and crew after they walk into the Derelict ship, the last shot looking back at Ash's face is cut.
  • The shot looking at Dallas climbing up the Space Jockey.
  • Some shots of Kane being lowered down into the Egg Chamber are trimmed.
  • The shot of Ash leaving the Medical room after talking with Ripley.
  • Dialogue between Ripley and Dallas discussing Ripley's distrust in Ash is cut.
  • The beginning shot of Ripley, Parker, and Brett searching down the corridor for the Alien.
  • The shot with Ripley saying 'Open the Door.' behind the partially opened door.
  • The last moments of Brett soaking his face.
  • After the crew discusses the Vent plan, the shot of the Nostromo traveling through space is cut.
  • The whole scene with Dallas talking to Mother on how he should neutralize the Alien.
  • Some shots of Dallas crawling down the vent are trimmed.
  • The shot of Parker going to refuel the Flame-throwers.
  • Ripley going to talk to Mother just shows her walking to the door instead of getting the key.
  • Shots of Ripley leaving the Mother Chamber.
  • The sequence where Ripley, Parker, and Lambert walking through the hallway has been trimmed.
  • Ripley preparing the shuttle has been trimmed.
  • Certain shots of Ripley running through the corridors after the self-destruct has been activated have been trimmed.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Creature (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Incidental music from 'Symphony No. 2 ('Romantic')
by Howard Hanson
[played over end credits]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Classic horror
16 October 2001 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

The further we go in special effects, the more movies show us and ignore the unseen, the more people will return to dark horrors like this one.

It's hard to look at this film without considering the sequels and knowing the alien itself, however when made the alien was mostly unseen and a mystery. It's difficult to forget what you've seen, but it's important to approach this film first if possible rather than joining the series late.

It's amazing that this is over 20 years old - apart from the actors looking so young, the film doesn't feel dated at all. The sci-fi visions here are still bleak and futuristic as they were then - this is not the Star Trek vision of the future. The foreboding exists long before John Hurt spills his secret, Scott's direction is excellent throughout. Once the alien is "born" the tension is cranked up and the characters dispatched one by one (a formula we know oh-so well now!)

However here the characters are not merely alien-food but have some dimension to them. Weaver is excellent, while the support cast is full of great support actors (Stanton, Kotto, Hurt, Skerritt, Holm), but of course the real star is the one we see least of.

We barely see the alien in full detail, most of the time it is set in shadows, moving with deadly intent.The alien here is not simply a killing machine as seen in later films but is cruel with it. Witness the alien trap a female crew member and slowly rub up her leg, moving with slow seductive movements before moving with terrifying speed to kill another crew member sneaking up behind it. The slow movements betray the alien's pure cruelty.

The film is a study in terror. It may not be as action packed as the other films in the series but it brings the claustrophobia of being hunted to a new level.


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