A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.

Director:

John Carpenter

Writers:

Bill Lancaster (screenplay), John W. Campbell Jr. (story)
Popularity
692 ( 135)
Top Rated Movies #160 | 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kurt Russell ... MacReady
Wilford Brimley ... Dr. Blair (as A. Wilford Brimley)
T.K. Carter ... Nauls
David Clennon ... Palmer
Keith David ... Childs
Richard Dysart ... Dr. Copper
Charles Hallahan ... Vance Norris
Peter Maloney ... George Bennings
Richard Masur ... Clark
Donald Moffat ... Garry
Joel Polis ... Fuchs
Thomas G. Waites ... Windows (as Thomas Waites)
Norbert Weisser ... Norwegian
Larry Franco ... Norwegian Passenger with Rifle
Nate Irwin Nate Irwin ... Helicopter Pilot
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Storyline

A US research station, Antarctica, early-winter 1982. The base is suddenly buzzed by a helicopter from the nearby Norwegian research station. They are trying to kill a dog that has escaped from their base. After the destruction of the Norwegian chopper the members of the US team fly to the Norwegian base, only to discover them all dead or missing. They do find the remains of a strange creature the Norwegians burned. The Americans take it to their base and deduce that it is an alien life form. After a while it is apparent that the alien can take over and assimilate into other life forms, including humans, and can spread like a virus. This means that anyone at the base could be inhabited by The Thing, and tensions escalate. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Man is The Warmest Place to Hide. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There has been a debate among fans whether or not that Blair's computer program's projection on the Thing is actually accurate since it certainly isn't accurate in the sense that a biologist would not be working on computer animations as part of his investigations, especially under the pressing circumstances like we see in the film. This scene is obviously meant to be an aid to the audience to understand the Thing's life-cycle, not a realistic portrayal of a biologist's studies. And how well does the simulation work, unfortunately, it leads to more questions than answers. We see dog cells being devoured, one by one, by a single Thing cell and this seems to contradict what we've already seen of the Thing's behavior. Never does the simulation show that the Thing cells divide to replace canine cells, which is what would make more sense. So, the animation should be taken with a grain of salt. On the DVD commentary track, John Carpenter comments that they "didn't get it quite right" regarding the Thing's life cycle but that "it doesn't matter." From this it may be concluded that the goal with the computer sequence was not truly accomplished, so it must therefore be regarded with skepticism. It's clear that the Blair computer simulation was meant to replace a similar scene in the script and novel. Alan Dean Foster's description of the Thing's cells seems to be better: Fuchs was preparing new slides, which Blair studied under the microscope. Two cells were visible through the eyepiece. They were active, neither quiescent nor dead. One looked quite normal. Its companion looked anything but. At the moment the two were joined together by a thin stream of protoplasm. Material from the larger cell, which was long and thin, flowed into the smaller, spherical cell. As it did so the smaller cell swelled visibly, until the cell wall fractured in three places. Immediately the smaller cell assumed a flattened shape like the other and three new streams of material began to flow outward from its interior. Neither cell appeared to have lost any mass. Blair pulled away from the eyepiece and frowned as he checked his watch. It was running in stopwatch mode. He turned it off. The resulting readout was very puzzling. See more »

Goofs

(at around 8 mins) The overwhelming majority of people from Norway are taught English from a young age, and as a result, most Norwegians can speak fluent English or at least know very basic English vocabulary. In reality, it's practically impossible that there would be a language barrier between the Norwegians and the Americans like shown at the beginning of the film. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Computer Voice: [after MacReady inputs a move on the keyboard] Your move: bishop to knight four. My move: knight to rook three.
MacReady: Poor baby, you're startin' to lose it, aren't ya?
[inputs a move]
Computer Voice: Your move: king to rook one. My move: rook to knight six. Checkmate. Checkmate.
[MacReady angrily pours his scotch into the computer tower, frying it]
MacReady: Cheating bitch.
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Crazy Credits

The Universal logo doesn't appear until right after the movie's over See more »

Alternate Versions

In the original Australian video version of the scene between Bennings and Childs where Bennings comes running into the room and says to Childs, "Childs! Mac wants the flamethrower!" Childs turns to look at him, and the next scene starts. But in the DVD version of the film, the scene is extended when Bennings comes in and says "Childs! Mac wants the flamethrower!" then Childs asks, "Mac wants the what?" Bennings replies "You heard what he said now MOVE!" then Childs says lastly, "Dammit!" while getting his flamethrower gear on. See more »

Connections

Referenced in How Didn't This Get Made?: Delay of the Dead (2020) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Explain
Music by Billie Holiday (uncredited)
Lyrics by Arthur Herzog Jr. (uncredited)
Performed by Billie Holiday
Courtesy of MCA Records
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User Reviews

 
"The Thing" is John Carpenter's masterpiece and one of the best classic horror films!
31 October 2015 | by ivo-cobra8See all my reviews

A classic film. John Carpenter's "The Thing" is one of the most entertaining horror films ever made - fast, clever and purely exciting from start to finish. It is one of my personal favorite horror movies. This is how all movies of the genre should be made. Set on an isolated base in Antarctica, this version seems almost to pick up where the original version (The Thing From Another World) left off. The American scientists discover a decimated Norwegian base some miles distant. Everyone is dead, and only the half charred remains of some unidentifiable thing left to smolder outside the compound might offer any answers to what may have happened. The Thing is brought back to the American base and, too late, the scientists realize that it is alive and lethal. The Thing thaws out and is off, not only killing anyone and anything that crosses Its path, but also absorbing them, making Itself into whoever and whatever it wants. The film then turns into a brilliant paranoia piece. Everyone is suspect, anyone can be The Thing, and no one trusts anyone anymore. Gone is the strength and security found when human beings band together in spite of their differences to battle a monster. The group splinters and fear rules supreme. Who is the Thing?

Seriously I Love this movie I love it To Death. I love Escape From New York and I love Escape From L.A. but I also love The Thing so much better this is definitely the best Carpenter film a truly masterpiece classic I love R.J. MacReady - Kurt Russell I love everything about this film that is. Science Fiction, Horror and an Action Epic Film. A lot of the practical effects were left out but the it looked nice and the acting was good and it expanded upon the monsters background and showing you the inside of the ship. It must of been tough to bring across on screen the visual design.

In my opinion, nobody has topped this film in the 25-odd years since its release. I'll put any of "The Thing's" old-school effects up against any CGI-driven movie, or this cast against almost any other ensemble. If you haven't seen the film yet, I envy you because I WISH I could see "The Thing" again for the first time. WOW! Does more need to be said? How about this...there is no parallel. Who's your friend? Who's the Thing? Who do you trust? Who can you afford to trust? If you've never seen this movie...your in for a treat. The only other movie that had such an impact on me was The Matrix (the first movie)...where I left the theater touching the walls wondering if they were really real. This movie will leaving you wondering....is the guy/gal next to you really real?

"Trust is a tough thing to come by these days."

John Carpenter's The Thing is a seminal piece of horror that is not only a fine specimen of its era, but it also serves as a shining example of horror done absolutely right in any era. Combining gross-out special effects reminiscent of Hellraiser, the nail-bitingly intense, claustrophobic filmmaking of Alien, offering a story that is very well-paced, such as George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead, and presenting the idea that true terror can be found at any time, in any place, and inside anyone, much like Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, The Thing works on every level, and represents the peak of each and every aspect that may be utilized to make horror films effective. Granted, this amalgamation of styles is not the only formula for winning horror.

The basic plot about this movie is Horror-moister John Carpenter (Halloween, Escape from New York) teams Kurt Russell's outstanding performance with incredible visuals to build this chilling version of the classic The Thing. In the winter of 1982, a twelve-man research team at a remote Antarctic research station discovers an alien buried in the snow for over 100,000 years. Once unfrozen, the form-changing alien wreaks havoc, creates terror and becomes one of them.

It is one of the best favorite horror films of the 80's ever. I love this film to death. The Thing is the best classic horror film from master and genius John Carpenter! 'The Thing' is classic Carpenter and one of the few remakes that is better than the original. Kurt Russell's characters: Snake Plissken, R.J. MacReady and Jack Burton are Kurt's best favorite characters he ever played. I also love the music score from Ennio Morricone! Awesome!!! 10/10 Grade: Bad Ass Seal Of Approval


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Norwegian

Release Date:

25 June 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's The Thing See more »

Filming Locations:

Juneau, Alaska, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,107,897, 27 June 1982

Gross USA:

$19,629,760

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$19,632,053
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (VHS)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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