6.7/10
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40 user 26 critic

The Brother from Another Planet (1984)

A mute alien with the appearance of a black human is chased by outer-space bounty hunters through the streets of Harlem.

Director:

John Sayles

Writer:

John Sayles
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Morton ... The Brother
Rosanna Carter Rosanna Carter ... West Indian Woman
Ray Ramirez Ray Ramirez ... Hispanic Man
Yves Rene Yves Rene ... Haitian Man
Peter Richardson Peter Richardson ... Islamic Man
Ginny Yang Ginny Yang ... Korean Shopkeeper
Daryl Edwards ... Fly
Steve James ... Odell
Leonard Jackson ... Smokey
Bill Cobbs ... Walter
Maggie Renzi Maggie Renzi ... Noreen
Olga Merediz ... Noreen's Client
Tom Wright ... Sam
Minnie Gentry Minnie Gentry ... Mrs. Brown
Renn Woods ... Bernice (as Ren Woods)
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Storyline

The Brother is an alien who has crash-landed on Earth, in New York City. While mute, strongly empathic, and able to fix things, he resembles a Black man with strange feet. His attempt to make a place for himself in Harlem is an allegory for the immigrant experience in the United States. Meanwhile, two bounty hunters from the Brother's home planet arrive and try to capture him. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Welcome to a world of crude beauty... of danger and excitement... of wonders, legend, and imagination... Welcome to Harlem, Brother. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some drug content and brief nudity | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

8 November 1984 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

The Brother from Another Planet See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,677,209

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,677,209
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was not the first science-fiction film of writer-director John Sayles; he had written screenplays for Piranha (1978), Alligator (1980) and Battle Beyond the Stars (1980). See more »

Goofs

When the kid finishes showing The Brother the card trick, he says "I've got another trick. I can make all the white people disappear." The train enters the next station and all the white people proceed to exit the train. The Kid says "See?", but you can see, right next to him, there is a white woman sitting down and she never leaves the train. See more »

Quotes

Fly: (about Harlem) I'd rather be a cockroach on a baseboard up here than the Emperor of Mississippi.
See more »

Connections

References Risky Business (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Pussy I Cocky I Water
Sung by Lee 'Scratch' Perry (as Lee "Scratch" Perry)
By Lee 'Scratch' Perry (as Lee "Scratch" Perry)
Happy Valley Music/BMI
Courtesy of Heartbeat Records
From the album "Mystic Miracle Star" (1982)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Typical Sayles
18 February 2007 | by k4man123See all my reviews

What I love about Sayles is that he never forgets that first and foremost, movies should tell stories.

This one is a real gem in the rough. It has the irreverence and SciFi conventions of Barry Sonnenfeld's MIB but with social commentary instead of a budget. Also, instead of merely clever comments on NYC life, Sayles shows his characteristic political side by highlighting little tableaux of real life. Slipping in the Harriet Tubman subplot was pure Sayles.

I especially loved his usage of music and the chemistry of the barroom regulars. That fight with the MIB was a hoot! Sayles, a Corman vet, knows that special effects shouldn't be used for the sake of having them.


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