7.0/10
41,841
159 user 103 critic

Starman (1984)

Trailer
2:02 | Trailer
An alien takes the form of a young widow's husband and asks her to drive him from Wisconsin to Arizona. The government tries to stop them.

Director:

John Carpenter
Reviews
Popularity
4,998 ( 1,140)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Bridges ... Starman
Karen Allen ... Jenny Hayden
Charles Martin Smith ... Mark Shermin
Richard Jaeckel ... George Fox
Robert Phalen ... Major Bell
Tony Edwards ... Sergeant Lemon
John Walter Davis John Walter Davis ... Brad Heinmuller
Ted White ... Deer Hunter
Dirk Blocker ... Cop #1
M.C. Gainey ... Cop #2
Sean Stanek ... Hot Rodder (as Sean Faro)
George 'Buck' Flower ... Cook (as Buck Flower)
Russ Benning Russ Benning ... Scientist
Ralph Cosham Ralph Cosham ... Marine Lieutenant
David Wells David Wells ... Fox's Assistant
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Storyline

Jenny Hayden never did get over the death of her husband. So when an alien life form decides to model "himself" on the husband, Jenny is understandably confused if not terrified. The alien, or Starman, as he is called, has a deadline to meet, and kidnaps Jenny in order to meet it. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

road movie | panty | leg | legs | coupe | See All (210) »

Taglines:

In 1977 Voyager II was launched into space, inviting all lifeforms in the universe to visit our planet. Get ready. Company's coming. See more »

Genres:

Romance | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to a January 1985 edition of the 'Chicago-Tribune' newspaper, science-fiction experts accused the movie of plagiarizing the "final mother-ship encounter from an obscure 1982 release" called Wavelength (1983). See more »

Goofs

Starman and Jenny are driving in the Mustang just before the near-miss with the tractor-trailer; the sun is seen to be shining through the back window of the car, to their rear. After they pass through the intersection narrowly avoiding a collision, the sun is shining on the car from the front. See more »

Quotes

[Starman and Jenny are looking at a dead deer strapped to the hood of a car]
Deer Hunter: Cried when you saw Bambi?
Starman: Define 'Bambi'?
Deer Hunter: Huh?
Jenny Hayden: He doesn't understand, he's not from around here.
Deer Hunter: [laughs] You don't speaking English, huh? Heh-hey!
[walks away snickering]
Jenny Hayden: [to Starman] Steer clear of that bozo.
Starman: Define 'bozo'?
Jenny Hayden: Jerk.
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Connections

Referenced in Rectify: Sexual Peeling (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

All I Have to Do Is Dream
(1958)
Written by Boudleaux Bryant and Felice Bryant (uncredited)
Published by House of Bryant Publications and Acuff-Rose Publications, Inc.
Performed by Jeff Bridges (uncredited) and Karen Allen (uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
You may be shocked to read that this is one of the best science fiction movies ever made
16 November 2008 | by dee.reidSee all my reviews

John Carpenter directed "Starman" in 1984, hot off the mega-success of the landmark horror movie "Halloween" in 1978 and the cult science fiction/adventure flick "Escape from New York" in 1981. "Starman" was a significant departure and change-of-pace from all of Carpenter's earlier works.

While essentially a science fiction story involving all the essentials - aliens, the United States Army, government cover-ups, a countrywide chase adventure and what's this, an intergalactic love story? - Carpenter is able to make sense of the material in such a way that it is both respectful to the sci-fi genre, the sci-fi fans, and to the audience members who may not give a crap about this sort of stuff and only want their corn popped.

The biggest surprise about "Starman" is the script by Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon. They're able to strip a laughable story of all that makes it laughable and create something new, something that is intelligent, heart-warming, action-packed, and romantic. Carpenter takes his cues from the material and makes everything in this wondrous sci-fi/action piece his own. And who can forget that awesome synthesizer score by Jack Nitzsche (strange since Carpenter usually composes his own film scores)?

Evans and Gideon's script, taking its cues from "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951) and "E.T. the Extraterrestrial" (1982), concerns an alien who has come to Earth after answering an invitation he found on the Voyager II space probe. However, his ship is attacked by fighter jets and he manages to make it to the Wisconsin cabin of young widow Jenny Hayden (Karen Allen), still grieving the death of her husband. After sampling DNA taken from a lock of hair of her late husband, the alien grows into a human clone of him, where he is now played by the actor Jeff Bridges.

After overcoming the obvious speech barrier when he learns to speak in English, Starman then requests that Jenny Hayden drive him from Wisconsin to Arizona, where he will meet the mother ship that will take him back to his home planet. Unfortunately, they only have a few days before he'll die from what we can only guess is exposure to our atmosphere. Matters are further complicated when the military becomes involved, desperate to catch Starman at all costs, much to the horror of laboratory rat Mark Shermin (Charles Martin Smith). Along the way, Jenny grows from being fearful of this visitor from another planet, to respecting him and finally loving him, while he gets to learn about human beings and BEING human.

It's not enough to say that both Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen are this film's magical centerpiece. They certainly make for one of the most dynamic, unusual and interesting screen couples in cinematic history, certainly one of the best screen couples in the history of science fiction cinema. The real stand-out of course is Bridges. This is a role that he rightfully received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for. We see no trace of the actor "Jeff Bridges" in there, all we see is "Starman," defined largely by his awkward mannerisms and patterns of speech, and it is a skillful, humorous, and touching performance that is the pure anti-thesis to Carpenter's earlier "The Thing" (1982).

John Carpenter, unfortunately, has not received a whole lot of recognition for this picture. Although it remains his only film to go to the Oscars, I only hope that this touching, once-in-a-lifetime science fiction/adventure-romance gets the recognition it so rightfully deserves.

10/10


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 December 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's Starman See more »

Filming Locations:

Manchester, Tennessee, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,872,022, 16 December 1984

Gross USA:

$28,744,356

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$28,744,356
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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