60 user 53 critic

Alien Nation (1988)

0:32 | Trailer
In 1988, Earth makes the first contact with an alien civilization. In 1991, these aliens, known as Newcomers, slowly begin to be integrated into human society after three years of quarantine.


Graham Baker
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
James Caan ... Matthew Sykes
Mandy Patinkin ... Sam Francisco
Terence Stamp ... William Harcourt
Kevyn Major Howard ... Kipling
Leslie Bevis ... Cassandra
Peter Jason ... Fedorchuk
Conrad Dunn Conrad Dunn ... Quint (as George Jenesky)
Jeff Kober ... Josh Strader
Roger Aaron Brown ... Bill Tuggle
Tony Simotes Tony Simotes ... Wiltey
Michael David Simms Michael David Simms ... Human Dealer
Ed Krieger Ed Krieger ... Alien Dealer
Tony Perez ... Alterez
Brian Thompson ... Trent Porter
Francis X. McCarthy ... Capt. Warner (as Frank McCarthy)


A few years from now, Earth will have the first contact with an alien civilisation. These aliens, known as Newcomers, slowly begin to be integrated into human society after years of quarantine but are victims of a new type of discrimination. When the first Newcomer police officer, Sam Francisco is assigned his new partner, he is given Matthew Sykes , a mildly racist veteran, the animosity between them soon gives way to respect as they investigate the Newcomer underworld, and especially Newcomer leader William Harcourt. Written by Jonathan Broxton <j.w.broxton@sheffield.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Los Angeles, 1991. They have come to Earth to live among us. They've learned the language, taken jobs, and tried to fit in. But there's something about them we don't know. See more »


Action | Sci-Fi


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Many movie posters featured a long blurb that read: "Los Angeles, 1991. They have come to Earth to live among us. They've learned the language. Taken jobs, and tried to fit in. But there's something about them we don't know. Alien Nation. Prepare yourself." See more »


When George is hanging outside the helicopter, above the water surface, he should be screaming in pain since the rotor-blades would whip up a pretty dense cloud of seawater, thus he would be injured since his race is extremely sensitive against seawater, as pointed out by Joshua Strader, and William Harcourt in the end scene, their bodies react to it as we would to sulfuric acid, as referenced in the movie. See more »


[Commenting on a "human" condom]
Det. Samuel 'George' Francisco: And that fits?
Det. Sgt. Matthew Sykes: Well... Yeah, it's rubber. It stretches.
Det. Samuel 'George' Francisco: And still it fits?
See more »

Alternate Versions

In UK cinemas, 2 versions were shown in different cinemas. In some cinemas, certain Newcomer native dialogue was subtitled into English and in others it was not. This happens most notably in the scene where George and the morgue attendant discuss the Newcomer corpse and recognise aspects of the body as representing the drug addiction. Also a short dialogue between Harcourt and Kipling after Harcourt first meets George and Matt where Kipling tells Harcourt that Sykes was the policeman in the shootout at the film's opening. See more »


Referenced in Nip/Tuck: Willow Banks (2010) See more »


Written by Michael Price and Bobby Sandstrom
Performed by The Four Tops
Courtesy of Arista Records Inc.
See more »

User Reviews

Underrated film from the 80s'
10 August 2006 | by Agent10See all my reviews

While the eighties was rife with weird sci-fi films and epic films, a simple and biting film about alien visitation made a nice little landing in 1988. Alien Nation was one of those films that expertly grasped the the sci-fi/mystery sub genre with a decent story and good visuals.

The casting in the film was rather perfect, with the subdued Mandy Patinkin playing Francisco while the normally hotheaded James Caan got his licks as a racist cop named Sykes. Either way, their polar opposites worked perfectly in the film, showing a growing bond between the two as they shook off their differences and made a rather capable team. What I especially liked was how each player sincerely became their character, which is something that is pretty rare in many sci-fi films. While I do wish the movie was a little longer and put some more scenes of George integrating into his new position at the beginning, the film was good as it was.

Alien Nation proved to be one of the last good non-CGI sci-fi films. While Gattica is one of the few films that followed this ideal, at least we can look back at the genre before it became nothing more than an excuse to show off pretty effects.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

7 October 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Future Tense See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »


Box Office


$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,421,429, 10 October 1988

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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