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Thriller, Sci-Fi, Horror
IMDB rating:
Ridley Scott


          Alien IMDb    Alien Wikipedia    Alien Soundtrack

Tom Skerritt as Dallas
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley
John Hurt as Kane
Ian Holm as Ash
Yaphet Kotto as Parker
Bolaji Badejo as Alien
Alien Storyline: A commercial crew aboard the deep space towing vessel, Nostromo is on its way home when they pick an SOS warning from a distant planet. What they don't know is that the SOS warning is not like any other ordinary warning call. Picking up the signal, the crew realize that they are not alone on the spaceship when a alien stowaway is on the cargo ship.
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Alien: A sci-fi-horror match made in heaven.
At the end of the day, Alien is now roughly almost 40 years old. 40 years is a long time, and we've seen cinema evolve drastically over that period, yet Alien retains everything it had back in 1979.

Everything from the atmosphere, the long shots, the slow build-ups, the creature design, the characters, the plot twist, I could go on. It really does become difficult to find flaws in this movie. Granted some of the FX are pretty dated now, but you have to remember how revolutionary they were back in the day.

Alien is a masterclass in sci-fi horror, far and few films can claim the level of superiority that Ridley Scott's masterpiece still holds.
Defining moment in sci-fi horror history
Alien is one indisputably one of the best science fiction, and horror films ever made. And easily one of the most influential ever. As it basically invented and defined the science- fiction horror genre, paving the way for films like the thing, and predator.

One of Alien's best aspects is its amazing cinematography and creature/set design. All of see work together to give the film a visual style that was unlike anything scene at the time and Ridley Scott would re-use in Blade Runner. Alien's magnificent visuals can be strangely credited to Alejandro Jodorowsky, who found and assembled all the different artists used in Alien for his adaptation of the novel dune, which was unfortunately canned before shooting started, but every cloud has a silver lining, and Jodorowsky's Dune's silver lining was Alien.

Another one of Alien's best aspects is its pacing and atmosphere, though some people today may call Alien "boring," these people know nothing about film and are not to be trusted. Alien opens with a slow footage of space, as the eerie score plays, open credits come up, and the title is slowly spelled out, this is then followed by a slow montage of the empty ship Nostromo, followed by the crew slowly waking up from cryospleep. In fact we don't see any sign of an alien until 1/3 of the way through the film, and we don't see the main alien until halfway through the film. And this is why some call it "boring," but these people came to see the wrong film, they expected something like predator, a straight forward action film where the hero tries to kill the creature, instead what they got was something more like Halloween or Psycho, a subtle unnerving film that builds tension and doesn't blow its load all at once.

The characters in Alien are also far above the average horror movie, they aren't annoying teenagers, or people that we just want to see die. They're relatable diverse logical characters, that have really natural chemistry, as can be seen in some of the films earlier scenes. And another interesting thing about the characters is, we have to figure out which one the protagonist is, it isn't revealed immediately and makes all lot of scenes much more tense because we don't know which characters are going to die.

Though Alien begins slow, the final scenes of Alien are some of the most "on the edge of your seat" scenes ever, I don't won't to spoil anything for anyone who somehow hasn't scene alien yet, but you will most likely be on the verge of a heart attack while watching.

One final note, I recommend you watch the original version first, and then you most definitely should watch the directors cut.

"Alien" is Ridley Scott's first great feature film, and could probably be his magnum opus if not for "Blade Runner", which is the other masterwork of his. Honestly, I cannot be sure if he belongs to the pantheon of great filmmakers or not. He spearheaded near-perfect pictures in his earlier days, but his later works like "The Counselor" and "Exodus: Gods and kings" are near forgettable. "Body of Lies" and "Robin Hood" are not very well received either, and Oscar winning "Gladiator" is overrated.

Undoubtedly "Alien" is so influential. It spawned three sequels and one indirect prequel thus far, for which they were helmed by three different film directors except "Prometheus", which is also directed by Ridley. Its influence stretched even further when it got expanded into video games and even comics. Thus this inevitably made Ridley to be one of the most respected filmmaker in Hollywood of his times. His success is more to be evident in "Blade Runner".

"Alien" is the story of a group of ordinary workers who went missing in the stars. The spacecraft 'Nostromo' is on its way back to Earth when it receives a transmission from a nearby planetoid. Obeying the protocol set by the company, the crew agree to land the ship to inspect on the source. They go out to locate the signal, but to only later realize that they bring back something with them to the ship that would decimate the whole crew.

Although Ridley is so-called the leader of the project, it was scriptwriters Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett the ones initiated it. Everything we see in the story, is theirs. "Alien" got inspirations from classic sci-fi movies like "The Thing from Another World" and "Forbidden Planet", despite it being an 'original' story. The product is like when different ideas from different sources assimilated and converted into an ultimate masterpiece. Ridley skillfully visualized the ideas, but "Alien" will never happen without the duo.

From the horrors to the romanticism of its opening, the film is so grasped of perfection. One of the keys to the film's critical success is its pacing. It seemed to be like a kind of slow-burn horror, which slowly but exceptionally captured the details of the movie; like its filmmaking and narrative thrust that all together built-up in favour of for coherence.

It was a smart move for Ridley to not shoot the monster fully on camera, and this helped to preserve the authentic look of the character (Xenomorph). If more physical parts of the monster be brought upon to audiences, then flaws of the design of it can be left not concealed. On the other hand, the sets of the spaceship and planetoid were all well-designed. Ridley's direction furthermore helped to leverage its aesthetic appeal.

The superb collaboration of Ridley, its writers, the composer of musical score, designers and crews had made "Alien" to be the atmospheric, masterful timeless sci-fi horror. "Alien" could easily be a mediocre B movie, but Ridley's brilliant direction turned it into one of the greatest films instead. Who would have had expected that a script not so intricate can be converted into a piece that will stay relevant for decades to come? The feat here is rarely being felt and I doubt that it will happen again. I am so sure that as long as cinema is culturally still important to us, "Alien" will never be forgotten.

The beginning of one of the greatest series of all time. This film will always remain a classic. It's scary, influential and insanely entertaining. Not just that but Ridley Scott actually has a great sense of style and mood and he plays with that a lot, to make us shiver. There's also an interesting mystery surrounding the Alien which we know practically nothing about. Sigourney Weaver is just as powerful as usual and really brings strength to the film; they make one. Last but not least, the musical score. Wow! It's fantastic. I think the Alien series is known for that aspect as well. Let's hope they'll continue the series and dang we need it all on DVD !
Solid suspense film set in space
This is one of the few sci-fi horror films from the period of the late 70s/early 80s that has really held up with time.

On a visual level, the film is highly satisfying. Green and light blue colors are saturated throughout the film, but so grayed that the movie almost appears at many points to be shot in black and white. The miniatures and matte effects used in the original film were quite good.

The movie works on pretty much every level, though you can't really say it's an incredible story either. On a sci-fi level, the best parts are the early parts where we first see the alien technology. I was disappointed actually in the print that I saw because I believe it was altered with computers, I remember seeing more matte screens that resembled the HR Geiger artwork when the film was on video. Anyway, the alien technology succeeds on a level never before achieved in terms of showing a realistic alien culture. We can almost imagine these creatures living on this ship, it seems to fit in with the alien biology so well.

When they arrive back on their own ship, the film unfortunately descends into a fairly typical horror action film. Perhaps taking a note from Hitchcock's "Psycho", Scott kills off the only reasonably well known actor in the film (at the time of its release), Tom Skerrit, fairly quickly and leaves us with the then-unknown Weaver as the hero. This makes her the first really butt-kicking female heroine of a sci-fi action film, and that alone qualifies this film as groundbreaking.

The cast in general is just amazing. Yaphet Kotto, Ian Holm, John Hurt, Harry Dean Stanton -- these are quite simply some of the best character actors of their generation, all gathered for the purpose of making this more than just a typical monster movie. Other films such as "Predator" tried but failed to get a supporting cast as distinguished and talented as this one gathered for a sci-fi action film. The quality of these actors makes the film better not only in the individual scenes they are in (such as Holm's incredible turn once exposed), but also the aggregate total of the film -- because the actors are so good and the characters relatively fleshed out, we can imagine right up until the film's final moments that any one of them could be the one who ends up surviving.

Another interesting element not often commented on is the cynical attitude the astronauts have towards "the company", which employs them. From Kotto and Stanton's character's complaints about the hours, all the way up to Weaver's discovery that all of them were expendable and kept in the dark as to the true purpose of their mission (which Skerrit's character seems to also know more about than Weaver's), there is a kind of dark realism here that you won't find in the vast majority of films of this type. It dovetails with the other element I've talked about, the fact that the cast is so good that any one of them could be the "hero" -- this is a very democratic look at the future, one edged with deep cynicism but with an ultimate eye towards presenting a future of real people who are oppressed by situations far beyond their control. It is a far cry from the Utopian dreams of Heinlein and other sci-fi progenitors and represents this film's true gift to science fiction as a whole.
Alien.....the one that started it all........
Alien....the creature......the film.....the legend. The one that started it all, the one that led to one of the greatest sequels ever made, one that got a comic book mini-series and 2 cross-over films with "Predator". This is THE film. And without a doubt, the greatest horror film ever created, and this totally makes "Halloween" look like "Chicken Little". You can forget about all those rubbish "Friday the 13th" or "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies, 'cause "Alien" just takes horror up to so many levels! In "Alien", we find ourselves in the distant future with a crew just coming back from a haul of 20 million tons of ore back to Earth. But while the crew members are in stasis, their ship picks up an "SOS" from a nearby planet, and once the crew is awakened, they are forced by the "Company" regulations to follow that signal. And then when they land on the planet and it turns out that something terrifying is in store for them, when a hostile organism attaches itself to one of the crew members. And later on, it becomes clear that the crew member was being impregnated and then dies a horrible, violent death from a deadly breed of an other-worldly life-form. And now the rest of the crew must fight off the creature.

As other classic films should always have, "Alien" does great on the characters. And of course, the most recognizable one is the lead woman, Ellen Ripley who is played then-unknown Sigourney Weaver. She provides a very human face and you're gonna feel like you're actually watching a real-life woman in here, and it could be because of her accent, or her mannerisms. But as the film progresses, she develops into a more mentally tougher woman while combating the Alien. There are times when she totally keeps it cool, times when she's afraid, times when she's angry, and times when its just Ripley being Ripley. And thanks to Weavers acting talents, she can really dish out one hell of a character.

The rest of the supporting cast are nothing short of spectacular, Parker and Brett are the selfish, sarcastic men who only want to make a profit. And through most of the film, you can feel the tension that Ripley and Parker have. Lambert, who one of my favorites from here is the second woman who happens to be the opposite of Ripley, a total coward. Dallas, who the viewer might get the vibe that HE is the main character in the 1st 15 minutes or so, is pretty much the leader here. Kane, is the tired, dead-looking guy who is the one that carries the alien species inside of him. And finally, Ash is the one with the sinister purpose and you start to suspect that he's up to no good at some point. And movie characters need to have their own personalities and that's what "Alien" has.

And as for the Alien itself, well what can i say? It is the most horrifying creature in the history of cinema, period. I mean, how could you stop it? It has acid for blood, and is very lethal to fight face-to-face. And the special effects were over 20 years ahead of its time. The face-hugger on Kane looked so freaking real, that you're gonna be scared just by looking at it, even it doesn't do anything except breathe most of the time. And the sets couldn't have been better, very futuristic, yet there's always something ominous and dark about them.

The suspense is impossible to resist as the sequences deliver the chills at times when you least expect it, and when you do expect something to happen, nothing happens. And "Alien" is one of the very few horror films that understands that you can't scare people by raking up the bodies and the blood, but you have to build up the suspense to do it. And director Ridley Scott is such a genius, and he shows that here, he absolutely knows how to make any kind of film, ones that can scare (Alien), one that can sadden (Thelma and Louise), and one that can excite/thrill (Gladiator). And Ridley really keeps up the dark atmosphere, especially in the beginning when there's no talking for the 1st 5 minutes or so, we get the feeling that something's not right all the time. Some parts are very quiet and very depressing and we feel exactly what we see.

This is the legend that I'm talking about here, folks. Don't miss the chance to see this, because it will scare the living daylights outta you more than any other movie you're gonna see in your life. Take my word for it....I'm practically a movie buff, so I know what I'm talking about....
one of the sci-fi classic
This movie is one of the best sci-fi movie, it's actual in my top ten sci-fi classic.

The actors are great.

The special effects (for those time) are perfect.

The story is very good (one of the best sci-fi story ever).

Directing, of course, is awesome (thanks for your chef d'oeuvre, Mr Ridley scott).

If you like sci-fi you must see this movie, guarantee you'll love it ! The young generation should take a lesson from this movie and watch it thousand times, just to take notes and try to do something good as it is.
The original masterpiece that launched a dynasty
As the credits of "Alien" open, the slowly paced opening titles and soft, eerie score give some indication of what viewers will experience when watching this film. It starts off so unassumingly that first-time viewers are unlikely to be moved by the story or inspired by the slight character development in the film's first half. It is in fact this lack of certainty that makes "Alien" work so well, for as the film hits it second half it shifts dramatically from slow space road movie to an intergalactic haunted house fright show. This flip in drama, pace and tension makes for an unnerving ride into the unknown and results in one of the landmark sub-genre-sci-fi movies of the 20th century.

The film is directed by Englishman Ridley Scott, who had a total of one feature and numerous commercials under his belt when he took control of proceedings. Since the success of "Alien", Scott has had an uneven career with highlights like "Blade Runner", "Thelma and Louise", "Gladiator" and most recently "Black Hawk Down" and low points like "Legend", "G.I. Jane" and the bore-fest "1492". "Alien" represents the overtly stylistic and slick approach Scott brings to his films, traits that are useful in science fiction but can sometimes seem out of place in more realistic genres.

Here Scott retires the glitz and glamour of "Star Wars", which had been released two years before "Alien". Instead he portrays the spacecraft and crew as nothing more than a cargo ship and a rag tag bunch of intergalactic truckers. This works very well, as the viewer gets the distinct sense of the tedium and oppressive vastness of space travel. The way the crew are so nonchalant about visiting another planet makes the audience feel that yes, perhaps one day man will view space travel with a shrug.

The opening scene shows us a huge spaceship, named the Nostromo, returning to earth with 20,000,000 tonnes of mineral ore on board. The crew sleep in hibernation, until the onboard computer awakens them. It seems the computer has picked up a possible distress signal on an alien planet. Under the law of the nameless and faceless 'Company', the crew are obliged to investigate.

The waking scene is superbly filmed. Kane (John Hurt) slowly rises, like a chick from and egg. Squinting and only partially awake, slow dissolves from one angle of Kane to another emphasise his delirium and partial consciousness. The final dissolve dissipates to the mess hall. Here we meet the entire crew of the Nostromo for the first time.

The ship is led by Dallas (Tom Skerrit), with Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) as the first officer. Ash (Ian Holm) is the odd, skittish science officer, Kane (John Hurt) is weathered but adventurous, Lambert (Veronica Cartwright) is the whiny and weak navigation officer, and Parker (Yaphet Kotto) and Brett (Harry Dean Stanton) are the engineering grunts. The ship is controlled by Mother, a mute version of HAL 9000 from 1968's "2001: A Space Odyssey". Like "2001", the reasons for having humans on board is unknown; they almost seem pointless as the ship can basically control itself. Are they simply pawns or guinea pigs awoken at the will of the computer?

They respond to the distress signal after landing on the desolate planet. The beacon is tracked to a derelict spaceship, which Kane, Lambert and Dallas enter. Curious and naïve, Kane wonders into a cavern of eggs. Stumbling on the slippery surface, he slips and comes into contact with the living contents of the egg. With the parasite attached to his face, Dallas and Lambert rush Kane back to the ship.

On board Ripley, who is now in command, demands that Kane be kept in quarantine for 24 hours. Against her wishes, the odd Ash lets the three crew in. Upon removing Kane's helmet they find a claw shaped being attached to his face. It eventually falls off and dies and amazingly, Kane awakens, seemingly unscathed.

At this stage the film remains slow and ponderous. Intent on getting back to earth, they have one final meal before returning to hibernation. As they eat Kane convulses violently and a creature bursts through his chest. In utter disbelief the crew watch it skuttle away to the far reaches of the ship.

From this point the film takes off. Space and distance are enclosed as Scott uses a brilliant mix of close ups and wide angled shots to display the vastness of the Nostromo and the claustrophobia in the crew.

The alien and set design are outstanding. The massive sexual overtones of Swiss artist's H.R. Giger's alien and derelict ship are truly breathtaking, as is the futuristic-retro styling of Michael Seymour's sets. Grubby yet cool, the production quality of "Alien" is something to admire.

It took seven more years before a sequel was made and when James Cameron took over the directing chair he revolutionised the series by making it all out action over spooky sci-fi with "Aliens". It may be a better movie, but the original remains a quality stand alone film and a landmark in the sci-fi horror sub genre that has not been matched by any other saga.

Whose idea was it to bring a cat in the first place?
I'm a little confused as to why there was a cat on board in the first place. Needless to say, given that there was an entire crew on board the Nostromo, a merchant vessel carrying, if I remember correctly, something like 20,000,000 tons of mineral ore, there was hardly a lack of companionship. At any rate, I can easily brush aside my curiosity about the effort that went into designing the life support system that would have been needed to keep the cat alive along with the rest of the humans as they traveled for months on end in deep sleep. It doesn't matter, because the cat was involved in most of the scariest scenes.

That being said, I think that one of the things that really makes Alien great is that it explains all the twists and turns of its plot in great detail, which is almost unheard of in science fiction and horror films. No one displays ludicrous behavior to allow for the construction of bloody, gory death scenes, the alien, masterfully designed, isn't rushing across the screen in every scene to allow for maximum payoff of the costume design, we don't even see it until well past the halfway point in the movie. Like Jaws, Alien takes its time to allow the characters to gradually grasp the enormity of their situation.

The Nostromo is a merchant ship, which allows for a non-military crew to be faced with a mortal enemy that they do not understand. The ship intercepts a strange transmission that must be from an intelligent source since it repeats itself every twelve seconds, and so it wakes up the crew to investigate. The subtlety of the way the conflict is introduced is very important. The transmission didn't just appear, the ship awoke the crew months ahead of schedule, because it was programmed to do so should anything like that happen. And to the chagrin of a couple of the money financial-minded crew members, it is also in their contracts to investigate any such occurrence. The movie is covering its tracks very thoroughly and to great effect.

When they reach the planet from which the transmission originated, they find the spectacular discovery of what appears to be a crashed alien spaceship, complete with a dead alien pilot still in his chair. A brief look at the body suggests that the pilot may have exploded from the inside, creating curiosity about his death that the movie never satisfies but doesn't need to. One of the crew members discovers what look like dozens of leathery eggs, gets attacked, and is brought back on board the ship. Significantly, protocol is broken to get him and the alien life form back on board for medical attention.

When they discover that the alien has blood that melts through the hull of the ship like thermite, a new and particularly difficult challenge arises. How do they kill a deadly enemy without making it bleed? And to make matters worse, the very ship is programmed to work against them. They are in the most hostile environment imaginable, worse than anywhere on earth. They are being stalked by an unknown creature that they can't injure for fear of damaging the hull of the spaceship, and the ship itself has placed the survival of the alien life form above their own survival. They have to trick the alien into submission without letting the ship know what's going on. Even HAL wasn't THIS creepy.

Released at a time when science fiction was probably at the most popular that it had ever been (and possibly ever will be) thanks to the recent release of Star Wars and the soon to follow first sequel, Alien came along and capitalized in an area of science fiction that people evidently were very eager for, the darker, more sinister and dangerous side. The side of science fiction with the bloody deaths rather than light sabers and heroes. In fact, by looking at the way people probably saw Alien in 1979 and the way they see it now, you can learn a lot about how science fiction and horror have evolved over the years. Back then, this was horror/science fiction. Today, it's science fiction/horror. But while it was more horrible in 1979 than it is today, it is significant that, while other films that have come along over the years have overshadowed Alien as far as the intensity of the horror, the movie has lost none of its powerful effect. Rather than reinventing the science fiction genre by adding horror to it, it is now maintaining the life of the science fiction genre by reminding us of how good it can be when it's done right.
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