Alien (1979)

R   |    |  Horror, Sci-Fi


Alien (1979) Poster

After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as a distress call, its landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious lifeform, and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun.

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  • Derek Vanlint in Alien (1979)
  • John Hurt and Ridley Scott in Alien (1979)
  • Alien (1979)
  • Harry Dean Stanton and Bolaji Badejo in Alien (1979)
  • Ridley Scott in Alien (1979)
  • John Hurt in Alien (1979)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


16 October 2001 | bob the moo
Classic horror
The further we go in special effects, the more movies show us and ignore the unseen, the more people will return to dark horrors like this one.

It's hard to look at this film without considering the sequels and knowing the alien itself, however when made the alien was mostly unseen and a mystery. It's difficult to forget what you've seen, but it's important to approach this film first if possible rather than joining the series late.

It's amazing that this is over 20 years old - apart from the actors looking so young, the film doesn't feel dated at all. The sci-fi visions here are still bleak and futuristic as they were then - this is not the Star Trek vision of the future. The foreboding exists long before John Hurt spills his secret, Scott's direction is excellent throughout. Once the alien is "born" the tension is cranked up and the characters dispatched one by one (a formula we know oh-so well now!)

However here the characters are not merely alien-food but have some dimension to them. Weaver is excellent, while the support cast is full of great support actors (Stanton, Kotto, Hurt, Skerritt, Holm), but of course the real star is the one we see least of.

We barely see the alien in full detail, most of the time it is set in shadows, moving with deadly intent.The alien here is not simply a killing machine as seen in later films but is cruel with it. Witness the alien trap a female crew member and slowly rub up her leg, moving with slow seductive movements before moving with terrifying speed to kill another crew member sneaking up behind it. The slow movements betray the alien's pure cruelty.

The film is a study in terror. It may not be as action packed as the other films in the series but it brings the claustrophobia of being hunted to a new level.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally, the lighting plan for this movie, was to have everything pre-lit, so they wouldn't have to rearrange lighting from shot to shot, but Ridley soon realized it was looking very television-ish, with an even all-round, fit-for-everything lighting plan. Also, actors and actresses would wind up moving in parts of the set that weren't lit well enough, so they went back to normal lighting set-ups for each angle.


Quotes

Brett: This is the worst shit I've ever seen, man.
Parker: What you say? You got any biscuits over there?
Ripley: Here's some cornbread.
Parker: Cornbread. Yeah.
Lambert: I am cold.
Parker: Still with us, Brett?
Brett: Right.
Kane: Oh, I feel dead.
Parker: Anybody ever tell you you look dead, man?


Goofs

(at around 33 mins) A close-up of the Alien egg when Kane is looking at it shows water droplets falling upwards off the egg, revealing that the shot was done with the camera upside down. (according to Trivia, this is an intended effect by Ridley Scott)


Crazy Credits

The title of the movie is slowly created one line at a time at the top of the screen during the opening credits, starting out with the I, then the forward slash in A and the slash in N, and then the vertical lines in L and E (so it looks like / I I I \). After that, the ensuing lines of each letter are added slowly one at a time until the title is fully visible.


Alternate Versions

Scenes trimmed or deleted in the 25th Anniversary Edition:

  • The camera panning right towards Dallas before he goes into the hallway to talk to Mother.
  • The scene where Ripley talks to Ash if Mother translated the Alien Transmission.
  • After Ash losses contact with Dallas and crew after they walk into the Derelict ship, the last shot looking back at Ash's face is cut.
  • The shot looking at Dallas climbing up the Space Jockey.
  • Some shots of Kane being lowered down into the Egg Chamber are trimmed.
  • The shot of Ash leaving the Medical room after talking with Ripley.
  • Dialogue between Ripley and Dallas discussing Ripley's distrust in Ash is cut.
  • The beginning shot of Ripley, Parker, and Brett searching down the corridor for the Alien.
  • The shot with Ripley saying 'Open the Door.' behind the partially opened door.
  • The last moments of Brett soaking his face.
  • After the crew discusses the Vent plan, the shot of the Nostromo traveling through space is cut.
  • The whole scene with Dallas talking to Mother on how he should neutralize the Alien.
  • Some shots of Dallas crawling down the vent are trimmed.
  • The shot of Parker going to refuel the Flame-throwers.
  • Ripley going to talk to Mother just shows her walking to the door instead of getting the key.
  • Shots of Ripley leaving the Mother Chamber.
  • The sequence where Ripley, Parker, and Lambert walking through the hallway has been trimmed.
  • Ripley preparing the shuttle has been trimmed.
  • Certain shots of Ripley running through the corridors after the self-destruct has been activated have been trimmed.


Soundtracks

Eine kleine Nachtmusik'
by
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (as W.A. Mozart)

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Horror | Sci-Fi

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