Article

ALIEN - 30 YEARS AGO




The Original | The Sequels | Box Office 1979 | Credits | Also



THE ORIGINAL


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"It does not sound like anything new: spaceship is invaded by voracious alien who is defeated at last moment. But the special effects - which combines H.R. Giger's monster with Ron Cobb's raunchy sense of what the future will look like - are the real thing at last. "
- John Clute in
Science Fiction: The Illustrated Encyclopedia

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"Plainly put, Alien is an old-fashioned scary movie set in a highly realistic sci-fi future, made all the more believable by expert craftsmanship.

Script has more loose ends than the Pittsburgh Steelers, but that doesn't matter as director Ridley Scott, cameraman Derek Vanlint and composer Jerry Goldsmith propel the emotions relentlessly from the one surprise - and horror - to the next.

The price paid for the excitement, and it's a small one, is that there is very little involvement with the characters themselves.

Alien initially presents a mundane commercial spacecraft with crew members like Yaphet Kotto bitching and moaning about wages and working conditions.

The tedium is shared by captain Tom Skerrit, his aide Sigourney Weaver and the rest of the crew, played by a generally good cast in cardboard roles. Eventually, it is Weaver who gets the biggest chance and she carries it off well. "
-
Variety

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"Commercial spacecraft unwittingly takes on an alien being that wreaks merciless havoc on the crew. Space-age horror film reverts to 1950s formula story, but adds stomach-churning violence, slime, and shocks. Still, this is some people's idea of a good time. Oscar-winning effects. Inspired by IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE."
-
Leonard Maltin

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THE SEQUELS


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ALIENS

(1986)
"Weaver, the sole human survivor from ALIEN, returns to planet that spawned the yukky creatures with a Marine squadron that's ready to wipe them out. Intense, exciting sequel directed by Cameron the same way he did THE TERMINATOR - once it gets going there's just no letup! Weaver is sensational in compelling lead role. The special effects won an Oscar. Director Cameron's original version of the film, running 17 minutes longer, has been released on video. "
-
Leonard Maltin

"This movie is so intense that it creates a problem for me as a reviewer: Do I praise its craftsmanship, or do I tell you it left me feeling wrung out and unhappy? When I walked out of the theater, there were knots in my stomach from the film's roller-coaster ride of violence. This is not the kind of movie where it means anything to say you 'enjoyed' it."
-
Roger Ebert

ALIEN 3
(1992)
"More-of-the-same sequel has Weaver and other survivors of ALIENS (1986) being sent to isolated prison planet where (you guessed it) the alien regenerates itself and runs amok. Good performances, some scares, but a definite feeling of déjà vu hangs over the proceedings."
-
Leonard Maltin

"ALIEN 3 is one of the best-looking bad movies I have ever seen. It is a triumph of art direction and a disaster of screenwriting, and the eyes appreciate it more than the mind. Watching it in the moment, we are absorbed. After it's over, we are disappointed, because what actually happens in the movie is so much less interesting than where it happens and how it looks while it's happening."
- Roger Ebert

ALIEN RESURRECTION
(1997)
"Artistically, the film will have no impact at all. It's a nine days' wonder, a geek show designed to win a weekend or two at the box office and then fade from memory. "
-
Roger Ebert

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BOX OFFICE 1979

UK

US

1. Moonraker

1. Superman - the Movie

2. Superman - the Movie

2. Every Which Way But Loose

3. Jaws 2

3. Rocky II

4. Every Which Way But Loose

4.Alien

5. Alien

5. The Amityville Horror

6. Watership Down

6. Star Trek - The Motion Picture

7. The Deer Hunter

7. The Muppet Movie

8. Grease

8. California Suite

9. Quadrophenia

9. The Deer Hunter

10. Pete's Dragon

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CREDITS:


MAIN CAST:

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Tom Skerritt
(Dallas)

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Sigourney Weaver
(Ripley)

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Veronica Cartwright
(Lambert)

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Harry Dean Stanton
(Brett)

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John Hurt
(Kane)

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Ian Holm
(Ash)

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Yaphet Kotto
(Parker)

PRODUCERS: Gordon Carroll, David Giler, Walter Hill; DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott; SCREENWRITER: Dan O'Bannon (based on a story by O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett); EDITORS: Terry Rawlings, Peter Weatherley; CINEMATOGRAPHER: Derek Vanlint; COMPOSER: Jerry Goldsmith; PRODUCTION DESIGNER: Michael Seymour; SET DESIGNER: Ian Whittaker; SPECIAL EFFECTS: Carlo Rambaldi, Bernard Lodge; COSTUMES:  John Mollo, H.R. Giger, Roger Dicken

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OSCARS: Visual Effects - H.R. Giger, Carlo Rambaldi, Brian Johnson, Nick Allder, Denys Ayling

NOMINATIONS: Art Direction - Michael Seymour, Les Dilley, Roger Christian, Ian Whittaker

(Winner best film 1979: Kramer vs. Kramer)

117 minutes. Colour

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ALSO:


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ALIEN-RELATED:

Review of Alien
Review of Aliens
Review of Aliens (Special Edition)
Review of Alien 3
Review of Alien Resurrection
Guest review of
Alien Resurrection
Read about the planned Alien prequel

Aliens - Sci-Fi Movie Pick of the Month (November 1997)

Discuss Alien with fellow fans in the
Sci-Fi Movie Page's Boardroom

RIDLEY SCOTT-RELATED:
Review of Blade Runner
Review of Blade Runner: The Director's Cut
Blade Runner: The Director's Cut - Sci-Fi Movie Pick of the Month (July 1997)

OTHER SCI-FI MOVIES RELEASED IN 1979:
Star Trek - The Motion Picture
Battlestar Galactica
Mad Max
The Black Hole
Moonraker
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Meteor

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