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Thriller, Sci-Fi, Horror
IMDB rating:
Ridley Scott
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
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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In my opinion the scariest Science Fiction movie ever.
Yes indeed, "In Space No One Can Hear You Scream." Unlike Terminator where Judgement Day convinced the audience a sequel was not possible Alien left no doubt there could and would be a sequel. Granted it was a black movie almost every character was killed off, but good sci-fi action flick. I have always appreciated Sigorney Weaver's acting skills. Very scary for a sci-fi flick, clearly the most terrifying science fiction movie to date. Had me sitting on the edge of my seat, never knew what was going to happen next. Whats not to like eggs being implanted down throat of hosts growing and exploding from chest. How annoying, the minimum word limit, I have nothing more to say about the movie it was very good.
Sci-Fi/Horror Masterpiece!
"Alien" is one of the most intense Sci-Fi thrillers to have ever graced the silver screen or the home theater in any format! It is the film's intensity that provides such an incredible draw to this extraordinary film. I was pulled in by the ultra high sense of realism. This film almost feels like a documentary because of a lot of the subtle hand-held camera work (read; not like the shaky, seizure inducing hand-held work of today's films). There's much going on in that film that was revolutionary for the time. Great ideas, design, cinematography, subtle, very realistic performances.

Sigourney Weaver stars as Ellen Ripley in her film debut role. Weaver is absolutely perfect for the role, and was practically the first girl-power type female heroine who single-handedly carries this international blockbuster right through until the final minutes. John Hurt also plays Kane to excellent effect, especially in his death scene as he frantically wriggles on the table with the alien inside him. Harry Dean Stanton is brilliant as Brett, as is Tom Skerritt as Dallas. Yaphet Kotto is also perfectly cast as Parker, who provides many on-screen laughs. Veronica Kartwright (who later went on to star in The X-Files some 20 years later) stars as the lovable Lambert, the only other female member of the crew along with Ripley. Ian Holm as Ash is absolutely brilliant in his role as the android secretly sent on board to bring back the alien life- form, while - in his eyes, and "Mother's" - all other crew members are expendable. The acting in this film is really first-rate, which is another big factor in why the film works so well.

The art designs are incredible: the entire look of the film, from the commercial nature of the spacecraft to the iconographic alien itself is right on the money. It amazes me how well visually this movie still holds up. It feels as rich and deep cinematically as most anything today due to Ridley Scott's brilliant visuals. You watch this film at certain points and it feels as slick and polished as any current genre film without the hollowness or incompetence.

All in all, Alien is a terrific sci-fi horror movie that plays with your senses incredibly well. Nothing happens for the first 30 minutes, and that is exactly the director's intent. By doing so, a feeling of extreme suspense is instantly formed, leaving you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Overall rating: 9 out of 10.
One of the best Movies of all time, Period.
Alien is one of the best movies to have ever been made, hands down. Not only does it combine great suspense with music, but the acting is also amazing. The plot is pretty straightforward, an alien stows away on a spaceship with a mere 7 crew members, and after harvesting itself from Kane, escapes onto the ship and silently picks off the crew one by one. This was one of the very first horror films I ever watched and after watching tons of others, this movie still stands above most for me. Every time I watch it, I always find something new and I never stop being scared. Sigourney Weaver is also one of my favorite actresses of all time. In my opinion, this is a must see for people who love not only horror films, but films in general. Hands down an amazing film.
Great Movie About A Bunch Of People On An Old Space Ship Who Save A Cat
It is impossible for me to write an objective review of ALIEN simply because I believe it is not just the best motion picture film ever made, but is a pinnacle of artistic expression that owes its debt to pretty much everything that came before it. The story was a cultural funnel into which it all flowed. The only thing it can be correctly compared to might be the original 1977 release of STAR WARS even though its objectives could not have been more different. It is the most thorough and convincing portrayal of the future ever committed to celluloid. Certainly more convincing than 2001: A SPACE ODDITY, which is too sterile and gleaming. The future will not look like a dentist's office.

The future will be ugly, loud and busy. It will be a retrofitted mess of the past, present and futuristic forms. Like a city which adapts to changing times by modernizing certain parts while still facilitating its old function with its crumbling old infrastructure. If you're curious to see what the future of commercial space travel may look like watch this film. Humans will come and go, we may be tooling about on space craft, we may be crossing vast distances of space, and yes: It stands to reason we will encounter life forms startlingly different than ourselves. Unless we are very lucky it is almost inevitable that like other creatures on this planet they will react to us with fear, hostility or aggression for primal reasons related to territoriality or survival. It is doubtful we will have much in common.

We won't meet these alien life forms by looking for them. We will come across them as we go about our human ways, pressing deeper into the universe while going about our mundane business on the surfaces of worlds never meant to accommodate warm blooded protein and sugar consuming bipedal air breathers. I doubt the aliens we do find will look like HR Giger's creations, but at least in Giger we finally had an artist's vision for a life form that is suitable for the vastness of space. It is infinitely adaptable, roughly taking the form of whatever creature it gestates inside of and born ready-made to thrive in whatever the host's native environment may be. It's a weapon — natural or engineered, doesn't matter — a DNA replicating machine which mimics its host creature so it may corrupt and devour it more efficiently.

Here it takes the bastardized form of a man and effortlessly eliminates five human adults inside of 48 hours. It would have infected whatever biosphere it was introduced into, skillfully devouring, replicating, spawning and breeding until a critical mass is reached and all other forms of life in that biosphere would be eliminated in a survival of the fittest test with one inevitable outcome. The only way that its threat would be believable and frightening is if the fictional universe the story takes place in is 100% convincing. ALIEN's is, boasting the most effective production design in the history of cinema, bested only by NASA's Apollo moon landing program.

We believe in the universe it is set, the people who inhabit it, and the hardware they use to perform the tasks required by their mode of existence. If we were not thoroughly convinced the entire premise would fall like a house of cards. Ridley Scott, Dan O'cannon, Ron Shussett, Ron Cobb, Christopher Foss, H.R. Giger, John Mollo, Roger Dickens, Les Dilley, Brian Johnson, Jerry Goldsmith, Terry Rawlins, and the cast chosen to enact the story all collaborated seamlessly to produce a completely convincing facade telling a tightly plotted story about humans stumbling across an alien life form. Through duplicity and against protocol, the organism is allowed to infect the human biosphere within the ship, and the crew inevitably discover that the only way to contain the outbreak to their ship is to destroy it. It is a perfect metaphor for the necessary evils of modern life.

The film was successful and its dominance of the horror/action movie market spawned an outbreak of similarly themed films, some of which came close to replicating ALIEN's impact on our culture, but none really being able to introduce anything very useful to the premise. Queens laying eggs dumbs the creature down to familiar Terrestrial life patterns. I would prefer to think that the universe holds many surprises about how life thrives that aren't anything like the patterns we are comfortable with. The bug hunt in the first sequel is well done, but whatever success its offspring may have enjoyed all relate back to the singular vision and urgency behind the artistic quest that this film set out to resolve.

It does so in ways that go beyond the impact of individual scenes. Every film of its kind made since has been influenced by ALIEN in one way or another, and that influence will continue for as long as humans make films. Nobody will ever be able to "undo" its contributions, negate them from our society's palette. You can mix in Predators or A list casts with super-real computer effects, but it will always come back to this film and the startling possibilities it suggested. If it hadn't been done so well we wouldn't still be talking about it, proof that they really did get it right. We have only just begun to explore what forms the possibilities suggested by ALIEN may take, and someone someday will get it just as right in their own era's equivalent.

I hope I'm around to see that happen, maybe even have a hand in making it. Who knows.

The alien within?
Despite it's legendary status, the truth is that Alien is just a horror movie set out in space, i.e. the alien monster taking the part of the serial killer that's murdering the cast one by one (minus of course the main character, in this case Ripley - played by Sigourney Weaver). So, nothing original, apart from that it's set in outer space.

Then where does that leave us? Well, two things are really of note. H.R. Giger's design of the alien planet and the creature itself - chilling and nightmarish, in what is the brush of a true artist, and also Ash's poetic reflection on the alien monster: "Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility." "I admire its purity. A survivor.. unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality."

And yet despite the atmospheric approach, it's unclear what angle or view, if any, the film offers. Seemingly it condemns the instinctive effort for survival of the alien creature, yet in the end it's the morally bound humankind which prevails. In fact, the scene in the end where Ripley comes face to face with the alien and kills it by shooting it in outer space is probably the film's center of gravity. The alien creature is for the first time looking insecure and scared of dying, but Ripley (guided by her own instincts) shows no remorse. Here, the roles of the hunter and the hunted are blurred, and so is the moral status of mankind.

Other minor themes are the remorseless capitalist stance of the mother/company, which also hides a metaphysical meaning (the company is called mother, it controls the destiny of the crew, has it's own purposes, has it's chosen representative amongst the crew with the robot Ash etc).
The mother of all movies
Back in early 20th century, Lumière brothers didn't have a clue of what they were playing with. I'm freaking sure that if somebody could have magically told them that thanks to their work, a movie like 'Alien' would have been made in the future, they both would have died of a sudden, shocked by the consequences of their labor, like an honest scientist would if he was shown an evil use of his research. In that sense, but in the best way imaginable, 'Alien' is the atomic bomb.

In my opinion, 'Alien' is the only perfect movie in the history of cinema. Of course, this could be debatable, but of all the films I've watched since I was born, this is the only one in which I haven't been able to find the slightest flaw. It gets a golden ten out of ten. Bright, solid and massive.

I could go on with a panegyric, but I'll try to be short and accurate:

The direction is just perfect. Every shot is marvellous, every movement of the camera is breathtaking. There is absolutely nothing you could add or subtract. Touch it, and you spoil it. Seriously.

The acting is splendid. The performances build a credible world centuries away. I don't know about you, but this take on the future was unveliabably acceptable. Sigourney Weaver is more than a revelation, John Hurt is a master, and the rest are nothing short of marvellous.

The script is a work of art, the story is mesmerizing, well-constructed, well-developed, and free of absurd twists. Its simplicity and efectiveness are yet, 25 years after, to be matched.

The atmosphere is pure genius. Gothic, claustrophobic and sometimes baroque. The use of light and dark is beyond description, the use of sound is as creepy as it gets.

The FX are the best possible for 1979. In the time of the release, some scenes were stomach churning.

The score. Jerry Goldsmith's work matches the images so perfectly it seems to bleed from them. It is and will be the best soundtrack for a sci-fi flick in space ever.

The tagline. "In space, no one can hear you scream". THIS is a tagline.

And, of course... the alien. The only alive creature that can steal Weaver the movie. Its design is the most innovative I've seen. It has spawned dozens of disgraceful imitations. This is the real deal. Not only the look, but the complete design of a life form, including biological features. Acid instead of blood. Jaws inside jaws. What more could you possibly want? This is how a movie is done.

A very good sign of a movie that has gone down in history is the amount of collectively well remembered scenes. Well, 'Alien' has so many that I won't go into it. This movie contains so many iconic scenes that has become an icon itself.

So, what else? I urge all young directors to watch this movie a zillion times, as I've already done, and take notes all along. But not in order to rip off from it, as many others have done, but to learn, learn, learn, learn and learn how a movie should be done. 'Casablanca'? You must be joking.

Oh, I almost forget! There's a lovable cat in it.

The First of a New Sci-Fi Horror Breed
Alien (1979)

The First of a New Sci-Fi Horror Breed

It's hard to believe how fresh and scary this movie was at the time, but it's also a relief to see it still holds up as a well made movie even now. Is it a classic great movie? Almost, almost. But not quite, in the end--mostly because of some clichés and goofs in the acting and dialog--although it has really great moments. And it's a great way to discover director Ridley Scott's unique style.

Certainly now that H. R. Giger the artist has gotten famous in his own right, the alien itself deserve special mention. And the sets are impressively otherworldly and familiar at the same time--not only the huge and hugely baroque ship, but the interior scenes on the planet toward the beginning. These are marvels whether or not your style (and for my money, the alien is a really improbable type of extraterrestrial, more at home in a comic book Hades than actual space). Another novelty to note, probably a product of the shift in movies in general since the 1960s, is the director's intention to keep things real and everyday. Things are dirty, people worry about their paychecks, and so on.

This is a long way from the sterility of 2001 though head to head the earlier Kubrick film is on another level of art. I know a lot of people would rather be entertained, though, and Alien is entertaining. It's fast, it's scary, it's gory, it's messy. It's surprising. It's beautiful. And it spawned a whole series of follow-ups, the next one confusingly called Aliens (1986), also a very good take on the new genre.

I first saw this when it came out in Colorado and it was on a huge, curving screen that wrapped around the audience, and I was really, truly scared. Now, thirty years later, the scary parts are still really scary, and it's edited so quickly you won't spend more than a minute on any one scene that doesn't quite click. Horror sci-fi has never been the same since.
Check your brain at the door
SPOILER ALERT. I suppose it's asking too much to want a sci-fi movie that's halfway intelligent. "Alien" is not. If you start thinking about this movie, it falls apart. I'll try to be brief. One, if I'm not missing something, the "Company" that owns the spaceship knows about this horrible alien monster, knows it "can't be killed" (Ash, the robot, actually says this), and wants the monster brought back to Earth, "crew expendable." Question, if the monster can't be killed, but it kills each and every human it sees, how the heck are they going to get it off the spaceship when it gets back to Earth? And what will they do with it then? That's absurd. Two, how does the Company know the spaceship crew will even get the monster on board to bring it back in the first place? There's no way at all for the Company to assume this. Three, the only reason the monster got inside the spaceship was because of an incredibly stupid thing one of the crew did. If you were on an unknown alien planet and you saw some "eggs," would you try to go down and sniff at them and put your face as close to them as possible? And when one of them started to open, would you just stand there and get even closer to it? This is beyond stupid, it's insane. Four, once the monster is on the ship and hugging this guy's face, it disappears, and suddenly another monster pops out of his chest. Seriously? This rather sizable alien being with a big ugly head has been living inside a man's chest but he never felt any pain and none of his organs suffered any damage, not his lungs, not his heart, nothing? I didn't buy that for one second. Five, this creature supposedly has "molecular acid" (ha ha) flowing through its body, an acid so strong that it can eat right through steel like a knife through warm butter -- but the creature itself is immune? Right. Six, once the entire crew except for Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is dead, she decides to blow up the ship and escape in the shuttle. So she has to go through a cumbersome series of physical actions, including pulling up big tubes, just to set a destruct signal, and then it gives her ten minutes -- ten minutes, folks -- to go to the bathroom, find her cat, get to the shuttle, strip down to her micro-panties for us, ten minutes. In a sane world, on a sane ship, you'd be able to set the destruct for any time you liked, and you'd be able to get on the shuttle first and then activate the destruct signal. Finally, only a guess from the way they made it look, but evidently the ship was destroyed in a nuclear explosion, while Ripley is still close enough that she (and her cat) would be killed by the radiation. (Even in "Forbidden Planet" they knew enough to get the ship far away from the explosion.) So, for all those reasons, this is a movie that is so scientifically stupid and impossible that I couldn't believe it or enjoy it at all. Where are Joel and the bots when you need them?
A new appreciation of this film's excellence
Seven members of a space mining cargo ship who are headed back to Earth are awakened from hypersleep when their ship detects a signal from an intelligent civilization on a small, uncharted planet. When they locate the source of the signal, they find more than they bargained for, and all of their lives are endangered.

My feelings about this first film in the Alien series have vacillated slightly over the years. I loved it when I first saw it as a young teenager in the theater back in 1979. Later, I wasn't as enamored with it, and had actually rated it as low as a 7 out of 10--at one point believing it to be my least favorite of the series. Now, however, my appreciation of the film has matured a bit, and I'm back to thinking it's a solid 10 out of 10.

The film's strong points are rooted in director Ridley Scott's focused commitment to sustaining a desolate, dark atmosphere and gradually building suspense over the course of the film. Alien is unusual for its era in its pacing, its lack of comic relief, and its refusal to provide breaks from its growing tension. All three of these facts make it a somewhat "difficult film". It's not recommended for light viewing. It's not a "popcorn film". You have to be in the mood to sit down, slow down, concentrate, invest emotion, and let yourself be enveloped in the film's world.

With Alien, Scott has created a kind of bleak tribute to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). This is evident in many characteristics of the film, such as the graceful slowness of the cinematography, editing and much of the action in the first section of the film, including sustained pans across sterile-looking environments and wide external shots of (a) hulking but elegant spacecraft, the personification of the ship's computer, known as "Mother" here rather than Hal, a few subtle instances of classical music, the surprise discovery of a monumental structure on another celestial body, and so on.

However, there are no instances of pleasant psychedelia here, no retreats into dreamworlds, no messages of hope, no benevolence from alien beings. Alien is strictly concerned with making its sci-fi an issue of classic horror. At a base level, it is about a malevolent monster, first encountered in a dark, Gothic environment and later chasing our heroes through a cross between a haunted house and crypt-like labyrinths.

Much has been said about visual artist H.R. Giger's alien and production design, and the film wouldn't be nearly as successful without it. Giger is largely responsible for the look of the beacon ship on the small planet, both its exterior and interior, the cocoon later encountered on the cargo ship, and the creatures. His work also inspired a lot of smaller elements, as can be seen in doorways, pipes, and other features of the cargo ship. Like most of his work, these features are a combination of metallic and organic, mechanical and biological, futuristic and Gothic. They complement the austere Kubrickian sensibility in a surprising but completely successful way.

Scott also uses simple effects like steam, as well as unique lighting and sound effects to help build the film's thick tension. These techniques gradually become more conspicuous as the film goes on, finally culminating in a claustrophobic symphony of flashing lights, constantly hissing pipes and hoses, and an incessant audio alarm.

Finally, the last key to the excellence of the film is the cast. Although a somewhat stereotypical movie-world ragtag bunch, their characterizations provide more depth than the norm, with Sigourney Weaver as the standout, in perhaps the defining role of her career, and one of the more admirable filmic portrayals of a woman--she's the smartest, most sensible, strongest, and certainly most sexy of the bunch.
"Alien" is not just the monster, it's the atmosphere and the way you feel!
In "Alien" we follow a seven man crew en-route to earth on board the huge space freighter "Nostromo". The crew is in cryosleep, but the on board computer interrupts the journey when a foreign radio signal is picked up. It originates from an uninhabited planet and the crew lands to investigate. There they make contact with an alien life-form...

What makes Alien so great is the constant feel of uneasiness. Right from the beginning you have a feeling that something is wrong. The crew is not particularly friendly towards each other, and you truly feel all the in-group tension. The ship itself is a huge worn out industrial-style maze of halls and corridors, and it feels more like a prison than a place to live. It is as if not only the alien but also the ship itself is against the humans. The Alien itself is the scariest monster in history because it is a ruthless, soul-less parasite completely devoid of any human or civilized traits. The design of the monster is a stroke of genius. Sure it has a humanoid form, but it has no facial traits or anything else which could give away emotions or intentions. Its actions reveals no weaknesses nor civilized intelligence. The Alien is more or less the opposite of everything human and civilized, plus the creature is more well-adapted to the inhumane interior of the ship than the humans who build it. To sum up, you then have a setting where the humans are caught in a web of in-group tensions, an inhospitable ship and the perfect killer which thrives in the ships intestines. You almost get the feel that the humans are the ones who are alienated to each other and to their own ship.

Ridley Scott tells the story with a perfectly synchronized blend of visuals and sounds.

The actors do a superb job, portraying their characters in a subtle but very realistic way. The seven man crew is not a bunch of Hollywood heroes. They are ordinary people with strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. In this way they all seem so fragile when confronted with the enemy.

As mentioned the ship is very claustrophobic and Ridley Scott adds to the eeriness by using camera movement, lights and shadows in an effective way. The living quarters are bright and should be comfortable to the crew, but there is something sterile about it all. The rest of the ship is basically a huge basement.

The music by Jerry Goldsmith underlines the eeriness so well, and the movie wouldn't have worked without his score. Combined with the sounds of the ship it all adds to the uneasiness.

This is not a story about heroic people who boldly teams up against evil. It's a story about ordinary people facing true fear, which is the fear without a face. The fear we can't understand and can't negotiate with, because its only goal is to survive on the expense of us. It's a story where some people bravely fight back whilst others are destroyed by the terror. It's a story where people a killed in a completely random way. There is no higher-order justice behind who gets to live and who dies. All seven characters are just part of a race where the fittest - not necessarily the most righteous - will prevail, and all seven characters start the race on an equal footing. None of them are true heroes, and none of them are true villains.

All the above makes Alien so great as a horror movie. The terror isn't just the Alien itself, it's the entire atmosphere which gets so effectively under your skin, that you just can't shrug it off after the end credits like you can with so many other Hollywood horror movies. The title "Alien" doesn't just refer to the monster, it is the theme of the movie and it is the feeling you have during and after the movie. 9/10
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