Alien (DVD)

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A landmark of science fiction and horror, Alien arrived in 1979 between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back as a stylishly malevolent alternative to George Lucas's space fantasy. Partially inspired by 1958's It! The Terror from Beyond Space, this instant classic set a tone of its own, offering richly detailed sets, ominous atmosphere, relentless suspense, and a flawless ensemble cast as the crew of the space freighter Nostromo, who fall prey to a vicious creature (designed by Swiss artist H.R. Giger) that had gestated inside one of the ill-fated crew members. In a star-making role, Sigourney Weaver excels as sole survivor Ripley, becoming the screen's most popular heroine in a lucrative movie franchise. To measure the film's success, one need only recall the many images that have been burned into our collective psyche, including the "facehugger," the "chestburster," and Ripley's climactic encounter with the full-grown monster. Impeccably directed by Ridley Scott, Alien is one of the cinema's most unforgettable nightmares. --Jeff Shannon

Product Details

Movies & TV
15 May 2000
Science Fiction
Supply Source


Release Year
Running Time
116 min
Science-Fiction/Fantasy / Adventure / Alien Attacks / Alien Encounters / Alien Life Forms / Aliens / Blockbuster / Classic / Essential Cinema / Live-Action / Recommended / Science-Fiction / Space / Space Exploration / Spaceships / Theatrical Release / Thriller
Director Ridley Scott's breakthough film, an immensely successful blend of horror and science fiction, is a classic in both genres and spawned a host of sequels and imitators. Starring Sigourney Weaver as warrant officer Ellen Ripley, ALIEN focuses on the crew of the space cargo ship Nostromo, which lands on a moribund planet in response to a faint SOS. Inside a crashed ship, the crew members come upon strange pods, one of which spews forth a repellently fleshy insectile creature that locks on to the face of the unlucky Kane (John Hurt). Despite Ripley's advice, science officer Ash (Ian Holm) allows Kane to return to the ship, where the creature finally releases its grip. Soon, however, in one of the film's most infamous scenes, one of its offspring explodes horribly from Kane's stomach and scurries away. Dallas (Tom Skerritt), the vessel's captain, leads the others in a search for the rapidly growing, acid-dripping alien before it can cut them down--one by one.

A triumph of art direction, set design, and special effects, ALIEN gains much of its impact from the contrast between the bleak, antiseptic beauty of the space vessel's interior and the primordial horror of the alien, a brilliantly original fusion of insect, man, and machine designed by Swiss surrealist painter H.R. Giger. The top-notch cast also includes Veronica Cartwright, Yaphet Kotto, and Harry Dean Stanton.
Theatrical Release: May 25, 1979.

Theatrical Rerelease: October 29, 2003.

For ALIEN: THE DIRECTOR'S CUT, the original negative was restored and digitally remastered. In addition, director Ridley Scott reviewed archival footage not included in the original and chose specific never-before-seen footage to include in this special version of the film.
Cast & Crew
Ridley Scott
John Hurt / Veronica Cartwright / Ian Holm / Yaphet Kotto / Tom Skerritt / Harry Dean Stanton / Sigourney Weaver
Dan O'Bannon
Source Writer
Ronald Shusett / Author: Ronald Shusett
Jerry Goldsmith
Gordon Carroll / David Giler / Walter Hill
Special Effects
Bernard Lodge / Carlo Rambaldi
Terry Rawlings / Peter Weatherly
Production Designer
Michael Seymour
Costume Designer
Roger Dicken / H. R. Giger / John Mollo
Dan O'Bannon
Set Designer
Ian Whittaker
Derek Vanlint
Movie Critics
Chicago Sun-Times
"Ridley Scott's 1979 movie is a great original."
Roger Ebert (26 Oct 2003, p.5)
Entertainment Weekly
"...In ALIEN, you can hear lessons for the sci-fi future in a great milestone from the recent past..."
Lisa Schwarzbaum (7 Nov 2003, p.52)
Los Angeles Times
"...Scott's film still shreds nerves....At once graphically elegant and viscerally effective, the future conjured up by Scott was dystopian to the core..."
Manohla Dargis (29 Oct 2003, p.C3)
Movieline's Hollywood Life
"...Ridley Scott was a force to be reckoned with..."
Stephen Farber (1 Nov 2003, p.117)
"Weaver's Ripley revolutionized women's roles by introducing the female action hero..."
Premiere Staff (1 Apr 2004, p.71)
Sight and Sound
"...ALIEN outshines all competition in the luminous splendour of its photography..."
Philip Strick (1 Sep 1979, p.258-9)
Total Film
"...With its cliché-confounding cast and plotting, roughneck sensibility and star-making turn from Weaver, ALIEN rewards repeat viewing..."
Total Film Staff (1 Nov 2003, p.106)
"...An old-fashioned scary movie set in a highly realistic sci-fi future, made all the more believable by the expert technical craftsmanship....[Weaver] carries it off well..."
Har. (23 May 1979, )


Academy Awards
Best Visual Effects
Winner: 1979