Sci-Fi | In English | 117 minutes | 1979
The film begins with the return to earth of the space tug “Nostromo,” with seven crew members on board. The ship’s computer receives a distress signal from a ship on a nearby moon. “Nostromo” reverses course and heads for the moon to investigate the problem. They discover a derelict alien ship on the moon’s surface with a chamber filled with bizarre face-grabbing pods. When Officer Kane touches one of the pods, a creature jumps out and attaches itself to Kane’s face, which ends up killing him. Shortly after Kane dies, an alien bursts from his chest and enters the ship. The crew members are picked off one by one except for Officer Ripley. A fearsome woman, Ripley, dons a spacesuit and takes on the challenge of confronting and then destroying the alien in a heart-stopping encounter. The heroic Ripley, and the “Nostromo,” now head back to earth. The film was so successful that it spawned three sequels: Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992), and Alien Resurrection (1997).
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus) 97% 97%
- Metacritic Score 83% 83%
Academy Awards: Winner, Best Visual Effects
Saturn Awards: Best Science Fiction Film, Best Director (Ridley Scott), Best Supporting Actress (Veronica Cartwright)
American Film Institute (AFI): 7th Best Science Fiction Film
Selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry
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One of the great strengths of ALIEN is its pacing. It takes its time. It waits. It suggests the enormity of the crew’s discovery by building up to it with small steps: The masterstroke of the surface murk through which the crew members move, their helmet lights hardly penetrating the soup; the shadowy outline of the alien ship; the sight of the alien pilot, frozen in his command chair; the enormity of the discovery inside the ship. The result is a film that absorbs us in a mission before it involves us in an adventure, and that consistently engages the alien with curiosity and logic, instead of simply firing at it. ALIEN has been called the most influential of modern action pictures, and so it is.
ALIEN begins slowly, with a methodical, restrained pace and some self-conscious interplay among its cast. But once the alien itself is introduced, the movie takes as firm a hold as the alien does on its victims.
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