|Directed by||Ridley Scott|
|Produced by|| Gordon Carroll|
|Starring|| Sigourney Weaver|
|Music by||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Editing by||Terry Rawlings|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Release date(s)||May 25, 1979|
|Running time||117 minutes|
|Country|| United States
Alien is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott. It has remained highly praised in subsequent decades, and was inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2002 for historical preservation, being noted as a film which is culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant.
The commercial towing spaceship Nostromo is returning to Earth from a mission on Thedus. It is carrying 20 million tons of mineral ore and the crew is in stasis. After recieving an unknown transmission from a nearby planet, the ship's computer wakes the seven-man crew. After the crew recovers from stasis, the Nostromo detaches itself from the refinery and lands on the planet. Captain Dallas, Executive Officer Kane, and Navigator Lambert leave the ship to try and determine the source of the transmission, while Warrant Officer Ripley, Science Officer Ash, and Engineers Brett and Parker stay on the ship to monitor progress and make repairs.
Dallas, Kane, and Lambert discover that the signal is coming from an abandoned alien spaceship. Inside they find the remains of an alien with its rib cage forced out from the inside. Back at the ship, the computer is finally able to translate some of the unknown transmission, which Ripley determines to be a warning or threat. Kane finds a chamber filled with eggs. Upon closer inspection of one, it opens up and a creature attaches itself to Kane's face, compromising his oxygen mask. Dallas and Lambert carry him back to the ship where Ash lets them inside against the orders of Ripley, who believed they should follow quarentine protocols.
Once they have Kane in the infirmary, they attempt to surgically remove the creature from his face. Unfortunately, the attempt was unsuccessful due to the fact that the creature's blood is made of some kind of corrosive acid. Eventually the crew finds that the creature has detached itself from Kane's face and died, leaving Kane awake and alert. With everything seemingly back to normal, the crew resumes its mission back to Earth.
Before reentering stasis, the crew sits down for one final meal. At one point, Kane starts to choke and convulse, until all of the sudden a creature bursts from his chest and runs away. Horrified, the crew attempts to create weapons, including flame throwers, electric prods, and motion trackers, and try to track the creature down. After a first failed attempt at killing the creature, the crew decides to abandon the refinery, and take the shuttle back to Earth. While everyone else is gathering supplies and tools, Brett tries to track down the ships cat.
Impact and Analysis
Critics have also analyzed Alien's sexual overtones. Adrian Mackinder compares the facehugger's attack on Kane to a male rape and the chestburster scene to a form of birth, noting that the Alien's phallic head and method of killing the crew members add to the sexual imagery. Dan O'Bannon has argued that the scene is a metaphor for the male fear of penetration, and that the "oral invasion" of Kane by the facehugger functions as "payback" for the many horror films in which sexually vulnerable women are attacked by male monsters. On one level it's about an intriguing alien threat. On one level it's about parasitism and disease. And on the level that was most important to the writers and director, it's about sex, and reproduction by non-consensual means. And it's about this happening to a man." He notes how the film plays on men's fear and misunderstanding of pregnancy and childbirth, while also giving women a glimpse into these fears. O'Bannon himself later described the sexual imagery in Alien as intentional: "One thing that people are all disturbed about is sex... I said 'That's how I'm going to attack the audience; I'm going to attack them sexually. And I'm not going to go after the women in the audience, I'm going to attack the men. I am going to put in every image I can think of to make the men in the audience cross their legs. Homosexual oral rape, birth. The thing lays its eggs down your throat, the whole number.'"
- One of the original scripts of alien eventually turned into the movie Species.
- Another early script for this movie was used as a basis for its prequel Prometheus.