Alien - The creepy creature from a strange world

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German title Alien - The creepy creature from a strange world
Original title Alien
Alien 1.svg
Country of production United Kingdom , United States
original language English
Publishing year 1979
length Theatrical version: 117 minutes
Director’s Cut : 116 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Ridley Scott
script Dan O'Bannon ,
Ronald Shusett
production Gordon Carroll ,
David Giler ,
Walter Hill
music Jerry Goldsmith
camera Derek Vanlint
cut Terry Rawlings ,
Peter Weatherley ,
Dir.'s Cut: David Crowther

Successor  →
Aliens - The Return

Alien - The uncanny creature from a strange world (original title Alien ) is an American - British science fiction - horror film from 1979 and the beginning of the film series of the same name . With its creatures and backdrops created by the sculptor HR Giger , it is considered one of the most visually impressive films in modern cinema and ushered in a whole series of alien films. In addition, with Sigourney Weaver he helped a woman for the first time to break through in the action genre .

The film opened in the United States on May 25, 1979 and in German cinemas on October 25, 1979. The German dubbing was done by the dubbing company Berliner Synchron GmbH Wenzel Lüdecke and Joachim Kunzendorf was responsible for the dialogue script and the dialogue direction.

Since 2016, 21st Century Fox has been promoting April 26th as "Alien Day", referring to the moon LV-426 , which is a central part of the Alien films.


In the year 2122, the spaceship Nostromo , an ore freighter from the Weyland-Yutani company , is on its way back to earth after a long journey through space when it picks up a radio signal from a seemingly uninhabited celestial body at Zeta 2 Reticuli, which is far from home course .

MU / TH / UR (spoken like the English mother , translated: "mother") 182, the central computer of the spaceship, changes course independently and wakes the crew, who have been asleep until then . The signal is initially interpreted as an emergency signal. Due to a general protocol, one is obliged to follow this signal and provide assistance.

The crew therefore lands on the inhospitable planetoid (Acheron) LV-426 to investigate the cause of the radio signal. First she discovers the wreck of an alien spaceship and inside the petrified skeleton of what is apparently the only member of the crew. In another vault, Kane, a crew member of the Nostromo , finds a collection of large, egg-shaped structures. Meanwhile, the third officer, Ellen Ripley, who analyzes the intercepted signal on board the lander, suspects that the signal is more of a warning than an emergency signal. But science officer Ash ignores their concerns.

Kane curiously approaches one of the structures inside of which something is moving. The egg opens, a spider-like creature shoots out, breaks Kane's helmet visor and clasps his face. Dallas and Lambert bring the unconscious Kane back to the lander. Ripley refuses them access, citing the quarantine regulations , but Ash opens the access lock and lets them in. In the infirmary, it is not possible to remove the foreign organism that keeps Kane alive in a coma-like state, because the latter has wrapped its tail around Kane's neck. If you try to remove the tail, it tightens around the neck, and Kane threatens to be strangled. It is also found that the organism's blood consists of an unknown, highly concentrated acid when it drips from the operating table, eats its way through the floors of several floors of the spaceship and threatens to penetrate the outer shell of the spaceship. Surgical removal of the parasite is therefore impossible. After a while, Dallas, Ash, and Ripley notice that the alien organism has dropped dead from Kane.

The crew makes their way back to earth. Kane wakes up and appears to have recovered. A short time later, however, he suffers a sudden attack with coughing and cramps, in which unexpectedly and forcibly a small creature from Kane's chest, which served as his host , breaks out and disappears into the gloomy, labyrinthine corridors of the ship. Kane dies in the process. The shocked crew decides to hunt the creature. It quickly turns out that it sheds its skin and grows extremely quickly. When looking for him, it first kills Brett. Parker suspects that it is moving in the duct. Dallas therefore gets into it and tries to drive the beast to the airlock with a flame thrower, from where it is to be thrown into space. But he too is attacked surprisingly and disappears without a trace.

Ripley uses her new position as senior officer to question the main computer "Mother" about the apparent incompetence of Science Officer Ash and the goals of the mission. She learns that the detour to the planetoid was planned and the primary objective of the mission. Weyland-Yutani intends to bring the extraterrestrial being (" alien "), of whose existence society apparently knew, to earth. The unsuspecting crew, however, is dispensable. When Ash then tries to forcibly silence Ripley, which the rushing Parker and Lambert can prevent, it turns out that Ash is actually an android . The humanoid robot Ash breaks the head off his shoulders during a fist fight with Parker. Briefly reactivated after its destruction, Ash confirms the plan and expresses his admiration for the deadly perfection of the alien species. Disgusted by this, Ripley, Parker and Lambert decide to abandon the ship and flee in the ambulance. However, while preparing to escape, Parker and Lambert are killed by the alien.

The only survivor of the Nostromo is Ripley. In a last desperate attempt to kill the seemingly invincible beast, she activates the space freighter's self-destruct mechanism . While the deafening countdown is running, Ripley has to turn back on her escape because the alien is blocking her way to the ambulance. Her attempt to override the self-destruct mechanism barely fails, but she finally manages to escape with the hangover Jones in the Narcissus ambulance . From a distance, Ripley watches as the Nostromo is destroyed by a gigantic explosion. However, the relief is short-lived - the alien is not destroyed, but crouches in a niche in the ambulance. In the end, Ripley, who has quietly put on a space suit, manages to throw the alien out of the ambulance by opening the hatch and the resulting explosive decompression and burn it in the engine fire. In the hope of a distant rescue, Ripley finally goes into the cold sleep capsule.


  • The budget for this film was $ 11 million. The worldwide box office was around $ 105 million.
  • Scott's successful attempt to establish a strong female character in the previously male-dominated action genre is seen as a major merit of this film . Against all resistance from the producers, he succeeded in having the originally male character Ripley rewritten for a woman.
  • The original version of the film is 192 minutes long, but it was never released.
  • In one deleted scene, the alien loots the crew's supplies and uses the crew's bodies to produce new eggs .
  • The conflicts within the crew were more clearly expressed in the original version of the script, as they were there on their own account and it was more about the profit from the eventual rescue operation.
  • In the first draft of the script, the alien and the film were still called Starbeast (in German about "star beast ").
  • As an alternative ending to the film it was also considered that Ripley would be killed in the rescue shuttle duel with the alien and that the alien would then send a radio message to Earth in the voice of Captain Dallas; but the idea was ultimately rejected.
  • The names "Nostromo" and "Narcissus" are allusions to the novels of the same name by Joseph Conrad .
  • The Alien was designed by the neo- surrealist Swiss artist HR Giger , who won an Oscar for this work .
  • The artist was inspired by the fingers of a human hand for the Facehugger designed by HR Giger , a spider-like creature that attaches itself to the victim's face and plants an alien egg for development in their body. For the internal organs visible during the autopsy of the dead facehugger , mussels , including oysters , and a sheep's liver were used.
  • Dan O'Bannon met Moebius , HR Giger and Chris Foss on Alejandro Jodorowsky's unfinished film adaptation of Dune and then hired them for Alien . Moebius designed the spacesuits, whereas Foss' designs for spaceships and architecture were not used in Alien.
  • For the construction of the alien head with its complex jaw mechanism, the Italian model maker Carlo Rambaldi was hired, who also built the elaborate dolls of ET - The Extra Terrestrial , the guild navigator from David Lynch's 1984 made The Desert Planet and the King Kong in the first remake from 1976.
  • The opening credits of the film were designed by Richard Greenberg and Stephen Frankfurt.
  • The piece of music that Captain Dallas hears in the space glider is A Little Night Music by Mozart . A piece from Symphony No. 2 ('Romantic') by the composer Howard Hanson .
  • According to the audio commentary by Ridley Scott on the DVD, many scenes with the actor dressed as an alien, the 2.08 meter tall Bolaji Badejo , were not used in the final film because it "looked ridiculous". The idea of ​​showing the monster little was also used for the film adaptation of Jaws .
  • In order to make some scenes look more realistic, they were roughly explained to the actors, but details were left open. For example, they were completely unexpectedly splattered with blood when the alien bursts out of Kane's chest while eating.
  • In the crossover films, the Weyland ( Alien vs. Predator ) and Yutani ( Aliens vs. Predator 2 ) corporations are introduced, which merged into the Weyland-Yutani corporation until the Alien plot . In Alien vs. Predator , the company founder Charles Bishop Weyland was played by Lance Henriksen , who had already taken on the role of the android Bishop of the same name and-looking in Aliens: The Return and in Alien 3 .
  • The episode “Ungeheuer ab Bord” (Discord in Scarlet) from the book The Expedition of the Space Beagle by AE van Vogt evidently provided the template for the script. Vogt was awarded $ 50,000 after a lawsuit.
  • The film contains many elements of a Lovecraft story: non-human beings who shake human rationality , as well as a cold universe that appears cruel, empty and unfathomable .


The film received mostly positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes received 117 positive and 3 negative reviews. Metacritic counted 31 positive, 1 mixed and 2 negative publications. On the Internet Movie Database page, the weighted average rating of 8.4 out of 10 was determined from 750,521 users.

"... the first adult film in a more infantile cinematic genre."

- Michael Gruteser

“An extremely exciting, stylistically brilliant variation of the science fiction motif of the threat from an extraterrestrial creature, with clear sexual-psychological accents. A film with a perfectly developed tension dramaturgy; the gloomy nightmare worlds were designed by the painter HR Giger . "

Alien is one of the highlights of science fiction cinema . […] With Alien, Ridley Scott opened a new dimension to science fiction films. Much in his work is different than in earlier space adventures. The spaceship is the opposite of the clean Enterprise and looks more like a garbage dump than a vehicle. The team does not consist of space heroes as in Star Wars , but of a group of frustrated technicians who are helplessly at the mercy of the monster. "

- The great film lexicon

“ I had one of the most intense affective experiences in my entire cinema life during a sold-out screening of the horror film Alien [...]. The audience went along extremely lively; Fear and tension in the cinema were palpable and contagious because there was so much whispering and sighing. Shouts and screams in the auditorium increased the shocks and surprises the film offered. "

- Carl Plantinga

“Even those who only begin to deal with science fiction will know that the plot of this film has a beard that goes back to the prehistoric times of utopian literature [...] But Alien was the first film of its kind to portray the horror of such Really made 'invasion' tangible. The structure of the story is for the most part logical, and the actors are real people [...] The linchpin and the most impressive element should be the alien himself, and the viewer is literally forced to concentrate on him. Almost like a hypnotic device, heartbeats are also used for this purpose, which roar over long distances [...] in the background and after a while are only picked up by the subconscious , but do not fail to have an effect. Optical and acoustic stimuli merge here and evoke a deep, creatural, increasing unrest. ' (SCIENCE FICTION TIMES) - 'It's all made intelligently in a cinematic way and makes a perfect science fiction film.' (OUR TIME)"

- Ronald M. Hahn , Volker Jansen

Awards (selection)


  • awarded in the category "Best visual effects"
  • nominated in the category "Best Production Design"

BAFTA Awards

  • awarded in the categories "Best Scenography" and "Best Sound Track"

Hugo Awards

  • awarded in the category "Best Dramatic Presentation" (1980)

Saturn Awards

  • honored in the categories "Best Director" (Ridley Scott), "Best Science Fiction Film" and "Best Supporting Actress" (Veronica Cartwright)
  • four nominations, u. a. in the category "Best Actress" (Sigourney Weaver)

Library of Congress

Director's Cut

In 2004, for the 25th anniversary, Alien - Director's Cut (DC) came to the cinemas with a few previously deleted scenes and digitally revised sound and images. At the same time, well-known scenes were shortened or cut out, so that the DC has a shorter running time than the original version. The designation " Director's Cut " (requested version of the director) is not correct in this case, it was only used for marketing purposes. Ridley Scott specifically said that the original version was absolutely what he wanted and was therefore the actual "Director's Cut". Scott sees the version now marketed as DC as an alternative version that has been adapted a little to modern viewing habits. A previously omitted scene that was incorporated in the Director's Cut version shows Captain Dallas, who is not dead, but was spun in by the alien and asks Ripley to kill him with the flamethrower.


Because of the success of this film, several sequels were shot, titled Aliens - The Return , Alien 3 and Alien - The Rebirth , in each of which Sigourney Weaver plays the leading role. The film Alien, the seeds of horror returns by Ciro Ippolito was marketed as a sequel, but is not an official sequel, but an attempt to swim along on the wave of success of the original. Outside of the actual series, the 2004 film Alien vs. Predator is an offshoot that, analogous to the computer game series Aliens versus Predator , mixes elements of the Alien and Predator series and works without Weaver's involvement. The sequel to Alien vs. Predator is titled Aliens vs. Predator 2 (OT: Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem) , it ran from December 2007 in German cinemas.

In contrast to many other well-known film series such as Star Wars or Indiana Jones , the Alien films cannot be assigned to a single genre. Although all films can be summarized under the umbrella term science fiction , the individual films have different atmospheric focuses. While the first part follows the structure of classic horror films , the second part is essentially an action film , and the third part corresponds most closely to the principles of a thriller . The fourth part shows typical characteristics of a dystopia and a grotesque .

The differences between the Alien films are due, among other things, to the fact that they are made by different directors. Although the director of the first part, Ridley Scott , originally wanted to also shoot the second part, James Cameron was hired for Aliens - The Return of the Terminator - and later Titanic director . The third part was directed by music video director David Fincher , who later became known for the thrillers Seven and Fight Club . The fourth part was finally taken over by the French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet , who shortly before made an award-winning debut with the Groteske Delicatessen and later shot The Fabulous World of Amélie . The first four parts of the film series thus all come from directors who brought a certain reputation with them from their core genres.


According to Ridley Scott, there will be two prequels for Alien , for which, among other things, a new heroine will be introduced and the appearance of the aliens will be redesigned and possibly replaced by new Giger designs.

The worldwide theatrical release for the fifth part entitled Prometheus was on June 8, 2012. Ridley Scott directed again. The script for Prometheus was written by Damon Lindelof , the scriptwriter of the successful television series Lost . There are numerous allusions to Alien in Prometheus , and at the end of the film a monster appears that is at least very similar to the one in Alien .

In 2017, Alien: Covenant , another prequel to Alien , was published, which also continues Prometheus .

Ripley as the first action heroine in cinema history

The figure of Ripley is now considered the first action heroine in cinema history; With Sigourney Weaver, a woman made her breakthrough in the action genre for the first time in 1979.

Initially, superstar Paul Newman was planned for the lead role of the (still male) Officer Ripley . The main character should be a rather average character, but who outgrows himself in the course of the plot. However, Newman refused. After this setback, the producers and screenwriters came up with the idea that social equality between the sexes could - compared with the present at the end of the 1970s - be so far advanced in the distant future that women as equal crew members of a space freighter could be taken for granted. Two roles were rewritten for it.

The talented New York theater actress Sigourney Weaver, who, due to her above-average height as a woman, hardly received offers for film roles, auditioned for the casting and thrilled the producers. Weaver looked strong, and that was exactly what the producers were looking for: a woman who did not look timid, but showed perseverance.

Weaver rated her role as Ripley in 2004 as follows:

"She defeated the monsters thanks to her intelligence, which is a very grateful and extremely rare role for a woman in the film business."

In her review from 2006, Doris Kuhn emphasizes not only reason - traditionally associated with (superior) masculinity - but also the special emotional strengths of the character "Ripley", which unfold in their credibility, timelessness and intensity through Sigourney Weaver's portrayal:

“What sets Alien apart from the mass of SF cinema of the Seventies, however, is not the industrial action or the relaxed handling of unknown organisms. It's Ripley. Ripley without a first name, voice of reason, which alone briefly calls for quarantine when her colleagues carefree bring the alien into the spaceship. Played by Sigourney Weaver, Ripley carries the film away with him, a little ironic, full of suspicion, capable of making decisions under pressure. She is far from being the tough leader of the upcoming sequels. In fact, she cries and runs away; but she thinks while crying - that's how she survived, to this day, as the only serious woman in space. "


  • Vera Cuntz: Calculated horror. Standard situations in the Alien film series. Gardez !, Remscheid 2007, ISBN 978-3-89796-191-3 . (Analysis of birth, meal together, medical examination and final duel).
  • Lutz Döring: Awakening to Death - A critical examination of the functionality, ideology and metaphysics of the horror and science fiction films Alien 1–4. 424 pages, Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2006, ISBN 3-8260-3302-7 .
  • Alan D. Foster : Alien. The creepy being from a strange world / The return / Alien III. - Official novels on the film, Heyne Verlag, ISBN 978-3-453-06401-0 .
  • Ludwig Gangkofer, Mona Mahmoud, Kathrin Zauner: Alien - a cult film series. Specialized publisher for film literature, Landshut 2007, ISBN 978-3-9809390-4-1 .
  • Ronald M. Hahn , Volker Jansen: Lexicon of Science Fiction Films: 2000 films from 1902 to today. In: Heyne Film Library . Volume 2: M-Z. 7th edition, Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-453-11860-X .
  • Giger's Alien. Film design. 20th Century Fox. 5th edition. Edition C, Zug / Switzerland 2002, ISBN 978-3-89082-528-1 . (Photo book with sketches by the artist and photos from the shooting).
  • Mikel Koven: Alien. In: Steven Jay Schneider (Ed.): 101 Science Fiction Movies You Should See Before Life Is Over. Edition Olms, Zurich 2012, ISBN 978-3-283-01169-7 , pp. 204–207.
  • Dirk Manthey, Jörg Altendorf, Willy Loderhose (eds.): The large film lexicon. All top films from A-Z . Second edition, revised and expanded new edition. tape I . Publishing group Milchstraße, Hamburg 1995, ISBN 3-89324-126-4 .
  • Paul Scanlon, Michael Gross: The Book of Alien. Titan Books, London 1993, ISBN 1-85286-483-4 .
  • Georg Seeßlen , Fernand Jung: Science Fiction. History and Mythology of Science Fiction Films. 2 volumes, Schüren, Marburg 2003, ISBN 3-89472-429-3 .

Web links

Commons : Alien  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Release certificate for Alien - The uncanny creature from an alien world . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , August 1979 (PDF; test number: 50 946 K).
  2. The bonus material of the Alien Anthology (Blu-ray) contains the Nostromo files with the full names of the crew members. Only last names are used in the film.
  3. Alien - The uncanny creature from a strange world (1979) German synchronous card index . Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  4. ^ Alien Day. Retrieved June 15, 2019 .
  5. ^ Alien (1979) - Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 23, 2019 .
  6. Alien on , accessed April 12, 2020
  7. ^ Alien on , accessed April 12, 2020
  8. Alien on , accessed April 12, 2020
  9. Thomas Koebner (Ed.): Film genres: Science Fiction. Universal library 18401. Reclam-Verlag, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-15-018401-0 , p. 331 (Gruteser sees 2001: A Space Odyssey as “outside the actual science fiction genre”)
  10. Alien - The uncanny creature from an alien world. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  11. Dirk Manthey, Jörg Altendorf, Willy Loderhose (eds.): The large film lexicon. All top films from A-Z . Second edition, revised and expanded new edition. tape I . Verlagsgruppe Milchstraße, Hamburg 1995, ISBN 3-89324-126-4 , p. 70 .
  12. Carl Plantinga: The scene of empathy and the human face in the film. (PDF; 852 kB) In: montage / av 13/2/2004. 2004, p. 17 f. , accessed October 18, 2019 .
  13. Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek : "The 'Alien' films obey the age-old pattern of man versus monster [...]" Elfriede Jelinek : Knight of the dangerous place. 1997, accessed May 18, 2008 (the article appeared in METEOR, 11, 1997).
  14. Note: and a stroboscope (light flash device)
  15. Ronald M. Hahn , Volker Jansen: Lexicon of Science Fiction Films. P. 40.
  16. ^ Alien (1979). In: DVD booklet from Alien Quadrilogy. September 20, 2015, accessed July 18, 2019 .
  17. Alien Director's Cut. In: June 4, 2019, accessed July 18, 2019 .
  18. Stuart McGurk: Ridley Scott: 'Two Alien prequels on the way'. April 27, 2010, accessed April 27, 2018 .
  19. ^ Ridley Scott Plans Not Just One, But Two Alien Prequels .
  20. Ridley Scott Says Alien Prequel Will Have A New Female Hero - And Maybe New Giger Designs!
  21. a b Prometheus - Dark Characters (I) (2012) in the Internet Movie Database (English)
  22. Heroine with no expiration date. ( Memento from December 4, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Vanity
  23. The first action heroine . In: Berliner Zeitung , November 29, 1997.
  24. I find this obsession with beauty cruel . Spiegel Online , September 16, 2004; Interview with Sigourney Weaver.
  25. Michael Meuser : Male body. Discursive appropriations and habitualized practice. In: Mechthild Bereswill , Michael Meuser, Sylka Scholz (eds.): Dimensions of the category gender: the case of masculinity. Westphalian steam boat, Münster 2007, ISBN 978-3-89691-222-0 , p. 155 f.
  26. Doris Kuhn in the blurb of the DVD Ridley Scott Alien , Süddeutsche Zeitung-Cinemathek, Munich 2006.
    or Doris Kuhn: Ridley Scott's astronaut strategy "Alien". In: Der Standard , December 7, 2006