Top 365 Films – #021 – Alien (1979)

Top 365 Films - Alien - By Ridley Scott Starring Sigourney WeaverDIRECTED BY: Ridley Scott

STARRING: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto and Bolaji Badejo

BUDGET: $11m

EARNED (Worldwide): $104.9m

AWARDS: Oscar for Best Visual Effects and 2 BAFTAs for Best Production Design and Best Soundtrack



The commercial vessel Nostromo receives a distress call from an unexplored planet. After searching for survivors, the crew heads home only to realize that a deadly bioform has joined them.


In the distant future when a commercial spaceship known as the Nostromo is making its return to Earth it receives a distress signal from a distant planet. As the small crew are woken up from their hypersleep and decide to investigate. As they do so a three-member team discovers a derelict spaceship and encounter thousands of eggs, with one hatching and a parasite attacking one of them. As he is brought back aboard, the parasite dies and he wakes up without much wrong with him…or so they thought.


In space no one can hear you scream. Where the sequel went into action film territory, the original firmly sets its heart as a horror film which makes it all the more suspenseful as we’re treated with a lack of score when the scares are coming when the tension builds and builds as we wait to see which member of the crew is picked off next by the Xenomorph, iconically designed by H.R. Giger. Scott creates a bold and atmospheric film in the future on a grand scale on such a small budget, as the first half of the film has us following and knowing the personalities of the crew members before they face a battle to survive against the alien and the production set designs by Michael Seymour are terrific. The performances are great here, none moreso than Sigourney Weaver as Ripley who seems to be a secondary character to Tom Skerritt’s Dallas but that’s a smokescreen and her arc through the film is perfectly handled. Many prefer Cameron’s action-packed sequel but I’ll happily take Scott’s original Alien film over it.


FAVOURITE SCENE: All appears well until Kane starts convulsing until an alien pops off of his chest.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘I can’t lie to you about your chances, but… you have my sympathies.’ – Ash

DID YOU KNOW?: According to Yaphet Kotto, Ridley Scott told him to annoy Sigourney Weaver off-camera so that there would be tension between their characters. Kotto regrets this because he really liked Weaver. The blue laser lights that were used in the alien ship’s egg chamber were borrowed from The Who. The band was testing out the lasers for their stage show in the soundstage next door. Shredded condoms were used to create tendons of the beast’s ferocious jaws. It was conceptual artist Ron Cobb who came up with the idea that the Alien should bleed acid. This came about when Dan O’Bannon couldn’t find a reason why the Nostromo crew wouldn’t just shoot the Alien with a gun. Bolaji Badejo who plays the Alien in the movie was a graphic artist who was discovered at a pub by one of the casting directors. He was about 7 feet tall with thin arms – just what they needed to fit into the Alien costume. He was sent for Tai Chi and Mime classes to learn how to slow down his movements. A special swing had to be constructed for him to sit down during filming as he could not sit down on a regular chair once he was suited up because of the Alien’s tail.


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