Greatest Movie Series
Franchises of All Time
The Alien Films



Alien 3 (1992)

Alien Films
Alien (1979) | Aliens (1986) | Alien 3 (1992) | Alien Resurrection (1997) | Prometheus (2012)

The Alien Films - Part 3

Alien 3 (1992)
d. David Fincher, 114 minutes or 144 minutes (Special Edition)

Film Plot Summary

The film began, under the credits, with a fire onboard the USS Sulaco where four individuals were in cryonic hypersleep suspension in the year 2179 AD (the same as the previous film):

Lt. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver)

And three others from the previous film:

  • Cpl. Dwayne Hicks
  • 12 year-old Newt
  • synthetic humanoid Bishop 341-B)

Their 337 Model E.E.V. escape pod was ejected and crash-landed on the bleak and windy planet of Fiorina or "Fury" 161, a Weyland-Yutani outer-veil mineral ore refinery - and a maximum security correctional facility populated by 25 hardened, violent sex criminals (with double-Y chromosomes) who also had "apocalyptic, millenarian, Christian fundamentalist" beliefs - only female protagonist Ripley survived. At the crash site, a stowaway alien facehugger was shown approaching (and impregnating?) a Rottweiler dog named Spike.

The planet's prison was dilapidated, claustrophobic, and lice-infested (necessitating head-shaving), and populated by celibate fundamentalists - for whom the presence of a sole female was an issue - so plans were made to evacuate Ripley within a week (a rescue ship sent by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation) by Warden Supt. Harold Andrews (Brian Glover). Ripley was kept in the infirmary, and placed under the care of Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jonathan Clemens (Charles Dance). After being told she was the sole survivor and viewing the other bodies, she feared the "possibility of a communicable infection" (cholera) but no evidence (of the Alien embryo) was found during Newt's autopsy in the morgue - she drowned as suspected. However, Andrews and his assistant (Ralph Brown) objected to the unauthorized autopsy and Ripley's agitating presence among the population ("all thieves, rapists, murderers, child molesters. All scum").

After a funeral ceremony led by religious leader Dillon (Charles S. Dutton), the bodies of Newt and Hicks were cremated in the facility's furnaces, while in another location, the alien erupted from Spike's convulsing body ("a new beginning"). Shortly afterwards, Spike's owner - prison worker Murphy (Christopher Fairbank) was 'diced' in a vent-shaft fan after confronting the Alien, and a few other workers (Boggs and Rains) were attacked and killed by "the dragon" (described as an 8-foot creature with acid for blood), and one of the surviving prisoners (McGann) became "stark raving mad." Ripley confirmed from the recovered and reactivated damaged droid Bishop that a stowaway Alien had been with them on the Sulaco and on the E.E.V. ("It was with us all the way") escape pod.

Ripley met with Andrews and told him about the Aliens she had previously encountered, and their characteristics, although she was met with disbelief. When she argued that weapons should be gathered together to combat the Alien, she was told there weren't any, and she was quarantined in the infirmary. There, Clemens (who had just explained his past history as a disgraced doctor for malpractice), for whom Ripley had an affection and made love, was killed by the Alien - and then, in the film's scariest scene, Ripley experienced an unnerving, close encounter with the Alien - it inspected her and hissed with its second maw in her ear, but left her unharmed. But then in full view of all the prisoners during a rumor-control session in the mess hall, the Alien seized disbelieving warden Harold Andrews.

Ripley teamed up with the convicts of the monastic penal colony, although accused of bringing the Alien there by angry inmate Robert Morse (Danny Webb) ("She's the one that brought the f--ker"), to organize and combat the Alien in the installation's 600 air ventilation ducts, and trap it by fire (by igniting highly-flammable toxic waste, quinitricetyline, put into the facility's ventilation system). A premature explosion caused by the Alien's sudden appearance resulted in accidental deaths, although the fire was extinguished by sprinklers. Then, Ripley shockingly discovered by using the E.E.V.'s neuroscanner operated by Aaron that she was impregnated with an alien embryo of a queen egg-layer. She knew that the scheming Weyland-Yutani Company wanted the embryo and the full-sized adult Alien to use them as bio-weapons. The Company ordered her quarantined before their arrival in a few hours.

In another memorable sequence, Ripley searched for the Alien, musing: "Don't be afraid. I'm part of the family," and then confessed to the Alien: "You've been in my life so long, I can't remember anything else"; she realized: "It won't kill me...I have one inside of me...It's a queen, an egg-layer..." She begged Dillon to kill her anyway: "I need you to kill me...I'm dead anyway. I can't survive it. But the one inside of me can generate thousands more. It has to die. So somebody's gotta kill me. Are you up to it?" - but he refused until they had first engaged in a climactic battle with the Alien ("If it won't kill you, then maybe that helps us fight it"). They lured the beast into the foundry mold, using a bait-and-chase strategy, where they drowned it with hot lead - when it was rapidly cooled from water sprayed by a fire sprinkler, it shattered.

As a result of the plan, only Morse survived along with Ripley. Aaron had met the Weyland-Yutani rescue team, led by Michael Bishop II (also Lance Henriksen) - looking exactly like the earlier android Bishop. He claimed to be human and the android's designer from the Weyland-Yutani Company: "I'm not the Bishop android. I designed it. I'm very human." Bishop II attempted to coax Ripley to allow the extraction of the queen embryo egg-layer gestating inside of her by having her undergo surgery to extract it and then destroy it ("Can't allow it to live") - but she didn't believe him. When Morse was shot in the leg by the Company's rescue team, and Aaron was shot dead attacking Bishop II with a wrench (believing him to be a "f--king android"), Ripley's suspicions about the company's intentions were confirmed when Bishop II then said: "Think of all we can learn from it. It's the chance of a lifetime. You must let me have it. It's a magnificent specimen."

In the downbeat ending - Ripley sacrificed herself by free-falling backwards from a mobile platform, in a crucifix pose, into a foundry vat of molten metal below, as the screeching embryo of the alien Queen burst from inside her chest as she fell, although she grabbed it and took it to its death. The facility was closed and sealed as the one surviving inmate, Robert Morse, was led away by company representatives. Accompanying a panning shot of the USS Sulaco escape pod that brought her to the planet was a static-filled sound recording of Lt. Ripley's ending dialogue from the original Alien film ("...This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off").

Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)

With the tagline: "The bitch is back."

This was director David Fincher's feature-film debut, in a film that had a long and troubled production history and series of script rewrites. It was drastically edited and recut by the studio before its theatrical release. The film was a dark, mean, claustrophobic and unappealing prison space drama.

Nominated for one Academy Award (with no win): Best Visual Effects.

With a production budget of $50 million, and box-office revenues of only $55.5 million (domestic) and $160 million (worldwide).


Lt. Ellen Ripley
(Sigourney Weaver)

Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Jonathan Clemens
(Charles Dance)

Warden Supt. Harold Andrews
(Brian Glover)

Warden's Asst. Aaron/"85"
(Ralph Brown)

Dillon
(Charles S. Dutton)

Murphy
(Christopher Fairbank)

Droid Bishop 341-B
(Lance Henriksen)

Michael Bishop/Bishop II
(Lance Henriksen)

Baby Alien

The Adult Alien

Inmate David
(Pete Postlethwaite)

Robert Morse
(Danny Webb)


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