Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Alien (1979)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Alien (1979)

In director Ridley Scott's and 20th Century Fox's atmospheric sci-fi thriller - it was an extremely suspenseful, space horror film about a menacing, unstoppable, carnivorous, stowaway, hermaphroditic Demon beast. The struggle to survive in the vacuum of space (basically similar to haunted house tales) against the uninvited, primal and deadly creature intensified for the crew members of a grimy, commercial space freighter as they were eliminated one-by-one through corporate machinations. Its memorable tagline was: "In space, no one can hear you scream."

As a darker and less pristine version of George Lucas' immensely popular Star Wars (1977) from only two years earlier, and similar to Spielberg's blockbuster Jaws (1975) about an unseen terror lurking underwater (although set in space), Scott's film reinvented the sci-fi horror genre, and set the tone and plots for a slew of similar, imitative low-budget films during the decade of the 1980s (and into the 1990s and beyond as well).

The screenplay for director Ridley Scott's film (only his second feature film following The Duellists (1977)) was written by Dan O'Bannon, who based the script upon a story (originally titled Star Beast) that he had written with partner Ronald Shusett. Nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Visual Effects and Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, it won a single Oscar for Best Visual Effects (awarded to H. R. Giger and four others). It spawned three sequels - Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992), and Alien Resurrection (1997) and other prequels and crossover films.

It was similar to the cycle of cheap and campy 1950s B-type 'alien monster' films but possessed superior production values, directorial talent and casting. This box-office hit, budgeted at about $11 million, brought in almost $80 million in revenues (in the US) and $105 million (worldwide). At the film's center was a resourceful, self-reliant, hard-assed, feminist action heroine (unknown stage actress Sigourney Weaver in her first major film role).

Freudian and sexually-charged symbolism and images abound - the beastly adult creature had bi-sexual features, and one of the male crew members, 'impregnated' by the insidious creature as a surrogate mother, gave 'birth' to the baby alien from his chest. And the name for the starship's computer interface (2037) that awakened (gave life to) the crew members was simply called "Mother" (or MU-TH-R 182).

  • in the opening scene - a 'birthing' scene - seven hypersleeping crew members on the commercial space towing-freighter Nostromo (with its computer interface known as "Mother") in the year 2122 AD emerged from separate egg-shaped, coffin-like cribs
  • a non-human distress transmission-signal "of unknown origin" had alerted them - and soon led them to an unsurveyed, uncharted moon LV-426; there, the crew discovered a huge, derelict alien spaceship that had crash landed on an uncharted planet, with its two hind 'legs' visible and extending upwards; the crew explored and entered the ship through vaginal openings leading to the inside of the 'body' of the spacecraft; there, they found a gigantic, fossilized, reptilian, alien creature - described as leathery and skeletal with a ribbed surface; it was seated, with its ribs bent outwards
  • Lt. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) suspected the signal wasn't an SOS but a warning signal; the crew viewed a pod field composed of rows of thousands of eggs (semi-translucent) resting below a bluish, reactive mist; as he explored the alien ship and the rows of egg sacs, the helmet and face of Nostromo crew member Kane (John Hurt) was attacked by a 'face-hugging' alien; the insidious Face-hugger creature had a bilateral hand of eight fingers that grasped and covered Kane's head - literally 'impregnating' him [Note: later, its underside revealed dark, fleshy and moist-appearing labial folds, and there was also a phallic-shaped proboscis that had forcibly inserted itself into the victim's mouth]
  • acting senior officer Ripley wanted to refuse entry to the crew's ship for Kane and follow strict quarantine procedures, but she was overruled when fellow crew member Ash (Ian Holm) allowed them in; once back onboard the Nostromo, Kane's face was covered by the alien face-hugger as it choked his neck, but fed him oxygen through a throat tube; there was a failed attempt to surgically remove the parasitic Alien from Kane's face, spilling an acid-like, yellow-bile liquid substance that ate through metal layers in the ship; when the face-hugger came off naturally and shed its dead carcass-skin (and died?), Kane appeared to recover
  • in the film's most startling and gory scene, as the crew sat at a mess table for their last meal before a 10-month journey back to Earth, Kane moaned, jerked violently, and quivered as a phallic-shaped newborn baby Alien burst from a bloody spot on his chest (a "Chestburster") - the hissing, razor sharp-toothed monster/lizard (a "chromium-toothed xenosprog") was literally "born" from the innards-guts of the first infected crewman
Kane's (John Hurt) Gory Death From Alien Birth
  • the young beast opened its steel, teeth-rimmed jaws and cried out - its birth howl - and then scurried off the table to hide somewhere in the Nostromo; Kane's body was ejected out of an airlock; the entire crew now faced a homicidal Alien creature that had infested the ship and would stalk them for nourishment; one by one as the crew members searched for the creature, they were eliminated
  • the life-and-death struggle with the relentless Alien continued as it committed murders, now that it had grown to full size as a Xenomorph; it was momentarily viewed as a slimy, penis-headed beast about 7 feet tall, with dripping secretions from its open vaginal-shaped mouth; inside the Xenomorph's mouth was a second set of pharyngeal jaws
  • crew member Brett (Harry Dean Stanton) went searching for the crew's pet stowaway cat named Jones; Brett discovered the shed skin of the creature on the floor - a sign that it was evolving further and growing rapidly; he finally located the cat hiding in a doorway and coaxed it toward him, but it hissed and recoiled at him; unbeknownst to Brett, something behind him had caused the cat to react - the movement of a long, coiled tail, and a side-view of the grown monster's head with dripping saliva; in a shocking moment, Brett was helplessly and brutally murdered by the hungry, malevolent, giant killing machine with a direct piercing shot to his brain
  • in an air shaft of the Nostromo where the creature was found to be using the ship's airshafts or cooling ducts to move around, Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt) with a flame-thrower was guided with the help of a tracker to try and locate the alien - when suddenly the tracker screen showed a second dot moving ominously straight toward him: (Lambert: "Oh God, it's moving right towards you. Move! Get out of there!"); the Alien ambushed Dallas and attacked with two hands upraised when Dallas turned and shone his light onto it - the monitor screen ended its transmission with static and a very high-pitched whine
Dallas' (Tom Skerritt) Death in an Air Shaft - Coming Face-to-Face with the Alien
  • Ripley - now in command - announced a new aggressive strategy to flush out the Alien: "We'll go step-by-step and cut off every bulkhead and every vent until we have it cornered, and then we'll blow it the f--k out into space"; to find answers, Ripley questioned "Mother" (the ship's computer) and learned the harsh, corporate machinations behind the alien - the Company employing them had deliberately rerouted them to pick up the alien, and that the crew was expendable: ("Nostromo rerouted to new co-ordinates. Investigate life form. Gather specimen. Priority One. Insure return of organism for analysis. All other considerations secondary. Crew expendable")
  • after heroine Ripley discovered the mission of the Nostromo had been sabotaged, she suspected crew-member Ash; Ripley now understood that their true mission all along was to recover this new, apparently indestructible life form; Ash's secret corporate mission was to bring back the predatory Alien life-form from outer space for The Company, an evil organization that wanted the Alien for the nefarious Weapons Division
  • black mechanic Parker (Yaphet Kotto) and navigator Lambert (Veronica Cartwright) came to Ripley's rescue when she was attacked by Ash after she confronted him; Parker struck a blow to Ash's head with a silver fire extinguisher, sending him smashing into the bulkhead and reeling into an uncontrollable spin while spurting white plastic foam and liquid from his head. His out-of-control body suffered severe spasms. Parker struck him again, separating Ash's head almost completely from the neck - then he couldn't believe what he saw: "It's a robot! Ash is a goddamn robot!"
  • after the bludgeoning, it was clear that Ash was an android/robot; Ripley and Parker re-assembled and connected enough of the wiring to Ash's severed head so that could maybe find out how to kill the Alien; when Ash's severed head was reactivated, he confirming their suspicions with a dire warning: "You still don't understand what you're dealing with, do you? A perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility"; Ash made it diabolically clear that the ship's human crew were expendable and faced extraordinary odds in their coming battle against the uncaring and hostile machinations of Mother, the Company, and the Alien itself
  • after his last words, Ash was destructively unplugged; Parker blasted the remains of Ash's head and body with the incinerator gun, and the flames melted it down to a plastic skull

Ash (Ian Holm): "You still don't understand what you're dealing with, do you?"
  • Ripley decided upon a new strategy - to self-destruct the Nostromo, and try to escape in the shuttlecraft Narcissus: "We're gonna blow up the ship. We'll take our chances in the shuttle. Blow up the ship"
  • the next two gruesome casualties were Parker and Lambert; Parker suffered a painful, bloody death when the creature turned first toward him, held him in the air, and bared its ugly mouth and teeth; Lambert was then lethally attacked when the creature's phallic tail slid up between her legs and she made pseudo-orgasmic grunts and howls of pain over an intercom as she was killed (offscreen), implying that she was literally raped
  • left alone as the sole remaining crew member, Ripley heroically activated the emergency destruct system to blow up the ship, but then realized the Alien had blocked her way to the shuttlecraft; unable to stop the self-destruct detonation sequence, Ripley was able to successfully abandon ship in the shuttlecraft Narcissus with Jones (she told herself: "I got you! You son-of-a-bitch"), just before the Nostromo exploded
  • while preparing to enter stasis inside the Narcissus shuttle (with a throbbing blue strobe light), Ripley was starkly revealed in a braless, sleeveless white tank top and skimpy, low-cut mini-panties; she suddenly realized to her horror that the alien had stowed away and was hidden onboard nearby
  • in the tense ending sequence, she protected her fragile flesh from penetration by dressing herself in an astronaut suit; then, she confronted the threatening, phallic alien beast; she fought the creature to the death - when she opened the airlock hatch to expel and jettison the Xenomorph into outer space, it held on until Ripley shot a grappling-hook harpoon at the creature to completely eject or expel it, but it still persisted by grasping a rope (its umbilical cord) until she blasted and incinerated it with white-heat exhaust from the ship's engines
  • then, Ripley entered hypersleep with Jones for the long journey home in the Narcissus after recording and entering her final log: ("This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off")

The "Birth" of the Hypersleeping Crew on the Spaceship Freighter the Nostromo

The Discovery of a Crashed Alien Spacecraft With Two Extended Legs

A Giant Fossilized Alien Creature

Alien Egg Pods

A Giant Alien Egg Sac

Face-Hugging Alien Attached to Kane's (John Hurt) Face

The Underside of the Face-Hugger

With Parker (Yaphet Kotto), Sickened Kane Having a Seizure at the Crew's Mess Table

The Xenomorph's Double-Set of Jaws (Phallic and/or Vaginal)

Brett's (Harry Dean Stanton) Murder by Alien

Sole Survivor Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) in the Shuttlecraft Narcissus

The Alien Partially-Expelled From Airlock

The Alien Hanging On by an 'Umbilical Cord'


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