Alien 40th Anniversary (1979) presented by TCM Movie Poster

Trivia for Alien 40th Anniversary (1979) presented by TCM

Showing all 317 items
Jump to: Spoilers (19)
  • A sex scene between Dallas and Ripley was scripted, to show how casually the crew would solve long periods of abstinence. Another reference to this was a deleted scene where Ripley inquires with Lambert whether she ever had sex with Ash. Tom Skerritt later said that he discussed the necessity of the scene with director Ridley Scott, thinking that it added nothing to the narrative and only interrupted the flow of the movie. Scott agreed, and the sex scene was ultimately not filmed, but he revived the idea of crew members having casual sex for Prometheus (2012).
  • Ridley Scott stated that in casting the role of Ripley, it ultimately came down to Sigourney Weaver and Meryl Streep. The two actresses had been college mates at Yale. Ultimately, Weaver was offered the job because Streep was mourning the death of her partner John Cazale at the time of casting.
  • The slime used on the Alien was K-Y jelly.
  • Bolaji Badejo beat Peter Mayhew to the part of the alien.
  • Bill Paterson turned down a part.
  • The front (face) part of the alien costume's head is made from a cast of a real human skull.
  • Ridley Scott did all of the handheld camerawork himself.
  • According to Sir Ian Holm, Ash's head contained spaghetti, cheap caviar, and onion rings.
  • The stylized artwork that Ridley Scott used to create the storyboards that got Fox to double the budget were inspired by the artwork of famed French comic book artist Jean Giraud a.k.a. Moebius.
  • The decal on the door of the Nostromo is a "checkerboard square", the symbol on Purina's pet food label. It's meant to designate "alien chow".
  • H.R. Giger successfully sued Twentieth Century Fox eighteen years later, over his lack of screen credit on Alien: Resurrection (1997).
  • An early draft of the script had a male Ripley, making this one of at least three movies where Sigourney Weaver played a character originally planned to be a man. The others being The TV Set (2006) and Vantage Point (2008).
  • H.R. Giger's designs were changed several times because of their blatant sexuality.
  • The space jockey prop was twenty-six feet tall.
  • The literal translations of some of the foreign language titles include Alien: The Eighth Passenger (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Canada, Denmark, Israel, Portugal, and France) and Alien: The Uncanny Creature from a Strange World (West Germany).
  • In the wide shots of the Space Jockey prop, Ridley Scott used his two sons to make the prop seem bigger.
  • For the awakening from hypersleep segment, Veronica Cartwright and Sigourney Weaver had to wear white surgical tape over their nipples so as not to offend certain countries.
  • DIRECTOR TRADEMARK (Ridley Scott): (mothers): The Nostromo's computer is named "MU-TH-UR". The incubation of the Alien has also been interpreted as a metaphor for pregnancy.
  • According to a quote from Veronica Cartwright in a i magazine, when the Alien's tail wrapped around her legs, they were actually Harry Dean Stanton's legs, in a shot originally filmed for another scene entirely.
  • "Nostromo" is the title of a Joseph Conrad book. The shuttlecraft is called the "Narcissus", from the title of another Joseph Conrad book.
  • During this production, only H.R. Giger and Bolaji Badejo were permitted to view the rushes with Ridley Scott, enabling them to better discuss and refine aspects of the beast's look and movements.
  • There is no dialogue for the first six minutes.
  • 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.
  • Much of the dialogue was developed through improvisation.
  • The screentest that bagged Sigourney Weaver the role of Ripley was her speech from her final scene.
  • When casting the role of Ripley, Ridley Scott invited several women from the production office to watch screentests, and thus gain a female perspective. The women were unanimously impressed with then-unknown Sigourney Weaver, whose screen presence they compared to Jane Fonda's.
  • The first day that she shot a scene involving Jones the cat, Sigourney Weaver's skin started reacting badly. Horrified, the young actress immediately thought that she might be allergic to cats, and that it would be easier for the production to re-cast her, instead of trying to find four more identical cats. As it transpired, Weaver was reacting to glycerin sprayed on her skin to make her look hot and sweaty.
  • The screech of the newborn alien was voiced by animal impersonator Percy Edwards. He was personally requested by Ridley Scott to do the sound effect, and it was recorded in one take.
  • 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.
  • A closer look at the alien eggs in the scene right before the facehugger reveals that slime on the eggs is dripping from bottom to top. Ridley Scott did this intentionally by shooting with the egg hanging from the ceiling and the camera upside down.
  • Yaphet Kotto (Parker) actually picked fights with Bolaji Badejo, who played the Alien, in order to help his on-screen hatred of the creature.
  • Kay Lenz auditioned for the role of Ripley.
  • For the scene in which the facehugger attacks, the egg was upside down above the camera, and the operator thrust it down toward the lens like a hand puppet.
  • Roger Dicken, who designed and operated the facehugger and the chestburster, had originally wanted the latter to pull itself out of Kane's torso with its own little hands, a sequence he felt would have produced a much more horrifying effect than the gratuitous blood and guts in the release print. A chestburster with tiny arms pulling itself out would be seen in Aliens (1986).
  • Three aliens were made: a model, a suit for seven foot tall Bolaji Badejo, and another suit for a trained stuntman.
  • After the first week of shooting, Dan O'Bannon asked if he could attend the viewing of the dailies, and was somewhat staggered when Gordon Carroll refused him. To get past that ban, O'Bannon viewed the dailies by standing beside the projectionist while he screened them for everyone else.
  • The inside of the alien eggs, as seen by Kane, was composed of real organic material. Ridley Scott used cattle hearts and stomachs. The "egg tube" of the facehugger was sheep intestine.
  • Ridley Scott's first exposure to early Alien (1979) drafts were sent to him by Sanford Lieberson, then head of Twentieth Century Fox's London headquarters. Lieberson had seen Scott's The Duellists (1977) and was adequately impressed to consider the neophyte filmmaker.
  • The writing partnership between Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett came about when Shusett approached O'Bannon about helping him adapt a Philip K. Dick story to which he had acquired the rights. That was "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale," which later became Total Recall (1990). O'Bannon then said that he had an idea that he was stuck on, about an alien aboard a spaceship, and that he needed some assistance. Shusett agreed to help out, and they tackled the alien movie first, as they felt it would have been the cheaper of the two to make.
  • Many producers have professional "readers" that read and summarize scripts for them. The reader in this case summarized it as "It's like Jaws (1975), but in space."
  • To get Jones the cat to react fearfully to the descending Alien, a German Shepherd was placed in front of him with a screen between the two, so the cat wouldn't see it at first. The screen was then suddenly removed to make Jones stop advancing and start hissing.
  • The alien's habit of laying eggs in the chest (which later burst out) was inspired by spider wasps, which are said to lay their eggs "in the abdomen of spiders". This image gave Dan O'Bannon nightmares, which he used to create the story. But spider wasps (pompilidae) lay eggs on their prey, not inside them, after which, the wasp maggots simply snack on the sting-paralyzed spiders. O'Bannon may instead have been thinking of either ichneumon wasps, or braconid wasps. The ichneumon drills a single egg into a wood-boring beetle larva, whereas braconids inject eggs inside certain caterpillars. Both result in fatal hatch-outs more alike to O'Bannon's alien.
  • Despite releasing a new version of the movie titled "Alien: The Director's Cut", Ridley Scott wrote in a statement in the movie's packaging that he still feels the original Alien (1979) was his perfect vision of the movie. The newer version is titled "The Director's Cut" for marketing purposes, featuring deleted scenes many fans wanted to see incorporated into the movie (such as the scene where Lambert and Ripley discuss whether or not they've slept with Ash, suggesting there's something not quite right about Ash). He also deleted as much material from this cut to maintain the movie's pacing.
  • Jerry Goldsmith was most aggrieved by the changes that Ridley Scott and editor Terry Rawlings wrought upon his score. Scott felt that Goldsmith's first attempt at the score was far too lush, and needed to be a bit more minimalist. Then Goldsmith was horrified to discover that his amended score had been dropped in places by Rawlings, who inserted segments from Goldsmith's earlier score for Freud (1962) instead. Rawlings had initially used these as a guide track only, and ended up preferring them to Goldsmith's revised work. Goldsmith harbored a grudge against the two until his death in 2004.
  • The movie's Hungarian title translates back into English as "The eighth passenger is the Death". All other Alien movies had titles that end with the word "death". Aliens (1986): "The Name of the Planet: Death"; Alien³ (1992): "Final Solution: Death"; Alien: Resurrection (1997): "The Resurrection of Death". The original releases ignored the word "Alien" from the title, but it gradually became reinserted after more people became familiar with the franchise's English name. Despite this, the Alien is again referred to as "Death" in the Hungarian title of Alien vs. Predator (2004): "The Death Against the Predator".
  • Among some of the ingredients of the alien costume are Plasticine and Rolls-Royce engine parts.
  • The vapor released from the top of the spacesuit helmets (presumably exhausted air from the breathing apparatus) was actually aerosol sprayed from inside the helmets. In one case, the mechanism broke and started spraying inside the helmet.
  • Potential directors who either were considered by the studio or wanted to direct included Robert Aldrich, Peter Yates, Jack Clayton, Dan O'Bannon, and Walter Hill. Aldrich, in particular, came very close to being hired, but the producers ultimately decided against it after they met him in person, and it quickly became apparent that he had no real enthusiasm for the project beyond the money he would have received. According to David Giler, the moment when Aldrich talked himself out of the job came when they asked him what kind of a design he had in mind for the facehugger. Aldrich simply shrugged and said, "We'll put some entrails on the guy's face. It's not as if anyone's going to remember that critter once they've left the theater."
  • According to Sir John Hurt in the DVD documentary, he was considered at the beginning of casting to play Kane, but had already committed to another movie that was set to take place in South Africa, so Jon Finch got the role instead. However, two separate incidents occurred which got Hurt the role. First was the fact that he was banned from South Africa because the country mistook him for John Heard, who strongly opposed apartheid (Hurt points out that he was opposed to it too, but was lucky enough not to get blacklisted) so he was unable to do the other movie. Second, Finch became seriously ill from diabetes on his first day of shooting and had to pull out. Ridley Scott immediately contacted Hurt, pitched him the script over a weekend, and Hurt arrived on the set Monday morning with little to no sleep to begin filming.
  • The genesis of this movie arose out of Dan O'Bannon's dissatisfaction with his first feature, Dark Star (1974) which John Carpenter directed in 1974. Because of that movie's severely low budget, the alien was quite patently a beach ball. For his second attempt, O'Bannon wanted to craft an altogether more convincing specimen. The goofiness of Dark Star (1974) also led him in the direction of an intense horror movie.
  • Dan O'Bannon's original draft title was "Star Beast", but he was never happy with this. It was only after re-reading his script that he noted how many times the word "alien" appeared, and realized that it was a perfect title. It works as a noun and an adjective, and it had never been used before.
  • Entertainment Weekly voted this as the third scariest movie of all time.
  • In H.R. Giger's original illustrations that inspired the look of the Alien, the creature had eyes. For the movie, Giger insisted that the creature have no eyes, thus giving the bleak appearance of a cold and emotionless beast that hunts by smell.
  • Ridley Scott and Jerry Goldsmith were at odds with each other on the usage of the original music score. As a result, many crucial cues were either rescored, ill-placed, or deleted altogether, and the intended end title replaced with Howard Hanson's "Symphony No. 2 (Romantic)". The original intended score was featured as an isolated track on the now out-of-print 20th Anniversary DVD.
  • Originally to be directed by Walter Hill, but he pulled out and gave the job to Ridley Scott after being impressed by Scott's The Duellists (1977).
  • The dead facehugger that Ash autopsies was made using fresh shellfish, four oysters, and a sheep kidney to re-create the internal organs.
  • Ridley Scott's 2003 Director's Cut largely came about when over one hundred boxes of footage were discovered in a London vault.
  • The grid-like flooring on the Nostromo was achieved using upturned milk crates, painted over.
  • Shredded condoms were used to create tendons of the beast's ferocious jaws.
  • The engines of the Narcissus coming to life was created by having water pour out of showers with strong arc lights around it. This gave the illusion that it was plasma.
  • The original name for the spaceship was "Snark". This was later changed to "Leviathan", before they finally settled for "Nostromo".
  • The spacesuits worn by Tom Skerritt, Sir John Hurt, and Veronica Cartwright were huge, bulky items lined with nylon and with no outlets for breath or condensation. As the actors and actress were working under hot studio lights in conditions in excess of one hundred degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius), they spent most of their time passing out. A nurse had to be on hand at all times, to keep supplying them with oxygen. It was only after Ridley Scott's and cinematographer Derek Vanlint's children were used in the suits for long shots and they passed out too that some modifications were made to the costumes.
  • Copywriter Barbara Gips came up with the famed tagline: "In space, no one can hear you scream."
  • The character of Ash did not appear in Dan O'Bannon's original script.
  • Ranked number seven on the American Film Institute's list of the ten greatest films in the genre "Sci-Fi" in June 2008.
  • The name of "the company" that the crew work for is "Weylan-Yutani" (the spelling was changed to "Weyland-Yutani" in Aliens (1986) and later movies). The name can be seen on a computer monitor, as well as on a beer can, from which Dallas drinks, during the crew meal. The light blue "wings" emblem seen in several places, most notably Ash's uniform, is intended to be W-Y's logo (the logo was also changed for the later movies).
  • Veronica Cartwright had originally auditioned to play Ripley, but producers opted for Sigourney Weaver instead. Weaver was initially more interested in playing Lambert because in the early screenplay, Lambert was written as a wise-cracking character. In later re-writes, the role of Lambert became much more subdued and serious, and was given to Cartwright.
  • Originally, no movie companies wanted to make this, Twentieth Century Fox even passed on it. They stated various reasons, most being that it was too bloody. The only producer who wanted to make it was Roger Corman, and it was not until Walter Hill came on board that it all changed. Twentieth Century Fox agreed to make the movie, as long as the violence was toned down. Even after that, they still rejected the first cut for being "too bloody".
  • H.R. Giger's initial designs for the facehugger were held by U.S. Customs, who were alarmed at what they saw. Dan O'Bannon had to go to Los Angeles International Airport to explain to them that they were designs for a horror movie. The actual production design of the facehugger used by sculptors to make the real prop was created by Dan O'Bannon, as O'Bannon had trained as a designer (Giger wasn't available in England at the time).
  • The computer screen displaying Nostromo's orbit around the planet contains a hidden credit to Dr. Brian Wyvill, one of the programmers for the animation. Within the top frame titled "Deorbital Descent", it is possible to isolate the letters "BLOB", Dr. Brian Wyvill's common nickname.
  • Ridley Scott cites three movies as the shaping influences on his movie: Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) for their depiction of outer space, and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) for its treatment of horror.
  • A scene originally cut, but re-inserted for the Director's Cut, shows Lambert slapping Ripley, in retaliation for Ripley's refusal to let her, Dallas, and Kane back on the ship. According to Ridley Scott and Veronica Cartwright, every time she went to slap Sigourney Weaver, Sigourney would shy away. After about three or four takes of this, Scott finally told Cartwright "Not to hold back. Really hit her." Thus the very real shocked reactions of Weaver, Yaphet Kotto, and Harry Dean Stanton.
  • In an interview for Métal Hurlant, Ridley Scott revealed that to make the action more realistic, the flight deck was wired so that flipping a switch on at one console would trigger lights somewhere else. The cast then developed "work routines" for themselves where one would trip a switch, leading another to respond to the changes at his work station and so on.
  • Director Ridley Scott originally wanted to use animatronics (remote-operated puppets) to portray the Alien, thereby hoping to avoid the sight of a monster obviously being played by a man in a suit. Unfortunately, the special effects techniques at the time weren't sophisticated enough for what he had in mind, but he agreed to an actor playing the part after being introduced to Bolaji Badejo. Badejo was a graphic artist who was discovered at a pub by one of the casting directors. He was seven feet one inch tall with very thin arms, just what they needed to make the Alien look less human and more insect-like. 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.
  • At the start of production, Ridley Scott had to contend with nine producers being on-set at all times, querying the length of time he was taking over each shot.
  • A lawsuit by A.E. van Vogt, claiming plagiarism of his 1939 story "Discord in Scarlet" (which he had also incorporated in the 1950 novel "Voyage of the Space Beagle"), was settled out of court.
  • One hundred thirty alien eggs were made for the egg chamber inside the downed spacecraft.
  • During production, an attempt was made to make the alien character transparent, or at least translucent. Coincidentally, this idea was later used for the title creature's camouflage suit in Predator (1987), which was later decided to take place in a shared universe with this movie.
  • For the chestburster sequence, Sir John Hurt stuck his head, shoulders and arms through a hole in the mess table, linking up with a mechanical torso that was packed with compressed air (to create the forceful exit of the alien) and lots of animal guts. The rest of the cast were not told that real blood and guts were being used, so as to provoke genuine reactions of shock and disgust. Apparently, this worked so well that Yaphet Kotto went home in complete shock afterwards, locking himself in a room and refusing to talk to his wife for several hours.
  • Dallas' pursuit of the Alien down the ventilator shafts, and the intercut scenes of the rest of the crew urging him on, were shot in one day.
  • The original cut of this movie ran three hours and twelve minutes.
  • The producers of It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958) considered suing for plagiarism, but didn't.
  • According to Ridley Scott, the mechanism that was used to make the alien egg open was so strong that it could tear off a hand.
  • Twentieth Century Fox doubled the budget from $4.2 million to $8.4 million on the strength of seeing Ridley Scott's storyboards.
  • Three versions of the landing craft were built for the production: a twelve inch version for long shots, a forty-eight inch version for the landing sequence, and a seven ton rig for showing the ship at rest on the planet's surface.
  • The creature is never filmed directly facing the camera due to the humanoid features of its face. Ridley Scott, determined at all costs to dispel any notion of a man in a rubber suit, filmed the beast in varying close-up angles of its ghastly profile, very rarely capturing the beast in its entirety.
  • Many of the interior features of the Nostromo were inspired by images from airplane graveyards.
  • Veronica Cartwright (Lambert) and Sigourney Weaver (Ripley) had both read for the part of Ripley. Cartwright only found out that she wasn't playing the part of Ripley when she was first called in to do some costume tests for the character of Lambert.
  • The chestbursting scene was considered the second scariest movie moment of all time on Bravo's The 100 Scariest Movie Moments (2004).
  • To simulate the thrust of engines on the Nostromo, Ridley Scott had crew members shake and wobble the seats in which the actors and actresses were sitting.
  • Twentieth Century Fox almost did not allow the "space jockey", or the giant alien pilot, to be in this movie. This was because, at the time, props for movies weren't so large, and it would only be used for one scene. However, conceptual artist Ron Cobb convinced them to leave the scene in the movie, as it would be the "Cecil B. DeMille shot", showing the audience that this wasn't some low budget B-movie.
  • The embryonic movements of the facehugger, prior to bursting out of its egg, were created by Ridley Scott using both of his rubber-gloved hands.
  • While he was working on the visual effects for this movie, Brian Johnson was simultaneously working in the same capacity on Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
  • A green monitor, visible behind Ripley while the crew discusses Kane's condition outside the kitchen, displays nonsense characters, as well as the word "Giler", a nod to producer David Giler.
  • Carlo Rambaldi constructed three alien heads based on H.R. Giger's designs: two mechanical models for use in various close-up work, and an elementary model for medium-to-long shots. Rambaldi was not available to operate his creations on the actual shoot, though he did spend two weeks in the U.K. as a technical advisor to Ridley Scott and his crew.
  • In The Blue Planet (2001), David Attenborough said the Alien was modelled after the Phronima, a creature spotted by submersibles at great depths. However, there is little evidence to support this claim. The original Alien design was based on a previous painting by H.R. Giger, Necronom IV, which bears little resemblance to the Phronima. Giger's agent, Bijan Aalam, claims "He never inspired himself by any animals, terrestrial or marine."
  • Many of the non-English versions of the title translate as something similar to "Alien: The Eighth Passenger".
  • Dan O'Bannon's idea for the movie came from his experiences on two other projects. He had worked as a writer and special effects supervisor on John Carpenter's Dark Star (1974), a science fiction comedy that started out as a student project, but got turned into a feature film. Halfway during the production of the movie, O'Bannon thought the movie's premise would work much better as a horror movie, so he started work on a script called "Star Beast". Dark Star was a commercial failure, but it was seen by Chilean-French director Alejandro Jodorowsky, who had acquired the rights to Frank Herbert's "Dune". Jodorowsky invited O'Bannon to help him with the book's ambitious adaptation, so O'Bannon sold all of his belongings and moved to Paris to work on the movie. While briefly working on the ill-fated project, he encountered influential artists such as Chris Foss, Ron Cobb, Jean Giraud (a.k.a. Moebius), H.R. Giger and their unique styles. When Jodorowsky's Dune fell through due to lack of funding, O'Bannon took the creative team and worked on his Star Beast movie (titled Alien at that time), using much of the designs already created for Dune. Ridley Scott, one of the few who had also seen and liked Dark Star, agreed to direct. It has since been said that Alien became the movie that "Jodorowsky's Dune" was supposed to be.
  • During the opening sequence, as the camera wanders around the corridors of the Nostromo, we can clearly see a Krups coffee grinder mounted to a wall. This is the same model that became the "Mr. Fusion" in Back to the Future (1985).
  • For the Alien's appearance on the shuttle, the set was built around Bolaji Badejo, giving him an effective hiding place. However, extricating himself from the hiding place proved to be more difficult than anticipated. The Alien suit tore several times, and, in one instance, the whole tail came off.
  • In the original script by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, the names of the characters were Standard, Roby, Broussard, Melkonis, Hunter, and Faust (there was no Ash character). Walter Hill and David Giler hated the names, and changed them multiple times during revisions. They finally settled on Dallas, Ripley, Kane, Lambert, Parker, and Brett, and added Ash. The script by O'Bannon and Shusett also had a clause indicating that all of the characters are "unisex", meaning they could be cast with men or women. Consequently, all of the characters are only referred to by their last name (Dallas, Kane, Ripley, Ash, Lambert, Parker, and Brett), and the few gender-specific pronouns (he or she) were corrected after casting. However, Shusett and O'Bannon never thought of casting Ripley as a female character.
  • The models had to be repainted every evening of the shoot because the slime used on-set removed the acrylic paint from their surfaces.
  • Extra scenes filmed but not included, due to pacing problems: The crew listens to the eerie signal from the planetoid. An additional discussion between Parker and Ripley over the comm, concerning the progress on the Nostromo's engines. A scene in which a furious Lambert hits Ripley for her earlier refusal to let her team back aboard the Nostromo. An additional conversation between Lambert and Ash, in which Lambert notices a dark patch over Kane's lungs on the scanner, foreshadowing Kane's fate. A discussion among the crew, immediately following Kane's death, on how to proceed further. Alternative death scene for Brett: Ripley and Parker witness Brett (still alive) being lifted from the ground. Ripley and Lambert discuss whether Ash has sex or not. An unfinished scene, in which Parker spots the Alien next to an airlock door. He asks Ripley and Lambert over the comm to open the airlock and flush the Alien into space. However, the alien is warned by a siren and escapes, but not before it gets injured by a door, and its blood creates a small hole, causing a short decompression. Ripley finds Dallas and Brett cocooned. Brett is dead, and covered in maggots; Dallas is alive and begs Ripley to kill him. She does so with a flamethrower. The mercy killing scene would eventually be recycled and used in Alien: Resurrection (1997) when an alien/human-hybrid clone of Ripley begs the real Ripley to kill her, to which she does so with a flamethrower. Many of these scenes were included in the Director's Cut, which Ridley Scott made at the request of many fans who had seen those scenes as bonus material on the earlier DVD release.
  • The production designers, in an attempt to cut costs while still remaining creative, constructed several of the sets in such a way as to make them usable in more than one scene. A good example of this can be seen in the "Space Jockey" room (the room in which the away team discovers the skeletal remains in the alien ship) and the "egg chamber". The sets were designed so that the skeleton and the revolving disc on which it sits could be removed and the empty space then redressed with the "eggs", creating, combined with a matching matte painting, a vast cavern full of potential alien spawn.
  • The chestbursting scene was filmed in one take with four cameras.
  • Ridley Scott was keen to take on the project as the one that he had been previously working on at Paramount, Tristan + Isolde (2006), was stuck in development hell.
  • The Nostromo is supposed to be eight hundred feet long, while the craft she is towing is a mile and a half long.
  • As a child, Veronica Cartwright had appeared in The Birds (1963), opposite Doodles Weaver, who was Sigourney Weaver's uncle.
  • When the movie was broadcast in Israel, its title was changed to "The Eighth Passenger" in Hebrew.
  • The large Space Jockey sculpture was designed and painted by H.R. Giger, who was disappointed he couldn't put any finishing touches on it by the time filming came about for the scene. Also, the Space Jockey prop was burned and destroyed by a burning cigarette left on the model. The unfortunate event was covered by local television news stations that evening.
  • Nostromo's identification number is 180924609.
  • In a preview of the bonus feature menus for the "Alien Legacy" box set posted to USENET, the bio for Dallas had him as being born female and Lambert as being born male, suggesting gender reassignment before the events in the movie. Negative fan reaction prompted this to be changed before production of the DVDs. Their bios now display their gender with "natural" in brackets behind it, implying that gender reassignment is a fairly common procedure in the future.
  • After the crew awakens from hypersleep, the navigator Lambert announces that the ship is "just short of Zeta 2 Reticuli." Zeta Reticuli is a real double-star system about thirty-nine light-years from Earth, and has figured prominently in U.F.O. lore. In the 1960s, Barney and Betty Hill claimed to have been abducted by "gray" aliens from Zeta Reticuli.
  • According to Ridley Scott in the DVD commentary, he had envisioned a moment in the ending scenes of Ripley and the Alien in the space shuttle, in which the Alien would be sexually aroused by Ripley. Scott says that in the scene, after Ripley hides in the closet, the Alien would find her, and would be staring at her through the glass door. The Alien would then start touching itself as if comparing its body to Ripley's. The idea was eventually scrapped.
  • The scene with the Alien exploding from the stomach was a reference that came to Dan O'Bannon because he struggled with stomach problems.
  • Dan O'Bannon was hypercritical of any changes made to his script and, to be fair, he defended some aspects of the movie that ended up being the most iconic (including H.R. Giger's designs). Although he would come on-set and nitpick, O'Bannon was generally welcomed by director Ridley Scott, until O'Bannon lost his temper and insulted Scott in front of the whole crew. The producers, including Walter Hill, had minimal respect for O'Bannon and largely ignored him, giving him little credit once the movie became a success.
  • Dan O'Bannon requested that Ridley Scott and producer Walter Hill, both of whom had little knowledge of horror or science fiction cinema, screen The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) to prepare for shooting the more intense scenes. Scott and Hill were stunned by the horror movie, and admitted it motivated them to ratchet up the intensity of their own movie.
  • Walter Hill's re-write included making two of the characters female (and adding a romantic subplot that was deleted) as well as altering much of the dialogue written by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett. The original dialogue had been described as "poetic", but Hill dismissed it as pretentious and obscure.
  • Although Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett had included a clause in the script, stating that all of the characters could be either male or female, they hoped to avoid what was already becoming a cliché in horror movies: the female in danger being the only one left alive to face the killer at the climax, later referred to as the "final girl" phenomena. Ironically, that's exactly how the character of Ripley ended up, although it must be noted that, from the outset, she is much stronger and more resourceful than the typical horror movie "final girl".
  • Aside from being an easy-to-remember moniker for the ship's computer, another reason for the crew referring to it as "Mother" is the actual name of the computer: MU-TH-UR. This is printed in red lettering on the small access door that holds the computer card that Dallas and Ripley use to gain access to the control console room.
  • The murky point-of-view footage from the Nostromo's crew's helmet visors when they first exit their craft to investigate the alien planet was filmed by Ridley Scott, walking a consumer camcorder at low level across the cramped set.
  • The horseshoe-shaped alien craft became known by the nickname "The Big Croissant" among the cast and crew.
  • Harrison Ford turned down the role of Captain Dallas.
  • H.R. Giger's design for the Chestburster was originally based very strongly on Francis Bacon's "Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion", depicting creatures that, while quite phallic, are also more birdlike, being based on the Greek Furies. Giger's doubts about his first design were confirmed when Ridley Scott fell about laughing at the sight of the prototype Chestburster, describing it as "like a plucked turkey", and Roger Dicken ended up retooling it to resemble the now classic design.
  • 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.
  • Ridley Scott's original cut was a lot bloodier, but because of the negative reactions of test audiences, and the possibility of an "X" rating, scenes with violence and gore were cut down. Some outtakes that can be seen in making of documentaries show longer and bloodier versions of the chestburster scene, and Brett's death scene.
  • According to myth, the name for the company "Weylan-Yutani" (the spelling was changed to "Weyland-Yutani" in Aliens (1986) and later movies) was taken from the names of Ridley Scott's former neighbors. He hated them, so he decided to "dedicate" the name of the "evil company" to them. In reality, the name was created by conceptual designer Ron Cobb (who created the Nostromo and the crew's uniforms) to imply a corner on the spacecraft market by an English-Japanese corporation. According to him, he would have liked to use "Leyland-Toyota", but obviously could not, so he changed one letter in Leyland, and added the Japanese name of his (not Scott's) neighbor.
  • To preserve the shock value of the alien's appearance, no production images of it were released, not even to author Alan Dean Foster when he wrote the novelization.
  • Alison Bechdel's column "Dykes to Watch Out For" once proposed a simple test to see if a movie treated its female characters as equal members of the cast. The rule has three parts. The movie must feature 1: at least two female characters, who 2: have a conversation with each other that 3: isn't about one of the male characters. This criteria came to be known as the Bechdel test. The character in the column says that the last movie she saw that fit these criteria was this movie. Interestingly, there was a scene filmed between Ripley and Lambert where they talk about Ash, but it ended up being deleted.
  • During early development, Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett ran into a writing impasse while trying to work out how the alien would get aboard the ship. Shussett came up with the idea "the alien f*cks one of them", which was eventually developed into the facehugger concept. This method of reproduction via implantation was deliberately intended to invoke images of male rape and impregnation, so both writers were adamant that the facehugger victim be a man: firstly, because they wanted to avoid the horror cliché of women being depicted as the easy first target; secondly, because they felt that making a female the casualty of a symbolic rape felt inappropriate; and thirdly, to make the male viewers feel more uncomfortable with this reversal of genre conventions.
  • In the chest bursting scene, Veronica Cartwright (Lambert) screams when blood splatters on her. Her screaming was genuine. The cast didn't expect so much blood, and didn't know which way the blood would splatter.
  • Ridley Scott originally intended for the Alien to be dying when found in the shuttle at the end, and ultimately transforming itself into a new egg.
  • Several planned but un-filmed scenes were; Dallas and Parker using a craft called "The Flying Bedstead" to enact repairs on the exterior of the ship while in space. A sex scene between Ripley and Dallas. The crew using internal cameras to look for the Alien, where they find it halfway matured, looking something like a cross between the chestburster and an egg with feet. Dallas' death was to take place in a huge upside down "wind tunnel" in the air duct system. Dallas looks up to see the Alien on the ceiling of this massive cylinder, where it leaps from one side to the other in a super-fast descent toward him. The Alien was to pull Ripley out of the shuttle with the grapple wire where she shoots it with a pistol and makes her way back inside before destroying it with the engines.
  • Lambert's off-screen death, according to the novel, was supposed to be the Alien forcing her body into a vent too small for it.
  • Ron Cobb's explanation of the what happened to the Space Jockeys: "At some point, a cataclysm causes the extermination of the adults in this unique race, leaving no one to tend and nurture the young. But in a dark lower chamber of the breeding temple, a large number of eggs lies dormant, waiting to sense something warm. Years later, the Space Jockey race comes to this planetoid. The Jockeys are on a mission of exploration and archaeology, and they are fascinated by this marvelous temple and unknown culture. One of them finds the egg chamber and gets facehugged. He's rescued, but no one knows what's happened. They take him back to their ship and continue their exploration of the planet's surface. When the chestburster erupts from the Jockey, it goes on a killing rampage until it is shot and killed. The Alien dies, but immediately decomposes and its acid eats through the hull of the Jockey ship, leaving them stranded on the planet. The Jockeys radio out a message that there is a dangerous parasite on the planet, that nothing can be done to save them in time, and that no one should attempt a rescue. Then the Jockeys slowly starve to death."
  • The initial idea for the opening credits was to have the title made up of bits of flesh and bone, which co-writer Ronald Shusett explains was far too gory. Director Ridley Scott recollects he saw the poster design for the movie, and asked that the title be used with the same font.
  • The facehugger was planned to be painted green, but Dan O'Bannon, seeing the unpainted facehugger on-set, and noting how inventive its human flesh tone color was, argued for it to remain as is.
  • The room where Brett gets taken out by the Xenomorph was a point of contention between Ridley Scott and the producers. They didn't understand why there would be water pouring, or chains dangling in a ship such as this. Scott, feeling he needed the extra movement, stuck to his guns.
  • There was discussion to include a lesbian relationship between Ripley and Lambert.
  • Before filming the scene where Ash shoves a rolled up magazine into Ripley's mouth, Ridley Scott told Sigourney Weaver that Sir Ian Holm was going to stick the magazine "up your hooter". The British slang term for nose left Weaver more than a little confused, since "hooter" is slang for "breast" in American English.
  • A different version of Ash explaining to the remaining crew what his mission was had much different dialogue. According to Veronica Cartwright, Ash originally asked them if they had tried to communicate with the Xenomorph yet. There was also dialogue about the Alien being an experiment of some kind.
  • It was Sigourney Weaver's idea to sing "You Are My Lucky Star" while preparing to get rid of the Xenomorph. Ridley Scott mentions how much flak he got from the studio because of how expensive the rights to the song were.
  • Brett's death was storyboarded by Ridley Scott originally for the Alien to use its inner mouth to take his heart out of his chest, harkening back to the image of the space jockey. The Alien would then leave Brett, where he would be found by Parker and Ripley, who'd cradle his body. Scott abandoned this idea, due to it being too similar a death to the chestburster scene, and the scene that now plays, was made up on the day it was shot.
  • Brett's hobby was building model clipper ships. Some can be seen behind him in his bridge station, and also in the engineering bays where he works.
  • Originally, the Nostromo was painted a dull yellow, but Ridley Scott was unhappy with the final look, and ordered all model shots to be dumped, and the Nostromo repainted battleship gray.
  • As Ripley goes through the shuttle start up sequence, a brief shot of a monitor appears which displays an "Environmental CTR Purge" screen. The same screen appears in Blade Runner (1982) when Gaff takes Deckard to see Bryant in his flying police car.
  • Unimpressed with the poor body cast mold made of Bolaji Badejo (the actor cast to play the Alien), H.R. Giger was prepared to suggest a replacement before he'd met Badejo. One of his suggestions was supermodel Verushka, who Giger described as just as tall as Badejo. Reportedly, Ridley Scott was open to the suggestion. When he finally met Badejo, Giger realized that he was perfect for the Alien role, and insisted that a new body cast be made.
  • Ripley mentions the facehugger bleeding acid while alive, and fears what it could do when dead. This may echo an earlier version of the screenplay, in which the dead facehugger's skin is dissolving, and the crew is able to throw it out of the ship just in time before its acid eats through the hull.
  • This is the only movie in the Alien franchise in which Sigourney Weaver didn't receive top billing. Tom Skerritt was billed first in the credits, while Weaver was billed second.
  • The Xenomorph has four minutes of screentime, and doesn't make its first appearance until about an hour into the movie.
  • One common story is that "Weyland" and "Yutani" were the names of two of Ridley Scott's neighbors whom he didn't like. However, this isn't the case. Ron Cobb, the designer of the movie, came up with the name "Weylan-Yutani". "Weylan Yutani, for instance, is almost a joke, but not quite. I wanted to imply that poor old England is back on its feet, and has united with the Japanese, who have taken over the building of spaceships the same way they have now with cars and supertankers. In coming up with a strange company name, I thought of British Leyland and Toyota, but we couldn't use 'Leyland-Toyota' in the film. Changing one letter gave me 'Weylan', and 'Yutani' was a Japanese neighbor of mine."
  • Ridley Scott made sure that Bolaji Badejo did not take tea or lunch breaks with the rest of the cast, so that their fear of the Alien would be more genuine.
  • Only acting role of Bolaji Badejo (Alien). He vanished into anonymity after this.
  • Bolaji Badejo regretted that no one can recognize him as the Alien in the movie, but thinking back on Boris Karloff, Sir Christopher Lee, or other successful actors who began their careers by playing grotesque monsters, he adds, "The fact that I played the part of the Alien, for me, that's good enough. Legally, I'll be given the opportunity of doing a follow-up, if there is one." Although he was training for a career on graphic design and commercial art, he exclaims, "Not if a film comes along!"
  • Bolaji Badejo worked approximately four months on this movie.
  • Ridley Scott has recently said that the Blade Runner movies share a universe with the Alien film franchise, which of course shares a universe with Prometheus (2012). Even beyond that, the Alien and Predator franchises share a universe as well, as shown in the Alien vs. Predator movies. In total, this means that five different movie franchises (Blade Runner (two movies), Alien (four movies), Prometheus (two movies), Predator (four movies), and Alien vs Predator (two movies)) share a universe. This also means that there are a total of fourteen movies in this franchise.
  • It was rumored that when the movie premiered on the ITV network in the U.K. in 1982, a scene was shown which happened towards the end of the movie, in which the Alien's shadow could be seen as it sneaks aboard the escape shuttle, just before Ripley's terrifying final confrontation with it. However, this scene is not amongst the deleted scenes in the special features on the DVD.
  • Up until 2012, all of the androids in the franchise had been named in alphabetical order: Ash in this movie, Bishop in Aliens (1986), and Alien³ (1992), Call in Alien: Resurrection (1997), and David in Prometheus (2012). This trend seems to have come to an end as the new android character in Alien: Covenant (2017) is called Walter. In this new movie, however, David is still to be a main character, and both he and Walter are portrayed by Michael Fassbender.
  • Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
  • When Sir John Hurt was being fitted up for his scene on the table, it was a long and complicated affair, and ultimately, he got somewhat bored. In the end, he asked the crew if he could have his cigarettes and a bottle of his favorite wine, which they poured for him. He was then happy and relaxed afterwards, with his creature comforts.
  • Dame Helen Mirren auditioned for a role.
  • Saul Bass, the famous graphic artist designed the opening ALIEN hieroglyphic titles. He was not credited.
  • This movie takes place in 2122.
  • The dead fossilized alien is commonly referred to as the "Space Jockey". It was a term used by the production crew, and was subsequently adopted by fans of the movie, even though the name itself isn't used anywhere in the movie, nor in the script. Similarly, the terms "facehugger" and "chestburster" were used throughout production to refer to the face-grasping parasite and newborn alien respectively, and have become widely recognized terms, even though they were never used on-screen.
  • A scene scripted, but only partially filmed, was referred to as the "Air Lock scene". It was supposed to take place after the scene where Ripley finds out about Ash's special order. Parker contacts Ripley and Lambert over the intercom, saying that he is watching the Alien moving in a corridor near an inner airlock door. He asks Lambert to open the inner door from the bridge, in the hope that the Alien will enter the air lock, so they can close the door and blow it out into space. Ripley makes her way to Parker's position, and the plan seems to work, until an alarm suddenly goes off. It startles the Alien, and as it escapes the air lock, its tail gets crushed under the inner door. Its blood causes a small hull breach, which temporarily decompresses the section, knocking Ripley and Parker unconscious. After being revived, Ripley is convinced that Ash set off the alarm in order to protect the Alien. This leads to the scene where Ash traps and assaults Ripley (her nosebleed was meant to be an aftereffect of the decompression). Only the shots from the Nostromo's bridge were filmed, but the remainder of the scene had to be scrapped, due to time limitations.
  • Harry Dean Stanton's first words to Ridley Scott during his audition were "I don't like science fiction or monster movies." Scott was amused, and convinced Stanton to take the role after reassuring him that the movie would actually be a thriller more akin to Ten Little Indians.
  • Yaphet Kotto was sent a script, off the back of his recent success with Live and Let Die (1973), although it took some time and deliberation between Kotto and his agent before he was offered the part.
  • When Tom Skerritt first read the screenplay for this movie, he declined to be involved, as he was unimpressed with the writing quality and the low budget. After the screenplay was edited, and the budget enhanced, Skerritt was approached again, which prompted him to sign on. Halfway through production, he approached writer and executive producer Ronald Shusett, asking if he could trade his salary for half a percentage point of royalties.
  • To assist the actors and actresses in preparing for their roles, Ridley Scott wrote several pages of backstory for each character, explaining their histories. He filmed many of their rehearsals in order to capture spontaneity and improvisation, and tensions between some of the cast members, particularly towards the less-experienced Sigourney Weaver, translated convincingly on film as tension between their respective characters.
  • A crew of over two hundred workmen and technicians constructed the three principal sets: The surface of the alien planetoid, and the interiors of the Nostromo and derelict spacecraft.
  • Special effects supervisors Brian Johnson and Nick Allder (who ended up winning Oscars for their work in this movie) made many of the set pieces and props function, including moving chairs, computer monitors, motion trackers, and flamethrowers.
  • Tons of sand, plaster, fiberglass, rock, and gravel were shipped into the studio to sculpt a desert landscape for the planetoid's surface, which the actors and actresses would walk across wearing space suit costumes.
  • The sets of the Nostromo's three decks were each created almost entirely in one piece, with each deck occupying a separate stage and the various rooms connected via corridors. To move around the sets, the actors and actresses had to navigate through the hallways of the ship, adding to the movie's sense of claustrophobia and realism. The sets used large transistors and low-resolution computer screens, to give the ship a "used", industrial look, and make it appear as though it was constructed of "retrofitted old technology".
  • Roger Christian used scrap metal and parts to create set pieces and props to save money, a technique he employed while working on Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).
  • Some of the Nostromo's corridors were created from portions of scrapped bomber aircraft, and a mirror was used to create the illusion of longer corridors in the below-deck area.
  • When Ripley punches in the code to activate the scuttle procedure, one of the button tabs reads AGARIC FLY. While engineering sounding in name, fly agaric is actually a highly poisonous hallucinogenic mushroom, whose toxin used to be commonly used in flypaper.
  • Ridley Scott's plan for Kane entering the egg chamber, originally involved him entering through the ceiling and landing on the blue laser "placenta", which caused a faint breeze, as air was released. The space around Kane would be pitch dark, so Kane would activate hundreds of little lights on his space suit like a Christmas tree, which would illuminate the area.
  • Originally, in the end lifeboat scene, the Alien was meant to be latched onto the ceiling of the vehicle until Ripley sees it, but Ridley Scott felt this was too similar to what happened with Brett, so it was changed.
  • One of the working titles was "They Bite".
  • Ridley Scott originally conceived flying mice robots that, while the crew were in hypersleep, would zip around corridors repairing things. However, executives believed this was too similar to Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).
  • The original wakening sequence started on Kane's nostril and then pulled back further and further to reveal him getting out of his cryotube.
  • While walking towards the derelict ship, the storm around them obscured their vision, so Lambert's helmet gave her a heads-up display, mounted on a visor inside her helmet, which showed a 3-D topographical map rendering of the environment around her, so she could see where she was going.
  • The hole to the egg chamber was originally planned to have an organic membrane covering it that Kane cuts through with a knife.
  • Ash and Dallas originally attempted to remove the facehugger from Kane inside the Autodoc using little robotic manipulator arms to cut it free.
  • After the airlock sequence, the crew were meant to be moving through the ship in their space suits, as much of the ship's atmosphere was lost in the airlock scene.
  • Lambert had a death involving her getting sucked through a tiny hole into space in the airlock sequence. This would be used for the newborn's death in Alien: Resurrection (1997).
  • Parker and Lambert's original deaths involved the Alien killing Parker and using his body as a shield against Lambert's flamethrower, with the Alien stepping out of the flames towards her.
  • Despite many fans calling the creature asexual, or referring to the creature as "it", the Alien is heavily implied to be male. In fact, when fans and the cast refer to the creature by its gender, they always say "he" or "him".
  • At the end of the movie, wait for the credits, turn the volume up, and you can hear the sound of a pod opening.
  • Sir Ian Holm and Ridley Scott recalled that one day, as Ridley rolled into the studio in his Rolls-Royce, Sigourney Weaver quipped, "Nice car. Did your dad buy it for you?" The comment really irked Scott, but Holm seemed to observe that she was yanking Scott's chain, having recognized him as being self-made and proud of it.
  • When Kane has the facehugger on him, and is in the x-ray machine, Ash says, "We don't know anything about", and pauses and says "it", a possible nod to It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958).
  • Ridley Scott was so bored while waiting for the budget to be determined on this movie that in his spare time, he storyboarded the entire movie, and then sent it to the studio, where they were so impressed with his vision that they doubled the budget.
  • This movie is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.
  • Sigourney Weaver had pictured the Alien as a big yellow blob chasing the Nostromo crew when she read the script, and not seeing the designs for the Alien.
  • When she was interviewed about Sir John Hurt, following his death on January 25, 2017. Sigourney Weaver stated that she had thought Sir John Hurt was really dying when they filmed the chestburster scene, and did not realize that he was acting when they filmed the sequence, and that the cast were not acting when the Alien comes out of Sir John Hurt's chest and runs off the table.
  • At the premiere of the movie, religious zealots set fire to the model of the Alien (Xenomorph), believing it to be the work of the devil.
  • The vast majority of this movie was filmed using a handheld camera. Art director Roger Christian remarked in an interview that "Eighty percent of Alien was shot on Ridley's shoulder". Referring to the fact that Ridley Scott did all the hand held camera work himself.
  • The Alien franchise was produced by Brandywine Productions. The Brandywine river is found in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth universe. Sir Ian Holm starred as Bilbo Baggins in the theatrical versions of The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit, respectively. He also performed the role of Frodo Baggins in the earlier BBC Radio production of The Lord of the Rings.
  • In the Director's Cut, the scene where Brett is looking for Jonesy, he enters a room with lots of chains and machinery, hanging from one of the chains, is the Alien folded into a ball, as not to draw attention to itself, clearly seen as the camera pans around the room.
  • Originally, the crew was suppose to emerge from hypersleep completely naked, as can be seen in the storyboards. This was nixed due to concern about censorship in several markets.
  • Following the massive success of their Star Wars action figures, Kenner marketed an Alien toy for Christmas 1979. However, instead of the three to four inch size used for the Star Wars figure, the Alien figure was eighteen inches, and was not paired with figures of the Nostromo crew. While faithful to the Giger design and featuring a hinged jaw, the figure was highly breakable. Due to parental complaints, Kenner pulled the action figure. The toy has since become a collector's item, with mint boxed versions going for as much as $1,000.
  • Cinematographer Derek Van Lint found the lighting issues on the Alien, the monitors, LEDs, fluorescents, and standard incandescent lights, all had various color temperatures, so getting them to match on camera, was an enormous technical challenge.
  • Originally, the lighting plan for this movie was to have everything pre-lit, so they wouldn't have to rearrange lighting from shot to shot, but Ridley soon realized it was looking very television-ish, with an even all-round, fit-for-everything lighting plan. Also, actors and actresses would wind up moving in parts of the set that weren't lit well enough, so they went back to normal lighting set-ups for each angle.
  • The original Panaglide SteadiCam system was suggested for this movie, but with neither RIdley nor Derek Vanlint familiar with the format, they decided against using it, so they could operate cameras on the film themselves, and not rely on outside technicians.
  • The reason for most of the movie having hand held shots was down to the close confines of the sets. Tracks and dolly movements were too fast or too wide, so were replaced with hand held instead.
  • The Xenomorph and the facehugger only appear on-screen for around four minutes. Director Ridley Scott purposely reduced the amount of screentime of the Xenomorph to make its limited appearance all the more scary.
  • The scene where the Alien enters the room and approaches Lambert was trimmed down and re-shot. Originally, it was filmed in wide shots, showing the full Alien as it approached Lambert while walking on all fours, belly-up. Ridley Scott felt it made the Xenomorph appear too human in configuration, so it was re-shot mainly with close-ups, and far less focus on the Alien.
  • There was online speculation from fans that during Lambert's death scene, the Alien sexually assaulted Lambert before killing her (as she is no longer wearing pants when Ripley discovers her body).
  • Although this movie was given the "18" certificate in the U.K., and the "R16" rating in New Zealand. It was given the "M" rating in Australia.
  • The process of preparing to make this movie ended up having a major impact on another violent, shocking, R-rated movie, The Warriors (1979). Walter Hill and David Giler were watching an Israel-set movie called Madman (1978), because they had heard positive notice on Sigourney Weaver's performance, and wanted to see if she was a good fit for the role of Ripley. Of course, it turned out that she was, but Hill found himself very impressed by the supporting work in Madman (1978), of an unknown actor named Michael Beck, and he thought Beck could be a good fit for a major role in The Warriors (1979). He called Beck to come in and read for the part of gang leader Swan, and Beck nailed the audition, and was immediately cast.
  • Sigourney Weaver was given the part of Ripley when she impressed Ridley Scott and the studio with her screentest.
  • The famous chestburster scene was parodied in Spaceballs (1987). In that scene, with Sir John Hurt as Kane, and the Nostromo crew are seen eating and having a laugh over one of the crew member's joke. Hurt starts choking. The alien bursts out of his chest, and Hurt says "Oh, no! Not again!" and the Alien performs "Hello, My Baby" from One Froggy Evening (1955).
  • Giger's first attempt at an egg had the top with one long slit across it, when he presented it to Scott, the department head burst out laughing, as it looked far too much like a woman's vagina, the slit was duplicated at a ninety degree angle, to make it more like an "X", which satisfied everyone.
  • Giger is quoted in his book that when he presented artwork to Ridley he didn't like, Ridley would nod thoughtfully and say, "interesting", which Giger translated as "shit".
  • Peter Beale, one of the Fox executives argued with Giger over his fee, which Giger saw as insulting, and the same money paid to a high grade secretary working in Switzerland, Gordon Carrol fought in Giger's corner, in a discussion that lasted three hours.
  • Ridley would always use Gigers Necronomicon book to explain the kind of designs he wanted to Giger, who was gratified, as he was using his own designs instead of having to copy another artist's strange designs.
  • Giger was appalled at the failed translation of his ideas in England, and stayed only to keep things on track with his designs.
  • H.R. Giger discovered that old designs were still being constructed by the art department, Giger spoke to production designer Brian Seymour, who told him he was aware things had changed, but to stop them mid construction would wreck morale, and they had to be kept busy until the new designs were ready to be built, and it was better to let them finish, then replace them. When Giger asked what would happen to the old work, Seymour told him "scrapped". Giger was baffled at this strange economy of waste.
  • Initially, H.R. Giger's derelict ship was accepted, and then rejected, in a tense meeting with the Twentieth Century Fox team and director Ridley Scott, they were concerned the bone-like shape would blend into the already bone-like environment. Giger believed his friends Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett were behind the idea, and tried to argue his case that the biomechanical nature of the ship would separate it from the background, until Gordon Carrol ordered him to create something new. Ridley remained quiet in the discussion, drawing a standard plane like fin sticking out of the ground in silent opposition. Two months later, Giger returned to the U.K. astonished to find they had gone back to his original designs, feeling there wasn't enough time to begin again.
  • H.R. Giger was asked by a Shepperton Studios manager if he would front the cost for frames for all of his paintings. Giger refused, and instead offered to fly economy instead of first class on all of his flights, they complimented him on his head for business.
  • The Space Jockey's body was painted with Sepia glaze, and then coated with frayed rubber latex.
  • Originally, only six eggs were to be present in the egg silo under the derelict ship, but Ridley Scott stepped in and demanded that many more were required.
  • H.R. Giger met with monster maker Roger Dicken. Giger was warned he was a prickly character by Scott, and not to criticize his work. Giger was horrified when Dickens confessed he found Gigers work repulsive abortions, and the creature should be beautiful. In a blind rage, Giger told Scott and Carroll he would do the monster work himself. The studio agreed, but only if he focused on the main Alien and left the other creations to Dicken.
  • Ridley suggested for the Alien they could strap two kids to an adult, and have them wrapped in rubber. Also, they proposed trying a robotic alien, but safety was an issue with that.
  • Originally, the plan for the Alien's transparent head was for it to be filled with living maggots.
  • The Alien was to be transparent, until H.R. Giger's team began to run out of time. Following a disastrous failed cooking of the molds, the team decided, in a car park, that the Alien would be standard latex, as the production would suffer huge costs if they didn't meet the looming deadline.
  • The Alien murdering Brett was the first scene shot with the finalized Alien costume and mechanical head.
  • Included amongst the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the four hundred movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
  • For the Director's Cut of the movie, a deleted scene was restored where the Nostromo crew listens to the signal from the planet before landing. This scene had already been available as a bonus feature on the first DVD edition of the movie. The sound they originally heard was quite scary and organic, almost sounding like an extremely deep, slowed-down voice. Kane's response ("Good God!") and the suggestion that it could be a voice actually made a lot of sense in this version, but for the scene in the Director's Cut, for unknown reasons, a much more mechanic and subdued sound effect was used.
  • Martin Sheen was considered for the role of Captain Dallas.
  • Robert De Niro was considered for the role of Captain Dallas.
  • Amy Irving was considered for the role of Ellen Ripley.
  • Brad Davis and Jon Finch were considered for the role of Kane.
  • Richard Pryor was considered for the role of Parker.
  • Jon Finch was originally cast as Kane, and had reportedly filmed a few initial scenes. However, while filming, Finch fell ill and left the production, to be replaced by Sir John Hurt. According to Tom Skerritt, Finch's work on the movie was so brief that he doesn't remember meeting him. Finch worked with Ridley Scott on Kingdom of Heaven (2005).
  • As of 2017, Sigourney Weaver is the only cast member in the main cast to work with Ridley Scott more than once: in this movie, 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), and Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014).
  • The early screenplay by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett contained the Alien, the derelict ship, the Space Jockey, but also an ancient pyramid-like structure on the planet's surface full of alien eggs (more shaped like canisters), where the crew of the Nostromo was to encounter the facehugger. The notion was that the pyramid, eggs, facehuggers, and Alien would all be indigenous to the planet, and the Aliens had decimated the original civiliszation. The derelict ship had landed much later on the planet, and its pilot, the Space Jockey, had become an unfortunate victim of the facehugger. The pyramid was written out by producers David Giler and Walter Hill in subsequent script versions; they didn't like the ancient civilization, so they replaced it with sophisticated government installations, weapon testing grounds and an army bunker. O'Bannon and Shusett were not amused by these alterations, since they had already enlisted Swiss artist H.R. Giger to create an alien landscape and architecture. Director Ridley Scott agreed with them, and after some back-and-forth discussing, they finally settled on the original idea; the pyramid, however, was merged with the derelict ship due to time and budget issues. Scott agreed, with the idea of saving the pyramid for a sequel that would explore the origin of the creatures. The pyramid-like structure filled with eggs/canisters would later resurface in Alien vs. Predator (2004), and, as predicted, in Scott's origin story Prometheus (2012).
  • Dan O'Bannon and H.R. Giger were heavily inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft in their concept of the Alien. Especially Lovecraft's stories featuring the Cthulhu monster are said to have been particularly influential. Cthulhu is described as a giant, vaguely anthropoid creature with tentacles, chained in a submerged ruin on the bottom of the sea. Although it is hardly ever seen, its escape from imprisonment is a constant source of dread for mankind.
  • The release and success of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) has often been stated as instrumental in getting this movie made. The screenplay for this movie had been written for Twentieth Century Fox, but the studio was not very interested in financing a science fiction movie at the time. When "Star Wars" became a big hit, Fox was very eager to continue their recent success of space-themed science fiction movies as quickly as possible. With a finished screenplay ready for production, they wasted no time in greenlighting the project.
  • Although never stated on film, the planetoid where the Nostromo lands and finds the derelict ship is named "Acheron" in several drafts of the screenplay. In Greek mythology, Acheron is the "stream of woe", a branch of the river Styx which separates the underworld from the world of the living. The screenplay of Aliens (1986) also mentioned the name "Acheron", but refers to the planetoid with the technical name LV-426 on-screen. Both names have subsequently been used in expanded-universe media such as games and comics.
  • When this movie won in the category for "Best Effects, Visual Effects" the presenters were Farrah Fawcett and amputee Oscar-winner Harold Russell who opened the envelope with his prosthetic hook hands (April 14, 1980 Dorothy Chandler Pavilion).
  • The wiring revealed when the android Ash (Sir Ian Holm) is decapitated includes several Foley catheters (urologic bladder drainage tubes) with balloons inflated.
  • In the scene where Ash and Dallas are examining the facehugger for a way to remove it from Kane, they are both wearing what are obviously intended to be protective masks. The masks have "nipples" at the bottom which are obviously intended for connection to oxygen lines, but they are attached to nothing.
  • When the script was originally optioned, Robert Altman was first choice to direct with Ridley Scott as the fifth choice.
  • The alien nest lair is flanked by walls that have portals with a distinct "vaginal" similarities. Some have noted that the "facehugger" appears to be a fusion of male and female sex organs, most predominantly female. Swiss painter H.R. Giger's artwork is often interpreted as being overtly sexual in nature.
  • The teaser trailer which uses stills from the movie was narrated by Percy Rodrigues.
  • Certain versions of the end credits reference the U.K.'s Milk Marketing Board. Although this would most obviously be considered as referring to the use of milk during a certain scene with Ash, there is another more subtle reason. At the time of production in the U.K., having milk delivered to the home was the norm. These were transported in crates. These same milk crates were used within the set design as both certain floor and wall elements, in particular in corridors.
  • The original script by Dan O'Bannon went by the title "Memory". It was then changed to "Star Beast", and ultimately, "Alien".
  • Sigourney Weaver was the last actor or actress to be cast. Part of her audition was shot on the movie's sets which were in the process of being built. She had to rush to her audition due to traffic, and her flushed appearance helped convince the makers that she would be a good candidate for Ripley.
  • Filmed over a period of fourteen weeks in the U.K. Editing and post-production took an additional twenty weeks.
  • Four different cats play Jones.
  • Mirrors were used to make the Nostromo's corridors look bigger.
  • Carlo Rambaldi's original alien face is now on display at the Smithsonian.
  • Despite being nominated for a Grammy, a BAFTA and a Golden Globe, Jerry Goldsmith's score was not nominated at the Academy Awards. However, his score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) received a nomination.
  • This wasn't the first time a Cartwright had been stranded in the black. Veronica Cartwright's sister is Angela Cartwright; Penny Robinson on Lost in Space (1965)
  • Some of the sets for the Nostromo were barely tall enough for the 6'4" Yaphet Kotto. Throughout the movie, he has to stoop through doors and lower his head in certain hallways.
  • The character of Ash, and the character of Bishop in Aliens (1986), have the two-letter sequence "sh" in their names, possibly a "company" code identifying them as synthetic humans.
  • In an interview with director Ridley Scott found on the Prometheus (2012) Blu-Ray DVD, Scott confirms that the Alien movies and the Blade Runner movies are set in the same universe. He states... "So... Almost this world could easily be the city (Los Angeles "The City of Angels") that supports, the crew that go out in Alien. In other words, the crew of Alien comes back in, they may go into this place and go into a bar on a street near where Deckard lives. That's how I thought about it."
  • The first R-rated movie to receive a tie-in series of toys marketed towards children.
  • In order to heighten the sense of claustrophobia for the actors and actresses, director Ridley Scott had the walls of the sets pushed slightly closer to each other every day.
  • The first test screening of the movie was hampered by sound issues and only got a lukewarm reception, but by the second screening, the makers had their first indication that the movie was as scary as they had hoped. Reportedly, people screamed in terror, and the wife of Twentieth Century Fox President Alan Ladd, Jr. got so scared that she refused to leave her house for over a day. Several of the crew members later attended screenings where audience responses surpassed their wildest predictions, ranging from people running from their seats and requesting places farther away from the screen, people yelling at the characters not to do certain things, cinema personnel passing out, and restrooms littered with vomit.
  • Director Ridley Scott said that he often imagined Ash (Sir Ian Holm) being awake during much of the Nostromo's journey while the rest of the crew was in cryo, secretly communicating with the Company. He would be getting back in cryo shortly before the rest awoke, to avoid raising suspicions. This idea was later used for the android David (Michael Fassbender) Prometheus (2012).
  • One of the making-of books suggests that the alien did not outsmart Ripley by following her into the lifeboat to kill her, but rather was looking for a quiet spot in which to die.
  • With the death of Harry Dean Stanton in late 2017, exactly half of the cast members are still alive.
  • Sir Ian Holm played Frodo Baggins in the BBC Radio drama of The Lord of the Rings, and then Bilbo Baggins in the movie trilogy. He was later replaced in both of those roles. Elijah Wood played Frodo, while the younger Bilbo was played by Martin Freeman. Wood and Freeman have movies similar to this in their backgrounds. Wood appeared in The Faculty (1998), which featured parasitic extra-terrestrials, and Freeman appeared in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), where he travels through space. The latter movie also featured Bill Nighy, who played Sam to Holm's Frodo.
  • Even taking into account that the "Space Jockey" scene used children to increase the perceived scale of the set, in wide shots, its still an impressive piece of set design execution.
  • After the key reveal scene with Ash, the three crew members then start to walk through a corridor. This low angle shot shows that the ceiling for this part of the corridor was made of the bottoms of milk bottle crates. Unintentionally, this created a science fiction cliché where some of the industrial sets are built of crate bottoms.
  • During the self-destruct sequence, the strobing lighting creates a strange effect on the visuals akin to a slow motion blur. This is likely to be a workaround due an unavoidable consequence of digital video formats using in-between key frames, rather than analogue video, and the original film stock recording every frame. This similar visual issue has appeared in other movies, which is usually only obvious if you saw them on analogue formats.
  • Adrian Biddle was the First Assistant Cameraman (Focus Puller). Six years later, when James Cameron fell out with cinematographer Dick Pope on Aliens (1986) and fired him, he hired Biddle (who had never photographed a feature film before) to take over as DOP.
  • The Space Jockey couldn't be constructed on the real scale, because it would have been too expensive, so they did it on a smaller scale, so that children would be in suits to make it look like the real scale. Christian Bale, Jake Scott, and Luke Scott played the characters in space suits.
  • The English comedic actor David Jason was Ridley Scott's preference for the role of Brett. Jason regretfully turned down the role due to conflicting schedules. He was busy filming the first season of the enormously popular Only Fools and Horses.... (1981). The character of Brett was offered and accepted by Scott's second choice, Harry Dean Stanton.
  • The film was inspired by George Lucas' success with Star Wars, and Alien turned out to be a great success that followed a winning streak of high-concept science fiction blockbusters from Hollywood in the 70s: ranging from A Clockwork Orange (1971) to Superman (1978).
  • In 2019, Disney acquired 21st Century Fox for $71.3 billion, thus acquiring the Alien, Predator, AVATAR, X-Men and Planet of the Apes franchises along with their parent studio. Consequently, this unofficially makes the franchise intimately connected to Lucasfilm's Star Wars franchise, which Disney acquired for $4 billion in 2012.
  • In March 2019, the North Bergen NJ High School drama club performed a stage version of the movie. After news and video of the production went viral, the club scheduled additional performances. (The club had previously staged a version of Night of the Living Dead (1990).)
  • The pale blue jumpsuit that Ash wears has elastic loops on the breasts, these are to hold different size cylindrical socket wrench attachments, and is a type of 1970s British oil change/muffler mechanic's jumpsuit.
  • A simple egg was used for the lobby poster.
  • Navigator Lambert mentions Zeta II Reticula. Zeta II Reticula is Betty and Barney Hill's abduction account space map.
  • The reason why the interior of the alien ship looked like bones is that artist H.R. Giger wanted his paintings to look like an abattoir of cattle bones.
  • Ridley Scott credits Warren Beatty with the discovery of Sigourney Weaver. Apparently he had just seen her onstage and recommended her wholeheartedly to producer David Giler.
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre is what inspired Ridley Scott to make Alien. Some people have even called Alien a Texas Chainsaw Massacre in space. (Actually Jason X is probably Texas Chainsaw Massacre in space!)
  • Rosemary's Baby plays on women's fears about Rape and unwanted pregnancy. Alien does the same thing; but it makes men consider the same thing from their prospective. In some ways Alien can be considered a feminist revision of Rosemary's Baby.
  • Signourney Weaver beat out Meryl Streep for the role of Ripley; as well as Veronica Cartwright.
  • The music that Dallas listens to in the control room is "A Little Night Music (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik) K. 525/ Movement 2 (Romanze: Andante)" by Mozart.
  • The lander malfunctioning and catching on fire on the Lv-426 "moon" mirrors the 1967 fire on the Apollo 1 mission, the film was released just ten years after the more successful Apollo 11 landing on the moon.
  • As was more obvious in later Alien films, the xenomorph had a slightly humanlike skull underneath the shell at the very front. The shell was designed to be translucent so that this skull was slightly visible. The lighting and reflections, however, masked this. Interestingly, the first view of a bare xenomorph skull was not in any of the Alien films, but displayed on the trophy wall of the Predator ship in Predator 2 (1990).
  • The method for blowing up the Nostromo, as described on the housing lid: DANGER EMERGENCY DESTRUCTION SYSTEM On activation ship will detonate in T minus 10 minutes. FAILSAFE WARNING Cut-off system will not operate after T minus 5 minutes. SCUTTLE PROCEDURE Puch NUCLEAR BOLT CODE no.1. Verify BOLT CLAMP release. Perform INSERTION of BOLT no.1 to HOLD no.1. Remove NUCLEAR HEAD. Activate PUSH BUTTON SWITCH. Replace NUCLEAR HEAD. Verify SECURED. Verify DETONATION ACTIVATED. Repeat for HOLDS 2.3&4. CAUTION: Observe precautions for handling ELECTROSTATIC SENSITIVE DEVICES
  • The first mention of "Padme" in a science fiction film was not in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) but in Alien. It is the label of the bottom right button of the center right panel of the Nostromo's "self destruct" mechanism. Other button labels include those for morph, trip, agaric fly, pranic lift 777, particle beam abhort (sic), leb drift, bel, lingha, shakti excess, yoni, and hum. An agaric fly (more properly "fly agaric") is a type of toadstool mushroom having a red cap with white spots, commonly seen in illustrations for the Noddy children's books of Enid Blyghton. In some places it is used as an intoxicant. Yoni is the symbol for the Hindu divine mother. Shakti excess means "too much mother" and is obviously an inside joke.
  • The Emergency helmets behind the seats on the bridge are modified Space:1999 Moonbase Alpha helmets.
  • The cat red herring and Brett's death were storyboarded to take place at the same moment. The crew find the cat through the tracker and it bursts out of the locker. With the signal still beeping the crew crouch down waiting for the chestburster to follow. Looking down at the floor they see the fully grown aliens feet and slowly look up at it towering over them as the creature seizes Brett snaps his spine and disappears into the darkness with his body leaving Ripley and Parker watching - It's also interesting to note they initially had planned the alien to punch his heart out.
  • Another storyboarded scene was for the crew to use an 'electronic mouse' to hunt the alien through the corridors. They find the creature crouched down, eating it's prey. They study it for a second before the creature whips round to look at the mouse and destroy it and the camera feed cuts to black.
  • When the crew search for the missing facehugger Scott's original plan was to have it still alive - leap out at Ripley and then die.
  • Sigourney Weaver later appeared in another film about space travel, Galaxy Quest (1999). That film featured Sam Rockwell and Alan Rickman, who also appeared in another film about space travel, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005). That film also featured Martin Freeman, who shares the role of Bilbo Baggins with Ian Holm.
  • Dallas and Lambert note that the space jockey's ribs seem to have "exploded" from inside and wonder what could have caused it.
  • In one of the deleted scenes, Ripley comforts Lambert, and asks her if she's ever slept with Ash. Lambert replies in the negative, admitting that Ash never seemed that interested in sex, which is because he's a synthetic, according to the creators, even if he wanted to, he couldn't. This would've been emphasized by other deleted scene(s) which implied that members of the Nostromo crew tended to be promiscuous with each other. However Ridley Scott decided to get rid of this angle.
  • Ash never eats. The only thing he consumes is some milky-white fluid, although he is seen reaching for a box of cereal at one point. He's later revealed to be an android, with white liquid for blood.
  • Sigorney Weaver said "Aliens makes Alien look like a cucumber sandwich" in a recent interview.
  • "My health had far more to fear from boredom than from heart failure," said Brendan Gill of 1979's "Alien," which was directed by Ridley Scott. Gill saw the movie as no more than a battle between "slobs" (the crew of the Nostromo) and "blobs" (the creature). His analysis has a Seussian cadence: "A small yellow cat named Jones is aboard the Nostromo and survives several perilous encounters with the blob.... Surely a blob that plays hob with slobs and yet cannot outspat a cat isn't worth our serious attention for long."
  • Here's how Pauline Kael assessed Alien's appeal in the wake of its success: "It reached out, grabbed you, and squeezed your stomach; it was more gripping than entertaining, but a lot of people didn't mind. They thought it was terrific, because at least they'd felt something: they'd been brutalized.

Spoilers

  • Walter Hill and David Giler's most significant contribution to the script was to make Ash an android. Although Dan O'Bannon has been reluctant to acknowledge any positive changes by Hill and Giler, Ronald Shusett has described the addition as a significant improvement to the plot.
  • For Parker's death, a fiberglass cast of Yaphet Kotto's head was made, and then filled with pigs' brains. The forehead was made of wax, so that the Alien's teeth could penetrate it easily. Barbed hooks were fastened to the end of the teeth to make sure it broke the wax surface effectively.
  • This movie was originally scripted to end with Ripley escaping the Nostromo with her shuttle, and the Alien dying on board the Nostromo. Ridley Scott thought this ending was way too simplistic, so he negotiated with the studio for an additional half a million dollar budget, and a week of filming to add a "fourth act" to the movie, showing how the Alien stowed away aboard the shuttle, and Ripley trying to flush it out. Scott originally wanted a much darker ending, where the Alien climbs back into the shuttle and Ripley harpoons it, but it makes no difference. The Alien runs towards her, slams through her masks, and rips her head off. It would then sit in her chair, and start mimicking Captain Dallas' voice, saying "I'm signing off, hopefully the network will pick me up." Apparently, Twentieth Century Fox wasn't too pleased with such a dark ending. According to Scott, while pitching this idea over the phone, there was a long and uncomfortable silence. Within fourteen hours, a studio executive arrived, who threatened to fire him on the spot, unless he changed the ending to one where the Alien would die. Scott later admitted that allowing Ripley to live was the better ending.
  • The rumor that the cast, except for Sir John Hurt, did not know what would happen during the chestburster scene is partly true. Everyone had read the script, which explicitly stated that something would be coming out of Kane's chest, but they did not know specific details. For instance, Veronica Cartwright did not expect to be sprayed with blood, so her reaction to it was genuine. Sigourney Weaver related that they suspected that something dramatic was about to happen, because when they got to the set, the crew were wearing raincoats. Tom Skerritt admitted years later that he was the only one besides Hurt to know exactly what was coming. He had been following director Ridley Scott around to learn about the process of filmmaking, and had been present during meetings where the chestburster effect was discussed in detail. He was of course requested to keep the specifics to himself, in order to elicit genuine reactions from the other cast members.
  • Ash's blood is colored water. Milk was not used, as it would have spoiled quickly under the hot studio lights. Milk was used though for the close-up of his innards, along with pasta and glass marbles.
  • Body Count: nine (including the Space Jockey, facehugger, and the Alien).
  • The character of Ash, and subsequently an android character being introduced into this movie, is what Dan O'Bannon calls a "Russian spy", someone on a mission, who it is discovered, intends to sabotage said mission. "If it wasn't in there, what difference does it make?" the screenwriter asks. "I mean, who gives a rat's ass? So somebody is a robot." O'Bannon was annoyed by the character being added, and called it "an inferior idea from inferior minds well acted and well directed."
  • The shot where the Xenomorph's tail goes through Lambert's legs and up her back, was actually taken from the scene in which Brett was killed. The pants and boots don't fit what Lambert is wearing in the scene, where she encounters the Alien. Originally, her character was to crawl away from the Alien, and essentially die from fright, hiding in a locker, but this was never shot.
  • The scene where Ash is decapitated caused an usher in London to faint.
  • Originally, there was no subplot with the Company betraying the crew. When David Giler and Walter Hill re-wrote the first draft by Dan O' Bannon and Ronald Shusett, they wanted to find ways to make the plot more interesting. They initially added a third act twist, where the ship's CPU had a hidden directive. Mother was supposed to allow the facehugged Kane into the ship, despite Ripley's objections. Although the Company had programmed Mother to reroute the Nostromo, and investigate the origin of the species, the computer functioned under its own special protocol. As Mother states in the final scenes, she was not keen on betraying the crew, but she took a neutral place by allowing the creature to enter the ship, gestate and evolve. When Ripley scolds Mother, the CPU retorts that her allegiance lies only to science. The data for this "key-product" would be fascinating for the scientific world. The producers and writers finally realized that this revelation would be too reminiscent of HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). They kept Mother as the CPU, but incorporated Ash as the seventh and final character, who was always intended to be the spy. He was written as an android, and much of his attitude echoes the scrapped Mother storyline (he opens the hatch to allow the parasite to enter the ship, despite the quarantine rules. In the Director's Cut, he monitors the stain inside Kane, but lets it incubate, he wants to keep the dead facehugger for further studies, and he repeatedly expresses his wonder for the new fascinating species). Ash even had extra dialogue about the key products found in space, and the orders by the Company, but Ridley Scott ultimately decided to streamline the death scene of him, and make it more foreboding for the remaining crew.
  • The Xenomorph in this movie is slightly different from others of his kind featured in the sequels in terms of behavior: unlike the other Aliens in the franchise, which kill only for food, host gathering, or self-defense, the Alien in this movie is implied multiple times in the movie, novelization, and several scripts to be very sadistic, and enjoys killing for fun. This is shown when the Alien kills Parker: he waits thirty seconds or so, while squeezing Parker so hard he bleeds, before finally killing him with a headshot.
  • On January 25, 2017, Sir John Hurt became the first main cast member from this movie to die, just as his character Kane did in the movie. On September 15, 2017, Harry Dean Stanton became the second cast member to die, just like his character Brett is the second character in the movie to die.
  • In the first half of the first four Alien movies, one or two characters are introduced and built up in a way to make the audience think that they are going to be important characters throughout the story, only to have them killed off less than halfway through. In this movie, it is Dallas (Tom Skerritt).
  • This is the only movie in the Alien franchise that does not contain a variation of the Alien Queen. In Alien³ (1992), Ripley discovers that an Alien queen embryo is growing inside of her in the third act, while Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007) features a premature Predalien Queen, according to the directors. This is because James Cameron developed the concept of an Alien Queen for Aliens (1986), so the idea did not exist for this movie's production.
  • It is unclear how the alien got aboard the shuttle.
  • Kane's last words were humorous. Parker made a disgusting sexual comment to Lambert about eating and Kane joked, "At least you know where it came from."
  • Kane, played by John Hurt was the first to wake up from hypersleep was also the first to die.
  • Although Weyland-Yutani and Ash are the real villains of the movie. Dallas is also held accountable for what happens in the movie. Dallas orders Ripley to open the airlock and disregards Ripley's quarantine concern which Ash breaks by opening the airlock and allowing Kane to brought back aboard with the Facehugger attached to his face and when Ripley, Dallas and Ash examines the dead Facehugger, Dallas allows Ash to take the Facehugger back to Earth and have tests run on it unaware about Special Order 937 and that Ash was under orders by Weyland-Yutani to direct the Nostromo to the planet and bring the alien back to Earth for observation. If Dallas had followed the quarantine procedure and had listened to Ripley, the Nostromo crew excluding Ripley would not had been killed by the alien and Ripley wouldn't had blown up the ship.
  • Kane waking up first from hypersleep and remarking "I feel dead" when the crew are having breakfast foreshadows his fate.
Movie details provided by