Nicola Huntington

Written by Nicola Huntington

Modified & Updated: 19 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith

Source: The Cosmic Circus

Alien, directed by Ridley Scott and released in 1979, is a science fiction horror film that has become a classic in the genre. With its iconic creature design and intense atmosphere, Alien continues to captivate audiences to this day. Set in the future, the film follows the crew of the commercial spacecraft Nostromo as they encounter a deadly extraterrestrial creature that wreaks havoc on their ship. The movie’s blend of suspense, visual effects, and compelling storytelling has made it a landmark in the science fiction genre. In this article, we will dive into 30 fascinating facts about the making of Alien, shedding light on the production, the cast, and the lasting impact of this cinematic masterpiece. So, buckle up and get ready to explore the unknown reaches of space as we uncover the secrets behind Alien.

Key Takeaways:

  • “Alien” is a groundbreaking sci-fi horror movie released in 1979, featuring the iconic xenomorph creature and the unforgettable tagline “In space, no one can hear you scream.”
  • The movie’s success led to a franchise with sequels, video games, and comic books, and its legacy continues to influence sci-fi horror films, making it a beloved and influential classic.
Table of Contents

The movie Alien was released in 1979.

The film was directed by Ridley Scott and written by Dan O’Bannon. It is a science fiction horror movie that has become a cult classic over the years.

The iconic creature in the movie is called a xenomorph.

The xenomorph is a highly aggressive and parasitic extraterrestrial species that serves as the primary antagonist in the Alien franchise.

The role of Lieutenant Ellen Ripley was played by Sigourney Weaver.

Ripley is one of the most iconic female characters in film history and has become synonymous with the Alien franchise.

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction.

Alien was recognized for its stunning visual design, including its terrifying alien creature and the iconic interior of the spaceship Nostromo.

The tagline for the movie is “In space, no one can hear you scream.”

This memorable tagline perfectly captures the isolation and terror experienced by the crew members aboard the Nostromo.

The movie was inspired by various literary and film influences.

Director Ridley Scott drew inspiration from the works of H.P. Lovecraft, as well as films like Jaws and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

The original design of the xenomorph was created by Swiss artist H.R. Giger.

Giger’s unique and unsettling designs added a whole new level of terror to the Alien franchise.

The facehugger scene is one of the most memorable and intense moments in the movie.

It is a pivotal scene in which a facehugger attaches itself to one of the crew members, leading to the birth of the xenomorph.

The movie introduced the concept of “chestbursters.”

This refers to the young xenomorphs bursting out of the chests of their human hosts, resulting in a gruesome and shocking visual.

The spaceship set was built to scale.

The filmmakers constructed a massive set for the Nostromo spaceship, which added to the authenticity and immersive experience for the actors.

The movie has a strong theme of body horror.

It explores the fear of bodily invasion and the loss of control, which contributes to the intense and visceral nature of the film.

The movie was a commercial success, grossing over $104 million worldwide.

Considering its modest budget, Alien’s success paved the way for a successful franchise that continues to captivate audiences today.

The movie was praised for its realistic depiction of space travel.

Alien presented a gritty and believable vision of future space exploration, which added to the overall tension and realism of the film.

The character of Ash, played by Ian Holm, is revealed to be an android.

This revelation adds an additional layer of suspense and distrust among the crew members.

The movie features strong themes of sexuality and gender roles.

These themes are explored through the design of the xenomorph, which has a phallic appearance and themes of reproductive horror.

The chestburster scene was a surprise to most of the actors on set.

Director Ridley Scott strategically kept the details of the iconic scene a secret, resulting in genuine shock and fear from the cast.

The movie spawned multiple sequels and spin-offs.

Aliens, Alien³, Alien: Resurrection, and Prometheus are some of the films that followed the success of the original Alien.

The movie’s soundtrack was composed by Jerry Goldsmith.

Goldsmith’s haunting and atmospheric score added to the suspense and terror of Alien.

The set design of the Nostromo was inspired by industrial workspaces.

The grimy and claustrophobic aesthetic contributed to the overall sense of realism and grit in the movie.

The movie explores themes of corporate greed and capitalism.

The Weyland-Yutani Corporation serves as a sinister entity that values profits over human lives.

The movie’s opening scene is a panoramic shot of space.

This sets the tone for the vastness and isolation of the universe the characters inhabit.

The chestburster scene took several takes to get right.

The practical effects used to create the scene were complex and required careful timing to achieve the desired effect.

The movie was initially met with mixed reviews from critics.

However, it has since been reevaluated and is now regarded as a groundbreaking and influential film.

The movie’s success led to the creation of video games and comic books based on the Alien franchise.

Alien: Isolation and Aliens: Colonial Marines are just a few examples of the successful video game adaptations.

The movie has been praised for its strong and diverse cast.

Alien featured a talented ensemble cast that included both male and female characters who defied traditional gender roles.

The movie’s title refers to both the menacing creature and the crew’s feeling of being alienated in space.

It is a clever play on words that adds depth to the film’s overall theme.

The movie’s production design was heavily influenced by the art of Francis Bacon.

Scenes like the space jockey chamber drew inspiration from Bacon’s twisted and distorted forms.

The xenomorph has become an iconic figure in pop culture.

Its sleek and terrifying design has inspired countless tattoos, action figures, and Halloween costumes.

The movie’s success paved the way for other sci-fi horror films.

Alien’s unique blend of horror and science fiction set a new standard for the genre and influenced future filmmakers.

The movie’s legacy continues to thrive.

Even after over four decades, Alien remains a beloved and influential film that continues to captivate audiences.


Alien is a science fiction horror film that has captivated audiences for decades. With its innovative visuals, thrilling storyline, and iconic characters, it has become a classic in the genre. The movie not only broke new ground in terms of special effects but also introduced a new level of tension and fear. Its success led to a franchise that continues to entertain viewers to this day.

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or new to the Alien universe, these 30 facts provide a glimpse into the fascinating world behind the film. From its origins to behind-the-scenes anecdotes, there is something for everyone to discover. So grab some popcorn, dim the lights, and immerse yourself in the unforgettable world of Alien.


1. When was Alien released?
Alien was released on May 25, 1979.

2. Who directed Alien?
Alien was directed by Ridley Scott.

3. What is the plot of Alien?
The movie follows the crew of the spaceship Nostromo as they encounter a hostile alien life form that begins to pick them off one by one.

4. Who played the iconic character, Ripley?
Sigourney Weaver portrayed the strong and fearless character, Ellen Ripley.

5. Did Alien win any awards?
Yes, Alien won several awards, including an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

6. Is Alien a standalone film?
While Alien was originally intended to be a standalone film, it spawned multiple sequels and prequels.

7. What impact did Alien have on the sci-fi genre?
Alien revolutionized the sci-fi genre with its realistic depiction of outer space and introduced a new level of suspense and fear.

8. Are there any memorable quotes from the movie?
Yes, some memorable quotes from Alien include “In space, no one can hear you scream” and “You don’t understand what you’re dealing with.”

9. Where was Alien filmed?
Alien was primarily filmed at Shepperton Studios in England.

10. Does Alien have a director’s cut?
Yes, there is a director’s cut of Alien that includes additional scenes and extended footage.

11. What is the significance of the chestburster scene?
The chestburster scene in Alien is one of the most memorable and shocking moments in cinema history.

12. Did Alien inspire other films?
Yes, Alien had a significant influence on the sci-fi genre and inspired many other films, including the popular franchise, Predator.

13. Are there any hidden meanings in Alien?
There are numerous interpretations and analyses of Alien, with some suggesting themes of rape, motherhood, and corporate greed.

14. How long is the runtime of Alien?
The runtime of Alien is approximately 117 minutes.

15. What are the most notable special effects in Alien?
The movie is known for its impressive practical effects, including the chestburster scene and the alien creature itself.

These are just a few of the commonly asked questions about the movie Alien. More questions may arise as you dig deeper into the world of this iconic film. Enjoy exploring!

Hungry for more extraterrestrial excitement? Dive deeper into the world of sci-fi with our article "44 Facts about the movie Alien Nation". This fascinating exploration of the 1988 classic will transport you to a gritty, futuristic Los Angeles where humans and alien refugees coexist in a tense, noir-inspired landscape. Uncover the groundbreaking special effects, thought-provoking social commentary, and unforgettable performances that make Alien Nation a must-see for any science fiction aficionado. Don't miss this opportunity to expand your knowledge of the genre and appreciate the enduring impact of this innovative film.

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