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The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

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An alien must pose as a human to save his dying planet, but a woman and greed of other men create complications.

Director:

Nicolas Roeg

Writers:

Paul Mayersberg (screenplay), Walter Tevis (from the novel by)
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Popularity
4,284 ( 1,026)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Bowie ... Thomas Jerome Newton
Rip Torn ... Nathan Bryce
Candy Clark ... Mary-Lou
Buck Henry ... Oliver Farnsworth
Bernie Casey ... Peters
Jackson D. Kane Jackson D. Kane ... Professor Canutti
Rick Riccardo Rick Riccardo ... Trevor
Tony Mascia ... Arthur
Linda Hutton Linda Hutton ... Elaine
Hilary Holland Hilary Holland ... Jill
Adrienne Larussa ... Helen
Lilybelle Crawford Lilybelle Crawford ... Jewelery Store Owner
Richard Breeding Richard Breeding ... Receptionist
Albert Nelson Albert Nelson ... Waiter
Peter Prouse Peter Prouse ... Peters' Associate
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Storyline

Thomas Jerome Newton is a humanoid alien who comes to Earth to get water for his dying planet. He starts a high technology company to get the billions of dollars he needs to build a return spacecraft, and meets Mary-Lou, a girl who falls in love with him. He does not count on the greed and ruthlessness of business here on Earth, however. Written by Gene Volovich <volovich@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You're only welcome if it's beneficial to us See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 April 1976 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Man Who Fell to Earth See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,922, 26 June 2011

Gross USA:

$100,072

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$162,388
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was shot around June, July, and August 1975. See more »

Goofs

When Newton is in the shed watching a television set on a pile of fire wood the analog input dial is clearly set to "LINE" and not "TV." This reveals the content being displayed is a recording controlled by the filmmakers and not broadcast television. See more »

Quotes

Mary-Lou: Oh, come on, Tommy. Don't go now. Give us another chance.
[whispers]
Mary-Lou: You won't find anyone else like me, you know. You won't find anyone who'd do for you like I've done for you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the original U.S. theatrical release, the "Hello Mary Lou" sequence with the gun was missing. It was restored when the movie was broadcast on pay cable. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Devil's On the Loose
(instrumental)
Written by John Phillips
Song is used as the "Nathan Bryce" theme when his character is first introduced on a college campus.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Obtuse and frustrating sci-fi art film
1 April 2011 | by Red-BarracudaSee all my reviews

The Man Who Fell To Earth is ultimately a frustrating film. The phrase 'the sum of its parts is greater than the whole' definitely applies. At times it's brilliant and original, but it's effectively brought down by its overlong running time and relentlessly obtuse presentation. It begins very promisingly but falls away in the final third, where it just loses focus and direction. Visually, as can be expected from Nicolas Roeg, it's often quite excellent, with his usual bold editing techniques in place too. The cinematography is very good and David Bowie certainly looks the part. Roeg certainly had a thing for using singers in lead roles. He also utilized Mick Jagger in Performance and Art Garfunkel in Bad Timing, and Bowie like those other two is used to good effect. He doesn't really need to act very much; Bowie in the mid 70's was an almost alien-like creature to begin with. I thought Candy Clark was very good as Mary-Lou. She brought some warmth to the proceedings which was appreciated.

Like Roeg's work in general, there is hardly any humour here. He was primarily a visionary auteur and The Man Who Fell To Earth is undoubtedly a work that allows him to express himself in a highly personal way. But unlike in Performance, Walkabout, Don't Look Now and even Bad Timing the technique never seemed to achieve an overall whole. My feeling is that I would need to re-watch this movie in order to develop a better appreciation of it. On first impressions, it's a collection of great moments within an impenetrable whole. A very strange film though.


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