What do you remember about the very first Alien movie?

ENTERTAINMENT

Julie Medina

4 Min Quiz

Image: TMDB

About This Quiz

"In space, no one can hear you scream." A highly aggressive extraterrestrial creature stalks and kills the crew of a commercial spaceship in this sci-fi horror classic that spawned a new generation of Alien and Predator movies. Recall the thrills and chills of this epic movie!

What is the name of the cat?

Jones plays a role in scaring the crew when looking for the alien. 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.

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What is the name of the commercial spacecraft that has to investigate the distress call?

The original name for the spaceship was Snark. This was later changed to Leviathan before they finally settled for Nostromo. 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.

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Who says this? “The pit is completely enclosed. And it's full of leathery objects, like eggs or something.”

Kane discovers the many eggs inside the abandoned spaceship. John Hurt portrays Kane, the executive officer who becomes the host for the Alien. Hurt is an English actor and voice actor, whose career has spanned six decades. He initially came to prominence in A Man for All Seasons, The Naked Civil Servant, The Elephant Man, Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Hit, and Scandal. He is also known for his television roles, including Caligula in I, Claudius and the War Doctor in Doctor Who. Hurt's other films include Midnight Express, Rob Roy, V for Vendetta, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the Harry Potter film series, the Hellboy films, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

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Who says this? “Danger. The emergency destruct system is now activated. The ship will detonate in T minus ten minutes.”

This is said by Mother, letting all know that the ship will self-destruct in 10 minutes. 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 holding the computer card that Dallas and Ripley use to gain access to the control console room.

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Who says this? “Micro changes in air density, my ass.”

Ripley, the only survivor, is the warrant officer aboard the Nostromo. Ripley is portrayed by Sigourney Weaver, an actress and film producer. She rose to fame with her role as Ripley in the Alien series. She is also known for starring in Ghostbusters and the sequel, as well as Avatar. Weaver was nominated for a Drama Desk Award and received a Tony Award nomination for Hurlyburly. She is a seven-time Golden Globe Award nominee. She won both Best Actress in Drama and Best Supporting Actress for her work in Gorillas in the Mist and Working Girl, becoming the first person to win two acting Golden Globes in the same year. She also received Academy Award nominations for both films.

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Who says this? “Uh, before we dock, I think we oughta discuss the bonus situation.”

Parker thinks that he and Brett are not being paid fairly for their work. They are worried about their bonuses and shares when the job is done. Yaphet Kotto portrays Parker, the chief engineer. Kotto is known for numerous film roles, as well as starring in the NBC television series Homicide: Life on the Street. His films include The Running Man, Live and Let Die, and Midnight Run as FBI agent Alonzo Mosely.

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Who says this? “Bones are bent outward, like he exploded from inside.”

Dallas says this as he is exploring the bowels of the abandoned spacecraft. Tom Skerritt portrays Dallas, the courageous captain of the Nostromo. Tom Skerritt has appeared in more than forty films and more than two hundred television episodes since 1962. He is known for his roles in M*A*S*H, Top Gun, A River Runs Through It, Up in Smoke, and the television series Picket Fences. Skerritt has earned several awards and nominations, including a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Picket Fences.

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Who says this? “You still don't understand what you're dealing with, do you? Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.”

Ash says this. He is the ship's science officer, who by this point in the movie is revealed to be an android. He is saying this with his head disconnected from his body. Ash is portrayed by Ian Holm, who received the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in The Homecoming and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor as King Lear. He won the 1981 BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Chariots of Fire, for which he was also nominated for an Academy Award. Other well-known film roles include Sir William Gull in From Hell, Father Vito Cornelius in The Fifth Element, and the hobbit Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film series.

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What is the alien like?

What a monster of an alien. It has several mouths that open to reveal rows of sharp teeth and lots of slime. Plus, in 24 hours it grows from about 7 inches to twice as tall as a man. If the crew kills it with a gun, its blood will eat right through the ship. The rumor that the cast, except for John Hurt, did not know what would happen during the chestburster scene is partly true. The scene had been explained to them, but they did not know specifics. For instance, Veronica Cartwright did not expect to be sprayed with blood.

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What happens when Mother detects a mysterious transmission?

Detecting a mysterious transmission, possibly a distress signal from a nearby planetoid, the ship's computer, Mother, awakens the crew from stasis. Time is often suspended in stasis fields so the occupants don’t age while they are sleeping. Protocols require the crew to investigate the signal -- which is why the entire crew, not just the Captain, awakens from stasis.

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Why does Brett have to capture Jones before Ripley, Brett, and Parker continue searching for the alien?

Brett follows the crew's cat, Jones, into an engine room and the now fully grown alien attacks him and disappears with his body into the air shafts. Brett, the engineering technician, is played by Harry Dean Stanton. Stanton is an actor, musician, and singer whose career has spanned over 60 years, during which he appeared in such films as Cool Hand Luke, Kelly's Heroes, Dillinger, The Godfather Part II, Escape from New York, Christine, Paris, Texas, Repo Man, Pretty in Pink, The Last Temptation of Christ, Wild at Heart, The Straight Story, The Green Mile, and Inland Empire. In the late 2000s, he played a regular role in the HBO television series Big Love.

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Who says this? “I found it. Just short of Zeta II Reticuli. We haven't reached the Outer Rim yet.”

After the crew awakens from hyper-sleep, the navigator Lambert announces that the ship is "just short of Zeta 2 Reticuli." Zeta Reticuli is a real double-star system about 39 light-years from Earth. It has figured prominently in UFO lore. In the 1960s, Barney and Betty Hill claimed to have been abducted by "gray" aliens from Zeta Reticuli.

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Who is guiding Dallas as he explores the air shafts, looking for the alien?

Veronica Cartwright portrays Lambert, the Nostromo's navigator. She reflects what the audience is feeling. She shouts into the headset to Dallas, “Get out of there now!” Cartwright had previous experience in horror and science fiction films, having acted as a child in The Birds and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Her career has spanned six decades.

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Why is Kane unconscious when he is brought back to Nostromos from the deserted ship?

Kane discovers a chamber containing hundreds of eggs. As he inspects one, a creature springs out and attaches itself to his face. The creature lets him breathe, but tightens around Kane’s throat when it is being prodded. Did you know the dead facehugger that Ash autopsies was made using fresh shellfish, four oysters and a sheep kidney to recreate the internal organs?

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Why won’t Ripley allow Kane, Dallas, and Lambert into the spaceship?

As acting senior officer, Ripley refuses to let them aboard, citing quarantine regulations, but Ash violates protocol by overriding Ripley's lock and letting them in. The crew unsuccessfully attempt to remove the creature from Kane's face, discovering that its blood is an extremely corrosive acid. It detaches on its own and is found dead. Shredded condoms were used to create tendons of the beast's ferocious jaws.

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When the facehugger detaches and Kane awakens, what does the crew do?

The facehugger detaches on its own and is found dead. Kane awakens, not remembering anything, although he says he is very hungry. However, killing everyone’s appetite, Kane chokes and convulses in pain before a small alien creature bursts from his chest, killing him. The creature escapes into the depths of the ship. Here's an interesting fact: the slime used on the Alien was K-Y jelly.

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Which of these does the crew use to try to capture the alien?

The crew attempts to locate and capture the alien with motion trackers, nets, electric prods, and flamethrowers, with the ultimate goal of shooting it out of the airlock. Many special effects were used for this movie. For the chestburster sequence, 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.

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What does Ripley discover about the Science Officer’s secret orders?

Accessing Mother, Ripley discovers that Ash has secretly been ordered to return the alien to the crew's employers, who consider the crew expendable. The Nostromo's computer is named "Mother." The incubation of the alien has also been interpreted as a metaphor for pregnancy.

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When does the viewer start getting suspicious about Ash?

The answer is all of the above. Ash always seemed a bit odd - and that is how the director wanted it to be. For instance, one of the deleted scenes many fans wanted to see incorporated into the film was the scene where Lambert and Ripley discuss whether they've slept with Ash, suggesting there's something not quite right about Ash.

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When Ripley confronts Ash, he tries to choke her to death how?

Ash rolls up paper into a tube and tries to jam it down Ripley's throat. When Veronica and Parker help subdue Ash, Parker knocks off Ash's head, revealing him to be an android. 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.

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After Ash is revealed to be an android, how do Parker, Lampert, and Ripley try to escape?

Ripley, Lambert, and Parker agree to set the Nostromo to self-destruct and escape in the shuttle. According to a quote from Veronica Cartwright (Lampert) in a film magazine, when the alien's tail wraps around her legs while getting supplies, they are actually Harry Dean Stanton's legs, in a shot originally filmed for another scene entirely.

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Who says this to Ripley? “We ain't outta here in ten minutes, we won't need no rocket to fly through space.”

Parker, the chief engineer, says this to Ripley. The Nostromo is his baby. He knows everything about her. Since this film had a low budget, $9-11 million, to simulate the thrust of engines on the Nostromo, Ridley Scott had crew members shake and wobble the seats the actors were sitting in. The grid-like flooring on the Nostromo was achieved using upturned milk crates, painted over.

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What happens when Parker and Lambert gather life-support supplies?

Parker and Lambert are ambushed and killed by the alien while gathering life-support supplies. For Parker's death, a fiberglass cast of Yaphet Kotto's head was made, then filled with pigs' brains. The forehead was made of wax so that the alien's teeth could penetrate it easily. Indeed, barbed hooks were fastened to the end of the teeth to make sure it broke the wax surface effectively.

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What is Ripley doing while Parker and Lambert are gathering supplies for the shuttle?

Ripley initiates the self-destruct sequence and then looks for Jones. She finds Jones, but when she is heading back to the shuttle the alien blocks her path. Did you know that three aliens were made for the film? The studio created a model of the alien, an alien suit for seven-footer Bolaji Badejo, and another suit for a trained stunt man.

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What does Ripley need to do when the alien blocks her path to the shuttle?

When the alien blocks her path from the shuttle, she retreats and attempts to abort the self-destruct sequence. However, she is unsuccessful and now needs to escape in the shuttle before the Nostromo explodes. She returns to retrieve Jones, and, finding the alien gone, she makes her shuttle escape. For the alien's appearance in the shuttle, the set was built around seven-foot Bolaji Badejo, giving him an effective hiding place. However, extricating himself from the hiding place proved more difficult than anticipated. The alien suit tore several times, and, in one instance, the whole tail came off.

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What happens as Ripley prepares to enter stasis in the shuttle?

As Ripley prepares to enter stasis, she discovers the alien is aboard the shuttle. She dons a spacesuit and opens the shuttle's airlock, causing explosive decompression which forces the alien into the shuttle's open doorway. Did you know that 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?

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Who sings this? “You are my lucky star. You... Lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky.”

When Ripley needs to get into the astronaut suit, she sings this song. It was Sigourney Weaver's idea to sing, "You Are My Lucky Star" while preparing to get rid of the alien. Ridley Scott mentions how much flack he got from the studio because of how expensive the rights to the song were.

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What happens so that the Alien is still on the shuttle?

The grappling hook rope is caught in the door, suspending the alien outside the shuttle. The film was originally to end with Ripley escaping the Nostromo with her shuttle. However, one scene that was not filmed had the alien pulling Ripley out of the shuttle with the grapple wire. Then Ripley shoots it with a pistol and makes her way back inside before destroying it with the engines.

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There is one last thing Ripley does to kill the alien - what is it?

The alien attempts to crawl into one of the engines, but Ripley activates the engine, blasting the alien into space. The film was originally supposed to end with Ripley escaping the Nostromo in her shuttle. However, Ridley Scott asked for additional time and budget to add a "fourth act" to the movie, showing how the Alien stowed away aboard the shuttle. In this ending, a much darker one which Scott originally wanted, the Alien bites off Ripley's head in the escape shuttle, sits in her chair, and then starts speaking with her voice in a message to Earth. Apparently, 20th Century Fox didn’t want such a dark ending, and only allowed the additional scene if the Alien would die.

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Which of these are included in the ship's final log entry?

This is the full final log entry. “Final report of the commercial starship Nostromo, third officer reporting. The other members of the crew - Kane, Lambert, Parker, Brett, Ash, and Captain Dallas - are dead. Cargo and ship destroyed. I should reach the frontier in about six weeks. With a little luck, the network will pick me up. This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off. [looks at cat] Come on, cat. “

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What did the critics think of the film?

Although initially Alien was met with mixed reviews, on Rotten Tomatoes the film holds a rating of 97%, based on 102 reviews. For instance, at first Robert Ebert called it, "basically just an intergalactic haunted house thriller set inside a spaceship." However, the film later made it onto Ebert's Great Movies list. He gave it four stars, stating, "Ridley Scott's 1979 movie is a great original."

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What did the fans think of the film?

The audience gave it a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. It was a huge financial success. On a budget of $9-11 million, it earned $104.9–203.6 million in box office sales, which includes DVDs, Blu-ray, international sales, and other profits.

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Which of these other accolades did the film receive?

Aliens has remained highly praised in subsequent decades, being considered one of the greatest films of all time. In 2002, the film was deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. In 2008, it was ranked as the seventh-best film in the science fiction genre by the American Film Institute, and as the 33rd greatest film of all time by Empire magazine.

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Which of these awards did the film receive?

The film received an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, Saturn Awards for Best Science Fiction Film, Best Direction for Scott, and Best Supporting Actress for Cartwright, and a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, along with numerous other award nominations.

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Which of these are sequels to Alien?

After the first Alien movie, there came Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992), and Alien: Resurrection (1997). Plus, there have been crossover movies with the Predator franchise, producing the Alien vs. Predator series, which includes Alien vs. Predator (2004) and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007). A prequel series, which includes Prometheus (2012) and Alien: Covenant (2017), continues in development.

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