Aliens (1986)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 10 mins

Where did you watch this movie?

This spine-chillingly terrifying sequel is set 57 years after Ellen Ripley survived her disastrous ordeal, when in a lucky twist of fate her escape vessel is recovered after drifting across the galaxy as she slept in cryogenic stasis. Back on earth, the powers-that-be find her story about the "Aliens" on the planet LV-426 sounding like tall tales of a traumatised woman. In an attempt to clarify the truth, the "Company" orders the colony on LV-426 be investigated, but it is found that all communication with the colony is lost. At this juncture, The Company enlists Ripley to aid a team of tough, rugged space marines on a rescue mission to the now partially terra-formed planet to find out if there are aliens or survivors. As the mission unfolds, Ripley will be forced to come to grips with her worst nightmare, but even as she does, she finds that the worst is yet to come.

Cast: Michael Biehn, Sigourney Weaver

Crew: James Cameron (Director), Adrian Biddle (Director of Photography), James Horner (Music Director)

Rating: U (India)

Genres: Action, Adventure

Release Dates: 18 Jul 1986 (India)

Tagline: This time there's more.

Movie Rating
Based on 0 rating
Music Rating
Based on 0 rating
Did you know? Sigourney Weaver had initially been very hesitant to reprise her role as Ripley, and had rejected numerous offers from Fox Studios to do any sequels, fearing that her character would be poorly written, and a sub-par sequel could hurt the legacy of Alien (1979). However, she was so impressed by the high quality of James Cameron's script - specifically, the strong focus on Ripley, the mother-daughter bond between her character and Newt, and the incredible precision with which Cameron wrote her character, that she finally agreed to do the film. Read More
No reviews available. Click here to add a review.
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actress
Supporting Actress
Supporting Actress
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor




Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography


Music Director


Art Director
Production Designer
Set Decorator


Film Type:
Feature Film
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
6-Track 70mm, Dolby
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
This time there's more.
This time it's war.
The bitch is back.
Audio/Video Mismatch
When Newt's mother is calling in the mayday, she is heard saying "Alpha zero two four niner" repeatedly, but the second time she says it her mouth is saying something else. (Special Edition only)

Audio/Video Mismatch
During the ventilation shaft scene towards the end of the movie Vasquez tells Gorman "you always were an asshole". However, you do not see her lips moving at the end after the camera angle changes.

Audio/Video Mismatch
After the first contact with the Aliens at the processing station and Drake is killed,Vasquez is being held back by Hicks near the door of the APC. He yells that Drake is gone and she says, "No he's not," but her mouth does not move in sync with the line.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Ripley finds Newt's locator, she begins to gasp. We then hear her cry out loudly, yet her mouth never opens.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Hudson confirms "It's a bug hunt" during the briefing, his lips don't move.

Character Error
During the inquest, Van Leuwen refers to Ripley's company ID number as NOC14472 while the data screen in the background displays NOC14672.

When Burke, Ripley and Lt. Gorman first enter the colony building, they pass through the pouring rain outside and get soaking wet. A few seconds later, inside the building, their clothes and Ripley's hair are dry again. (This scene is part of the extended edition)

In the elevator escape scene where Hicks gets acid sprayed, he holds his gun in front of his face and turns his head to the left. Any acid burns he got would have been to the right side of his face. As they fight to remove his melting chest armor, there are no acid marks on his face. When they leave the elevator, there are acid burns are on the left side of his head, instead of the right side.

Towards the end, when Ripley is on her way to rescue Newt, we see the pilot light on Ripley's flamethrower. When she pauses to drop a flare there is no pilot light. The next shot shows the pilot light again.

After the drop ship crash, after Hudson throws down the piece of debris, Hicks then grabs him and says "are you finished?". The next scene shows Hudson throwing down the same piece of debris again.

Revealing Mistakes
When Bishop is "doing the thing with knife" the scene is sped up to give the impression that Bishop is lightning fast. Apone can be seen rocking his head back and forth, also at a ridiculous speed.

Revealing Mistakes
When Bishop saves Newt from being sucked out of the airlock, part of Lance Henriksen's real torso can be seen beneath the false one, emerging from a hole in the floor. (This error was digitally corrected for the 2010 Blu-ray release.)

Revealing Mistakes
When Newt goes to bite Hicks' hand when he tries to grab her when she is first found, he clearly cries "Ow" before she can bite down.

Revealing Mistakes
During the escape in the APC, containers fall from the overhead storage, yet none of them strike Gorman anywhere near his head - they later say he has a concussion, and leaves the medlab with blood from his wounds showing through his bandage. In fact, only one of the containers strikes Gorman on the right arm and they way in which they fall indicate they are empty, clearly not enough force to knock him out cold.

Revealing Mistakes
When Vasquez shoots the alien which causes Drake's death, the exact shot of the alien exploding and spraying its acid blood everywhere is used again when the second pair of remote sentry guns (in the special edition) are firing away. In fact, it's used twice in this scene in quick succession.
The knife trick scene was not in the original shooting script. According to Lance Henriksen, the adding of Hudson's hand to the knife trick was discussed with almost everyone, except Bill Paxton.

Whilst filming the power loader battle. The crew played a practical joke on Sigourney Weaver by strategically strapping a balloon connected to an air pipe to where her backside would be. When they pumped up the balloon, Sigourney thought that the man operating the power loader inside it was getting aroused behind her.

When filming the scene with Newt in the duct, Carrie Henn kept deliberately blowing her scene so she could slide down the vent, which she later called a slide three stories tall. James Cameron finally dissuaded her by saying that if she completed the shot, she could play on it as much as she wanted. She did, and he kept his promise.

Like most films, the movie wasn't shot in sequence. But for added realism, James Cameron filmed the scene where we first meet the Colonial Marines (one of the earliest scenes) last. This was so that the camaraderie of the Marines was realistic because the actors had spent months filming together.

The Alien nest set was kept intact after filming. It was later used as the Axis Chemicals set for Batman (1989). When the crew of Batman (1989) first entered the set, they found most of the Alien nest still intact.

In both the standard and special edition versions, the fifteen minute countdown at the end of the film is indeed fifteen minutes.

The spear gun Ripley used at the end of Alien is briefly visible in the opening scenes of Aliens - still stuck at the bottom of the escape pod door where it jammed 57 years earlier.

The spear gun Ripley used at the end of Alien is briefly visible in the opening scenes of Aliens - still stuck at the bottom of the escape pod door where it jammed 57 years earlier.

During the scene when they have landed and deployed in the troop carrier, Apone tells the Marines they have 10 seconds until they arrive. If you count from here until the first Marine jumps out of the carrier and his boots hit the ground, it really is ten seconds.

Lance Henriksen had privately pledged to quit acting if this part didn't work out for him after years of journeyman roles. It proved to be one of his most successful films.

According to Bill Paxton, he improvised much of his lines including "Game over, man! Game over!"

Sigourney Weaver's Best Actress Academy Award nomination for this movie was the first ever for an actress in an action role in an action movie.

Budget constraints meant that they could only afford to have six hypersleep capsules for the scenes set aboard the Sulaco. Clever placement of mirrors and camera angles made it look like there were 12. Each hypersleep chamber cost over $4,300 to build.

One of the alien eggs used in the film is now exhibited in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

During the sequence in which Newt and Ripley are locked in MedLab, Ripley is attacked by one of the two facehuggers after setting off the sprinklers, resulting in the facehugger wrapping its tail around her neck after jumping off of a table leg. To film this, director James Cameron had the Special Effects crew design a facehugger fully capable of walking towards Ripley on its own, but to make it appear as if it jumps off of the table, and Cameron then used backwards-filming. He set up the facehugger on the table leg, then dragged it off and later edited the piece of film to play backward to make it appear to be moving forward towards Ripley. The crew thought that the fact that water was falling down during this whole scene would affect the sequence that was filmed backward (it would show the water moving up instead of down). In the end, the water was not visible enough to see the direction in which it was falling.

Al Matthews, who plays a Marine sergeant in this film, was in real life the first black Marine to be promoted to the rank of sergeant in the field during service in Vietnam.

Having hired James Cameron to write the screenplay, 20th Century Fox then did the unthinkable when he left the production to direct The Terminator (1984): they agreed to wait for Cameron to become available again and finish the screenplay. Cameron had only completed about 90 pages at that stage, but the studio had loved what he had written so far.

Sigourney Weaver had initially been very hesitant to reprise her role as Ripley, and had rejected numerous offers from Fox Studios to do any sequels, fearing that her character would be poorly written, and a sub-par sequel could hurt the legacy of Alien (1979). However, she was so impressed by the high quality of James Cameron's script - specifically, the strong focus on Ripley, the mother-daughter bond between her character and Newt, and the incredible precision with which Cameron wrote her character, that she finally agreed to do the film.

In a deleted scene, Ripley's (Sigourney Weaver) daughter was played by Elizabeth Inglis, Sigourney Weaver's real-life mother.

The alien screams are Baboon shrieks altered in post.

The "special edition" includes extra scenes: Newt's parents discovering the abandoned alien ship on LV-426, scenes of Ripley discussing her daughter, Hudson bragging about his weaponry, robot sentry guns repelling first alien raid, and Hicks and Ripley exchanging first names. Also included is a scene on LV-426 where a child rides a low-slung tricycle similar to one ridden in The Terminator (1984), also directed by James Cameron.

Most of the movie was filmed under very bluish light to give it a strange and "alien" feel. The colors of the Marines' camouflage BDUs and the Humbrol "Brown Bess" used on the Pulse Rifles were all chosen specifically to work with the blue set lighting. As a result, both look very different under natural light than they did on screen.

The difficulties surrounding Sigourney Weaver's contract negotiations were such that James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd - recently married - announced that if the deal was not done by the time they got back from their honeymoon, they were out. When they returned, no progress had been made - so James Cameron, determined to make the film and wary of the deadline scenario he had created, devised a scheme: he telephoned Arnold Schwarzenegger's agent for an informal chat and informed him that, thanks to his newfound standing in Hollywood following The Terminator (1984), he had decided to make this film entirely his own by writing Ripley out; as Cameron anticipated, Schwarzenegger's agent immediately relayed the information to his colleague representing Weaver at ICM, who in turn contacted 20th Century-Fox Head of Production Lawrence Gordon; both men, determined that under no circumstances whatsoever would Ripley be written out, wasted no time in sealing Weaver's deal.

Bishop's line about him being incapable of hurting a person or letting anyone come to harm are a direct reference to Issac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, more specifically the First Law: "A robot may not injure a human being nor, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." (the Second Law is "A robot must obey the orders given by a human being except where it would conflict with the First Law; the Third Law is, "A robot must protect its own existence except where it would conflict with the First or Second Laws."). Asimov eventually introduced a "Zeroth" Law: "A robot may not injure humanity nor, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm."

Hicks was originally played by James Remar, but Michael Biehn replaced him a few days after principal photography began, due to "artistic differences" between Remar and director James Cameron. However, Remar still appears in the finished film - but wearing the same armor, and shot from behind, it's impossible to tell the difference between the two actors.

Except for a very small reference in Alien (1979), the special edition of this film is the first to reveal the name of 'The Company' as Weyland-Yutani. The name is clearly written on several pieces of equipment and walls in the colony during a pre-alien outbreak scene of the special edition.

Sigourney Weaver had several notes for James Cameron after having read the script. However, Cameron praised her for never taking issue with the direction he wanted to take with the story. Her notes were all about how she felt Ripley should respond to her situations, which he was happy to accommodate.

To bring the alien queen to life would take anything between 14 and 16 operators.

Four actors from this movie appear in various Terminator movies: Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen and Bill Paxton in The Terminator (1984), and Jenette Goldstein in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).

There was talk of bringing H.R. Giger back for the second movie to do more design work, but James Cameron decided against it because there was only one major design to be done, that of the Alien Queen, which Cameron had already done some drawings of.

Lance Henriksen wanted to wear double-pupil contact lenses for a scene where Bishop is working in the lab on a microscope and gives a scary look at one of the Marines. He came to set with those lenses, but James Cameron decided he did not need to wear them because he was acting the character with just the right amount of creepiness already.

During Hudson's (Bill Paxton) boasting monologue aboard the drop ship (special edition only) he talks about some of the weaponry of the Colonial Marines, mentioning a "phased plasma pulse rifle" - the pulse rifles the marines carry are ballistic, not "phased plasma", but the line references The Terminator (1984) (also directed by James Cameron, and featuring Paxton in a minor role) in which the terminator asks a gun store clerk for a "phased plasma rifle".

The assault vehicle is a modified tow-truck that British Airways used for towing airplanes around at Heathrow. The only trouble was that the truck they purchased weighed 75 tons. By stripping out most of the lead used in its construction, they were able to remove about 30 tons.

The body mounts for Vasquez's and Drake's smart guns are taken from Steadicam gear.

In an interview, composer James Horner felt that James Cameron had given him so little time to write a musical score for the film, he was forced to cannibalize previous scores he had done, such as elements from his Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) scores, as well as adapt a rendition of "Gayane Ballet Suite" for the main and end titles. Horner stated that the tensions with Cameron were so high during post-production that he assumed they would never work together again. However, Cameron loved the score from Braveheart (1995) so much, the two mutually agreed that Horner would write the score for Titanic (1997), because it was a story they both wanted to do. They've let bygones be bygones ever since, especially when they won their Oscars for Titanic (1997) and collaborated again 12 years later for Avatar (2009).

Three different types of smoke were used in the film, one of which has since become illegal to be used on movie sets.

Aliens (1986) was never shown to test audiences because editing was not completed until the week before its theatrical release.

When the set crews were looking around for floor grating to use on the Sulaco set design, they asked a local set design manufacturer/shop if they had anything of the sort. Indeed they did, an immense pile of old floor grating had been sitting out in the back of their shop for the last seven years. It was left there from when they tore down the set of Alien (1979).

In the scene in the air shaft where Vasquez shoots the alien with a handgun, Jenette Goldstein could not handle the recoil of the gun properly. As a result, producer Gale Anne Hurd doubled for Vasquez in shots where the gun is fired. She was the only woman available who had experience firing handguns. Goldstein's flinching at the firing of a gun is also masked during the operations room fight immediately preceding the air shaft scene, when Vasquez is seen firing two grenades at the aliens - for the first one, there's a barely visible cut (Goldstein's head changes position suddenly) and for the second shot there is a smash-cut away from her face at the moment of firing.

To most of the crew, the choice of James Cameron as director was mystifying as The Terminator (1984) hadn't been released at that stage. The film's assistant director continually questioned Cameron's decisions and was openly antagonistic towards him. Ultimately producer Gale Anne Hurd had no choice but to fire him and he briefly instigated a mass walk-out from the rest of the crew. Fortunately this was quickly resolved but caused some doubt as to whether the film would make it to completion.

Since production took place in England, the director and producers conveniently cast many American actors who were already living in England. This was particularly important for the actress playing Newt, who had to be a minor. Carrie Henn, who played Newt, was an American girl living with her family in England (actually, a bit of an English accent can be heard when she says, "Let's go," and, "There is a short-cut across the roof," during the Alien attack at the end of the movie). Her movie brother Timmy (seen only in the extended version) is also her real-life brother Christopher Henn.

According to Lance Henriksen, during the production of "Aliens", the film Full Metal Jacket (1987) was also being shot at a nearby location. Because of this the crews of each movie would often gather together for parties.

Armorer Terry English made three sets of armor for each member of the cast who needed to wear armor. He was only given two weeks to complete the job and upon arriving back at his workshop a few hours drive away from the film set, he realized he had forgotten the scrap of cloth James Cameron had given him so that the camouflage on the armor could be matched correctly to the uniforms the Marines would be wearing. Instead of going all the way back, English painted the completed sets of armor from memory. The result was a pattern and color combination not too dissimilar to the British Army DPM pattern. Fortunately, Cameron liked the contrast between the armor and the BDUs (Battle Dress Uniforms) the Marines wore beneath it, saying it make the armor more obvious to the eye. The graffiti you see on some of the armor was done by the actors themselves, with a little help from English for a few details like Hicks' clasp and padlock on his chest armor. The armor was hand made from Aluminum and all in one size, with on set adjustments made by English to make them fit each actor.
Movie Connection(s):
Referenced in: Bermuda Tentacles (English)