Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 59 mins

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Set against the backdrop of small town of Absolution, New Mexico in 1873, this thrilling sci-fi tale revolves around where a lone cowboy leads an uprising against a terror from beyond our world. A stranger with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don't welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). It's a town that lives in fear. However, Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known. Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he's been, he realizes he holds a secret that could give the town a fighting chance against the alien force. With the help of the elusive traveler Ella (Olivia Wilde), he pulls together a posse comprised of former opponents-townsfolk, Dolarhyde and his boys, outlaws and Apache warriors-all in danger of annihilation. United against a common enemy, they will prepare for an epic showdown for survival.
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Did you know? Screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman described the film as "Unforgiven (1992) with aliens landing." Read More
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as Jake Lonergan
as Woodrow Dolarhyde




Executive Producer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography


Music Director
Film Type:
Feature Film
Colour Info:
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
After the first Alien attack at roughly 45:20 into the movie when Jake Lonergan rides after the Aliens on his own, his bracelet is seen missing for a few seconds until a close shot where the bracelet is back.

The morning after the first alien attack, the posse follows the trail left by the alien which, according to the dialog, headed North. However, the early morning shadows cast by the sun on the the riders and their horses are on their right, which indicates that they're riding Southward.

After escaping the mine, both Jake and Woodrow are covered in dirt. In the next take, they are clean.

When Jake is riding towards his house, the scene is a long shot but it can be seen very obviously that the bracelet is missing from his arm. In the following shot the bracelet is suddenly back on his arm.

The three cowboys Lonergan meets after first waking up appear very dirty and sweaty, and all of their equipment is old and used. The cowboy hat he later takes from one of them is obviously new, as it doesn't appear dirty and doesn't have a sweat salt stain where it would rest on one's head.

Dollarhyde gives a knife to young Emmett that he claims he obtained as a boy. The knife is obviously stainless steel. Stainless steel wasn't invented until 1904 and didn't become available to the public until decades after that.

When Jake Lonergan asked Sheriff Taggart what he was being charged with, one of his charges is "hijacking," a word first coined in the 1920s.

When dynamite is about to be lit they grab a matchbox made of cardboard, up until well into the 20th century (around the 1940s) matchboxes were made of wood.

When Jake is looking up through the hole in the roof of his house, there are two crossed boards held together by a screw with a recessed head. The square or Phillips headed screws were not invented until the early 1900s.

Bronc (the Mexican in the gang) proposes to travel to Puerto Vallarta. In 1873 Puerto Vallarta was called Las Peñas. The name changed in 1918.

Revealing Mistakes
The boot Jake takes from the dead cowboy has a suspiciously clean sole.

Revealing Mistakes
When Jake is looking up through the round hole in the roof of his house, the carpenter's pencil line outlining the circle is visible on one of the "damaged" boards.

Revealing Mistakes
When Woodrow and the rest of the men on the trail of the aliens arrive on horseback at the upturned boat, it is raining heavily. However, no rainwater appears to be dripping off the brims of the men's hats.

Revealing Mistakes
After the first alien attack it is stated that they will leave at first light, but the next morning from the length of the shadows on the ground it can be seen that the sun is up and it is well into the morning.

Crew/Equipment Visible
At the first scene when the father gets off his horse, a piece of bright blue equipment (possibly paper) with some tape on it is seen right at the saddle.
The body count in this movie is an impressive 34.

The director of this movie, Jon Favreau made a cameo appearance at around 19 mins; his mugshot can be seen as the sheriff notices and takes off the wanted poster of Jake Lonergan.

The filmmakers cite Alien (1979) and Predator (1987) as an influence on the look of aliens in this film.

Daniel Craig was chosen because of his distinct likeness to Steve McQueen, who starred in the cowboy epic The Magnificent Seven (1960).

Daniel Craig recommended Eva Green for the role of Ella after working with her in Casino Royale (2006). However, Eva turned the role down and Olivia Wilde, who'd auditioned for Eva's Bond role of Vesper Lynd, was cast.

The fabric used to make Ella's dress had originally been considered for Hailee Steinfeld's wardrobe in True Grit (2010) but had been deemed too feminine for that movie.

This is DreamWorks' third comic-book adaptation, after Road to Perdition (2002) and Over the Hedge (2006).

Harrison Ford wanted to go bareheaded in the film and not wear a hat (he is most famous for his performance in Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones films, where Jones wore a fedora), but since it was a Western film he was convinced to wear a hat. In American Graffiti (1973) , Harrison Ford was asked to cut his hair (to go bareheaded with a period haircut) for the film. He refused, stating that his role was too short, and offered to wear a hat instead.

Robert Downey Jr. was set to play Zeke Jackson (a "former Union army gunslinger"), but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Within the month, the character was then re-named Jake Lonergan, re-written to be an outlaw, and Downey, Jr. was replaced with Daniel Craig.

Director Jon Favreau was constantly harassed with demands to shoot/convert the film in 3-D, but he held his ground, claiming Westerns should only be shot on film.

Steven Spielberg screened The Searchers (1956) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) for Roberto Orci and Jon Favreau so that they could get the atmosphere of the film.

Screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman described the film as "Unforgiven (1992) with aliens landing."