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Man Who Fell to Earth

David Bowie , Rip Torn , Nicolas Roeg    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
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While other films directed by Nicolas Roeg have attained similar cult status (including Walkabout and Don't Look Now), none has been as hotly debated as this languid but oddly fascinating adaptation of the science fiction novel by Walter Tevis. David Bowie plays the alien of the title, who arrives on Earth with hopes of finding a way to save his own planet from turning into an arid wasteland. He funds this effort by capitalizing on several highly lucrative inventions, and in so doing becomes the powerful leader of an international corporate conglomerate. But his success has negative consequences as well--his contact with Earth has a disintegrating effect that sends him into a tailspin of disorientation and metaphysical despair. The sexual attention of a cheerful young woman (Candy Clark) doesn't do much to change his outlook, and his introduction to liquor proves even more devastating, until, finally, it looks as though his visit to Earth may be a permanent one. The Man Who Fell to Earth is definitely not for every taste--it's a highly contemplative, primarily visual experience that Roeg directs as an abstract treatise on (among other things) the alienating effects of an over-commercialized society. Stimulating and hypnotic or frightfully dull, depending on your receptiveness to its loosely knit ideas, it's at least in part about not belonging, about being disconnected from the world--about being a stranger in a strange land when there's really no place like home. --Jeff Shannon.


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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Challenge March 10 2003
Format:DVD
This movie is very complex and non-linear. The viewer has to pay close attention to what is going on. But one shouldn't panic at the first sign of confusion. Hang on and challenge yourself to last through the movie. You may not feel satisfied by the movie, but you will think about it. Whether you end up liking the movie or not, it will effect you. That makes it the great movie that it is. I'm not sure whether I like it or not, but I'm glad I watched it. And I think about it and I'm still confused by some aspects of it. It needs a few views to be understood. But I'm not straining too hard to understand everything, because being confused and disoriented while watching a movie is a good thing. I don't really care if I don't know what's going on all the time. It makes for a very unpredictable experience. Too many movies today are so predictable, this one is not. The crude sexual scenes add to the reality of the movie. This is a REAL sci-fi movie. What I mean by REAL, is that the movie is about an alien and outerspace. But one wouldn't really know it until about half way through the movie. The true nature of the picture is hidden behind a well written movie about human life. Then when the sci-fi aspect unfolds, it has a great impact. I would recommend this movie to anyone looking for a challenge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Special Experience March 25 2003
Format:DVD
Many may call it dull and disjointed, too abstract or just give it a pass, since they haven't heard of it anyway! But they'd be missing a great movie, a unique and intellectual work of art. And that it is. I myself have never been much of a sci-fi fan so I don't particularly enjoy movies about space when they're too complicated and technical, but THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH is written in such a simple, but meaningful way- unlike most films nowadays- that makes it ageless, even after 30 years it cannot be considered outdated. Another thing I admire about it is a certain touchy feeling it has; it's hard to explain as it's so surreal, something out of this world! The first time I saw it, I was left with a sense of confusion and melancholy even, without consciously knowing why. I can't rally say I completely understand it to this day because there are so many hidden messages and feelings that make each time I watch it a whole new experience!
Despite my being a Bowie (super-) fan, I think everyone looking for a new experience in an interesting, smart and thought provoking, non-linear film should definitely buy the special edition DVD! It's worth every penny because it's a movie you can't just watch once, the VHS edition does not do it justice and the 2nd disc offers a very interesting and helpful 'Watching The Alien' documentary!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loving The Alien June 10 2004
Format:DVD
I never went into thi film expecting anything that
conventional,considering David Bowie stars in it.But it is a
socially relevant science fiction movie about an alien who comes
to Earth in search of water to aid his draught-ridden planet and
in the process get's caught up in the corrupt politics of human
culture.In the end he basically forgets why he came to Earth to
start with after falling in love and becoming owner of a big
cooperation.The overall message-if aliens arn't visiting this
planet there's a REASON!The movie uses stark settings and is
shot very surreally so it isn't for those without the most
open mind to avante-garde film making.Bowie,having already had
mime and theatre experience (and being the dramatic Ziggy Stardust of course) is brilliant as an actor and it is all too
believable that he doesn't come from Earth (I wonder if Bowie
really IS an alien sometimes anyway).But for those who can make
their mind and visual spectrum stretch and who don't mind a sadly
ironic ending you will enjoy this film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars TERRIFIC SCI-FI... Sept. 20 2003
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
I first saw this film when it was released in the mid nineteen seventies. I recalled how much I had enjoyed it, when I saw that it was available in DVD. The DVD itself is disappointing, as it offers virtually none of the features one has come to expect from a DVD.
This aside, the film itself, though somewhat abstract, is terrific, as it is not just a science fiction film with a twist. It is a film that explores themes that are timeless: desolation, alienation (no pun intended), and loneliness. At times, these themes are palpable, due to David Bowie's wondrously androgynous performance, which is heartbreakingly moving at times.
The plot is fairly simple. An alien, Davie Bowie, leaves his family on his dying and arid planet in search for water. He lands on earth and begins his project to send water to his devastated planet by amassing the wealth that he needs to do this. He patents numerous lucrative inventions which eventually find him at the head of a world wide conglomerate. He joins up with a kindly, though stupid and vapid woman who drinks gin like a fish, Candy Clark, with whom he begins a liaison of sorts. Yet, he is always lonely and melancholic, and like her, begins to spiral into an alcoholic haze, sometimes sidetracking him from his purpose here.
At some point, excruciatingly sad and lonely, longing for his family, he reveals himself to her for who he truly is, shedding his earthly appearance, only to be met with absolute horror and repugnance by her at the sight of him. She ultimately tries to understand him, but it is truly beyond her ken. He is infinitely sad at this and longs all the more for home.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Kinda new at this.
Well when I saw this, I was whoah gotta check it out, bought 2 different times.one was as a birthday present, other because I had pawned it. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Todd Copenace
4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Criterion Release
The Man Who Fell to Earth is a science fiction cult film from director Nicolas Roeg (Walkabout, Don't Look Now). Read more
Published on July 5 2007 by K. Driscoll
5.0 out of 5 stars How to explain this movie...
This is one of those films that is best watched in the dark, by yourself, because sometimes, you just might want to shout out "WHAT? Read more
Published on June 16 2004 by Kate
2.0 out of 5 stars Another sub-par Anchor Bay disc
I suppose the flimsy slipcase, free-floating booklet design was intended to ward off Chinese pirates (Arrrh! Read more
Published on March 26 2004 by S. Lu
4.0 out of 5 stars sci-fantastically superb
I just purchased THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH and was completely blown away by the sheer eclectisism of the film. Bowie does a great job in portraying "Mr. Newton"... Read more
Published on Nov. 24 2003 by JR
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicholas Roeg at his best
It's a shame that only 5 stars can be given to this classic film.
David Bowie, whom I adore anyway, makes an excellent debut in this superb film. Read more
Published on Aug. 24 2003 by madwolf@home.com
2.0 out of 5 stars Die Hard Fans Only
First off, let me say that I am a huge Bowie fan, owning and loving all of his original albums. But I simply did not enjoy this movie. Not at all really. Read more
Published on June 14 2003 by Jimmy Verona
5.0 out of 5 stars A Special Experience
Many may call it dull and disjointed, too abstract or just give it a pass, since they haven't heard of it anyway! Read more
Published on March 25 2003 by Irene Syrkos
4.0 out of 5 stars Time, space, power, and good timing
Whew, I remember lying about my age to get in to see this movie... I wasn't a big fan of David Bowie at the time; it was the oblique advertising campaign that got me interested. Read more
Published on March 14 2003 by C. G. Gross
4.0 out of 5 stars ILLEGAL ALIEN?
A thin, pale, androgynous David Bowie is THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH -- Special Edition (Anchor Bay), a two-disc set of Nicolas Roeg's film. Read more
Published on March 12 2003 by Robin Simmons
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