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The Man Who Fell to Earth (Criterion Collection)

72 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: David Bowie, Rip Torn, Candy Clark, Buck Henry, Bernie Casey
  • Directors: Nicolas Roeg
  • Writers: Paul Mayersberg, Walter Tevis
  • Producers: Barry Spikings, John Peverall, Michael Deeley, Si Litvinoff
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Paradox
  • Release Date: Sept. 20 2005
  • Run Time: 139 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A88EVE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #60,446 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Matthew T. Parrish on 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 By Irene Syrkos on 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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By lawyeraau TOP 500 REVIEWER on Sept. 20 2003
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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Format: DVD
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.
The film follows Walter Tevis's novel very well and adapts to the screen to create a very saddening tale of corporate America and how it can be a boon or a bust to some, including aliens.
That alone is a scary thought.
Upon his arrival from a dying planet, Thomas Jerome Newton sets out to create an empire to obtain money to purchase water for his dying planet. Occasional scenes are shown of him leaving his wife and children behind, and throughout the film we see other scenes of them waiting for his return.
What is never shown is how he is going to transport this to his home planet.
Along the way to his path to success, he is plagued by metaphorical leeches who will do anything to stop him. Greed, lust, and several other deadly sins are thrust upon our protaganist as he tries in vain to overcome them in the process.
David Bowie was the perfect person to be cast for this movie. He moves along in it with an icy perfection that is or was appropriate to his character at the time.
Keep in mind, this film is not without it's flaws. Some scenes were restored to make this the original theatrical release. One involving Rip Torn and his student could have been done without as it makes no sense and attributes nothing to the overall affect of the movie. Again, that is just an opinion, and die hard fans of this movie will be happy that it is included.
This film, upon it's release, was well ahead of its time and to this day, many of the themes implied still are appropiate to what constitutes success vs. failure in the American business sense.
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