Greatest Movie Series
Franchises of All Time
The Alien Films

Aliens (1986)

Alien Films (Original)
Alien (1979) | Aliens (1986) | Alien 3 (1992) | Alien Resurrection (1997)

Alien Films (Prequel)
Prometheus (2012) | Alien: Covenant (2017)

The Alien Films - Part 2

Aliens (1986)
d. James Cameron, 137 minutes or 154 minutes (Special Edition)

Film Plot Summary

In this superb big-budget, adrenalin-fueled war-action film sequel, Lt. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) returned in the year 2179 AD as the Nostromo's sole survivor (after being in deep hyper-sleep for 57 years), when rescued by a deep-salvage team. Her first nightmarish dream was that she gave birth to an Alien, and she was treated with skepticism by Weyland-Yutani Corporation officials and lost her flight officer's license.

When news arrived of the loss of contact with terraforming space-colonists at Hadleys Hope (with a population of 158) on the moon LV-426 where the alien was first discovered in the initial film, Ripley reluctantly led a rough military crew of Colonial Marines with "state-of-the-art firepower" on board the USS Sulaco and one of its drop-ships ("an express elevator to hell") to investigate a "xenomorph." They included tough-talking, hard-bitten companions:

  • evil company executive Carter Burke (Paul Reiser)
  • gung-ho Marine Corps-loving
  • cigar-smoking Sgt. Apone (Al Matthews)
  • wise-cracking and sarcastic Private Hudson (Bill Paxton)
  • quiet and reserved Corporal Hicks (Michael Biehn)
  • inept platoon leader Lt. Gorman (William Hope)
  • hard-body "kick-ass" Hispanic recruit Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein)
  • "artificial person" - android Bishop (Lance Henriksen)

Their first finding in the seemingly-abandoned facility were two Alien facehuggers displayed in glass chambers and a sole human survivor - young, orphaned and traumatized Rebecca "Newt" Jorden (Carrie Henn), who was hiding in the air ducts; a large alien nest or egg chamber (of the egg-laying Queen mother alien) was found in the nuclear-powered processing station, filled with the cocooned-corpses of the colonists - with one still alive (as a bloody chest-burster emerged from her chest); many of the Marines were attacked and killed by aliens.

With Hicks in command, he ordered the group to evacuate and "nuke the site from orbit," although Burke objected - revealing his ties to the company to save alien speciments and use them as biological weapons; the dropship (with an alien onboard) crashed trying to pick them up, and Bishop announced that the nuclear-powered facility would blow up in four hours - time enough to remotely program the Sulaco's second drop ship to rescue them; Newt and Ripley were sabotaged by Burke when locked in the med-lab and two face-huggers threatened them.

Soon after when the aliens attacked through the ceiling and killed most of Ripley's companions, Newt was separated from the group and captured by one of the alien monsters, and taken to the hive of the Alien egg-laying Queen mother/monster to be cocooned, where Newt's maternal protector Ripley went to save her in the film's final showdown; after seeing the massive hissing Alien Queen and destroying most of her egg chamber with a flamethrower, Ripley met up with Bishop and Hicks at the second drop-ship for rescue and they reached the Sulaco safely as a nuclear explosion rocked LV-426 -- but the Queen stowed away in the dropship's landing gears and threatened them by impaling and ripping Bishop in two and pursuing Newt.

Ripley approached wearing a walking, exo-skeletal cargo-loading shield, and warned: "Get away from her, you bitch" and gave the alien Queen an aggressive, fisticuffs bitch-slap with the arm of the contraption; in the outer space airlocked hatch that was depressurizing - she held onto the rung of the hatch ladder as the screaming beast grabbed her ankle, but was ultimately able to expel the Alien into outer space after a fierce struggle; the four of them entered hypersleep for the long journey to Earth; at the conclusion of the ending credits, the faint sound of a scurrying face-hugger was heard.

Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)

Nominated for seven Academy Awards (with two wins): Best Visual Effects, and Best Sound Effects Editing. Sigourney Weaver was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar (an incredible feat for a sci-fi film) in a Rambo-like role, and lost to Marlee Matlin's performance in Children of a Lesser God (1986).

It told of a 'Vietnamese-style' heroic conflict on a distant colony betweeen heavily-armed Marines and a unbeatable enemy alien.

This box-office hit was budgeted at about $18.5 million, with almost $85 million (domestic), and over $131 million (worldwide).

The fictional spaceship U.S.S. Sulaco in the film was named after the silver mining town in Joseph Conrad's 1904 novel Nostromo.

Lt. Ellen Ripley
(Sigourney Weaver)

Carter Burke
(Paul Reiser)

Android Bishop
(Lance Henriksen)

Rebecca "Newt" Jorden
(Carrie Henn)

Sgt. Apone
(Al Matthews)

Pvt. Hudson
(Bill Paxton)

Cprl. Dwayne Hicks
(Michael Biehn)

Lt. Gorman
(William Hope)

Pvt. Vasquez
(Jenette Goldstein)

Alien Monster

Alien Queen

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