Aliens (1986)



Critic Consensus: While Alien was a marvel of slow-building, atmospheric tension, Aliens packs a much more visceral punch, and features a typically strong performance from Sigourney Weaver.

Movie Info

Big-budget special effects, swiftly paced action, and a distinct feminist subtext from writer/director James Cameron turned what should have been a by-the-numbers sci-fi sequel into both a blockbuster and a seven-time Oscar nominee. Sigourney Weaver returns as Ellen Ripley, the last surviving crew member of a corporate spaceship destroyed after an attack by a vicious, virtually unbeatable alien life form. Adrift in space for half a century, Ripley grapples with depression until she's informed by … More

Rating: R
Genre: Action & Adventure, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: James Cameron
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 1, 1999
20th Century Fox Film Corporat


as Cpl. Dwayne Hicks

as Burke

as Pvt. Hudson

as Lt. Gorman

as Pvt. Vasquez

as Sgt. Apone

as Pvt. Drake

as Pvt. Frost

as Cpl. Ferro

as Pvt. Spunkmeyer

as Cpl. Dietrich

as Pvt. Crowe

as Pvt. Wierzbowski

as Van Leuwen

as Insurance Man

as Med Tech

as Cocooned Woman

as Alien Warrior

as Double for Newt

as Power Loader Operato...

as Double for Newt
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Aliens

All Critics (61) | Top Critics (14)

Scene to scene, encounter to encounter, its tension builds unrelentingly. So, fasten your seat belts. It`s a blast.

Full Review… | October 14, 2014
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

[Aliens] is a spectacular example of state-of-the-art science fiction simply because it never tries to be overtly spectacular.

Full Review… | July 30, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

It's blaster action, not Gothic future-horror. Fortunately, director-screenwriter James Cameron has shaped his film around the defiant intelligence and sensual athleticism of Weaver, and that's where Aliens works best.

Full Review… | July 30, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

This film is also the best monster movie of the year and the best picture of any kind to open so far this summer. Put it another way: Aliens is the Jaws of the '80s.

Full Review… | July 30, 2013
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Action thrillers assail but rarely test us; this is the tautest, most provoking, and altogether most draining example ever made.

Full Review… | July 30, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

Count me out of the fan club for this one.

Full Review… | January 16, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Aliens


I liked this more than the first one. Simply a rocking movie & I do recommend it to watch. But you need to watch the first one to get the general idea about the story line.

Dead Angel

Super Reviewer

Just like the film that precedes it, Aliens is a cinematic masterpiece. Whereas Alien was a space horror type film that was all about mood, tone, and atmosphere, and using the claustrophobia of the ship to produce its scares, Aliens is a rip-roaring balls out action fest. The tension and claustrophobia of the setting is used to make things more intense and scary, but this is an action film through and through.

Set 57 years after the events of Alien, Ellen Ripley, last surviving member of the Nostromo, is awoken from stasis, and given another mission. In her time away, LV-426, the planetoid where the Nostromo crew encountered the vicious alien in the original film, has been colonized by a group of terraformers. However, contact with them has been launched, so a group of marines are sent in to investigate, and Ripley is sent along as a consultant. Like the first film, they encounter alien trouble, but instead of a single, yet , deadly threat, there are many of them, and this time, it's war.

Ellen Ripley is one of the greatest action movie characters of all time. She became a trend setter for future heroines to come, but she herself is inspired by the blaxploitation stars of the 70s such as Pam Grier and Tamara Dobson. They laid the ground work, she just built on top of it. She started out as a strong woman just doing what she had to in order to survive in Alien, now, she's a fully developed bad ass that you don't want to mess with. She's not static though- she also shows her tender side by playing mother to the child stranded on the planet. The marines that accompany her to LV-426 aren't as developed, but they aren't totally cookie-cutter caricatures, either. In fact, some of them are pretty funny and likeable, even memorable. None of them outshine Ripley, though.

The real star here is the visual effects. They are outstanding. They still hold up even to this day, and I'm amazed at how they managed to bring all these frightful creatures to life without reliance on CGI. It makes me yearn for the old days when it took blood, sweat, tears, and creativity to get the job done. Even though the emphasis is primarily on action, there's still some pretty intense, spooky, and riveting moments, with does of that moody, unnerving atmosphere from the first.

Bottom line: this is one of the most impressive and influential sci-fi action films out there, so it is basically required viewing for fans of the genre, and people interested in great cinema in general. Both this and Alien are masterpieces in their own ways, and it's hard for me to pick which one is better, or which one I like more. They are similar, but different enough to make it unfair to really pick a favorite. Anyhoo, just see this, already, or rewatch it, whatever applies.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Ripley is awakened from stasis to find that she has been gone for 57 years and is being made a scapegoat for the loss of her ship. But then contact is lost with the colony on LV 426 and she is enlisted as an adviser to a combat unit sent to investigate. The vast majority of sequels are of course just cynical attempts to cash in on the popularity of the original film and rarely have much in the way of cinematic merit in their own right. Aliens is one of the few that not only expanded on the idea of the original but took it in a whole new direction. The production design is superb and every sci-fi movie made since that features military hardware gets its cues from here, and it still looks brilliant. The ensemble cast are all excellent, especially Sigourney Weaver who is far from the usual gung ho bonehead with a gun you find in most action movies. She is a believable character traumatized by her experiences of the first film, unwillingly facing her fears. The soldiers are also three dimensional characters, especially Bill Paxton's smart alec who loses his nerve and their camaraderie and funny banter make you care what happens to them. Other well written characters include "artificial person" Lance Henriksen whose cold fascination for the creatures echoes Ash from the first film and Paul Reiser's obsequious company man, each of whom seem to have agenda of their own. The first half of the film is an atmospheric and cleverly written set up for the second half, which can best be described as a white knuckle rollercoaster ride of breathless suspense and excitement. Their first encounter with the aliens is one of the all time great action sequences and the later scene when they await the second onslaught huddled in a darkened room listening to the sound of the motion detector is utterly gripping. Not to mention Ripley's first sight of the alien queen and their subsequent classic showdown. For me, this is an all but perfect film, and the best sequel ever made.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Aliens Quotes

– Submitted by Donna S (21 months ago)
– Submitted by Donna S (22 months ago)
– Submitted by Donna S (22 months ago)
– Submitted by Donna S (22 months ago)

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