Starman (1984) - Rotten Tomatoes

Starman (1984)



Critic Consensus: What initially begins as sci-fi transforms into a surprisingly sweet, offbeat drama, courtesy of John Carpenter's careful direction.

Movie Info

An extraterrestrial crashes to Earth and, to disguise himself, assumes the likeness of a woman's recently deceased husband in this science-fiction drama. The kindly, intelligent alien seeks help from the understandably stunned woman in order to escape government agents and reach a rendezvous with his fellow aliens.more
Rating: PG-13 (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Drama, Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Raynold Gideon, Dean Riesner, Gideon Ray, Bruce A. Evans, John Carpenter
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 6, 2001
Columbia Pictures


Jeff Bridges
as Starman
Karen Allen
as Jenny Hayden
Richard Jaeckel
as George Fox
Robert Phalen
as Maj. Bell
Tony Edwards
as Sgt. Lemon
John Walter Davis
as Brad Heinmuller
Stephen Brennan
as Roadblock Sergeant
Ted White
as Deer Hunter
Charlie Hughes
as Bus Driver
Sean Faro
as Hot Rodder
Russ Benning
as Scientist
Ralph Cosham
as Marine Lieutenant
David Wells
as Fox's Assistant
Anthony Grumbach
as NSA Officer
James Deeth
as S-61 Pilot
Alex Daniels
as Gas Station Attendan...
Carol Rosenthal
as Gas Customer
Mickey Jones
as Trucker
Lu Leonard
as Roadhouse Waitress
Charles Hughes
as Bus Driver
Byron Walls
as Police Sergeant
Betty Bunch
as Truck Stop Waitress
Victor McLemore
as Roadblock Lieutenant
Steven Brennan
as Roadblock Sergeant
Ron Colby
as Cafe Waiter
Pat Lee
as Bracero Wife
Judith Kim
as Girl Barker
Ronald Colby
as Cafe Waiter
Robert Stein
as State Trooper
Kenny Call
as Donnie Bob
John Carpenter
as Man in Helicopter
Dennis Burkley
as Man in Gas Station R...
Randy Tutton
as Letterman
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Starman

Critic Reviews for Starman

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (5)

There is little that is original in Starman, but at least it has chosen good models.

Full Review… | June 6, 2007
Top Critic

It isn't pleasant to watch a talented filmmaker like John Carpenter willfully distort his personality to fit a commercial (read Spielbergian) profile, and only the opening suspense-horror sequences have the weight of real involvement.

Full Review… | June 6, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The best special effects are in the first five minutes. Thereafter, it's all rather predictable.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Starman contains the potential to be a very silly movie, but the two actors have so much sympathy for their characters that the movie, advertised as space fiction, turns into one of 1984's more touching love stories.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

In Mr. Bridges' hands [his role] becomes the occasion for a sweetly affecting characterization -- a fine showcase for the actor's blend of grace, precision and seemingly offhanded charm.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

We see a sweet side to the director that never appeared anywhere else: an emotional palate that he rarely indulged in, but which he handles with surprising grace and subtlety.

Full Review… | December 16, 2014

Audience Reviews for Starman

This is one of John Carpenter's lesser known films, possibly because it's more of a love story than a monster mash. Jeff Bridges plays an alien, who becomes a reincarnated version of Karen Allen's dead husband as a way to manipulate her to help him after he crash lands on Earth. The rest of the film concerns the alien's voyage to a meeting place with his people, with Allen's assistance, with the US government on his trail. The film is very unoriginal in its message: man is harming itself with violence, aliens are peaceful, and the military is violent and wants to hunt down the alien. Besides the impossibly intense action, this film is special for its portrayal of the relationship between Allen and the alien. It's basically heartbreaking, because Allen is a widow who has to see her dead husband and knows immediately that it's not him, but also wants that second chance with him. In that sphere it makes more sense for the alien to be peaceful as he gives her a beautiful gift for her troubles. Very light but not always devoid of action, this may be Carpenter's sweetest film yet.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


John Carpenter's sci-fi looking effort is actually a road trip romance (ala Capra's It Happened One Night) about a guy from somewhere in space getting a close hand look at backroads America. Jeff Bridges does well as the newborn earthling/alien larnin' about our downhome, simple but good ways o' livin', but the film actually belongs to Karen Allen who carries the emotional weight of the piece and acts as our stand-in on a trip from Madison, Wisconsin to Winslow, Arizona.
As a point of interest Kevin Spacey would play a similar type alien being, birdlike movements et al, with Jeff Bridges playing the psychologist trying to get at him years later in 2001's K-Pax. Both are guilty pleasures of mine since their initial releases.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


What may be John Carpenter's tamest movie of his early works is a rather calm, humorous and touching tale of an alien crash landing on earth and making its way to the pick up spot. On the way it does not only take on a dead man's shape but also his widow on a road trip through half the US. Of course, the evil military slash government is on their heels. That may sound somewhat generic today, but back then it was one of the first films like that. So while some parts feel a bit dated, the great chemistry between Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen still makes this a very enjoyable ride with much more funny scenes than action packed ones. The message of mankind being pretty messed up when compared to peaceful alien species may be a bit simplistic too, but doesn't fail to mention the good of the single individual and the beauties of life on earth. Likable and very entertaining.

Jens S.

Super Reviewer

Starman Quotes

– Submitted by Nick S (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Kenny B (4 years ago)

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