Critics 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.



Total Count: 70
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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 her company's representative, Carter Burke (Paul Reiser) that the planet where her crew discovered the alien has since been settled by colonists. Contact with the colony has suddenly been lost, and a detachment of colonial marines is being sent to investigate. Invited along as an advisor, Ripley predicts disaster, and sure enough, the aliens have infested the colony, leaving a sole survivor, the young girl Newt (Carrie Henn). With the soldiers picked off one by one, a final all-female showdown brews between the alien queen and Ripley, who's become a surrogate mother to Newt. Several future stars made early career appearances in Aliens (1986), including Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, and Reiser. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

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Michael Biehn
as Cpl. Dwayne Hicks
Bill Paxton
as Pvt. Hudson
William Hope
as Lt. Gorman
Jenette Goldstein
as Pvt. Vasquez
Al Matthews
as Sgt. Apone
Mark Rolston
as Pvt. Drake
Ricco Ross
as Pvt. Frost
Colette Hiller
as Cpl. Ferro
Daniel Kash
as Pvt. Spunkmeyer
Cynthia Scott
as Cpl. Dietrich
Tip Tipping
as Pvt. Crowe
Trevor Steedman
as Pvt. Wierzbowski
Paul Maxwell
as Van Leuwen
Alan Polonsky
as Insurance Man
Alibe Parsons
as Med Tech
Barbara Coles
as Cocooned Woman
Carl Toop
as Alien Warrior
Louise Head
as Double for Newt
John Lees
as Power Loader Operator
Kiran Shah
as Double for Newt
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News & Interviews for Aliens

Critic Reviews for Aliens

All Critics (70) | Top Critics (17)

  • Sigourney Weaver is merely terrific... When she straps on her armament to do battle with the aliens, she makes Sylvester Stallone look like a pipsqueak.

    Mar 14, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Beyond dispute, however, is the film's timeless worth as a cathartic work, especially in terms of its accidentally commentary on the sexism of the corporate structure.

    Oct 4, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Scene to scene, encounter to encounter, its tension builds unrelentingly. So, fasten your seat belts. It`s a blast.

    Oct 14, 2014 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • [Aliens] is a spectacular example of state-of-the-art science fiction simply because it never tries to be overtly spectacular.

    Jul 30, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jul 30, 2013 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jul 30, 2013 | Full Review…

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