Alien Nation (1988)




Critic Consensus: Alien Nation takes the interesting premise of extraterrestrials living among us and doesn't do enough with it, emphasizing a police procedural plotline over the more intriguing sci-fi elements.

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Movie Info

When some aliens known as Newcomers set down on Earth and try to integrate themselves into 1990s Los Angeles, racial-like tensions erupt, providing the backdrop for this odd, made-for-television science-fiction thriller. James Caan stars as Detective Matthew Sikes, a human cop who is less than pleased when he is assigned a Newcomer as a partner (Mandy Patinkin) to help investigate a murder.
R (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

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Mandy Patinkin
as Det. Samuel 'George' Francisco
James Caan
as Det. Sgt. Matthew Sykes
Terence Stamp
as William Harcourt
Kevyn Major Howard
as Rudyard Kipling
Kevin Howard
as Kipling
Leslie Bevis
as Cassandra
Peter Jason
as Fedorchuk
Jeff Kober
as Joshua Strader
Roger Aaron Brown
as Det. Bill Tuggle
Tony Simotes
as Wiltey
Ed Krieger
as Alien Dealer
Tony Perez
as Alterez
Brian Thompson
as Trent Porter
Keone Young
as Winter
Don Hood
as Moffet
Robert Starr
as Coroner's Attendant
Bobby Sargent
as Coroners Driver
Bebe Drake
as Computer Operator
Edgar Small
as Minkler
Thomas Wagner
as O'Neal
Diana James
as Ortiz
Frank Collison
as Bentner
Tom De Franco
as Detective
Angela O'Neill
as Kristin Sykes
Kendall Conrad
as Mrs. Francisco
Tom Morga
as Raincoat
Jessica James
as Mrs. Porter
Tom Finnegan
as Natuzzi
Doug MacHugh
as Victor Goldrup
Shûko Akune
as Police Secretary
Van Ling
as Newcomer #1 on TV
George Robotham
as Boat Captain
Stephanie Shroyer
as Female Cop
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Critic Reviews for Alien Nation

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (1)

With the sci-fi and horror aspects toned down, Alien Nation becomes little more than a cop show with a twist-and one that will satisfy only the most gullible of action fans.

Full Review… | February 18, 2014
Georgia Straight

Uma idéia potencialmente instigante que acaba sendo desperdiçada por um roteiro tomado pelos clichês.

December 31, 2008
Cinema em Cena

Fascinating and somewhat timely themed sci-fi flick, a minor classic.

August 10, 2006
Dispatch-Tribune Newspapers

Smart sci-fi premise should have made a better movie

November 28, 2005
Film Journal International

Caan is good, but this is just a very standard buddy cop movie disguised as a sci-fi thriller. Plays better on TV, though.

October 10, 2005
Fantastica Daily

Patinkin in one of his best, most memorable performances

April 24, 2005

Audience Reviews for Alien Nation

I enjoyed the hell out of this. Check out this premise: In the futuristic world of 1992, Aliens have landed and we've granted them citizenship in our society. When James Cann's partner is killed, he's teamed up with one of these Aliens to help solve the crime. That alien is played by Mandy Patinkin. From there it's a fairly standard buddy cop film, but with some really funny gags. Well worth checking it out.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

A great film. A fantastic mixture of science fiction, suspense, comedy and action. A genre-bending classic that you cant help but love. A wonderfully entertaining winner that's just a great buddy-cop movie with lots to offer. A great new twist on a familiar background. A smart, funny and action-packed thrill-ride with solid performances and great special effects. James Caan and Mandy Patinkin are excellent together with their unique and effective chemistry. One of the coolest sci-fi tales of the 80's decade with Terminator and Aliens.

Al S
Al S

Super Reviewer


A race of alien beings known as newcomers crashland on Earth and become the newest immigrants in Los Angeles. When some of them are found executed a bigoted detective and his rookie newcomer sidekick investigate. Alien Nation is a buddy cop/sci-fi hybrid that contains a lot of the usual 80s action flick cliches; the burned out, alcoholic cop, gratuitous car chases and stranger in a strange land analogies are all very familiar. The sci-fi spin does give it all a little freshness however, and although the racial metaphor is a little clumsy, Caan and Patinkin's deadpan delivery show some decent chemistry together with some amusing odd couple comedy. Unfortunately the script is purely by the numbers including a couple of major plot elements that are just sci-fi mumbo jumbo. Terence Stamp also might as well have phoned in his performance as the villain leading up to a particularly weak conclusion which drags an otherwise entertaining film back down to mediocrity.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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