Mars Attacks!


Mars Attacks!

Critics Consensus

Tim Burton's alien invasion spoof faithfully recreates the wooden characters and schlocky story of cheesy '50s sci-fi and Ed Wood movies -- perhaps a little too faithfully for audiences.



Total Count: 81


Audience Score

User Ratings: 436,361
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Movie Info

This quirky science fiction comedy is a characteristic feature by iconoclastic director Tim Burton, known to moviegoers for Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. The storyline affectionately harkens back to the deadpan sincerity of such '50s and '60s science-fiction films as The Day the Earth Stood Still and War of the Worlds. Flying saucers have been reliably seen over the capitals of the world, and the whole world awaits with bated breath to see what will transpire. Among those waiting is the President of the United States (Jack Nicholson), who is assured by his science advisor (Pierce Brosnan) that the coming aliens are utterly peaceful. This advice is hotly contested by the military (led by Rod Steiger), who advices the President to annihilate them. When the aliens land, they are seen to be green, garish, and very cheerful. But appearances prove deceiving when the "friendly" aliens abruptly disintegrate the entire U.S. Congress. Hollywood notables appear in vast quantities in roles (and sub-plots) of all sizes in this zany feature. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi


Jack Nicholson
as President Dale/Art Land
Glenn Close
as Marshal Dale
Annette Bening
as Barbara Land
Pierce Brosnan
as Donald Kessler
Martin Short
as Jerry Ross
Sarah Jessica Parker
as Nathalie Lake
Michael J. Fox
as Jason Stone
Rod Steiger
as Gen. Decker
Lukas Haas
as Richie Norris
Natalie Portman
as Taffy Dale
Jim Brown
as Byron Williams
Tom Jones
as Himself
Lisa Marie
as Martian Girl
Sylvia Sidney
as Grandma Norris
Paul Winfield
as General Casey
Pam Grier
as Louise Williams
Danny DeVito
as Rude Gambler
Jack Black
as Billy Glenn Norris
Ray J
as Cedric
Joe Don Baker
as Glenn Norris
O-Lan Jones
as Sue Ann Norris
Jerzy Skolimowski
as Doctor Zeigler
Timi Prulhiere
as Tour Guide
Barbet Schroeder
as French President
Tommy Bush
as Hillbilly
Joseph Maher
as Decorator
Willie Garson
as Corporate Guy
John Roselius
as GNN Boss
Valerie Wildman
as GNN Reporter
Richard Irving
as GNN Reporter
Jonathan Emerson
as Newscaster
Vinny Argiro
as Casino Manager
Steve Valentine
as TV Director
Coco Leigh
as Female Journalist
Jeffrey King
as NASA Technician
Enrique J. Castillo
as Hispanic Colonel
Don Lamoth
as 2nd Colonel
John Finnegan
as Speaker of the House
Ed Lambert
as Morose Old Guy
John Gray
as Incredibly Old Guy
Gregg L. Daniel
as Lab Technician
Rance Howard
as Texan Investor
Richard Assad
as Saudi Investor
Velletta Carlson
as Elderly Slots Woman
Kevin Mangan
as Trailer Lover
Rebeca Silva
as Hispanic Woman
Juian Barnes
as White House Waiter
Ken Thomas
as White House Photographer
Darelle Porter Holden
as Tom Jones Backup Singer
Christi Black
as Tom Jones Backup Singer
Sharon Hendrix
as Tom Jones Backup Singer
as Poppy
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Critic Reviews for Mars Attacks!

All Critics (81) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (43) | Rotten (38)

Audience Reviews for Mars Attacks!

  • Sep 18, 2016
    Tim Burton doesn't usually delve into the Sci-Fi realm of filmmaking, so Mars Attacks seemed like a good deviation for him while still maintaining his style. Burton certainly does that, with sometimes satisfying and always ridiculous results. One thing it undeniably has is an unbelievable cast. Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Michael J. Fox, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Martin Short, and Danny Devito star in this insane sci-fi romp. And that's just to name a few. In some ways, this is Tim Burton's Independence Day. The story is structured in a similar way with an ensemble cast sharing the load with interweaving stories. The aliens have similar intentions but with a slightly more comedic approach and horrific special effects. I was not on board with this film for the first 45 minutes. There were far too many characters to keep track of and I didn't really feel connected to them anyway. The film also seemed to be taking itself way too seriously. But once the aliens reach Washington D.C., it turns into a completely different film altogether. So in one hand, it's an uneven directing job from Burton. But on the other hand, the change of tone midway through kind of adds to the ridiculousness of the whole thing. Either way, I enjoyed my time with this sci-fi romp. Overall, it's a charming little sci-fi project from Burton, and we haven't really gotten one of those from him since. Although the budget skyrocketed to 70 million, which is a lot for the 90's, the story feels more personal and smaller scale than the similar Independence Day. The effects are brutal and would have been better off using stop motion like Burton had originally planned. But all of this pretty much leads to a harmlessly entertaining comedy that hits more often than not. +Tonal change helps +Cast +Ridiculous -Don't really care about all the characters 6.8/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Jun 01, 2015
    A cult classic now which has still aged well in terms of plot and humour.
    Ian W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 12, 2014
    Unbelievably awful, Mars Attacks! is a sci-fi satire from director Tim Burton. It's tragic how much talent is wasted on this crap; Jack Nicholson, Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, and Natalie Portman, just to name a few in this huge ensemble cast. Burton is clearly trying to homage '50s sci-fi B-movies, but he goes way over the top with it. And, the comedy is so goofball and slapstick-ish that it becomes mind numbing. An abysmal failure, Mars Attacks! is a mass of stupidity that doesn't deliver any laughs.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 17, 2013
    Directors C Super Reviewer

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