Every Movie from the Alien Franchise

Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in Aliens movies franchise.

Image Credit: PatrickBrown on Deviant Art

Fans of the science fiction genre have never been averse to some horror components, but the Alien franchise took that combination to a whole new level.

Most of the movies take place in claustrophobically tight quarters of spaceships, with deadly aliens lurking around every corner. Meanwhile, the protagonists quietly try to make a plan—knowing full well that in space…no one can hear you scream.

 

 

Alien (1979)

Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt
Where To Watch: HBOMax, Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, HBONow, Apple TV
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

Sigourney Weaver is, arguably, the face of the Alien franchise—and with good reason.

Her character, Ripley, is a badass lady pitted against an unfathomable stowaway alien, which seeks to lay its eggs while the crew members are in cryo-sleep. The crew must find a way to overcome the threat while trapped aboard their spaceship, the Nostromo.

Ridley Scott set out to mesh the tropes of science fiction with horror by forcing the humans to rely on stealth, since the alien was a complete unknown for the majority of the movie.

In future installments, humans would rely more on crafting elaborate traps, or using super-powered weaponry to defeat the aliens. This first film, however, is an excellent study in tense atmospheres.

 

Aliens (1986)

Director: James Cameron
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn
Where To Watch: HBOMax, Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, HBONow
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%

Where the first film relied on anxiety-inducing tension, Aliens focuses more on action and gore. The special effects team really outdid themselves with this one.

After Ripley escaped in the first movie, her shuttle pod kept her in stasis for decades before being found.

Upon arriving at a space colony, she and her rescuers find that the same alien species has taken over the colony, and they must fight to reclaim it.

 

Alien 3 (1992)

Director: David Fincher
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton
Where To Watch: HBOMax, Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, HBONow, Apple TV
Rotten Tomatoes: 44%

Once again, Ripley is the lone survivor of the aliens’ attack.

She escapes to a bleak wasteland, populated only by former prisoners, whom she must convince to fight back against the parasitic alien before it’s too late.

Unlike the previous fights, however, none of the planet’s inhabitants have any modern technology, nor advanced weapons to help them.

Despite the strong cast and fantastic director, for the first time in the franchise, Alien: 3 received poor reviews from critics and fans alike.

Some of this could be attributed to the fact that, after the film’s production had ended, the producers went back and changed it without consulting with director David Fincher at all. This led to some disjointed storytelling, and a movie that, ultimately, seemed contrived.

That said, the movie still performed well at the box office, which serves as a testament to the franchise’s popularity as a whole.

 

Alien Resurrection (1997)

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder
Where To Watch: HBOMax, Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, HBONow, Apple TV
Rotten Tomatoes: 54%

Hoping to make a comeback from the disastrous ratings of the prior movie, Alien Resurrection sees the return of Ripley when scientists two centuries in the future clone her DNA and grow a new Ripley.

However, in bringing her back…the scientists also bring back the alien embryo that had been growing inside of her.

Unfortunately, the movie did not perform well in North America, although it was well-received internationally.

Joss Whedon created a sequel to Alien Resurrection, but Sigourney Weaver decided not to sign on. Eventually, the project was abandoned.

 

Prometheus (2012)

Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron
Where To Watch: HBOMax, Fandango, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon Prime, HBONow, Apple TV
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%

Ridley Scott returned to the Alien franchise with Prometheus, a prequel to the series.

When a team discovers a clue to the reason for mankind’s existence, they set out to parts unknown in the universe to find out more.

The team members speculate about the technologically-superior race that planted the seeds of humans on Earth, and why they have never visited to see their progeny—but no one is prepared for the terrifying creatures they encounter.

 

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Billy Crudup
Where To Watch: Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV
Rotten Tomatoes: 65%

A spaceship known as the Covenant discovers what could be a habitable planet for humans to colonize.

However, they find an android there: the only survivor of the Prometheus, from the previous movie. He warns them about the alien threat that will soon be upon them, and the need to fight for their own lives.

For people hoping for more information about the original race, called The Engineers, this movie is something of a disappointment. It doesn’t expand on the lore at all, but still has plenty of enjoyable scenes.

Once again, Ridley Scott delivers an action-packed movie full of disgusting alien slime and jumpscares galore. Although this movie doesn’t do anything revolutionary for the Alien franchise, it is a fine few hours to spend if you’re a sci-fi enthusiast, or have enjoyed other alien movies.

 

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As of September 2020, Ridley Scott announced the studio’s intention to continue the Alien franchise. He did not mention a title or possible release date for the project, likely due to the COVID-19 shutdown, but said that the script was currently in development.

For more sci-fi recommendations, check out the best science fiction books, climate fiction films, or the top alien and outer space movies now streaming on major platforms.