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3,360 Ratings

The Man Who Fell to Earth

Directed by Nicolas Roeg
United Kingdom, 1976


An alien lands on Earth to source out water for his dying planet. He starts a highly advanced and profitable tech company in order to build a spacecraft to transport the water. His plans are threatened when the government intercepts. Featuring rock legend David Bowie, in his acting debut.

Our take

David Bowie somehow found time amidst his iconoclastic recording career to put this extraordinary, alien performance to film. This was a perfect meeting of minds: Nicolas Roeg, the great experimenter of narrative forms, and Bowie, the undefinable mystery, together conjure up a masterwork of sci-fi.

The Man Who Fell to Earth Directed by Nicolas Roeg
Bowie is so extraordinary-looking, with his translucent different-colored eyes and his lean ivory-skinned body, that Roeg revels, visually, in his disorienting presence: the reality of it, its strangeness and beauty.
January 02, 2019
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The indelible image of Bowie watching a half-dozen televisions at once in a gin-addled stupor signifies beautifully in terms of Newton’s personal and cultural alienation—his attempt to understand his adopted environment through mass media—but it’s also a witty, suggestive emblem of Roeg’s kaleidoscopic M.O., except that here the character (and the audience’s) concentration is being dispersed instead of directed.
July 27, 2018
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It’s exceptionally allusive, replete with references to painting, literature, and cinema. Like its source material, the film invokes the myth of Icarus in ways subtle and overt—from its very title to a prominently displayed coffee-table book that pairs W.H. Auden’s poem “Museé des Beaux Art” and Breughel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus.
January 25, 2017
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