A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie acts as a warning to how distractions and addiction can affect a previously motivated life. Compassion is shown by some.
Positive Role Models
Thomas Jerome Newton is an alien who arrives on Earth trying to find resources for his home planet. He begins his journey driven and successful but succumbs to sensory distractions such as TV and alcohol. He is philosophical when faced with bad treatment. Mary-Lou cares for Newton. She carries him to his room when he's unwell and remains caring throughout their relationship. Dr. Nathan Bryce is a professor and a womanizer who forces Newton into revealing his true identity.
A person of color holds a powerful position and is married to a White woman, something relatively uncommon in 1970s mainstream cinema. The depiction of alcohol dependence follows a stereotypical view of a character trying it and becoming dependent, with their mood and behavior altering for the worse.
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Violence & Scariness
Characters are grabbed in their homes and thrown through high windows. A character collapses then gets a nosebleed and vomits. During a row between two characters, one is grabbed and a tray of cookies are knocked out of the other one's hands. Character's nipples are removed by surgeons with a scalpel while they are awake and in distress. While drunk, a character holds a handgun to someone and talks about killing them.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Multiple sex scenes with full nudity. A couple wrestle, removing each other's clothes until naked. A college professor has sex with various 18-year-old students, who are all shown naked. The professor's penis is shown and touched by two of the students. One sex scene features characters drunkenly playing with a handgun, holding it to each other's heads and putting it in their mouths.
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Infrequent language includes "bulls--t" and "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
Some logos and branding are displayed. But the movie can be considered to have an anti-consumerist message.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
An alien visiting Earth becomes dependent on alcohol, which causes him to become sidetracked from his plan to return home. Lots of alcohol consumption of various drinks. Character becomes obnoxious and selfish due to drink. Drunk characters have sex while pointing a handgun at each other. Characters are shown smoking cigarettes on occasion.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Man Who Fell to Earth is a 1976 sci-fi movie -- adapted from a novel -- with multiple sex scenes, full-frontal nudity, and depictions of alcoholism. It is a serious drama but with a satirical edge. Pop icon David Bowie stars as alien Thomas Jerome Newton, who arrives on Earth in search of resources for his home planet. He is first driven and successful but becomes distracted by TV and alcohol addiction. The movie features multiple sex scenes with full male and female nudity. During one sex scene, a drunk Newton and his partner, Mary-Lou (Candy Clark), play with a gun and incorporate it into sex. There are some violent scenes, such as men being grabbed in their homes and thrown out of high windows. In a surgery scene, a man's nipples are removed with a scalpel. Newton's use of alcohol makes him occasionally obnoxious and selfish, as well as diminishing his drive. He is imprisoned by the government but remains philosophical. The movie has infrequent strong language, which includes "f--k" and "bulls--t." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
In this cult 1976 film, Bowie looks magnificent and otherworldly in the central role of Newton, an alien in human form who is lost in space and time. In part a serious, uncompromising sci-fi movie, The Man Who Fell to Earth also plays as a satire, a love story, and a comment on how people get their kicks. Director Nicolas Roeg (Don't Look Now) creates an illuminating experience, presenting the best and worst aspects of the world as seen through Newton's fresh eyes.
Candy Clark glows as the charming Mary-Lou. While Rip Torn's college professor with an eye for young students is redeemed when he finds his purpose in life, working for the company set up by Newton. However, the opposite occurs when Newton finds new pleasures in TV and alcohol, his spark dulling but still managing to remain philosophical. A movie to be experienced and interpreted rather than understood, The Man Who Fell to Earth might be frustrating for some. But when caught in the right mood at the right time, it transports you to another world that delivers rich rewards.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.