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Man Who Fell to Earth

221 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

While other films directed by Nicolas Roeg have attained similar cult status (including Walkabout and Don't Look Now), none has been as hotly debated as this languid but oddly fascinating adaptation of the science fiction novel by Walter Tevis. David Bowie plays the alien of the title, who arrives on Earth with hopes of finding a way to save his own planet from turning into an arid wasteland. He funds this effort by capitalizing on several highly lucrative inventions, and in so doing becomes the powerful leader of an international corporate conglomerate. But his success has negative consequences as well--his contact with Earth has a disintegrating effect that sends him into a tailspin of disorientation and metaphysical despair. The sexual attention of a cheerful young woman (Candy Clark) doesn't do much to change his outlook, and his introduction to liquor proves even more devastating, until, finally, it looks as though his visit to Earth may be a permanent one. The Man Who Fell to Earth is definitely not for every taste--it's a highly contemplative, primarily visual experience that Roeg directs as an abstract treatise on (among other things) the alienating effects of an over-commercialized society. Stimulating and hypnotic or frightfully dull, depending on your receptiveness to its loosely knit ideas, it's at least in part about not belonging, about being disconnected from the world--about being a stranger in a strange land when there's really no place like home. --Jeff Shannon.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: David Bowie, Rip Torn, Candy Clark, Buck Henry, Bernie Casey
  • Directors: Nicolas Roeg
  • Format: Color, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Fox Lorber
  • DVD Release Date: August 25, 1998
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305069611
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,465 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Man Who Fell to Earth" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

224 of 231 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 28, 2005
Format: DVD
It was an odd year. 1976 saw the release of Logan's Run with its occasionally heavy handed parable about the youth culture, Ralph Bakshi's Wizards gathered steam at the box office and included a trailer for some movie called Star Wars. Along came Nicolas Roeg with his arthouse science fiction epic and totally mystified everyone. David Bowie is perfect as the alien in this classic science fiction film. He's left his arid, dying planet and come to Earth in hopes that some of "his" inventions could create enough capital so that he can take resources from our planet to save his.

Unfortunately, Bowie's character pretends to be human all too well--he's sucked into the very flaws that cripple humanity. He becomes a victim of our culture rather than master of it. Roeg's film is fragmented and spooky (particularly the scene where Candy Clark discovers that Bowie's character has various attachments to make him seem human). The visually unsettling photography and editing help bring an edge to the film. Roeg manages to fuse science fiction to his European art sensibilities very well. In fact, Man is probably Roeg's most powerful film outside of Don't Look Now his gothic take on the horror film.

I'll get to the point about the difference between the excellent Anchor Bay release and the Criterion release. Both studios had released this film for the first time (there was a previous Fox-Lorber bare bones edition). The Criterion edition looks sharper with better clarity and richer color than the Anchor Bay edition. Detail is better on the Criterion edition and there appears that the Anchor Bay release wasn't digitally restored as the colors are a bit muted and faded in some sequences. Both feature the full length European cut that Roeg intended for the US market as well. The 5.
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73 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Robin Simmons VINE VOICE on March 12, 2003
Format: DVD
A thin, pale, androgynous David Bowie is THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH -- Special Edition (Anchor Bay), a two-disc set of Nicolas Roeg's film.
Previously available on DVD, this widescreen (enhanced for 16x9 TVs) edition looks sharper, the clean DTS surround sound is THX approved and there's a new, interesting 24 minute featurette, "Watching the Alien."
Slow moving and beautifully photographed, this movie adaptation is faithful in theme to Walter Tevis's novel. An alien being, disguised as a human, comes to earth to seek a way to save his home planet from turning into an arid wasteland. He funds this project by designing inventions worth gazillions and becomes bigger than Bill Gates. Unfortunately, he also becomes contaminated by our earthly ways and sinks into a mystical malaise of depression and alcohol. A sweet and chirpy Candy Clark lures him into an affair that, strangely, doesn't help.
This hypnotic and provocative film long ago achieved cult status. More than anything, it's a visual meditation about an outsider, stymied by material success, who is on a journey back to a home that cannot in fact be reached. (Hey, who can't relate to that?)
Fully restored and uncensored (there's full frontal nudity), this new digital transfer is from original materials. Recommended.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By D. Stone on December 26, 2008
Format: Blu-ray
If you are a fan of The Criterion Collection movies, you will love their first wave of Blu-Ray titles. Once again, the quality is top notch. I have been purchasing Criterion Collection movies since laserdisk started. They are known for their " classic " titles, super clean transfers and in depth extras.

This great 70's movie directed by Nicolas Roeg is a cult classic. Filled with surreal images, this title stands the test of time in the Sci-Fi genre. If you like straight forward Sci-Fi movies like Star Wars, this may not be for you. This movie is more along the lines of 2001 A Space Odyssey.

First off, the picture quality is awesome. Super clean transfer with no artifacts or blemishes to speak of. This title has been taken well care of. It is very sharp and clean. The colors are super vivid with great landscape shots. The skintones are spot on without that waxey look. The blacks are nice and deep, the whites are super clean without blooming. Alway's in focus, with nice sharp backgrounds to give great depth. The closeups have very nice detail also. Though this film has that classic 70's look and feel, it looks very fresh. I would give this film a 4 1/2 stars out of 5 for picture quality. You simply cant ask for anything more from Criterion on this title which is over 30 years old. Although the special effects are dated, you will enjoy this movie which is not dominated by CGI.

Next...the audio is presented in 2.0 uncompressed stereo. Though the rear speakers do not get a ton of use. The sound is great. The voices are crisp and clean without any distractions of any kind. The subwoofer does not get much action either. But....this film is not Star Wars. Overall this title does the best it can with the source. Once again, awesome effort.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By g cooper on January 13, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
i've always found that solitude and loneliness are two of the best outlets for artistic expression. prime examples of this include, 'the metamorphosis,' by franz kafka, 'wish you were here,' by pink floyd, and this astounding film, 'the man who fell to earth.'
the movie has a relatively simple plot. an alien comes to earth looking for water for his dying planet. he meet's a sensitive (yet boring and boozy), young woman who he has an affair with, but all the while, his heart is not on earth. it is on his home planet where his family is dying of thirst.
at first, his mission stays on track. he starts a huge electronics corporation and begins building a machine that will be able to transport water into out space (nobody knows it's true purpose). however, he is soon corrupted by alcohol, meaningless sex, and television, and his mission starts to fall apart.
on top of that, there are higher powers bent on destroying his mission and siezing the money he has made, and soon finds all those he thought were his friends desert him in his time of need. as he goes into an alcoholic daze, we realize that all of the characters are aging except for him, so presumably he has spent decades here on earth. it is at this point that his mission is completely lost, and he will never be able to return home.
bowie's performance in this film is astounding. he assumes the role of an alien so perfectly, and he is simply so beautiful and androgynous. it's a wandering, isolated movie, not to be watched alone.
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