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The Man Who Fell to Earth (The Criterion Collection) (1976)

David Bowie , Rip Torn , Nicolas Roeg  |  R |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (195 customer reviews)

Price: $99.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: David Bowie, Rip Torn, Candy Clark, Buck Henry, Bernie Casey
  • Directors: Nicolas Roeg
  • Writers: Paul Mayersberg, Walter Tevis
  • Producers: Barry Spikings, John Peverall, Michael Deeley, Si Litvinoff
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: September 27, 2005
  • Run Time: 139 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (195 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A88EVE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,295 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Man Who Fell to Earth (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Exclusive audio commentary by director Nicolas Roeg and actors David Bowie and Buck Henry
  • Performance, a compilation of new video interviews with actors Candy Clark and Rip Torn
  • New video interview with screenwriter Paul Mayersberg
  • Audio interviews with costume designer May Routh and production designer Brian Eatwell
  • Multiple stills galleries
  • Gallery of posters from Roeg's films
  • Trailers and television spots
  • Plus: an exclusive reprint of Walter Tevis's original novel, courtesy of Ballantine Books

Editorial Reviews

The Man Who Fell to Earth is a daring exploration of science fiction as an art form. The story of an alien on an elaborate rescue mission provides the launching pad for Nicolas Roeg’s visual tour de force, a formally adventurous examination of alienation in contemporary life. Rock legend David Bowie completely embodies the title role, while Candy Clark, Buck Henry, and Rip Torn turn in pitch-perfect supporting performances. The film’s hallucinatory vision was obscured in the American theatrical release, which deleted nearly twenty minutes of crucial scenes and details. The Criterion Collection is proud to present Roeg’s full, uncut version, in this exclusive new director-approved high-definition widescreen transfer.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
211 of 217 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Alien" looking better than ever October 28, 2005
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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67 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ILLEGAL ALIEN? March 12, 2003
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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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
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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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a depressing masterpiece 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars If you like Science Fiction, you will like this Movie
Very weird, interesting movie and well acted by David Bowie. I saw this movie originally when it came out about 35 years ago!
Published 3 days ago by Vera J. Markham
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
was ok
Published 1 month ago by Bethany Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous and completely worth it
I was a little hesitant on buying this, I've seen this film plenty of times and I really wanted to buy it but for $50? Read more
Published 1 month ago by marissa
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Jay Rose
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare 'Gem' from the 1970's Vault of Highly Imaginative Speculative...
This is another prime example of how imagination can overcome budgetary constraints = which seemed especially true when it came to Science Fiction/Speculative Fiction films... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Book & Music thief, from HI
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Moments of brilliance hidden with horrifically bad movie making
Published 1 month ago by Scott Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating post-space-race era art-film
Minus one star for the terrible Amazon Prime transfer: low-def, wrong aspect ratio.

Otherwise, a fantastic film for those thoughtful and patient enough to appreciate it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Harvey Woodmeadow
1.0 out of 5 stars It was a waste of time
I have seen rave reviews of this movie in the past, which is why I put it in my queue. I must say, I don't see what the fuss is about. It was a waste of time.
Published 2 months ago by contest 31
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Interesting movie but might drive you nuts if you expect linear action and tidy resolutions.
Published 2 months ago by Terry Porter
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull
The adolescent sex is boring.
Published 2 months ago by The DataRat
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