The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) - Drama, Sci-Fi

Hohum Score



An alien must pose as a human to save his dying planet, but a woman and greed of other men create complications.

IMDB: 6.7
Director: Nicolas Roeg
Stars: David Bowie, Rip Torn
Length: 139 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 52 out of 146 found boring (35.61%)

One-line Reviews (143)

But one thing is for certain - it's a very mixed bag, some scenes looking like a million dollars, others like the work of a bored amateur.

There is also a role for Rip Torn who gives a good performance as a science professor who's life seems to be stale and bored with his sexual exploits with students.

I say it's not a boring movie because quite a few of its scenes were actually compelling, for some reason.

It's that The Man Who Fell to Earth is rather pretentious.

However, I was just too confused, too bored, too tired of seeing perverted old guy screw young girls to enjoy it.

The worst movie I have ever seen.

The movie was, at least in my opinion, more entertaining (just slightly more) than 2001: A Space Odyssey (I'm not saying it's better than 2001, by the way (because it's definitely not), just that I personally found it more entertaining).

A cult classic that is well worth watching.

Here it's mostly used to distract the audience from the lack of plot and character development.

An average audience will probably get bored.

It's far from a gripping, mysterious or tense movie to watch, though in potential it still really could had been.

Pretentious Rubbish!!.

The rock star's perfect in his interpretation of Thomas Jerome Newton, alien castaway turned resigned and bored capitalist super-star.

Bowie splash-lands on Earth from another planet to take water back to his thirsty people, but he instead falls in league with decadent swingers and their empty lives.

Having watched it again recently I still feel the same, only now I realise why the film gets so confusing.

It's all beautifully shot and the visuals are beyond stunning.

His performance of a detached, icy humanoid alien was one of the most fascinating aspects of this film.

Roeg's sex scenes, which always have a naked vulnerability about them, become thrilling and grotesque as Newton envisions his own species' mating habits.

All very maddening but boring at the same time, and just about enough to make a lad insane.

Obviously, most audiences got involved - just look at the amount of confusion and frustrations in the comments :)B+ Bill

It is not easy to watch, there are long stretches without dialogue, and when there is dialogue, it's often confusing.

The chaos that frustrated me, including totally unrelated scenes and broken scene sequences illustrate the frustration and confusion experience by Bowie.

I am sure the book was enjoyable, and would be a much better use of your time.

The hunger for Earth's cultural-consumer corporation and idealistic propaganda, as well as odd, sexual behavior.

One damn cliche after another.

I don't need "Hollywood endings" but why do people rate such downbeat, boring movies, as "excellent"?

The movie often seems disjointed and doesn't seem to make sense, leaving the viewer who is who and why they did what they did.

Maybe Starman David Bowie was born to play the title role in The Man Who Fell To Earth, an avant-garde disjointed sci fi film from director Nicolas Roeg.

On a broader sense than this one artist's idea, however, this is a fascinating science fiction film because it points out a side of human nature not often developed very well in other science fiction films.

These are over-long, uninformative, utterly irrelevant to the plot (except in establishing Tommy's personal submission to self-indulgence - a single suggestive scene would have tied that one up), and so boringly suggestive as to be laughable.

The style is also convoluted and the plot is strange and confusing.

It begs the question, if it's so confusing, how do you get to the conclusion that it's brilliant?

This movie has a striking visual style, but often falls victim to director Nicholas Roeg's self-indulgence (what's with all those bizarre, gratuitous sex scenes?

However, this film is worth watching.

This lack of understanding of the main character makes the movie kinda dull and void.

What started out as an interesting parallel to the life of Howard Hughes (TWA logos make enough cameos), with a smattering of an environmental conscience, spirals out of the way of being worth watching.

I love good science fiction, and I don't mind slow paced films like Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey," as long as you are given new ideas to think about as you watch, but TMWFTE is both tedious and annoying.

The flashback scenes on Bowie's home planet were ridiculous and boring, as were the many experimental (now stock) art-house shots towards the end.

The pacing is a bit dis-jointed with some unnecessary and confusing scenes that lead nowhere and at a running time of over 2 hours its slightly overlong.

Newton is an intriguing contradiction of mysterious and powerful recluse and sad and ineffectual failure, which is what differentiates this from equivalent sci-fi classics like The Day The Earth Stood Still or Starman.

I think the film just tries to be clever and art-housy but I found it a complete bore and very frustrating to watch – the Emperor's New Clothes you might say.

It's not going to be to all tastes, as it's very slow, quiet (there are no action set pieces to speak of), and depends more on performance and atmosphere than spectacle.

Also the message at the end is totally predictable nowadays.

Several things about this film make it worth watching...

Not a remarkable feat, but bloody intriguing.

David Bowie is compelling mainly because he's playing an odd spacey David Bowie character.

Though the film may be a little confusing towards the end, I'd still recommend it.

There are also several boringly kinky sex scenes that flirt with an X rating.

Now, the word "pretentious" is used quite a bit to describe movies without the user of the word elaborating on what he means by it, so let me elaborate.

The film's beautiful, sad, scary and somewhat pretentious.

An average audience will probably get bored.

His films of the early seventies all took advantage of beautiful photography and fascinating editing.

Eccentricities Abound in this Beautifully Bizarre, Incoherent, Long, and Visually Vibrant Film that is as Engaging as it is Exasperating.

This is officially the worst movie I have ever seen, and I am a second year film student exposed to all sorts of crappy movies.

I have to say, though, "The Man Who Fell to Earth", is more for people that are up for a film challenging them rather than entertaining them.

It would be more of a weird/artistc movie with a point, but instead it felt dragged out for no reason.

I remember watching the TV version (1987) and that version was very enjoyable to watch and made sense.

Confusing and overly sexual: a trippy ride.

Roeg goes for an evocative style in terms of his direction it's like he's out to shock with soft porn sex scenes featuring male and female full frontal nudity.

If there's anything that keeps the Man Who Fell to Earth from being a truly spectacular cult item though, if only for this reviewer, it's a certain mood overall to the piece, an uncertainty as to what to do with everything in the book and how to make it so unusual a piece of science fiction that its own alienation could potentially affect the viewer in unexpected ways.

We have no choice but to be annoyed and frustrated, this film is experimental and indicate possible potential for further art cinema experimentations in authentic audience involvement in confusion and frustration.

But it is never boring, because it is so suspenseful.

The story is constantly being interrupted by flashbacks (and forwards) and some pointless imagery that, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with the story...

Among the many problems of the film, the biggest for me were: the poor development of the "alien" planet, of which we see only four inhabitants (Newton and his family); the narrative, which is a series of disconnected scenes following the slow deterioration of the Newton character and the annoying jumps in time.

Maybe it's me, but I took way too long to catch onto some things.

TMWFTE is a boring, snooze feast.

It's well done and it's a bit slow but worth watching.

A real pointless, empty, movie in my opinion.

This deserves its cult status and it's a fascinating watch for Bowie.

We have had enough too, mostly of the director's excesses, and want to leave.

It is, however, a brilliantly constructed narrative featuring stunning performances.

The movie really has no plot and is just a series of enigmatic scenes that don't really mesh well.

This was a waste of time.

The cinematography is amazing, the story is intriguing and the acting is surprising.

Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth, on the other hand, is a pretentious movie.

A particularly fascinating scene has our newly rich and already bored alien watching about 20 TV sets at once, while holding a small, battery-powered propeller.

It certainly does seem intriguing and promising at the start.

I grasped for breath while experiencing his wonderful visual style in "Walkabout", but stayed indifferent toward the characters and story, and found Roeg's editing irritating and pretentious, emphasizing his inability to create a powerful linear scene.

It's some pointless drivel that isn't leading up to anything and feels like a very empty and distant movie.

However, the last third of the film is kind of confusing and shows alot of weird scenes that don't seem to fit with the story.

Brilliant Film, but Awfully Confusing.

Deadly dull and then some...

It is an arty, windy bore.

) and the whole thing gets a tad confusing.

This is a weird movie, and compelling.

Some of the dialog only adds to the confusion but I think it makes it more intriguing.

But the criticisms do have some weight behind them - there's a few tangents that are still confusing to this day, although no doubt a read of the source material could clear things up.

A Compelling Masterpiece .

Some think it's brilliant, others think it a waste of time.

After boring us with a song about a young man accused of crime, Bowie then marshalled full-screen NASA special effects of a space capsule behind him and electrified us all with his song 'Major Tom'.

The setting is breathtaking and every detail of the mise-en-scene is carefully designed.

An average audience will probably get bored.

He becomes immersed in the business spectrum and quickly becomes the head of his own company to raise enough money in hope of creating a scientific solution that will help his dying planet.

I'm the kind of person who will bail on a movie if I'm bored or annoyed in the first 30 minutes.

There were plot holes galore, and scenes that went nowhere or had no connection to anything.

Although the cover poster for this movie intrigued me, the movie's nothing special, and slightly dull, it's in over 2 hour covered length.

There are a number of scenes which are visually masterful and some of the music score has a hypnotic quality, but overall I found the film uneven, confusing and un-enlightening.

By creating passages of snipped time that do not knit together as logical flashbacks, there is a somewhat disjointed narrative which is seen as a personal indulgence.

An intriguing movie, made throughouly watchable by the performance of Mr Jones, by far his best movie to date.

Films like this are not entertaining, exciting, involving, moving, or anything beyond boring and depressing.

This is intriguing, intelligent sci-fi from the era after Kubrick's "2001" opened the doors for adult sci-fi cinema and before Lucas' "Star Wars" essentially closed them again.

It's way too long, very.

Until, of course, we have a shot which is barely-elevated from the ground, and finally a slower shot of a splash in a small lake.

A boring, confusing mess.

There are some strangely staged, pointless "sex" scenes where Bowie has become involved with a human girl that are almost goofy.

I must repeat the old cliche that the original story by Walter Tevis was much better than this film.

To get the maximum benefit from the film, you simply have to take these unexplained occurrences - and also the rapid and disjointed passing of time - on board, because the whole is more significant and understandable than its component parts.

Or, to amend that with another tired cliché: the parts are better than the sum or the whole.

Plenty of nonsense to be found there, like the gov't-conspiracy/alien-testing cliché nonsense that you can find in any cheesy sci-fi pulp magazine or B-movie.

To me it was an unfortunately shallow, tedious take on an interesting and worthwhile theme.

The style is also out of the ordinary and the plot may seem to be a little strange and confusing to some.

It is slow, weird and confusing, and all the better for it

The second half has some twists, but they are pretty predictable.

The characters are confusing and not very developed enough to care about them much.

It had some plot lines that were hard to follow.

A compelling art film that still holds up to this day.

Shot with an eye for the glaring, disjointed and interesting image, there is a sense that the awkwardness of the editing is designed to push the viewer around, make you squirm in your aesthetic seat and never allow you an easy ride.

Yes, the film seems to jump from time to time, one scene juxtaposed with a scene that takes place 20 years later, a flashback that may or may not be a flashback, it is confusing.

And the trippy view of 70s USA is fascinating.

Mary Lou acts as Newton's love interest, which spans for a long period of time, in which we can see her develop her intense romantic feelings at first and later getting fed up with Newton's silent ways.

It is equal parts compelling, engaging, frustrating, beautiful and difficult.

Seeing scenes with Bowie and Rip Torn are, indeed, exciting in their indescribable link (Bowie, of course, so fits into Newton it's hard to figure anyone else in the part).

Pretty Bad but Strangely Compelling .

I think 2001 is a very boring movie.

It feels cheap and disjointed.

An average audience will probably get bored.

It remains pointless.

The cliche that fell to earth .

The story was just very bland, as were all of its characters and the approach of it all just isn't done very interesting.

Long, confusing, boring, this movie had all the qualities of a complete bomb.

That never actually happens, and you have to wait out the entire story in all it's excruciating boredom to find that out.

I tried very hard to get into this and enjoy it but the narrative structure is confusing and disjointed.

There's a review somewhere that refers to this as 'brilliant film but quite confusing'.

The culture shock, the distant confusion.

The first two thirds of this film was intriguing, and in-a-good-way weird.

The writing is intriguing sci-fi.

If there is an empty two-and-a-half-hour slot in your life, go and do something else with it.

But the way it's presented, to once again pop up a word that gets tossed like a beach ball at a concert, in a pretentious manner.

Newton begins as the excavationist into human life, the pariah who examines human banality with passive isolation.

The film is laced with bizarre costumes and confusing scenes that only Bowie can make palatable.

there were many boring flashbacks of 'Tommy's' home planet.

Only Nicolas Roeg could direct a movie that manages to be both deadly dull AND fascinating at the same time.

Even though you've been informed of the story,and you get the outline, it becomes hard to follow, as to Bowie's intentions, where he becomes a corporate giant, and Torn's character doesn't clear up, where Bowie's taking the story.