‘Alien’ Has Been Scaring Fans For 45 Years & It’s Just Getting Started

I didn’t get to see Alien in theaters. At nine years old, my parents thought I might have been too young, and I’m sure they were right. It wasn’t until experiencing the legendary film on premium networks and home video that I was able to see just how special the achievement of director Ridley Scott was in the scope of film history.

ALIEN, Sigourney Weaver, 1979 TM and Copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved. Courtesy: Everett Collection.

Everett Collection

With the 45th anniversary of that legendary May 25, 1979 release, we decided to take a look at some of the members of the cast, and remember some of the careers they had before taking this extraordinary journey and what they did after the film.

Sigourney Weaver as Ripley

ALIEN, Sigourney Weaver, 1979, TM & Copyright (c)

20th Century Fox Film Corp./Everett Collection

Weaver is the piece of the Alien puzzle that makes everything work. She has had a wildly successful career since the original film and is hard at work to this day. Her most recent performance was in the Prime Video series The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart.


WORKING GIRL, Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver, 1988, TM and Copyright (c)

20th Century-Fox Film Corp. All Rights Reserved

Weaver’s filmography since playing Ripley includes box office hits and misses, cult classics, and more that belong in movie collections everywhere. From the Ghostbusters and Avatar franchises to a variety of films like Dave and Galaxy Quest, and owns three Academy Award nominations for her roles in Aliens, Working Girl and Gorillas in the Mist. Sigourney has shown the world that no genre is out of reach for this amazingly talented and likable actress.

Tom Skerrit as Dallas

ALIEN, Tom Skerrit, 1979,

20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection

Before grabbing the role of Dallas, Skerrit was spotted on television for years. He had guest appearances in all-time favorite shows like M*A*S*H, Hawaii Five-O, Medical Center and Bonanza. Plus multi-episode appearances in The Virginian, Gunsmoke and Cannon were all long in Skerrit’s rearview mirror before grabbing the role in Alien. He made the film transition and had recently completed roles in Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke and Ice Castles before Alien.

Since then, an entire generation fell in love with his role as Viper in the 1986 hit Top Gun. He later won a Primetime Emmy for his portrayal of Jimmy Brock in Picket Fences, a series that found him part of the cast for over 80 episodes. His last performance was in 2022 in the Pure Flix series Going Home.


John Hurt as Kane

Hurt passed away in 2017 just after celebrating his 77th birthday, but not before giving us a wide variety of memorable performances.

ALIEN, John Hurt, 1979, TM & Copyright (c)

20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

His last few roles included Ralph in the 2017 film That Good Night as he tried to reconcile the end of his life and his decisions, and in the spy thriller Damascus Cover, alongside Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

Hurt was nominated for two Academy Awards for performances in Midnight Express and The Elephant Man, Hurt’s career was loaded with work from over 20 years before Alien until the day of his passing.

Veronica Cartwright as Lambert

Hard to believe that over the course of two years, Cartwright was in two of the more memorable science fiction films of the decade. Not only was she Lambert, she had just come off the role of Nancy in the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

ALIEN, Veronica Cartwright, Sigourney Weaver, 1979, TM & Copyright (c)

20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

Through the years her television work has taken her from The Twilight Zone to The X-Files and in films from The Birds to The Witches of Eastwick. Still working to this day, Lambert has three projects in the pipeline and has had recent guest appearances on Gotham Knights (2023), The Rookie (2023), The Resident (2021) and The Good Doctor (2021), just to name a few. She recently celebrated her 75th birthday.

Harry Dean Stanton as Brett

ALIEN, Harry Dean Stanton, 1979, TM & Copyright (c)

20th Century Fox Film Corp./Everett Collection

Like Hurt, Stanton passed away in 2017, but not before leaving us a memorable career resume.

A working actor since the late ’50s, Stanton was well established before his role in Alien. His work included roles in Gunsmoke, Kelly’s Heroes, Adam-12 and Cool Hand Luke.

After Alien, Stanton’s performances took him to films like Christine, Repo Man, Red Dawn and a memorable role as Toot-Toot in 1999’s The Green Mile. His final role came to the screen after his passing in Frank & Ava, released in 2020.

And that’s just the acting talent in the film.

Alien Franchise

Alien also started a Hollywood franchise that included Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992) and Alien Resurrection (1997) also featured books, video games and countless toys. Those fun additions don’t even count the Predator crossovers with the franchise plus the August 16, 2024 release of Alien: Romulus and FX prequel series Alien will continue the franchise for generations to come.

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1980s Top Summer Blockbusters

July 2019

Celebrate the biggest summer movies of the ’80s, when moviegoing morphed from mere entertainment to blockbuster events.

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