18 certificateThe Man Who Fell to Earth is a Film programme that first aired in 1976 and has been classified a 18 certificate.

The Man Who Fell to Earth is a 4 star programme

Image for the Film programme "The Man Who Fell to Earth"

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The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

Directed by
Nicolas Roeg

Whatever your view of Nicolas Roeg's 1976 sci-fi drama - a cosmic parable with a diverse range of allegorical interpretations, an hallucinatory myth or a baffling mess - it's an undeniably memorable work, imbued with stunning surreal imagery and haunting, imaginative visuals. Based on Walter Tevis's original novel, the film offers moments of real menace, and - despite props and effects that feel a little clunky today - still has unbridled power to shock and a poignancy that's hard to match.

One of the cinematographer turned director's master touches was the casting of the film's leading player. David Bowie - just finishing a cosmic juggernaut ride with his pop personas Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane - was already decidedly weird and from the planet Zarg, so it didn't take much for the Thin White Duke to slip convincingly into the role of Thomas Jerome Newton, an extra-terrestrial who arrives from outer space in search of water for his distant and dying planet.

Newton, brilliantly played with icy detachment by Bowie, uses the advanced technology of his planet to come up with incredible inventions and, in the process, becomes very wealthy. His masterplan is to finance a space programme to ferry water back to his home planet, but, as he becomes more acclimatised to our world, he falls prey to earthly vices, such as drink, sex and TV, and his powers are destroyed.

A thoughtful, provocative tale, it's easy to dwell long and hard on the meaning of it all, especially when key scenes - such as Newton being pestered by his clingy girlfriend Mary-Lou (Candy Clark), going into the bathroom and slowly removing his human eyes and skin to reveal his true reptilian form and her extraordinary reaction when she sees him - are so gut-wrenchingly shocking. Completed after Roeg's other 70s masterpieces Walkabout and Don't Look Now, it's rightly regarded as a cult classic.

Genre: Film

Running Time: 100 minutes (approx)

Production Year: 1976

4/5 Stars

Classification: 18 Certificate

Production Country: UK

Filmed in Colour


Image for David BowieDavid Bowie...Thomas Jerome Newton
Image for Rip TornRip Torn...Nathan Bryce
Candy Clark...Mary-Lou
Buck Henry...Oliver Farnsworth
Bernie Casey...Peters
Jackson D. Kane...Professor Canutti
Rick Riccardo...Trevor
Tony Mascia...Arthur
Linda Hutton...Elaine
Hilary Holland...Jill
Adrienne Larussa...Helen
Lilybelle Crawford...Jewelery Store Owner
Richard Breeding...Receptionist
Albert Nelson...Waiter
Peter Prouse...Peters' Associate