The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976) Review

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The Man Who Fell To Earth

Directed by Nicolas Roeg


David Bowie
Rip Torn
Candy Clark
Buck Henry
Bernie Casey

Plot Synopsis (via Wikipedia):

Thomas Jerome Newton is a humanoid alien who comes to Earth from a distant planet on a mission to bring water back to his home planet, which is experiencing a catastrophic drought.

Newton uses the advanced technology of his home planet to patent many inventions on Earth, and acquires incredible wealth as the head of a technology-based conglomerate, World Enterprises Corporation, aided by leading patent attorney Oliver Farnsworth. His wealth is needed to construct his own space vehicle with the intention of shipping water back to his planet.

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My Opinion:

I’d been wanting to see this movie for a very long time and finally got the opportunity when it was on TV a couple of weeks ago. I’m a huge David Bowie fan. Okay – More a fan of his music than his, um, acting. But I’m glad I finally got to see this intriguing, unusual, crazy, slightly fucked up, and totally 70’s film.

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This film is a bit of an incoherent mess, quite frankly. It starts with Bowie coming to Earth. Then we suddenly get this college professor, Rip Torn, screwing lots of college girls. LOTS of screwing. There’s a lot of sex in this movie. And nudity. And naked Bowie (yes!).

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They show Bowie experiencing new things on Earth while Rip Torn does lots of screwing. I think they’re trying to show that he & Bowie have some sort of psychic connection? Then Bowie meets a sweet & simple girl, Candy Clark, and they start a relationship. And have lots of sex. And Bowie drinks a lot and watches multiple TVs all at once. And we see Bowie’s wife & kids slowly dying back on his home planet. And we see Bowie penis! And we see weird alien sex involving a milky substance that looks a bit like when Bishop is ripped apart in Aliens. And all of a sudden Bowie has a spaceship to fly back home and, oh yeah, I forgot that was the whole point of the movie. Then people are getting thrown out of windows and I’m losing the plot a bit. And the guy who’s the teacher in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is suddenly in the movie and I’m still not sure what his role was. Then there’s crazy gun sex and contact lenses and nipple tweaking and WTF. The end. Well, not quite the end but I won’t give the end away.

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So, yeah. When this movie finished, I admit that I just kind of sat there going “WTF?”. I watched this two weeks ago. Since then I’ve started to think that, actually, this movie was kind of freaking awesome. In a totally fucked up way. Why? Well, that’s simple: David Bowie, of course. He always has been and always will be thoroughly intriguing. Who better to play an alien? And being an alien excuses any less than perfect acting, I guess. How are we meant to know how an alien would actually behave? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Candy Clark is very good as Bowie’s girlfriend on Earth. For me, the best parts of this movie by far are the ones focusing on their relationship. Whenever they focused on any characters other than these two, I lost interest. They were great together and it was fun watching their dysfunctional relationship. And their crazy gun sex.

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I honestly don’t know what else to say so I’m going to just sum things up now. This movie is not good. Iconic, yes. But not good. But I didn’t care. Because… It’s David Bowie. And I love him. He makes me feel kind of funny, like when we used to climb the rope in gym class. (Does that line work if a girl says it? Also, we never actually climbed any ropes in my gym classes at school). This movie LOOKS cool. Especially Bowie – he looks cool as hell. I mainly wanted to write this review just for the cool pictures I could post. No, this movie is not good. But I liked it. It’s horribly awesome and I have to own it on DVD. If you’re not a Bowie fan, though, you’ll probably want to avoid this movie.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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I’d like to also add that I recently went to the “David Bowie Is” exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. If you’re a Bowie fan and live anywhere near London, I highly recommend it. You get to see SO many personal items – I especially loved all his handwritten lyrics to all my favorite songs and his many costumes. It was excellent.

My Top Ten David Bowie Songs

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38 thoughts on “The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976) Review

  1. Awesome! I’m completely fascinated by this movie. And you’re right, I don’t know if it’s any good either. But Bowie, Bowie, BOWIE! If the movie works, he’s the only reason why. Fantastic review.

    And BTW, I’m very jealous you have that exhibit there in London. I’d have been there SO many times already if I lived there. Maybe something like that will come to the States.

    • Yes – If he wasn’t in the movie, it certainly wouldn’t get a 7 out of 10. That’s ALL Bowie. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I hope that exhibition does come to the States for you – it was so good. I didn’t expect there to be so much stuff to see. They had loads! Even some things from Labyrinth. Woohoo! Awesome. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Oh crap. I missed this review. My bad. i saw this one night at NYU years ago and after it ended I felt like washing my eyeballs with bleach. Ugh. It is indeed a mess but it is also a very good curiosity piece and is very bizarre if that. Maybe I need to re-visit. Good review!

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  4. Another great review!

    I saw this yeeeeeears ago and couldn’t tell you anything about it, but you’ve made me curious to see it again. I too, adore Mr Bowie, he’s actually in my all time favourite ever number one film…Labyrinth. Have you seen any of his other films?

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  7. Reblogged this on Cinema Parrot Disco and commented:

    I’ve mentioned David Bowie a lot in various posts on this blog but haven’t written about much of his work. I’ve watched his most well known movies but know I need to finally get around to watching the rest. Today I’m reblogging my review of the one movie of his that I watched for the very first time since starting this blog: The Man Who Fell To Earth

    • Yes, I think that may have been my favorite thing about that exhibition. There were loads of his handwritten notes! And soooo many of his outfits. I’m so so glad I went & saw that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Love love love Bowie, I don’t know why I still haven’t seen this.

    the rope reference is lost on this girl, it sounds painful or like a guy thing.

    Seriously, though this was quite funny.


    • Thanks! Yeah – I love Bowie so much. Still very upset over his death. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ This is a must see for anyone who’s a big fan. Just go in with very low expectations for the film itself. It’s not EXACTLY “good”. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But Bowie was just so fascinating to watch. Lol – I had to go re-read my review for the rope reference. Ah – I’m quoting Garth from Wayne’s World. I do that a lot. Because I’m like a female Garth. ๐Ÿ™‚

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