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14 Awesome Stranded Aliens

E.T.'s not the only one who phoned home.

By Tim Janson and Stephen Lackey     March 24, 2011

14 Awesome Stranded Aliens
© Amblin Entertainment/Robert Trate

 Ever since the days of HG Wells, there have been stories about aliens who have become stranded on Earth.   Whether they arrived against their will, crash-landed, or were accidentally left behind by their people, Aliens have found earth alternatively a playground for their evil desires, or a world fill with savages who want to hunt them down and dissect them.  Presented here is our list of the very coolest stranded aliens…although NOT always on Earth in at least a couple of cases. We present them here in chronological order.


20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)

An exploration to Venus returns to Earth with an alien life form in an egg.  The egg hatches into a tiny reptilian creature referred to as the Ymir.  The creature begins to grow exponentially and soon escapes, going on a rampage.  The creature effects were created by the great Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion animation talents.


The Blob (1958)

Like a parasitic tic he rode along his merry way through space on the back of an asteroid. In 1958 that asteroid crashed to Earth and the Blob found himself stranded on this alien planet. He was frustrated and small, until he came across something delicious, sustenance like he’d never had, an old man to be precise! Soon he began to grow, and he could spread out more and find more delicacies to literally consume along his path. Sure he wasn’t ever getting home but the food on this planet was really good! The only problem for him is the cold. He didn’t care for the chilly situations he constantly found himself in.


The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

Singer David Bowie stars in this remarkable cult classic about an alien who comes Earth trying to find a way to cure his planet’s terrible drought and crash lands.  He uses advance technology to become wealthy and eventually find a means to deliver water to his planet.  However the alien soon becomes “humanized” by Earth’s culture and by the end of the film he has lost all motivation to save his planet. 


Superman (1978)

When brilliant scientist Jor-El realizes his planet of Krypton is about to be destroyed, he saves his infant son by sending him in a rocket to Earth where he crash lands in rural Smallville.  The infant is found by Jonathan and Martha Kent and raised as their own son.  However Earth’s yellow sun gives him extraordinary powers and he grows up to become Earth’s most powerful superhero, Superman.


E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

A stranded alien film in the truest sense of the word.  As a group of aliens are gathering local flower samples is interrupted by government agents and as they flee in their spacecraft, they mistakenly leave one of their members behind.  The alien soon forms a psychic bond with a young boy who takes the alien into his home to keep him hidden.  Directed by Steven Spielberg, ET is a bona fide classic and the best stranded alien film ever.


The Thing (1982)

Finding yourself frozen on an alien planet can make for a bad day. But when you get thawed out and discover your ability to make yourself look like the inhabitants of the planet, after you kill the one you are copying of course, makes for some mischief then at least you can entertain yourself right? He finds fun in an Antarctic research facility full of isolated paranoid scientists. R.J. MacReady (Kurt Russell) stands in the alien’s way on his trip to dominating this facility and eventually this world. The film was directed by John Carpenter and featured the brilliant special effects of Rob Bottin.


Starman (1984)

Sometimes the best intentions are met with hostility. In some cases it can mean a door slammed in your faces and in others it can mean the military shooting down your ship after they invited you to come for a visit. Starman (Jeff Bridges) came to Earth after being invited by the Voyager 2 satellite. He was shot down and as a ball of energy he found Jenny’s house and was able to create a human body for himself based on Jenny’s dead husband. He needs to rendezvous with his people for a pick up and he compels Jenny (Karen Allen) to help him. Thank goodness he has his magic marbles to do some pretty miraculous things along the way. As is par for the course the government does everything they can to catch Starman when all he wanted to do was go home.  A simply fantastic film!


Cocoon (1985)

Thousands of years in Earth’s past a group of aliens built the mythical city of Atlantis .  However when they returned home, they had to leave several members behind in cocoons as they did not have sufficient life force for the journey.  When the aliens return to retrieve their comrades, they move the cocoons into house with an indoor swimming pool that the residents of a nearby retirement home sneak into.  The encounter with the cocoons revitalizes the retirees making them feel younger and stronger.  The retirees are given the opportunity to go with the aliens to their planet where they will never grow old or die.  A sweet, modern day fantasy.


Enemy Mine (1985)

Enemy Mine presents a unique twist on our stranded alien theme.  Set against the backdrop of a war between humans and a reptilian humanoid race known as Dracs, Two enemy combatants crash land on an alien planet.  The two former foes now have to become allies in order to survive.  When Jeriba (Lou Gossett, Jr.) becomes pregnant (Dracs are asexual) and dies giving birth, Willis (Dennis Quaid) has to raise the alien baby as his own.


Alien Nation (1988)

Here we deal with not one, but 300,000 stranded aliens in this fantastic Sci-fi film.  The Newcomers arrive when their derelict ship lands in California . The film tackles how the Newcomers try to fit into a society that is prejudiced towards them and stars James Caan as a police detective who dislikes the aliens but soon finds one as his new partner.  A vastly underrated film that spawned a TV series.


Lilo and Stitch (2002)

Disney took a page from Warner Bros book with Stitch: an anarchistic troublemaker slated for destruction when he crash lands in the friendliest place in the universe: Hawaii. There, he befriends a lonely little girl as out of place as he is and decides that Earth may be the place to stay after all. Lilo and Stitch benefits by breaking the Disney mold in half, reminding us that they can do more than just pretty princesses.


Transformers (2007)

Megatron was misunderstood. All he wanted to do was get the All Spark, a device that would allow him to destroy his enemies and create a robot army to take over the universe. Is that so bad? He came to Earth to retrieve the device and found himself frozen in ice. He was stranded until a series of events, including the arrival of more of his “people” on earth, allowed for him to thaw out. His people, known as the Decepticons disguised themselves as Earthly machines and began the search for the All Spark but the Autobots, also from their home planet stood and drove and flew in their way. Some hardcore robot on robot action ensued with a group of humans led by Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox) caught in the middle.


District 9 (2009)

Similar in theme to Alien Nation, District 9 depicts a stranded alien vessel arrives on Earth, this time hovering over South Africa, inside, thousands of sick aliens.  Unlike Alien Nation however, there is no attempt to integrate these aliens into society.  Rather they are confined to shoddy, government prison camps.  One human soon finds what its like to be on the other side when he’s infected with an alien virus that changes his DNA.  Dealing with themes of racism and inequality, District 9 sparked controversy among Nigerians who are portrayed as criminals in the film. 


Predators (2010)

The previous night must have been one hell of a party considering this eclectic group all found themselves hurtling face first toward an alien planet. Parachutes saved them only to leave them stranded on this mysterious planet and the playthings of the planet’s inhabitants. They are a fun group, a couple of mercenaries, criminals, oh and a bizarre doctor who really felt out of place. They keep moving together trying to figure out what happened to them and survive constant attacks by invisible Predators. Unlikely friendships were made and little surprise twists kept popping up to ‘cause bumps in the road. The Predators were tough but a few of these guys were no slouches either so fun was had by all even if the planet wasn’t very inviting to these “aliens”.


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fatpantz 3/24/2011 12:50:03 AM

Boo this list, boo it I say....how dare you skip Stephen Chow's CJ7 sir!!?? I demand a recount!

SarcasticCaveman 3/24/2011 2:04:34 AM

 I'm PRETTY sure I asked for some pecan sandies...

SarcasticCaveman 3/24/2011 2:05:16 AM

 By the way, Starman was a tool...just my opinion.

johnwhitetoledo 3/24/2011 3:39:31 AM

 You included Bowie...well done sir.

Darkknight2280 3/24/2011 4:11:28 AM

Alien Nation is a great movie! Loved the series too!

marcd30319 3/24/2011 4:38:13 AM

A good list!

EagleManiac 3/24/2011 5:21:03 AM

Good list! I agree that Alien Nation was way underrated! The series was actually really good too!

I wonder if the "alien" from Alien could be considered a "stranded alien"?

jsmulligan 3/24/2011 6:37:09 AM

I haven't seen it in a while, so I can't remember... wasn't the Iron Giant an alien?  That was a really good movie.

Talyn 3/24/2011 8:05:11 AM

You list Predators over Predator 1 or 2? WTH?

lusiphur 3/24/2011 8:15:28 AM

Actually, Talyn, if I read the entry correctly, they were referring to the humans in the movie as being the aliens.  A nice twist I think.

Good list guys.  

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