SassyFlix | The Man Who Fell to Earth

The Man Who Fell to Earth

  • R
  • 1976-03-18
  • 02:18:00
6/ 10
26322 votes

Drama, Science Fiction

Thomas Jerome Newton is a humanoid alien who falls to Earth from a distant planet, landing in New Mexico. Appearing as an Englishman, Thomas has arrived on Earth on a mission to bring water back to his home planet, which is experiencing a catastrophic drought. Newton swiftly uses the advanced technology of his home planet to patent many inventions on Earth, and acquires tremendous wealth as the head of an Arizona technology-based conglomerate, World Enterprises Corporation, aided by leading patent attorney Oliver Farnsworth. His wealth is needed to construct a space vehicle with the intention of shipping water back to his home planet.

While revisiting New Mexico, Thomas meets Mary-Lou, a lonely young woman from Oklahoma who works an array of part-time jobs in a small town hotel to support herself. Mary-Lou introduces Thomas to many customs of Earth, including churchgoing, alcohol, and sex. She and Thomas move in together in a house he has built close to where he first landed in New Mexico.

Meanwhile, Dr. Nathan Bryce, a former womaniser and college professor, has landed a job as a fuel technician with World Enterprises and slowly becomes Thomas's confidant. Bryce senses Thomas's alienness and arranges a meeting with Thomas at his home where he has hidden a special X-ray camera. When he steals a picture of Thomas with the camera, it reveals Thomas's alien physiology. Thomas's appetite for alcohol and television (he is capable of watching multiple televisions at once) becomes crippling and he and Mary-Lou fight. Realizing that Bryce has learnt his secret, Thomas reveals his alien form to Mary-Lou. Her initial reaction is one of pure shock and horror. She tries to accept what she sees, but ultimately panics and flees.

Thomas completes the spaceship and attempts to take it on its maiden voyage amid intense press exposure. However, just before his scheduled take-off, he is seized and detained, apparently by the government and a rival company; his business partner, Farnsworth, is murdered. The government, which had been monitoring Thomas via his driver, holds Thomas captive in a locked luxury apartment, constructed deep within a hotel. During his captivity, they keep him sedated with alcohol (to which he has become addicted) and continuously subject him to rigorous medical tests, cutting into the artificial applications which make him appear human. Eventually, one examination, involving X-rays, causes the contact lenses he wears as part of his human disguise to permanently affix themselves to his eyes.

Toward the end of Thomas's years of captivity, he is visited again by Mary-Lou, who is now much older and whose looks have been ravaged by alcohol and time. They have mock-violent, playful sex that involves firing a gun with blanks, and afterwards occupy their time drinking and playing table tennis. Mary-Lou declares that she no longer loves him, and he replies that he doesn't love her either. Eventually Thomas discovers that his "prison", now derelict, is unlocked, and he leaves.

Unable to return home, a broken and alcoholic Thomas creates a recording with alien messages, which he hopes will be broadcast via radio to his home planet. Bryce, who has since married Mary-Lou, buys a copy of the album and meets Newton at a restaurant in town. Thomas is still rich and young-looking despite the passage of many years. However, he has also fallen into depression and alcoholism. Seated on the restaurant's outdoor patio, Thomas inquires about Mary-Lou, before collapsing in a drunken stupor on the chair.