Starman (film): Wikis


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John Carpenter's

Starman theatrical poster
Directed by John Carpenter
Produced by Larry J. Franco
Michael Douglas
Written by Bruce A. Evans
Raynold Gideon
Dean Riesner
Starring Jeff Bridges
Karen Allen
Music by Jack Nitzsche
Cinematography Donald M. Morgan
Editing by Marion Rothman
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) December 14, 1984 (1984-12-14)
Running time 115 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $24 million USD
Gross revenue $28,744,356 (U.S. only)

John Carpenter's Starman is a 1984 science fiction-fantasy film directed by John Carpenter which tells the story of an alien (Jeff Bridges) who has come to Earth in response to the invitation found on the gold phonograph record installed on one of the Voyager space probes.

The screenplay was written by Bruce A. Evans, Raynold Gideon and Dean Riesner (uncredited). Bridges was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. The film inspired a short-lived, 1986 television series of the same name which starred Robert Hays and Christopher Daniel Barnes.



In 1977, Voyager 2 was launched containing a gold phonographic disk with a message of peace and inviting visitors to come to the planet Earth. Aliens, discovering the probe, send a small scout vessel. However, instead of being greeted by its human hosts, the U.S. government shoots down the alien craft. Crashing in Wisconsin, the alien, as a blue ball of energy, finds a lock of hair of the deceased Scott Hayden in a photo album and uses it to clone a new body in the likeness of Scott. The Starman (Jeff Bridges) then sends a message to his people that the environment is hostile and requesting extraction in three days at landing area one.

This occurs in the home of Scott's widow, Jenny Hayden (Karen Allen). After being awakened by an intense light in her living room, Jenny witnesses the alien clone into her dead husband. The Starman has seven small silver spheres which he turns into pure energy to perform miraculous feats. He uses one to create a map of the United States in order to compel the dumbstruck Jenny to take him to Arizona ('Arizona-Maybe').

As the shock wears off and Jenny discovers the Starman is an alien clone of her husband, she turns both hostile and frightened of him. After repeatedly unsuccessfully attempting to escape, she finally implores the Starman to shoot her with her pistol. But instead, the Starman dramatically releases the pistol's magazine and tells her he means her no harm. As they continue on their journey, the Starman, who had a rough understanding of English syntax from the phonographic disk on Voyager 2, learns to communicate his presence to Jenny, and Jenny teaches the Starman that humanity is not completely savage.

Jenny understands the Starman needs her help to get to Meteor Crater in three days or he will die, so she teaches him how to drive an automobile and use credit cards intending on escaping so he can continue his journey alone. However, as she is about to make her escape, she witnesses him in the distance miraculously resuscitate a deer that had been shot by a hunter. Deeply moved by the Starman's action, she resolves to help him at whatever cost.

Along the way, the couple is pursued by the United States Army who detected the crash. The Army contingent is led by a cold-blooded NSA Chief George Fox (Richard Jaeckel) who is reluctantly assisted by a decidedly more humane civilian scientist named Mark Shermin (Charles Martin Smith) who, after finding the Voyager 2 phonographic disk in the Starman's ship, understands that Earth invited the Starman to visit in peace.

As they make their way to Arizona, the Starman's understanding of humanity (and being human) increases through direct experience and from some explanations by Jenny, who in turn finds the Starman to be a tender, sincere, vulnerable, and loving being. Jenny asks the Starman about his world, and he explains they are one people with one language and one law, and there is no hunger or hurt or war, but they have lost something. The Starman then expresses his admiration for humanity.

At one point, Jenny is seriously injured when their car was shot at by police. In order to escape, The Starman crashes the vehicle into an overturned gas tanker, and having protected both himself and Jenny with one of his silver spheres, and under the cover of the explosion, takes refuge onto a mobile home.

The Starman, down to his last two silver spheres, uses one to heal her. He then leaves her to attempt to reach the Meteor Crater alone, as he is afraid she will be hurt again. Jenny catches up to him and they continue their journey together. While hitching a ride on a boxcar, the couple make love. Later that night, the Starman tells Jenny "I gave you a baby tonight". When Jenny tries to explain she is barren, the Starman tells her to believe him, that the baby will be the son of her dead husband, but also his son, that he will know all that the Starman knows, and when he grows up, he will become a "teacher." Seeing Jenny looking at him stunned, he asks her "If you do not want this baby, let me know and I will stop it". Jenny then asks him to show her his star "So I can show him where his father came from".

However, the couple mistakenly travel too far on the train and arrive in Las Vegas. To make matters worse, Jenny has misplaced her credit card, and the last remaining money they have is a single quarter which Starman uses in a slot machine, which he then manipulates to result in winning the jackpot. After repeating the trick on a $500,000 slot machine, the couple use their winnings to buy a brand new car (which was then a 1985 Cadillac Eldorado) to complete the drive to Winslow.

By the end of the journey, the Starman is captured by the government in a cafe nearby the Meteor Crater. There, Mark Shermin interviews the dying Starman, where he learns that the aliens had visited Earth, that there are many savage intelligent races in the universe, but the aliens are interested in man because they are a beautiful people: they are at their best when things are at their worst. Confronted with this, Shermin decides to ruin his career to help the Starman and Jenny escape.

The couple reach the crater as Army helicopters buzz them. Suddenly, a large reflective sphere appears in the sky and enters the crater. Substance resembling snow and a blue light surround the couple, and the Starman is instantly restored to health. He tells Jenny he will never see her again. Jenny confesses her love and begs him to take her with him, but he says she would die on his world. He then gives her his last silver sphere. When she asks, "What should I do with this?" he says, "The baby will know". He then leaves her as she watches, in silence, as the mothership rises, taking Starman away forever.


Critical Reaction

Starman received mostly positive reviews and is considered by many as one of the best films of 1984.[1][2][3] The film currently holds a 78% "Fresh" rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus "what initially begins as sci-fi transforms into a surprisingly sweet, offbeat drama, courtesy of John Carpenter's careful direction".[4]

Awards and Nominations

Award Wins:[5]

Award Nominations:


Actor Role
Jeff Bridges Starman/Scott Hayden
Karen Allen Jenny Hayden
Charles Martin Smith Mark Shermin
Richard Jaeckel George Fox
Robert Phalen Major Bell
Tony Edwards Sergeant Lemon
John Walter Davis Brad Heinmuller

External links


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