Saturday Matinee: The Man Who Fell to Earth

“The Man Who Fell to Earth” (1976) is a British science fiction film directed by Nicolas Roeg, written by Paul Mayersberg, and based on Walter Tevis’s 1963 novel of the same name. David Bowie (in his first feature film role) stars as an extraterrestrial who crash lands in New Mexico while on a mission to save his home planet. Going by the name of Thomas Newton, he soon meets Oliver Farnsworth (Buck Henry), Mary-Lou (Candy Clark) and Dr. Nathan Bryce (Rip Torn), who become his closest allies. Due to personal and professional betrayals, Newton’s secret is revealed and he’s captured by a government agency. While imprisoned he’s subject to tortuous medical tests which break his spirit, replacing his more “alien” personality traits with those of a modern American.

In Philip K. Dick’s novel VALIS, fictionalized versions of Dick and K. W. Jeter become obsessed with Valis, a film starring musician Eric Lampton. This plot element was based on Dick and Jeter’s real obsession with The Man Who Fell to Earth.

Watch the full film here:


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