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Aliens goofs

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This article covers all the known goofs in the 1986 film Aliens, as well as its novelization.

While preparing the movie for high-definition home video as part of the Alien Anthology set, director James Cameron took the opportunity to correct several goofs in the extended Special Edition of the film, both by re-editing existing footage and including subtle digital alterations. These corrected goofs are noted below, where applicable.


  • As a new model and set had to be created for the shuttle, some details on the outside and inside the Narcissus differ from its appearance in Alien.
  • Ripley's white helmet, seen on the floor inside the Narcissus, has a light mounted on top of it; while the helmets worn by Dallas, Kane and Lambert on the LV-426 in Alien had lights, the one worn by Ripley in the shuttle did not.
  • Due to a different cat actor being used, Jones has noticeably changed his appearance since Alien.
  • In the Special Edition, Van Leuwen refers to Ripley's company ID number as NOC14472 while the data screen in the background displays the number NOC14672.
  • In the Special Edition, when Simpson and Lydecker are exiting the operations room, a man with a black box being followed by two others can be seen entering operations and setting the box down. However, in the subsequent shot of Simpson and Lydecker passing through the door, the man with the box hasn't even entered the room yet.
  • Ripley lights her cigarette twice when Burke and Lieutenant Gorman come to see her in her apartment.
  • Before the crew wakes up aboard the Sulaco, their names and ID numbers appear on a computer screen. The image quickly cross-fades to a shot of the crew asleep in their cryotubes, but if you look carefully just before the text vanishes, you can see that Private Hudson's name is missing from the manifest. Apone's rank is also given as "M/SGT" (Master Sergeant), yet he wears Gunnery Sergeant rank insignia throughout the film. According to Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report, the latter is incorrect, as he is supposed to be a Master Sergeant.
  • During the wakeup scene, Apone calls for Private Crowe and Private Wierzbowski to get on their feet as he walks along the line of cryotubes. However, as he says it, Wierzbowski can already be seen standing at his locker in the foreground.
  • The name tag on Corporal Hicks' locker aboard the Sulaco reads "Cpl.J.HICKS". However, in the extended Special Edition, Hicks reveals his first name to be Dwayne; thus, his locker should say "Cpl.D.HICKS". Given that actor James Remar originally played the character, it seems likely that Hicks originally shared his first name with the actor playing him, as is the case with all the other Marines in the film. Presumably the name Dwayne was thought up later, but the prop was never changed.
  • In the briefing scene, Apone's hat clearly has a blue tag on it. During the wakeup scene, however, the tag was absent. As the wakeup and mess hall scenes were filmed after the briefing scene, the tag was presumably removed between shooting the scenes. The tag features the logo for the female sports fashion clothing band Roxy, who provided hats for the film.[1]
  • In the Special Edition, a scene is added where Hudson boasts about the Colonial Marines' equipment. During the added footage, Hicks goes from being clearly awake in shots of the Marines in the back of the APC to being asleep in close-ups of him.
  • The Marines can stand up straight inside the APC, yet are noticeably taller than it when standing outside.
  • The mission time seen on the video feeds from the Marines' helmet cameras constantly jumps back and forth between shots.
  • The motion detectors used in the film often fail to pick up the movement of nearby friendlies. While it could be said that the Marines have some kind of technology that prevents the trackers from picking up their own personnel, at one point Apone asks his men over the radio if any of them could be the source of a movement signal, implying it is possible for the trackers to pick up other Marines.
  • In the Special Edition, Ripley pauses hesitantly before entering the colony, standing in the rain for several seconds. However, as soon as she is inside, she is dry.
  • The handle on the cup of hot chocolate switches sides when Newt drinks from it.
  • When Apone is confiscating Pulse Rifle ammunition inside the Hive, he asks Wierzbowski for his magazine. However, all other shots in the film show Wierzbowski to be armed with a flamethrower, not a Pulse Rifle, and as such he should be exempt from the collection.
  • Ripley's headset changes position when she is angrily confronting Gorman inside the APC.
  • The APC window becomes unshattered after the vehicle rolls over the Xenomorph. The vehicle also has a large dent on its front right corner when leaving the Atmosphere Processing Plant, but it disappears once the APC is outside.
  • The acid blood of the Xenomorphs rarely seems to damage the walls and floors like it did in Alien. This is especially noticeable in enclosed spaces like the air shafts, the APC, and the elevator, where Hicks gets burnt but nothing else does.

Hicks' light falls from his shoulder.

  • When Hicks is fleeing from the crashing dropship, his shoulder torch falls from his shoulder. The lamp then reappears later, without him ever picking it up and strapping it back on.
  • Hicks warns Newt not to play with an M40 Pulse Rifle grenade when he's going through the weapons the survivors have left — it clearly has a pale green cap. However, the M40s used by Ripley in the Hive later have red caps. The Colonial Marines Technical Manual makes it clear the cap on the M40 should be red, making the grenades Ripley uses correct.
  • When sentry guns A and B start firing at the Xenomorphs in the tunnel in the Special Edition, one of the displays briefly shows that at least one of the guns has a full 500 rounds before opening fire. However, both guns fired several shots when Hudson and Vasquez tested them earlier, so they should have less than 500 rounds left.
  • When Ripley tries to smash the unbreakable glass in the med lab, a scuff mark is visible on the glass before her first swing. After this, the mark disappears and we see Ripley actually making the mark with her second swing. This goof was fixed on the Blu-ray release of the Special Edition.
  • Hicks gets sprayed with acid in the elevator. However, the burn marks on his face do not appear until later, when Ripley carries him out of the colony building.
  • When Ripley is assembling her flamethrower/Pulse Rifle combination on the dropship, she first picks up a flamethrower from the rack. However, the next shot shows her setting down a Pulse Rifle. She then takes a Pulse Rifle from the rack, but the next shot shows her setting a flamethrower down on top of the Pulse Rifle. This editing mismatch was corrected for the Special Edition VHS included in the Alien Trilogy limited edition box set,[2] and the corrected version was again used for the Special Edition release on Blu-ray, but curiously all other releases feature the original, incorrect sequence of events.
  • When Ripley loads up her Pulse Rifle before going into the Hive, the ammo counter shows that she loads it with a full magazine of 95 rounds. However, when she steps out of the elevator the ammo counter on the side of the rifle clearly reads 42, even though she hasn't fired a shot.
  • The nozzle burner on Ripley's flamethrower goes out when she fires the weapon just before finding the discarded locator bracelet in the Hive. However, the burner is on again in the next shot.
  • In the Hive, the ammo counter on Ripley's Pulse Rifle turns on and off between close-up shots of the ammo counter and shots of her firing the weapon.
  • The Pulse Rifle component of Ripley's flamethrower/Pulse Rifle combination weapon changes many times during the sequence where it is being fired inside the Hive — when Ripley is firing the grenade launcher, the Pulse Rifle has eight barrel vents and a grenade launcher barrel that extends past the front of the weapon; when she is racking the grenade launcher's action, the Pulse Rifle suddenly has a shorter grenade launcher barrel that is flush with the front of the weapon; when she is firing the Pulse Rifle itself, the Pulse Rifle again has a longer grenade launcher barrel, but this time has ten barrel vents.
  • The elevator the Queen uses is not actually big enough for her to fit inside.
  • When Ripley first grabs the Queen with the Power Loader, she grips around the creature's neck. However, in the next shot, the Power Loader's vice is holding the Queen's head.
  • The yellow caution light on the Power Loader smashes when the Queen pulls the Loader into the airlock, but is unbroken in the next shot.
  • The barb at the tip of the Queen's tail vanishes when she is in the airlock. It reappears when she is flushed into space.
  • The position of the bandage on Hicks' head changes between shots as Ripley shuts him in his hypersleep chamber.

Plot HolesEdit

  • At the inquest, Ripley specifically tells the panel that Kane saw "thousands" of Eggs on board the derelict. However, Kane never actually imparts this information to the rest of the crew when he enters the ship's hold in Alien; he simply says the space is "full" of Eggs, without specifying how many that entails. Similarly, he could not have told the crew after waking aboard the Nostromo, because upon doing so he makes it clear he remembers nothing of the event.
  • Another issue at the inquest concerns the response to the fate of Ripley's crewmates. The board acts as though the Alien is merely a figment of Ripley's imagination invented to cover up the fact that she destroyed the Nostromo. However, if the Alien never existed, that would imply Ripley must also have been responsible for the death of her crew. In such a case, she would certainly be tried for murder, but the board is prepared to let her off with no criminal charges whatsoever.
  • The signal that the Nostromo homed in on in Alien should have been heard by the vessels involved in the initial colonization of LV-426, or the ships supplying the colony, yet it remains undetected for 57 years. Director James Cameron has stated on several occasions that the equipment generating the signal had been damaged or destroyed by volcanic activity in the time between Alien and the colonization of the moon,[3] while the 2014 video game Alien: Isolation later essentially retconned Cameron by having the beacon switched off by Henry Marlow from the Anesidora (which did detect the signal) in the interim. However, no explanation is given in the film itself.
  • In the Special Edition, when Vasquez and Hudson set up the sentry guns in the tunnel they test them by throwing a metal canister in front of them, causing the guns to fire at it and destroy it. While this is obviously done to impart the purpose and sophistication of the weapons to the audience, from a realistic point of view it is not only a complete waste of ammunition, it is also tactically unsound as it alerts the Xenomorphs to their presence. In a combat scenario against a sentient enemy, it would also give away the locations of the guns, allowing the opposition to destroy or even circumvent them. It seems hard to believe such an advanced military weapons system would not feature some means of testing its set-up without actually firing live rounds.
  • The Marines seem certain that the Xenomorphs will breach their secured perimeter sooner or later, but it is not until the impending meltdown of the Atmosphere Processor is discovered that anybody suggests retrieving the second dropship from the Sulaco.

Factual ErrorsEdit

  • During the investigation of the Atmosphere Processing Plant, Gorman informs Ripley that the M41A Pulse Rifle fires "10 millimeter explosive-tip caseless" ammunition. However, several times during the film, the weapons can be seen ejecting brass casings, which a caseless weapon would not do. This is due to the Pulse Rifles being built around Thompson submachine guns, which fire cased .45 ACP rounds.
  • According to Hicks, the M40 grenades used by the Pulse Rifle are 30mm in caliber. However, the rounds seen are visibly far smaller than this. The grenade props were in fact made from 12 gauge shotgun cartridge simulators, which are actually only 18.53mm in diameter.

Revealing MistakesEdit

  • The background conversation noise during the breakfast scene is obviously looped.
  • Marks can be seen on the tabletop before Bishop starts the "knife trick", evidently from an earlier take.
  • In the first wide angle shot of Bishop using the knife, he is stabbing it behind Hudson's hand. Furthermore, later shots have clearly been sped up, as can be seen from characters in the background, especially Apone.
  • Hicks deflects Private Drake's Smartgun upwards to stop him accidentally shooting Newt, yet the gunfire does no damage to the corridor's ceiling.
  • A foot (presumably belonging to member of the crew) is visible over the edge of the catwalk when Private Frost falls to his death.
  • As Drake is firing his Smartgun while retreating from the Hive, a part of the prop can be seen falling off.
  • The containers that supposedly knock Gorman out clearly do not hit him on the head, but on the arm and back. They are also obviously empty and too light to cause serious harm even if one of them had struck him on the head.
  • After the dropship crashes, the paint on the handle of Hudson's Motion Tracker is obviously wearing off and the red of the drill used as the base for the prop can be seen.

Hicks holding a Pulse Rifle with obviously filled-in barrels.

  • The barrels of the Pulse Rifles are clearly filled-in in some scenes, indicating that a dummy prop weapon is being used, rather than a real one. This is especially noticeable during the escape through the vents.
  • When the Xenomorph snatches Newt, wires can be seen holding up its tail as it rises out of the water.
  • While searching the Hive for Newt, Ripley fires bursts from her flamethrower to clear the way. Initially, this sets fire to the surrounding walls, as a genuine military flamethrower firing thickened liquid fuel would. However, this stops happening subsequently, indicating the weapon changes to a gas-fired prop flamethrower. When Ripley incinerates the Egg chamber, the blast from the flamethrower once again sets everything it touches aflame, as it should.
  • Newt's hand is clearly made of plastic in several shots of Ripley carrying her in the Hive. This is because, despite being a small child, actress Carrie Henn was still too heavy for Sigourney Weaver to carry (especially on top of the weapons and other equipment she had to carry in the scene), and so a lightweight dummy was built for the sequence.
  • When Ripley meets the Queen, there is a side shot where the breathing sound and the steam coming out of the Queen's mouth are out of sync. It is also possible to see that the steam is coming from the far side of the Queen's jaws, rather than out of them.
  • As the Queen rears her head and roars when Ripley begins torching the Eggs, part of the metal structure inside the Queen puppet is visible.
  • When Bishop is ripped in half by the Queen, her hands are clearly not gripping the two halves of his body.

The hole for Lance's body.

  • The hole in the set through which Lance Henriksen's body disappears is visible when Bishop's severed torso stops Newt from being sucked out of the airlock. This was digitally corrected for the Blu-ray Special Edition.



  • In the novel, one of the salvage crew that boards the Narcissus describes Ripley's hypersleep pod as being of "late twenties" design. However, the events of Alien took place in 2122. According to the salvager, the hypersleep pod was constructed several years at least after the Narcissus launched on its fateful voyage.


  2. "Weyland-Yutani Archives - Trip Down Memory Lane: The UK Limited Edition Facehugger VHS Boxset". Retrieved on 2015-08-24.
  3. "Weyland-Yutani Archives - James Cameron's Responses To Aliens Critics". Retrieved on 2013-07-01.

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