6.7/10
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40 user 26 critic

The Brother from Another Planet (1984)

A mute alien with the appearance of a black human is chased by outer-space bounty hunters through the streets of Harlem.

Director:

John Sayles

Writer:

John Sayles
Reviews
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Morton ... The Brother
Rosanna Carter Rosanna Carter ... West Indian Woman
Ray Ramirez Ray Ramirez ... Hispanic Man
Yves Rene Yves Rene ... Haitian Man
Peter Richardson Peter Richardson ... Islamic Man
Ginny Yang Ginny Yang ... Korean Shopkeeper
Daryl Edwards ... Fly
Steve James ... Odell
Leonard Jackson ... Smokey
Bill Cobbs ... Walter
Maggie Renzi Maggie Renzi ... Noreen
Olga Merediz ... Noreen's Client
Tom Wright ... Sam
Minnie Gentry Minnie Gentry ... Mrs. Brown
Renn Woods ... Bernice (as Ren Woods)
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Storyline

The Brother is an alien who has crash-landed on Earth, in New York City. While mute, strongly empathic, and able to fix things, he resembles a Black man with strange feet. His attempt to make a place for himself in Harlem is an allegory for the immigrant experience in the United States. Meanwhile, two bounty hunters from the Brother's home planet arrive and try to capture him. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Welcome to a world of crude beauty... of danger and excitement... of wonders, legend, and imagination... Welcome to Harlem, Brother. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some drug content and brief nudity | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

8 November 1984 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

The Brother from Another Planet See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,677,209

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,677,209
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Sayles financed most of this movie himself. According to Wikipedia, "Sayles describes this movie as being about the immigrant experience of assimilation. He spent part of his MacArthur Fellows 'genius' grant on the film, which cost $350,000 to produce". See more »

Goofs

In the scene where the Brother is brought in to fix video games, the woman there is playing Robotron, but the sound effects are from Galaga, not Robotron. See more »

Quotes

Virgil: Nighttime is promise, brother. You make deals in the night. Pay all you've got for what you can't see and when sun come up. Illuminate: we been cheated again.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Naturally, Sadie: Brother from Another Planet (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Promised Land
Sung by Mattie Moultrie Wilson, Madeline Wilson and the Laborers in the Vineyard All Community Choir
By Mason Daring and John Sayles
Sweet Melodies Publishing/ASCAP
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Saw somethin' strange, watch your back, 'cause you never quite know where the M.I.B.s is at.
10 April 2013 | by BA_HarrisonSee all my reviews

A mute, three-toed, super-sensory humanoid (a fine performance from Joe Morton) arrives on Earth, appropriately landing near Ellis Island and taking up residence in Harlem, where his African American appearance helps him to blend in with the locals. The inquisitive alien sets about exploring his strange new environment, absorbing the unique sights and sounds of '80s New York with the help of his otherworldly sense of touch and his removable eyeball, but his journey of discovery is interrupted when he finds himself being hunted by two mysterious men in black...

Although writer/director/star John Sayles' strongly suggests that Morton's character is an escaped slave and makes references to class divide, racism and America's history of slavery, he ensures that The Brother From Another Planet doesn't ram a moralistic or political message down the viewer's throat, focusing instead on examining the human condition though the use of interesting characters, quirky dialogue and intriguing situations. The film is all the better for it—a somewhat bizarre but fun sci-fi adventure on the surface, but one that can be dissected, examined and discussed on a deeper level if so desired.


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