Bechdel Test Movie List

/bech·del test/ n.
1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

[[3]] Alien (1979) [imdb]

This movie passed 3 of 3 tests. It was entered by neil on 2008-07-19 00:00:00.



neil said:
Mentioned in the The Rule comic:

"The two women in it talk to each other about the monster."
Message posted on 2008-07-19 00:00:00
Anonymous said:
So the two women in the film only talk about the /incredibly phallic/ monster.

Giger's great, but he's all about the penis.
Message posted on 2008-09-04 06:29:57
Bryan said:
That as may be, Anonynmous, but we learn that the monster is female. Doesn't that take the sting out of your point?
Message posted on 2008-10-23 16:45:01
Dave said:
When do we learn that the monster is female? The alien in this movie isn't one of the queen aliens and outside of the queen it is never discussed weather the aliens are male, female, neither, or both.
Message posted on 2010-05-26 19:07:54
arachnophilia said:
the alien reproduces asexually, so it is really neither male nor female. however, much of the feminist interpretation of the time pointed to the alien as "hyper-masculine" due to its ability to use either gender of human as a baby-making factory, thereby essentially emasculating the men. they also point to the "penetrating" tongue, and the phallic head shape. giger himself might has been offended at this, as all his early drawings of it had a decidedly feminine silhouette, and he was aiming for "hyper-sexual" more so than masculine or feminine. the design drew inspiration from two of his earlier works, with similarly elongated heads. one is decidedly male, with a giant engorged penis, and the other is very much female.

in any case, "alien" was largely heralded by feminists in early 80's for essentially turning gender relations in movies on their head. just the fact that it had a female lead, who beat the monster in spite of the failings of her emasculated male comrades, was quite revolutionary.
Message posted on 2010-05-27 05:07:44
Gina said:
Even if the monster is male, it's not a man, or even an anthropomorphic character.
Message posted on 2011-08-11 22:12:44
Ide Cyan said:
Ripley and Lambert also talk about navigation early in the film. Ripley: "That's not our system." Lambert: "I know that." And -- in the 2003? edit at least -- Lambert lashes out at Ripley for wanting to keep a quarantine: "You bitch! You would have left us out there!"
Message posted on 2012-05-13 09:18:19
Tom said:
I'm not sure if this film passes, and if it does it's through the briefest of conversations. That said it's an extremely feminist film. The protagonist is a woman who is never listened to, and as a direct result all of the men die. She's usually the only person to survive. The antagonist is a penis-covered-phallus-monster-phallus who reproduces via sexual violence, and to whom is this directed? John Hurt's character who is essentially raped and then dies after gestation. Basically it takes a very real danger that women face regularly, applies it to men and suddenly it's a horror film.
Message posted on 2013-06-28 18:59:44
Matt said:
Some people have interpreted the Alien as being a "male" so any conversation about the monster would actually be a man.

Luckily though, Ripley and Lambert actually discuss their escape plan - not the alien - so it still passes anyway.
Message posted on 2013-11-07 11:38:45
Vouze said:
If we look at ants and bees, workers and fighters have no sex at all. Female and male only appear when a new settlement is about to be created.
Message posted on 2013-12-09 14:24:49
Jesse M. said:
There's the part already mentioned where they discuss the possibility of escape, but as the comic says, they do also discuss the monster, in this exchange:

RIPLEY We can't go into hypersleep with that thing running loose. We'd be sitting ducks in the freezers. We have to kill it first.

LAMBERT We can't kill it. If we do, it will spill its body acids right through the hull...
Message posted on 2014-02-04 20:34:03
Starr said:
It deeply saddens me that this movie counts as 'passing' as the exchanges are exceedingly brief.
I feel it does revolutionary things in some senses such as the strong female lead, with another female as part of small crew, the men dying due to their not listening to her, and her killing the weird phallic alien.

But it also limits the females to very brief dialogue between the two female characters, the second female is very weak, BOTH females have a hysterical break down, and then the lead female takes her clothes off (and of course isn't wearing a bra).

So perhaps it passes the Bechdel test (barely), but I certainly feel it is controversial as so just how 'feminist-friendly' it is.
Message posted on 2014-02-18 07:09:52
emma said:
just to weigh in on the discussion about whether the alien is male or female... it's an alien so the idea of gender may not be applicable but it seems to be based on hymenoptera (eusocial ant meets parasitoid wasp) in which case the one in this film appears most like a (female) worker ant or a parasitoid wasp female both of which can reproduce with or without a male (they can lay unfertilised eggs which are male). Not sure this helps the actual discussion but I found it interesting.
Message posted on 2014-04-04 15:05:27
griff said:
@Starr. The question isn't how feminist friendly Alien is, but what kind of feminism it befriends. The weakness of Lambert is part of the point. She's a traditional female gender type, which is why she dies (though it's significant she still lasts longer than the effete scientist, the aging cowboy, the white blue collar guy...) Only the 'liberated professional woman' survives. (Again, that's the point...) Lambert DOES have a hysterical breakdown, but Ripley doesn't. She keeps a cool head and comes up with an inventive method to get rid of phallus-monster. Which is the point of her taking her clothes off - to EMPHASIZE THE GENDERED NATURE OF THE DANGER, AND OF HER ABILITY TO OVERCOME IT! All of which means Alien's gender politics winds up very much a form of American Liberal Feminism, celebrating individualism and individual achievement, not anything "radical" like working together toward a goal, or sisterhood or class solidarity... (I.e. "Born In Flames" it ain't.)
Message posted on 2014-06-07 01:29:46
Dr. Duck said:
And in the end all that remains is a single woman and her cat....
Message posted on 2014-09-11 00:31:08
Rose said:
A. Wow folk way to kill a good joke.
B. This film is the epitome of a slim but legitimate pass, as stated in the comic itself, in fact it almost defines the exact minimum standard below which a film cannot fall and still pass. Two women speak briefly and occasionally about things other than men when absolutely necessary to survive. Not exactly an inspiration, but certainly a pass.
Message posted on 2014-09-25 15:07:37
Nicholas Broady said:
the reason the bug (yes, that's what fans of the franchise call the alien) is so big and masculine is because it's a guy in a suit. The bug was always meant to be gender neutral until it grew into a queen. As an extra bit of fun, the opening of the eggs originally looked like vaginas until Geiger was forced to change them so they could show the movies in religious countries.
Message posted on 2015-03-19 16:26:28
D. Stevens said:
All worker and soldier ants are female. And don't believe they're all as sterile as you might have been led to believe. Amusingly, workers who can lay eggs are called "gamergates". For what it's worth, Kane's Son strikes me as super masculine. The whole "aliens as bugs" with a queen, has always been anticlimactic and takes away from the horror for me.
Message posted on 2015-08-31 04:37:46
'Gill' said:
The rating stands, but Alien only passes the Bechdel Test because of a deleted scene:
Message posted on 2016-02-27 08:33:06
=8)-DX said:
First time I've considered calling the Alien a bug, that's Starship Trooper terminology. Actual fans ;) call them xenomorphs (they take on the DNA and basic body-plan of their host). Definitely passes the test though (Lambert + Ripley convo)
Message posted on 2017-01-11 10:29:02
Ingo said:
Just wanted to post that I find the entire discussion amusing since Alien is the movie mentioned in the original comic that the Bechdel test is based on.
Message posted on 2017-11-09 23:33:53

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