Doing for outer space what Psycho did for showers and Jaws did for the ocean, Ridley Scott’s second feature used minimal gore and maximum claustrophobic tension to tell the now-iconic tale of an interstellar mining crew en route back to Earth with a very unfriendly stowaway on board. In her first leading role, Sigourney Weaver redefined the notion of the modern action-movie heroine, fronting a terrific ensemble of no-nonsense roughnecks straight out of a Howard Hawks western or a Sam Fuller war picture. With a crackerjack script by the late Dan O’Bannon and magnificently terrifying creature designs by H. R. Giger, Alien has withstood three decades of sequels and spinoffs without losing an iota of its face-hugging, chest-exploding, genre-altering impact.