44% Agree This Is The Best Movie In The Alien Franchise - Here's What We Think

(Welcome to Survey Says, a feature where we conduct a movie-related survey for a random group of people and explain why they're completely right, completely wrong, or somewhere in-between.)

Hey, "Prometheus" fans! It looks like it's time to get excited. /Film has conducted a poll about the "Prometheus" cinematic universe, begun by director Ridley Scott and screenwriter Dan O'Bannon in 1979. As we all know, the "Prometheus" film series started on board a starship called the Nostromo, had a brief — but somewhat notable — dalliance with the military in 1986, and spent a long stint in a distant penal colony in 1992 before settling on "Prometheus," the bedrock of the franchise. There was also at least one film after "Prometheus," and a pair of films wherein creatures from "Prometheus" faced off against the creatures from "Predator 2" (1990). This list will also include over 100 other films connected to the series, but not featuring any characters from "Prometheus."

Using advanced SurveyMonkey software, we here at /Film have gathered data collected from over 578 people — 579, to be exact — as to what their favorite film in the "Prometheus" series was. The result, we're happy to say, are enlightening and astonishing. 

"Prometheus," the film that came chronologically first in the series, tied for #4! On a list of over 100 films (we'll explain later), that's really high! Let's look at the full results.

Here are the results!

Coming in first was "Alien" with a whopping 44.21% of the vote. Ridley Scott's 1979 film "Alien" took what was meant to be a low-budget, schlocky monster movie about a creature killing astronauts on a spaceship and turned it into something special. Scott, wanting to exercise more style, expanded on the script, hired Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger to design the alien craft and the creatures. What emerged was an atmospheric horror film with far more mood and texture and visual panache than many monster films to come before it. It's strange and off-putting and powerful to this day. It feels weirdly timeless. That it tops the poll is no wonder.

Second was "Aliens," with 14.16%. Scott was eager to explore the universe further, but the 1986 sequel was handed off to director James Cameron, who took the same creatures and setting and turned it into a military-style shoot'em-up. "Aliens," while beloved by action fans, lacks the original film's dread and mystery, and its tenuous themes of motherhood were only made clear in 1991 when the director's cut — a full 17 minutes longer, bringing the running time to a bloated 154 minutes — was released on LaserDisc. "Aliens," set against "Alien," is comparatively dated, falling comfortably into the common Reagan-era action movie ethos underlining American military force. The action is astonishing, but action is less impressive than body horror, creature dread, and blue collar workers having to use their wits and improvisational skills to deal with a crisis. It is, however, just impressive enough for 14% of those polled to count it as their favorite.

What about the rest of the movies?

Tying for third place were "Alien 3" and "Prometheus," which each scored 10.54% of the vote. Music video director David Fincher was hired to direct the third film in the series, called "Alien³," which ended up being about prisoners in a distant penal colony fighting off a single alien creature. The film is rife with sadness and misery, having killed off many of the major characters from the previous film, and leaving the series lead, Sigourney Weaver, alone among strangers. The concept for "Alien 3," and its downbeat, depressive sadness are great, but one doesn't need to dig too deeply to find stories about the extensive production troubles that beset "Alien 3." Like "Aliens," there is a longer cut on home video, which is certainly an improvement, but overall, the film is a bit of a mess.

Finally, we come to "Prometheus," the best film in the series. Set in a time before "Alien," a group of astronauts travel to a distant planet where they discover ancient church-like chambers, the dead bodies of Adonis-like aliens, and a trove of mystery flasks that contain mutagenic ooze. The Adonis aliens, we see in a prologue, once sacrificed themselves to seed Earth with genetic material that would lead to the evolution of homo sapiens millennia later. When one of the aliens, called Engineers, awakens, it immediately sets its sights on Earth where it intends to unleash creatures designed to exterminate other creatures. 

"Prometheus" is rife with Christian imagery and issues of faith (including being set on Christmas), and if one times out some of the events in the film, and extrapolates them back to Earth, one finds that the Engineers are wiping out humanity for crucifying Jesus Christ. The Engineers are God in this story. "Prometheus" is the most thematically rich and visually sumptuous film in the series (Guy Pearce's age makeup notwithstanding), and it expanded on the idea that the alien creatures from "Alien" were in fact some sort of biological weapon.

Don't forget the other non-Prometheus films

"Alien Resurrection" came in fifth with 14.51% of the vote. Jen-Pierre Jeunet's "Alien Resurrection" is visually peculiar (like the director's "Delicatessen," "The City of Lost Children," and "Micmacs"), but the story is uninspired. It takes place in the distant future, and Sigourney Weaver's character has been resurrected via cloning, but also mixed with alien DNA, making her part creature. The tough-talking characters are derived from the marines in "Aliens," but they are now all sarcastic in the familiar mold of screenwriter Joss Whedon. At least the creatures are wonderfully gross and slimy, and one can always celebrate the presence of Ron Perlman.

There was also "Alien: Covenant," which was a film released in 2017, and it had a director and actors. Only 6% of people polled prefer it over the rest.

Receiving no votes at all were "AVP: Alien vs. Predator" and "AVPR: Aliens vs. Predator – Requiem." It should also be noted that "Predator," "Predator 2," "Predators," and "The Predator" did not receive any votes in this poll. If one wanted to widen the web of connections to "Prometheus," we can include comic books. And if one counts the long series of Dark Horse Comics wherein Aliens or Predators met other established characters — and then extend those connections to their feature film counterparts — it would also mean that all the Batman films, all the Superman films, all the Terminator films, all the Tarzan films, anything with the Green Lantern or Judge Dredd, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Jim Wynorski's 1996 film version of "Vampirella," and the Archie TV shows (which also include "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch," and "Josie and the Pussycats") were also left off the list of best films in the "Alien" series.

All those movies and TV shows add up to about 100 (guesstimate) titles, all of which received no votes in this poll. That means "Prometheus" ranks above "The Dark Knight," "Superman" (1978), "The Terminator," "Tarzan and His Mate," and both cuts of "Justice League." Suck it, Snyderbros. "Prometheus" walloped you in this poll.

And that's the "Prometheus" poll. Thanks for reading. Let's go re-watch our favorite "Prometheus" film tonight.