Alien: The Director’s Cut (1979/2003, dir. Ridley Scott)

The 2003 re-edit (actually shorter than the 1979 original version) reinstates some scenes, clarifies some plot and character points and removes others (Ash is no longer a recent crew addition, and so the conspiracy element is toned down). By no means essential, but a chance to marvel again at this still-influential movie.

Prometheus (2012, dir. Ridley Scott)

A deep space mission to engage with humanity’s distant ancestors finds more than it bargained. Great-looking but ultimately dumb and pretentious Alien prequel, with a fine cast largely wasted on a grab-bag script of variable ideas. Alien: Covenant followed in 2017,

Prometheus (2012, dir. Ridley Scott)

Archaeologists lead a space mission to the creators of life on Earth. Good-looking and packed with great images, this Alien prequel is nevertheless hugely flawed, not least with an abundance of intelligent beings doing really dumb things.

Aliens (1986, dir. James Cameron)

57 years later, Ellen Ripley faces the xenomorphs again. Superlative sequel, balancing the body horror shocks of the original with military action, suspense, and a then-voguish Vietnam War aftermath aesthetic.