The Earthling

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The Earthling
Directed by Peter Collinson
Produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff
Elliot Schick
John Strong
Written byLanny Cotler
Starring William Holden
Ricky Schroder
Music by Dick DeBenedictis
Bruce Smeaton
Cinematography Donald McAlpine
Edited byNicholas Beauman
Distributed by Filmways Pictures
Release date
24 July 1980
Running time
97 minutes
CountriesUnited States
Budget$4.5 million [1]
Box officeA$72,000 (Australia)

The Earthling is a 1980 American-Australian adventure film directed by Peter Collinson, and starring William Holden and Ricky Schroder. It was filmed in Australia in 1979.



Patrick Foley goes to the outback while dying of cancer. He declines medicine and is at peace with his decision to die alone in the forest. As he sees a family camping, Shawn Daley discovers his parents losing control of the recreational vehicle and falling to their deaths. Despite having an ethical dilemma, Foley accompanies Shawn. After days of educating survival, they forgive each other. As Foley dies, Shawn continues travelling.


The film was shot from September to October 1979 in the Blue Mountains, Barrington Forrest and Warrumbungle National Park. It was reported that Holden and Schroder got along while filming. Schroder named one of his children Holden in honour of his co-star. [2]


The film drew greatly mixed reviews, with some critics reviling it, while others praised it.[ citation needed ] It played to little notice in theatres, but later became something of a daytime staple on HBO and other cable-movie channels in the 1980s. It grossed $72,000 for box office in Australia. [3]

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  1. AN AUSSIE WELCOME FOR 'EARTHLING' Johnson, Patricia. Los Angeles Times 20 Jan 1980: n24.
  2. Scott Murray, "The Earthling", Australian Film 1978-1992, Oxford Uni Press 1993 p 56
  3. Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office