[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/aliens_poster_260.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:This time, it's war.]]

->'''Ripley:''' Just tell me one thing, Burke. You're going out there to destroy them, right? Not to study. Not to bring back. But to wipe them out.
->'''Burke:''' That's the plan. You have my word on it.
->'''Ripley:''' All right, I'm in.

''Aliens'' (1986) is the second film in the ''Franchise/{{Alien}}'' film series, starring Creator/SigourneyWeaver. It was directed by Creator/JamesCameron, and shifted the theme from horror to action.

Ripley wakes up from [[HumanPopsicle hypersleep]] 57 years after the events of ''Film/{{Alien}}''. Her former employers, the Weyland-Yutani company, disbelieve her claims about the alien and revoke her licenses. Soon after, contact is lost with the colony established on the world where Ripley's crew first encountered the alien. The company sends a unit of {{Space Marine}}s to investigate and Ripley reluctantly accompanies them as an advisor. At the colony they discover a whole nest of aliens.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest sci-fi, horror ''and'' action movies of all time, the film is chock full of awesome moments, iconic scenes and spawned a lot of the tropes that have greatly influence modern media. And it did so [[PracticalEffects without the aid of computer graphics]].

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!! This film provides examples of:

* ActionFilmQuietDramaScene: The first half of the movie mostly consists of Ripley struggling with Weyland-Yutani executives and Burke's attempts to get her to go, as well as the Marines clowning around. Later, we get Ripley putting Newt to bed and the aftermath of the [[spoiler:dropship crashing]].
* ActionGirl:
** Ellen Ripley [[TookALevelInBadass graduates to one]]. Although not possessing any particular combat skills, she has the guts and determination to survive.
** Vasquez, one of the Marines [[spoiler:who nearly makes it to the end.]] Also known for being more rough-and-tumble than the other Marines.
-->'''Hudson''': Hey, Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?\\
'''Vasquez''': No. Have you?
* ActionizedSequel: ''Film/{{Alien}}'' was a horror/suspense movie. Cameron thought ''Alien'' was so well done that he decided to carry on the story in a completely different way, so he added a few marines, some {{BFG}}s and [[SendInTheClones a lot more Aliens]].
* ActionMom: Ripley essentially adopts Newt, and goes to enormous lengths to protect her. This is set up earlier in a deleted scene (included in the novelisation and the Special Edition) which reveals that her daughter had died of cancer in her old age while Ripley was lost in hypersleep, and Newt is the same age that her daughter was the last time she saw her.
* AdmiringTheAbomination: Bishop displays this sort of behavior when studying a Facehugger carcass, [[spoiler:implying that he'll turn bad by drawing parallels to how Ash, the ''other'' synthetic person that once came into contact with the Aliens, reacted to the creature. It's a RedHerring; Bishop remains a good guy.]]
* AlwaysNight: There is little to no sunlight on LV-426.
* AnkleDrag: Happens to Ripley at the end, when the xenomorph queen latches on to her leg, but she manages to get free at the last moment.
* AndIMustScream: The nightmarish ordeal endured by the 157 colonists after the attack. See NightmareFuel in the YMMV entry for more details, [[IWarnedYou if you dare...]]
* AnyoneCanDie: You can count the survivors of this mission on a single hand.
* AirVentPassageWay: Ripley and the marines use ducts to escape the monsters (which likewise use the ducts to invade). The xenomorphs bypass the walls and doors by sneaking through the ceiling plenum ''à la'' ''Film/TheBreakfastClub'', correctly using the structure to carry their weight and cross the lay-in-ceiling.
* AllWebbedUp: It briefly happens to Newt, before Ripley frees her. There was originally supposed to be a xenomorph specifically bred for cocooning in ''Aliens'', but it [[WhatMightHaveBeen never made it past the concept art stage]].
* ArmorIsUseless: Averted. A splash of Alien blood does burn through Hicks' armor quickly (badly injuring him), but it's obvious the armor is the only reason he lived. Played straight the rest of the time, as a flamethrower explosion slays one Marine and another is too close to the xenomorph and gets acid sprayed all over his face.
* ArtisticLicenseGunSafety: The Marines use guns in a combat setting fairly professionally, but one example of horrendous gun safety stands out: when Vasquez and Ripley are helping Bishop into a conduit, Vasquez cocks a pistol and hands it to Bishop, ''who immediately puts his finger on the trigger.'' He then hands it to Ripley, finger still on the trigger and pointed straight at her. Ripley accepts it and sets it aside, thumb grazing the trigger while it's pointing at Vasquez. Bishop may be an android and thus incapable of unintentional twitches, but casually handing a loaded firearm to an untrained civilian is something a military android should be programmed to avoid.
* ArtisticLicenseNuclearPhysics: A fusion reactor, as mentioned below, has no heavy-element core to melt down. The core is essentially a tiny, artificial sun maintained through magnets and lasers. The cooling system shouldn't be much of a problem-it's the containment system one needs to worry about.
* AudienceSurrogate: Hudson, according to WordOfGod from Cameron.
* AwesomePersonnelCarrier: The Marine APC.
* BadassBoast:
** The Sulaco insignia: "Bugstomper. We endanger species."
** Hudson attempts one that even uses the word "badass" as often as he can. He does not deal well with the loss of the high-tech gear that he describes in said boast. [[spoiler:He does go down shooting while spitting out even more 'heat of battle' boasts, as well. An Alien has to ambush him from below to take him down]].
* BadassAndChildDuo: Ripley and Newt, as shown on the poster image.
* BadassCrew: The Colonial Marines certainly fit the bill. [[spoiler:Too bad they don't last long, since the Aliens are ''way'' more dangerous and numerous]].
* [[BashBrothers Bash Brother & Sister]]: Drake and Vasquez, the two M56 Smart Gun users.
* BetterToDieThanBeKilled:
** Ripley and Hicks promise each other that they will "take care of each other" if they were hopelessly cornered by the Aliens. [[spoiler:It doesn't come to that, and they live through the entire film.]]
** When they're trapped by xenomorphs, [[spoiler:Vasquez and Gorman]] take out several aliens via grenade in the Hadley's Hope air ducts rather than be captured and impregnated.
* BewareMyStingerTail: In the novelization the xenomorphs have these, which are used to paralyze victims to be taken back to the hive for facehugger bait. Gorman gets stung during the escape in the APC after the hive raid goes pear-shaped. [[WhatCouldHaveBeen The scene was too expensive to film]], so he gets knocked out by a container falling on his head instead.
* {{BFG}}:
** The M56 Smart Gun.
** Ripley's [[DuctTapeForEverything duct-taped]] pulse rifle/GrenadeLauncher/flamethrower.
** From the extended cut, the sentry guns.
* BigDamnHeroes:
** The moment when Ripley drives the Armored Personnel Carrier through the wall of the xenomorph hive to save the remaining Marines trying to escape is the biggest example of this in the main series.
** It happens again at the end of the film, when Ripley and Newt are [[spoiler:stranded on the atmosphere processor, out of ammo to protect themselves and out of time before the processor explodes, not to mention the fact that they have a furious xenomorph Queen chasing after them. [[DarkestHour Just when all hope seems lost]], Bishop suddenly appears with the second drop-ship and rescues them with [[JustInTime only moments to spare]].]]
* BigNo:
** Vasquez gives one when [[spoiler:Drake gets immolated]].
** Ripley, after [[spoiler: Newt gets taken in the sewers]].
* BilingualBonus: Vasquez wrote on her armor "El riesgo siempre vive!", which means "The risk always survives!". [[note]]This may be a reference to a motto of a number of world-famous special-operations military units, which boils down to "Who dares, wins"[[/note]]
* BlackDudeDiesFirst: Played completely straight, as Private Frost gets a flamethrower to the face as soon as the squad gets ambushed and Sergeant Apone gets grabbed by aliens in the same scene (though his ''death'' is somewhat delayed).
* BookEnds: The film starts and ends with a spaceship silently drifting into space, with the crew in artificial sleep - the same as the first film, in fact.
* BottomlessMagazines: Averted. An entire scene is dedicated to the marines counting down how many rounds are left in the sentry guns, and Hicks makes a point of teaching Ripley how to reload a pulse rifle.
* BrakeAngrily: Ripley does this when a xenomorph attacks her from the roof of the APC.
* BrokenBird: Ripley at the beginning of the movie. Newt is in obvious shellshock as well, at first.
* CallBack: One of the [[spoiler: colonist hosts]] says : "Kill me..." referencing a deleted scene in the first film in which Ripley encounters Dallas and Brett being made into more eggs.
* CatapultNightmare: Ripley's nightmare of having a ChestBurster rip out of her chest near the beginning doubles as an expository {{Flashback}} of when she first woke up in the hospital -- but isn't ''quite'' a FlashbackNightmare or DaydreamSurprise. She has another one later, in the Director's Cut, without the dream.
* CatScare: Newt's first appearance, to the extent that Hicks has to knock Drake's smartgun off target so as not to kill her. The novel also uses this scene, but with Vasquez instead of Drake.
* TheCavalry: Subverted. The marines are ''supposed'' to be the cavalry, but it [[RedshirtArmy doesn't go as planned]].
* ChekhovsGun:
** Sergeant Apone also orders the floor-mounted airlock sealed near the beginning of the mission. Near the end Ripley uses it to [[spoiler:dispose of the alien queen]].
** In that same scene you briefly get a look at the second dropship.
** The tracking device that Hicks gives to Ripley and she passes on to Newt. [[spoiler:Which Ripley uses to track down Newt and save her]].
* ChekhovsHobby: In the scenes with Newt and her family, she and her brother are being told off for playing in the air vents all the time. Newt is then able to guide the rest of the team to the landing bay when the aliens attack.
* ChekhovsSkill:
** Ripley shows that she knows how to use a Powerloader early on, and the scene is played for "Getting to know you" laughs. She later uses that same powerloader to [[spoiler:fight the Alien Queen]].
** The lessons Ripley got from Hicks on how to use the Marines' weapons, which she uses to great effect during her MamaBear rampage.
** It is established through dialogue in the apartment scene with Burke and Gorman that Ripley has a license to operate heavy vehicles at the docks. It comes in handy when she uses the APC to rescue the Marines fleeing the hive under the atmosphere processor.
* ChestBurster: Several. One kills Ripley in the opening DaydreamSurprise sequence. On LV-426, we see a young boy getting chestbusted.
* CigarChomper: Sergeant Apone, to the point that he sticks one in his mouth before he's even out of his cryosleep pod.
* ClimacticElevatorRide: Ripley rides down an elevator deep into the soon-to-be-exploding atmosphere processor to rescue a little girl. She takes this time to ready all her weapons.
* CollapsingLair: After Ripley sets the xenomorph queen on fire, the atmosphere processor starts to collapse due to ExplosiveOverclocking and finally blows up in a nuclear detonation.
* ComputerVoice: Female voice on LV-426.
* ContinuityNod:
** Ripley doesn't recognize the alien engineering inside the atmosphere processor. This is because she never went into the Derelict. The novelization has her recognizing something familiar about it, because the novelization of ''Alien'' included the DeletedScene where she finds Dallas and Brett imprisoned in alien eggs.
** Also in the novelization, the CaptainsLog Ripley is dictating at the end of the first movie has been erased. At one point, Ripley accuses Burke of having done it to cover up the Company's involvement.
* ContinuousDecompression: When the xenomorph queen is ThrownOutTheAirlock during the FinalBattle. If it wasn't for Bishop, the decompression would have sucked out the little girl.
* ContrivedCoincidence: The LV-426 colony goes off-line just a year after Ripley is brought back. [[spoiler:Turns out that's not a coincidence at all, as Burke ordered them to investigate the Derelict based on Ripley's debriefing]]. Its also lamp-shaded in a deleted scene with operations manager Al Simpson and Lydecker. The company often tells them to look at random grid references, they look. Its gotten to the point [[PoorCommunicationKills where the colonists don't ask why anymore]] since the answer takes two weeks to reach them, and its always "[[DontAsk Don't ask]]". The company have been trying to locate the Derelict ever since the Nostromo was destroyed.
* CreepyChild: Newt starts as one due to the psychological effects of her traumatic experience. Her eerie delivery of the line, "They mostly come at night. Mostly," is often quoted.
* CryonicsFailure: Discussed at length as part of Burke's plan to smuggle the xenomorph specimens back through quarantine.
* CyberpunkWithAChanceOfRain: The climate on LV-426 is inhospitable. It's [[AlwaysNight always dark]] and rainy.
* DangerDeadpan: The DropShip pilot, Ferro. Delivered while wearing mirrored aviator shades, too.
* DangerTakesABackseat: That's not Spunkmeyer coming up behind you, Ferro.
* DarkestHour: Ripley and Newt briefly embrace this, believing Bishop has abandoned them. Both are on the brink of a DespairEventHorizon while the atmosphere processor around them is on the verge of total destruction. The raging alien queen is also upon them. They're out of ammo and out of time. All hope is lost, until [[BigDamnHeroes Bishop arrives in the second drop-ship]].
* DaydreamSurprise: The opening scene of Ripley being killed by a chestburster. It's a proper nightmare and not a daydream, but you don't find that out until [[CatapultNightmare she wakes up]].
* DeadpanSnarker: PFC Hudson has a sarcastic remark for everything, the quips are often the way he copes with his panic.
* DefiantToTheEnd: "[[ClusterFBomb Fuck you! Fuck you! AND FUCK YOU TOO!!!!]]" Exit [[spoiler:Hudson]].
* DeusExNukina: The film kicks it up a notch. It was the only way to be sure.
* DevelopingDoomedCharacters: The second act of the movie shows the great rapport and/or banter of the Marines. It makes the horror that befalls them all the more palpable.
* DevelopmentGag: Hudson teases Vasquez by saying "When they said 'alien', she thought they said 'illegal alien' and signed up." Vasquez's actress actually did make that mistake, and showed up to the auditions dressed as a migrant worker.
* DisposablePilot: Corporal Ferro.
* DistressCall: There's a cessation of communications with [=LV426=]. [[spoiler:Ripley later reveals that she checked the colony logs, and Burke was responsible for sending the colonists out to look for the alien ship from the first movie]].
* DoesntLikeGuns: Bishop hands back the pistol he's given without comment and proceeds on his solo mission unarmed.
* DolledUpInstallment: The commentary track reveals that this trope was in play. When asked to do an Alien sequel, James Cameron wrote an outline for his thoughts on a film, which was actually based on something he wrote a few months earlier with the Alien characters dropped in.
* DreamWithinADream: Ripley has a false awakening in the opening scene.
* DropShip: The two dropships; perhaps one of the first examples of this trope to appear on film. They were designed by Syd Mead who did design work for ''Film/BladeRunner'', and were based on the US helicopters from the Vietnam War. (And refined by Ron Cobb and then completely kitbashed by James Cameron, who was inspired by the Apache helicopter, depending on who you ask.)
* DumbassHasAPoint:
** Vasquez, about Hudson's belief that the aliens are inside the perimeter.
** In the extended cut, Hudson is the one who first theorizes the possible existence of a xenomorph "queen".
** He also, during a freakout, says they won't last 17 hours. Even with their precautions, the xenomorphs breach their defenses in less than that. Had they not figured out that they had limited time to escape before the processor exploded, it's doubtful anyone would have gotten away.
* DyingDeclarationOfHate: "You always were an asshole, Gorman", although weirdly enough it's mixed with just a touch of grudging respect.
* TheEndOrIsIt: [[spoiler:After the credits there is silence and a dark screen. Then the organic squelch of an egg opening can be heard...]]
* ElevatorEscape: When the Queen alien is pursuing them -- Ripley barely gets into the service elevator in time, driving the Queen back with her flamethrower just as it's running out of fuel. The Queen is snarling in fury when a second elevator arrives, summoned by Ripley's frantic button pushing.
* ElevatorSnare: Ripley and Hicks run for the elevator leading to the landing pad. They push the button and there's a moment of suspense when the doors don't close. When they start closing, an alien does a DeadlyLunge from the corridor outside, forcing the doors open again. Hicks fires at point black range, killing the alien but spraying [[AlienBlood acidic blood]] over his body armour. As a result Ripley has to go and rescue Newt alone.
* EmpathyDollShot: Casey (Newt's disembodied doll head) floating in the water after she's taken by a xenomorph.
* EnemyRisingBehind: The abduction of Newt and the xenomorph rising up behind Burke in Medical.
* EnsignNewbie: Lt. Gorman.
-->'''Ripley''': How many drops is this for you, Lieutenant?\\
'''Gorman''': Thirty eight...simulated.\\
'''Vasquez''': How many ''combat'' drops?\\
'''Gorman''': Uh, two. Including this one.
* EpicFail: The Colonial Marines enter the atmosphere processor without realizing that the central cooling units can be pierced by conventional weaponry - which they only realize ''after'' they're knee-deep in the hive and Ripley points it out to them. Then, [[PoorCommunicationKills without giving a reasonable explanation why]], Gorman orders the Marines to give up all their ammo (except for flame throwers) to one man, and said Marine happens to be the first casualty when the xenomorphs attack, because the aliens are hiding in the walls and don't show up on infrared. The only reason anyone escaped is because several of the soldiers kept spare magazines and/or carried backup weapons.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: Bishop's [[FiveFingerFillet first scene]] [[RoboticReveal reveals him as a robot]].
* EvenTheGuysWantHim: Applies to an entire species (depending on your interpretation of the term "Arcturian"), according to some dialogue:
--> '''Frost''': I sure wouldn't mind getting more of that Arcturian poontang. Remember that time?\\
'''Spunkmeyer''': Yeah, but the one ''you'' had was a male.\\
'''Frost''': It doesn't matter when it's Arcturian, baby!
** Frost's armor is decorated with a heart-and-arrow, with the name "Heath" in it.
* EverybodysDeadDave: [[spoiler:Only Ripley, Newt and a badly-injured Hicks survive (Bishop is still technically "operational", but he's a mess and is missing half his body).]]
* EvilDetectingDog: Cat, actually. In the opening dream sequence, Jonesy senses the ChestBurster inside Ripley and starts to hiss.
* ExactTimeToFailure: Subverted. The Processor's computer systems continually announcing [[CatastrophicCountdown exactly how much time is left]] to reach minimum safe distance before meltdown. However [[StuffBlowingUp with one overloading machine destroying another]], its ceases to function after t-minus two minutes. Though at this point, [[ShowDontTell the entire superstructure is a fiery inferno]].
* ExcessiveSteamSyndrome: During the scenes in the alien's lair.
* ExpositoryHairstyleChange: Hudson's spiked-up hair reflects his confidence. After the team is decimated and Hudson completely freaks out, his hair is flat. The front part of it goes up a bit when Ripley tells him to get a hold of himself. When he starts to regain his composure, his hair is more up but still wet and flat in places. When he's fully regained his confidence, it's spiked up again.
* ExplosiveOverclocking: Essentially what the Weyland-Yutani Corporation does with atmosphere processors. Everything's fine so long as their cooling systems work. Compromise those however, and you're screwed. Whatever remains will [[StuffBlowingUp work its guts out until it overloads]], the entire station will go up in a [[GoingCritical cloud of vapour soon after that]].
* FailedASpotCheck:
** One of the Marines is looking almost directly at an alien nested in the wall, but fails to see it [[HiddenInPlainSight amidst the mass of pipes and conduits on the walls and ceilings.]]
** The xenomorphs cannot impregnate the android Bishop, doesn't stop them from trying though, as in deleted scenes they tried to pursue him in the shaft he was crawling through.
* FamousLastWords: [[spoiler:Vasquez.]]
-->[[spoiler:'''Vasquez:''']] You always were an asshole, Gorman.
* {{Fanservice}}: Creator/SigourneyWeaver in underwear in the last scene.
* FateWorseThanDeath:
** This is apparently the fate of Apone and Dietrich, if the explosion of the atmospheric processing station didn't kill them first.
** In the novelization, Ripley found Burke in the queen's nest, and left him with a primed grenade when he said that he could feel the chestburster moving inside him. The scene was restored for the ''Alien Anthology'' Blu-Ray release.
** A similar scene with [[MercyKill Ripley finding Dallas]] takes place in the ''Alien'' novelization, which had been based on a scene that was filmed but not ultimately used. (The scene is restored in Ridley Scott's 2003 'Director's Cut' of ''Alien''.)
* FinalSolution: Ripley and later the Marines want to wipe out the xenomorphs entirely. This is well justified, since the xenomoprhs actually ''are'' AlwaysChaoticEvil monsters, instead of this just being the excuse of a genocidal bigot. Burke objects to this plan, [[spoiler:but not]] because he thinks they have no right to do so [[spoiler:(as he claims at first), but because he wants to collect a live specimen for the Company's bioweapons division and reap a big profit.]]
* FiveFingerFillet: Done by Bishop, leading to his RoboticReveal.
* {{Flatline}}: Several Marines have their vital signs monitors flatline when they're killed by xenomorphs.
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** In the Special Edition, the "bees and ants" conversation foreshadows the appearance of the Queen.
-->'''Hudson:''' She's badass, man, I mean big.
** Newt reckons the scenario will turn ugly again for the humans, despite the presence of the Space Marines.
-->'''Ripley:''' Newt, these people are soldiers. They're here to protect you.
-->'''Newt''': It won't make any difference.
** Ripley promises that she won't leave Newt, "cross my heart and hope to die". She gets a chance to prove that she means it when the xenomorphs capture Newt with only minutes before a nuclear detonation will occur.
** Ripley suggests nuking the site from orbit and Hicks agrees. The site ends up nuking itself when the damaged power plant explodes.
** Also in the Special Edition, when Commander Simpson is discussing claim rights for colony surveyors. In reference to Newt’s dad, “if he finds anything, it’s his”. Well, he certainly brings something back to Hadley’s Hope with him - and that particular "piece of salvage" does not stay his, but becomes a major problem for the entire colony very fast.
** While searching the colony, they find vats of facehuggers, two of which are still alive, and as one is alerted by Burke, Hicks comments "Looks like love at first sight to me." [[spoiler:Later, we learn that the "love" went both ways, with Burke wanting to bring in a xenomorph himself, and when Ripley refuses to cooperate, he sics the two living facehuggers on her and Newt.]]
* FlippingTheBird: Apone's "[[http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_rzdB5a4kLAo/Suc1qsEvu-I/AAAAAAAARQM/7K3wNRlmoH8/s400/a_001AlMatthews.jpg look into my eye]]" to Hudson.
* FromNobodyToNightmare: Ripley, from the Xenomorph's point-of-view.
* GivingThemTheStrip: Hicks must quickly shed his acid-blood-spattered body armor before the corrosive stuff can penetrate to his skin.
* GoingCritical: The fusion reactor of the Atmospheric Processor starts to go into meltdown when its cooling system is damaged. Especially gratuitous, since a fusion reactor has no core to melt.
* GoryDiscretionShot: Ferro's blood spraying on the dropship window.
* GratuitousSpanish: Vasquez and to a lesser extent Burke tend to mix some proper Spanish terms every now and then.
* HandicappedBadass: Despite being torn in two by the Alien queen, Bishop manages to not only stop himself from being pulled into the vacuum of space, but saves Newt from being blown out the airlock as well.
* HandSignals: Both Lieutenant Gorman and Sergeant Apone use these multiple times.
* HandsOnApproach: As Ripley learns how to use the pulse rifle from Hicks.
* HappyEndingOverride:
** The "positive" ending (James Cameron intended Ripley, Newt and Hicks to go back to Earth and live as a family) is overridden by the following film, which has [[spoiler:both of them die (offscreen)]] and Ripley later learning that YouCantFightFate. Though due to the fact that Cameron didn't work directly on the sequels, [[FanDiscontinuity many fans don't consider them part of the first two films' continuity]].
** Subverted with the canonical interquel video game, AliensColonialMarines, in that [[spoiler:Hicks is shown to have actually survived, and the body in his capsule was not his. It's still a downer because he witnesses Ripley's death while trying to rescue her.]]
* {{Hellevator}}: "We're on an express elevator to Hell -- going down!"
** By the way; [[Literature/TheDivineComedy They're headed for level 7]].
* HellishCopter: Poor Corporal Ferro.
* HeroicBSOD:
** Gorman, and at the worst time possible.
** Newt, for a while, was so shell-shocked she couldn't speak.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:Gorman and Vasquez]] doing a TakingYouWithMe / YouShallNotPass.
* {{Homage}}: The film has several homages to the book ''Literature/StarshipTroopers'', such as asking if the mission was a "bug hunt", referring to "combat drops," and [[DangerDeadpan the female dropship pilot]]. Additionally, all the actors playing the Marines were required to read the book before filming.
* HonorBeforeReason: When Ellen Ripley makes a promise, [[IGaveMyWord crosses her heart and hopes to die]], you can bet your cocooned hide that no hive of monsters, snarling Alien Queen or imminent ''thermo-nuclear explosion'' will stop her from saving your life.
* HumansKillWantonly / HumansAreTheRealMonsters: Ripley accuses [[spoiler:Burke]] of this.
-->'''Ripley:''' You know, [[spoiler:Burke]], I'm not sure which species is worse. You don't see them fucking each other over for a goddamn ''percentage.''
* IGaveMyWord:
** Played straight. Ripley promised that she would ''not'' leave Newt behind, imminent thermo-nuclear holocaust or not.
** Subverted with Burke: see the Opening Quote above, a ruse to trick Ripley into helping him.
* IgnoredExpert: Ripley tries to explain the events of the original movie and the xenomorph to the Marines, but is constantly interrupted with sarcastic questions, macho posturing, and ignoring the civvie. Once they actually encounter them, they're no longer laughing.
* ImpaledPalm: Averted with Bishop's FiveFingerFillet with Hudson.
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: [[spoiler:Bishop at the end.]] He gets impaled from behind by [[spoiler: the Alien Queen]] who hid on the dropship.
* InfantImmortality: Played straight with Newt, subverted with her brother.
* InstantAwesomeJustAddMecha: The loading bot MiniMecha is used in the final battle against the alien queen.
* InsultBackfire:
-->'''Hudson''': Vasquez, you ever been mistaken for a man?\\
'''Vasquez''': No, have you?
* InstantCooldown: Averted. By the time they notice emergency venting from the atmospheric processing station it has already reached a point where it's too late to stop it from exploding even if the cooling systems are fixed.
* IronicEcho: Burke dismisses Hicks as a grunt incapable of making a major decision, but quickly adds, "No offense." Later, after [[spoiler:Burke's treachery is revealed and the Marines intend to "waste him"]], Hicks coolly adds, "No offense."
* ItCanThink:
** "What do you mean THEY cut the power? How can they cut the power -- they're animals!"
** The alien queen shows that she knows full well what Ripley means when she points the business end of a flamethrower at her eggs, and her tearing herself away from her egg sac and coming after Ripley is strongly implied to be out of rage for Ripley killing the eggs.
** In the director's cut, the survivors watch as the sentry guns burn through almost all their ammo before the xenomorphs finally "fall back" to look for another way in. Hudson lampshades this by saying "Maybe they're demoralized..."
* ItHasBeenAnHonor: Vasquez gives Gorman the "power grip", her ritual for greeting and departure she only shared with the chosen few like Drake, [[spoiler: before they detonate a grenade to [[BetterToDieThanBeKilled avert being captured/killed]] by swarms of xenomorphs.]]
* JerkassFacade: What Hudson acts like before he breaks down.
* KarmicDeath: [[spoiler:The traitorous Company executive, Burke,]] abandons everyone to the aliens -- presumably assuming that they really ''will'' kill him once they escape -- only to run directly into a bloodthirsty xenomorph himself. In a deleted scene (and in the novelization), [[spoiler:Burke]] becomes the host for a chestburster, the original fate he had planned for Newt and Ripley.
* KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter: The [=M41A=] Pulse Rifle says hello. Ditto the [[BigFancyGun M56 Smart Gun]] wielded by Vasquez and Drake. Hudson talks about particle weapons in his BadassBoast, but no one gets to use them in the movie.
* LaserGuidedKarma: [[spoiler:Carter Burke gets his]].
* LastNameBasis: Through most of the film. Ripley and Hicks eventually progress to FirstNameBasis near the end, just before Ripley assaults the Alien hive to rescue Newt.
-->'''Ripley:''' See you, Hicks.
-->'''Hicks:''' Dwayne. It's Dwayne.
-->'''Ripley:''' [beat] Ellen.
-->'''Hicks:''' Don't be gone long, Ellen.
* LastStand: Discussed and shown in the tie-in comic ''Aliens: Newt's Tale''. The Hadley's Hope colonists hole up in a wing of the facility to try and make a last stand against the xenomorphs. It ends...badly.
* LateToTheTragedy: Ripley and the Colonial Marines. The settlement on LV-426 has already been wiped out when they get there.
--> '''Apone''': Sir, this place is dead. Whatever happened here, I think we missed it.
* LittleNo: Uttered when Ripley thinks Bishop has abandoned them.
* LockAndLoadMontage: The film takes this to the next level (and is likely the defining example for the series) - Ripley tapes together a pulse rifle and a flame thrower, grabs as much ammo as she can carry, puts on a bandolier of grenades and stuffs a bunch of flares in her pocket during the dropship ride to the atmosphere processor. She then removes her long-shirt and preps her weaponry during the elevator ride down.
* MamaBear: The last half-hour deals with Ripley defending Newt from the xenomorphs and the Alien Queen defending her eggs from Ripley.
--> '''Ripley''': Get away from her, you ''bitch!''
* MandatoryUnretirement: Ripley is called back to join the mission for her expertise after being suspended from work.
* ManlyTears: Hicks briefly when they realise the rest of the marines are lost to the aliens. With Hudson, it's more like InelegantBlubbering.
* MeaningfulName: The noble, nonviolent and self-sacrificing android is called "Bishop."
* MercyKill: Ripley [[spoiler: comes across a cocooned Burke in the atmosphere processor begging for help. She gives him a grenade, though he whines as he obviously knows what this means for him. Though considering the fate of the other 157 colonists he damned (not including Newt), he got off easy.]]
* MildlyMilitary: James Cameron has admitted that the {{Space Marine}}s came off as a lot less disciplined than actual Marines; rather, they were more a reflection of Vietnam-era regular Army conscripts. Some specific examples:
** During the infiltration of the reactor, Vasquez and Drake disobey direct orders from their commanding officer (Lieutenant Gorman) and 2nd in command (Sergeant Apone) and re-arm their smart guns.
** During their first encounter with the xenomorphs, the Marines panic like a bunch of schoolgirls.
** After it's become clear that something is seriously wrong at the colony and hostile xenomorphs may be responsible, Spunkmeyer exits the drop ship, leaving it wide open for any xenomorph that might want to get inside. Naturally one does. [[spoiler:It kills both Spunkmeyer and Ferro,]] thus crashing (and destroying) the drop ship and marooning the rest of the team on the planet.
** Failing to have any kind of backup crew on the ''Sulaco'', in case of problems with the one and only dropship that ''everyone'' goes down to the planet on. You can't depend entirely on remote control to get a new one.
* MilitariesAreUseless: Newt predicts that the presence of the Colonial Marines "won't make any difference." When the aliens show up, the Marines get overpowered very quickly and become a DwindlingParty. This leaves Ripley --a civilian-- doing most of the heavy lifting and calling the shots, together with Corporal Hicks.
* MiniMecha: The powerloader, complete with welding torch, hydraulic pincers and docking bay controls.
* MissionBriefing: The Colonial Marines get one before descending onto the planet.
* MissionControl: From inside the The Marine [[AwesomePersonnelCarrier APC]].
* MoreDakka: The film is largely premised on the Colonial Marines attempting to bring heavy military firepower to bear on the xenomorphs. Due to various circumstances including incompetence, overconfident leadership, and deliberate sabotage, they fail to deliver the full extent of this promise. The best examples that get displayed in the film are the smartguns and the automated sentry guns.
* NeckLift: Ripley does this to the alien queen during their fight using the mechanical arm of the cargo loader she's strapped into.
* TheNeidermeyer: Lt. Gorman, who is unit commander InNameOnly. Sergeant Apone is the real commander of the unit, and when he dies, Gorman completely freezes up. He gets better... but it's unfortunately just before his demise.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero:
** Ripley pointing out that the marines were under the cooling vents for the atmospheric processor, leading to Gorman ordering Apone to remove all (needed) ammunition.
** Vasquez and Gorman blowing themselves up was a good idea at the time, but only if they had waited about 30 seconds before Newt got up the ladder first.
** The Alien Queen was suspended high and above the ground by a strange apparatus to allow her to use her ovipositor; however, it rendered her immovable. Throwing the bandolier of grenades into the fire not only didn't hurt her but it also destroyed the apparatus, allowing her to move freely once she tore free of her now shredded ovipositor.
* NoNewFashionsInTheFuture: Ripley and Burke's outfits scream 80's, with Creator/SigourneyWeaver's curly hair and Paul Reiser's bad perm getting special notice. Conversely, the business suits all have turned-up collars.
* NoOSHACompliance:
** The building complex on LV-426 does have handrails, but they are only thigh-high, and result in at least one Colonial Marine falling over and plummeting through the floors of an atmosphere processor.
** There is a huge unshielded rotor at the end of the AirVentPassageWay that swallows Newt.
* NoodleIncident:
** The Arcturians that the Marines talk about.
** The suggestive "another bug hunt" ad-libbed line establishes that the Colonial Marines are no strangers to fights against non-human races.
** Sgt. Apone wants a nice clean dispersal "this time."
* NoOneGetsLeftBehind
** After the Colonial Marines learn that some of the ones left behind in the escape are still alive, Vasquez says "Then we go back in there and get them. We don't leave our people behind." Averted, since they don't in fact go back in after them.
** Played straight again with Ripley going in after Newt.
* NotQuiteDead: The xenomorph queen, who did not die in the nuclear detonation but found its way onto the dropship, leading into the TakeAMomentToCatchYourDeath scene.
* NothingIsScarier: Despite being more focused on action, the film gets in on this. The aliens aren't even seen until over an hour into the film; before that the Marines are exploring the deserted colony, waiting to encounter them at any moment.
* NukeEm: This option is suggested by the characters to deal with the Aliens ("It's the only way to be sure"), but the plot does it a different way, as the colony's atmosphere processor counts down to a thermonuclear overload all on its own.
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: The Board of Inquiry of the Weyland-Yutani Company interrogate Ripley for hours on end about the Nostromo incident but refuse to believe her story about the alien creature (because no such lifeform has ever been encountered on any other planet) or the inside orders that came from the company. [[spoiler:This is used to mislead the audience, as the only member who expresses sympathy towards Ripley is Carter Burke, hiding his role as the villain.]]
* OhCrap:
** Burke when turning around and noticing the Xenomorph behind him.
** Hudson gets a lot of these moments.
*** Hudson's face while Bishop does his high-speed version of FiveFingerFillet.
*** "Game over, man. Game over!"
*** "This is a big fucking signal...Ten meters...eight..." "That can't be, that's inside the room." ba-beep-beep "It's reading right, man!" "Then you're not reading it right!" BA-BEEP BEEP "Three meters...what the HELL?!?" [=*=]eyes go upwards to the drop ceiling*
* OneLiner: Being a traditional 80's action film, it features quite a few:
** "I like to keep this handy for close encounters."
** "What the hell are we supposed to use, man? Harsh language?"
** "Get away from her, you BITCH!"
** "LET'S ROCK!"
** "Eat this!"
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: Carrie Henn, who played Newt, was living in the UK at the time of filming (one of her parents was British, the other American), and apparently picked up some of the accent. Near the end when the protagonists are escaping through the airducts, she suddenly slips into an English accent on this line:
-->'''Newt:''' Up there! There's a shortcut across the roof!
** And, of course her peculiar, [[MemeticMutation now legendary]] pronunciation of "mostly."
* OutlivingOnesOffspring: Ripley outlived her daughter due to her 57 years in hypersleep.
* OutrunTheFireball:
** The dropship barely escaping the nuclear detonation on [=LV426=].
** They actually had plenty of time to escape. Twenty six minutes, but Ripley [[NoOneGetsLeftBehind refuses to leave without Newt]].
** Also everyone running out of the way of the crashing dropship, which explodes into flame and rolls right between them.
* PracticalEffects: The power loader, the Alien Queen (and her giant egg sac), the chestbursters, [[spoiler: Bishop's severed torso]], all done without the aid of CGI. And it is ''glorious''.
* ParentalSubstitute: Part of what makes the film so touching is Ripley's 'adoption' of Newt. Ripley, being frozen for 50+ years, lost her daughter, and Newt's family were killed by the Xenomorphs, so the two fill the empty spaces in each other's lives. Newt actually calls Ripley "Mommy" by the end of the film.
* ParentheticalSwearing: [[AllThereInTheManual According to supplemental material]], Colonial Marine {{Drill Sergeant|Nasty}}s are not allowed by regulation to swear at recruits... so they take GoshDarnItToHeck and make it sound as filthy and nasty as possible.
* PercussiveMaintenance: Drake's camera bash.
* PoorCommunicationKills: After being alerted to the risk of damaging the reactor coolant equipment with gunfire, Gorman orders the Marines to unload their weapons and give all of their ammo to one guy to carry, leaving them with flamethrowers only. Not being told ''why'' they were doing this, and [[EnsignNewbie having rather little faith in their commander's abilities]], most of the Marines keep some ammo on them and end up shooting up the coolant equipment anyways as soon as the fighting starts.
* PoweredArmor: The Power Loader Ripley uses is an interesting example of one ''without'' the "armor" part of the trope, being mostly an open frame used for loading cargo like a wearable forklift. [[AllThereInTheManual Outside film material]] implies that Colonial Marines sometimes used an actual armed and armored version of the same technology for special situations, though the marines in the film do not seem to have one in their armory.
* POVCam: Used with the Marines' helmet cams, linked with the APC to give the CO there a better situational awareness. It doesn't really help.
* ProductPlacement: The Power Loaders are apparently manufactured by Caterpillar, but unfortunately they're not a real product. (Though both Caterpillar and the people who saw the movie and then called Caterpillar trying to buy one probably would've liked them to be real.) Ripley is also seen wearing Reeboks.
* QuizzicalTilt: Both Ripley and the Alien Queen do versions of this at different points.
* RaceAgainstTheClock: The countdown for the ExplosiveOverclocking of the atmosphere processor.
* RatedMForManly
* RealRobot: The Power Loader is a good example.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Subverted. [[spoiler:Burke is the only authority figure to sympathize with Ripley and comes across as a fair and reasonable person...until TheReveal.]]
* RecycledTitle: ''Film/{{Alien}}'', and then ''Aliens''. [[WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd It makes sense. First there's one alien and now there's many aliens.]]
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: [[spoiler:Gorman]] gets a small measure of redemption in keeping [[spoiler:Vasquez]] and himself from being taken alive.
* RedHerring: Ripley meets the android Bishop, of whom she's intensely distrustful due to her experience with Ash in the first film, and is later seen examining some dead facehuggers. It looks as though Bishop will betray our heroes in the interests of acquiring a xenomorph for the company, just like Ash, but it turns out [[spoiler:Burke is the one who really wants to bring in a xenomorph. Bishop was only following his initial orders.]]
* RedShirt: Easy way to determine Red Shirts: Are they named Ripley? No? They're boned. [[spoiler:Frost, Crowe, Dietrich, [[MemeticMutation Wierzbowski]], Apone, Drake, Spunkmeyer, Ferro]], in that order.
* ReliableTraitor:
** [[spoiler:Carter Burke.]]
** {{Subverted|Trope}} in the case of [[spoiler:Bishop]], who is {{foreshadow|ing}}ed to be one several times, playing on Ripley's prior bad experience, even potentially faking out the audience at one late point when a betrayal seemed the most obvious deduction. However, they are all {{Red Herring}}s; he turns out to be one of the most reliable members of the group, coming in at the last minute for a GunshipRescue. [[spoiler: No one is more surprised at this than Ripley.]]
* {{Retirony}}: When the survivors are trapped on the planet's surface with little hope of rescue, Hudson wails that he has "four more weeks and out, now I'm gonna buy it on this rock". [[spoiler:[[GenreSavvy He's right]]]].
* RidiculouslyHumanRobot: Bishop may be synthetic, but he's not stupid.
* RoboticReveal: Bishop is revealed to be an android fairly early on.
* SacrificialLion: Practically the entire platoon of Space Marines. The xenomorphs are against serious opposition this time and Ripley tries to reassure Newt by telling her she is now protected by soldiers, but as Newt predicts it doesn't make any difference.
* SalvagePirates: In the opening, Ripley's escape shuttle from the first movie is found by a deep-space salvage crew, who express disappointment at finding her [[Main/HumanPopsicle alive]], as "there goes our salvage, boys". Averted in that they don't consider killing her and salvaging the shuttle anyways.
* SaveTheVillain: Ripley stops Hicks from killing Burke on the spot once his betrayal is exposed, saying "No, we need to take him back!" Presumably she hopes a public trial will expose the Company's role in the deaths of her crewmates on the ''Nostromo''.
* ScreamingWoman:
** Ripley screams as she falls into the gravity well with the Queen, and just before the Queen loses its hold on her during the airlock sequence.
** And Newt -- excusable though as she is just a little girl facing very real monsters. It also saves her life when she's cocooned awaiting the facehugger. Ripley has found her TrackingDevice lying on the floor and breaks down in tears, thinking she's dead. Suddenly Ripley hears Newt scream and thus knows exactly which direction to go.
* ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules: Ripley doesn't want any part of [[spoiler:Burke's]] hopes to profit off the xenomorphs.
* SemperFI: The United States Colonial Marine Corps is the successor to the USMC. A proud and self-described "ultimate squad of state-of-the-art badasses". In line with the parallels to the UsefulNotes/VietnamWar evoked by Cameron, their superior technology is not enough against a hidden foe with a home turf advantage.
* SendInTheSearchTeam:
** The salvage team that finds Ripley's shuttle.
** The Colonial Marines sent to find out what happened to the colony on [=LV426=] that has gone silent.
* SensorSuspense: Several scenes with the motion trackers, especially the "They're crawling through ceiling!" scene. And in the deleted sentry scene right before that, seeing the ammo count from the sentry guns decline rapidly.
* SentryGun: A mini-plotline in the director's cut features the Marines barricading a main hallway and setting up four auto turrets at key locations in two pairs. The first pair fails to hold back the incoming waves of xenomorphs, but the second pair finally convinces them to look for another means to reach the humans within...after being drained to ten rounds in one gun.
* SergeantRock: Sergeant Apone is one of the most famous examples of this trope.
* ShoutOut:
** Bishop tries to assure Ripley that he isn't dangerous by explaining that his programming won't allow it. His explanation is a near-verbatim reading of Creator/IsaacAsimov's famous [[ThreeLawsCompliant first law of robotics: 'A robot cannot harm a human, or through inaction allow a human being to come to harm'.]]
** At Gorman's briefing, Hudson asks "Is this going to be a stand-up fight, or another bug hunt?" This is a direct reference to the novel ''Literature/StarshipTroopers'', that the actors were required to read, just like [[RealLife real Marines]], and was ad-libbed by the actor.
** Hicks' aforementioned line about keeping a shotgun "for [[Film/CloseEncountersOfTheThirdKind close encounters]]."
** There are two references to Creator/StanleyKubrick films. The movie opens with slow, desolate shots of ''Alien'''s lifeboat drifting through space, accompanied by music from Aram Khachaturian's ''Gayane'' ballet suite; the same adagio is used for the lonely establishing shots of the ''Discovery'' in ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey''. Later, in the director's cut, there is a scene of people working on the colony on LV-426. In this scene, there is a low angle shot of a child riding on a Big Wheel tricycle. This is a reference to ''Film/TheShining''. This same tricycle was seen in ''[[{{Franchise/Terminator}} The Terminator]]'', and again in ''[[{{Franchise/Terminator}} Terminator 2: Judgment Day]]''.
** The Director's Cut has a BadassBoast speech from Hudson which mentions "phased plasma rifles." [[Franchise/{{Terminator}} Presumably they're in the 40-watt range.]]
** In another Joseph Conrad reference, the Marines' transport vessel ''Sulaco'' is named for the town where the novel ''Nostromo'' is set.
** Ash from the first film is being referenced as a "Hyperdyne Systems" model, which is only two letters away from [[{{Franchise/Terminator}} "Cyberdyne Systems"]].
** As mentioned above under Hellevator, the "express elevator to Hell" is going to [[Literature/TheDivineComedy Level 7]].
* ShotgunsAreJustBetter: Hicks likes to keep one handy. For close encounters.
* ASimplePlan: The MissionBriefing makes everyone believe this is a standard operation. See EpicFail for what follows.
* SmallGirlBigGun: Private Vasquez is played by a 5'3 actress and wields a 40-pound machine gun.
* SmugSnake: [[spoiler:Carter Burke]] is the slimiest corporate bastard ever.
-->'''Ripley:''' You know, [[spoiler:Burke]], I don't know which species is worse. You don't see them fucking each other over for a goddamn ''percentage.''
* SpaceMarine: This film trades the civilian astronauts of the first movie for rough 'n ready space marines.
* TheSpeechless: Newt is this until Ripley takes the time to get her some hot chocolate and clean her up.
* StealthyColossus: [[spoiler:The enormous Queen deserves some credit for sneaking in a not too big dropship and remaining undetected for the entire fly back to the ''Sulaco''.]]
* SuitWithVestedInterests: To recoup his losses (the destruction of the LV-426 colony), Burke puts a higher value on getting a sample of the creature than he does on the crew. As does Weyland-Yutani as a whole.
* SurpriseVehicle: The dropship rising up behind Ripley and Newt during the escape sequence. It takes Newt looking at it and screaming it to Ripley to make her realize it's behind her. In fairness, the place is [[CollapsingLair blowing up around her ears]]. Lampshaded by Bishop: "That platform was just becoming too unstable. I had to circle and hope that things didn't get too rough to take you off."
* SurprisinglySuddenDeath: Subverted. The alien queen [[spoiler:hides on the dropship]] and suddenly [[ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice impales]] [[spoiler:Bishop]] with her tail. Though the dismemberment doesn't kill him, since he's android, he's no longer a threat to the stowaway queen.
* TakeAMomentToCatchYourDeath: When Ripley, Newt and Bishop step off the dropship after escaping LV-426, Ripley takes a moment to thank the android for saving her and the young girl. Bishop replies that he did do good... [[spoiler:and then he gets ripped in half by the xenomorph queen, who hitched a ride up with them.]]
* TakeMyHand: Bishop grabbing the little girl before she is being sucked out the airlock.
* TakingYouWithMe: When [[spoiler:Vasquez and Gorman]] are trapped in the AirVentPassageWay, their [[HeroicSacrifice suicide via hand grenade]] takes out several aliens.
* TastesLikeFriendship: Ripley gets Newt to talk by giving her a glass of hot chocolate.
* {{Terraform}}: The purpose of the Hadley's Hope colony, using massive fusion-powered atmospheric converters to do the job.
* ThatCameOutWrong: Ripley gets her listeners mildly {{squick}}ed when she accuses Burke of intending to "impregnate" her. With an Alien, of course. (Which is bad! But at least it's not Paul Reiser.)
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: The Marines and Ripley decide to nuke LV-426 to make sure they wipe out all the Aliens. Averted because not only do the Aliens kill the pilot of the DropShip, but the huge reactor blows up in a thermonuclear explosion - making nuking the planet redundant.
* ThisIsForEmphasisBitch: "Get away from her, you ''BITCH!''"
* ThisIsUnforgivable: The marines interrogate Burke's actions for trying to impregnate Ripley and Newt with chest-bursters. Hudson is ''disgusted'', and wants to waste the scumbag. Hicks [[NiceGuy tries to hear out both accounts and cross-examine them]] before doing anything drastic. When Ripley reveals Burke's true motives, right down to how he planned to be the sole-survivor of this disaster he created, so no one else would be alive to contradict him, Hicks finally ''snaps''.
* ThreeLawsCompliant: [[ArtificialHuman Bishop]] paraphrases the First Law as to why he would never kill people like Ash did in the first film.
* ThrowTheDogABone: An aversion, as Ripley expresses gratitude and is [[RuleOfEmpathy simultaneously forced to admit she was wrong]] about Bishop all along, but their conversation is literally cut short as [[YankTheDogsChain the Queen Alien impales and rips the android in two]].
* ThrownOutTheAirlock: [[spoiler:The Alien Queen is disposed of by ejecting her into space.]]
* TokenRomance: Between Ripley and Hicks.
* TookALevelInBadass:
** Ripley starts out the film as a simple commercial freighter officer and ends up kicking ass.
** Hudson loses his credentials after the first rout with the Aliens and is a nervous wreck for most of the movie, but eventually goes out with a bang.
* TotallyRadical: The dialogue of the marines is strewn with 1960's UsefulNotes/VietnamWar slang, despite taking place in the future.
* TrackingDevice: Corporal Hicks gives Ripley a wrist mounted tracking device. Ripley later gives it to Newt.
* TradingBarsForStripes: Drake and Vazquez.
* TraitorShot: Bishop gets one that looks like this when he talks with Spunkmeyer about the facehugger specimens kept in the medical wing. He later proves to be a [[spoiler:capable support character who rescues Ripley and Newt at a pivotal moment]].
* UnbuiltTrope: This movie is credited with kick-starting the obsession with the gritty grizzled SpaceMarine that's permeated popular culture for decades afterwards, a group of hardened veteran soldiers ([[OneManArmy or a lone soldier]]) wielding advanced weaponry mowing down hordes of mooks/aliens/monsters, saving civilisation while [[BadassBoast boasting about how badass they are]] and spouting [[BondOneLiner one liners]] and [[DeadpanSnarker snark]] left and right, influencing everything from ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' to ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' to ''Film/StarshipTroopers'' [[note]]The movie, not [[Literature/StarshipTroopers the much earlier book of the same name]], which included space marines but didn't have as much of an effect on popular culture[[/note]] to ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'', and even [[Creator/JamesCameron the director]]'s later work ''Film/{{Avatar}}'', along with all of ''their'' [[FollowTheLeader successors]]. It's easy to forget then that the marines in ''Aliens'' are portrayed as arrogant trigger-happy jarheads who despite their overwhelming confidence had never faced anything even remotely like the xenomorphs, and suffered for it. They collapsed into panic and disarray the moment they made actual contact, got slaughtered because they had no idea what they were up against, their incompetence resulted in the entire facility being blown to pieces by ''accident'', and the only marine who survived the ordeal was the one who instantly and without question followed the orders of a ''civilian''. Said civilian was not only the main character but a ''woman'' (something rare even today), and the final confrontation is between two {{Mama Bear}}s, completely counter to the hypermasculine, often outright misogynistic narratives that permeate later imitators.
* {{Understatement}}: Burke tries to explain why he didn't warn the colonists what they were looking for: "I made a decision, and it was... wrong. It was a bad call, Ripley. It was a bad call." Ripley immediately calls him out on this.
-->'''Ripley''': Bad call? These people are DEAD Burke!
* UnresolvedSexualTension:
** Hicks, the only surviving Marine, flirts with Ripley while [[HandsOnApproach teaching her to use a pulse rifle]]. There's also an earlier scene where Hicks gives Ripley one of the colonist's tracking devices, telling her it'll help him find her if they get separated and awkwardly trying to put it on her wrist. He defuses the situation by remarking that it doesn't mean they're engaged now, and Ripley puts it on herself.
** When Ripley leaves an injured Hicks on the dropship to go get Newt they exchange first names.
* UnusuallyUninterestingSight: During the intense and turbulent drop through the atmosphere, Hicks is revealed to have ''fallen asleep''. It's a hint that despite his low rank, he's a ''very'' experienced and competent Marine, as opposed to Gorman, who is in command, but is only making his second drop ever, and will [[spoiler:freeze up when things start going to hell]].
* VasquezAlwaysDies: This film is the {{Trope Namer|s}}. [[spoiler:The chinup-pulling, [[SmallGirlBigGun smartgun-wielding]] Colonial Marine Vasquez dies, while the maternal, civilian Ripley lives. Several other female marines also die, but are given less characterization and attention. James Cameron likes his {{Action Girl}}s, but they apparently need to be [[MamaBear acting on maternal instincts]].]]
* VerbalTic: Hudson wants ya to know that it's man, man!!
* VideoPhone: Burke leaves MyCard in case Ripley changes her mind about going on the mission to find out what happened to the colony on [=LV426=]. After her next CatapultNightmare, Ripley sticks the card in her videophone where it automatically connects her to a sleepy Burke.
* WallCrawl: The aliens are shown crawling a ceiling. This has been adapted in later movies and been made extensive use of in the ''Franchise/AlienVsPredator'' games, as alien players are able to change to wall-crawling mode and thus traverse any surface, no matter if vertical or even upside down by simply walking towards it.
* WeldTheLock: The team welds the doors leading to Operations shut to keep out the Aliens. [[spoiler:They come in through the ceiling instead.]]
* WeWillWearArmourInTheFuture: The Colonial Marines have fairly realistic armour. It even saves Hicks' life (though not any of the other marines).
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse:
** Did no one save those poor, innocent hamsters from [[spoiler:nuclear vaporization]] at the end of the movie?
** The last we see of Ripley's cat is when Ripley tells him she decided to take the mission. In the novelization, she left him on Earth (commenting that only she needed to go back into danger). Given what happens in the next movie, Jones the cat may have the happiest ending of any of the characters in this movie. Maybe even the ''entire series''.
* YouAreACreditToYourRace:
** Bishop uses a [[YouKeepUsingThatWord fantastic]] non-malicious version after Ripley [[spoiler:disposes of the Alien Queen.]]
-->'''Bishop:''' Not bad for a human.
* YouAreInCommandNow:
** Corporal Hicks becomes able to authorize a nuclear attack thanks to alien-caused attrition in the higher ranks, though the company lieutenant was only wounded, not killed, in an incident precipitated by his own ineptitude. When he's up and around again, Lt. Gorman seems to acknowledge his failure of command, allowing Hicks to continue calling the shots.
** This also applies to Ripley, thanks to Hicks' low-key command style. The marines defer to Ripley because of her greater experience with the aliens and her more forceful personality compared to the inept Lt. Gorman. Hicks plays along because her orders make sense, quietly providing his own expertise and authority when needed. It's likely [[RuleOfSymbolism not a coincidence]] that Ripley's (civilian) [[RankUp rank was raised from Warrant Officer to Lieutenant First Class for this movie]] -- more than one reviewer assumes that Hicks regards Ripley as his superior officer. Even the failure to resolve their {{UST}} [[UnequalPairing plays into this]].
* YouLeaveHimAlone: Again, "[[MamaBear Get away from her]], [[ThisIsForEmphasisBitch you bitch!]]" [[{{Protectorate}} There's a lot]] [[ChildrenAreInnocent of tropes]] in that one line.
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle: [[spoiler:Ripley rescues Newt from the Hive, they escape the planet along with Hicks and Bishop just before the fusion reactor explodes, and all seems well. Then it turns out that the Queen Alien hitched a ride.]]
* YouShallNotPass: [[spoiler:Vasquez and Gorman]] in the AirVentPassageWay.

----
->'''Newt:''' Are we gonna sleep all the way home?
->'''Ripley:''' All the way home.
->'''Newt:''' Can I dream?
->'''Ripley:''' Yes, honey. I think we both can.
->[tucks Newt in]
->'''Ripley:''' Sleep tight.
->'''Newt:''' Aye-ffirmative.
----