- Accidental Innuendo: An alien is killed when molten gold is dripped onto him. In other words, he gets a golden shower.
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Moment spent staring at the upside-down riverboat. Yes, they camp out in it, and yes the movie seems to imply the aliens are behind it, but... the fact that it is an upside down riverboat and is never explained and has no bearing on the plot - it wouldn't have made any difference to the story if they had stayed the night in an abandoned shack instead.
- It falls into Fridge Brilliance territory once you figure out the real reason the aliens are there. Gold. And in the old west, a casino boat probably would have the largest concentration of gold outside of a mint. The reason it was upside-down in the desert was because the aliens didn't bother putting it back once they were done cleaning it out. It probably would have been more obvious if the group had bothered investigating the ship more than "It's weird, but let's head in there since it's raining and nasty out and we need somewhere to sleep."
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- This movie was predicted nearly twenty years ago by Clarissa Explains It All. See here.
- There was a strip from The Far Side about it before that.
- Harrison Ford's character criticizing the idea of attacking a technologically superior enemy (who reside in a bunker, even) by running around hollering with stones and spears.
- This film is certainly not the first time Harrison Ford has co-starred with a James Bond actor.
- So Okay, It's Average: General critical consensus seems to be that it was a decent movie, but considering that it had James Bond and Han Solo as cowboys fighting alien invaders, it should have been awesome.
- Tainted by the Preview: There are many reports of theater crowds, upon seeing the trailer for the first time, bursting into the laughter and dismissing the film just because of its name.
- They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: It would take a full page to list all of the changes they made. Practically the only thing they didn't change was the main character's name.
- The changes probably have a lot to do with the fact that the book didn't exist at the time the movie was sold to the studio, only a mockup of the cover did. They wrote it after the fact and production was already underway.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Roger Ebert and others felt that the cowboy story was more interesting without aliens being involved.Roger Ebert: Yet I feel a certain small sadness. I wish this had been a Western. You know, the old-fashioned kind, without spaceships. Daniel Craig, cold-eyed and lean, plays a character familiar in the genre; think of the Ringo Kid or Doc Holliday, bad guys who rise to goodness.
Harrison Ford, as the rancher, embodies the kind of man who comes riding into town at the head of his private posse and issues orders to everyone. Sam Rockwell's Doc is the kind of small businessman who has come West while seeking his fortune among hard men. All the elements are here.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: People in The Wild West are being exterminated and driven off their land by foreign, technologically superior invaders who are there for the gold. The presence of Apaches starting at the halfway mark only makes the comparisons more obvious.
YMMV / Cowboys & Aliens