Coneheads (film)

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Coneheads Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySteve Barron
Produced byLorne Michaels
Screenplay byTom Davis
Dan Aykroyd
Bonnie Turner
Terry Turner
Based onConeheads sketches from Saturday Night Live
by Lorne Michaels
Music byDavid Newman
CinematographyFrancis Kenny
Edited byPaul Trejo
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • July 23, 1993 (1993-07-23)
Running time
87 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Box office$21.3 million[2]

Coneheads is a 1993 American science-fiction comedy film from Paramount Pictures, produced by Lorne Michaels, directed by Steve Barron, and starring Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin and Michelle Burke. The film is based on the NBC Saturday Night Live comedy sketches about aliens stranded on Earth, who have Anglicized their Remulakian surname to "Conehead". Michelle Burke took over the role played by Laraine Newman on SNL. The film also features roles and cameos by actors and comedians from television series of the time.


Upon discovering a UFO in American airspace, the National Guard sends fighter jets to investigate, and they fire on the craft when it does not respond. Activating a cloaking device too late, the spaceship crashes into the Atlantic Ocean, near Manhattan. The aliens aboard, Beldar Clorhone and his life-mate Prymaat, survive and quickly adapt to the human way of life, despite standing out with their conical shaped heads. Beldar was assigned by the Highmaster to conquer Earth as a Protoid Re-fueling Station under the title of 'Fuel Survey Underlord of the Wilderness Planet at the end of the Noctolium Solar Chain'. Beldar gets work as an appliance repairman, and when his grateful boss Otto discovers that Beldar has no documentation, he arranges for a false identity, which sends up a red flag that quickly alerts the INS. Meanwhile, after communicating with their world (Remulak) and discovering that a rescue vessel will not arrive for seven "Zurls" (many years), Prymaat informs Beldar that she is pregnant. They now need to completely adapt and safely blend in, in order to raise their child among humans. Ambitious INS agent Gorman Seedling and his assistant Eli attempt to capture Beldar and Prymaat, but they are able to elude the two agents.

Months later, Beldar has become a respected taxi driver, and the couple live in his boss's basement. After the birth of their daughter Connie, they buy a home and move to suburban Paramus, New Jersey, adopting the surname Conehead. Beldar begins a new career, this time as a driving instructor. Meanwhile, Gorman gets a promotion and decides to leave the Coneheads' case to the agent replacing him. His promotion, however, is soon held-up by the case's extreme expense, forcing Gorman to continue until it is closed.

Now a teenager, all Connie Conehead wants to do is fit in with her peers, much to the objections of her father, especially when she begins seeing Ronnie, an auto mechanic. This causes tension between Connie and Beldar, who strongly disapproves of Ronnie, with Beldar going so far as tearing the roof off of Ronnie's car and threatening him after he tries to make love with Connie (an act that angers Connie greatly). Despite this, Connie and Ronnie make up after talking. Meanwhile, Beldar is preoccupied with winning a golfing trophy at his country club, while Prymaat becomes concerned about her attractiveness to Beldar due to one of Beldar's driving students making a pass at him.

Gorman and Eli track the Coneheads down to their home and pose as Jehovah's Witnesses to gain entry to the Conehead home. During the conversation, Prymaat discovers their communication device to Remulak is beeping, and she promptly tells Beldar that he has a phone call from 'the Big Phone'. This causes Beldar to promptly eject Gorman and Eli from their home. Beldar then receives word that their rescue vessel is on its way.

At a costume party that night, Connie is told that they will be rescued soon. She disobeys her parents or "parental units" by returning home with Ronnie. Once there Connie almost consummates their relationship using her parents' "senso-rings". Beldar and Prymaat walk in on them, just as the INS shows up to take the Coneheads into custody. Ronnie helps them stall them while the rescue vessel arrives. Their rescue vessel arrives just in time, and Gorman and Eli are taken aboard with Beldar, Prymaat, and Connie.

On Remulak, Beldar is welcomed home, presenting Highmaster Mintot with a variety of 'gifts' from earth, including Gorman and Eli as slaves. Mintot is at first satisfied with what Beldar has accomplished during his time on Earth, until he notices that Beldar got his teeth capped (something Beldar had done from advice from Otto as a part of blending in). He accuses Beldar of treason and sentences him to fight the ferocious Garthok ("narful the Garthok"), much to Prymaat's distress.

After the Garthok easily and gruesomely kills others who were sentenced to fight it, Beldar uses his Earthly golfing skills to save himself, killing the creature. For his victory, he is then granted a request: Beldar wishes to return to Earth to oversee its conquest, taking Gorman back with him as a minion. Mintot agrees, and Eli is left behind, becoming the Highmaster's personal assistant, acclimating to his new role rather quickly. Beldar leaves for Earth with Prymaat, Connie, and Gorman in tow. He soon demonstrates that Connie's feelings are more important to him than planetary conquest by quickly faking an Earth attack. Beldar orders his invasion force to retreat and proceed to their secondary target in another part of the galaxy, while making it look like his spaceship has been destroyed by a superior weapon. For sparing his life, Gorman agrees to give the Coneheads Green Cards in exchange for Beldar proving he has a marketable talent no other American citizen possesses, to which Beldar confidently agrees.

Two years later, Ronnie arrives to take Connie to the prom. Beldar gives Ronnie 55 words of advice, and then uses a massive flash bulb arrangement on his home-built Polaroid camera to document the happy event. As Connie and a now-sunburned Ronnie depart, Beldar and Prymaat look at the oversized photo, saying, "Memories, we will enjoy them".



While there are some differences, Coneheads mostly follows the same plot as in the animated special that was created ten years earlier. Similarities include the Coneheads being stranded on Earth, Beldar working as an appliance repair man, and Connie dating an earthling named Ronnie.

The film mostly takes place in Paramus, New Jersey. Some scenes were filmed in New York City and the New Jersey towns of Jersey City and Wrightstown.


The film debuted at No. 6 on its opening weekend, while its domestic box office grossed $7,100,501.[3] By the end of its domestic theatrical run, the film had grossed $21,274,717.[2]

Coneheads received mostly negative reviews from critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a low score of 35%, based on 31 reviews with a consensus that reads "Listless, crude, and overall uninspired, Coneheads offers further evidence that stretching an SNL sketch to feature length can be tougher than narfling a garthok".[4] Roger Ebert gave the film 1½ stars out of 4, describing Coneheads as "dismal, dreary and fairly desperate" and the actors as unable to overcome an uninspired screenplay.[5] Janet Maslin of The New York Times said the film "has its dopey charms", and that it is suitable for people who found Wayne's World too demanding.[6]

The Los Angeles Times called it "an unusually companionable jape; in this world it makes perfect sense that the Coneheads' friends and neighbors never really register that there's anything terribly different about them. They're all-American eccentrics — even if they happen to come from the planet Remulak".[7]

Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "B+" on scale of A+ to F.[8]

The film received some critical re-evaluation during the 2010s, with multiple writers noting its satirical take on an immigrant family experience and immigration enforcement (meant as an exaggeration of Reagan-era politics) became eerily politically relevant following the September 11 attacks.[9][10]


Coneheads: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedJuly 20, 1993 (1993-07-20)
LabelWarner Bros. Records
ProducerVarious Artists
Singles from Coneheads: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack
  1. "Soul to Squeeze"
    Released: August 19, 1993
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic2/5 stars link

The soundtrack for Coneheads was released on July 20, 1993 by Warner Bros. Records. It features the songs "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell, "It's a Free World, Baby" by R.E.M. and "Soul to Squeeze" by the band Red Hot Chili Peppers which would go on to reach 22 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[11] The album itself would peak at 162 on the US Billboard 200 chart.[12]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitlePerformed byLength
1."Magic Carpet Ride" (originally performed by Steppenwolf)Michael Monroe and Slash3:40
2."Tainted Love"Soft Cell2:42
3."No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" (originally performed by Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer)Andy Bell and k.d. lang3:51
4."Kodachrome"Paul Simon3:30
5."Can't Take My Eyes Off You" (originally performed by Frankie Valli)Morten Harket3:43
6."It's a Free World, Baby"R.E.M.5:12
7."Soul to Squeeze"Red Hot Chili Peppers4:52
8."Fight the Power" (originally performed by Public Enemy)Barenaked Ladies4:05
9."Little Renee"Digable Planets3:22
10."Chale Jao"Babble4:10
11."Conehead Love featuring Beldar and Prymaat"Nan Schaefer, Bruce Gowdy, and Peter Aykroyd4:05
Total length:43:27

None of David Newman's score was included on the above album, but it was issued on a 2015 Intrada album paired with his scores for Talent for the Game and Itsy Bitsy Spider.[13]


  1. ^ "CONEHEADS (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. Archived from the original on June 15, 2014. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Coneheads at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ David J. Fox (July 27, 1993). "Weekend Box Office : 'Poetic' Finds Its Place in Line". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
  4. ^ "Coneheads (1993)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on November 11, 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  5. ^ Roger Ebert (July 23, 1993). "Coneheads". Chicago Sun Times. Archived from the original on January 24, 2013. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  6. ^ Janet Maslin (July 23, 1993). "Review/Film; They're From Another Planet (Another Medium, Actually)". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
  7. ^ Peter Rainer (July 23, 1993). "Movie Reviews : 'Coneheads': 1-Note Joke With Legs". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 24, 2013. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
  8. ^ "Cinemascore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
  9. ^ Bahr, Robin. "Does 'Coneheads' Actually Suck?". Vice. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  10. ^ Etheridge, Steve. "The Coneheads Prophesy: How a Kind Of Crappy Movie Predicted the Future of America and Ripened Into Relevancy". Vulture. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  11. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers - Chart history - Billboard". Archived from the original on November 24, 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  12. ^ "Original Soundtrack Coneheads". AllMusic. Archived from the original on November 20, 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  13. ^ "CONEHEADS / TALENT FOR THE GAME / THE ITSY BITSY SPIDER". Archived from the original on December 24, 2016. Retrieved December 24, 2016.

External links[edit]