Top 10 Marines in Aliens

In Ridley Scott’s Alien there was one monster. In James Cameron’s Aliens there was hundreds. That calls for a heavily armed team of marines. But who is the best of the best?

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As scary as it was, Sigourney Weaver only had to deal with one monster in Ridley Scott’s Alien. For James Cameron’s sequel, poor Sigourney, playing the true Girl Power character of Ripley, had to deal with hundreds of bloody thirsty beasts.

Thankfully, she is sent to the planet that first made an appearance in Alien with a bunch of battle-hardened, well-armed marines. She’ll be safe as houses then? Think again. In James Cameron’s Aliens, which is without any doubt one of the best sequels ever made, Ripley’s buddies don’t cut the mustard. And one by one they are knocked off leaving her to pick up the pieces. As an audience we shouldn’t complain given that director Cameron gives us some of the best action-horror sequences ever filmed, but that is no excuse for a bunch of well-trained military men acting so ineptly. But let us not paint them all with the same brush. Let us divide the brave souls from the cowards. Let us count down the top 10 marines in Aliens.

10. William Gorman (Commanding Officer, Lieutenant)

gorman,
Please tell me those pulse rifles don’t fire 10 millimetre explosive tip caseless standard light armor piercing rounds because if they do you just sent a bunch of good soldiers (with the exception of Dietrich) to their deaths. That’s what Commanding Officer Lieutenant William Gorman proceeds to achieve on his second combat drop. Not realising his soldiers could rupture the cooling towers and kick-start a thermo-nuclear explosion, he tells them, effectively when they are surrounded in hostile territory, to not shoot under any circumstances. Frost quips: “What the hell are we supposed to use man? Harsh language?” Unsurprisingly, practically everyone dies. Although Gorman survives longer than most of his marines, the moron doesn’t deserve his rank. As one last nail in a legacy not worth writing about on toilet paper he blows up brave Vasquez to bloody smithereens.

9. Daniel Spunkmeyer (Private)

spunkmeyer,
Despite having a name that would look strangely comical even in a porn film, Spunkmeyer gets the group’s pilot killed and therefore strands his fellow space-travellers on LV-426 when he fails to realise the sticky substance on the drop ship’s loading bay is the secretion of the monsters they’ve been sent there to fight. You’d think a guy with a name like his would know all about this sort of thing…obviously not.

8. Cynthia Dietrich (Medic)

dietrich, the medic aliens,
Dietrich is less a threat to the enemy, more a threat to her own men. This inept corpsman doesn’t know her trigger finger from her elbow and is singularly responsible for the death of poor Private Frost when her inability to shoot at the enemy forces her fellow soldier to take refuge three storeys down. Suffice to say neither survives.

7. Colette Ferro (Corporal, Pilot)

ferro, aliens,
“Apparently she saw an alien once,” chuckles Ferro while checking out the half-naked body of Sigourney Weaver. Big mistake. Not only should she have known that Ripley was never going to fall for another woman unless her name was Lambert, joking about seeing monstrous aliens when en route to a planet full of them is not conducive to a life of playing happy families. Fittingly, Ferro goes out highlighting just why she bats for the other team. “Spunkmeyer” she says into her radio with no answer – another man in her life to let her down!

6. Ricco Frost (Private)

frost, aliens, james cameron,
Frost could have been a contender. Had it not been for Dietrich hosing him in flammable liquid, sending him falling down multiple storeys to a bone-crunching, flesh-burning demise, he would have no doubt survived only to be killed in the credit sequence of Alien 3.

5. Mark Drake (Private, smart gun operator)

drake, aliens, james cameron, film,
The mean-looking, strawberry-blond muscle-man tries his best despite poor odds, showing his bravery by going it alone when the other marines are running away. But his bravery forces him to take one risk too many and he’s overpowered. But his legacy reminds of the sacrifice he made so that others, including the young child Newt, could survive.

4. Al Apone (Sergeant)

apone, aliens,
Hindered by poor intelligence, Apone is fighting a losing battle the minute he takes his team under the cooling towers that support the artificial atmosphere on LV-426. Gorman informs the Sergeant that his marines can’t fire their pulse rifles, despite being in hostile territory. While Apone is trying to hear his dodgy radio he is attacked from behind – a death he would wish on no man. The good Sergeant is systematically alien-raped and with no weapon, or contraception, he is impregnated.

3. Jenette Vasquez (Private, smart gun operator)

vasquez, jenette goldstein,
Jenette Vasquez, affectionately known as John when off-duty, has bigger balls than most of her masculine buddies. The brave girl is the marine’s last line of defence when escaping the Operations room but when she runs out of bullets she is forced to use harsh language which is only good for so long. The failing leadership of Lieutenant Gorman, who, unbelievably, is still alive at this point, is shown in all its disgusting glory when he heads for Vasquez’s position in the ventilation shaft and blows her up. What a nasty piece of work.

2. William Hudson (Private, team technician)

hudson, bill paxton,
Hudson likes to show off his tackle. Whether he’s displaying his tactical smart missiles, phase-plasma pulse rifles, RPGs, sonic electronic ball breakers or his penis, Hudson always has to be the centre of attention. The cocky marine survives the first alien attack by pretending to be hurt so as to be carried out by his friend Dwayne Hicks.

1. Dwayne Hicks (Corporal, Squad Leader)

hicks,michael biehn,
Hicks is a legend amongst his peers. Just as brave in the face of danger as he is in the bedroom (you’d have to be to attract the amorous attentions of Ellen Ripley), Hicks survives the alien onslaught thanks to always shunting someone else in the way of any danger. The unfortunate soldier ends up a victim of David Fincher’s vindictive double murder at the beginning of Alien 3. But despite this, his legacy lives on.

Your turn – is there an unsung hero not mentioned above? Do Wierzbowski and Crowe deserve to be featured? Which film is better – Ridley Scott’s Alien or James Cameron’s Aliens

Written and compiled by Daniel Stephens.

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About the Author
Editor of Top 10 Films, Dan Stephens is usually found pondering his next list. An unhealthy love of 1980s Hollywood sees most of his top 10s involving a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana.

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  1. FilmsrRuss Reply

    I agree with the 10, you just got the top three in the wrong order! 3, Hicks; 2, Apone; 1, Hudson. If Hudson wasn’t so likeable I think Apone might be top. “OK Sweethearts, you heard the man and you know the drill; assholes and elbows!” What a guy!

  2. Dan Reply

    @FilmsrRuss: “All right sweethearts, what are you waiting for – breakfast in bed? I love the corps – a day in the Marine Corps is like a day on the farm. Every meal’s a banquet! Every paycheck a fortune! Every formation a parade! I LOVE the Corps!”

    Yeah, Apone is a great guy. Shame he got stiffed by poor intelligence and then the ultimate no-no in battle – done from behind! Poor chap.

    …you wouldn’t have the mighty Vasquez in the top three, Russ?

  3. Rodney Reply

    Hudson should have been #1. The dude has the best lines in any of the Aliens films, heck, – he’s got some of the most quoted lines in all of cinema history. Game over, man. Game over.

    Hick’s isn’t a bad choice though.Your top 3 are interchangeable at worst.

  4. Kaiderman Reply

    GREAT list but Vazquez would be my #2. That bitch is crazy! 🙂

  5. Dan Reply

    @Kai: Hey, Kaiderman…good to see you! It is always nice to get feedback from the king of The List! 🙂

    …I take it you’d go with Hicks at No. 1 then. There are a lot of calls for serial joker Hudson to top the list.

    @Rodney: Hicks gets my sympathy vote for David Fincher’s uncalled for, vicious double murder during the Alien 3 credit sequence. But Hudson does have some great lines! – “We’re on an express elevator to HELL…going DOWN!”

  6. FilmsrRuss Reply

    Hudson: Hey, Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?
    Vasquez: No. Have you?

    Vasquez is pretty bad ass, but IMO not quite top 3 material. Just misses out to Hicks I think. Falling asleep in the drop is just cool!

    I’m thinking that you should do a follow up “Top 10 Aliens quotes”, since that is all we have done so far!

  7. Dan Reply

    @FilmsrRuss: Top 10 Aliens quotes! Good idea…so many to choose from!

    …”Hey, maybe you haven’t been keeping up on current events but we just got our asses kicked, PAL!”

  8. Heather Reply

    I LOVE THIS LIST……..obviously, but I really do.

    Gorman, you really are an asshole!

    I was happy to see Hudson so low, he’s a total dick but he ultimately redeems himself in his final moments. When shit got real he was there. Hicks, as pointed out is the perfect soldier. When Ripley points out it’s military operated and that “corporal hicks” is in charge and he nods reluctantly and goes, “Yeah, yeah. I guess I am.” But rose to the occasion. Excellent list, and Vasquez and Drake were too bad, just too bad. 🙂

  9. ruth Reply

    Interesting list, I don’t think I can remember all of the marines but the most memorable one for me has got to be Michael Biehn, sooo easy on the eye AND bad ass too, great combo 🙂

  10. Dan Reply

    @Heather: Hey Heather…thanks for dropping by! I was hoping you’d like this one…I was inspired by your military list over on MILF!

    For me, it was tough putting the top three in order but I knew Gorman had to be at the bottom. Hicks, Hudson and Vasquez are all great characters. Still hate to see Hudson get pulled under the floor…chokes me up…a bit like seeing Goose die in Top Gun.

    @Ruth: Hicks is the macho marine who knows how to survive. I suppose it also helps he does well with the ladies too! 😉 Thanks for the comment Ruth.

  11. Film-Book dot Com Reply

    I agree with your order of the marines as well. Good list, great film.

  12. MarkusWelby1 Reply

    I think the Bishop should at least get some sort of honorable mention. he was really the baddest mofo of all. no guns….mad skills…ripped in half and still ticking in the end.

  13. Dan Reply

    Even though he was attached to the Marines I decided not to class him as one. After all, he’s only a Synthetic…I mean Artificial Person. 🙂

  14. Louichan Reply

    Late to the party but enjoyed your list. I pretty much agree with the order, although I’d put Hicks, Vasquez and Hudson at 1, 2 and 3, I think.

  15. Shin Reply

    Goreman always gets a bad rap. He was put in a no win situation with terrible intel and insufficient manpower. It was supposed to be a simple probing mission, not a stand up fight or rescue mission. It was FUBAR from the get go, the only thing you can blame him for is his indecisiveness during the short time that the entire team got slaughtered, due to inexperience. Can’t blame him for blowing up Vasquez, he gave her the heads up and she helped pull the pin.

    As far as the rest of the list goes, I would lump all the marines who got slaughtered into an interchangable group (just dumb luck who didn’t get killed), would up Ferro and Sarge in 4th and fifth, but would agree with your placement of 1-3.

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