"The question of whether or not we are alone in the universe has been answered."
Directed by Roland Emmerich
Produced by Dean Devlin
Written by Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich
Vivica A. Fox
While promoting Stargate in Europe, Emmerich came up with the idea for the film when fielding a question about his own belief in the existence of alien life. He and Devlin decided to incorporate a large-scale attack when noticing that aliens in most invasion films travel long distances in outer space only to remain hidden when reaching Earth. Principal photography for the film began in July 1995 in New York City, and the film was officially completed on June 20, 1996.
The film was scheduled for release on July 3, 1996, but due to the high level of anticipation for the movie, many theaters began showing it on the evening of July 2, 1996, the same day the film begins. The film's combined domestic and international box office gross is $816,969,268, which at one point was the second-highest worldwide gross of all-time. It holds the 31st highest worldwide gross of a movie all-time, and was at the forefront of the large-scale disaster film and science fiction resurgences of the mid-to-late-1990s. It also won the Academy Award for Visual Effects.
On July 2,1999, an enormous alien mothership enters orbit around Earth and deploys 36 saucer-shaped destroyers, each of which is at least 15 miles wide, over major cities around the globe. In New York City, David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) discovers transmissions that he believes the aliens are using as a countdown to coordinate an attack. David and his father Julius (Judd Hirsch) travel to the White House and warn U.S. President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman) of the attack. The President, portions of his Cabinet and the Levinsons narrowly escape aboard Air Force One as the alien spacecraft destroy Washington D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, and other major cities around the world with energy-based weapons.
Meanwhile, USMC Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) is called to take part in a counterattack against the aliens. His girlfriend Jasmine, her son, and their pet dog survive the attack by hiding in a workmen's shed in a Los Angeles freeway tunnel. The next day, on July 3, Jasmine uses a maintenance truck in an effort to reach Hiller's base and finds several survivors. She also finds the injured First Lady (Mary McDonnell), who had been in Los Angeles and whose helicopter was brought down by the alien attack.
On the same day, as part of a U.S. counterattack, Captain Hiller leads a squadron of F/A-18 Hornets on a mission to engage with a destroyer near the remains of Los Angeles. The destroyers are revealed to be guarded by force fields, which repel projectiles and nuclear detonations, and it releases scores of smaller "attacker" ships armed with similar shields and weaponry. After a one-sided dogfight ensues, Hiller survives by luring an attacker to the Grand Canyon, where he causes it to crash and then subdues the alien pilot. Hiller is picked up in the desert by a refugee group that includes Russell Casse (Randy Quaid), an alcoholic crop-duster who has claimed that he was abducted by aliens ten years previously. They take the captured alien to Area 51, where Air Force One has already landed. Area 51 conceals a top secret facility housing a repaired spacecraft and alien bodies recovered from Roswell in 1947. The captured alien regains consciousness at an Area 51 lab, and reveals that its species travels from planet to planet, harvesting a planet's resources before moving on. The alien attempts a psychic attack against Whitmore, but is shot and killed by his entourage. A retaliatory nuclear attack against a destroyer over Houston ends in failure. The President and his daughter, Patricia, later visit the First Lady when she is in the hospital, and it is revealed that she suffered mortal internal injuries in her helicopter's crash. The President stays with her for the last few minutes of her life. Outside, Patricia and the President hug and comfort each other.
On July 4, David devises a plan to use the repaired attacker to gain access to the interior of the mothership in order to introduce a computer virus and plant a nuclear bomb. It is hoped that this will cause the shields of the Earth-based alien craft to fail long enough for a worldwide attack to eliminate them. Hiller volunteers to be the mission's pilot—reasoning that he is the only person to have seen these ships in action and survived, thus giving him unique knowledge of what the ship is capable of—, with David accompanying him to upload the virus. With few pilots to man available aircraft, the battle requires volunteers, including Whitmore and Casse, who have previous combat flight experience. Morse code is used to contact forces around the world in order to coordinate the attack.
After the virus is implanted and lowers the shields, Whitmore (being a former fighter pilot) leads an attack against a destroyer approaching Area 51. Although the fighters can now damage the alien ship, their supply of missiles is exhausted against the craft's large complement of attackers while its sheer size makes missiles relatively ineffectual against it directly, and the destroyer prepares to fire its main weapon at the base. Casse possesses the last remaining missile, but his firing mechanism jams. He pilots his aircraft into the center of the alien weapon in a suicide attack, causing a chain reaction which destroys the alien ship.
Simultaneously, other forces around the world are able to bring down the remaining destroyers. David and Hiller escape the mothership just as it is destroyed by the nuclear bomb, and the duo crash-land near Area 51. The world celebrates, and the main characters watch debris from the mothership enter the atmosphere.
"We had twenty years to prepare. So did they."
Directed by Roland Emmerich
James A. Woods
Jessie T. Usher
Independence Day: Resurgence (also known as ID: R) is a 2016 American science
fiction action disaster film written and directed by Roland Emmerich with
co-writers Dean Devlin, Nicolas Wright, James A. Woods, and James Vanderbilt. A
sequel to the 1996 film Independence Day, it stars an ensemble cast featuring
Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe, Jessie Usher, Travis
Tope, William Fichtner, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, and
Sela Ward. The film takes place twenty years after the events of the first film,
during which the United Nations has collaborated to form Earth Space Defense
(ESD), an international military defense and research organization. Through
reverse engineering, the world has fused the power of alien technology with
theirs and laid the groundwork to resist a second invasion.
Plans for a sequel to Independence Day began as early as 2001, with 20th Century
Fox eventually green-lighting the project in 2014. Principal photography began
in April 2015 at locations primarily in New Mexico but also in the Bonneville
Salt Flats of Utah, which were featured in the original.
Independence Day: Resurgence was released in the United States on June 24, 2016,
twenty years after the release of Independence Day, in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D,
grossing $389.7 million worldwide at the box office.
Twenty years after the devastating alien invasion, the United Nations has set up
the Earth Space Defense (ESD), a global defense and research program that
reverse-engineers alien technology and serves as Earth's early warning system
against extraterrestrial threats. Civilization has been restored and
relative peace among nations exists following the human race's victory over the
As the twentieth anniversary of the invasion approaches, ESD Director David
Levinson meets with warlord Dikembe Umbutu and Dr. Catherine Marceaux in the
African state Republique Nationale d'Umbutu. They travel to an intact alien
city destroyer and discover that alien survivors sent a distress call to their
home world before their defeat. It is revealed that former U.S. President Thomas
Whitmore, Dr. Brackish Okun, and Umbutu are telepathically linked to the aliens,
following personal encounters, and have visions of an unidentified spherical
An unidentified spherical ship emerges from a wormhole near Earth's Moon, and
despite objections from Levinson, is destroyed on the orders of the United
Nations Security Council. Defying orders, American pilots Jake Morrison and
Charlie Miller then pick up Levinson, Marceaux, Umbutu, and U.S. federal
controller Floyd Rosenberg on a space tug. They head for the wreckage in the Van
de Graaff crater, where they recover a large container. An alien mothership
suddenly appears, responding to the distress call, and proceeds to destroy
much of the Earth's planetary defenses before landing over the North Atlantic
Ocean, where it starts to drill down toward the Earth's molten core. Narrowly
escaping death, those on board the space tug are able to avoid capture and
return to Area 51.
Whitmore, Levinson, and U.S. General Joshua Adams' groups interrogate one of the
aliens held in captivity at Area 51's prison facility from the war. They learn
that the aliens exist in a hivemind and that one of their colossal Queens is
commanding the invasion. Levinson hypothesizes that if they kill the supervising
Queen, her forces will cease drilling and go dormant. An ESD aerial fleet, led
by Captain Dylan Hiller, stages a counterattack, but they are caught in a trap
within the mothership, leaving only a few survivors, including Dylan, Jake,
Charlie, and fellow ESD lieutenant and Chinese pilot Rain Lao.
In Area 51, Okun opens the rescued container and releases a giant white sphere
of virtual intelligence. The sphere reveals that her mission is to evacuate
survivors to a planet of refuge from worlds targeted by the aliens, whom she
calls "Harvesters", and unite them in an attack on the Harvesters' planet. In
the mothership, all surviving ESD pilots manage to escape by hijacking enemy
craft; Dylan, Jake, Charlie, and Rain navigate two Harvester fighters to pursue
the Queen's personal ship, which is heading to Area 51 to extract information
from the sphere about the refugee planet.
Knowing the Harvester Queen has become aware of the sphere's location, the ESD
hide her in an isolation chamber and use a decoy in Jake's space tug to lure the
Harvester Queen's ship into a trap. Whitmore volunteers to pilot the transport
ship on a suicide mission, leading the Queen's ship into a trap before
detonating a bomb, thus sacrificing himself but destroying the enemy ship.
However, the Harvester Queen survives by using an energy shield and a fight
breaks out. Initially, the ESD soldiers' weapons cannot penetrate the Queen's
shield, but after the Harvester Queen lowers her shield to fire her own weapon,
a good shot by Whitmore's daughter Patricia disables her shield. This allows
Dylan's party, which arrives just in time, to ultimately kill her before she can
take the sphere.
With the Queen dead, all the remaining alien fighters are rendered inactive,
while the mothership stops drilling and retreats to space. Okun reveals that the
sphere has asked humanity to lead her resistance and has offered them new
technology in preparation for a potential counterattack on the Harvester's home