Ripley: Did you ever ship out with Ash before?
Dallas: I went out five times with another science officer. They replaced him two days before we left Thedus with Ash. Hmm?
Ripley: I don't trust him.
Dallas: Well, I don't trust anybody.
Originally, director Ridley Scott wanted "Alien" to have a much darker ending. His intention was to have the alien get back on board the shuttle, rip Ripley's head off and then calmly sit down in her chair and record the final transmission, speaking in her voice. The producers understandably found this a little too extreme, so Scott tried changing it to having Ripley go to sleep as normal only for the camera to pull back out of the airlock's window and reveal an alien egg, in the process of hatching, attached to the outside of the shuttle (after the "Brett/Dallas egg mutation" scene was deleted, this also had to go). See more...
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Continuity: In regards to the self destruct mechanisim of the Nostromo, It is said that the time from the setting to detonation will be 10 minutes. This is also confirmed by the voice of "Mother" who says, right after Ripley initiates the sequence, that the detonation will take place in "T-Minus 10 minutes" However, in the next shot you see one of the monitors which shows a countdown with 10 minutes and an extra 30+ seconds on it.
Visible crew/equipment: After Ripley fails to shut off the auto destruct sequence, she runs through a corridor filled with gas. As she exits from the gas right before the shot cuts away we see her pass by a full sized light. Beside this light is the clear arm and head of a lighting crew member. (This is acknowledged on the DVD commentary).
Revealing: In the rapid closeup sequence in which the alien kills Parker (Yaphet Kotto) by biting him right in the face, a freeze-frame viewing indicates that, at the point of impact, a honeydew melon was used to absorb the bite. Now a honeydew melon has a white external rind, and Kotto is a black actor. Why couldn't the SFX guys, at least, have painted the melon to match Kotto's complexion? This production error is, well, in your face.
Continuity: Disappearing Android Fluid- When Ash has gone crazy and is attacking Ripley, his white android juice/sweat/fluid is flowing from his forehead. After he throws Ripley into the room with the nude pictures on the wall, there is a new shot. In it, Ash is walking into the room, but there is no android fluid on his forehead.
Visible crew/equipment: When Kane is struggling on the table shortly before the alien rips through his chest, just before the first patch of blood appears, his T-shirt rides up and something strapped to his chest can be seen. This is some sort of pack containing fake blood that discharges onto his T-shirt. (Best viewed in slow motion.)
Continuity: In the shot of the alien's tail wrapping around the back of Lambert's legs right before it kills her, the floor is different to what it was before, there is water suddenly falling from the ceiling when there wasn't before and her trousers have changed from white to blue. This is because that shot was originally intended to be used when Brett was killed.