☰ Menu
171 Now OnlineOpen Forums   ❱
Log in to unlock your profile!
Did Alien 3 rip-off The Element of Crime?

Did Alien 3 rip-off The Element of Crime?

In 1984, Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier (Melancholia, Dogville) began his directorial career with The Element of Crime, his first feature film.

In short, The Element of Crime is an art house film. A detective undergoes hypnosis to recollect his final murder case in a surreal expressionist Europe, his memories drenched in rusted sepia. With quizzical dialogue and lengthy, picturesque compositions, The Element of Crime is a fascinating exploration of the post-war human psyche.

But upon closer examination, one realizes that this film shares an uncanny resemblance to Alien 3! Furthermore, this was a production eight years prior to David Fincher's directorial debut!

Take a look at the comparison and see for yourself:

In an interview, the film's director, Lars von Trier, spoke of the similarities.

Of course it would be nice if somebody would use some of these little things that I've been experimenting with. But I'm sure film changes rather quickly. You know I saw Alien 3 recently and it looked exactly like "The Element of Crime" - the locations whatever exactly the same. And I don't know how much ten years or so between. So you know everything changes all the time. And yeah, it would be fine if they used it in changing things.

From industrial landscapes to characters falling from great heights, one must ask if David Fincher watched The Element of Crime. But what exactly motivated him to imitate so much of the film's imagery?

In the comments below, please express your thoughts on the matter!


Related Weyland-Yutani Archives Articles


S.MMar-14-2017 3:29 PM


Not sure rip-off is the right word since the films seems quite different (based on the Wikipedia synopsis).  However Paul McGann talks about Fincher mimicking and framing based on other films and directors.  So it wouldn't surprise me at all if Fincher had seen Element of Crime.

Lady AnneMar-14-2017 5:22 PM


I would definitely say it was an omagh to Element of a Crime. Different story, same imagery and basic colors. To say Fincher "stole" from it I can't agree with as he was hounded nonstop by the studio from the moment he showed up - poor guy didn't have time to think for himself for 5 seconds without being bothered! So yes, he probably did in the back of his mind, subconsciously hit some of the themes from Element of a Crime, but I think that's where it ends as they're two completely different movies. Also, there's truly nothing original left if you want to really get picky about it from movies to music to tv. But that's just how I see it. Apologies for bad spelling! Lady Anne ^^ö^^ 

FenGiddelMar-14-2017 6:20 PM


Nice catch!

There is no arguing the common elements.

I found this review that compared EoC to Fincher's 'Se7en'.

Perhaps Fincher had not fully exorcised those elements in A3 and carried them forward to further chilling effect...

Chestbursters!Mar-14-2017 7:35 PM


Awesome comments guys, I love hearing your say on this!

I agree that due to the incredible pressure exerted from producers/studios, Fincher resorted to imitating the success of other visual styles (The Element of Crime in particular). Both von Trier and Fincher do share a fascination with the twisted and emotional!

As said before, ALIEN 3 might very well have been a sort of 'practice' for future EoC-inspired projects, like Se7en!

Gee WMar-15-2017 1:02 AM


There are some similarities, but I think they are homages at best. The rusty/yellow color scheme of Alien 3 could just as easily have been inspired by Vincent Ward's original wooden planet idea. And people jumping from high places is hardly something Von Trier invented, it could just be coincidence. I'm sure Fincher took inspiration from film makers he admires, as do all film makers I imagine, but to call that a rip-off is way too strong.

Chestbursters!Mar-15-2017 1:19 PM


By the way, both films featured an autopsy on a young girl. 

Please sign in to add a comment
Visitor Comments

Written By Chestbursters!
Published: 2017-03-14 14:42:40

1,454 Reads

Featured Discussions

Theory: Is the Black Goo is Cameron's Queen?

44 Replies • Last Post: 2017-03-30 07:44:00

The Predator (Predator 4) Movie Plot Synopsis

18 Replies • Last Post: 2017-03-28 16:38:32

What Happened to the Engineers on LV_223?

317 Replies • Last Post: 2017-03-24 12:57:24

Alien: Covenant ..... The Story So Far!

163 Replies • Last Post: 2017-03-24 12:39:03

See More

Featured Image Galleries

Alien: Covenant Images
Alien: Covenant Images

Browse the latest Alien: Covenant movie stills, film posters, trailer screenshots and concept artwork here.

Alien: Covenant Images
Kong: Skull Island Images

A collection of all Kong: Skull Island movie posters, images and trailer screenshots.

See More

Latest Topics

Where is Tiago_miami_la

2017-03-29 21:51:57

Black Goo

2017-03-29 01:26:51

Alien Isolation!!!

2017-03-28 19:55:52



Latest Activity

2017-03-30 09:32:55 BigDave replied to Versions Of Humanity
+ 1
2017-03-30 09:30:10 Xenomorph XX121 just subscribed to the Alien: Covenant blog!
+ 8
2017-03-30 09:20:44 Odencrantz replied to Was David effected by the Black Goo?
+ 1
2017-03-30 09:05:43 BigDave replied to Versions Of Humanity
+ 1
2017-03-30 08:54:13 BigDave replied to Versions Of Humanity
+ 1
2017-03-30 07:53:56 Ingeniero replied to Pandemonium
+ 1
Alien: Covenant Fan Art2017-03-30 07:29:28 New image: Cave Xenomorph Stick Picture uploaded to the Alien: Covenant Fan Art image gallery
+ 2
2017-03-30 06:39:52 Starlogger replied to Off the beaten path scifi movies
+ 1
2017-03-30 06:19:27 Tiwaz replied to Versions Of Humanity
+ 1
2017-03-30 06:00:57 Starlogger replied to Alien Isolation!!!
+ 1

See More


Sci-Fi Movie Merch Visit the Store
  • Forum Stats
  • 32,192 Members
  • 171 Recently Online
  • 24,182 Forum Topics
  • 260,838 Replies

© 2017, All Rights Reserved

Your account has not yet been verified. Please check your email for the verification link to begin posting.

Please review our rules before sharing content

Use Your E-Mail:


Stay Logged In

Content Policies & Legal Disclaimers