Nicolas Roeg's cult classic about an alien (Bowie) who arrives on Earth in search of water for his drought-stricken planet, where his wife and children are dying of thirst. The alien takes the name of Thomas Jerome Newton, arrives at the office of patent attorney Farnsworth (Buck Henry), and offers him a number of innovative designs with which they can make a great deal of money--enough for Newton to build a vehicle that will return him to his home planet. Newton and Farnsworth are soon running a huge financial empire, but Newton's plans are threatened both by an inquisitive chemistry professer (Rip Torn) and by his own descent into earthly ways.
Roeg began his career as a cameraman (he worked second-unit on LAWRENCE OF ARABIA) and progressed to become a director of photography (THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, FAHRENHEIT 451). Here, he has come up with some memorable imagery, as well as coaxing a suitably enigmatic performance out of Bowie. Originally released at 140 minutes, the US distributor, Cinema 5, edited the film down to versions of 117, 120, and 125 minutes, before restoring it to its original length in 1980.
Source : http://www.tvguide.com/movies/man-fell-earth/review/126507/