"Hey, Bishop, man. Do the thing with the knife."
―Pvt. Hudson, to Bishop
Knife Game

The knife game

The knife game, also known as five finger fillet, is a game wherein the player places the palm of their hand flat on a table with fingers spread apart and then attempts to stab the spaces between the fingers using a knife or other sharp object, the aim being to perform the trick at the fastest speed possible without hitting (and therefore injuring) any part of the hand or fingers.


Knife Game North America

Simple order for playing the knife game, typically used in North America.

Knife Game Europe

More complex order for playing the knife game, typically used in Europe. This was the version used by Bishop, although he starts between the thumb and forefinger instead of behind the thumb.

While the order in which the spaces between the fingers are stabbed can vary, in North America, the most popular version was to simply stab all the spaces in order, starting from behind the thumb to after the little finger, and back again. Other variations involved more complex routines; for example, in Europe, each space was stabbed in succession with an additional stab behind the starting thumb in between each time — a slight variation of this was the version performed by Lance Bishop in 2179.


Weyland Industries CEO Charles Bishop Weyland preformed the knife game with a pen while in his cabin aboard the Piper Maru in October 2004.

Many centuries later, in 2179, the synthetic Lance Bishop was well known among his fellow Colonial Marines of 2nd Battalion Bravo Team for being able to preform the knife game at incredible speed without missing. While en route to LV-426 aboard the USS Sulaco, Private Hudson convinced Bishop to perform his knife game, although the Marine was accosted by Private Drake and his hand was forcibly placed beneath Bishop's, thereby making him an unwilling participant. Although Hudson was unharmed, Bishop nicked himself during the trick, exposing his white circulation fluid and revealing to Ellen Ripley that he was an android (a fact she was unaware of).

Behind the Scenes[]

To create the effect of Bishop performing the trick at inhuman speed, the footage of the scene was sped up. This creates a rather apparent goof in the film, whereby other characters in the background can be also seen moving at an unrealistically accelerated rate, most notably Sergeant Apone, whose head can be seen moving up and down incredibly fast as he laughs.

While the origins of the knife game are unknown, Aliens is known for popularizing it; "bishop" has even become an alternate name for the game. It has also been referenced within the Alien and Alien vs. Predator franchises themselves — Charles Bishop Weyland briefly uses a pen to do the game in the 2004 film Alien vs. Predator and the game appears in the 2011 Nintendo DS video game Aliens: Infestation as an unlockable minigame.


  • In the 1986 film Aliens, Ripley discovered Bishop was a synthetic when he bled white fluid after cutting himself during a round of the knife game. In the film's novelization, the entire knife game scene is omitted in place of Ripley instead noticing an alphanumeric tattoo across the back of Bishop's left hand.
  • The combat knife Bishop used during the knife game, and throughout the film, was a Gerber Mark II.[1]
  • The 2011 side-scrolling Nintendo DS game Aliens: Infestation includes an unlockable minigame titled Knife Trick, allowing the user to play a knife game of their own by stabbing the game's stylus between each finger on the touchscreen.




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