The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)



Critic Consensus: Socially minded yet entertaining, The Day the Earth Stood Still imparts its moral of peace and understanding without didacticism.

Movie Info

All of Washington, D.C., is thrown into a panic when an extraterrestrial spacecraft lands near the White House. Out steps Klaatu (Michael Rennie, in a role intended for Claude Rains), a handsome and soft-spoken interplanetary traveler, whose "bodyguard" is Gort (Lock Martin), a huge robot who spews forth laser-like death rays when danger threatens. After being wounded by an overzealous soldier, Klaatu announces that he has a message of the gravest importance for all humankind, which he will … More

Rating: G
Genre: Drama, Classics, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Edmund H. North
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 4, 2003
20th Century Fox


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as Prof. Barnhardt

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as Major General

as Mrs. Crockett

as Taxi Driver

as Major White

as Brady

as Government Man

as Mr. Barley

as Interviewer

as MP Sergeant

as Mr. Krull

as Government Agent

as Businessman

as Platoon Leader

as MP Captain

as Major General

as Mr. Carlson

as Barnhardt's Secretar...

as Colonel Ryder

as General Cutler

as British Radio MC

as Newscaster

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as Commentator

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Critic Reviews for The Day the Earth Stood Still

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (6)

The Day the Earth Stood Still may at first look like goofy, outdated science fiction, but its timeless warnings about violence, nuclear confrontation and the difficulties of policing the planet have made it an enduring cultural classic.

Full Review… | October 5, 2007
Denver Post
Top Critic

Like most of Robert Wise's work, this slickly constructed 1951 science fiction film settles squarely in the middle of its genre, better than some and worse than others.

Full Review… | June 4, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Cast, although secondary to the story, works well.

Full Review… | June 4, 2007
Top Critic

Edmund H North's intelligent script and Wise's smooth direction are serious without being solemn, while Bernard Herrmann's effectively alien-sounding score reinforces the atmosphere of strangeness and potential menace.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Yes kids, media was idiotic and hysterical long before the likes of Glenn Beck were around.

Full Review… | October 16, 2011

A sci-fi classic that still resonates.

Full Review… | January 2, 2011
Common Sense Media

Audience Reviews for The Day the Earth Stood Still


An intelligent and challenging science-fiction classic that makes elegant allusions to Jesus Christ's life (even in the character's alias, Carpenter) and speaks directly to the audience in the end defending the importance of non-aggression in a time dominated by fear.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

An interplanetary traveler visits Earth to dissuade humans' violence and paranoia.
As science fiction classics go, this one is up there among the best. Yes, it's moralistic, and its main character gets a little preachy at the end, but most good science fiction uses an extraordinary event to comment upon the ordinary, and The Day the Earth Stood Still's comment resonates today.
The performances are a little choppy and over-rehearsed. Michael Rennie sounds like he's reading his lines out of a phone book, and Patricia Neal went to damsel school and graduated with high honors. But all of it is tempered by that classic movie pace and a strong story.
Overall, science fiction when done well looks like this.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

A surprisingly mature 50's sci-fi movie. Manages to get across its social messages without coming across as preachy. The cast does a great job with the material given to them, Michael Rennie is fabulous as Klaatu. The visuals are very good for the time and the film also contains some really gripping suspense scenes. A very touching sci-fi tale that still holds up to this day.

Christopher Heim
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

The Day the Earth Stood Still Quotes

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