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The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms Reviews

Page 1 of 8
Phil H

Super Reviewer

May 12, 2013
Ah the old nuclear bomb testing plot idea, a stable diet for vintage sci-fi flicks of the past. Those silly darn Americans up to their misjudged tests that end up wreaking havoc on the world...well normally their native country actually. This film helped kick start the huge monster craze including the seminal 'Godzilla' and the use of nuclear weapons testing for plot ideas that cause these monster riots.

This time they inadvertently disturb a prehistoric reptile that was trapped/hibernating in the deep ice of Antarctica. The huge scaly creature makes it way down the east coast of the US to New York where it decides to set up camp and munch on various things.

This is where the Harryhausen stuff of legend really kicks off, giant reptilian monsters roaming around and eating people. The big lizard looks really good, kinda like a four legged 'Godzilla' but surprisingly quite decent and not as cheesy. What is also so cool is the way Harryhausen has animated this fella, he moves really well, seems a bit like a young puppy behaviour wise at times (sinking the first fishing ship) but its still good. Bit jerky of course but its nicely done. Should I be surprised? yeah I think so, this is an old film and an early one for Harryhausen so you would expect it to look hokey...but it doesn't.

Can't lie here but like other monster flicks its all about the rampage isn't it, yeah come on it is. The plot building with the stereotypical characters...the good looking hero, the old bald scientist and his attractive female assistant is all well and good but you're really wanting building/vehicle stomping. Everything is much better than his previous main creature flick ('Mighty Joe Young'), acting, sets, props, costumes and additional models are all tighter and sharper, it does look like they had more money to use for this film. The whole film looks really good bottom line, even the underwater sequence is enjoyable if quaint.

This really is one of the pinnacles of charming sci-fi that anyone can sit down and enjoy. I love how the acting is so straight laced in militaristic fashion, how everyone looks smart in their lovely suits and fedoras of the time, how they fade out each sequence in that traditional way and the funny way they squeeze in stock footage, some of which works, some stands out badly.

Easily one of the best creature features from Harryhausen's portfolio with a tremendously good monster, some nice acting from Cecil Kellaway as the clever old 'Dr Elson' and some lovely cute moments of ham...when the good 'Dr Elson' decides to stake his career on the beast story being true simply because a sailor identified a random drawing that looked kinda like the monster he thinks he saw.
TheDudeLebowski65
TheDudeLebowski65

Super Reviewer

November 18, 2012
Terrific and accomplished Sci Fi monster movie about a dinosaur that awakens after a nuclear test done in the Arctic. The beast is unleashed and chaos ensues. The aspect of the film that really stands out is the astounding special effects that were used to create the beast. I was astounded by how good this film looks, even by today's standards. The film boasts a good, but predictable plot, even with that said; it's nonetheless a fun entry in the monster movie cannon of classics. Acting wise, the cast do deliver great performances and there are plenty of worthwhile performances here to make this one enjoyable. Cecil Kellaway gives a great performance here as Prof. Thurgood Elson and you really feel bad when he meets his demise at the hands of the beast. I've never heard of this gem, and it probably has been dwarfed by other films in this era of terror. If you come across this one, check it out and it is worth it. This is really an obscured gem of the era of memorable monster flicks, and genre fans definitely should check this one out. With great performances, creative special effects, and memorable climax, this is a near flawless Sci Fi horror monster flick that deserves to be seen. The plot is good, and it moves at a steady pace. There's always something happening on-screen to make the film interesting and fun for the audience, and The Beast from 20, 000 Fathoms is a terrific, near flawless film that is deserving of being seen by a bigger audience. The film is just like every other monster flick, but is nonetheless a worthwhile viewing for viewers wanting a stellar monster classic to watch. The effects of the beast alone make this a terrific flick and it has a fun plotline to boot.
bbcfloridabound
bbcfloridabound

Super Reviewer

April 11, 2012
.A pretty good Sci-fi Film that looks as if its the US answer to Godzilla. An atomic blast in the artic releases a pre historic monster that swims down the east coast till it hits New York City where it wrecks havoc. Lee Van Cleef a very young Lee Van Cleef makes a short appearance. Not really scary but entertaining. 3 1/2 stars
Henrik S

Super Reviewer

November 7, 2007
A solid giant monster movie which pushes itself up the rankings by the help of Harryhausen's magic fingers. Yet, the movie is ridden with a weak cast (except the jolly little professor maybe) and the story is not very original. About 2/3 into the movie they introduce a very interesting twist to the actual danger the monster is emitting, yet the script falls short when it comes to capitalizing from this.

Anyway, you should see this, if only for historical relevance, as this was Ray's first major featrue. The DVD extras are great too.

But in terms of classic monster moviesI would recommend you rather to watch "THEM" or "20 Million miles to earth"

Still, one has to give credit for the radical idea this movie introduced, it inspired Gojira (Godzilla) after all and it was the first to let a monster mutate due to a nuclear blast.

H.
FanBoyCritic
January 11, 2014
The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms
Starring:Paul Christian, Paula Raymond, Cecil Kellaway, Kenneth Tobey, Donald Woods, Lee Van Cleef, Jack Pennick, Steve Brodie, and Ross Elliot
Directed By:Eugène Lourié
My Review
I am guessing that this was the first good monster movie made by Americans but was very underrated. Because I think King Kong came after this. The unfortunate thing about this movie is that the monster in the movie doesn't even have a name so am I just suppose to call it what the title says cause if so that's too long. I mean sure it's just some sort of giant lizard but I don't want to call it that either I like it when the monsters have a name it makes the movie a lot more enjoyable and the monster becomes a character.
The powerful force of atomic testing in the arctic has awakened a sleeping beast that has been frozen solid in ice for over 20,000 years and the creature rises from the sea to exact revenge in the streets of New York.
Paul Christian plays Tom Nesbit who saw the beast but when he tells everyone his story nobody believes him so when the monster finally arrives in New York he helps the military defeat it and not cause infection. The blood of the beast is deadly due to the atomic testing from earlier in the movie.
I like that they gave a deadly infection cause throughout the movie I don't think they were but they had to at some point bring it up the monster was hit with freaking atomic Nuclear missiles and then came out and wrecked stuff. I actually just saw now that this actually was made after king kong so this technically isn't america's first good monster movie but still an underrated one at the very least, this was released in 1953.
As underrated as it is this not a movie with a big name and doesn't have a lot of remakes but I'm pretty sure Hollywood will make one someday and if so I hope i'm in the theater room to see it I give The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms a four out of five.
October 5, 2013
The one that started it all with atomic bomb tests awakening sleeping giant beasts! No rubber suit here, but work by the amazing Ray Harryhausen - do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with his works - detailed perfection every time - a true artist who obviously loved his work. Note the tribute to this film found in the modern day big monster movie "Cloverfield."
herodann
August 7, 2010
Ray Harryhausen is a God! Terrific fifties monster movie. Especially when the NYC cop stands up to the monster for the first (and last) time.
dcrees
August 5, 2009
Lots of fun, though it took a while for the beasts destruction to begin. But 2 things salvaged this movie. The first is some great footage of a real shark fighting a real octopus. And the second is a scene at the end where these guys a rocket at a dinosaur from atop of a roller coaster. They don't make them like this any more.
lizardmanster
August 31, 2007
TOHO made Godzilla after they saw this movie. Ray Harryhausens first feature film...and it's in New York!!!!
July 4, 2007
Ahhh, the classic. I remember loving this just from seeing the trailer on a videotape of old b-movie monster trailers. :D Then the movie itself was also tres bien. 8)
hncckbll
January 24, 2007
One of the great "giant monster on the loose" films of the 1950s. This was stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen's first solo film after apprenticing under Willis (original King Kong) O'Brien in "Mighty Joe Young". Harryhausen shrewdly used
innovative rear projection techniques to put his quadruped dinosaur...a "Rhedosaurus"...into the live action footage, thus getting away from the extensive model set work of his mentor O'Brien.
"Beast" tells the story of a giant monster found at the North Pole after atomic testing frees it from an ice field and "rejuvenates" it. It moves down the east coast and attacks NYC, sinking fishing trawlers and destroying a light house along the way. Highlights of the film are the monster gulping down a "Big Apple" police officer and a fiery demise at a burning Coney Island roller coaster after being shot with a radioactive bullet fired by Army sniper Lee Van Cleef of later spaghetti western fame.
A fun flick to kick back and enjoy.
September 21, 2014
Well made fifties monster movie that presses all the buttons right through to its kongesque climax.
June 22, 2012
Harryhausen's first feature effects gig after Mighty Joe Young, this jump started the movie monster craze of the 50's and even influence Gojira.
January 11, 2014
The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms
Starring:Paul Christian, Paula Raymond, Cecil Kellaway, Kenneth Tobey, Donald Woods, Lee Van Cleef, Jack Pennick, Steve Brodie, and Ross Elliot
Directed By:Eugène Lourié
My Review
I am guessing that this was the first good monster movie made by Americans but was very underrated. Because I think King Kong came after this. The unfortunate thing about this movie is that the monster in the movie doesn't even have a name so am I just suppose to call it what the title says cause if so that's too long. I mean sure it's just some sort of giant lizard but I don't want to call it that either I like it when the monsters have a name it makes the movie a lot more enjoyable and the monster becomes a character.
The powerful force of atomic testing in the arctic has awakened a sleeping beast that has been frozen solid in ice for over 20,000 years and the creature rises from the sea to exact revenge in the streets of New York.
Paul Christian plays Tom Nesbit who saw the beast but when he tells everyone his story nobody believes him so when the monster finally arrives in New York he helps the military defeat it and not cause infection. The blood of the beast is deadly due to the atomic testing from earlier in the movie.
I like that they gave a deadly infection cause throughout the movie I don't think they were but they had to at some point bring it up the monster was hit with freaking atomic Nuclear missiles and then came out and wrecked stuff. I actually just saw now that this actually was made after king kong so this technically isn't america's first good monster movie but still an underrated one at the very least, this was released in 1953.
As underrated as it is this not a movie with a big name and doesn't have a lot of remakes but I'm pretty sure Hollywood will make one someday and if so I hope i'm in the theater room to see it I give The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms a four out of five.
Hayden L.
January 10, 2014
A masterpiece in both story and execution and one of the best giant monster moves of its era. Godzilla owes a lot to this film.
April 3, 2012
This has got to be the best Monster movie ever made. It's got action to die for, great scenes of suspense and will have you at the edge of your seat. I will go as far to say that this could be one of the best movies ever made.....
March 11, 2012
Plot overall is ok and the monster is great. Good animation and characters and a very decent ending. A few flaws, but it's a classic monster film that is worth checking out.
Morris N

Super Reviewer

June 9, 2007
The special effects are outstanding. Mostly it's a corny monster movie with bad acting. It's quite good for what it is, and it's significant because it was Harryhausen's first solo work. According to TCM, it launched the fad in sci-fi movies in the 1950s for giant monsters (giant ants, spiders, etc.) as well as the radiation creates a mutant films so common in the fifties. If that's correct, then this movie is created the format and market for a genre of horror/sci-fi films (Alien, Predator, Tremors, etc.).
March 13, 2012
Nuclear testing unleashes a stop-motion dinosaur that was previously encased in the arctic ice. The monster marches to America and rampages through Wall Street, but humanity as a whole is threatened by the Jurassic bacteria it contains in its hide. As one can guess, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms pretty much follows the exact same framework of every other giant monster flick. I do, however, hold a soft spot for this movie because of the endearing animation Ray Harryhaussen brings to the creature.
March 11, 2012
These movies are so silly (59 years later) that you have to laugh while watching them. This wasn't my favorite 'beast' type movie, but it was entertaining.
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