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When Worlds Collide

When Worlds Collide (1951)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 1



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Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 3,003

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Movie Info

First published in 1932, Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer's speculative novel When Worlds Collide was immediately purchased by Paramount as a possible project for director Cecil B. DeMille. But because none of Paramount's scriptwriters were able to come up with an adequate screen treatment, the property lay on the shelf until 1950, when producer George Pal was casting about for a follow-up to his successful sci-fier Destination Moon. Though the film was top-heavy with special effects, Pal was able


Classics, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Sydney Boehm

Sep 25, 2001

Paramount Pictures

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All Critics (22) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (5) | DVD (11)

This probably looks about as stodgy now as it did back then.

June 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Top honors for this inter-planetary fantasy rest with the cameramen and special effects technicians rather than with performances of the non-name cast.

June 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mr. Pal barely gets us out there, but this time he doesn't bring us back.

March 25, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

George Pal's production is better remembered for its apocalyptic special effects than for the perfunctory dialogue, but the gripping story keeps you watching.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Too bad the finale plays like a greeting card you wish someone had just given you the money for instead.

October 9, 2011 Full Review Source:

Best appreciated for its apocalyptic special effects.

November 11, 2010 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Cinema's most neurasthenic version of the apocalypse

October 21, 2010 Full Review Source: CinePassion

If the naive dramatic situations and trite idealism can be ignored, the viewer is in for an amazing spectacle of special effects.

June 7, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Never mind plot logic, don't think too hard about the 'sci' component of the sci-fi, and certainly keep the unsubtle sociology and Pal's typical Bible-based gloss in perspective. When Worlds Collide remains entertaining and satisfying....

April 5, 2006 Full Review Source:

Totally outdated by now . . .

May 17, 2004 Full Review Source: Sci-Fi Movie Page
Sci-Fi Movie Page

Dated but enjoyable end of the world flick

August 21, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

When Worlds Collide is sincere, but doesn't take itself too seriously.

December 12, 2001 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

A fun, sometimes cheesy descent into apocalyptic nonsense.

October 23, 2001 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

The bottom of the barrel of disaster movies

September 21, 2001 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for When Worlds Collide

The Earth will be destroyed in 8 months time. A group of scientists and many civilians help to create a rocket to allow humanity to continue on. Brilliantly made and such a thoughtful, intese film that really makes you think. Recommended for all.
November 29, 2012

Super Reviewer

A surprisingly intelligent disaster movie and a nice sci-fi gem from the 1950's. Despite the film's low budget, the special effects are quite spectacular and well done (with the exception of the end). The film's ensemble cast is also well rounded and each give respectable performances, with one of the standouts being Larry Keating. The scientific logic may be a little ridiculous, but the movie does a good job in presenting it in a believable manner and getting the audience to be empathetic towards the human character's efforts to save humanity from extinction. The main human character's enemy is time, and tension builds as doomsday draws nearer and nearer. Definitively one of the better sci-fi movies from the 1950's that still mostly holds up today.
March 3, 2012
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

I know that this movie is not usually regarded as one of the classic or best sci-fi movies of the 50s, even the early 50s, but I think it's highly underrated. Give it a chance and see what you think. The special effects are really very spectacular, especially when you read about how they made the movie. The story has been seen in other movies, of course, but this movie gives you a new look at the end of Earth. This is one of my favourite sci-fi movies.
October 29, 2010

Super Reviewer

This is not your typical low-budget 50's sci-fi thriller. The effects here, with the possible exception of the final scene, are stunning. This is global Armageddon with style! Nostalgic, but still technologically impressive.
October 7, 2009
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

    1. Dr. Dean George Frey: There is no error.
    – Submitted by George P (4 months ago)
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Latest News on When Worlds Collide

March 22, 2006:
Classic Sci-Fi Story Goes Universal
Alfred Bester's classic sci-fi novel "The Stars My Destination" has been optioned for the...
December 6, 2005:
Sommers Collides (again) with "Worlds"
He was on the job once before, left for a better gig, quit that one, and then returned. Filmmaker...
October 7, 2005:
Sommers Out, Levy In on "Museum"
Since Stephen ("The Mummy") Sommers will be helming the "When Worlds Collide"...

Foreign Titles

  • When Worlds Collide (1951) (DE)
  • When Worlds Collide (UK)
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