When Worlds Collide (1951) - Rotten Tomatoes

When Worlds Collide (1951)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

When Worlds Collide Trailers & Photos

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 to bring When Worlds Collide in for under a million dollars, thanks to an inexpensive cast and a heavy reliance upon stock footage. The story is set in motion when Dr. Cole Henderson (Larry Keating) announces that a extraterrestrial planet is on a collision course with the Earth. No one believes Henderson's story, save for crippled financier Stanton (John Hoyt), who finances the construction of a gigantic spaceship, built for the purpose of transporting selected survivors from the doomed Earth to another Earthlike planet. As it becomes obvious that Henderson's predictions will come true, a worldwide lottery is held to select those people who will be rescued from oblivion by Stanton's spaceship. In the climactic scenes, the worlds do indeed collide, with appropriately spectacular results. But will the spaceship, overloaded with humanity, be able to take off and seek out a Brave New World? Amidst the thrills, a romantic triangle emerges, involving Richard Derr, Barbara Rush and Peter Hanson. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovimore
Rating: G
Genre: Classics, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Sydney Boehm
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 25, 2001
Paramount Pictures


Richard Derr
as Dave Randall
Barbara Rush
as Joyce Hendron
John Hoyt
as Sydney Stanton
Larry Keating
as Dr. Cole Hendron
Peter Hanson
as Dr. Tony Drake
Judith Ames
as Julie Cummings
Alden 'Stephen' Chas...
as Dr. Dean George Frey
Frank Cady
as Harold Ferris
Hayden Rorke
as Dr. Emory Bronson
Sandro Giglio
as Ottinger
Kasey Rogers
as Stewardess
James Congdon
as Eddie Garson
Freeman Lusk
as Rudolph Marston
Joseph Mell
as Glen Spiro
Leonard Mudie
as British UN Represent...
John Ridgely
as Chief Airport Inspec...
James Seay
as Reporter at Airport
Harry Stanton
as Dr. Zenta
Hassan Khayyam
as Indian Chairman
Ramsay Hill
as Frenchman
Ramsey Hill
as Frenchman
Gene Collins
as Newsdealer
Sam Finn
as Traveler
Mary Murphy
as Student
Kirk Alyn
as Student
Chad Madison
as Student
Dolores Mann
as Student
Robert Sully
as Student
Richard Vath
as Student
Paul H. Frees
as Narrator
Laura Elliot
as Stewardess
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for When Worlds Collide

Critic Reviews for When Worlds Collide

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (4)

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

Full Review… | June 7, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top 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.

Full Review… | June 7, 2007
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top 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.

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

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

Full Review… | October 9, 2011

Best appreciated for its apocalyptic special effects.

Full Review… | November 11, 2010
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

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.

Sophie Burgess

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.

Christopher Heim
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.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

When Worlds Collide Quotes

– Submitted by George P (2 years ago)

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