Planet of the Apes

1968

Planet of the Apes

Critics Consensus

Planet of the Apes raises thought-provoking questions about our culture without letting social commentary get in the way of the drama and action.

88%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 57

87%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 118,944
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Movie Info

Originally intended as a project for Blake Edwards, the film version of Pierre Boule's semisatiric sci-fi novel came to the screen in 1968 under the directorial guidance of Franklin J. Schaffner. Charlton Heston is George Taylor, one of several astronauts on a long, long space mission whose spaceship crash-lands on a remote planet, seemingly devoid of intelligent life. Soon the astronaut learns that this planet is ruled by a race of talking, thinking, reasoning apes who hold court over a complex, multilayered civilization. In this topsy-turvy society, the human beings are grunting, inarticulate primates, penned-up like animals. When ape leader Dr. Zaius (Maurice Evans) discovers that the captive Taylor has the power of speech, he reacts in horror and insists that the astronaut be killed. But sympathetic ape scientists Cornelius (Roddy McDowell) and Dr. Zira (Kim Hunter) risk their lives to protect Taylor -- and to discover the secret of their planet's history that Dr. Zaius and his minions guard so jealously. In the end, it is Taylor who stumbles on the truth about the Planet of the Apes: "Damn you! Damn you! Goddamn you all to hell!" Scripted by Rod Serling and Michael Wilson (a former blacklistee who previously adapted another Pierre Boule novel, Bridge on the River Kwai), Planet of the Apes has gone on to be an all-time sci-fi (and/or camp) classic. It won a special Academy Award for John Chambers's convincing (and, from all accounts, excruciatingly uncomfortable) simian makeup. It spawned four successful sequels, as well as two TV series, one live-action and one animated. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Planet of the Apes

All Critics (57) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (50) | Rotten (7)

Audience Reviews for Planet of the Apes

  • May 31, 2016
    Possibly the most intellectual film of its time, Planet of the Apes is filled with almost ambiguous social and political commentary.
    Sean T Super Reviewer
  • Jan 18, 2014
    Watching Planet of the Apes, I found I much enjoyed the elements surrounding the movie more than the progression of the film itself. We are introduced to the film by the spaceship landing where I assume we are supposed to care about these characters. George Taylor and his merry men of space explorers survive their sinking spacecraft and land on a seemingly deserted planet where they at first take a liking to finally being on land with fresh water. They come across a tribe of apes representing a sort of medieval society in an alternate world, and soon they are taken prisoner. Heston's character gets cut in the throat, which renders him mute through most of the first quarter. Finally, he breaks his silence with the trademark line "Get your hands off me, you damn dirty ape!". The rest takes on this scientific debate whether man or ape first existed through cracks at religion, science, evolution, and many controversial arousing subjects that would make today's filmgoers cringe with emotional defenses slowly rising. First off, the visuals here are quite well captured and the landscapes and backdrops, much like The Ten Commandments, enhance the set to where the supernatural surrealism of the picture feels like a hands-on experience. Also astounding is the makeup done on the apes to make them look almost "evolved" into humans, which was kind of the point. But through well done design, they look like apes. A good look has to be taken to see the actor underneath. The huge flaw in my opinion is the pacing of the story, which for the first half was unbelievably slow and didn't have much detail to it. How long was Taylor in space, and what for? How did they arrive on this ape planet? Where does it exist? On another planet, on it's own planet? The film doesn't explain itself, it expects the viewer to put the pieces together. Except we are hearers of the story, not the tellers. With more detail, and perhaps a more captivating subplot, this could have had a timeless feel. But the film will grow on you, especially through Heston's flawless portrayal as a man in an unfamiliar world. His expressions, delivery, mannerisms, and straightforward personality are just perfect.
    Jackson W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 19, 2013
    One of the best sci-fi films ever, Planet of the Apes is one of those movies that everybody has heard of and most of them have seen. There have been countless sequels, ripoffs and parodies that may diminish its power and hide how good the film really is. It may show its age a bit, but seeing the imagination of the film hasn't weakened in my eyes since I first watched it years ago. Everything about the film is excellent. It draws you in from the very beginning and doesn't hold back from there. I always get so involved with the film that I get to the point where I want to scream at the apes when Taylor isn't able to speak to them. Few movies have are capable of fully bringing you into their atmosphere as if you're right there in the action the way Planet of the Apes can. Even if it's ending may not pack the same punch it used to since everyone knows about it. I love the original Planet of the Apes. It's one of my 15 favorite movies ever, and I ignore any sequel, remake, or reboot that does anything to try to take something away from it.
    Drew O Super Reviewer
  • Oct 02, 2012
    visionary, but hasn't aged gracefully
    Jeff L Super Reviewer

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