The Thing from Another World (1951) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Thing from Another World (1951)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: As flying saucer movies go, The Thing From Another World is better than most, thanks to well-drawn characters and concise, tense plotting.

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Movie Info

This film is set at a distant Arctic missile base, where a UFO has crashed. The frozen body of the pilot is taken to base headquarters, where it is inadvertently thawed out. The alien escapes into the snowy wastes and proceeds to wreak murderous havoc all over the base.

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Cast

Margaret Sheridan
as Nikki Nicholson
Kenneth Tobey
as Captain Patrick Hendry
Robert Cornthwaite
as Dr. Arthur Carrington
James Arness
as The Thing
Douglas Spencer
as Ned 'Scotty' Scott
James Young
as Lt. Eddie Dykes
Dewey Martin
as Crew Chief Bob
Bill Self
as Corporal Barnes
Robert Nichols
as Lt. Ken 'Mac' MacPherson
William Self
as Corporal Barnes
Eduard Franz
as Dr. Stern
John Dierkes
as Dr. Chapman
Sally Creighton
as Mrs. Chapman
Paul H. Frees
as Dr. Vorhees
George Fenneman
as Dr. Redding
Billy Curtis
as The Thing While Shrinking
Everett Glass
as Dr. Wilson
Tom Steele
as Stuntman
Norbert Schiller
as Dr. Laurenz
Edmund Breon
as Dr. Ambrose
David McMahon
as Gen. Fogarty
Robert Bray
as Captain
Ted Cooper
as Lieutenant
Allan Ray
as Officer
Robert Stevenson
as Capt. Smith
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Critic Reviews for The Thing from Another World

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (4)

Set the template for a decade of alien invasions.

Full Review… | September 16, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

The resourcefulness shown in building the plot groundwork is lacking as the yarn gets into full swing. Cast members, headed by Margaret Sheridan and Kenneth Tobey, fail to communicate any real terror.

Full Review… | June 6, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

The film has more frissons than most of today's mega-budget productions, simply because it has the grace to construct a meaningful situation and coherent characters.

Full Review… | June 6, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The overall message of The Thing emerges as distinctly hawkish. Reactionary or not, though, it's still a masterpiece.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Even though the thing doesn't begin to make its presence felt till near the halfway point... the simple act of watching men discuss strategy ends up being terrifically absorbing.

Full Review… | August 2, 2014
Antagony & Ecstasy

It's still a very harrowing and action packed horror film...

Full Review… | November 16, 2012
Cinema Crazed

Audience Reviews for The Thing from Another World

½

The legendary director Howard Hawks was both an uncredited co-writer and co-director for this above average B-movie (which has subsequently spawned two re-makes). At the frozen north pole, scientists and the US airforce have found a genuine flying saucer. When the alien is accidentally thawed out, it turns on the people of the camp. Isolated up at the tiny base, and against a creature that can't be harmed or die by traditional means, the humans must figure out a way to survive the invasion of a plant-based creature that requires their blood to reproduce. Really, it's all a metaphor for the "red scare" brewing at the dawn of the cold war. The scientists and the air force officers are seen as being at odds, while the soldiers want to destroy the harmful creature that might doom the entire human race, the "intellectuals" want to study it, preserve it, and even welcome it as a superior life form. Of course, when the menacing creature gets ahold of them, it recognizes neither friend nor foe, but lashes out with impunity. But metaphor or not, there is a creepy vibe that runs throughout the movie. Maybe it's that theremin-heavy soundtrack or maybe it's the feature-less creature itself (played by Gunsmoke's James Arness), an indistinct frankenstein's-monster-from-space that has razor blades for fingertips and grows back limbs as quick as you can lop them off. Or maybe it's the claustrophobic atmosphere that keeps you on your toes, where on a tiny base surrounded by miles of frozen wasteland where no human could survive for very long, the victims are given no chance of escape. From a personal standpoint, John Carpenter's re-make from 1982 is still tops for one of the most frightening movies I'd ever seen as a kid, but for classic 50s sci-fi, The Thing From Another World is a lot of fun. Now, who wants some coffee?

Devon Bott
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

As a group of scientists travel into the arctic regions on a normal investigation, which turns into one of the greatest discoveries in the history of mankind. They find that a UFO has crash landed on their planet and as they find another life form, they intend to bring it back for testing, unaware of what this "thing" truly is. They are now on the run, trying to corner and kill this "thing" and the suspense, even for 1951, is phenomenal. It really makes you believe that they are being chased by something that has never been seen by the naked eye. It's performances are believable, it's score is threatening, it's story is new, and most importantly, "it" is terrifying. "The Thing From Another World" is an absolute triumph for classic horror cinema. Brilliant!

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

An alien monster is thawed and attacks a group of military officers and scientists in the arctic. What I like about this classic horror film is the logical process through which the main character solves the problem. There are few "why is she going down the stairs" moments (although the lights are turned out for horrific effect every now and then and the thaw moment is somewhat predicable. I don't like the way science in portrayed. The scientist character actually says, "The best thing we can do is die and allow future generations to study this thing." Few well-adjusted scientists would actually make this argument, and with the exception of the "thing," the scientist is the villain. Balancing this character is a hawkish hero, which implies that the military response is the best - a highly disagreeable claim. Overall, The Thing from Another World is a good suspense film, not hokey or over-blown like many from its period.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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