Battle For The Planet Of The Apes

1973

Battle For The Planet Of The Apes

Critics Consensus

Bereft of bright ideas and visually shabby, Battle for the Planet of the Apes takes a celebrated franchise and blows it all up -- the maniacs!

37%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 27

31%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 22,019
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Battle For The Planet Of The Apes Photos

Movie Info

The fifth and last of the original series of motion pictures based upon author Pierre Boulle's imaginative novel Monkey Planet, this science fiction film was the least-liked by the series' legion of fans. Roddy McDowall returns as Caesar, the rebellious intelligent chimp of the previous film, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972). Caesar led his brethren in a revolution against their human masters earlier, but humanity has since nearly destroyed itself in a nuclear apocalypse, and survivors are second-class citizens within ape society. Now a beneficent ruler of his people, Caesar encourages a fragile, peaceful coexistence with humans, despite the protests of militaristic gorilla leader General Aldo (Claude Akins). When Caesar learns that recordings of his murdered parents may exist in the Forbidden City, he journeys to the irradiated wasteland with the human MacDonald (Austin Stoker) and the wise orangutan Virgil (Paul Williams). Although Caesar finds what he's looking for, he also attracts unwanted attention: mutant humans who still dwell underground in the devastated war zone follow the search party back home, leading to a climactic battle and Aldo's tragic challenge of Caesar's authority. Suffering greatly due to penny-pinching studio 20th Century Fox's low budget, Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973) is most notable for a cameo by director John Huston as an ape named "The Lawgiver," who appears in a wraparound segment. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Battle For The Planet Of The Apes

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (17)

  • Considering the usual fate of sequels, it's not so much that this final effort [from a story by Paul Dehn] is limp, but that the previous four pix maintained for so long a good quality level.

    Jun 4, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • [It] seems reluctant to use the potentials for astute comic strip philosophy that all the other films revelled in to a greater or lesser extent.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Battle looks like the last gap of a dying series, a movie made simply to wring the dollars out of any remaining ape fans.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • The Planet of the Apes series started well, and gradually decreased in budget and quality. By Battle the budget is all but gone, and all the believability and excitement has gone with it.

    Jun 19, 2001 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Tom Coates

    BBC.com
    Top Critic
  • Some solid ideas at its center expounding on the series' omnipresent themes of race relations and destiny vs. free will, but is hobbled by its too-apparent dime-store budget and a singular lack of ambition.

    Oct 31, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Battle ends with a deep sense of melancholy and grace, a timeline defying notion that Caesar's decency in fact altered the course of history.

    Sep 17, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Battle For The Planet Of The Apes

  • Jul 01, 2014
    Building off of "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes," Battle does for this series what many great sequels have done in the past, making the set-up even better once you get to the action. Everything that happens in this film is for a purpose, even if it brushes through everything quickly due to it's very low budget. The budget has been noticeable in this entire series, and that has always been a downfall, but I rather enjoy how everything looks at times. Every one of these films had their one moment to shine, and this film delivers more of that once again. Sure it's dumb and lazy at times, but it's a satisfying conclusion to a very up and down series. This saga was very enjoyable.
    KJ P Super Reviewer
  • Mar 31, 2014
    This fifth and final entry in the original Planet of the Apes science fiction series produced by Arthur P. Jacobs is directed by J. Lee Thompson and it stars Roddy McDowall, Claude Akins, Natalie Trundy, Severn Darden, Lew Ayres, Paul Williams and John Huston. I can see division between the fans and non-fans on this one! First ones will enjoy the story telling and the positive tones of this sequel, others will be bored to death! If you rely on action and you are not familiar with the previous films, please, stay away from this one! First two parts are worth watching, from a fan view of point, but the third part must be a disappointment for everyone! Battle scenes were terrible, and you could almost feel the budget cuts there. Beginning was promising, and started as a flashback in the early 21st century, with a wraparound sequence narrated by the orang-utan Lawgiver (John Huston) set in "North America - 2670 A.D." He was telling a story of the ape leader, Caesar (Roddy McDowall), at least twelve years after he led the revolution in the previous film, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. In this post-nuclear society, Caesar tries to cultivate peace between the apes and the surviving humans. A gorilla general named Aldo (Claude Akins), however, opposes this and plots Caesar's downfall. Caesar is married to Lisa (Natalie Trundy), the female ape of the previous film, and they have a son, named Cornelius (Bobby Porter) in honour of Caesar's father... Initially writer Paul Dehn who had provided the script for every previous sequel was hired to provide a story treatment for the fifth film in the series, but he withdrew from the project without completing the screenplay due to health reasons. Screenwriters John William Corrington and Joyce Hooper Corrington were brought in after the success of their film The Omega Man - but there was a problem - neither one of them had written any science fiction films and they had never seen any of the Apes films prior to being hired to write the script for "Battle". Dehn was hired to come in and do a final polish on the script making minor changes to the script that the Corringtons had written. Dehn was given a story credit despite an appeal to the Writer's Guild of America for shared credit on the screenplay. Dehn claimed to have rewritten 90% of the dialogue and he altered the ending. The original script by the Corringtons ended on a playground with ape and human children fighting. Dehn chose to go with a close up of a statue of Caesar with a tear falling from its eye which Joyce Corrington characterized as "...stupid. It turned our stomachs when we saw it." At the end The Writer's Guild of America ruled in favour of the Corringtons for sole screenplay credit. The director J. Lee Thompson was both unhappy with the script as well as the scope of the production, which he felt could have used a bigger budget to assist in the portrayal of the "Battle". Thompson had agreed to direct without a script in place and regretted that Paul Dehn couldn't have been on the project throughout the writing process. This was a movie with good music scores composed by Leonard Rosenman... I am glad he was back for this film. Watchable, but I will suggest, go fast forward through the fighting scenes!
    Panta O Super Reviewer
  • Apr 10, 2012
    The series come full circle in Battle For the Planet of the Apes. In the wake of nuclear annihilation Caesar sets up a new ape society, but it's soon threatened by war when human survivors from the fallout discover his ape city. Several Ape series veteran actors return, including Roddy McDowall, and John Huston makes a featured appearance. Once again the series returns to themes of predestination, human nature, and prejudice. The film finds a nice balance of drama and action in which to tell this tale, and still maintains some ambiguity and mystery. Battle For the Planet of the Apes is a challenging science-fiction drama that has a lot of solid action.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 06, 2011
    Battle For The Planet of The Apes is I think the worst film of the series. I didn't enjoy it as much as the other films and I felt it was a waste. The film could have been so much better than this, but instead this film is a mediocre conclusion to a great Sci-Fi series. The story was poorly crafted, and really not as interesting, engaging and thrilling as the previous entries in the franchise. The actors looked bored in this film, and personally I think the previous film would've made a fine conclusion to the series. However they needed to make a bit more money and they created this disappointing final entry in the series. This film could have been great, and the series could have ended on a high note, but with films like this you realize that the filmmakers are just making a film for the sake of making a film no matter how bad the story is. The film had an interesting idea, but suffered from poor development and it's as if the screenwriters weren't that interested in creating a terrific final chapter in the Apes franchise. This final entry leaves you wanting more, leaves you wanting a better crafted film. This film is a real disappointment and it doesn't satisfy like the previous entries before it. This is a sloppy final to a great series and fans of the series had to wait till Rise of the Planet of the Apes released in 2011 to get yet another phenomenally excellent Apes film. This one isn't great; it's mediocre at best and doesn't entertain like the previous entries in the series.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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