Escape from the Planet of the Apes

Critics Consensus

One of the better Planet of the Apes sequels, Escape is more character-driven than the previous films, and more touching as a result.



Total Count: 27


Audience Score

User Ratings: 22,534
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Movie Info

Escape From the Planet of the Apes is the third in the series of films based upon the Planet of the Apes characters created by novelist Pierre Boulle. At the end of the second film, the centuries-in-the-future world colonized by simians was destroyed, but apes Cornelius (Roddy McDowall) and Zira (Kim Hunter) were able to escape in the space vessel left behind by 20th century astronaut George Taylor (Charlton Heston). Cornelius and Zira pass through another time warp, finding themselves in the Earth of the 1970s. When they reveal their ability to speak, the apes are first treated as curiosities, then as threats when the government, believing the story that the Earth will eventually be inherited by monkeys, tries to prevent the birth of Zira's baby. They are ultimately given shelter by sympathetic circus owner Armando (Ricardo Montalban). This film was followed by the fourth "Apes" entry, 1972's Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Critic Reviews for Escape from the Planet of the Apes

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (6)

Audience Reviews for Escape from the Planet of the Apes

  • Jun 30, 2014
    "Escape From the Planet of the Apes" is the third instalment in the Planet of the Apes saga, and it sure does know how to please fans of the series. After the abrupt and unsatisfying conclusion of the second film, we see that Xera and Cornelious have been sent back in time, giving information to the humans about the inevitable overtaking of the apes. This story is both funny and heartwarming and really makes you feel for these two apes throughout the entire film. It does a wonderful job exploring the differences between humans and apes. The script is well-written, which is funny, because it is helmed by the same writer of the previous instalment, and it is also very well-directed. With a much better story, I really really enjoyed this film.
    KJ P Super Reviewer
  • Mar 31, 2014
    I revisited yesterday this movie, after so many years, and I still enjoyed it. This science fiction film directed by Don Taylor, is starring Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Bradford Dillman and Ricardo Montalbán. It is the third of five films in the original Planet of the Apes series produced by Arthur P. Jacobs. If you read my reviews you will know that I didn't particularly like the second Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), but this one is bringing the series back to the track! The story begins by establishing that three apes-Cornelius, Zira, and Dr. Milo (played by Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, and Sal Mineo, respectively)-escaped the Earth's destruction by salvaging and repairing the astronaut Taylor's spaceship (which sank in the first movie) and piloting it through the shock wave of Earth's destruction, sending the ship through a time warp. The apes arrive on Earth in 1973, splashing down on the Pacific coast. They are transported to a secluded ward of the Los Angeles Zoo, under the observation of two scientists, Stephanie Branton (Natalie Trundy) and Lewis Dixon (Bradford Dillman). When the apes' power of speech is revealed a special presidential commission is ready for questioning! The interesting thing about this movie is that the plot centres around many social issues of the day including scientific experimentation on animals, nuclear war and government intrusion. It was more a constructive criticism of the society we live in than the chase for the escaped "monkeys". In the latter part of the film regarding the chase for Zira, Cornelius and their son make references to the racial conflicts and a few religious overtones to the story of Jesus - a line of dialogue even has the President comparing the plan to kill an unborn child to the Massacre of the Innocents. While Kim Hunter had to be convinced by the studio to make the previous sequel, she liked the script for Escape from the Planet of the Apes and accepted to work on it, though Hunter also stated that "I was very glad I was killed off" and Zira was not required anymore after that film. The film got the best reviews of the four Planet of the Apes sequels. It was followed by Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. I enjoyed the solid acting, the directing was old fashioned for the action scenes, but that was the sign of the times, the rest was appealing. Jerry Goldsmith was back as a composer of the music and he did what he knows the best possible way. Enjoyable viewing if you are the fan.
    Panta O Super Reviewer
  • Mar 16, 2012
    How do you continue a series after you've obliterated the planet in a nuclear holocaust? Escape From the Planet of the Apes. In this third installment of the series Cornelius and Zira find themselves hurled back in time to 1973 and must find their way in American culture. Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter return to reprise their roles and are joined by Ricardo Montalban. While it starts out as a lighthearted comedy, the tone takes a dark and foreboding turn. And in typical Apes fashion, the film asks some challenging, thought-provoking questions while telling a compelling sci-fi drama. Escape From the Planet of the Apes delivers another powerful sci-fi adventure (though it does take a few liberties with the series mythology in order to do so).
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 06, 2011
    Third film in the Planet Of The Apes franchise is an entertaining Sci-Fi action film that continues the solid storyline of the Apes films. Director Don Taylor directs a solid cast and he crafts a solid film based on a great script. For fans of the Planet Of The Apes, this third entry has a bit more to offer than the second film, and though the second film was decent, there was definite room for improvement. This film has a much elaborate storyline that is more thrilling than the second film, and I thought it improved on many aspects missing from the second film. This is a better constructed film with a better plot, and it has better acting too. The thing with this series is, is that there are good to decent to mediocre films. This is a good film that is entertaining, thrilling and well plotted to deliver a good cinematic experience for the viewer. I very much loved this third film, and with the cast and great story, you have a terrific third entry in a good series of Sci-Fi films. Sure it's not as great as the first, and it will never come close to being as good as the original, but this film has enough entertainment value to appeal to viewers looking for a good sci-fi adventure. Not a perfect film, Escape from the Planet of the Apes is nonetheless a good follow-up to the first film, and remedies the slightly lacking second film. A good film that is fun to watch. The cast and good story make this film worth watching.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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