Five (1951)

Five (1951)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Five Photos

Movie Info

One of the most pretentious "apocalypse" films ever made, Five is set in a lavish Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house--owned by Arch Oboler, the film's writer/producer/director. The "five" of the title are the only survivors of a nuclear disaster, all of whom have rather illogically converged in this house. William Phipps, the hero, was left untouched by the explosion because he'd been alone in an Empire State Building elevator! He is the first to arrive at the house, and is joined in quick succession by a pregnant woman (Susan Douglas), a fascistic soldier of fortune (James Anderson), an African American doorman (Charles Lampkin) and a shell-shocked bank clerk (Earl Lee). The clerk mercifully dies of radiation early on, leaving the remaining four to converse at great and boring length on all things philosophical. At long, long last, only the hero and the woman are left alive to do the "Adam and Eve" bit. Though Arch Oboler was one of the greatest radio writers of all time, Five proves that he was in over his head as a filmmaker; the dialogue evokes laughter rather than profound thought, and the plotline has logic holes big enough to drive trucks through.
Action & Adventure , Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
Sony Pictures Entertainment


William Phipps
as Michael
Susan Douglas Rubes
as Roseanne Rogers
Earl Lee
as Barnstaple
Susan Douglas
as Roseanne Rogers
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Five

All Critics (4)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 22, 2012
Top Critic

Admirably grave, indelible parable of nuclear unease

Full Review… | July 28, 2012

For all of his budgetary limitations, it's a strikingly atmospheric and handsome film and [Arch] Oboler creates an eerie sense isolation with simple techniques.

Full Review… | March 11, 2009
Turner Classic Movies Online

... more allegorical than realistic, full of debates on morality and responsibility (and) an eerie sense isolation.

Full Review… | February 2, 2009
Parallax View

The 'Martini Movies' series release of obscure older films finally brought Five to the world of DVD in 2008 %u2013 and without a whole lot of gussying up.

February 1, 2009
Apollo Guide

Interesting in many ways, like its director (Arch Oboler), Five falls short of really hitting home.

February 1, 2009
Apollo Guide

Audience Reviews for Five

Touches on a lot of subjects that most 50s flicks wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole... or would've sanitized like Lysol was buy one, get one half off. Gotta give Five some credit. It shows some hutzpah in dealing with themes of race, sex, life and death.

Vincent Pesce
Vincent Pesce

Although it's called five, I cannot give it a 5. This apocalypse film is not only depressing, it's boring too. There's no music for the most part, the actors don't know what to do with themselves, nothing really happens, and it doesn't even end. At least it succeeds in depressing the audience.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


74/100. This is the very first film to deal with a nuclear war aftermath and it's quite good, in spite of the low budget. Fine acting, no one stands out though. It is a little slow in the midsection, but it really is quite a remarkable film to tackle such a morbid and depressing subject, it wasn't that common in that era. Director Arch Oboler had quite a vision. Certainly ahead of it's time.

James Higgins
James Higgins

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