Astronaut Taylor crash lands on a distant planet ruled by apes who use a primitive race of humans for experimentation and sport. Soon Taylor finds himself among the hunted, his life in the hands of a benevolent chimpanzee scientist.
- George Taylor: Charlton Heston
- Cornelius: Roddy McDowall
- Zira: Kim Hunter
- Dr. Zaius: Maurice Evans
- President of the Assembly: James Whitmore
- Dr. Honorious: James Daly
- Nova: Linda Harrison
- Landon: Robert Gunner
- Lucius: Lou Wagner
- Dr. Maximus: Woodrow Parfrey
- Dodge: Jeff Burton
- Julius: Buck Kartalian
- Hunt Leader: Norman Burton
- Dr. Galen: Wright King
- Minister: Paul Lambert
- Human in Cage (uncredited): Martin Abrahams
- Gorilla (uncredited): Army Archerd
- Ape (uncredited): James Bacon
- Gorilla (uncredited): Erlynn Mary Botelho
- Human #1 (uncredited): Priscilla Boyd
- Gorilla (uncredited): Eldon Burke
- Chimpanzee (uncredited): David Chow
- Child Ape (uncredited): Billy Curtis
- Child Ape (uncredited): Frank Delfino
- Child Ape (uncredited): Buddy Douglas
- Gorilla (uncredited): Chuck Fisher
- Gorilla (uncredited): William Graeff Jr.
- Gorilla (uncredited): Lars Hensen
- Gorilla (uncredited): Irvin ‘Zabo’ Koszewski
- Chimpanzee (uncredited): Norma Jean Kron
- Gorilla Photographer (uncredited): Robert Lombardo
- Child Ape (uncredited): Jerry Maren
- Chimpanzee (uncredited): Cass Martin
- Gorilla (uncredited): Stephan Merjanian
- Child Ape (uncredited): Harry Monty
- Gorilla (uncredited): John Quijada
- Chimpanzee (uncredited): Smokey Roberds
- Gorilla (uncredited): Dave Rodgers
- Human (uncredited): Jane Ross
- Chimpanzee (uncredited): George Sasaki
- Child Gorilla (uncredited): Felix Silla
- Child Ape (uncredited): Emory Souza
- Astronaut Stewart (uncredited): Dianne Stanley
- Gorilla (uncredited): Joe Tornatore
- Camera Operator: Irving Rosenberg
- Original Music Composer: Jerry Goldsmith
- Assistant Director: Robert Doudell
- Art Direction: William J. Creber
- Art Direction: Jack Martin Smith
- Set Decoration: Walter M. Scott
- Sound: David Dockendorf
- Editor: Hugh S. Fowler
- Novel: Pierre Boulle
- Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
- Screenplay: Michael Wilson
- Screenplay: Rod Serling
- Producer: Arthur P. Jacobs
- Director of Photography: Leon Shamroy
- Casting: Joe Scully
- Associate Producer: Mort Abrahams
- Visual Effects: L.B. Abbott
- Visual Effects: Art Cruickshank
- Makeup Artist: Ben Nye
- Hair Department Head: Margaret Donovan
- Visual Effects: Emil Kosa Jr.
- Driver: Chris Haynes
- Stunts: Kim Kahana
- Makeup Designer: John Chambers
- Stunt Coordinator: Joe Canutt
- Assistant Director: William Kissell
- Assistant Costume Designer: Robert Fuca
- Stunts: Frank Orsatti
- Stunts: Lightning Bear
- Unit Production Manager: William Eckhardt
- Special Effects: Johnny Borgese
- Set Decoration: Norman Rockett
- Sound: Herman Lewis
- Costume Design: Morton Haack
- Hairstylist: Eve Newing
- Other: Chema Hernández
- Driver: Steve Bonner
- Script Supervisor: Rose Steinberg
- Stunts: Tap Canutt
- Gaffer: Fred Hall
- tmdb29300086: *SPOILERS BELOW*
I frst saw this film on its first run on CBS. I was in junior high and a hard core sci-fi fan. I was hooked from the first scene. Written by the late great Rod Serling based on the novel by Pierre Boulle, the story is very engaging. After we are introduced to an ANSA Mission Commander named Colonel Taylor, we are treated to a roller-coaster type sequence as we see the re-entry and crash of Taylor’s ship subjectively; as if we were aboard her. The abandon ship scenes are still impressive even by today’s standards. It’s very easy to believe we are seeing a real spacecraft crashed in the water. The next sequence basically establishes Taylor’s personality. To be blunt, he is an arrogant jerk. He mentions hoping to find something better than Man. In a literal casr of “Be careful what you wish for”, he spends the rest of the film trying to prove the opposite. After he and his two crew members encounter a tribe of wild, mute humans, the sci-fi element takes on a horror flavor as a terrifying horn sounds. We are then introduced to the higher lifeforms of the planet which happen to be apes. The hunting sequences are both exciting and disturbing. As we are familiarized with the film’s antagonists, we get a bit of comedy relief as we hear Julius, the zoo-keeper say “Human see, human do” The simian characters are all wonderfully written and acted.
I had heard many times about the ending, but actually seeing Miss Liberty half buried and weathered like that was still a shock. CBS edited Heston’s agonized reaction to merely “DAMN YOU!!”. I didn’t hear the uncut version until I rented it on VHS about 2 decades later when I got my first VCR. The new Apes films are well made but I will always prefer this one. I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it.
- John Chard: I’m a seeker, too. But my dreams aren’t like yours. I can’t help thinking that somewhere in the universe there has to be something better than man. Has to be.
Planet of the Apes is directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and adapted to screenplay by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling from the 1963 Pierre Boulle novel La planete des singes. It stars Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly and Linda Harrison. Music is scored by Jerry Goldsmith and Leon Shamroy is the cinematographer.
3978 A.D. and a spaceship and its crew crash down on a distant planet. Three astronauts survive the crash, they appear to be on a planet not unlike their own, Earth. But soon they come to learn that this planet is ruled by intelligent apes, the human being is the lesser species, mute and of basic intelligence..
It was a tough sell to studios back in the 1960s, not only was the premise that formed Pierre Boulle’s novel a tricky one, but the technical aspects, cost and quality of, also had the men in suits backing away from producer Arthur P. Jacobs and beefcake actor Charlton Heston. Eventually Dick Zanuck over at Fox nervously agreed to make it as long as significant tests ensured that farce would not follow. Stumping up $50,000 for John Chambers to develop the ape make up and masks, and a successful test run acted out by Edward G. Robinson as Dr Zaius opposite Heston, Planet of the Apes was given the green light. The script went through a number of changes as Serling and Wilson tossed around ideas to improve on Boulle’s page turner, while Heston himself felt that the novel as written was unfilmable. Elsewhere, when director Schaffner came on board, he himself went for a more primitive ape world as opposed to the one under consideration that featured futuristic high rises and super advanced technology. What came out at the end of it all thankfully is one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time.
What would follow the success of the film is well known, a number of inferior sequels, a TV series, a remake and even a prequel in 2011. Then of course there was the toys, models, comics, cartoons and T shirts – it at times felt in the 70s that there really was a Planet of the Apes, only this one was driven by commerce. The aftermath of the original film has not done it any favours, the lines have become blurred, with so much muck and tack about, it often gets forgotten just how clinically great Schaffner’s movie is. If ever there was a film that deserves to be a standalone, this is the one. Follow Heston’s brawny Taylor from the pitiful planting of the stars and stripes at the beginning, to that monumental ending, and then leave it at that, do not pass go, do not venture further into any sort of monkey business. No sequel necessary, for Planet of the Apes to truly hit you with maximum impact, it all needs to end right there on that shoreline. As the great Rod Serling intended in fact.
Thematically the picture is acknowledged as being caustically strong, a sociological allegory, with pinches of racial animus just for flavouring. It might be under the guise of a sci-fi movie, but the makers aren’t trying to hide it. Whilst the narrative twitches with comment, whoosh was that an aside to the Scopes trial? Film is also full of visceral thrills, pop-culture references and unnerving (alienation like) photographic beauty. The former comes with the hunt sequence, where we first meet gorilla’s on horses, with guns and attitude, the latter with Shamroy’s Panavision/De Luxe colour lensing of the California and Arizona locations. All enhanced by Goldsmith’s aural pinging percussive led score. And while we continue to remember some of those famous bits of dialogue, we also pick up on each revisit to the film those little slices of humour slotted into the story – human see, human do indeed and the visual cheek of hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil…
Film of course hinges on Heston’s central human performance, of which he delivers athletic guts and subtle nuances in equal measure. Taylor’s character arc demands repeat viewings to fully appreciate what Heston brings to the role. Take in the cynical Taylor who wanders through the Forbidden Zone in the first quarter, then marry it up to the Taylor fighting for his life in the middle, and finally to the Taylor at the denouement, it’s a three pronged acting turn of some undervalued distinction. Not all muscular “presence” actors are/were able to be credible, Heston was. Around him in the monkey suits are true professionals, Hunter, McDowall, Evans (coming in for Robinson who feared for is health in the suit) and Whitmore, while Harrison in the non speaking human role of Nova does her job of looking gorgeous! All that’s left to say is that Schaffner, who would win the Academy Award for Best Director two years later for Patton, pulls it all together neatly. 10/10
- Nutshell: A sci-fi film so groundbreaking (in too many ways to list here) let’s suffice it to say that everything that came after it owes the film a debt as large as Kubrick’s 2001, also made in ’68. Anyone who enjoyed the recent reboot trilogy needs to seek this one out.
- DanDare: The writers turned a not very good novel into an allegory on race and religion.
It also takes an nuclear stance which makes an impact in its finale.
Charlton Heston is Taylor. An astronaut, part of a crew of four on a long term space mission.
They crash landed in what looks like a deserted planet. Soon they encounter some hunter/gatherer human beings who do not speak. Then he finds apes on horseback who speak English.
The apes treat the humans like animals. Taylor is injured by the apes and is unable to speak at first.
A female ape who is a zoologist is shocked when Taylor speaks. The other apes see him as a threat. Taylor being able to talk and think is against what the apes have been taught. The answer lies in the forbidden zone as to what happened to the humans.
The movie raises issues regarding race relations, the treatment of animals and adherence to holy texts.
This is a powerful film famous for its twist ending.
- r96sk: Having seen all three films from the rebooted series, I came into watching the original series expecting something relatively similar. To my pleasant surprise, it’s a very different story.
It’s a fascinating dynamic that is set up in this version, which I in fact prefer compared to the films from the 2010s – as entertaining as they are in their own right. It’s nicely paced and features good cinematography.
The cast of 1968’s ‘Planet of the Apes’ are very good. Charlton Heston, as you might expect, sticks out the most, but Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans are good too. Everyone else is solid, as well.
The effects haven’t aged amazingly, for example the ape make-up/costumes are dated and clunky – particularly when the characters are speaking. That’s all forgivable of course, given the release year. It’s all still effective, either way.
8/10 – very close to being 9/10 in truth.