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Rocketship X-M (1950)

Approved | | Sci-Fi | 2 June 1950 (USA)
2:00 | Trailer

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An astronaut crew on their way to the Moon are unexpectedly propelled by gravitational forces and end up on Mars instead.



(additional dialogue) (as Orville Hampton),
1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Harry Chamberlain / Voice on loudspeaker
Patrick Aherne ...
Reporter #1 (as Patrick Ahern)
Sherry Moreland ...
John Dutra ...
Kathy Marlowe ...
Reporter (as Katherine Marlowe)


Astronauts (Lloyd Bridges, Osa Massen, John Emery, Noah Beery, Jr., and Hugh O'Brien) blast off to explore the moon. Because of craft malfunction and some fuel calculations, they end up landing on Mars. On Mars, evidence of a once powerful civilization is found. The scientists determine that an atomic war destroyed most of the Martians (who surprisingly look like humans). Those that survived reverted to a caveman-like existence. Written by Matthew Soffen <matt@tuxie.aai.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Most Astounding SPACE ADVENTURE of All Time! See more »




Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 June 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Journey into the Unknown  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$94,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


On the Sea Hunt (1958) story 'Underwater Ejection', Lloyd Bridges is working with a rocket scientist on a series of launches codenamed X-M. See more »


After take-off they say that they are in orbit at a speed of 3400mph at an altitude of 360 miles. They are mixing up 'flying' (where there is air to keep the craft up) and rocket flight where speed must be sufficient to 'combat' gravity. So for 360mi (580km) their orbital speed would have to be 7.6km per sec/27000km per hour or 17000mph. See more »


Dr. Lisa Van Horn: What does it mean, Doctor?
Dr. Karl Eckstrom: It means there are times when a mere scientist has gone as far as he can, when he must pause and observe respectfully while something infinitely greater assumes control. I believe this is one of those times.
See more »


Referenced in Sea Hunt: Underwater Ejection (1959) See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent, Memorable Little Film
12 September 1999 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

This is one I've carried in my memory for years.

Without the Technicolor budget of George Pal and Robert Heinlein's "Destination Moon," "Rocketship X-M" succeeds in becoming a far more meaningful and memorable pre-"2001" science fiction film.

"Destination Moon" attempts a "scientific" preview of man's first lunar visit. Of course, this effort seriously dates the movie (I also smile at the rather whimsical, seat-of-the-pants, "outsider" endeavors of our heros as they manfully put forth, launching their rocket one-step ahead of the narrow-minded "authorities." Okay, so much for that!).

Rocketship X-M had to vie with "D.M." for entertainment bucks at the box office. X-M's b&w budget (with special effects courtesy of White Sands V-2 stock footage and model-making of the string and cardboard variety) didn't allow the producers to throw a lot of "science" at us, however. What they did have going for them, however, were a few excellent character actors doing star-turns for a change of career-pace, a script by Dalton Trumbo, music by Ferde Grofe, and excellent -- and evocative -- sound and camera work...etc.

Granted: The film's overall messages are a bit simplistic -- nuclear war is bad and should be avoided and the human spirit for exploration and discovery cannot be put down by failure and difficulty (I guess they never considered budget shortfalls as a "failure of spirit"). These ideas are, at least, given voice here during what was, after all, a dangerous era in American politics. Remember, Dalton Trumbo was blacklisted!

The science? Okay, it sucks. Who cares!? Science fiction, to my liking, is less about science and numbers than it is about people and life. This has all of that and carries it forward with distinction and class.

When I first saw this movie as a kid, I remember being truly frightened by the bleak view of a post-apocalyptic Mars and shivered in disbelief then terror at the onrushing tragedy of the about-to-crash rocket bearing the two doomed lovers and their sole-surviving crew-mate (a young Hugh O'Brien) to a fiery demise over the Ural Mountains. The producers did a terrific job with what they had and they deserve a great deal of credit.

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