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The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Approved | | Drama, Sci-Fi | 1951 (UK)
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An alien lands and tells the people of Earth that they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets.

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(screen play), (based on a story by)
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Billy Gray ...
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Lock Martin ...
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Storyline

An alien (Klaatu) with his mighty robot (Gort) land their spacecraft on Cold War-era Earth just after the end of World War II. They bring an important message to the planet that Klaatu wishes to tell to representatives of all nations. However, communication turns out to be difficult, so, after learning something about the natives, Klaatu decides on an alternative approach. Written by Bruce Janson <bruce@cs.su.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A robot and a man . . . hold the world spellbound with new and startling powers from another planet! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

1951 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Farewell to the Master  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the reasons that Michael Rennie was cast as Klaatu was because he was generally unknown to American audiences, and would be more readily accepted as an "alien" than a more recognizable actor. Studio head Darryl F. Zanuck had shown the script to Spencer Tracy, who was eager to play the role. Producer Julian Blaustein objected, saying that the audience would have numerous expectations about the character upon seeing an actor of such repute emerging from the flying saucer. Blausteinknew that Zanuck had the ultimate control, and if he insisted, Blaustein would either have to resign, or make the movie in an unsatisfactory way. Fortunately, Zanuck agreed, and Rennie was cast instead. See more »

Goofs

When Klaatu asks Mr. Harley if he could speak to the United Nations about his mission, Harley allows that they could call a special session of the General Assembly, but warns Klaatu that "The United Nations doesn't represent all the nations," after which he and Klaatu completely abandon the idea of using the UN as a forum. However, the UN has always allowed observers from non-member states and organizations to attend its sessions (though they may not speak or vote), so there was absolutely no reason why the UN could not have been used for such an extraordinary purpose as hearing Klaatu's proposals. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
American Radar Operator: Holy Mackerel! Call headquarters. Get the lieutenant.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Elmer Davis, H.V. Kaltenborn, and Drew Pearson identify themselves when they appear on screen. Radio personality Gabriel Heatter is identified by an announcer. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sam and Max Hit the Road (1993) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Interesting In Itself & As A Reflection of Its Era
15 September 2004 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

Interesting both in itself and as a reflection of its era, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" may seem unspectacular now to those who are used to the extravagant science fiction pictures of the present time, but it deserves its place as a cinema classic. The story is worthwhile in itself, and as soon as you set aside any preconceptions about what science fiction should involve, it also builds up some pretty good drama and suspense. Its perspective is also interesting to see as a reflection of the concerns of its era, which have such obvious similarities with those of the present.

The story itself sometimes moves rather slowly, and the focus is really more on the reactions to Klaatu's arrival than on the action itself. As Klaatu, Michael Rennie stays pretty low-key, as does the rest of the cast much of the time. Although there are times when the movie might lack some energy as a result, in general it probably works better that way than it would have if there were too much forced emphasis on the urgency of Klaatu's mission, which is more than able to speak for itself. The ideas behind the story are fairly simple, but they are, of course, just as significant now (or in practically any other era) as they were in the 1950's.


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