The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi  |  13 June 1953 (USA)
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Reviews: 84 user | 52 critic

A ferocious dinosaur awakened by an Arctic atomic test terrorizes the North Atlantic and ultimately New York City.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Hubschmid ...
Prof. Tom Nesbitt (as Paul Christian)
Paula Raymond ...
Lee Hunter
Prof. Thurgood Elson
Col. Jack Evans
Capt. Phil Jackson
Corp. Stone
Steve Brodie ...
Sgt. Loomis
George Ritchie
Jack Pennick ...
Jacob Bowman
Ray Hyke ...
Sgt. Willistead
Paula Hill ...
Miss Ryan (as Mary Hill)
Michael Fox ...
ER Doctor
Alvin Greenman ...
First Radar Man
Dr. Morton
King Donovan ...
Dr. Ingersoll


As a result of an arctic nuclear test, a carnivorous dinosaur thaws out and starts making its way down the east coast of North America. Professor Tom Nesbitt, only witness to the beast's existence, is not believed, even when he identifies it as a "rhedosaurus" to paleontologist Thurgood Elson. All doubts disappear, however, when Elson is swallowed whole during an oceanic bathysphere excursion to search for the creature. Soon thereafter the rhedosaurus emerges from the sea and lays waste to Manhattan Island until Nesbitt comes up with a plan to try to stop the seemingly indestructible beast. Written by Doug Sederberg <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A Thrill-Story Beyond All Imagining ! See more »


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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

13 June 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Monster from Beneath the Sea  »

Box Office


$210,000 (estimated)


$5,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)


| (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Vera Miles and Paul Picerni appear in the trailer for this film, but not in the film itself. See more »


(at around 15 mins) In the scene in which the scared pedestrians are fleeing down the subway steps with the Beast close behind them, one man, in a dark overcoat and lighter hat with dark band, telegraphs the collapse of the subway wall and raining debris by raising his arm head high to protect himself *before* the wall collapses. See more »


[first lines]
Opening Narrator: This is Operation Experiment, a secret base far north of the Arctic Circle. Experiment was the codename for a top priority scientific expedition. These men arrived here on X-day minus 60. It has taken them the full two months to get ready. Today is X-day.
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Edited into Fantastic Dinosaurs of the Movies (1990) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A piece of sci-fi history.
15 May 2001 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

The first true Harryhausen films, and it's a real landmark film, the first of the atomic age monster movies (and one which led to the creation of a certain Japanese monster).

Atomic tests in the arctic release a prehistoric beast which has been trapped in the ice for millions of years. In no time the mysterious creature is wrecking havoc, but sceptical scientists refuse to believe in the existence of such a thing.

In common with a lot of Harryhausen's creations, the Beast itself has a real character, is a believable animal rather than just a monster. The film is cleverly-written and the characters are well-thought-out. A first-rate tale.

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