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


They couldn't believe their eyes! They couldn't escape the terror! And neither will you! 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
See  »

Did You Know?


Some of the Arctic footage showing an avalanche triggered by movements of the Beast was "lifted" from the 1935 production of She (1935). See more »


The "blind" man braces himself before he gets knocked down. 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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Spoofed in The Naked Monster (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

8 August 2002 | by (NYC) – See all my reviews

"The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" is, quite simply, the best dinosaur-on-the-loose movie ever made. I would say "best monster-on-the-loose movie ever made" if it weren't for that King Kong guy (need we even say which version?). I loved "The Beast" when I was a little kid, and today--some 40 years later--the movie still knocks me out. Forty years ago I loved the fact that, unlike a lot of similar movies that followed in its wake, you don't have to wait a long time for the Beast to make its appearance. It shows up in the first 10 minutes of the film and makes regular appearances thereafter. The look of the creature is very realistic; one of Ray Harryhausen's greatest creations. There are so many terrific set pieces in this film that one doesn't know where to begin, but the attack on the lighthouse, beautifully done in silhouette; the initial sighting of the Beast from the bathysphere; the Beast's attack on lower Manhattan; and the grand finale at the Coney Island roller coaster are certainly all standouts. Music, acting and photography are all first rate, and the script is intelligent and moves along briskly and with purpose. But the main attraction of the movie is the Beasty himself, and every moment that he is on screen is riveting. This picture is a true classic; the inspiration for Godzilla and all the other thawed-out creatures that followed. I have seen this one over 50 times and never seem to get tired o f it. I have seen it several times on the big screen, at one of NYC's many revival theatres, and it is always greeted with cheers whenever the Beast theme begins during the opening whirlpool credits. The movie is well loved and remembered for good reason: It's the best in its class! By the way, it took me many, many years to figure out, but the Professor's last word in the diving bell is "cantileveric." 10/10

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