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The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)

Approved | | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi | 13 June 1953 (USA)
2:34 | Trailer

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



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Prof. Tom Nesbitt (as Paul Christian)
Lee Hunter
Prof. Thurgood Elson
Col. Jack Evans
Capt. Phil Jackson
Corp. Stone
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
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 <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Cast of thousands! Over a year in the making! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

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?


Warner Brothers bought the film from producers Hal E. Chester and 'Jack Deitz' for $450,000. See more »


At the end of the underwater struggle between the octopus and the shark, a segment of the fight is run and then played in reverse to stretch the scene out. You can see the shark twist, pause, and then reverse its movements. 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.
See more »


Referenced in Cult: Off to See the Wizard (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Still brings a tear to my eye
2 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When I was a kid,I would cry every time I saw the ending of this movie.I couldn't help feeling sorry for the monster,dying alone in a world he never knew. Ray Harryhausen was at his best when he designed the Rhedosaurus. This was a monster with a personality,and dare I say it,charm? Every little movement of the beast almost made you think you were watching an actual living creature,and not some stop motion puppet,like the awful Giant Behemoth. My favorites: the beast sniffing at the lighthouse before he knocks it down;the way he playfully bats at the wrecked car he stepped on,when he turns his back and lashes his tail at the shotgun toting cops,even the way it squints its eyes in the sun.The death scene was well done,and the music,as the flaming roller coaster collapses behind the beast's dead body,still sends a chill up my spine. The worst part of the movie was the casting,especially the male and female leads. Paul Christian's accent is almost impossible to understand at times,and his acting is wooden.Paula Raymond may seem pretty by '50's standards,but I think she has a pronounced overbite and adenoids,the way her mouth is always hanging open! Her acting was also pretty limp.Cecil Kelloway was a delight,as usual,and Ken Tobey was unusually restrained,not trying to hit on Raymond,as he seemed to do in most of his movies. The funniest line in the movie was Kelloway asking Tobey:"What makes you think there are no flying saucers?"(A dig at Tobey's role in The Thing.)Still in all,this is timeless sci-fi classic that holds up well,even today.

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