It Came from Outer Space (1953)

Approved  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi  |  25 May 1953 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 5,505 users  
Reviews: 78 user | 72 critic

A spaceship from another world crashes in the Arizona desert, and only an amateur stargazer and a schoolteacher suspect alien influence when the local townsfolk begin to act strange.



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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Charles Drake ...
Sheriff Matt Warren
Joe Sawyer ...
Frank Daylon


John Putnam is a writer and an amateur stargazer with a new home out in the beautiful Arizona desert, which he enjoys with Ellen Fields, his girlfriend and a local schoolteacher. John is not trusted by the people of the small town near where he lives, certainly not by Sheriff Matt Warren, who feels protective of Ellen, and perhaps something more. One night, John and Ellen see a meteor crash in the desert. John drags his friend, Pete, out of bed to take him over to the crash site in his helicopter. Once there, John climbs down into the crater. Unfortunately, he does so alone, as Pete and Ellen wait for him. John is the only one who sees the spaceship before a landslide covers it. And John is the only one who catches a glimpse of the hideous thing inside. At first John's story seems mad, until some of the townsfolk begin acting strange - as if they aren't really who they seem to be. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Fantastic sights leap at you! See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 May 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Atomic Monster  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$800,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to a magazine article the "bubble" effect seen when the audience is seeing things from the alien's POV was achieved by actually blowing a specially formulated "tough" bubble around the camera lens. These shots were kept short since the bubbles only lasted a brief time. See more »


When the alien first goes walking about in the desert, the camera cuts to a startled owl, which tries to fly away only to be jerked back by the visible string tied to its leg. See more »


[first lines]
John Putnam: [off-screen] This is Sand Rock, Arizona, of a late evening in early spring. It's a nice town, knowing its past and sure of its future, as it makes ready for the night, and the predictable morning. The desert blankets the earth, cooling, resting for the fight with tomorrow's sun. And in my house near the town, we're also sure of the future. So very sure.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are at the end rather than at the beginning. They include shots of the characters with the cast names, and the pictures would mean nothing if seen before the film. See more »


Referenced in Coach: It Came from New York (1993) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Holds Up Well
29 May 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is director Jack Arnold's first science-fiction effort and one of the earliest to use a desert setting. Richard Carlson is very believable as an astronomer who, along with his fiancee, witnesses a meteor crash-landing that turns out to be a spacecraft. No one in the small town believes him until they start disappearing. Arnold uses theremin music to great effect, the photography is eerie, dialog (by Ray Bradbury) poetic, and the alien a terrifying large crawling mass with one bulging eye that leaves a snail-like trail in its path. The aliens are not bent on destruction - an interesting precursor to Steven Spielberg's expensive "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977)- even its main titles are at the End. This is low-key, intelligent, satisfying drama. Co-starring are Barbara Rush (she's a babe), Russell Johnson (likewise), Charles Drake, Joe Sawyer, Kathleen Hughes (who's tantalizing in a cameo).

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