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It Came from Outer Space (1953)

Approved | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 5 June 1953 (USA)
1:50 | Trailer

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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 strangely.



(screenplay), (story)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:


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 meteorite 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


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Horror | Sci-Fi


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 June 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Atomic Monster  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$800,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although credited to Harry Essex, most of the script, including dialogue, is copied almost verbatim from Ray Bradbury's initial film treatment. See more »


After the spaceship has crashed, when they look through the telescope to see the crash site the image is the correct way up but since this is an Alvin Clark refractor telescope, the image should be upside down. 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.
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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 The Smurfs: Heavenly Smurfs/It Came from Outer Smurf (1982) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Holds Up Well
29 May 2002 | by 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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