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The War of the Worlds (1953)

Approved  |   |  Action, Sci-Fi  |  26 August 1953 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 24,046 users  
Reviews: 219 user | 89 critic

The film adaptation of the H.G.Wells story told on radio of the invasion of Earth by Martians.



(novel) (as H. G. Wells) , (screenplay)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Robert Cornthwaite ...
Dr. Pryor (as Bob Cornthwaite)
Sandro Giglio ...
Lewis Martin ...
Houseley Stevenson Jr. ...
Gen. Mann's Aide (as Housely Stevenson Jr.)
Paul Frees ...
Second Radio Reporter / Opening Announcer
William Phipps ...
Wash Perry (as Bill Phipps)
Vernon Rich ...
Cop at Crash Site
Commentary (voice) (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Cliff Clark ...
Australian Policeman (scenes deleted)
Rudy Lee ...
Boy (scenes deleted)


H.G. Well's classic novel is brought to life is this tale of alien invasion. The residents of a small town in California are excited when a flaming meteor lands in the hills. Their joy is tempered somewhat when they discover that it has passengers who are not very friendly. The movie itself is understood better when you consider that it was made at the height of the Cold War--just replace Martian with Russian.... Written by KC Hunt <khunt@eng.morgan.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Amazing! terrifying! The most savage spectacle of all time! See more »


Action | Sci-Fi


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

26 August 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kampf der Welten  »

Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording) (5.0) (L-R)


(Technicolor)| (newsreel archive footage before opening credits)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The sound effects of the Martian war machines' heat ray were created from three electric guitars played backward. The sound of the Martian screaming after Forrester hit it was a mixture of a microphone scraping along dry ice and a woman's scream played backward. The former set of sound effects became widely used stock sound effects after the film was released. They are still in use. See more »


Just before Forrester finds the last church, the same corner of a building is sheared off twice by a Martian ship. See more »


[first lines]
Radio Reporter: [voiceover] In the First World War, and for the first time in the history of man, nations combined to fight against nations using the crude weapons of those days. The Second World War involved every continent on the globe, and men turned to science for new devices of warfare, which reached an unparalleled peak in their capacity for destruction. And now, fought with the terrible weapons of super-science, menacing all mankind and every creature on the Earth comes the War of the Worlds.
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Version of The War of the Worlds (2005) See more »


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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Great as a sci-fi film--atrocious as a book adaptation
13 March 2000 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

OK, it's not an adaptation of the H.G. Wells book. If it's supposed to be, it's horrendous...BUT taken as a sci-fi film from the 50s, it's tremedous. The dialogue is corny and the acting is beyond belief (did anyone tell Gene Barry not to move a muscle in his face?), but the special effects are incredible. Some are pretty obvious (love it when the spaceship crashes into what is obviously a paper mache building!) but the majority of them stand up even today. I had the good luck to see a newly struck print and the color was superb and I've never seen the film look so good! This movie scared the hell out of me as a kid...as an adult it doesn't (of course) but it's still a heck of a lot of fun! This is 20 times better than that piece of crap "Independence Day". "ID" had cardboard characters, REALLY stupid dialogue (much worse than this movie) and stunning gaps of logic (Will Smith learning in 3 seconds how to fly an alien spacecraft; A COMPUTER VIRUS??????). This one doesn't. A true classic. See it!!!

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