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The War of the Worlds (1953)

Approved  |   |  Action, Sci-Fi  |  26 August 1953 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 22,638 users  
Reviews: 213 user | 85 critic

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

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: The War of the Worlds (1953)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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)
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

A mighty panorama of earth-shaking fury! See more »

Genres:

Action | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

26 August 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La guerre des mondes  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

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

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The key to the success of this film is Pal's decision to use life-size models rather than miniatures or Harryhausen's stop motion puppets. With the large size models he was able to get incredibly realistic, life-like movement that couldn't be achieved any other way, and up until this point, never had. This presented quite a bit of a challenge in getting the double exposure of the acetylene torches that he used as the cobra-head's ray to match the head's movement. Look carefully in scenes where the machines are shooting and moving at the same time. You will see one of the the cobra head pointed down while the ray is shooting straight ahead; in another shot, the ray shoots to the (screen's) right, but by the time the ray stops, the cobra head is already turned forward and dropped. In one shot the ray seems like it's coming not from the center of the red lens, but off to the side, possibly even from the edge of the head structure and not the lens. These slight imperfections certainly don't distract from the wonder of the look of the film which was as great an achievement for SciFi in the 50s as Kubrick was for SciFi in the 60s and, IMHO, just as much of a major leap forward as 2001 was in terms of moving the bar up that much higher for all SciFi films to come.

So impressed was this author as an 11yr old, that he refused to leave the theatre even after the second screening of WOTW despite the pleadings of his poor mother who begged him to leave and come home with her. That young lad HAD to see it a third time; not many years later as the manager of a theatre on his college campus, the first film he booked and ran himself was WAR OF THE WORLDS. See more »

Goofs

When Clayton's plane crashes a rope can be seen pulling the tail of the plane to the side. See more »

Quotes

[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.
See more »


Soundtracks

Flop-Eared Mule (Without Calls)
(uncredited)
Written by Zip Wilson
Performed by Zip Wilson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Good Adaptation
12 March 2003 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

Even though this is not a literal translation of the H.G. Welles classic, this is still a good film. I especially loved how it was updated to the 20th century and that all our modern weapons, including the atom bomb, couldn't destroy the Martians. George Pal is definitely one of the most underrated directors of science fiction and this film along his When Worlds Collide and The Time Machine stand out among the great science fiction films of all time.


31 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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