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The War of the Worlds (1953)

Approved | | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi | 26 August 1953 (USA)
A small town in California is attacked by Martians.

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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4,234 ( 2,053)

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
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
...
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)
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Storyline

H.G. Well's classic novel is brought to life in 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 »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

26 August 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kampf der Welten  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

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

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Martian war machines were originally going to be walking tripods as they were depicted in H.G. Wells' novel, but George Pal didn't know how a tripod would walk and instead went with the flying machines. See more »

Goofs

When the scientists are about to project an image using the Martian lens, there are two separate shadows from the boom and mike. As soon as the projector screen is pulled down there is a shadow from the boom that goes across the entire screen. At that same moment, the shadow from the mike can be seen on the wall to the left of the projector screen. 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.
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Soundtracks

Flop-Eared Mule (Without Calls)
(uncredited)
Written by Zip Wilson
Performed by Zip Wilson
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
An Effective Sci-Fi Thriller
13 July 2003 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

To be an effective thriller, a sci-fi film absolutely must impart to the viewer a sense of --- coldness, either the physical coldness of outer space or other worlds, or the emotional coldness of science.

Cedric Hardwicke's opening narrative in "The War Of The Worlds" is brutally cold, and the added images uninviting. The martian machines, vaguely resembling "legless swans", are both beautiful and terrifying. They move slowly, in a graceful but calculating manner. They warn of their approach with an eerie, unearthly "pinging" sound.

In the scene where the priest walks toward one of the "swans", the aliens do not impulsively open fire. Instead, they wait. The cruel "eye" peers down on the priest, studying him, in a foreboding prelude to his inevitable annihilation.

Other scenes in the first half also convey this needed sense of alien coldness. We can, therefore, forgive the film for its somewhat corny plot.

The film's second half is weaker because the aliens have to compete for screen time with Los Angeles mob scenes, a showy and irksome display of American military hardware, and dry narration of military war tactics. But even in this second half, suspense filters through, as we watch the heartless "swans" eject their heat rays on a helpless Los Angeles.

For sci-fi films made before "2001: A Space Odyssey", "The War Of The Worlds" is one of my three favorites, along with "Robinson Crusoe On Mars" and "Forbidden Planet".


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