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Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Approved  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi  |  5 February 1956 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 32,477 users  
Reviews: 205 user | 139 critic

A small-town doctor learns that the population of his community is being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates.



(screenplay), (Collier's magazine serial), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Larry Gates ...
King Donovan ...
Jean Willes ...
Ralph Dumke ...
Police Chief Nick Grivett
Virginia Christine ...
Tom Fadden ...
Uncle Ira Lentz
Kenneth Patterson ...
Guy Way ...
Officer Sam Janzek
Eileen Stevens ...
Anne Grimaldi
Beatrice Maude ...
Grandma Grimaldi
Jean Andren ...
Eleda Lentz
Bobby Clark ...
Jimmy Grimaldi


Dr Miles Bennell returns his small town practice to find several of his patients suffering the paranoid delusion that their friends or relatives are impostors. He is initially skeptical, especially when the alleged dopplegängers are able to answer detailed questions about their victim's lives, but he is eventually persuaded that something odd has happened and determines to find out what is causing this phenomenon. This film can be seen as a paranoid 1950s warning against those Damn Commies or, conversely, as a metaphor for the tyranny of McCarthyism (or the totalitarian system of Your Choice) and has a pro- and epilogue that was forced upon Siegel by the studio to lighten the tone. Written by Mark Thompson <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They come from another world! See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 February 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Body Snatchers  »

Box Office


$417,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Perspecta Sound encoding) (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Throughout the years, Sam Peckinpah (who appears briefly in the film as the meter reader) claimed that he had done work on the script ranging from modifications to major overhauls. Those who worked on the film claimed that if Peckinpah had made any changes to the script, it was limited to a few lines of dialog. Peckinpah's claims became so inflated that the actual writer, Daniel Mainwaring, threatened to file an official complaint with the Writers Guild of America, so Peckinpah backed down. When Peckinpah died in 1984, many of his obituaries still carried the claim that he had rewritten the screenplay for this film. See more »


When Miles is carrying the sleeping Becky from her house to his car, her right arm is hanging limp on the way down the stairs and her left arm is holding Miles. But in the next shot at the front door her body position is changed, with her right arm around Miles shoulder and left arm hanging limp. See more »


Dr. Miles J. Bennell: What'll you have? We're pushing appendectomies this week.
[Becky laughs]
Dr. Miles J. Bennell: I don't know, maybe I clown around too much, pretty soon my patients won't trust me to prescribe aspirin for them. Seriously, what's the trouble?
Becky: It's my cousin.
Dr. Miles J. Bennell: Wilma? What's the matter?
Becky: She has a, well I guess you call it a delusion, you know her uncle, Uncle Ira?
Dr. Miles J. Bennell: Sure, I'm his doctor.
Becky: Well Miles, she's got herself thinking he isn't her uncle.
Dr. Miles J. Bennell: How do you mean? That they're not really related?
Becky: No, she thinks he's an ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

THE END comes up on the final shot of the film of Miles looking relieved that Dr Hill has believed his story, and is calling the FBI about the alien invasion of Santa Mira. See more »


Spoofed in Destroy All Humans! 2 (2006) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of the scariest sci-fi films of the 1950s.
15 December 2003 | by (Fayetteville, GA) – See all my reviews

A chilling motion picture, well directed by Don Sigel, with a script co-written by Daniel Mainwaring and (uncredited) Sam Peckinpah, based on the novel "The Body Snatchers" (aka "Sleep No More") by Jack Finney.

The excellent musical score is by Carmen Dragon. Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter head the cast of this four-star classic in which the inhabitants of a small California town are being replaced by alien look-alikes. The aliens come to Earth in the form of "seed pods" that burst open and spew out a foam which grows into human duplicates, complete with all the memories of the original. The best scene in the film takes place in a greenhouse where several alien pods burst open and disgorge the half-formed copies of the horrified humans.

A prologue, a new ending, and a voice over-narration were added after the film's initial release, to help the audience follow the strange plot. In the added scenes, the story opens with Kevin McCarthy being brought into a hospital, raving about alien invaders. Two doctors (Whit Bissell and Richard Deacon) listen to McCarthy's strange story, which the audience sees as a flashback. At the end of he movie the doctors are understandably skeptical about McCarthy's weird yarn, but an unexpected event lends credence to his story.

Many film reviewers criticize these added scenes as unnecessary, an unwise attempt to conclude the story with a happier ending. But these scenes serve a valuable purpose, increasing the viewers sympathy for McCarthy and his efforts to convince someone that mankind is in danger. The alleged "happier ending" does not establish that mankind will win the battle against the aliens. It simply implies a Chapter Two in this epic struggle. Mankind will have a fighting chance in the war, but the outcome is definitely open to debate.

43 of 51 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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