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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 32,079 users  
Reviews: 204 user | 137 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


... there was nothing to hold onto - except each other. See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


Approved | See all certifications »

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
See  »

Did You Know?


The pace of the shooting meant there was little time for the actors to rest between takes of the exhausting chase sequences. And there was no time to discuss scenes. Dana Wynter said the actors were always responsible for mentally rehearsing their characters and actions before jumping in front of the cameras. See more »


As the posse runs through Bronson Cave, after the policeman stops on the planks, says his lines, and then runs ahead, look closely for the man in the white shirt: it looks like he fell down onto the planks before the shot ended. See more »


Dr. Miles J. Bennell: Will you tell these people I'm not crazy?
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 »


Referenced in Alien Evolution (2001) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Sci-fi thriller taps into 1950's paranoia
19 December 2004 | by See all my reviews


Aspect ratio: 2.00:1 (Superscope)

Sound format: Mono

(Black and white)

A small Californian town is overrun by alien pods which begin to replicate the inhabitants, prior to spreading their influence across the country - and the world.

Alien invaders masquerading as human beings? Or Communist infiltrators masquerading as aliens masquerading as humans? Don Siegel's clever film not only taps into the paranoia of its era, it also exploits the timeless fear of 'invasion from without' which has sustained dozens of similar horror/sci-fi movies over the years. It's also genuinely frightening in places: The 'unfinished' humanoid pod discovered on a pool table in co-star King Donovan's home, which begins to resemble Donovan and eventually... opens its eyes; the bone-chilling close-up of a major character who has succumbed to the alien's influence during the course of a single kiss; and the famous scene in which hero Kevin McCarthy struggles to convince motorists on a busy highway of the impending catastrophe ("You're next! You're next!"). Simple but never simplistic, and photographed in noirish black and white by ace cameraman Ellsworth Fredericks (SEVEN DAYS IN MAY, PICTURE MOMMY DEAD), the movie earns its place as one of the most memorable genre pieces of the 1950's. Future director Sam Peckinpah has a brief cameo (as Charlie, the meter reader); remade by Philip Kaufman in 1978, and by Abel Ferrara (as BODY SNATCHERS) in 1993, with THE INVASION following in 2007.

24 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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