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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Invasion of the Body Snatchers can be found here.
Yes. Invasion of the Body Snatchers is based on The Body Snatchers, a 1955 novel by American science fiction writer Jack Finney. The novel was originally serialized in Colliers Magazine in 1954 and was adapted for the movie by screenwriters Daniel Mainwaring and Richard Collins. So far, the movie has been remade three times: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Body Snatchers (1993), and The Invasion (2007).
Those who have both seen the movie and read the novel say that the movie follows the novel very closely, except for the ending and a few scenes that were left out. In the ending of the novel, Miles discovered an outdoor area where the pods were being grown. He proceeded to destroy as many as he could by setting them on fire. By the time the rest of the town turned up the remaining pods had flown into the sky and left the Earth. The reason given that they had underestimated the human desire for survival. The remaining clones had a life span of around five years and slowly died. Miles and Becky stayed together in Mill Valley and the town was re-established with new families. Jack and Theodora Belicec both survived.
Dr Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) can only conclude that they come from a plant created by atomic radiation, mutation, or "some weird alien organism". Miles' third hypothesis is upheld later in the movie when his colleague, psychiatrist Danny Kauffman (Larry Gates), now a pod person himself, explains to Miles and Becky (Dana Wynter) that seeds drifting through space for years took root in a farmer's field. From the seeds came pods that have the power to reproduce themselves in the exact likeness of any form of life.
According to what can be seen in the movie, the pod focuses on one person. It begins to take over that person's physical appearance. When the person is asleep, it then finishes the transformation by taking over mind and memories. Unfortunately, it cannot absorb human emotions, so the resulting clone lacks the ability to feel love, beauty, grief, hope, and all those qualities that characterize the human condition.
Dr Bennell's assumption is that the human body disintegrates. In Finney's novel, the victim turns to static electricity. Other possibilities that viewers have offered include everything from the body dehydrating and turning to dust to the newly-created clone eating what remains of the human body.
After Miles and Becky escape capture by Jack (King Donovan) and Dr Danny, now both pod people, they try to run for the highway out of Santa Mira, but hordes of pod people come after them. They take refuge under the floor boards in the tunnel of an old mine shaft outside of town. When the pod people don't find them in the tunnel and go off to search the hills, Miles and Becky decide to keep going for the highway, even though they are so tired that they can barely stand. Suddenly, a voice can be heard singing. Thinking that it might be another human, Miles goes off in search of the singer only to find that it's coming from a truck where pod people are loading more pods. In the meantime, Becky has fallen asleep. By the time Miles returns, Becky has been absorbed by a pod. Leaving her behind, Miles races for the highway. "No one will believe him," the pod people say as they watch Miles running from car to car, pleading for help, only to be rebuffed as a drunk and an idiot. "They're here...you're next...you're next!" Miles keeps screaming.
Yes. In the alternate ending, the final scene returns to the opening scene (also an alternate beginning) where Miles is being interviewed by two doctors, one who thinks he's crazy while the other isn't sure. When the police bring in an accident victim and report that they had to dig him out from under some big seed pods coming from Santa Mira, Dr Hill (Whit Bissell) orders the police to close off all the highways out of Santa Mira and phones the F.B.I. Miles leans against the wall, the desperation in his face replaced by a look of hope.
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