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Back to the Planet of the Apes (1981)

| Sci-Fi | TV Movie 1981
This is not an original made-for-TV movie, but two episodes of the 1974 TV series Planet of the Apes (1974) edited together.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Galen (archive footage)
...
Alan Virdon (archive footage)
...
Pete Burke (archive footage)
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Farrow (archive footage)
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Veska (archive footage)
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Zako (archive footage)
John Milford ...
Miller (archive footage)
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Urko (archive footage)
Booth Colman ...
Zaius (archive footage)
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Ullman (archive footage)
...
Arno (archive footage)
Jerome Thor ...
Proto (archive footage)
William Beckley ...
Grundig (archive footage)
...
Man (archive footage)
Cindy Eilbacher ...
Lisa Miller (archive footage)
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Storyline

Three twentieth century astronauts travel through a time warp and crash on Earth in 3085 A.D.. One of the astronauts is killed in the impact, and the two survivors, Alan Virdon and Pete Burke, find that they have returned to an Earth where their loved ones are long dead, where technological civilization has fallen, and where humanity is subjugated by intelligent, talking simians who live in jungle cities and preside over pastoral hinterlands. The two astronauts are captured by horse-riding gorillas (the ape army) and taken before an orangutan tribunal. They are deemed a threat to ape security and sentenced to death. The two condemned men are visited in their cell by a curious chimpanzee named Galen, who is fascinated by their accounts of an advanced human civilization centuries past. After Galen accidentally kills a gorilla and is charged with murder, Virdon, Burke, and Galen all escape the ape city and are fugitives hunted by a determined gorilla named Urko. Virdon manages to salvage... Written by Kevin McCorry <mmccorry@nb.sympatico.ca>

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Sci-Fi

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Release Date:

1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The New Planet of the Apes  »

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Technical Specs

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(RCA Photophone Sound Recording)

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Aspect Ratio:

4:3
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Connections

Followed by Treachery and Greed on the Planet of the Apes (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The first of the Planet of the Apes TV movies
21 January 2015 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) – See all my reviews

In 1974, after the conclusion of the final of the five films which made up the Planet of the Apes series, a TV show was made to extend the franchise even further. Unlike the movies, though, it wasn't a success and folded before the end of its run. I suppose as a means of salvaging some money from this failure, in 1981 five TV movies were made, where each edited two individual episodes of the series together to achieve feature length. Back to the Planet of the Apes was the first such film and combined the first and third episodes of the series.

As a film, it's pretty limited really, on account of its awkward genesis. Like all the others it very much feels like what they all are – two TV episodes joined together. Consequently, the two halves are pretty different and there is little overall cohesion. Seeing as this uses material from episode one, it at least has a proper beginning though. The first half introduces the characters and sets things in motion, while the second part involves one of apes being forced by circumstance to work alongside one of the humans in order to survive a dangerous situation. I felt the first half was the more interesting and the second flagged as a consequence. In all honesty, if you are a fan of the Apes franchise you would be far better just watching the series. The films are no more than a curiosity now, although they admittedly are a relatively interesting one.


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