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The Martian Chronicles (1980)

TV Mini-Series  |   |  Sci-Fi
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Earth sends its first manned probe to Mars in 1999, and a jealous Martian murders the two astronauts when his wife has erotic dreams of meeting them. Members of a subsequent expedition are ... See full summary »

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Series cast summary:
 Col. John Wilder (3 episodes, 1980)
 Ruth Wilder (3 episodes, 1980)
 Major Jeff Spender (3 episodes, 1980)
Christopher Connelly ...
 Ben Driscoll (3 episodes, 1980)
 Commander Arthur Black (3 episodes, 1980)
 Sam Parkhill (3 episodes, 1980)
 Father Stone (3 episodes, 1980)
 Genevieve Seltzer (3 episodes, 1980)
 Elma Parkhill (3 episodes, 1980)
 Anna Lustig (3 episodes, 1980)
 Father Peregrine (3 episodes, 1980)
Linda Lou Allen ...
 Marilyn Becker (3 episodes, 1980)
 David Lustig (3 episodes, 1980)
 General Halstead (3 episodes, 1980)
 Mr. K (3 episodes, 1980)
 Christ (3 episodes, 1980)
Terence Longdon ...
 Wise Martian (3 episodes, 1980)
 Peter Hathaway (3 episodes, 1980)
Nyree Dawn Porter ...
 Alice Hathaway (3 episodes, 1980)
Wolfgang Reichmann ...
 Lafe Lustig (3 episodes, 1980)
Maggie Wright ...
 Ylla (3 episodes, 1980)
John Cassady ...
 Briggs (3 episodes, 1980)
Alison Elliott ...
 Lavinia Spaulding (3 episodes, 1980)
Vadim Glowna ...
 Sam Hinston (3 episodes, 1980)
Richard Heffer ...
 Captain Conover (3 episodes, 1980)
Derek Lamden ...
 Sandship Martian (3 episodes, 1980)
Peter Marinker ...
 McClure (3 episodes, 1980)
Richard Oldfield ...
 Captain Nathaniel York (3 episodes, 1980)
Anthony Pullen Shaw ...
 Edward Black (3 episodes, 1980)
Burnell Tucker ...
 Bill Wilder (3 episodes, 1980)


Earth sends its first manned probe to Mars in 1999, and a jealous Martian murders the two astronauts when his wife has erotic dreams of meeting them. Members of a subsequent expedition are hypnotized into believing that they have landed in the childhood community of their leader and have been reunited with deceased family and friends, and they are poisoned by the Martians. Col. John Wilder leads a third expedition and learns that a chicken pox virus brought to Mars by the first two expeditions has almost eradicated the Martian population. A member of Wilder's team becomes obsessed with protecting Mars from Earthman and murders some of the others in Wilder's party, before Wilder kills him. Colonists arrive on Mars to settle, among them priests seeking God, and a lone Martian masquerades as the most desired persons of various settlers. Global war on Earth reduces man's natal planet to radioactive waste, and most of the settlers returned there prior to the holocaust. Wilder struggles to ... Written by Kevin McCorry <mmccorry@nb.sympatico.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


... a warning to all mankind.




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Release Date:

27 January 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Crónicas marcianas  »

Company Credits

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(compact video) | (DVD) | | (theatrical)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


A movie version was previously mooted in 1964 with Gregory Peck in the lead. Alan J Pakula and Robert Mulligan, his " To Kill A Mockingbird " were on board to produce and direct. See more »


[Probably intentional] People on Mars move about in normal Earth gravity, but Mars has only about 38% of the gravitational pull of Earth. See more »


Maj. Jeff Spender: I just believe in things that were done. And there were so many things done here. Streets and houses and books and big canals and clocks and places with names - things that were used and touched for centuries. And I don't see how we could ever use them without feeling uncomfortable. Oh, we could change the names, but the old names will still be there. So no matter how we touch Mars, we won't be able to really touch it. See, that'll make us angry. We'll get mad at that and just rip it up. We'll ...
See more »


Referenced in Mission to Mars (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Earth Colonizers
29 October 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Probably another chapter might have been needed for The Martian Chronicles mini-series to have gotten in all of what Ray Bradbury had to say in his epic science fiction work about first contact. It certainly wasn't like Star Trek's First Contact to say the least.

After a couple of failed expeditions that did not return to Earth from Mars in what was projected in 1980 to be the last dozen years or so right now, Rock Hudson the head of NASA heads the third expedition himself. He finds a presumably dead planet, but are these Martians really dead?

The 'Martians' we do meet seem to be at all levels of human development and way in advance of us on Earth. I can see where Gene Roddenberry got his ideas for the Talosian characters who can change appearance and for the incorporeal Organians for Star Trek. We'll meet both kinds in The Martian Chronicles.

Two characters really stand out for me. First is Fritz Weaver as Father Peregrine who together with Roddy McDowall has come to bring Christianity to Mars. But how do you explain religion to beings way in advance of your development. In fact though it's the Christian religion that is used here, all religions on Earth don't take into account other beings on other worlds. Every founder of every religion only had a view of the world he was on. When 'Jesus' played by Jon Finch appears to Fritz Weaver the Martians can't even grasp the nature of Weaver's conception of him. Makes for a very interesting scene.

Secondly Bernie Casey does in the old English colonial term, 'goes native' on Rock Hudson, he so identifies with the Martians as a race potentially to be exploited just as folks originating in his part of Earth were. Casey raises some interesting questions about the morality of what the Earth people are doing. There is war threatening on Earth to annihilate mankind. How many science fiction movies have as their premise a dying race coming to Earth to take it over and enslave mankind? Food for thought.

There's still enough of Ray Bradbury's ideas in this mini-series to make The Martian Chronicles good viewing. One thing I would like to say, as advanced as the Martians are, you would think that what killed them is something they would have taken measure to prevent a long time ago.

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