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The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

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An alien lands and tells the people of Earth that they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets.

Director:

Robert Wise

Writers:

Edmund H. North (screen play), Harry Bates (based on a story by)
Reviews
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Michael Rennie ... Klaatu
Patricia Neal ... Helen Benson
Hugh Marlowe ... Tom Stevens
Sam Jaffe ... Professor Jacob Barnhardt
Billy Gray ... Bobby Benson
Frances Bavier ... Mrs. Barley
Lock Martin Lock Martin ... Gort
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Storyline

An alien (Klaatu) with his mighty robot (Gort) land their spacecraft on Cold War-era Earth just after the end of World War II. They bring an important message to the planet that Klaatu wishes to tell to representatives of all nations. However, communication turns out to be difficult, so, after learning something about the natives, Klaatu decides on an alternative approach. Written by Bruce Janson <bruce@cs.su.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

What is this invader from another planet... Can it destroy the Earth? See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Hindi | Russian

Release Date:

25 December 1951 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

Journey to the World See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the original short story on which the screenplay is loosely based, the robot, Gort, was the master. Klaatu was merely one of a series of doubles, or maybe clones, that died after a short time. See more »

Goofs

As the spaceship races across the world, scenes of successive radio announcers (or people listening to them) are shown, apparently in order of their broadcasts. When the BBC announcer in England is shown delivering his broadcast, the clock behind him reads 8:33 (p.m.). The next shot shows radio commentator H.V. Kaltenborn doing his broadcast from Washington, D.C. The clock behind him reads 3:24. Since Washington is five hours behind London, and assuming the broadcasts were indeed shown in order, Kaltenborn's clock should have read no earlier than 3:33, and probably a minute or more later than that. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
American Radar Operator: Holy Mackerel! Call headquarters. Get the lieutenant.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Elmer Davis, H.V. Kaltenborn, and Drew Pearson identify themselves when they appear on screen. Radio personality Gabriel Heatter is identified by an announcer. See more »

Connections

Featured in It Came from Hollywood (1982) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Interesting In Itself & As A Reflection of Its Era
15 September 2004 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

Interesting both in itself and as a reflection of its era, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" may seem unspectacular now to those who are used to the extravagant science fiction pictures of the present time, but it deserves its place as a cinema classic. The story is worthwhile in itself, and as soon as you set aside any preconceptions about what science fiction should involve, it also builds up some pretty good drama and suspense. Its perspective is also interesting to see as a reflection of the concerns of its era, which have such obvious similarities with those of the present.

The story itself sometimes moves rather slowly, and the focus is really more on the reactions to Klaatu's arrival than on the action itself. As Klaatu, Michael Rennie stays pretty low-key, as does the rest of the cast much of the time. Although there are times when the movie might lack some energy as a result, in general it probably works better that way than it would have if there were too much forced emphasis on the urgency of Klaatu's mission, which is more than able to speak for itself. The ideas behind the story are fairly simple, but they are, of course, just as significant now (or in practically any other era) as they were in the 1950's.


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