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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)
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Popularity
4,724 ( 107)
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

Travelling with mind-boggling speed, a gleaming unidentified flying object zooming in from the boundless deep space, penetrates the Earth's atmosphere, landing smoothly in Cold War-Washington, D.C. Encircled by large yet feeble military forces, the peaceful intergalactic ambassador, Klaatu, emerges from the mysterious vessel accompanied by the silently dangerous robot of incomprehensible power, Gort, only to witness firsthand the earthlings' hospitality. The sophisticated humanoid declares that he comes in peace; however, he needs to assemble the world's greatest minds to hear his merciful warning and a definitive ultimatum. Is Klaatu the messenger of humanity's doom? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The world faced with destruction by strange "men" and demonic machines from a distant planet! (Ad cut). 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 addition to WMALs' TV camera,, the man interviewing the crowd has WEAM on his microphone. Another popular DC radio station. See more »

Goofs

Though Klaatu is supposed to have shut down the electricity, in London a boat is seen going by. This same error occurs in the 2008 remake. But other notes mention that Diesel engines would not be affected by Klaatu's electricity-nullifying process. 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

Referenced in Public Domain Horror VHS Art (2012) 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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