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The Thing from Another World (1951)

Not Rated | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 7 April 1951 (USA)
4:54 | Clip
Scientists and American Air Force officials fend off a bloodthirsty alien organism while at a remote arctic outpost.


Christian Nyby, Howard Hawks (uncredited)


Charles Lederer (screenplay), John W. Campbell Jr. (based on the story "Who Goes There?" by)
4,833 ( 215)
1 win. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Margaret Sheridan ... Nikki Nicholson
Kenneth Tobey ... Capt. Patrick Hendry
Robert Cornthwaite ... Dr. Arthur Carrington
Douglas Spencer ... Ned Scott
James Young ... Lt. Eddie Dykes
Dewey Martin ... Crew Chief Bob
Robert Nichols Robert Nichols ... Lt. Ken Erickson / Lt. Ken (Mac) MacPherson
William Self William Self ... Cpl. Barnes
Eduard Franz ... Dr. Stern
Sally Creighton Sally Creighton ... Mrs. Chapman
James Arness ... 'The Thing'
Learn more

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Scientists at an Arctic research station discover a spacecraft buried in the ice. Upon closer examination, they discover the frozen pilot. All hell breaks loose when they take him back to their station and he is accidentally thawed out! Written by KC Hunt <khunt@eng.morgan.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Look Out...It's See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


An argument could be made that the source material for this film, "Who Goes There?", by American writer John W. Campbell, Jr., (under pen name Don A. Stuart), and first published in August 1938, was influenced by H.P Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness", published in early 1936. Both stories feature the discovery of ancient aliens during a scientific Antarctic expedition. Other similarities include thawed-out, shape-shifting creatures that drive the humans to madness, and sled dogs playing important plot points. But there are also many differences in style, pacing, and plotting, where Campbell seems to have taken the longer, more detailed and methodical Lovecraft story and reduced it to an action-thriller. There is also some controversy as to whether Campbell actually admitted to being influenced by Lovecraft. Whatever the case, it appears both could also have been influenced by "The Thing in Amundsen's Tent", by John Martin Leahy, first published in January of 1928, or even earlier works of Edgar Allen Poe and Edgar Rice Burroughs. See more »


At the alien craft crash site, standing around the airfoil/stabilizer, right after Barnes is told to "Bring some tools!", Dr. Carrington utters a line that was either cut or the audio recording skipped. See more »


Dr. Arthur Carrington: You're acting like frightened children.
Hendry: You're right, Doctor... I am frightened.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Only technical and production credits precede the film, no acting credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

The original 16mm U.S. television syndication prints were a slightly abridged 85 minute version. About 1980, when Turner acquired the RKO library, the syndication prints were replaced with the 79 minute re-release version. This shorter re-release version was also used for the initial video and laserdisc releases as well as the pay-tv and "colorized" versions. See more »


Featured in Atop the Fourth Wall: Starstream #1 (2012) See more »


The Dying Cowboy aka Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie
Portion whistled by William Self
See more »

User Reviews

a must-see for fans of sci-fi and horror
4 August 2005 | by StanleyStrangeloveSee all my reviews

The Thing, released in 1951, is the original hostile alien movie, a must-see for fans of sci-fi and horror.

Major director Howard Hawks (Sergeant York, The Big Sleep, Red River, Rio Bravo) produced it but some sources (Leonard Maltin) credit him as co-director. Christian Nyby, a film editor for Hawks, is officially credited as the director. Whoever directed it, The Thing is an impeccably crafted movie. It's considered as a Grade B movie, probably because of its subject matter, but it's one of the best Grade B's along with Them and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

A group of scientists at the North Pole discover something buried in the ice. Unknowingly they bring back part of it to the camp for study.

The acting is solid and the characters are given great dialog. Kenneth Tobey is the take charge Captain Patrick Hendry. Robert Cornthwaite is great as the slightly nutty Dr. Carrington. Douglas Spencer as Scotty is fun as the wisecracking reporter always looking for a photo. Margaret Sheridan is Nikki the shapely love interest. James Arness plays The Thing monster. With an ensemble cast of supporting actors. Be sure to rent the DVD version because it has a few scenes between Tobey and Sheridan that were always cut for TV and VHS probably because they were considered a little too racy for the time although now they are just cute.

The film has held up well for over fifty years. The film's contributors were seasoned professionals who had worked on major films. The screenplay by Charles Lederer (Mutiny on the Bounty, Ocean's Eleven, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, His Girl Friday) is full of crisp dialog. The black and white cinematography by Russell Harlan (Red River, Witness for the Prosecution, To Kill A Mockingbird, Run Silent Run Deep) makes everything look right. The prolific film composer Dmitri Tiompkin provides a very eerie, theremin-based score.

After 50 years this movie rightly earns the label of classic.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

7 April 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Thing See more »


Box Office


$1,600,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (re-issue) | (original US 16 mm television syndication prints)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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