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When Worlds Collide (1951)

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As a new star and planet hurtle toward a doomed Earth, a small group of survivalists frantically work to complete the rocket which will take them to their new home.

Director:

Rudolph Maté

Writers:

Sydney Boehm (screenplay), Edwin Balmer (novel) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Derr ... David Randall
Barbara Rush ... Joyce Hendron
Peter Hansen ... Dr. Tony Drake
John Hoyt ... Sydney Stanton
Larry Keating ... Dr. Cole Hendron
Rachel Ames ... Julie Cummings (as Judith Ames)
Stephen Chase ... Dr. George Frye
Frank Cady ... Harold Ferris
Hayden Rorke ... Dr. Emery Bronson
Sandro Giglio Sandro Giglio ... Dr. Ottinger
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Storyline

South African bush pilot and carefree ladies man Dave Randall finds he has been let in on the greatest and most terrible secret in the world when an eminent astronomer pays him to deliver some mysterious photos from to an equally prominent colleague in the U.S. The recipient, Dr. Hendron, confirms the awful findings of the sender: the star Bellus will collide with Earth, destroying our planet. Despite widespread disbelief, Marston and Spiro, a pair of millionaire philanthropists, give Dr. Hendron all their assets to begin construction on a huge rocket ship that will, at least theoretically, transport a nucleus of survivors to Zyra, a planet which orbiting Bellus that may or may not be habitable. The funds aren't enough to complete the spaceship, and Dr. Hendron solicits a contribution from elderly wheelchair-bound tycoon Sydney Stanton, a wheelchair-bound old man who, unlike the selfless Marston and Spiro, demands a place on the rocket, even though space and weight will be too ... Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

SEE the crash of the planets Earth and "Bellus"! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Portuguese | Spanish

Release Date:

15 November 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cuando los mundos chocan See more »

Filming Locations:

Calabasas, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$936,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin saw this film when he was 10-years-old. He has cited it as "the beginning of the emergence of philosophy in my life." In The Dialogue: An Interview with Screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin (2007), he explains that right after he and a boyhood saw the film, they spent four hours talking about "the end of days." Rubin mentions this memory while explaining that Steven Spielberg approached him to do the screenplay for a remake of "When Worlds Collide," and that this project eventually became Deep Impact (1998), with Rubin credited as one of its two writers. See more »

Goofs

The star Bellus is described in the film as a giant star, although by the size it is assigned, 12 times bigger than the Earth, it can hardly be considered such. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: [spoken over a shot of outer space] Needles in a heavenly haystack. There are more stars in the heavens than there are human beings on Earth. Through telescopes men of science constantly search the infinitesimal corners of our solar system seeking new discoveries, hoping to better understand the laws of the Universe. Observatories dedicated to the study of astronomy are set in high and remote places, but there is none more remote than Mt. Kenna Observatory in this part of South ...
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Sci-Fi Boys (2006) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
For Its Genre, This Is Surprising How Good It Is - Nice Effort!
2 January 2008 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

First, this is a nice-looking film with a good DVD transfer. Seeing an early '50s sci-fi film Technicolor is nice.

Also, having just watched - I'm not kidding - "Plan 9 From Outer Space" and "Invaders From Mars," this George Pal film looked like multi-million dollar Oscar winner in comparison. Except for the ending scene, the special-effects were passable, the acting was good and the dialog pretty realistic. The story plausible? Of course not, but what they did know of space travel in 1951? Hell, we didn't send a man on the moon until almost 20 years after this movie. No, this is not one of those popcorn flicks that "is so bad, it's good" or just plaint stink. No, this movie is just good......period....even today, almost 57 years later!.

This was a no-nonsense survival story without an overdone corny romance, no stupid or obnoxious kids nor goofy-looking adults. It had a solid reverence for God and to science at the same time, a realistic portrayal of people under stress and how they would react knowing their world was coming to end. For a mostly talky film, it moved fast with few, if any lulls.

John Hoyt, who plays the wheelchair-bound millionaire "Sydney Stanton," may not be a "name" actor but he's very good. Check his resume: it's awesome. The man was in about every good television show for decades. The man could act. So did the rest of this cast.

Overall, this "modern" Noah's Ark story was a good one, and far, far better than your normal sci-fi flicks from the time period. Well done!


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