6.7/10
5,910
93 user 60 critic

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)

Approved | | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi | 13 June 1953 (USA)
Trailer
2:34 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

A ferocious dinosaur awakened by an Arctic atomic test terrorizes the North Atlantic and, ultimately, New York City.

Director:

Eugène Lourié

Writers:

Lou Morheim (screenplay), Fred Freiberger (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A giant, radioactive octopus rises from the Philippine Trench to terrorize the North American Pacific Coast.

Director: Robert Gordon
Stars: Kenneth Tobey, Faith Domergue, Donald Curtis
Fantasy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The first U.S. spaceship to Venus crash-lands off the coast of Sicily on its return trip. A dangerous, lizard-like creature comes with it and quickly grows gigantic.

Director: Nathan Juran
Stars: William Hopper, Joan Taylor, Thomas Browne Henry
Action | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Extraterrestrials traveling in high-tech flying saucers contact a scientist as part of a plan to enslave the inhabitants of Earth.

Director: Fred F. Sears
Stars: Hugh Marlowe, Joan Taylor, Donald Curtis
Them! (1954)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The earliest atomic tests in New Mexico cause common ants to mutate into giant man-eating monsters that threaten civilization.

Director: Gordon Douglas
Stars: James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Marine atomic tests cause changes in the ocean's ecosystem resulting in dangerous blobs of radiation and the resurrection of a dormant dinosaur that threatens London.

Directors: Douglas Hickox, Eugène Lourié
Stars: Gene Evans, André Morell, John Turner
Adventure | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Cowboy James Franciscus seeks fame and fortune by capturing an Allosaurus living in the Forbidden Valley and putting it in a Mexican circus. His victim, called the Gwangi, turns out to have... See full summary »

Director: Jim O'Connolly
Stars: James Franciscus, Gila Golan, Richard Carlson
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A spaceship from another world crashes in the Arizona desert and only an amateur stargazer and a schoolteacher suspect alien influence when the local townsfolk begin to act strangely.

Director: Jack Arnold
Stars: Richard Carlson, Barbara Rush, Charles Drake
Tarantula (1955)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A spider escapes from an isolated desert laboratory experimenting in giantism and grows to tremendous size as it wreaks havoc on the local inhabitants.

Director: Jack Arnold
Stars: John Agar, Mara Corday, Leo G. Carroll
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Scientists and American Air Force officials fend off a bloodthirsty alien organism while at a remote arctic outpost.

Directors: Christian Nyby, Howard Hawks
Stars: Kenneth Tobey, Margaret Sheridan, James Arness
Certificate: Passed Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Aliens come to Earth seeking scientists to help them in their war.

Director: Joseph M. Newman
Stars: Jeff Morrow, Faith Domergue, Rex Reason
Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A small town in California is attacked by Martians, beginning a worldwide invasion.

Director: Byron Haskin
Stars: Gene Barry, Ann Robinson, Les Tremayne
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A strange prehistoric beast lurks in the depths of the Amazonian jungle. A group of scientists try to capture the animal and bring it back to civilization for study.

Director: Jack Arnold
Stars: Richard Carlson, Julie Adams, Richard Denning
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Paul Hubschmid ... Prof. Tom Nesbitt (as Paul Christian)
Paula Raymond ... Lee Hunter
Cecil Kellaway ... Prof. Thurgood Elson
Kenneth Tobey ... Col. Jack Evans
Donald Woods ... Capt. Phil Jackson
Lee Van Cleef ... Corp. Stone
Steve Brodie ... Sgt. Loomis
Ross Elliott ... George Ritchie
Jack Pennick Jack Pennick ... Jacob Bowman
Ray Hyke Ray Hyke ... Sgt. Willistead
Paula Hill Paula Hill ... Miss Ryan (as Mary Hill)
Michael Fox ... ER Doctor
Alvin Greenman ... First Radar Man
Frank Ferguson ... Dr. Morton
King Donovan ... Dr. Ingersoll
Edit

Storyline

As a result of an arctic nuclear test, a carnivorous dinosaur thaws out and starts making its way down the east coast of North America. Professor Tom Nesbitt, only witness to the beast's existence, is not believed, even when he identifies it as a "rhedosaurus" to paleontologist Thurgood Elson. All doubts disappear, however, when Elson is swallowed whole during an oceanic bathysphere excursion to search for the creature. Soon thereafter the rhedosaurus emerges from the sea and lays waste to Manhattan Island until Nesbitt comes up with a plan to try to stop the seemingly indestructible beast. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's alive ! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

13 June 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Monster from Beneath the Sea See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$210,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$5,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Jack Dietz Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

(at around 38 mins) Prof. Elson (Cecil Kellaway) reads an article about a 1797 professor who was fired for claiming that he had seen leprechauns remove a tree. He continues "Today it's monsters instead of leprechauns". Tom Nesbitt (Paul Christian) then enters and asks "How certain are you there were no leprechauns?" Cecil Kellaway played a leprechaun in the 1948 film "The Luck of the Irish". See more »

Goofs

Just after the beast enters New York City, a policeman approaches him on foot firing a pistol at the monster. The beast then picks up the policeman and proceeds to eat him. Several scenes later, a group of four policemen is shown approaching the beast with rifles. The officer who had just moments before served as "lunch" for the beast is clearly one of the four officers. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Opening Narrator: This is Operation Experiment, a secret base far north of the Arctic Circle. Experiment was the codename for a top priority scientific expedition. These men arrived here on X-day minus 60. It has taken them the full two months to get ready. Today is X-day.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original 1953 version cuts the shot where the cop is swallowed whole. This shot is restored in the video version of the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Zodiac (2007) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Attack of the Rhedosaurus
31 July 2004 | by clydestuffSee all my reviews

If one is in need of a good laugh, there is no better place to start than by watching many of the creature features churned out in the fifties and sixties. Why else do we sit down to watch such perfectly awful schlock like The Giant Gila Monster or The Giant Claw? It is the total ineptitude of the film making process involved in putting those films onto celluloid that makes them endearing to us in their own special way. There were however, a few films of the era that somehow managed to rise above total mediocrity enough so that we can watch them simply because they are decent well made films. This is not to say they are any kind of spectacular cinematic achievement, but in comparison to the usual dreck of that era, they shine like the North Star.

The Beast from 20, 000 Fathoms is a giant dinosaur that has spent the last few million years as a perpetual frozen Popsicle. When some scientists start monkeying around with nuclear testing as they often did in these types of film, the beast does a quick thaw, and wakes up mighty darn hungry. When scientist Tom Nesbitt (Paul Christian) witnesses the creature, and his companion becomes dinosaur fodder, nobody believes him of course, attributing it to delusional traumatic distress, known more commonly in the fifties as hallucinations. Just as Tom is also about to chalk the whole thing up to delirium, he reads about a boat being attacked by a giant sea serpent. It is then that he enlists the aid of Paleontologist Professor Thurgood Elson (Cecil Kellaway), and his assistant Lee (Paula Raymond). The old professor says no dice, it just ain't happening. Lee, however, seems to be hot for Tom's heavy Swiss accent and has him look through some dinosaur mug shots to see if he can identify the beast. After a quick scene in which they let us know that if this film were being made in 2004, Tom and Lee would be looking at the pictures in the bedroom instead of just making eye contact, Tom identifies the beast as a Rhedosaurus. Lest you decide to go looking up what a Rhedosaurus is in the Dinosaur Almanac, I'll save you the trouble by telling you it's a complete figment of the imagination of the writers and animator Ray Harryhausen. From here the chase is on, and eventually the Rhedosaurus decides to homestead in New York City.

There are several reasons why Beast stands out as a cut above normal. Though the script contains the usual inane dialog one expects, the fact that Tom and Lee come up with a decent intelligent plan to prove its existence helps a great deal. There is also the fact that they actually give us a reason as to why the Rhedosaurus is moving down the Atlantic coast instead of making it all seem like random attacks. Foremost, and most importantly, the film works because of the animation of Harryhausen. Forced by a low budget to do all the work on animating the Rhedosaurus by himself, Harryhausen does a terrific job at bringing the beast to life, despite the fact that at times its size changes to fit the scene it happens to be in. After this film, Harryhausen did all of his animations working alone until Clash of the Titans where for the first time he required the help of assistants. It makes one almost regret the use of CGI in films today, as the animations by Harryhausen always had a certain kind of charm to them. Despite continually being saddled with low budgets (the entire budget for Beast was $200,000), Harryhausen could always be counted on to bring a certain amount of class to many of these films that would have otherwise ended up as just another vehicle for Mystery Science Theater. It should also be mentioned that Director Lourie who spent most of his career as an art director and production designer, does a terrific job in the Arctic Scenes, and especially in the New York scenes as soldiers following a trail of Rhedosaurus blood are overcome by radiation sickness.

There are of course the usual bits of silliness that seem to go with the territory. Professor Elson gives a running commentary as he discovers the Rhedosaurus while in a diving bell though he is quite oblivious to the fact that the creature has decided to make him today's appetizer. Likewise a New York policeman uselessly empties sidearm before experiencing his own private version of an esophagus water slide.

As for the acting, it's nothing terribly outstanding but still much better than what you usually get. Cecil Kellaway was always good in roles such as these and his presence alone will lift any film a notch or two. Some may complain about the woodenness of Christian and his Swiss accent, but I found his acting to be quite adequate and was actually glad of the accent as it seemed to add a little more to the character. As for Raymond, she's fine too but could have used a little help in the wardrobe department as one particular dress she wears is too hideous for any film of any decade. Other than that though, she's quite good.

Best of all, Beast is available on DVD and if you are inclined to revisit these old films this is one definitely worth a purchase. And believe it or not, the DVD also has a few extras on it, including previews of other Harryhausen films, an interview with Harryhausen, and a section where Harryhausen and Ray Bradbury reminisce about the good old days. While it may not seem like much, it is infinitely more than you usually get for these kinds of films.

Beast will never win any kind of the accolades reserved for films of obviously better quality, but for me it's just good enough that one can watch and enjoy simply because it is a step or two up from what you might expect. And if you're a step or two up I have no choice but to give you my grade which for Beast from 20,000 fathoms is a B.


33 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 93 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed