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The War of the Worlds (1953)

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

Director:

Byron Haskin

Writers:

H.G. Wells (novel), Barré Lyndon (screenplay)
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Popularity
614 ( 4,545)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gene Barry ... Dr. Clayton Forrester
Ann Robinson ... Sylvia Van Buren
Les Tremayne ... Maj. Gen. Mann
Robert Cornthwaite ... Dr. Pryor (as Bob Cornthwaite)
Sandro Giglio Sandro Giglio ... Dr. Bilderbeck
Lewis Martin Lewis Martin ... Pastor Dr. Matthew Collins
Houseley Stevenson Jr. Houseley Stevenson Jr. ... Gen. Mann's Aide (as Housely Stevenson Jr.)
Paul Frees ... Second Radio Reporter / Opening Announcer
William Phipps ... Wash Perry (as Bill Phipps)
Vernon Rich Vernon Rich ... Col. Ralph Heffner
Henry Brandon ... Cop at Crash Site
Jack Kruschen ... Salvatore
Cedric Hardwicke ... Commentary (voice) (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
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Storyline

H.G. Wells' classic novel is brought to life in this tale of alien invasion. The residents of a small town in California are excited when a flaming meteor lands in the hills. Their joy is tempered somewhat when they discover that it has passengers who are not very friendly. Written by KC Hunt <khunt@eng.morgan.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A mighty panorama of earth-shaking fury! See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

26 August 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kampf der Welten See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,360,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

3 Channel Stereo (Western Electric Recording) (5.0) (L-R)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)| Black and White (newsreel archive footage before opening credits)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The special edition release of the movie on DVD contains as a bonus feature, the original radio broadcast of Orson Welles' radio broadcast of War of the Worlds. See more »

Goofs

When the scientists are about to project an image using the Martian lens, there are two separate shadows from the boom and mike. As soon as the projector screen is pulled down there is a shadow from the boom that goes across the entire screen. At that same moment, the shadow from the mike can be seen on the wall to the left of the projector screen. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Radio Reporter: [voiceover] In the First World War, and for the first time in the history of man, nations combined to fight against nations using the crude weapons of those days. The Second World War involved every continent on the globe, and men turned to science for new devices of warfare, which reached an unparalleled peak in their capacity for destruction. And now, fought with the terrible weapons of super-science, menacing all mankind and every creature on the Earth comes the War of the Worlds.
See more »

Alternate Versions

As of 2018, a 4K ultra high resolution edition has been made available on streaming services such as iTunes. This version features new replacements for many of the film's original sound effects, with the jarring result that the sound effects have fidelity far above that of surrounding dialogue in the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Complete Citizen Kane (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Paramount on Parade
(uncredited)
Written by Elsie Janis and Jack King
Played over the opening logo
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
An Effective Sci-Fi Thriller
13 July 2003 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

To be an effective thriller, a sci-fi film absolutely must impart to the viewer a sense of --- coldness, either the physical coldness of outer space or other worlds, or the emotional coldness of science.

Cedric Hardwicke's opening narrative in "The War Of The Worlds" is brutally cold, and the added images uninviting. The martian machines, vaguely resembling "legless swans", are both beautiful and terrifying. They move slowly, in a graceful but calculating manner. They warn of their approach with an eerie, unearthly "pinging" sound.

In the scene where the priest walks toward one of the "swans", the aliens do not impulsively open fire. Instead, they wait. The cruel "eye" peers down on the priest, studying him, in a foreboding prelude to his inevitable annihilation.

Other scenes in the first half also convey this needed sense of alien coldness. We can, therefore, forgive the film for its somewhat corny plot.

The film's second half is weaker because the aliens have to compete for screen time with Los Angeles mob scenes, a showy and irksome display of American military hardware, and dry narration of military war tactics. But even in this second half, suspense filters through, as we watch the heartless "swans" eject their heat rays on a helpless Los Angeles.

For sci-fi films made before "2001: A Space Odyssey", "The War Of The Worlds" is one of my three favorites, along with "Robinson Crusoe On Mars" and "Forbidden Planet".


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