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The War of the Worlds (1953)

Trailer
2:19 | Trailer
A small town in California is attacked by Martians, beginning a worldwide invasion.

Director:

Byron Haskin

Writers:

H.G. Wells (novel), Barré Lyndon (screenplay)
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 ... 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:

The original invasion! 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:

The War of the Worlds See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
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 Martian death ray sound was made by attaching a slightly off-center wooden disk to a power drill, running it at the fastest speed, and touching it to a wound string on an electric guitar, similar to the sound of a pick being scraped along the string - which later would become a popular trick with rock guitarists. See more »

Goofs

In the upstairs of the farmhouse, the way Forrester holds Sylvia's chin changes between shots. 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 Peter Pan (2003) 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

What more can be said?
2 October 2002 | by MChittum-CaliforniaSee all my reviews

I was 6 when I saw War of the Worlds, my first color sci-fi film, "live" in a theater. (We did not have TV then!). I've seen all the other classics like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", "Day the Earth Stood Still", "Them", "The Thing", etc. before and after WOTW, all good films but War of The Worlds was in a class all by itself. I know, the Brits lampoon the film all the time because it's not set in England/London, and not in the proper time period. I didn't know why it was updated and set in LA but..as a 6 year old I could have cared less...the movie was magical, frightening and memorable.

Over the years I've read the book and and seen dozens of films within this genre. Yes, FX are far better now but 50 years ago this film set the standard. I hope the rumored remake in 2004 can be as memorable. Gene Barry and Ann Robinson did a great job. (If they're up to it, it would be neat for them to have cameos) Has anyone compared the farmhouse scene to the similar scene in "Close Encounters". Both deliver the goods...they scare the heck out of you. The sound effects were so outstanding the producers of the new film should consider using them again! All true WOTW fans know that the sounds of the "cobra" and the weapons fire are sounds you never forget..like the antenna sounds of "Them".

Try to look past the re-locating and re-dating, kick back and enjoy a film that was king for 20-30 years, not topped until "2001", "Star Wars", "Close Encounters" and "Alien" came along.


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