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The War of the Worlds (1953)

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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:

Mighty panorama of Earth-shaking fury as an army from Mars invades! 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

Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies. See more »

Goofs

Modern viewers often complain that the wires used to suspend the Martian war machines are plainly visible throughout the film. The film was originally shot in three strip Technicolor, with prints made using a dye transfer process that resulted in very saturated colors, but with a slight reduction in overall resolution. This reduction in resolution "fuzzed out" the wires in original prints, making them effectively invisible. Later prints were made in Eastman Color, which uses a photographic process and yields sharper prints, but here had the side effect of making the support and electric wires plainly visible - the models had electrical wires as the side pods of the machines really lit up green and the "cobra heads" lit up as well. It is common practice in the film industry to take into account what details will be visible when a print is projected so as not to waste production time and money on details that will never actually be visible to a viewing audience, especially in the areas of effects and matte paintings. Thus, the filmmakers never thought the wires would be visible and in fact they weren't until the first Eastman Color prints of the film were struck in the late 1960s, and they have become even more visible on modern video releases as there is no dye sublimation resolution loss when making video masters from the original negatives. 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

Featured in E.T. and Friends: Magical Movie Visitors (1982) 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

A Classic!
23 November 2004 | by BaronBl00dSee all my reviews

Somewhere out in the American West, a huge meteor-like projectile crashes in the soil. Everyone initially believes it to be nothing more than a meteor, but soon all learn it is really an investigative ship from the planet Mars out to destroy anything and everything in its path. This film directed by Byron Haskin, based on a script by Barre Lyndon, and produced by George Pal is one of the quintessential science fiction films of the 50's, otherwise known as the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Based on the novel of the same name by H. G. Wells, this film keeps the spirit of the book intact while changing some things like the setting. The book takes place primarily in and around London. All of the talents in this film help make The War of the Worlds an innovative, intelligent, and evocative film that tries to get one thinking about alien invaders and their intentions. The earthlings in this film are the good ones...trying to be friendly, yet, treated as nothing more than impediments in the Martians' way. So many scenes in this film are strong: the army fighting the Martian space ship while a man of God tries to make peace with the strangers, the old farmhouse, and the ending as the aliens attack Los Angelos. Acting is strong too as leads Gene Barry - doing a very good job as a scientist who just happens to be nearby - and Ann Robinson convincingly portray what life might be like in a world with such horrific news. But despite a first-rate script, solid direction from Haskin, and good acting, The War of the Worlds owes its greatest debt to producer George Pal. Pal knew how to put films like this together and was a driving force in the film's innovative and unique special effects. Who could forget those bright green Martian ships or that figure of a Martian?


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