7.2/10
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240 user 105 critic

Them! (1954)

Not Rated | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 19 June 1954 (USA)
The earliest atomic tests in New Mexico cause common ants to mutate into giant man-eating monsters that threaten civilization.

Director:

Gordon Douglas

Writers:

Ted Sherdeman (screenplay), Russell S. Hughes (adaptation) (as Russell Hughes) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Whitmore ... Sgt. Ben Peterson
Edmund Gwenn ... Dr. Harold Medford
Joan Weldon ... Dr. Patricia Medford
James Arness ... Robert Graham
Onslow Stevens ... Brig. Gen. Robert O'Brien
Sean McClory ... Maj. Kibbee
Christian Drake ... Trooper Ed Blackburn (as Chris Drake)
Sandy Descher ... The Ellinson Girl
Mary Alan Hokanson Mary Alan Hokanson ... Mrs. Lodge (as Mary Ann Hokanson)
Don Shelton Don Shelton ... Trooper Capt. Fred Edwards
Fess Parker ... Alan Crotty
Olin Howland ... Jensen (as Olin Howlin)
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Storyline

In the New Mexico desert, Police Sgt. Ben Peterson and his partner find a child wandering in the desert and sooner they discover that giant ants are attacking the locals. FBI agent Robert Graham teams up with Ben and with the support of Dr. Harold Medford and his daughter Dr. Patricia 'Pat' Medford, they destroy the colony of ants in the middle of the desert. Dr. Harold Medford explains that the atomic testing in 1945 developed the dangerous mutant ants. But they also discover that two queen ants have flown away to Los Angeles and they are starting a huge colony in the underground of the city. When a mother reports that her two children are missing, the team and the army have a lead to follow. Will they arrive in time to save the children and destroy the colony? Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An Endless Terror! A Nameless Horror! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Warner Brothers initially passed on this picture and expressed little interest. However, when Paramount offered to pick it up, Warners dropped its objection, although it eventually eliminated the 3-D and color aspects. It's hard to understand the studio's lack of faith in the picture, since The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), Ray Harryhausen's first solo effort, had been one of the studio's biggest hits of the previous year. See more »

Goofs

When the FBI agent points out on the map where the first atomic bomb was tested, he indicates Southwest of Alamogordo near where White Sands Missile range is located. The Trinity Test Site is actually about 100 miles north of that region, far to the Northwest of Alamogordo. See more »

Quotes

Brig. Gen. Robert O'Brien: [making a public broadcast] A couple of months ago in the desert of New Mexico, gigantic ants were discovered. These ants are similar in appearance and characteristics to the household and garden pests you are familiar with, except that they are mutations ranging in size from nine to twelve feet in length. The New Mexico colony was destroyed, but two queen ants escaped. One has been accounted for and destroyed. The other has not yet been found but is now known to have established a nest ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Although the movie was shot in black and white, the film title at the opening credits appears blood red and blue! This was accomplished by Warner's Eastman Color process. See more »

Alternate Versions

A 2-3 minute segment following the projection sequence was excised from the film in the mid-50s following a lawsuit from a real-life scientist whose name was used in the story for a fictional explanation of atomic energy effects on ants. The scene was removed from the negative and has not been restored though it has turned up in some collector's prints. See more »

Connections

Featured in Dance 'Til Dawn (1988) See more »

User Reviews

 
B-Grade but a real "Lord of the Things"!
1 January 2005 | by pwoods1See all my reviews

As has been my habit of late, I'm catching-up on old movies I remember from my youth seen on the screen at the time of release or remembered from '60s-'80s replays on late-night television. Watching them on a widescreen TV in DVD format with surround sound and, of course, with the benefit of hindsight, it becomes a whole new experience.

THEM! is a wonderful Cold-War era movie which manages, without trying, to prove that modern SF blockbusters owe much to their (especially) '50s progenitors. Given the limited budget of B-Grade movies they manage to thrill across the generations - even while remakes and plagiaristic sequences abound and dazzle contemporary audiences.

The 'storm-drain' sequence in T2 is a prime example, as is the 'egg burning' scenario in ALIEN, complete with flamethrowers. You saw them first in THEM!, folks. The 'isolated and mysteriously-wrecked gas station/general store' is another stolen moment from THEM! and has appeared in many movies - even the X-FILES. Wearing the flame-retardant suits and the breathing-apparatuses to attack 'the nest' pops up in EVOLUTION. And so it goes.

There are some excellent actors in this film - most of whom are B-Grade stalwarts (James Whitmore and James Arness for example) - and they play it straight. No 'camping-it-up' for these heroes! I even spotted a young Leonard Nimoy as an Airforce sergeant. Fess Parker as the confused witness of the 'ant-shaped UFOs' offers both light-hearted humour and the prototype for the innocent caught in a cover-up: he's left in the mental hospital as a deranged psychotic as per the suggestion put to his doctor. How many times have we seen this since? Even the little girl, a traumatised survivor of the attack on her parents' trailer-home, has resonances in the character of a similar survivor in ALIENS.

OK, the irradiated monsters/ants are pretty hokey, but see my remark re small budgets. CGI didn't exist then.

I'd place this production alongside such classics as INVADERS FROM MARS and the British QUATERMASS (trilogy?) which also terrorised my generation. We were children in a time when the world seemed doomed to nuclear destruction and our homes ripe for invasion by THEM!, regardless of who (yes, I know, the Communists) or what (monsters created by our cavalier use of technology) would be invading. And, strangely, nothing has changed, except that postmodern children seem to have lost their innocence in a demonstrably violent and insane milieu. As I stated before, these movies, in hindsight have lost none of their power. The themes remain the same.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 June 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Them See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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