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Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

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A small-town doctor learns that the population of his community is being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates.

Director:

Don Siegel

Writers:

Daniel Mainwaring (screenplay), Jack Finney (Collier's magazine serial)
2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin McCarthy ... Dr. Miles J. Bennell
Dana Wynter ... Becky Driscoll
Larry Gates ... Dr. Dan 'Danny' Kauffman
King Donovan ... Jack Belicec
Carolyn Jones ... Theodora 'Teddy' Belicec
Jean Willes ... Nurse Sally Withers
Ralph Dumke Ralph Dumke ... Police Chief Nick Grivett
Virginia Christine ... Wilma Lentz
Tom Fadden ... Uncle Ira Lentz
Kenneth Patterson Kenneth Patterson ... Stanley Driscoll
Guy Way ... Officer Sam Janzek
Eileen Stevens Eileen Stevens ... Anne Grimaldi
Beatrice Maude Beatrice Maude ... Grandma Grimaldi
Jean Andren Jean Andren ... Eleda Lentz
Bobby Clark Bobby Clark ... Jimmy Grimaldi
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Storyline

Dr. Miles Bennell returns to his small town practice to find several of his patients suffering the paranoid delusion that their friends or relatives are impostors. He is initially skeptical, especially when the alleged doppelgangers are able to answer detailed questions about their victim's lives, but he is eventually persuaded that something odd has happened and determines to find out what is causing this phenomenon. Written by Mark Thompson <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"Something is happening! Send your men of science quick!" The panic stricken cry went over the phone to Washington D. C. until the lines went dead!...... See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 February 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Body Snatchers See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$417,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Walter Wanger Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Perspecta Sound encoding) (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Screenwriter Daniel Mainwaring had brushes with Hollywood "Red Scare" witch-hunts, which lends credence to the theory that the film is subtle statement against McCarthyism. Dana Wynter agreed with that sentiment, although she didn't recall the mention of any political statements on-set. Kevin McCarthy believed the film to be an attack on "Madison Avenue" attitudes. Director Don Siegel joked that the pods represented movie industry executives. See more »

Goofs

When Becky Driscoll parks the car in the used car lot, she hits the right side of the rear car bumper of the other car. You can hear the distinct sound of metal being crushed. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Miles J. Bennell: Drugs dull the mind - maybe that's the reason.
See more »

Crazy Credits

THE END comes up on the final shot of the film of Miles looking relieved that Dr Hill has believed his story, and is calling the FBI about the alien invasion of Santa Mira. See more »

Alternate Versions

Five cuts were made by the British censors on its initial release, mainly references to Burke and Hare, the original bodysnatchers. This cut print has been the only one available in the UK until 1998, when a complete widescreen version appeared on the budget video label 4-Front. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Children of the Fungus (2017) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of the scariest sci-fi films of the 1950s.
15 December 2003 | by Bruce_CookSee all my reviews

A chilling motion picture, well directed by Don Sigel, with a script co-written by Daniel Mainwaring and (uncredited) Sam Peckinpah, based on the novel "The Body Snatchers" (aka "Sleep No More") by Jack Finney.

The excellent musical score is by Carmen Dragon. Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter head the cast of this four-star classic in which the inhabitants of a small California town are being replaced by alien look-alikes. The aliens come to Earth in the form of "seed pods" that burst open and spew out a foam which grows into human duplicates, complete with all the memories of the original. The best scene in the film takes place in a greenhouse where several alien pods burst open and disgorge the half-formed copies of the horrified humans.

A prologue, a new ending, and a voice over-narration were added after the film's initial release, to help the audience follow the strange plot. In the added scenes, the story opens with Kevin McCarthy being brought into a hospital, raving about alien invaders. Two doctors (Whit Bissell and Richard Deacon) listen to McCarthy's strange story, which the audience sees as a flashback. At the end of he movie the doctors are understandably skeptical about McCarthy's weird yarn, but an unexpected event lends credence to his story.

Many film reviewers criticize these added scenes as unnecessary, an unwise attempt to conclude the story with a happier ending. But these scenes serve a valuable purpose, increasing the viewers sympathy for McCarthy and his efforts to convince someone that mankind is in danger. The alleged "happier ending" does not establish that mankind will win the battle against the aliens. It simply implies a Chapter Two in this epic struggle. Mankind will have a fighting chance in the war, but the outcome is definitely open to debate.


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