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Village of the Damned (1960)

Not Rated | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 7 December 1960 (USA)
2:02 | Trailer
In the English village of Midwich, the blonde-haired, glowing-eyed children of uncertain paternity prove to have frightening powers.


Wolf Rilla


Stirling Silliphant (screenplay), Wolf Rilla (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
George Sanders ... Gordon Zellaby
Barbara Shelley ... Anthea Zellaby
Michael Gwynn ... Major Alan Bernard
Laurence Naismith ... Doctor Willers
John Phillips ... General Leighton
Richard Vernon ... Sir Edgar Hargraves
Jenny Laird ... Mrs. Harrington
Thomas Heathcote ... James Pawle
Martin Stephens ... David Zellaby
Richard Warner ... Harrington
Sarah Long Sarah Long ... Evelyn Harrington
Charlotte Mitchell Charlotte Mitchell ... Janet Pawle
Pamela Buck Pamela Buck ... Milly Hughes
Rosamund Greenwood Rosamund Greenwood ... Miss Ogle
Susan Richards ... Mrs. Plumpton


In the small English village of Midwich everybody and everything falls into a deep, mysterious sleep for several hours in the middle of the day. Some months later every woman capable of child-bearing is pregnant and the children that are born out of these pregnancies seem to grow very fast and they all have the same blond hair and strange, penetrating eyes that make people do things they don't want to do. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


STRANGE STORY OF THE WEIRD CHILD-DEMONS! (original print ad-all caps) See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

7 December 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Village of the Damned See more »


Box Office


$200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Originally begun in 1957 as an American picture, writer Stirling Silliphant said he wrote it with Ronald Colman in mind, but at the time producer Milo O. Frank Jr. was saying he wanted Glenn Ford to star. M-G-M had this scheduled US filming for Spring 1958 and Spring 1959 and postponed both times. Coleman was gravely ill and housebound, dying soon after the script was completed, in an odd twist, his replacement was George Sanders, who had recently married Benita Hume, Colman's widow. Glenn Ford was one of MGM's few contracted big-named stars at the time and was in high demand for other MGM projects. See more »


An abdominal X-ray is displayed which supposedly shows the fetus of a pregnant woman. Not only is there no fetus, the X-ray isn't even that of a woman, as the pelvis is obviously that of a man. See more »


[first lines]
Prof. Gordon Zellaby: [on telephone] Good morning. Uh, would you get me Major Bernard at his Whitehall number? Thank you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In order to get an 'A' certificate in the UK no optical effects shots were used in the UK print and original footage or alternative shots used instead. Both the UK and the 'standard' version of the film run to the same length. At the end of the film no glowing eyes are seen rising from the flames in the UK version which also has a "Made at M.G.M British Studios, Borehamwood, England" credit. Because this change was requested at the scripting stage there is no reason to believe that the two version of the film were not edited in tandem. It is incorrectly stated that the British print has the burning man sequence cut. This was a cut requested by the Production Code office in the US and is the same for both versions of the film, where the victim is never engulfed by the flames in close-up, which contradicts the long-shot seen in the sequence. See more »


Referenced in Spaced: Epiphanies (1999) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Classic British Sci-Fi about some Midwich women who are mysteriously pregnant by strange forces
4 February 2012 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Some women give birth various strange children with supernatural power and extraordinary intelligence . An suspenseful and interesting premise dealing about several strangely emotionless children all born at the same time in a small village in Midwich . The scene is a village called Midwich in which a rare event overcomes the idyllic location . At the same moment, every single person and animal in town has passed out just as suddenly ; some unknown force has put all the inhabitants of Midwich to sleep. Everybody falls into a deep, mysterious sleep for several hours in the middle of the day. When the army gets involved, they find this force has precise boundaries. A few hours later, this strange force disappears and everyone wakes up. The mystery remains unsolved for weeks, but it has a sequel. Later on , every woman (Barbara Shelley married to George Sanders) capable of child-bearing is pregnant . All Midwich women of childbearing age are unaccountably pregnant . Nine months later, the babies are born, and they all look normal, but it doesn't take the "parents" long to realise that the kids are not human or humane .And the glowing-eyed children (Martin Stephens , among others) they have will prove to be worse than what they could have feared. The children that are born out of these pregnancies seem to grow very fast and they all have the same blond hair and strange, penetrating eyes that make people do things , all of them have telephatic powers , the stare will paralyze the will of the villagers . They result to be mind-controlling demons or aliens . Meanwhile a government officer (good performance by George Sanders) along with the doctor (Laurence Naismith) attempt to stop their plans of conquest .

This classic Sci-Fi thriller contains chills , suspense , intrigue and creepy events about some precocious deadly children and their quest of power . MGM shelved the project, because it was deemed potentially inflammatory and controversial, specifically due to its sinister depiction of virgin birth . Eerie and strange plot very well developed by the screen-written Sterling Silliphant based on John Wyndham novel titled "The Midwich Cuckoos" that focuses a British village visited by some unknown life form which leaves the women of the village pregnant. Performance is frankly good as main cast as Barbara Shelley and Ronald Colman was originally supposed to star in this film but he passed away in 1958 and was replaced by an excellent George Sanders who married Colman's widow Benita Hume . Exceptional support cast formed by prestigious Brit actors as Michael G. Wynne , Laurence Naismith and very secondary Peter Vaughan as Policeman . Special mention to Martin Stephens as an unsettling little boy , his creepy effect of the glowing eyes was made by matting a negative image of their eyes over the pupils . Intriguing and atmospheric musical score by Ron Goodwin . Furthermore , it packs appropriate cinematography in black and white by Geoffrey Faithful who photographs splendidly the scenarios from the village . This suspenseful and thrilling film is well directed by Wolf Rilla . Rating : Very good , providing pleasant screams for the viewer . Essential and indispensable seeing for Barbara Shelley and George Sanders followers .

Other renditions based on John Wyndham novel titled ¨The Midwich cuckoos¨ and well adapted by Stirling Silliphant are the following : A nice sequel titled ¨Children of the damned (64)¨ by Anton Leader with Ian Hendry , Alan Badel and Barbara Ferris . It's subsequently made an acceptable remake (1995) titled ¨John Carpenter's Village of the damned¨ with the same premise still interesting enough to watch it and starred by Kirstie Alley , Christopher Reeve and Mark Hamill ; however, it suffers from unimaginative account because being a copy from original film with more violent and explicit scenes and fails to provide the intelligent atmosphere from previous story .

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