Planet of the Apes (1968) Poster


J. Lee Thompson was going to direct the movie, and co-owned the rights with producer Arthur P. Jacobs. He had to back out, though, as he was directing Mackenna's Gold (1969). At some point, Blake Edwards was considered for the job. Jacobs hand-picked Franklin J. Schaffner to direct, particularly after the recommendation of Charlton Heston, who had worked with Schaffner on The War Lord (1965). Thompson finally entered the "Apes" series in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) and returned for Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973).
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During breaks in filming, actors made up as different ape species tended to hang out together, gorillas with gorillas, orangutans with orangutans, chimps with chimps. It wasn't required, it just naturally happened.
Roddy McDowall, an experienced actor, recommended to his companions in makeup that they should frequently add tics, blinks and assorted facial gestures to add a sense of realism and keep the makeup from appearing "mask-like". McDowall reportedly became a merry prankster with the makeup, driving home with his make-up on, and shocking some of the other drivers on the freeway.
All the ape actors and extras were required to wear their masks even during breaks and in between shots because it took so much time to make them up. Because of this, meals were liquified and drunk through straws.
Charlton Heston was sick during much of the film with the flu. Rather than wait for him to get better, the producers felt that his hoarse voice added something to the character of Taylor. According to Heston's diary, after filming the scene where Taylor and Nova are forcibly separated, he wrote that he was feeling like hell while shooting because of his illness, and felt even worse "every time that damn fire hose hit me".
There were three other endings suggested for the film's climax, but the one favored by Charlton Heston ultimately won out.
Turning down the part of Zira was one of Ingrid Bergman's greatest regrets. Much surprised at how well the finished film turned out, she later confided to her daughter Isabella Rossellini that in hindsight the film would have been an ideal opportunity for her to "disregard her regal bearing". She also regretted missing the opportunity of working with Charlton Heston.
The "See No Evil, Hear No Evil" gag was entirely ad libbed on the set of the day of shooting. It was kept in because people found it amusing when the film was threatening to get too serious.
Producer Arthur P. Jacobs enlisted several journalists to play background apes. This was a clever way of ensuring that they would write about the film.
At one of the first test screenings, a woman walked up to Charlton Heston and asked him how he was. Heston had no clue who she was until she revealed that she was Kim Hunter. He simply hadn't recognized her as he hadn't seen her outside of her ape make-up.
Kim Hunter reportedly found the facial ape prosthetics so claustrophobic that she took a Valium each morning while being made up as Zira.
In the original script, the female native humans were all bare breasted. This idea was quashed by Fox to appease censors.
Allegedly, Jerry Goldsmith wore a gorilla mask while writing and conducting the score to "better get in touch with the movie." He also used a ram's horn in the process. The result was the first completely atonal score in a Hollywood movie.
The movie's line "Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape." was voted as the #66 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
In reality, Pierre Boulle thought this novel was his worst.
In the scene at the Ape City natural history museum, a large claw of a strange animal can be seen prominently displayed several times on a pedestal at the top of the stairs. It is the plaster cast made of the foot of the monster that attacks the spaceship in Forbidden Planet (1956).
It was a tough shoot for all concerned in the Arizona heat--not just for the actors in the ape make-up but also for Charlton Heston, who spends most of the film half-naked, being brutalized by the elements and the simians. As Heston noted in his autobiography, "Even rubber rocks hurt", so they should.
John Chambers' outstanding make-up effects pioneered in the film were based on a technique he had used during World War II to give disfigured veterans a normal appearance. Chambers spent many hours watching the apes at Los Angeles Zoo, studying their facial expressions. Several other productions were delayed due to the fact that many of Hollywood's top make-up artists were working on this film. Leftover make-up supplies were later used on Michael Conrad, playing an ape-like alien, in Lost in Space: Fugitives in Space (1968). The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave Chambers an Honorary Award for make-up (which was not an Oscar category until 1981) for this achievement, the second time that a make-up artist received an Academy Award--William Tuttle was the first, for 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964). Chambers' award was presented by Walter Matthau and a chimpanzee in a tuxedo.
Linda Harrison, who plays Nova, was having an affair with producer Richard D. Zanuck at the time of production. In the year of the film's release, Zanuck divorced his first wife and married Harrison. The couple were married for nine years and had two children.
Linda Harrison (Nova) was pregnant with producer Richard D. Zanuck's child and was starting to show towards the end of the shoot, which required careful posing on her part to conceal it.
Charlton Heston (Taylor) and Linda Harrison (Nova) are the only actors to appear in both this film and the remake, Planet of the Apes (2001).
Some of the discordant musical sounds were created by using stainless steel kitchen mixing bowls.
One of the first films to have a major large scale merchandising tie-in. Merchandise related to the film included toys and collectibles, action figures, picture and story books, trading card sets, books, records, comics and a series of graphic novels from Marvel Comics.
There are no female gorillas or orangutans in the film.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks preventing 20th Century Fox from committing to the project was its fear over how the ape faces would appear on screen. Eventually they coughed up 5,000 dollars for a test scene to be shot with Charlton Heston playing alongside the made-up Edward G. Robinson as Dr. Zaius, and James Brolin as a character called Mr. Cornelius. The studio was very excited about the results of this test but still delayed green-lighting the film for a further six months. It was only after Fantastic Voyage (1966) became a hit and showed the viability of science-fiction as a genre that "Planet of the Apes" was given the go-ahead, but without Robinson, as he suffered from a weak heart and didn't think he could endure the day-to-day rigors of performing in the ape make-up.
The actors in ape costume had to eat their lunch in front of a mirror so as to monitor any changes to their make-up. They also had to use straws for their drinks. Naturally, in those days, a lot of the actors were smokers too so they were all issued with cigarette holders. Kim Hunter found the whole experience so laborious that she eventually gave up eating when in full make-up.
The apes don't make their first appearance until 30 minutes into the film.
Early scenes in the movie where the spaceship crash-lands in the lake were filmed at Lake Powell, which is formed by a dam on the Colorado River on the Utah-Arizona border.
During the hunt scene an unclothed Charlton Heston had to run through the poison oak undergrowth of Fox's Century Ranch.
The opening scene set on the space rocket was actually the very last scene to be filmed.
The apes' village is modeled on the work of legendary Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí and the Göreme Valley in Cappadocia, Turkey.
Director Franklin J. Schaffner deliberately used odd, skewed angles and hand-held cameras to create a disorientating effect, much like what Charlton Heston's character experiences in this brave new world.
When Franklin J. Schaffner came on board as director, one of his first acts was to re-imagine the apes' society. In the script he was given, the apes lived in a high-tech world. Schaffner wanted it to be more primitive (this also helped to significantly reduce costs).
The make-up team consisted of over 80 make-up artists.
The heat in the desert scenes at the opening of the film proved so intense that many of the cast and crew fainted, including director Franklin J. Schaffner.
Shortly after the astronauts have crash-landed, Taylor is asked where he thinks they are; having no idea, he sarcastically responds, "We're some 320 light years from Earth on an unnamed planet in orbit around a star in the constellation of Orion." In the original novel the story takes place on a planet in orbit around the star Betelgeuse, which is in the constellation of Orion.
When adjusted for inflation, the movie holds the world record for the highest make-up budget (then 345,542 dollars), which represented about seventeen percent of the total budget (two million dollars).
The spaceship the astronauts crashland in was re-used in The Illustrated Man (1969), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), and the short-lived TV series Planet of the Apes (1974).
Charlton Heston was first exposed to Planet of the Apes (1968) when producer Arthur P. Jacobs sent him a copy of the novel. Heston was not impressed with the book but nevertheless sensed that it had the potential for an interesting film.
Michael Wilson was brought in to do a rewrite of Rod Serling's screenplay. Wilson's contribution is most evident in the kangaroo courtroom scene, Wilson being an embittered target of the blacklisting Joseph McCarthy "witchhunts" of the 1950s.
Filming lasted May 22-early August 1967. Due to the stifling summer heat, all four sequels were wisely shot during the winter months.
The fourth astronaut, Stewart, was originally written as a man.
This film contains Charlton Heston's first nude scene.
Except for the beginning fade-in and ending fade-out and the lap dissolves in and out of the main credits, this film is edited entirely with cuts.
Both Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter spent a lot of time at zoos studying the apes, McDowell at the San Diego Zoo and Hunter at the Bronx Zoo.
Charlton Heston was always producer Arthur P. Jacobs' first choice for the part of Taylor. Marlon Brando was considered as a back-up possibility.
Two nine-foot statues of the Lawgiver were made. The original used in the first, second and fifth films ended up in Arthur P. Jacobs' back yard as the sole prop he kept from the movie. The other was given to Sammy Davis Jr. by Jacobs and was kept by him for many years. Jacobs kept the original Lawgiver statue in his backyard until his early and untimely death in 1973 at age 51. His widow, Natalie Trundy Jacobs, kept the statue in her backyard even as she moved residences. Several movie stars and celebrities can be found in photo archives standing next to the Lawgiver statue, including Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson, Kim Hunter, Andy Warhol and a pregnant Natalie Wood. In December of 1998, Natalie Trundy Jacobs sold the original Lawgiver statue through an online auction hosted by The Time Machine, a web-based memorabilia retailer dealing in photos and celebrity autographs. The winning bidder was an avid "Planet of the Apes" collector, Ed Gogin of Orange County, California, who outbid 20th Century-Fox, which wanted the Lawgiver statue for its archives and marketing purposes. In December of 2010 Gogin was featured in Hollywood Treasure: Joe's Judgment Day (2010) with his other "Apes" memorabilia. The copy of the Sammy Davis Lawgiver statue was sold at his IRS estate auction for the singer's unpaid back taxes to a Hollywood actor and friend of Roddy McDowall. This Lawgiver statue was featured in the 1998 AMC documentary, Behind the Planet of the Apes (1998), as part of AMC's 30 Year Anniversary campaign "Apes Go Classic".
The rifles used by the apes are remodeled American M1 semi-automatic carbines, primarily used during World War II.
Rod Serling admitted that he spent "well over a year and thirty or forty drafts" trying to translate the novel to the screen.
It is one of only two G-rated movies to feature nudity, the other being The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966).
Of the original five "Ape" films, this was the only one to show the Fox logo before the film, and the only one that doesn't feature Natalie Trundy (who plays three different parts in the other four).
Producer Arthur P. Jacobs bought the rights to Pierre Boulle's novel before it was even published.
Although Charlton Heston's character is listed in the credits as "George Taylor", the name "George" is never seen or heard in the film. He is referred to only as "Taylor".
Ingrid Bergman regretted turning down the part of Zira, as it would have given her the opportunity to act without relying on her beauty.
The spaceship is inscribed with the acronym ANSA rather than NASA. The meaning of this in-joke is uncertain. The ship itself has been named by fans as the U.S.S. Icarus, after Greek mythology's ill-fated flight pioneer.
Although it is widely believed that the budget for the ape make-up was one million dollars, associate producer Mort Abrahams later revealed in an interview that the make-up was "more like half a million . . . but a million dollars made better publicity". Abrahams was certainly qualified to know, since his function was more as the active line producer through Planet of the Apes (1968) and Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970).
The first director to spot the potential in Pierre Boulle's novel was Blake Edwards. He brought on board leading sci-fi writer Rod Serling, who produced nearly 40 drafts of the screenplay. While Serling was able to come to grips with the structure, he gave full credit to Michael G. Wilson for the final screenplay.
The exact location and state of decay of the Statue of Liberty changed over several storyboards. One version depicted the statue buried up to its nose in the middle of a jungle while another depicted the statue in pieces.
The producers considered Ursula Andress, Raquel Welch and Angelique Pettyjohn for the role of Nova. Andreas and Welch were uninterested. Pettyjohn auditioned and even tried on costumes, but the role ultimately went to Linda Harrison, who was producer Richard Zanuck's mistress at the time.
The water pool where the astronauts enjoy a swim was built on the Fox Ranch by producer Arthur P. Jacobs for his adaptation of Doctor Dolittle (1967).
It took three and a half years of rejections from studios to get the film greenlit. Even Charlton Heston had doubts that it would ever get made - "The novel was singularly uncinematic. All Arthur had was the rights to the novel and a portfolio of paintings depicting possible scenes. There wasn't even a treatment outlining an effective script". Nevertheless, Heston stuck with the project throughout development "trudging studio to studio with his paintings and being laughed at: 'No kidding, talking monkeys and rocketships? Getouttahere!'"
All five original "Planet of the Apes" movies were number one at the U.S. box-office when released. "Planet of the Apes" spent three weeks as the number one top grossing film: the week of Feb. 11, 1968 it made 3,683,823 dollars, the week of Feb. 18, 1968 it made 3,384,838 dollars, and the week of Feb. 25, 1968 it made 3,173,536 dollars.
In the Spanish-dubbed version, all characters retain their original names, except 'Cornelius' who is, inexplicably, rechristened 'Aurelio'.
Despite what The Simpsons: A Fish Called Selma (1996) suggests, nowhere in the film does Taylor actually say that he hates apes.
The famous quote "Human see, human do" is based on an old children song that goes, "When you clap, clap clap your hands,/The monkey claps, claps claps his hands. Monkey see, monkey do/Monkey do the same as you."
Charlton Heston' s famous last line was originally just " My God! ".
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Released the day before the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Roddy McDowall who plays one of the apes also appeared in The Twilight Zone: People Are Alike All Over (1960). that was written by Rod Serling in which he plays a astronaut who crashes on a planet and is taken in by some human-like aliens to what appears to be a resort but is really a zoo for humans.
During the crash sequence, two very recognizable sound effects are heard. The first is the rocket-like sound of the Batmobile from the Batman TV series starting up. The second is the roaring whine of the engines of the "Jupiter 2" from the TV series "Lost In Space".
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Rock Hudson was considered for the role of Cornelius. It was eventually decided that he was too big a star and that Charlton Heston might be overshadowed.
"Planet of the Apes" was one of several projects where Charlton Heston took a role originally offered to Burt Lancaster. Lancaster had been considered for Moses in Cecil B De Mille's " The Ten Commandments " and was the first actor to be offered the role of " Ben Hur ", which he famously rejected because of his atheistic beliefs. As early as 1961, he was announced as Michaelangelo in " The Agony and the Ecstasy ", ( it would be 4 years later before it would be made without him), and 6 months before " Khartoum " went into production, Lancaster was still being touted as playing General Gordon.
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The Icarus was launched from Cape Kennedy in Florida on January 15, 1972.
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According to associate producer Mort Abrahams, an additional uncredited writer (his only recollection was that the writer's last name was Kelly) polished the script, rewrote some of the dialogue and included some of the more heavy-handed tongue-in-cheek dialogue ("I never met an ape I didn't like") which wasn't in either Rod Serling or Michael Wilson's drafts.
The film takes place in March 2673 and from November 25, 3978 to 3979.
In 2017, a comic book series was created that joined the film to Green Lantern - "Planet Of The Apes Green Lantern" - that acts as an alternative sequel to the first film. However prior knowledge of the sequels is required to understand some of the components. (Such as knowing about the telepathic humans from the second film)
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Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
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Impressed with Jerry Goldsmith's musical score for The Sand Pebbles (1966), Richard D. Zanuck, then-head of production for Twentieth Century-Fox and the son of studio co-founder and president Darryl F. Zanuck, took a leap of faith when he recommended the young composer to producer Arthur P. Jacobs and director Franklin J. Schaffner to compose the music for Planet of the Apes (1968). Zanuck's gamble had been proven enormously successful, as Goldsmith received massive critical attention for his landmark, controversial soundtrack for Planet of the Apes and the acclaim he received for the film helped launched his film career in film and television scoring, which had spanned over four decades and resulted in worldwide acclaim from critics and audiences alike.
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Jonathan Harris turned down the role of Dr. Maximus.
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Paris sampled Cornelius saying, "Beware the beast man, for he is the Devil's pawn. He kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land.... Shun him...for he is the harbinger of death." for his 1990 song "The Devil Made Me Do It."
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Prior to coming across the original novel, Arthur P. Jacobs was eager to remake King Kong (1933).
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During filming, John Chambers, who designed prosthetic make-up in the film, held training sessions at 20th Century Fox, where he mentored other make-up artists of the film.
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Buck Kartalian came up with the idea for his character Julius to smoke cigars.
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Although he is second billed, Roddy McDowall (Cornelius) does not appear until 43 minutes into the film.
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The spacecraft onscreen is never actually named in the film. But for the 40th anniversary release of the Blu-ray edition of the film, in the short-film created for the release called A Public Service Announcement from ANSA, the ship is called "Liberty 1". The ship had originally been called "Immigrant One" in an early draft of the script, and then called "Air Force One" in a test set of Topps Collectible cards, and even dubbed "Icarus" by a fan which caught on on some fansites.
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Was originally considered to be a Twilight Zone spin-off movie.
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Three years earlier Heston starred with Maurice Evans in the excellent medieval film, "The War Lord", where he describes his trials in previous battles: "...sweating in that damned, dirty armor" with the same seething delivery that he does in this film.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Julie Harris was offered the role of Zira. While she liked the concept, she didn't think she could work with the makeup and turned it down.
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Blake Edwards was originally slated to direct the film, but dropped out prior to filming.
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George Taylor attended Jefferson Public School in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
They Might Be Giants' 1998 live album "Severe Tire Damage" features seven unlisted improvised songs about the "Planet of the Apes" movie series, "Planet of the Apes," "Return to the Planet of the Apes," "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes," "Escape from the Planet of the Apes," "Battle for the Planet of the Apes," "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" and "This Ape's For You."
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In 2001, Planet of the Apes (1968) was added to the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress.
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To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the movie, Boom! Studios and 20th Century Fox Consumer Products are resurrecting the unused Rod Serling Planet of the Apes screenplay into a special graphic novel titled "Planet of the Apes: Visionaries", using concept art and makeup tests as the basis. Written by The Simpson's scribe Dana Gould and artist Chad Lewis (Avengers: Origin), it features the main character of Thomas (Taylor in the film) discovering a modernized Earth metropolis inhabited by intelligent apes, not the primitive village portrayed in the 1968 movie.
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Landon was born in 1947.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Pierre Boulle's original novel also featured a twist ending, although slightly different from the film. The spacecraft crew does, in fact, land on another planet, some 350 light-years from Earth. The main character, Ulisse (Taylor in the film) escapes, from the ape authorities with Nova, and they return to Earth, only to find that it has undergone the same evolution (it is therefore not that great a departure for the film to have set the story on Earth the whole time). The novel adds a further twist, however: Ulisse/Taylor's story has been told in flashback, after he and Nova fled Earth as well and left a message in a bottle floating through space to warn off anyone else who might stumble across either planet. The bottle is discovered by an old married couple named Jinn and Phyllis, who are later revealed to be chimpanzees themselves. They dismiss the story, saying that no human could be intelligent enough to write it.
There was an attempt by censors to have the final scene edited for profanity but Charlton Heston was able to argue that his character was actually asking God to damn those responsible for the destruction of the world to hell, rather than simply using the Lord's name in vain.
In the novel, the ape society is technologically comparable to the 1950s or 1960s, with cities, automobiles, televisions, etc., technology left over from the planet's human population. However, the budget could not accommodate the setting, so a more primitive depiction of ape society was used.
The final scene with Taylor coming across the Statue of Liberty was suggested by Rod Serling. According to rumor, Pierre Boulle was greatly upset by this ending, but later warmed to it, preferring this new ending over the very different ending he had written. The skeletal remains of the torch appear as "set decoration" in the final episode of Lost in Space: Junkyard in Space (1968).
Given that Taylor and Nova travel for several days north up the coastline before discovering the remains of the Statue of Liberty, the story takes place in what was New Jersey.
The filming location of the classic final scene has been erroneously thought to be Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, but is in fact Malibu, California. For die-hard fans who want to visit the true location, it is a secluded cove on the far eastern end of Westward Beach, between Zuma Beach and Point Dume. Ignore the wide curving beach by the car park and clamber over the rocks to the east until you get to the quiet, often deserted, little beach surrounded by cliffs. (The Statue of Liberty was an optical effect skillfully achieved with a matte painting blended into a still existing rock structure.)
When Cornelius and Zira are showing Taylor the map of the Forbidden Zone, you can see that the coastlines on the map strongly resemble the current New York, New Jersey and Connecticut shorelines (once you take into consideration the 2000 years of a post-nuclear apocalyptic world's dramatic land mass shift). Although the Hudson and East rivers are gone, you can clearly identify on their map Long Island, Long Island Sound, Lower New York Bay, Staten Island and the Atlantic Ocean.
The astronauts return to Earth, i.e., the planet of the apes, on 11/25/3978, which is a Saturday.
A subplot for the final passages of the film about Nova being pregnant was shot but discarded.
The special effect shot of the half-buried Statue of Liberty was achieved by seamlessly blending a matte painting with existing cliffs. The shot looking down at Taylor was done from a 70-foot scaffold, angled over a 1/2-scale papier-mache model of the Statue.
Some viewers claim that the windows of the Icarus, when viewed from inside at the beginning, resemble the eyes of the Statue of Liberty. When the Icarus is half submerged and tilted upwards, its shape resembles one of the points of Liberty's crown.
Some movie posters for the movie featured a fallen Statue of Liberty - thus spoiling the ending - a design concept which has also been used for not just this film but for others. The titles are Escape from New York (1981), The Jupiter Menace (1982), and The Day After Tomorrow (2004).

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