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Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

TV Program
3:37 | TV Program
When seeds drift to earth from space, mysterious pods begin to grow and invade a small town, replicating the residents one body at a time.

Director:

Philip Kaufman

Writers:

W.D. Richter (screenplay), Jack Finney (novel)
Reviews
Popularity
2,091 ( 47)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Sutherland ... Matthew Bennell
Brooke Adams ... Elizabeth Driscoll
Jeff Goldblum ... Jack Bellicec
Veronica Cartwright ... Nancy Bellicec
Leonard Nimoy ... Dr. David Kibner
Art Hindle ... Dr. Geoffrey Howell
Lelia Goldoni ... Katherine Hendley
Kevin McCarthy ... Running Man
Don Siegel ... Taxi Driver
Tom Luddy ... Ted Hendley
Stan Ritchie Stan Ritchie ... Stan
David Fisher David Fisher ... Mr. Gianni
Tom Dahlgren Tom Dahlgren ... Detective
Garry Goodrow Garry Goodrow ... Dr. Boccardo (as Gary Goodrow)
Jerry Walter Jerry Walter ... Restaurant Owner
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Storyline

The first remake of the paranoid infiltration classic moves the setting for the invasion from a small town to the city of San Fransisco and starts as Matthew Bennell notices that several of his friends are complaining that their close relatives are in some way different. When questioned later they themselves seem changed as they deny everything or make lame excuses. As the invaders increase in number they become more open and Bennell, who has by now witnessed an attempted "replacement" realises that he and his friends must escape or suffer the same fate. But who can he trust to help him and who has already been snatched? Written by Mark Thompson <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

On December 20th, try to stay awake See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

22 December 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Invasion of the Body Snatchers See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,298,129, 25 December 1978

Gross USA:

$24,946,533

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$24,946,533
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Solofilm See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo (Dolby Stereo)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Harry, the homeless banjo guy's banjo playing was performed by Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia. The song being played (and sung), is the traditional "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad," which is a regular tune played by The Dead in live performances, and appears on several live albums. See more »

Goofs

Just before rescuing the sleeping Elizabeth, Matthew is hiding in the slightly open bedroom closet. His face, not even quite outside of the closet, is clearly illuminated from directly below. Yet when he emerges into the room, the only light source anywhere around is a bedside lamp that couldn't possibly have cast light on his face in that manner. See more »

Quotes

Matthew Bennell: What is that suppose to be?
Chef: It is cervelles en matelote.
Matthew Bennell: In English, what would I be eating if I ate that?
Chef: Ah. Calves' brain in red wine.
Matthew Bennell: Red wine and what else?
Restaurant Owner: Mais, c'est impossible. It's impossible. It's a secret, Mr Bennell
Matthew Bennell: You don't have any secrets from the Department of Health, Henri.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the version that ABC-TV ran in 1980, Brooke Adams' nude scene, where she was walking through the greenhouse where the pods were being grown, was replaced with an alternate shot of her wearing the red dress. See more »

Connections

Referenced in U.F.O (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Amazing Grace
Traditional
Performed by The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (as the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards)
Courtesy of RCA Limited
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Close enough to get a cigar, but not as good as the original
9 February 2005 | by BrandtSponsellerSee all my reviews

Shortly after Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams) discovers a strange plant in her San Francisco-area yard that she cannot identify, her boyfriend begins acting strangely--he looks the same, but Elizabeth swears he's a different person. Before long, more and more people are claiming the same thing about their friends and relatives. Just what is going on? Although not quite as good as the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), this remake is very interesting and well worth a watch. Some things it does better than the original, although slightly more is not done as well. But it is full or intriguing ideas, some beautiful cinematography, and quite a few quirky charms.

One oddity about this film is that it seems to assume that very few people will watch who aren't already familiar with the original. Scripter W.D. Richter and director Philip Kaufman give away the "twist" immediately, and there are a number of statements from characters in this film (such as the first time we hear the advice to not fall asleep) that only make sense if one already knows from Don Siegel's original just why they shouldn't fall asleep. For this reason, I strongly recommend that anyone interested in this film who hasn't seen it yet should make sure they watch the original first.

The opening shots, which firmly set this remake into sci-fi territory, are a great idea, even if the execution is somewhat questionable. I'm not sure that Kaufman's "art gel" works, and the way it moves through space, as if blown by trade winds, is slightly hokey. But I'm willing to forgive a misstep if it's in service of a great idea, and especially if the misstep is the result of budgetary limitations.

Early in the film, the major asset is the cinematography. There is an excellent, slow tracking shot down a hallway, where we only see our main character by way of her feet and a slight reflection in a window. There are a lot of great "tilted" shots. There are a lot of subtle lighting effects to set mood, and a just as many subtle instances of symbolism for the horrors to come.

The cast, featuring Adams, Donald Sutherland, Jeff Goldblum, Leonard Nimoy and Veronica Cartwright, is an interesting combination of stars who tend to give idiosyncratic performances. Kaufman exploits the collection of personalities well, although occasionally gives us odd "everyone talk at once" scenes which can verge on the brink of annoying. Although I'm not usually the biggest fan of Goldblum (in some roles, such as The Fly, I like him, in some roles he tends to irritate me), I noted an odd similarity between him in this film and an actor and performance I'm much more fond of--David Duchovny and his X-Files character Fox Mulder.

Speaking of that, there is a strong X-Files vibe to this film overall. Whereas the original Invasion had thinly veiled subtexts of fear and doubts of "The Other"--whether politically-rooted (the common analysis is that the original Invasion was a subtext for U.S. fears of communism), religiously-rooted (some see it as a parable about cults, or religions in general) or simply about personal identity (in a philosophical sense of "Who am I/are you?" "What makes one oneself?"), Kaufman's take has stronger subtexts of encroaching mental illness--fear of losing one's mind and a generalized, "clinical" paranoia.

Given that difference, it's perhaps odd that there are so many similarities between the two films. The character structure and relationships are largely the same, with some mostly insignificant differences, including slightly different occupations. There are many scenes taken almost verbatim from the original film, often only with differences of setting, but staged the same, with similar scenarios and occasionally identical dialogue. There is even a wonderful moment where Kevin McCarthy, star of the original film, comes running down the street, screaming that we're all doomed.

A number of quirky moments push the value of Kaufman's film up a notch. These are sprinkled throughout the film, but some highlights are a Robert Duvall cameo as a priest inexplicably on a swingset next to toddlers, the "mud bath" parlor, a brief spurt of marvelous, Zappa-sounding avant-garde classical as we witness a chase down a staircase, and a greenhouse in a shipping yard, through which Elizabeth eventually strolls naked, casually walking by employees. The "creature" effects may be better here than in the original, but they are not more effective for that.

But overall, this is a great film. Just make sure you don't miss the superior original.


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