When strange seeds drift to earth from space, mysterious pods begin to grow and invade San Francisco, California, where they replicate the residents into emotionless automatons one body at a time.

Director:

Philip Kaufman

Writers:

W.D. Richter (screenplay), Jack Finney (novel)
Reviews
Popularity
3,534 ( 675)
3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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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 ... 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:

Get some sleep See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kevin McCarthy: Man asking for help. McCarthy was the star of the 1956 adaptation. See more »

Goofs

During the "accident" scene a gray pickup truck appears under the "Ringside" sign where a white car earlier appeared. See more »

Quotes

Elizabeth Driscoll: [Matthew finds that she has fallen asleep and has become a pod] There's nothing to be afraid of. They were right. It's painless. It's good. Come. Sleep. Matthew.
[Matthew begins to back away]
Elizabeth Driscoll: Matthew. Matthew!
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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 Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.6 (2011) 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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User Reviews

 
An effective remake showing how horror should be done
26 February 2019 | by Condemned-SoulSee all my reviews

Good, contemporary horror films are scarce. Only a handful of exceptions avoid the bin containing wasted efforts; those horrors that are too often comprised of tired clichés and cheap, ineffective scare tactics, denying them any chance of lingering in the memory and opening the doorway for a slew of pointless sequels of varying crassness. It's easier to search for old classics from the 70s/80s for worthy genre entries. Ones that come to mind are The Thing, The Omen, The Wicker Man, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, plus others, for their ability to be equally shocking, subversive and entertaining. Perhaps a less viewed horror - yet with a well-known title - is 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' (1978 remake), a profoundly disturbing tale of alien possession that knows how to scare its audience without trying too hard.

The plot: spores from outer space begin duplicating the human race one by one, perfectly copying every detail except for being entirely devoid of emotion. It's a straightforward story that commences immediately with the main threat beginning its quiet invasion. It's up to a few survivors - led by Donald Sutherland's health inspector and his female colleague - to evade a chilling fate, while trying to figure out a way to stop something seemingly unconquerable. Who will survive? Will anyone survive? How can the remaining humans win? Questions like these haunt the runtime, and 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' is so effective because it feels strangely plausible. The narrative funnels you down an increasingly claustrophobic path with no outlet, no room to breathe, then snares you into an ending you won't soon forget. It's an inevitable conclusion, but it's a no less intimidating final image just because it had to happen; a chilling kicker that touches primal fears of isolation and the unknown. Co-starring Jeff Goldblum, Brooke Adams and Leonard Nimoy, everyone does a commendable job of conveying panic, distrust and anxiety.

Director Phillip Kaufman employs gritty camerawork that further manipulates viewers emotions: low angle shots, tremulous zooms, lingering wide shots... these techniques all contribute to the unfolding chaos - the unbeatable alien menace - and ramping up the dread that becomes overwhelming halfway through when survival is paramount but improbable. It's not your typical alien invasion, but the stealthy attack is all the creepier for it, as these plant lifeforms take over family and friends with reckless biological instinct. Seeing people as emotionless automatons is a flesh-crawling prospect, and the screams they illicit when discovering and chasing a survivor owes a lot to the eerie sound design which consistently complements each chilling image.

Overall, 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' succeeds on very simple ingredients. It digs under the skin, coils tighter and tighter as proceedings play out, and relies on paranoia to generate its terror without needing violence and gore. Combined with strong direction, impressive practical effects (for the time) and a nerve-wracking sound design, this is true horror in its simplest form; a terrific blend of sci-fi and horror planting its roots deep for an unsettling experience modern genre efforts should try emulating.

Score - 8.5/10


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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