"The Twilight Zone" I Shot an Arrow into the Air (TV Episode 1960) Poster

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And It Fell, I Know Not Where
dougdoepke2 July 2006
A space probe is mysteriously lost on the tracking screen at command central, leaving the technicians at a loss for explanation. Meanwhile, the probe crashes on what appears to be a lifelessly barren asteroid. The crew must now face the challenge of surviving beyond rescue amidst a harsh and waterless environment.

More dramatic than most, the episode concentrates on the struggle between those who maintain discipline and work for group survival and the treacherous Dewey Martin who replaces group morality with his own brand of survival of the fittest. Death Valley locations are used to great advantage. We believe the crew is stranded on an alien landscape with no hope inside those deathly canyons and peaks. Also, mysterious figure drawn in the sand by dying man is excellent suspense-builder. Trouble is that Martin lacks the pivotal acting skills to bring off his sneaky role successfully. Still, it's a suspenseful half-hour whose story idea was apparently suggested to Serling at a cocktail party! Again shows the ability of an unheralded production crew to create convincing effects on a very tight budget.
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Over the Hill!
Hitchcoc30 September 2008
This is a Twilight Zone prototype. This is the story of a group of spacemen who crash on what they think is an asteroid. Since they are doomed, the Captain tries to keep military protocol. Nevertheless, Cory, one of the men, becomes a survivalist. He becomes selfish and begins to take over. He kills. He steals water. He whines. Rod Serling so frequently used the plot of the characters who have no idea where they are. It works toward an ironic twist, bringing out the best and the worst in everyone. Patience goes out the window over water. Remember the two men fighting at the conclusion of Von Stroheim's Greed. There is a bit of this because when our lives are on the line, we often try to hold on to every second we can. Cory can't see honor or morality or order. It's just to grasp for that one more drop of precious water. Not a bad episode.
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Despite a fundamental flaw in the logic, this is a cool episode
MartinHafer29 January 2008
This episode is about a space ship that goes off course and crashes on a desolate world. It's dry as a bone and hope for survival for the crew seems nil. As they try looking for water and food, order among the crew slowly dissolves--as the individual crew members become more concerned with self-preservation than the mission. Ultimately, as usual, there is a wonderful twist conclusion.

This is a very, very good episode provided you ignore one central problem with the plot--the whole idea of a ship being THAT lost and all seems very far-fetched and if you think too much, the twist ending seems silly. However, as a critique on human nature, it's great--with great insight into the baser instincts of people. Great? Nope, but well worth your time.
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'If ya stop, maybe sanity will get ya by the throat ?'
darrenpearce11129 January 2014
That's a line I really like from Rod Serling's narration during the action of this entry. I also think the title of this one is well chosen.

A space ship called Arrow-One goes off the radar after blasting off on course for an asteroid. Then scene then changes to the eventual fate of those on board. Only some of the astronauts survive a crash landing. They perceive they are in the Earth's solar system by recognizing the sun. Col.Donlin (Edward Binns) has the unenviable task of keeping his surviving men sane with the fear of limited water rations in a hot climate tormenting their minds.

Fairly interesting and worth seeing once. There's a very good moment to watch out for where a dying astronaut draws something in the sand.

As mentioned elsewhere in my reviews, there is often a clue to the story's outcome early on in episodes of the Zone. You will kick yourself this time if you don't find where Serling has left a clue!
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Watchable, But the Characters are Stupider than the Viewers
Eric M. Van16 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The premise here is that astronauts have crash-landed on an asteroid, one that happens to not only be in the same orbit as Earth (which they note explicitly), but which also happens to have an atmosphere identical to Earth's (which they mention in passing, without noting that this is physically impossible, as no asteroid has enough gravity to retain an atmosphere). Oh, and which also seems to have the same length day as Earth, meaning the asteroid is rotating at the same speed -- after first wondering whether the sun will in fact go down, they never mention this again.

No effort is made to portray the astronauts as being addle-brained as a result of crash trauma. So we have the classic flaw of the characters being in possession of the same facts as the audience, but not getting the "twist," which couldn't be more obvious. (This is true, alas, even if the episode takes place in an alternate reality where there *are* immense asteroids in the same orbit as Earth. The crew would know of those, and probably know their rotational speeds / day lengths, as well). If you work it backwards, there's absolutely no reason why the crew would have ever thought they *were* on an asteroid; there's no reason they would have ever given that answer after asking the obvious question "where are we?" It would have made as much sense to have them believe they'd crash-landed in Oz.

The human drama involves one astronaut who is immediately revealed to be a sociopath, concerned only for his own well-being at the expense of his crewmates. Again, it's hardly credible that someone like that would be among the crew of the first manned spacecraft. That drama would have been much more effective if he'd been initially portrayed as caring, and had devolved into selfishness from the stress of apparent imminent death. Had they been able to make that belief credible, that is.

A rare misfire from Serling, on every front that matters.
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I Shot an Arrow into the Air
Scarecrow-8819 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Compelling, if flawed, tale of desperation and survival as three astronauts attempt to figure out the new world their space shuttle crash-landed on leaving several members of the crew dead. They seem to have landed on some desert, noticing similarities to Earth, such as the sun up above them in the sky. While I enjoy the irony of the twist which comes right at the end, I agree with Twilight Zone expert, author of the Companion guide, Marc Scott Zicree, in that the astronauts should have known where they were(to say anymore would give the twist away). While I understand it from a dramatic standpoint (and this behavior feeds the power of the final image), I have mixed feelings about the character of Corey portrayed by Dewey Martin. Practically immediately from the get-go, Corey is a bastard, outraged that his other two ship-mates, Col. Bob Donlin (Edward Binns) and Pierson (Ted Otis) would give a dying member of the crew water. Corey is aggressively hostile, a nuisance when he should be focused and level-headed (he is a trained astronaut, rigorously put through a process of procedures which prepare you for crisis situations; yet he seems to be a problem from the onset with little contribution to the others except as a pain in the ass), and just generally cold-hearted. We never see Corey—until the very end when it is too late—humane or, the very least, concerned for his fellow men. All Corey can think about are the canteens of water. He'll kill if he has to for water. Pierson and Corey are sent by Donlin to look for food or water, any signs of life, and the former doesn't return. Donlin notices that Corey has more water in his canteen than before he left, and this prompts the colonel to lead a search for Pierson, leading to tragedy. Corey is the antagonist, the villain, and pretty much is an asshole because the episode wants to present the lengths for which one will stoop in order to stay alive, not knowing that Pierson has found a "key to their salvation". Again, I think logically the Corey character would be better equipped psychologically to handle the situation if it were a realistic one, because of the preparations astronauts go through just in case they encounter scenarios as brought to us through this episode, "I Shot an Arrow into the Air". But, the show needs someone who cares more about his own hide so we can see him face the music when Corey does discover that his actions will come back to haunt him; he acted out of fear when if he would have kept his composure and remained objective, perhaps matters wouldn't have escalated as they do. If anything, Corey will be punished for what he did, but there's that feeling of "if only he had listened and followed orders" that might have saved him from the eventual repercussions that will result.
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Where It Lands I Know Not Where
AaronCapenBanner25 October 2014
Dewey Martin, Edward Binns, and Ted Otis play three astronauts whose experimental spaceship Arrow One crash lands on an unknown landscape where they find themselves in an increasing desperate fight for survival, as both food and especially water start to run low, forcing one of the less-than-ethical astronauts to resort to subterfuge and murder in order to increase his chance for survival, but what none of them know is how tragically close to civilization they have been all along... Though hardly surprising, this is still a memorable and effective tale which has certain similarities to later film classic "Planet Of The Apes"
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A small step for man and for mankind?
Coventry11 June 2016
It's a funny coincidence – or perhaps, in the mind of Rod Serling, not at all – that this episode immediately follows the episode "Third from the Sun", because they have a somewhat similar and yet entirely different twist at the end. Both episodes handle about space travel (admittedly like many other ones in the franchise) and end with a revelation about a certain location/destination that is identical, and yet the context is completely different. Quite vague, I know, but I can't possibly elaborate further without giving away essential clues. Also, the outcome of both episodes can be predicted relatively easy in case you pay close attention and if have a little bit of experience in watching Sci-Fi/horror. But that certainly doesn't mean that the end twists aren't original or intelligent; - quite the contrary. In "I Shot an Arrow into the Air" the rocket and 7-headed crew of a space mission disappears from the radar almost immediately after take-off and vanish. The crew on the ground fears they drifted off and pray they are still alive but fear the worst. Then the action cuts to the mission's crew as they crashed on a planet with nothing but sandy hills and the burning heat of the sun surrounding them. Three members of crew died instantly and another one is practically dead as well, and thus tensions regarding leadership and the consumption of the remaining water supplies promptly come to the surface. Crew member Corey emerges as the obligatory egocentric and loathsome survivalist freak and unhesitating to kill the others for a few extra drops of water. The irony of the end twist, and particularly the emotional impact it has on the last remaining survivor, is a masterful little piece of TV suspense.
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"This is home now gentlemen".
classicsoncall10 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
For many of us Twilight Zone fans who grew up with the series, I'm sure this episode offers a similar experience when watched today. It starts out totally unfamiliar as the story begins, while our memories search for some buried clue that might remind us whether we might have seen it before. Then, right near the finale, a final hint is offered and we recall the twist ending that made it so memorable the first time we saw it. For me, that moment occurred when Pierson drew the phone poles in the sand. That's it - the space ship never left Earth! What a blast it was watching these programs the first time around as a youngster and being totally enthralled, surprised and scared as the individual story warranted.

Watching today, some of those episodes don't carry the same impact, but tracing those feelings back to an earlier time and place is where the joy is when viewing now. For the second time in a row, Rod Serling uses an outer space theme to entertain and thrill, following the previous week's offering, "Third From The Sun". Whereas the prior picture had it's protagonists seek refuge on a far flung planet called Earth, this one tells the story of a handful of astronauts who never left.

With the passing of time however, one's experience calls into question certain elements that don't make sense, and so that's the case here as well. Confronted with a harsh environment with unrelenting heat, wouldn't it have made sense for Donlin, Cory and Pierson to shed some clothes? I mean those guys were really sweating. And when Pierson breaks down to discover that he was only a few miles from civilization all along, why would he find a distance marker for Reno, along with a sign for Nelson's Motel in the middle of a rock strewn desert? Wouldn't they have gotten more attention on a road?

But I guess that's all part of the charm for what has turned out to be my favorite TV show of all time. I'm still waiting to come across an episode I haven't seen before and it's bound to happen at some point. At least until I get to the end of a story and suddenly realize that I know what's about to happen after all.
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Featuring the dumbest astronauts to ever man a spacecraft.
BA_Harrison18 June 2016
The Arrow One, the first manned craft into space, goes off course, crashing in a desolate landscape with only four of its eight-man crew left alive. With a limited supply of water, cowardly crew-man Corey (Dewey Martin) turns to murder to increase his chances of survival.

We are told early on by the ship's commander, Col. Bob Donlin (Edward Binns), that the Arrow One has crashed on an asteroid, a deliberate attempt by writer Rod Serling to mislead his audience. Anyone with an ounce of gumption will quickly figure out the truth—the breathable atmosphere, the Earth-like gravity and size of the sun giving away all one needs to know. To believe that highly-trained astronauts wouldn't figure out the reality of their situation is utterly ridiculous, and the final revelation is unlikely to surprise all but the most gullible of viewers.

Also, why did they take guns with them on the spacecraft? To shoot aliens? Sorry, Rod, but this one is a dud.
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There's nothing pretty about survival
Woodyanders25 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Three astronauts survive a rocket ship crash on a hostile unknown world. Morale amongst the men soon dissipates when their water supply begins to dwindle. Director Stuart Rosenberg relates the gripping premise at a snappy pace, builds plenty of tension, and makes excellent use of the dry'n'desolate desert location. Moreover, it's well acted by an able cast: The always dependable character actor Edward Binns does his usual sturdy job as the no-nonsense Colonel Bob Donlin while Dewey Martin cranks the obnoxiousness up to eleven as the ruthless and selfish Corey. Rod Serling's hard-hitting script starkly presents how a crisis situation concerning self-preservation brings out the absolute worst in certain people. The sharp black and white cinematography by George T. Clemens astutely captures the harsh unforgiving environment. The surprise ending packs a bitterly ironic punch. A worthy episode.
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Best one today
Eric Stevenson1 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I was impressed by how well this episode was acted. The best part is easily the very end. It's probably because of not knowing what will happen to the last guy. I thought that the episode might just end there and it would show the guy just being lost forever. I like how they bring up the fact that the asteroid they crash land on might have no night. I really wasn't expecting him to actually kill the other characters. I was in fact able to predict the ending but not until after awhile. I can't say it isn't original because it came before "The Planet Of The Apes".

I guess the real tragedy is that the last guy is just going to die before actually being able to reach civilization. He was probably just as lost as he was before. I think "Probe 7, Over And Out" did this sort of thing better. This is still a great episode, mostly because it really does build up tension. It doesn't just save the good parts for the end. I really was eager to find out what he meant by drawing those lines in the sand. Yep, they landed on Earth all along. ***1/2
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It Fell To Earth. Period.
Robert J. Maxwell5 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
An enjoyable dramatic episode with memorable shots of Death Valley.

A space ship disappears from Conrol's radar and crashes on what the three surviving crew members conclude is an asteroid. It's dry and hot, and the men argue over water. The CO, Edward Binns, tries to keep order but Dewey Martin is one of those rebarbative characters that these kinds of stories often include -- whining, arguing, negative, selfish. Finally, Martin kills the other two, only to discover that the craft crashed 37 miles outside of Reno Nevada and he didn't bring any nickels with him for the slot machines.

Again, I was impressed with the fact that, unlike another episode shot in that hostile environment, nobody spritzed the characters clothing and faces with oil to simulate perspiration. You sweat in Louisiana; you don't sweat in the desert.

The acting is nothing to write home about but it's a neatly structured story with a surprising twist at the end.
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