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The War of the Worlds (1953)

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A small town in California is attacked by Martians, beginning a worldwide invasion.

Director:

Byron Haskin

Writers:

H.G. Wells (novel), Barré Lyndon (screenplay)
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Popularity
3,485 ( 2,871)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gene Barry ... Dr. Clayton Forrester
Ann Robinson ... Sylvia Van Buren
Les Tremayne ... Maj. Gen. Mann
Robert Cornthwaite ... Dr. Pryor (as Bob Cornthwaite)
Sandro Giglio Sandro Giglio ... Dr. Bilderbeck
Lewis Martin Lewis Martin ... Pastor Dr. Matthew Collins
Houseley Stevenson Jr. Houseley Stevenson Jr. ... Gen. Mann's Aide (as Housely Stevenson Jr.)
Paul Frees ... Second Radio Reporter / Opening Announcer
William Phipps ... Wash Perry (as Bill Phipps)
Vernon Rich Vernon Rich ... Col. Ralph Heffner
Henry Brandon ... Cop at Crash Site
Jack Kruschen ... Salvatore
Cedric Hardwicke ... Commentary (voice) (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
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Storyline

H.G. Wells' classic novel is brought to life in this tale of alien invasion. The residents of a small town in California are excited when a flaming meteor lands in the hills. Their joy is tempered somewhat when they discover that it has passengers who are not very friendly. Written by KC Hunt <khunt@eng.morgan.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A mighty panorama of earth-shaking fury! See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

26 August 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kampf der Welten See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,360,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

3 Channel Stereo (Western Electric Recording) (5.0) (L-R)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)| Black and White (newsreel archive footage before opening credits)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The key to the success of this film is Pal's decision to use life-size models for some items (including the alien puppet) rather than miniatures or Harryhausen-style stop motion figurines. With the large size models he was able to get incredibly realistic, life-like movement that couldn't be achieved any other way, and up until this point, never had. This presented quite a bit of a challenge in getting the double exposure of the acetylene torches that he used as the cobra-head's ray to match the head's movement. Look carefully in scenes where the machines are shooting and moving at the same time. You will see one of the the cobra head pointed down while the ray is shooting straight ahead; in another shot, the ray shoots to the (screen's) right, but by the time the ray stops, the cobra head is already turned forward and dropped. In one shot the ray seems like it's coming not from the center of the red lens, but off to the side, possibly even from the edge of the head structure and not the lens. Despite these slight imperfections, this was considered a great achievement for SciFi in the 50s. See more »

Goofs

When being interviewed by a radio newsman, Gene Barry (Dr. Forrester) pronounces "gyroscopic" with a hard "g" which no scientist of note would have done. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Radio Reporter: [voiceover] In the First World War, and for the first time in the history of man, nations combined to fight against nations using the crude weapons of those days. The Second World War involved every continent on the globe, and men turned to science for new devices of warfare, which reached an unparalleled peak in their capacity for destruction. And now, fought with the terrible weapons of super-science, menacing all mankind and every creature on the Earth comes the War of the Worlds.
See more »

Alternate Versions

As of 2018, a 4K ultra high resolution edition has been made available on streaming services such as iTunes. This version features new replacements for many of the film's original sound effects, with the jarring result that the sound effects have fidelity far above that of surrounding dialogue in the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dixon Maison: Mystery at Hillyard Manor (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Flop-Eared Mule (Without Calls)
(uncredited)
Written by Zip Wilson
Performed by Zip Wilson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

the little men in lime green machines
15 April 2004 | by didi-5See all my reviews

HG Wells' futuristic novel responds well to the Technicolor splashed on it in this 50s B classic. Gene Barry over emotes in the lead now and then but the martian invasion is handled very well and the tension rises to the final scenes where the surviving populace huddle in the church as the buildings crash and burn around them.

'War of the Worlds' deserves its place as both a highly regarded novel and a well-remembered movie. Byron Haskin and George Pal did a great job in visualising the apocalyptic bits of Wells' text, while still making the end result enjoyable and interesting for the viewer.

Recommended for fans of intellectualised science fiction.


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