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Rated G
Copyright 1968 20th Century Fox
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 9 December 2000

The Characters:  

  • Taylor - Charlton Heston! Captain of the mission to explore and colonize another planet in the universe.
  • Nova - Mute woman that Taylor finds soon after arriving on this crazy planet.
  • Zira - Chimpanzee studying human behavior, she is amazed by Taylor and names him "Bright Eyes."
  • Cornelius - Roddy McDowall! Chimpanzee archeologist and Zira's fiancé who believes the planet was once inhabited by a more advanced civilization.
  • Dr. Zaius - Orangutan and one of the leading council members. Holds the official title of "Keeper of the Faith" and appears to believe that the only good human is a castrated and brain damaged one.
  • Landon and Dodge - Taylor's fellow astronauts who meet some grisly fates, the former has brain surgery performed upon him by orangutans (that just sounds painful) and the latter is stuffed and placed in a museum.
  • Stewart - Female astronaut, unfortunately she did not bring enough cold cream for two thousand years and ends up looking like that plum you found under the fridge. Ewwwwwww.
  • Lucius - Gorilla in charge of the Taylor's kennel.
  • Julius - Zira's nephew, pays a little too much attention to the horses at times, but otherwise a good kid.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

A planet where apes are masters over men? Few films that are so completely whacked can claim the popularity mainstream culture has bestowed upon this work. The story might not have underlying social messages quite so strong as the later films, but with the intelligent writing and great costumes its popularity was preordained.

Somehow NASA managed to convince four people to take part in an experimental mission, a journey across the stars with no hope of returning home. What manner of person would participate in this madness? Well, George Taylor for one. He is tired of the world as we know it and willing to begin again on a planet far away. To facilitate the first human colony the NASA folks were kind enough to include a single woman for the three male astronauts. What damn idiot packed one woman for three men? Please!

Unfortunately the lovely Miss Stewart (not Martha, egad) is turned into an extra from Dawn of the Dead and the ship crash lands in a lake. All three of the male astronauts survive, but now they are stranded on a barren planet with only the contents of their backpacks to sustain them. Backpacks that must have been designed by a devout sadist to add insult to injury, being nothing more than metal cases with straps attached. Excuse me, but is there a chiropractor on the planet?

The world our characters have landed on is not barren, in fact it is teeming with intelligent primates! Too bad for Taylor and company the apes consider the human race something akin to pests. You can't blame them though, the tribes of pesky people tend to raid the apes' farms. Only an aggressive hunting and netting campaign keep the number of humans from overwhelming everything.

I must point out that the apes do not believe in "catch and release" and instead subscribe to "catch and lobotomize." The logic behind this is pretty foggy, much like deciding to stick a fork in someone's brain because they are too stupid.

Injured by a bullet during his capture, Taylor is unable to speak and taken to the research lab of Dr. Zira. There he astounds them by appearing intelligent (vocally impaired or not, it wouldn't take me several weeks to convey the idea that I have a brain) and is passive enough, until he hears them discussing the next surgical procedure. Not happy with the idea of becoming an Alto he tries to escape, effectively throwing a human wrench into the works for a short period. It is only upon being recaptured that Taylor rasps out an evolutionary insult and surprises those assembled.

As events play out the audience comes to realize that Dr. Zaius knows more than he appears to, in fact the orangutan is absolutely terrified of Taylor and what he represents. Passed down on the sacred scrolls (written by the "Law Giver," a sort of ape Jesus) are sections that paint a bleak picture of the human race and for good reason. Only in the film's last few moments does Taylor realize the awful truth.

"Planet of the Apes" is a favorite of mine, mainly due to its premise, but the little quirks here and there endear it to me. Charlton Heston, patron saint of all gun owners, grabbing a rifle so that no ape can ever put a collar on him again is among these. Don't you worry Mr. Heston, the armed militia of proud Americans behind you will help keep the gorillas at bay.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Spaceships may be air tight, but they are not waterproof.
  • Dry ice is used as fuel for spacecraft.
  • Rocks hate Charlton Heston.
  • Watermelons grow on trees.
  • English is the natural language of any respectable species.
  • Men are more powerful than gorillas.
  • Being whipped is not so bad, but being pelted with fruit, now that sucks.
  • Women do not naturally know how to smile.
  • God is a primate. (Somebody tell the Creationists and Evolutionists, that should cause a riot.)
  • Intelligence is directly proportional to facial hair.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 7 mins - I guess the automatic barber kept their hair neatly trimmed.
  • 13 mins - Air leak? There wasn't some sort of fail safe that would wake up the occupant if that happened?
  • 17 mins - Is that a storm? Negative...
  • 27 mins - Sliding down a boulder on your bare butt, ouch!
  • 28 mins - Is this the "Planet of the Apes" or the "Planet of the Kleptomaniacs?"
  • 50 mins - They have invented rifles, but not paper airplanes?
  • 68 mins - If you thought our legal system was bad, just look at this.
  • 75 mins - See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil! Hehehehe!
  • 99 mins - Taylor has picked a terrible spot to take cover, if any of the gorillas move a couple of yards he is dead meat.


  • Zira: "Not only can this man speak, he can think, he can reason."
  • Zaius: "I see you've brought the female of your species, I didn't realize that man could be monogamous."
    Taylor: "On this planet it's easy."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note planetapes1.wav Landon: "Well where are we? Do you have any notion skipper?"
Taylor: "We're some three hundred and twenty light years from Earth, on an unnamed planet, in orbit around a star in the constellation of Orion. Is that close enough for you?"
Green Music Note planetapes2.wav Zira: "He keeps trying to form words!"
Julius: "You know what they say, human see human do."
Green Music Note planetapes3.wav Zaius: "Man has no understanding! He can be taught a few simple tricks, nothing more."
Green Music Note planetapes4.wav Taylor: "Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!"

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipplanetapes1.mpg - 2.5m
It's a mad house! A mad house! Hehehehe!

I honestly can offer no explanation why this scene cracks me up so much, other people often gape when the fun starts and I bust more guts than a hemorrhaging cow. Still, in what other movie can you see Charlton Heston being sprayed down with a fire hose by a talking gorilla?

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