Directed by: Franklin J. Schaffner
Starring: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter
Planet of the Apes is one of the most well-known, classic science fiction films ever made. Seriously, it is. I know, it’s goofy as hell and there are literally people in monkey suits everywhere, but the fact that it uses those silly elements to its advantage and has become so ingrained in our popular culture is amazing.
Four astronauts set off from Earth to a distant planet in cryogenic stasis, but something goes wrong and they’re in stasis for much longer than they expected. Also, they crash land on a planet and one of them dies immediately. They eventually find some primitive humanoids… who are treated as animals by a more advanced race of ape-people! The one astronaut left alive (Heston) becomes the pet project of a pair of ape scientists until he speaks and is tried for blasphemy by an orangutan court. He escapes with a hot, mute lady and they discover that the apes probably evolved from a more advanced human species.
I don’t want to spoil the ending… hahaha, what am I saying, every person in the world knows Rod Serling’s twist ending to this film. IT WAS EARTH ALL ALONG! MY GOD, THEY FINALLY DID IT! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELLLLL!!! Apart from the ending and a million other lines and situations in the film that are so often parodied or alluded to that you’re all familiar with them, this movie is great for the costuming, set design, score, and yes, even the acting. Charlton Heston is a ham, but he’s a damn good ham, and Roddy McDowall is no slouch himself. It’s really too bad that this movie spawned a million awful sequels/remakes/TV show spinoffs/whatever else, because it almost makes you forget that this is a legitimately great movie.