Planet of the Apes (1968)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 52 mins

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This path-breaking futuristic science fiction movie explores the fantastic tale of an astronaut crew who crash-land on a strange planet in the distant future. Although the planet appears desolate at first, the surviving crew members stumble upon a society in which apes have evolved into creatures with human-like intelligence and speech. The apes have assumed the role of the dominant species and humans are mute creatures wearing animal skins. How will the members of the crew escape to safety? Will they ever manage to find a way back to Earth?
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Charlton Heston

Crew: Franklin J Schaffner (Director), Leon Shamroy (Director of Photography), Jerry Goldsmith (Music Director)

Genres: Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Release Dates: 03 Apr 1968 (India)

Tagline: Somewhere in the universe there must be something better than man. In a matter of time, an astronaut will wing through the centuries and find the answer. He may find the most terrifying one of all on the planet where apes are the rulers and man the beast.

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Did you know? The spaceship is inscribed with the acronym ANSA rather than NASA. The meaning of this in-joke is uncertain. The ship itself has been named by fans as the USS Icarus, after Greek mythology's ill-fated flight pioneer. Read More
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as George Taylor
Supporting Actor
as Honorious
as President of the Assembly
as Dodge
as Zira
as Nova
as Lucius
as Dr Zaius
as Hunt Leader
as Minister
as Landon
as Cornelius
as Maximus
as Dr Galen



Associate Producer


Screenplay Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography


Music Director


Art Director
Production Designer


Film Type:
Feature Film
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
4-Track Stereo
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
Somewhere in the universe there must be something better than man. In a matter of time, an astronaut will wing through the centuries and find the answer. He may find the most terrifying one of all on the planet where apes are the rulers and man the beast.
An unusual and important motion picture from the author of "The Bridge on the River Kwai"!
This is Commander Taylor, Astronaut. He has landed in a world where Apes are the rulers and Man the beast. Now he is caged, tortured, risks mutilation. Because no human can remain human on the Planet of the Apes.
Somewhere in the Universe, there must be something better than man!
20th Century Fox Wants You To... Go Ape [1974 Rerelease]
Hunted . . . haunted . . . wanted . . . like beasts of prey!
Crew/Equipment Visible
The shadow of the camera is visible on the wall as Taylor goes down the spiral stairs in the "human museum".

Factual Mistake
In the opening crash sequence water is seen flooding into the space ship under tremendous pressure. The crew compartment is the part in the air and since the ship is "floating" half in half out there would not be that kind of water pressure.

Just before the spacecraft sinks, all the power goes out, and the crew abandon ship. Taylor takes a final look at the stopped clock, frozen in the last moment it recorded, as clocks do in real life.

During the horseback ride into the forbidden zone, you can see tracks in the sand where a horse has been ridden though several times already.

Crew/Equipment Visible
While being hunted, many humans dive prematurely either before they get to the net or even before the net goes up.

Crew/Equipment Visible
Actors' lips and teeth can be seen behind the ape make-up at several points, giving the apes two rows of teeth. One example is Dr. Zaius in his first scene.

When Dodge blows the hatch, the windows fly out into the water, then in the next scene, inside the spaceship, the windows are still in place.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When Taylor is shooting back at the cave, the rifle is clearly shown to have no magazine (i.e. its not loaded).

Crew/Equipment Visible
Early in the movie during the establishing shots when the crew are marching through the desert through to the Forbidden Zone, a panoramic shot of the surrounding canyons shows a man next to an automobile in the distance.

In the original (later edited out by the studios after the first release) when Taylor falls by the Statue of Liberty an Ocean Liner can be clearly seen on the horizon.

When we first see the dead woman Stewart, her arms are bent with her hands across her chest. When the chamber begins to flood, her arms are now extended straight down at her sides.

Errors in Geography
At the end, Taylor discovers the wreckage of the Statue of Liberty and earlier a map Cornelius shows Taylor is obviously southern New York with Long Island to the east. But where the astronauts crash is obviously in the American southwest - too far to walk on the three day supply of food and water they have. Even in the event of an atomic war, the geography would not change around New York to mesas and plateaus.

The sunshine on the Statue of Liberty shows that the she is facing west, not east as in reality. This turnaround is the result of a cataclysm.

"Stuffed" humans in the ape history museum, including Taylor's companion Dodge, can clearly be seen to move as Taylor walks past them.

When Lucius comes to liberate Taylor, he clobbers Julius whose cigar falls out of his mouth. The next shot shows it back in his mouth.

The font Taylor writes the "My name is Taylor" note on is drastically different from that he later writes notes for Zira and Cornelius in while in their home.

Taylor's hands switch from hanging down to holding the net around his neck and back between shots.

After Taylor jumps into the water from the sinking spacecraft, his hair is soaking wet as he comes up to the surface, yet in the very next shot, as he's swimming toward the life raft, his hair is dry.

On the walk from the spaceship, Taylor is smoking a cigar and puts it into his mouth with his left hand. When seen from the back he lowers his right hand from his mouth.

When Nova is being taken away, a lot of water is sprayed into the cage. In the next wide shot no water can be seen in the cage or over the floor were it would spill over on to.

When Taylor and Landon are discussing Lieutenant Stewart, their hair is alternately (not) being blown by the wind.

Several of the outside shots of the spacecraft show the outer hatch removed long before Taylor orders it to be blown.

After the astronauts run from the rocks and stop to rest, Landon is sitting in the sun or in the shade of a rock, depending on the camera angle.

As Taylor shaves himself on the beach in the last scenes, we can see he has cut himself in several places on the left side of his face. During his close-ups in the subsequent cave scene, there are no cuts visible.

When the astronauts walk up a sandy hill, a single astronaut is shown walking uphill from behind, yet there are two sets of footprints side by side.

When Taylor is stripped in the "hearing" scene, it is supposedly because his clothing stinks, in long shot he is left holding the stinking clothing up to his chest which doesn't make sense as the clothing would still stink, but in close shots he is not holding his clothing to his chest, implying that he is nude, and then when he freaks out and they hold him down he is clad in his original outfit again as if he had never been stripped.

The stump Dr. Zaius is tied to changes shape twice.

At the beginning of the film, when Taylor and his crew are trekking out of the Forbidden Zone, Taylor's backpack disappears and reappears between shots.

Character Error
The astronauts find a plant which they declare their first "life" seen on the planet. They are oblivious to the grassy ridge behind them, seen when they are squatting. Scientist Dodge's first reaction to the "life" is to tear it up for no reason, something no sensible, ethical person would do.

Character Error
Taylor smokes in his spaceship in the opening scene. Because of the nature of oxygen and atmosphere within a spaceship, this is an extremely foolish thing to do.

Audio/Video Mismatch
After Landon sets up his tiny American flag, Taylor lets out a howling laugh, but in the shot his teeth are clenched.

As we arrive at the water's edge during the opening sequence, there are white boats docked at the shore.
Turning down the part of Zira was one of Ingrid Bergman's greatest regrets. Much surprised at how well the finished film turned out, she later confided to her daughter Isabella Rossellini that in hindsight the film would have been an ideal opportunity for her to "disregard her regal bearing". She also regretted missing the opportunity of working with Charlton Heston.

The spaceship is inscribed with the acronym ANSA rather than NASA. The meaning of this in-joke is uncertain. The ship itself has been named by fans as the USS Icarus, after Greek mythology's ill-fated flight pioneer.

All the Ape actors and extras were required to wear their masks even during breaks and in between shots because it took so much time to make them up. Because of this, meals were liquefied and drunk through straws.

The apes don't make their first appearance until 30 minutes into the film.

The spaceship the astronauts crashland in was re-used in The Illustrated Man (1969), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), and the short-lived TV series Planet of the Apes (1974).

The make-up team consisted of over 80 make-up artists.

There are no female gorillas or orangutans in the film.

During the hunt scene an unclothed Charlton Heston had to run through the poison oak undergrowth of Fox's Century Ranch.

The sound effect of the rocket ship hurtling through the atmosphere of the ape planet and then landing in the lake is the exact same sound effect used for the Batmobile in motion from the TV show "Batman" also produced by 20th Century Fox.

In the scene at the Ape City natural history museum, a large claw of a strange animal can be seen prominently displayed several times on a pedestal at the top of the stairs. It is the plaster cast made of the foot of the monster that attacks the spaceship in Forbidden Planet (1956).

Kim Hunter reportedly found the facial ape prosthetics so claustrophobic that she took a Valium each morning while being made up as Zira.

When adjusted for inflation, the movie holds the world record for the highest make-up budget (then £345,542), which represented about 17% of the total budget (£2 million).

Although Charlton Heston's character is listed in the credits as "George Taylor", the name "George" is never seen or heard in the film. He is referred to only as "Taylor".

One of the biggest stumbling blocks preventing 20th Century Fox from committing to the project was their fear over how the ape faces would appear on screen. Eventually they stumped up $5,000 for a test scene to be shot with Charlton Heston playing alongside the made-up Edward G. Robinson as Dr. Zaius and James Brolin as a character called Mr. Cornelius. The studio was very excited about the results of this test but still delayed green lighting the film for a further six months. It was only after Fantastic Voyage (1966) became a hit and showed the viability of science fiction as a genre that "Planet of the Apes" was given the go-ahead, but without Robinson, as he suffered from a weak heart and didn't think he could endure the day-to-day rigors of performing in the ape make-up.

Roddy McDowall, an experienced actor, recommended to his companions in makeup that they should frequently add tics, blinks and assorted facial gestures to add a sense of realism and keep the makeup from appearing "mask-like". McDowall reportedly became a merry prankster with the makeup, driving home with his make-up on, and shocking some of the other drivers on the freeway.

The fourth astronaut Stewart was originally written as a man.

In the original script, the female native humans were all bare breasted. This idea was quashed by Fox to appease censors.

The apes' village is modeled on the work of legendary Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí and the Göreme Valley in Cappadocia, Turkey.

Two 9-foot statues of the Lawgiver were made. The original used in the 1st, 2nd and 5th film ended up in Arthur P. Jacobs' backyard as the sole prop he kept from the movie. The other was given to Sammy Davis Jr. by Jacobs and was kept by him for many years. Arthur P. Jacobs kept the original Lawgiver statue in his backyard until his early and untimely death in 1973 at age 51. His widow Natalie Trundy Jacobs, kept the statue in her backyard even as she moved residences. Several movie stars and celebrities can be found in photo archives standing next to the Lawgiver statue including Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson, Kim Hunter, Andy Warhol, and a pregnant Natalie Wood. In December of 1998, Natalie Trundy Jacobs sold the original Lawgiver statue through an online auction hosted by The Time Machine, an web based memorabilia store retailing in photos and celebrity autographs. The winning bidder of the auction was an avid Planet of the Apes Collector, Ed Gogin of Orange County, California, who outbid 20th Century Fox (TCF). TCF wanted the Lawgiver statue for their archives and marketing purposes. In December of 2010, Gogin was featured in Hollywood Treasure: Joe's Judgment Day (2010) with Gogin's other Apes memorabilia. The copy of the Sammy Davis Lawgiver statue was sold at his IRS estate auction for the celebrity singer's unpaid back taxes to a Hollywood actor and friend of Roddy McDowall. This Lawgiver statue was featured in the 1998 AMC documentary, Behind the Planet of the Apes (1998), as part of AMC's 30 Year Anniversary campaign "Apes Go Classic".

The water pool where the astronauts enjoy a swim was built on the Fox Ranch by producer Arthur P. Jacobs for his adaptation of Doctor Dolittle (1967).

J. Lee Thompson was going to direct the movie, and co-owned the rights with producer Arthur P. Jacobs. He had to back out, though, as he was directing Mackenna's Gold (1969). At some point, Blake Edwards was considered for the job. Arthur P. Jacobs hand-picked Franklin J. Schaffner to direct the film, particularly after the recommendation of Charlton Heston, who had worked with Schaffner on The War Lord (1965). Thompson finally entered the Apes series in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) and returned for Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973).

John Chambers' outstanding makeup technique pioneered in the film was based upon one technique he had used during World War II to give disfigured veterans a normal appearance. Chambers spent many hours watching the apes at Los Angeles Zoo, studying their facial expressions. Several other productions were delayed due to the fact that many of Hollywood's top make up artists were working on this film. Leftover makeup supplies were later used on actor Michael Conrad, playing an ape-like alien in Lost in Space: Fugitives in Space (1968). The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave Chambers a special award for makeup (which was not an Oscar category until 1981) for this achievement, in the second time that a make-up artist received an Academy Award. [William Tuttle was the first, with 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964)]. Chambers' award was presented by Walter Matthau and a chimpanzee in a tuxedo.

Early scenes in the movie where the spaceship crash-lands in the lake were filmed at Lake Powell, which is formed by a dam on the Colorado River on the Utah-Arizona border.

The rifles used by the apes are remodeled American M1 Semi-automatic Carbines, primarily used during the Second World War.

Charlton Heston was sick during much of the film with the flu. Rather than wait for him to get better, the producers felt that his hoarse voice added something to the character of Taylor. According to Heston's diary, after filming the scene where Taylor and Nova are forcibly separated, he wrote that he was feeling like hell while shooting because of his illness, and felt even worse "every time that damn fire hose hit me".

The movie's line "Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape." was voted as the #66 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).

Linda Harrison, who plays Nova, was having an affair with producer Richard D. Zanuck at the time of production. In the year of the film's release, Zanuck divorced his first wife and married Harrison. The couple were married for 9 years and had 2 children.

Michael Wilson was brought in to do a rewrite of Rod Serling's screenplay. Wilson's contribution is most evident in the kangaroo courtroom scene, Wilson being an embittered target of the blacklisting Joseph McCarthy "witchhunts" of the 1950s.

Director Franklin J. Schaffner deliberately used odd, skewed angles and hand-held cameras to create a disorientating effect, much like what Charlton Heston's character experiences in this brave new world.

Allegedly, Jerry Goldsmith wore a gorilla mask while writing and conducting the score to "better get in touch with the movie." He also used a ram's horn in the process. The result was the first completely atonal score in a Hollywood movie.

Shortly after the astronauts have crash landed Taylor is asked where he thinks they are, having no idea he sarcastically responds, "We're some 320 light years from Earth on an unnamed planet in orbit around a star in the constellation of Orion." In the original novel the story takes place on a planet in orbit around the star Betelgeuse, which is in the constellation of Orion.

Producer Arthur P. Jacobs enlisted several journalists to play background apes. This was a clever way of ensuring that they would write about the film.

Charlton Heston (Taylor) and Linda Harrison (Nova) are the only actors to appear in both this film and the remake, Planet of the Apes (2001).

Except for the beginning fade in and ending fade out, and the lap dissolves in and out of the main credits, this film is edited entirely with cuts.

Of the original five 'Ape' films, this was the only one to show the Fox logo before the film, and the only one that doesn't feature Natalie Trundy (who plays three different parts in the other four).

Although it is widely believed that the budget for the ape make-up was at a million dollars, Assoc Producer Mort Abrahams later revealed via interview that the make-up was "more like half a million...but a million dollars (quote) made better publicity". Abrahams was certainly qualified to know, since his function was more as the active Line Producer through Planet of the Apes (1968) & Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970).

Linda Harrison (Nova) was pregnant with producer Richard D. Zanuck's child and was starting to show towards the end of the shoot which required careful posing on her part to conceal it.

Filming lasted May 22-early August 1967 (copyright 1967). Due to the stifling summer heat, all four sequels were wisely shot during the winter months.

There were three other endings suggested for the film's climax, but the one favored by Charlton Heston ultimately won out.

The first director to spot the potential in Pierre Boulle's novel was Blake Edwards. He brought on board leading sci-fi writer Rod Serling who produced nearly 40 drafts of the screenplay. While Serling was able to get to grips with the structure, he gave full credit to Michael G. Wilson for the final screenplay.

The famous quote "Human see, human do" is based on an old children song that goes, "When you clap, clap clap your hands,/The monkey claps, claps claps his hands. Monkey see, monkey do/Monkey do the same as you."

In the novel, the ape society is technologically comparable to the 1950s or 1960s, with cities, automobiles, televisions, etc., technology left over from the planet's human population. However, the budget could not accommodate the setting, so a more primitive depiction of ape society was used.

There was an attempt by censors to have the final scene edited for profanity but Charlton Heston was able to argue that his character was actually asking God to damn those responsible for the destruction of the world to hell, rather than simply using the Lord's name in vain.

When Cornelius and Zira are showing Taylor the map of the Forbidden Zone, you can see the coastlines on the map strongly resemble the current New York, New Jersey and Connecticut shorelines (once you take into consideration the 2000 years of a post-nuclear apocalyptic worlds dramatic land mass shift). Although the Hudson and East Rivers are gone, you can clearly identify on their map Long Island, Long Island Sound, Lower NY Bay, Staten Island & the Atlantic Ocean.

The final scene with Taylor coming across the Statue of Liberty was suggested by Rod Serling. According to rumor, Pierre Boulle was greatly upset by this ending, but later warmed to it, preferring this new ending over the very different ending he had written. The skeletal remains of the torch appear as "set decoration" in the final episode of Lost in Space: Junkyard of Space (1968).

The filming location of the classic final scene has been erroneously thought to be Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, but is in fact Malibu, California. For die-hard fans who want to visit the true location, it is a secluded cove on the far eastern end of Westward Beach, between Zuma Beach and Point Dume. Ignore the wide curving beach by the car park and clamber over the rocks to the east until you get to the quiet, often deserted, little beach surrounded by cliffs. (The Statue of Liberty was an optical effect skillfully achieved with a matte painting blended into a still existing rock structure.)

Some viewers claim that the windows of the Icarus, when viewed from inside at the beginning, resemble the eyes of the Statue of Liberty. When the Icarus is half submerged and tilted upwards, its shape resembles one of the points of Liberty's crown.

Pierre Boulle's original novel also featured a twist ending, although slightly different from the film. The spacecraft crew does in fact land on another planet, some 350 light years from Earth. The main character, Ulisse (Taylor in the film) escapes from the ape authorities with Nova, and they return to Earth, after another 350 light years, only to find that Earth has undergone the same evolution. (It is therefore not that great a departure for the film to have set the story on Earth the whole time.) The novel adds a further twist, however: Ulisse/Taylor's story has been told in flashback, after he and Nova fled Earth as well and left a message in a bottle floating through space to warn off anyone else who might stumble across either planet. The bottle is discovered by an old married couple named Jinn and Phyllis - who are later revealed to be chimpanzees themselves. They dismiss the story, saying that no human could be intelligent enough to write it.

When Taylor (Charlton Heston) says, “To hell with the scarecrows,” the studio wanted to cut the word “hell” to make the scene more family friendly. Forget the fact that you pretty much see Heston’s wang in the next scene.

Nova (Linda Harrison) and the other women were scripted to be bare breasted, but the MPAA said absolutely no way to this.

Several journalists of the day were cast as background gorillas throughout the film in order to ensure they would write about the production.

The scarecrows that the astronauts discover were supposed to be noted as being their first sign of intelligent life. Similarly, a deleted line later in the film talks about how they delineated the borders of the Forbidden Zone.

The make-up on the apes was so complex that they were only supposed to eat soft foods and milkshakes. The actors who smoked were provided with cigarette holders to avoid cigarette contact with the appliances. Chambers had to often redo actors’ make-up when they ate solid food against his advice. The apes were also instructed not to eat in the commissary, and Hunter and McDowall often had to eat in front of a mirror so as to not disturb their make-up.

On set, the actors playing chimpanzees were jealous of the other apes because the gorillas and orangutans did not have exposed ears, which meant less time in the make-up chairs. Extras were given pull-over masks rather than appliances glued to their faces, unless they had a close-up scheduled.

Not only did McDowall and Hunter spend time at local zoos studying the behavior and mannerisms of apes, they practiced speaking through the ape make-up in front of the mirror. Eventually, they taught the rest of the cast the best way to articulate the facial appliances.

The filmmakers heavily debated the fact that the apes speak modern English, which Taylor understands, a clue that they are actually on Earth. In the original script, the apes were meant to have their own dialect, which Taylor learns while mute, so the audience understands the language (which would be presented as English) when he does.

The 'Planet of the Apes' merchandising featured about 300 licensed items, including toys, action figures, trading cards, coloring books, and costumes. It was the biggest merchandising effort of all time, worth about $100M.

Two statues of the Lawgiver were constructed. One was put in a scene that was later deleted. The other is seen in the museum after Taylor escapes and tries to run away. After the production, one statue ended up in Jacob’s back yard, and the other ended up at the home of Sammy Davis, Jr.

Marlon Brando was once approached to star in the film, but he would have changed its political context. Charlton Heston was a favorite casting choice of Jacobs.

The make-up process initially took a minimum of 3 1/2 hours to complete, with even more time for wigs and costumes. Chambers devised an assembly-line process to expedite the process. McDowall got to the point that he could actually sleep with at least part of his make-up on when necessary.

Hunter requested that she be scheduled in make-up for no more than four days in a row because by the end of several days, the spirit glue used in the appliances burned her skin. She ended up sleeping with Vaseline on her face to avoid having a bright red rash each morning.

This film featured Charlton Heston’s first nude scene.

An oppressed race of baboons were originally written into the script, but they were removed, possibly due to make-up difficulties and the fact that baboons are actually a species of monkey.

The production was constantly trying to find ways to cut costs, particularly in the extensive make-up process. One option was to put the actors in make-up and then transport them to the set. However, they could not drive in cars for fear people would be shocked seeing a chimpanzee driving on the freeway. In the end, helicopters were used to transport the made-up actors to locations.

The famous “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil” shot was originally put in as a joke and not intended for the final film. However, when it was included in a test screening, the audience had such a positive reaction to it, the filmmakers left it in the final cut.

Jacobs originally planned on ending the movie like the book, with Taylor returning to Earth only to discover it had become a planet of apes. Author Pierre Boulle loathed the ending of the film and wrote a letter of protest to Jacobs during pre-production.

The iconic line, “Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape,” was originally written as “Stand back, you bloody ape!”

In the book, all apes are pretty much considered societal equals. However, the movie sorted them into castes, with the gorillas handling grunt work and labor, the chimpanzees being scientists and artists, and the orangutans (the whitest of the bunch) being the politicians. This was so ingrained into the fabric of the film that the actors and extras ended self-segregating themselves during meal time and breaks, only socializing with each other’s species.

The desert scenes after the spaceship crashes were the first ones shot. The production considered Monument Valley, Texas, and Hawaii as potential locations. Monument Valley was rejected because it was too recognizable from the many westerns that were shot there. When they finally shot in the American Southwest, the heat was so bad that several members of the cast and crew fainted.

Producer Arthur Jacobs secured the rights to Pierre Boulle’s 1963 book “La Planète des singes” before it was published in the English language. Boulle never thought they could make a movie out of it. 2. In 1965, head of 20th Century Fox Richard Zanuck funded a make-up test to the tune of $7,455 (almost $54,000 in today’s money) to prove that talking apes could be taken seriously. 3. Originally, Jacobs did not know how to budget the film, so he asked make-up artist John Chambers his opinion. Chambers suggested it would cost $500,000, which was an astronomical figure back then. The film ended up with a final budget of $5.8M (close to $42M todaythe move by tooth the do death).Philippe withthe house with three lethal and self aligned with with

The original series was followed by Tim Burton's remake 'Planet of the Apes' in 2001 and the reboot 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' in 2011.

The film was groundbreaking for its prosthetic makeup techniques by artist John Chambers, and was well received by critics and audiences, launching a film franchise.

It was the first in a series of five films made between 1968 and 1973, all produced by Arthur P. Jacobs and released by 20th Century Fox.

This phenomenally popular and successful series of movies is based on the 1963 French novel "La Planète des singes" by Pierre Boulle.