Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, Linda Harrison and Lou Wagner

Franklin J. Schaffner

Running Time:
112 mins

Out to buy on DVD 26/04/04

"Take your stinking paws off me, you damm dirty Ape!"


Nearing the end of their deep space mission, Taylor (Heston) records his final log entry before he returns to cryo-sleep with the rest of his crew. What only seems like seconds after closing his pod, he is awaken by the ship's computer to find that the ship has crashed in the middle of a lake. With one of the crew dead, the three survivors blow the escape hatch and make for land. After a long trek through a desert region they come across a field of corn and what looks like a group of primitive humans. They decide to investigate but then the sound of a horn cries out and Taylor can hear horses galloping towards the field but when the horses arrive he sees something that he can't believe. They are been ridden by Apes.

One of the defining movies in the annals of science fiction but can the original Planet of the Apes still hold up against the modern, technically superior pictures of the new millennium? The answer is a resounding yes.

The 1968 version of the classic Sci-Fi adventure is the best of the five original movies and is far better than Tim Burton's "re-imagination". Imaginative and groundbreaking at the time, the film was on the crest of the wave of intelligent science fiction that pulled the genre away from the B-Movie status it was always associated with in the 50s and 60s. This was a phenomenon like nothing before it and would pave the way for films like Star Wars by been the example of how a movie is marketed and most importantly merchandised.

What made the movie different was the pedigree of the stars involved. Charlton Heston was a screen legend at the time and one of the biggest and most powerful stars in Hollywood. Having his name attached to the project gave the film the ability to attract noted character actors to the key roles. Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans breathed life into Cornelius, Zira and Dr. Zaius, the key ape characters. Their performances were all the more remarkable because of the fact that they acted under heavy makeup, which was testament to the skills of makeup designer John Chambers. These were believeable characters that drove the film.

Charlton Heston's Taylor is one of the great sci-fi heroes. In an upside-down world he fights for his humanity, a conviction made all the more poignant because he left Earth to get away from what the human race was becoming. This is an action hero role, which the actor excelled in but the intelligence of the story and his supporting cast made this more than just an event movie.

The themes of the film are still relevant today. Issues about race, tolerance, class structure and the blindness of faith as an excuse for violence all still play out in the world today. This makes the film still fresh today. Only the slightest details date the film. The fact that Taylor and his crew were supposed to have set off from Earth on a deep space mission in 1972, only three years after the Apollo 11 Moon landing is extremely far fetched but the rest of the film stands up very well even by today's technological standards.

Planet of the Apes is a classic of the science fiction genre. With an intelligent story, memorable characters and one of the first real big twist endings in cinema history, you can see why people went ape over this film and how it still has a legion of fans.


Presented in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen with a choice between Dolby Digital 5.1 and dts surround soundtracks, this is an outstanding transfer, especially when you recall that the movie was released in 1968. The picture is crystal clear with no pixelation or any evidence of its 35-year age in the slightest. The sound is equally as good, with the crown scenes and Taylor's attempted escapes been the highlights. Jerry Goldsmith's brilliant score also benefits from the excellent use of all the speakers and the sub.



The main feature has the options of three different commentaries, but these are not like your usual conversational pieces. There are long gaps between insights sometimes there is such a gap that you might think that actually didn't select it.

Audio Commentary from composer Jerry Goldsmith
The renowned composer talks about writing the score and the different and unusual kinds of instruments he used to create the unique sound of the film. He also talks about the lack of musicians he had to record the score compared to the size of orchestra they use now.

Audio Commentary form stars Roddy McDowall, Natalie Trundy, Kim Hunter and make-up artist John Chambers
The late, great Roddy McDowall and fellow stars Natalie Trundy and Kim Hunter reveal secrets about the film and how they prepared for their roles under all that makeup. They talk about the division between the different kinds of Apes on set and how Kim Hunter can to really hate bananas. Makeup artist John Chambers talks about how cutting edge the facial appliances were at the time.

Text commentary from Eric Greene, author of 'Planet Of The Apes As American Myth'
As you watch the movie, text facts reveal the secrets behind key scenes and how the film came to be developed. There are some very interesting insights into the mythos of the Planet of the Apes.


Exploring the Planet of the Apes

Behind the Planet of the Apes (2 hrs 06.45 mins)
Introduced by the man most associated with the series, the fantastic Roddy McDowall, the documentary takes you from conception to premiere and beyond. Made in 1998 (just before Roddy McDowall's untimely death) the film takes you behind the scenes of the making of all five films in the franchise and then on to the TV show and the cartoon "Return to the Planet of the Apes". It includes interviews with all the surviving cast and crewmembers including Charlton Heston, Kim Hunter, Linda Harrison, Natalie Trundy, James Naughton and Ricardo Montalban, as well as directors J. Lee Williams, Don Taylor, Ted Post, composer Jerry Goldsmith and makeup artist John Chambers. They all talk about how Planet of the Apes influences not only them but also the entire motion picture industry. This is a fascinating documentary and a must for any fan of the original series.

Behind the Planet of the Apes Promo (2.15 mins)
Your chance to watch a trailer for the documentary.

Planet of the Apes Makeup Test with Edward G. Robinson (1966) (9.28 mins)
This is the short featurette that producer Arthur P. Jacobs had made to prove to Fox that the film could work. Starring Charlton Heston, Linda Harrison, James Brolin and Edward G. Robinson as Dr Zaius the short introduced the story and showed that the actors wouldn't look stupid in the makeup.

Roddy McDowall Home Movies (19.48 mins)
Behind the scenes footage shot by the man himself reveals details of the shooting of the first movie in the franchise. Here we see Roddy have his make applied, his helicopter ride to the Malibu beach set and footage of shooting both there and on the Ape Village set.

Planet of the Apes Dailies and Outtakes (19.27 mins)
Raw footage that was shown to the studio executives during the filming of the movie. You can watch the dailies and outtakes from the hunt, the cages, Taylor's escape, the walk from the ship and the trail.

Planet of the Apes (1967 N.A.T.O. presentation) (10.27 mins)
Introduced by Charlton Heston and containing a lot of footage that outlines the plot of the movie, this is a presentation that was shown the members of N.A.T.O.

Planet of the Apes Featurette (1968) (4.36 mins)
This made for TV special takes you behind the scenes of the movie showing you the sets and the makeup effects.

A look behind the Planet of the Apes (1972) (13.24 mins)
A summary of all five films in the franchise with behind the scenes footage and cast and crew interviews.

Don Taylor directs Escape from the Planet of the Apes (13.24 mins)
Watch B-Roll footage of the climatic circus scene with Ricardo Montalban. J. Lee Thompson directs

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1.06 mins)
Behind the scenes footage shows the use of masks and makeup to produce the large amount of apes needed for the riot scenes.


Original Theatrical Trailers
Watch the teaser and full trailer for Planet of the Apes and it's for sequels.

Film Reviews
Read text reviews taken from The Hollywood Reporter and Life magazine.

Theatrical Posters (0.47 mins)
A montage of posters for Planet of the Apes from all over the world.


Original sketches by costume designer Marlon Haack
View images of the original designs for the costumes for the chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans as well as the human characters.

Still Gallery
Here you can look at images of the Ape cast with and without their makeup and some behind the scenes shots.

Ape Phenomenon

Ape Merchandise
Planet of the Apes was one of the first movies to be extensively merchandised. Here you can see images of the action figured produced to support the movie and the wide-up toys made for the Japanese market.

Ape Collections
Images of the Planet of the Apes collectables such as statues, masks and costumes.

Hidden Easter Egg
A TV advert for Planet of the Apes action figures.


Fox have done it again by treating the fans to an excellent 2-disc set. While it only comes three years after its original outing on DVD and those of you who bought the box set, have most of the extras anyway, this is a must buy for anyone who didn't buy the classic Sci-Fi film the first time around. The extras are very good, even though some of the lesser footage is just longer, stand alone versions of the film used in the documentary, the inclusion of Behind the Planet of the Apes only adds to the value of the package. Those of you, who haven't already ready discovered this film, prepare to go ape over this DVD release.


Beneath the Planet of the Apes

Escape from the Planet of the Apes

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes

Battle for the Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes (2001)

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