AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Planet of the Apes
Director: Franklin J. Schaffner (Dir)
Release Date:   Apr 1968
Duration (in mins):  112
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Cast: Charlton Heston  (George Taylor)
  Roddy McDowall  (Cornelius)
  Kim Hunter  (Zira)
 

Summary: While traveling some 2,000 years through time and space, four astronauts crash-land on an unknown planet. After finding the female of their quartet dead, the three male survivors cross the barren wasteland of the planet until they encounter a tribe of mute sub-humans living amidst lush vegetation. They are set upon and captured by uniformed riders on horseback, who, much to the astronauts' horror, turn out to be sentient gorillas. One of the astronauts, Dodge, is killed and his body placed in the simian museum of natural history; another, Landon, is subjected to a frontal lobotomy; the third, George Taylor, who has been rendered speechless by a throat wound, is placed in a hospital cage. Taylor, although aware that he is a prisoner in a society where humans are treated as beasts, persuades the sympathetic chimpanzees, psychologist Zira and her archeologist fiancĂ© Cornelius, that he can speak, read and write. Intrigued by the possibility that man may be the missing link in the evolution of the ape, Zira and Cornelius spare Taylor from experimental vivisection, intending to mate him with a female captive, Nova. Taylor eventually regains his power of speech and is able to communicate with the apes. Chief of state Dr. Zaius, an orangutan, is outraged by Taylor's unexpected abilities and demands that he be silenced by a lobotomy. Deeply resentful of the infringement upon their freedom of thought by the orangutans, the intellectual ruling class of the ape planet, Zira, Cornelius and their young assistant, Lucius, help Taylor and Nova escape. The group travels to the Forbidden Zone, a vast, deserted territory in which Cornelius had found human artifacts during an archaelogical dig, including a human-shaped doll that says "Mama." When they are pursued by the ape militia, led by the war-like gorillas, Taylor seizes Dr. Zaius and threatens to kill him unless he orders the soldiers to retreat. Zaius, after confessing that he has long been aware of man's reputation as "the harbinger of death," permits Taylor and Nova to continue into the Forbidden Zone, provided that they never return with evidence of their superior human culture. Some distance down the coastline, Taylor discovers the half-buried remnants of the Statue of Liberty and yells with rage as he realizes the destructive destiny of man's civilization. 

Distribution Company: Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Production Company: Apjac Productions, Inc.
Director: Franklin J. Schaffner (Dir)
  William Kissel (Asst dir)
  Murray Schwartz (2d asst dir)
  Robert Doudell (2d asst dir)
Producer: Arthur P. Jacobs (Prod)
  Mort Abrahams (Assoc prod)
Writer: Michael Wilson (Scr)
  Rod Serling (Scr)

Subject Major: Archaeologists
  Astronauts
  Chimpanzees
  Evolution
  Gorillas
  Scientists
  Space exploration
  Time travel
 
Subject Minor: Brain surgery
  Chases
  Class conflict
  Class distinction
  Dolls
  Education
  Friendship
  Hunting
  Mutes
  Orangutans
  Racism
  Romance
  Statue of Liberty National Monument (New York City)
  Trials
  Vivisection
  Wounds and injuries

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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