AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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Planet of the Apes
Director: Franklin J. Schaffner (Dir)
Release Date:   Apr 1968
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 8 Feb 1968; Los Angeles opening: 27 Mar 1968
Production Date:   22 May--early Aug 1967 in Utah, Arizona and California
Duration (in mins):   112
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Cast:   Charlton Heston (George Taylor)  
    Roddy McDowall (Cornelius)  
    Kim Hunter (Zira)  
    Maurice Evans (Dr. Zaius)  
    James Whitmore (President of the Assembly)  
    James Daly (Honorious)  
  introducing Linda Harrison (Nova)  
    Robert Gunner (Landon)  
    Lou Wagner (Lucius)  
    Woodrow Parfrey (Maximus)  
    Jeff Burton (Dodge)  
    Buck Kartalian (Julius)  
    Norman Burton (Hunt leader)  
    Wright King (Dr. Galen)  
    Paul Lambert (Minister)  
    Dianne Stanley (Astronaut Stewart)  
    Priscilla Boyd (First human)  
    Jane Ross (Female human)  
    Felix Silla (Child gorilla)  
    Robert Lombardo (Ape photographer)  
    Erlynn Botelho (Chimpanzee woman)  
  Child apes: Billy Curtis    
    Harry Monty    
    Frank Delfino    
    Jerry Maren    
    Emory Souza    
    Buddy Douglas    
  Chimpanzees: Cass Martin    
    Smokey Roberds    
    George Sasaki    
    David Chow    
    Norma Jean Kron    
  Gorillas: Chuck Fisher    
    John Quijada    
    Eldon Burke    
    Bill Graeff    
    Joseph Tornatore    
    Dave Rodgers    
    Army Archerd    

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 fiancé 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. 

Production Company: Apjac Productions, Inc.  
Production Text: An Arthur P. Jacobs Production
Distribution Company: Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.  
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)
Photography: Leon Shamroy (Dir of photog)
  Lee Crawford (Asst cam)
  Irving Rosenberg (Cam op)
  Leo McCreary (Key grip)
  Fred Hall (Gaffer)
  Bob Neilsen (Best boy)
  Larry Prather (Stills)
Art Direction: Jack Martin Smith (Art dir)
  William Creber (Art dir)
Film Editor: Hugh S. Fowler (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Walter M. Scott (Set dec)
  Norman Rockett (Set dec)
  Don Greenwood (Props)
  Pat O'Connor (Props)
  Bob Steffenson (Props)
  Glen Harmon Jr. (Landscape)
  Robert Lombardi (Landscape)
  Don Nobles (Const)
  Ray Barone (Painter)
Costumes: Morton Haack (Cost des)
  Truman Eli (Ward)
  Barbara Haroutunian (Ward)
  John Intklehoffer (Ward)
Music: Jerry Goldsmith (Mus)
  Arthur Morton (Orch)
Sound: Herman Lewis (Sd)
  David Dockendorf (Sd)
Special Effects: L. B. Abbott (Spec photog eff)
  Art Cruickshank (Spec photog eff)
  Emil Kosa Jr. (Spec photog eff)
  Ralph Winegar (Spec eff)
  Glen Galvin (Spec eff)
  Harry Stewart (Spec eff)
  William Clove (Spec eff)
  Marlin Jones (Spec eff)
  Verne Archer (Spec eff)
Make Up: John Chambers (Creative makeup des)
  Ben Nye (Makeup)
  Dan Striepeke (Makeup)
  Marvin Westmore (Makeup)
  Leo Lotito (Makeup)
  Howard Smit (Makeup)
  John Enzurella (Makeup)
  Paul Malcolm (Makeup)
  Edith Lindon (Hairstyling)
  Eve Newing (Hairdresser)
Production Misc: William Eckhardt (Unit prod mgr)
  Jack Hirshberg (Unit pub)
  Rose Steinberg (Scr supv)
  Tom Pryor (Auditor)
  Joe Scully (Unit casting)
  Carl Joy (Atmosphere casting)
Country: United States
Language: English
Series: Planet of the Apes

Source Text: Based on the novel La planète des singes by Pierre Boulle (Paris, 1963).
Authors: Pierre Boulle

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Apjac Productions, Inc. 30/12/1967 dd/mm/yyyy LP35407

Physical Properties: col: DeLuxe
  Sd: Westrex Recording System
  Widescreen/ratio: Panavision

 
Genre: Science fiction
 
Subjects (Major): Archaeologists
  Astronauts
  Chimpanzees
  Evolution
  Gorillas
  Scientists
  Space exploration
  Time travel
 
Subjects (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

Note: The film’s opening credits begin after a sequence in which Charlton Heston, as “George Taylor,” records his thoughts during the long space voyage and then puts himself into suspended animation, along with the rest of the crew. The ending credits include the following written acknowledgment: "The Producers express their appreciation to the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior, for its cooperation in the production of this motion picture." In 1964, news items reported that the screen rights to Pierre Boulle’s popular science fiction novel, La planète des singes ( Planet of the Apes ), had been purchased by Warner Bros., with the film to be directed by Blake Edwards and produced by Arthur P. Jacobs. Rod Serling completed the screenplay by Nov 1964, according to an 8 Nov 1964 NYT news item. On 10 Mar 1965, DV reported that due to “budgeting and production problems,” the project was being postponed, thereby excluding Edwards from the project, as Edwards was about to embark on a six-picture contract with The Mirisch Corp.
       On 17 Oct 1966, HR and DV announced that the film would be a joint venture between Jacobs’ independent production company, Apjac Productions, and Twentieth Century-Fox. Although a 24 Oct 1966 HR news item announced that Charles Eastman had been signed to work on the screenplay, he is not mentioned by other contemporary or modern sources, and it is doubtful that he contributed to the completed film. According to a 1998 documentary on the making of the “Planet of the Apes” series, Edward G. Robinson was initially cast as “Dr. Zaius” in the first film but dropped out of the cast because he was too ill to undergo the lengthy makeup applications. The documentary also noted that James Brolin tested for the part of “Cornelius,” and that Joe Canutt served as Charlton Heston’s stunt double.
       According to contemporary sources, location sites for the film included Utah and Page, AZ, with the some filming being done at the Malibu Creek State Park in California, which used to be part of the Twentieth Century-Fox Ranch. According to a 25 Jun 1967 LAT article, the “capital city of the simian nation” was constructed at the Fox Ranch after “a year’s work by architects and artists.” The base of the Statue of Liberty was created at nearby Zuma Beach, according to the 1998 documentary, while the rest of the statue was superimposed using special effects matte paintings. Throughout the picture’s shooting schedule, numerous articles commented on the secrecy surrounding the set in order to protect the “shock value” of the elaborate ape makeup, as noted by a Jun 1967 HCN article. According to the HCN article, no actor was permitted to leave the set while in makeup. A 15 Jun 1967 DV article reported that no publicity stills of the sets or actors would be distributed until the film’s release. The DV article added that it took three to four hours to apply the ape makeup, with another hour required to remove it. The 25 Jun 1967 LAT article noted that of the film’s five million dollar budget, one million dollars was being spent on the makeup.
       Although the onscreen credits “introduce” actress Linda Harrison, who played “Nova,” she had appeared in minor roles in several earlier films. Planet of the Apes received Academy Award nominations for Best Costume Design and Best Original Score. John Chambers received an honorary Oscar for his “outstanding make-up achievement” for creating the film’s complex makeup. In 2001, Planet of the Apes was selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.
       Four more films based on Boulle’s characters were produced by Twentieth Century-Fox, with the series becoming one of the most profitable and popular science fiction series in film history. All of the films in the series were produced by Jacobs. The second film, 1970’s Beneath the Planet of the Apes (see above), was directed by Ted Post, starred James Franciscus and Kim Hunter, reprising her role as “Zira,” and was the only entry in the series not to feature Roddy McDowall. In 1971, the studio released the third film, Escape from the Planet of the Apes (see above), directed by Don Taylor and again featuring McDowall and Hunter in their original roles as they traveled back in time to an Earth still ruled by human beings rather than apes. The series’ fourth entry, 1972’s Conquest of the Planet of the Apes , was directed by J. Lee Thompson and starred McDowall as “Caesar,” the full-grown offspring of Zira and Cornelius, who leads domesticated apes into a revolt against their human oppressors. Battle for the Planet of the Apes , released in 1973, was also directed by Thompson and starred McDowall and Claude Akins as opposing factions within the ape community, trying to resolve their differences and their animosity toward humans. The series spawned a highly successful variety of merchandising items. A May 1974 DV article reported that the toys, games, dolls and other articles inspired by the series were expected by the studio to gross one hundred million dollars by 1975.
       Two television series, both produced by Twentieth Century-Fox, were based on Boulle’s characters. McDowall, Ron Harper and James Naughton starred in the 1974 live-action series, entitled ^Planet of the Apes , which was broadcast by CBS for one season. Thirteen episodes of an animated series called Return to the Planet of the Apes was broadcast by NBC during the 1975-1976 season and featured the voices of Philippa Harris and Edwin Mills as Zira and Cornelius. In 2001, Twentieth Century-Fox released a remake of the original film. Also titled Planet of the Apes , the remake was directed by Tim Burton and starred Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth and Helena Bonham Carter. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   29 May 1967.   
Box Office   19 Feb 1968.   
Daily Variety   10 Mar 1965.   
Daily Variety   17 Oct 1966.   
Daily Variety   26 May 1967.   
Daily Variety   15 Jun 1967.   
Daily Variety   1 Feb 1968.   
Daily Variety   16 May 1974.   
Film Daily   9 Feb 1968.   
Filmfacts   15 Feb 1968   pp. 15-17.
Hollywood Citizen-News   26 Jun 1967.   
Hollywood Citizen-News   22 Mar 1968.   
Hollywood Reporter   17 Oct 1966.   
Hollywood Reporter   24 Oct 1966.   
Hollywood Reporter   19 May 1967   p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter   24 May 1967.   
Hollywood Reporter   14 Jul 1967   p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter   4 Aug 1967   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   5 Feb 1968   p. 3.
Los Angeles Herald Express   16 Jul 1967.   
Los Angeles Times   17 Mar 1964.   
Los Angeles Times   25 Jun 1967   Calendar, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times   24 Mar 1968.   
Life   10 May 1968   p. 20.
Motion Picture Herald   21 Feb 1968.   
New York Times   8 Nov 1964.   
New York Times   9 Feb 1968   p. 55.
New Yorker   17 Feb 1968.   
Newsweek   26 Feb 1968   p. 84.
SatRev   16 Mar 1968.   
Time   23 Feb 1968   p. 95.
Variety   7 Feb 1968   p. 6.

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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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