Flashback Review: Planet of the Apes (1968)
Updated: Mar 25
The original Planet of the Apes was released in 1968 starring Charlton Heston who played George Taylor, the leader of an astronaut crew who crash landed on a planet where apes are the dominant species, and humans are oppressed and kept in captivity. The movie was adapted from the French book "Planète des Singes" by Pierre Boulle and was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner. Planet of the Apes (1968) was critically acclaimed and considered a commercial success by earning $32.6 Million domestically. John Chambers received an honorary Oscar for Best Make-UP for this movie.
When you take into consideration that the movie was made in 1968, both the subject matter and the make-up used for the Apes was definitely ground-breaking and was adapted quite intelligently. The Apes are portrayed as dominant and superior; while humans are treated as animals, muted and kept in captivity. I believe the movie attempted to illustrate the cruel treatment we as man have towards our animals, by reversing the roles of Apes and Man. The perfect setting for this type of demonstration is in a science fiction movie, and that is exactly what you get with The Planet of the Apes (1968).
In addition, the ending twist where Taylor finds the head of the Statue of Liberty on the beach shore line was quite innovative, and is one of the successes of the movie among many. I am sure the movie goers of the era did not expect it, I know I did not. This demonstrates that the planet they are on is Earth 2000 years into the future where man had destroyed themselves. This twist was a possibility at the time (1968) and it is as applicable today with all that is happening in the world. That is why the movie has aged well and still relevant today.
The Bottom Line
This movie is quite entertaining if you enjoy old movies. It demonstrates a time where movie makers had to be innovative and creative when it came to science fiction. They could not rely on any special effects. The make-up of the Apes is quite remarkable for 1968. Furthermore, the screenplay was intelligently written. One of the highlights is that they changed some expressions around to fit their environment such as "Man see, man do" instead of "Monkey see, monkey do". That was a great touch.
In addition, using the hierarchy of the Ape kingdom was well done: gorillas are the police, military and workers; the orangutans are administrators and politicians and chimpanzees are intellectuals and scientists. This mimics the hierarchy that reigns in nature and was probably done to give some credibility if an Ape society would form an advanced society. That frame of thinking was well done.
There are parts of the movie that look dated. We can tell the movie was made in an era where movie making was still in its infancy and not as developed as today. However this is all over shadowed by a great performance by Charlton Heston, and a great science fiction story.
Please find below the original theatrical trailer. I got a kick out of this one:
I give this movie a 8/10, definitely a movie for a fan who enjoys older movies and science fiction.
What are your thoughts on this movie. We would love to hear from you!!!!