The five films in the Planet of the Apes series are enjoyable as pure entertainment and yet substantial enough to have inspired academic studies about the film's broader political themes. Loosely adapted from the novel by French author Pierre Boulle, Planet of the Apes was released at the height of racial and political unrest in America, adding resonance to its story of a NASA astronaut (Charlton Heston) stranded on a planet where superior apes dominate inferior human slaves. The film's final image--in which a horrified Heston realises the fate of humankind--remains one of the most indelible in all of science-fiction cinema.
Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) continues the original's distant future scenario, pitting militant apes against mutant humans dwelling in the subterranean ruins of New York City. Its phenomenal success spawned Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), in which simian scientists Cornelius and Zira (Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter, reprising their roles from Planet) travel backward in time, setting the stage for the ape supremacy of the first two films. McDowall returned in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) as Caesar, the son of Cornelius, leading an ape revolution that bridges the historical gap of the previous films. Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973) ended the five-film cycle with McDowall again playing the chimpanzee leader Caesar, defeating gorillas and human mutants to establish the hierarchy introduced in the original film.
Planet Of The Apes (1968)
Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowall star in this legendary science fiction masterpiece. Astronaut Taylor (Heston) crash lands on a distant planet ruled by apes who use a primitive race of humans for experimentation and sport. Soon Taylor finds himself among the hunted, his life in the hands of a benevolent chimpanzee scientist (McDowall). Winner of an Honorary Academy Award for Outstanding Make-up Achievement, Planet Of The Apes is grand entertainment from its visually arresting beginning to the chilling last moment.
Beneath The Planet Of The Apes (1969)
In the acclaimed sequel to Planet Of The Apes, another astronaut (James Franciscus) crashes through the time barrier searching for Taylor (Charlton Heston). The daring rescue mission leads to a subterranean city where mutant humans, who practice mind control, worship a weapon capable of destroying the entire planet. Both an action-oriented sci-fi adventure and a wry commentary on today's world, this second Apes installment is imaginative entertainment for fantasy buffs of all ages.
Escape From The Planet Of The Apes (1971)
Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter reprise their roles form the original Planet Of The Apes in this third chapter of the Apes saga. Two intelligent simians from the future, Cornelius and Zira, travel to present-day Earth. They become instant sensations, wined and dined and treated like celebrities -- until a high-level plot forces them to run for their lives! Featuring Ricardo Montalban and Sal Mineo, it's a delightful blend of humor, social commentary and suspense.
Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes (1972)
Colorful, futuristic sets, a relentless pace and an action-packed climax highlight the fourth episode of the legendary Apes saga. The time is the near future. Apes have replaced dogs and cats as household pets, and servants as personal assistants -- until their continual mistreatment provokes one advanced ape from the future, Caesar, to lead a spectacular revolt. Starring Roddy McDowall and Ricardo Montalban, it's thrilling science fiction that delivers both a serious message and stirring entertainment.
Battle For The Planet Of The Apes (1973)
Roddy McDowall and Claude Akins star in the final chapter of the legendary Apes saga. Set in 2001 A.D., an idyllic society of man and ape is threatened by both a militant gorilla (Akins) and a tribe of still-intelligent mutant humans. Finally, simmering tensions dividing the primates erupt in an apocalyptic climax. When the smoke clears, the carnage is everywhere, but there is hope for a new beginning for man and ape.