Box art for Planet of the Apes (1968)

Planet of the Apes (1968)

action & adventure, drama, sci-fi & fantasy

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.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 12
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
1 out of 5
2 out of 5
Positive messages
1 out of 5
Positive role models
1 out of 5
2 out of 5
3 out of 5

Original Apes mixes smart sci-fi and fighting, sexy stuff.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Planet of the Apes is the original 1968 sci-fi movie that yielded five sequels (and counting), one remake, two TV series, as well as toys and games; it was extremely popular in its day and still has many fans. It's one of those rare sci-fi movies that's based on thoughtful ideas, but also contains fighting and action. Characters fire guns, a little blood is shown, and characters die. Humans are held prisoner and mistreated, and there's violent struggling. A decomposed corpse is shown in one shocking scene. Several male astronauts are naked (nothing sensitive shown) and sex is discussed. Language is mild, but contains uses of "God," "damn" and "hell." With the success of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and with the promise of new sequels coming, teen sci-fi fans may want to go back and watch this. Though the MPAA gave it a "G" at the time, it's probably the equivalent of a PG-13 film today.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. In what ways are the humans mistreated? Do you notice any similarities to how humans treat animals? What is the reason for the mistreatment?
  • The movie seems to suggest that science is better than blind faith. Do you agree? Is there a way the two can go together?
  • The movie's twist ending has become fairly famous. Did you know about it before watching the movie? How did it affect the story?
  • Who is a better role model: the human astronaut, or the ape scientists? Why?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: A film rich with unforgettable imagery, killer lines and physical thrills.

- Andrew Collins, Empire Magazine, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: A sci-fi classic that still holds up today and far surpasses Tim Burton's remake.

- Beth Accomando,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: It's all about the closing scene. Cool!

- Cole Smithey,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

3 stars

A classic that, unfortunately, does show its age, Planet of the Apes trucks with the big satires - think: Animal Farm - and is really about paradigm shifts and epistemological derivation of power in a society. It brings to mind especially the evolution vs. creation debates that some U.S. school boards are (somehow) still having. Charlton Heston borders on the ridiculous, but in another sense, this is an epic, like his other works - Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments - and so it requires that "big" approach. The ending is corny, but for the most part this is a well thought-out and valuable piece of speculative fiction, and a film I liked much more than its remake, which (unfortunately), I must now make myself rewatch.

- danperry17, Wednesday, May 9, 2012

4 stars

img]] Planet Of The Apes is a true science fiction movie classic that's intriguing political objection and interesting social commentary doesn't get in the way of engrossing drama and visually arresting action sequences. It never attacks you with it's debate or assault you with noisy gun fights, it's slow pacing and laid back attitude is the most likely cause of this but it's true purpose is to entertain and despite the pacing it never gets boring no matter how many times you see it.

- aquateen2, Friday, April 20, 2012

4 stars

As three scientists crash land on an unknown planet, they search for any living organism they can find in order to survive. However, they stumble upon something this is beyond anything they can imagine. They are now living among apes, who treat humans like humans treat animals. As ridiculous as the concept may seem, it feels real, due to Charlton Heston's great performance. This film is more of a realization and adventure film rather than an all out ape war with the title implies. I loved this film from beginning to end for not giving us gimmicks and sticking to a fantastically toned storyline. It's slow moving but extremely engaging and will have you on the edge of your seat at what is going to happen next. From action to adventure, from drama to science fiction, Planet of the Apes is an amazing film for it's time and should be remembered by everyone. This is a wonderful picture!

- fb733768972, Sunday, June 29, 2014