Box art for The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Day the Earth Stood Still

action & adventure, drama, sci-fi & fantasy, thrillers

Celebrate 75 years of Sci-Fi from 20th Century Fox. An alien emissary gives a dramatic demonstration of power when he attempts to warn mankind about the folly of atomic experimentation.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 9
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
0 out of 5
Positive messages
4 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5
0 out of 5
3 out of 5

A sci-fi, pro-peace classic with some threats and violence.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that at the core of this film is the powerful, and potentially disturbing notion that because of Earth's volatility and war-addicted nature, the planet is in danger of self-destructing. The production is old-fashioned, with none of the gore, in-your-face brutality, or heavy realism seen in later science fiction movies. Government and military officials are shown as impulsive and violence-prone; in several action sequences, they threaten and shoot out of fear and without cause. There are tanks, all sorts of guns and weaponry and one character is shot on two separate occasions. An alien vaporizes threatening objects and demobilizes guards. In other suspense-filled moments the leads are seen running for their lives. Set in the 1950s many characters smoke.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about how the alien Klaatu brings the thought-provoking question of world peace to the screen, and how safe our world is today. How do you think alien visitors would be treated today, in the age of films such as Independence Day?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Iconic from the get-go.

- Bill Weber, Slant Magazine, Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Rotten: It is comforting, of course, to have it made plain that our planetary neighbors are much wiser and more peaceful than are we, but this makes for a tepid entertainment in what is anamolously labeled the science-fiction field.

- Bosley Crowther, New York Times, Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Fresh: Like most of Robert Wise's work, this slickly constructed 1951 science fiction film settles squarely in the middle of its genre, better than some and worse than others.

- Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader, Monday, June 4, 2007

Audience Reviews

5 stars

While this is not the definitive Science Fiction movie or the greatest movie ever made, the questions and topics it covers are astounding. Its got some great acting, a brilliant script and good directing. The visuals arent timeless, but they serve their purpose and get the job done. Klaatu and Gort are characters that everyone will remember and carry such weight in what they stand for. Im sure that in the 50s this was incredibly surreal and frightening, the Cold War aspect is perfect and way ahead of the social feelings of the time. Its a Sci-Fi classic and unforgettable.

- ythelastman89, Saturday, June 5, 2010

4 stars

"Klaatu barada nikto!" Robert Wise is best remembered for his two Oscar winning films 'The Sound of Music' and 'West Side Story'. Both of 'em popular musicals. First of all, I gotta say that I haven't seen that many of his films but 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' is my favourite one of 'em all. 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' is scifi at its best. At the same time a very good drama of the human society with an anti-war and anti-atom message. Wise has concentrated only on the main plot, which continues throughout the movie on an excellent pace. There are no unnecessary subplots or anything like that. The actors are very good in their roles especially the lead, Michael Rennie as Klaatu. His portrayal is calm and intelligent and at the same time very compassionate. His character has heart for mankind but will they listen to him? Another great part of the film is the score made by Bernard Herrmann, the genious behind the original scored of 'Citizen Kane', 'Vertigo', 'Psycho', 'North by Northwest', 'Cape Fear' and 'Taxi Driver'. A very melodic, unique and hypnotizing score. Sweet music for the ears! 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' is a true classic and highly recommended to all. But a warning to you all, do not even expect the same recommendations for its unnecessary 2008 remake starring Keanu Reeves. Why cant the filmmakers leave the classics alone? But do enjoy this original!

- TheMachinist, Saturday, May 29, 2010

5 stars

One of the top 10 sci-fi films of all time? Yeah, I think probably so. Michael Rennie gives a wonderful and nicely nuanced performanced as Klaatu, an alien who gomes to Earth with a protector robot named Gort to deliver an antiwar message to the people of Earth. This movie could have been totally campy, but it takes a serious approach, which I appreciate. It actually feels like a super extended episode of The Twilight Zone, which is a massive compliment. Surprisingly, the movie isn't overly preachy, and has a high entertainment factor. The music by Bernard Herrmann is simply magnificent, and is some of his best and most memorable work, which is saying quite a lot considering what other film scores he composed. Hands down this is one of the most important and influential films of the 1950s. Do yourself a favor and see it.

- cosmo313, Monday, March 29, 2010