The War of the Worlds

Directed By

GSci-FiThriller /  / Aug 13, 1953 (New York)

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After the success of 1950's Destination Moon and 1951's When Worlds Collide, visionary producer George Pal brought the classic H.G. Wells story of a Martian invasion to the big screen, and it instantly became a science fiction classic and winner of the 1953 Academy Award for Best Special Effects. It's a work of frightening imagination, with its manta-ray spaceships armed with cobra-like probes that shoot a white-hot disintegration ray. As formations of alien ships continue to wreak destruction around the globe, the military is helpless to stop this enemy while scientists race to find an effective weapon. Gene Barry and Ann Robinson play the hero and heroine roles that were de rigueur for movies like this in the '50s, and their encounter with one of the Martians is as creepy today as it was in '53. It finally takes an unseen threat--simple Earth bacteria--to conquer the alien invaders, but not before War of the Worlds has provided a dazzling display of impressive special effects. As memorable for its sound effects as for its spectacular visions of destruction, this is a movie for the ages--the kind of spectacular that inspired little kids such as Steven Spielberg (not to mention Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, whose Independence Day cribs liberally from the plot) and still packs a punch.

The War of the Worlds won 1 Oscar at the
1954 Academy Awards