Planet of the Apes is an American science fiction media franchise consisting of films, books, television series, comics, and other media about a world in which humans and intelligent apes clash for control. The franchise is based on French author Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel La Planète des singes, translated into English as Planet of the Apes or Monkey Planet. Its 1968 film adaptation, Planet of the Apes, was a critical and commercial hit, initiating a series of sequels, tie-ins, and derivative works.
Four sequels followed the original film from 1970 to 1973: Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, and Battle for the Planet of the Apes. They did not approach the critical acclaim of the original, but were commercially successful, spawning two television series in 1974 and 1975. Plans for a film remake stalled in “development hell” for over ten years before Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes was released in 2001. A reboot film series commenced in 2011 with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which was followed by Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in 2014 and War for the Planet of the Apes in 2017. The films have grossed a total of over $2 billion worldwide, against a combined budget of $567.5 million. Along with further narratives in various media, franchise tie-ins include video games, toys, and planned theme park rides.
Planet of the Apes has received particular attention among film critics for its treatment of racial issues. Cinema and cultural analysts have also explored its Cold War and animal rights themes. The series has influenced subsequent films, media, and art, as well as popular culture and political discourse.
La Planète des singes, known in English as Planet of the Apes in the US and Monkey Planet in the UK, is a 1963 science fiction novel by French author Pierre Boulle, author of Bridge on the River Kwai. It was adapted into the 1968 film Planet of the Apes, launching the Planet of the Apes media franchise.
The novel tells the tale of three human explorers from Earth who visit a planet orbiting the star Betelgeuse, in which great apes are the dominant intelligent and civilised species, whereas humans are reduced to a savage animal-like state.
The novel was published in France in 1963 by René Julliard Publishing. The first English language version was published in the United States by Vanguard Press in June 1963 under the title Planet of the Apes. In January 1964, it was published in the United Kingdom as Monkey Planet, then re-issued as Planet of the Apes in August 1973 to tie it in to the film franchise it inspired. The first paperback edition was published in the US in March 1964.
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Released April 21, 1968 (UK); April 3, 1968 (US)
Somewhere in the universe there must be something better than man. In a matter of time, an astronaut will wing through the centuries and find the answer. He may find the most terrifying one of all on the planet where apes are the rulers and man the beast.
Planet of the Apes is an American science fiction film starring Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly and Linda Harrison. The screenplay was loosely based on the 1963 French novel La Planète des Singes by Pierre Boulle. Jerry Goldsmith composed the groundbreaking avant-garde score [Listen on Spotify]. It was the first in a series of five films made between 1968 and 1973, all produced by Arthur P. Jacobs and released by 20th Century Fox.
The film tells the story of an astronaut crew who crash-lands on a strange planet in the distant future. Although the planet appears desolate at first, the surviving crew members stumble upon a society in which apes have evolved into creatures with human-like intelligence and speech. The apes have assumed the role of the dominant species and humans are mute creatures wearing animal skins.
The script was originally written by Rod Serling (The Twilight Zone), but underwent many rewrites before filming eventually began. Directors J. Lee Thompson and Blake Edwards were approached, but the film’s producer Arthur P. Jacobs, upon the recommendation of Charlton Heston, chose Franklin J. Schaffner to direct the film. Schaffner’s changes included an ape society less advanced—and therefore less expensive to depict—than that of the original novel.
The film was released in 1968 and was a commercial success. The film was groundbreaking for its prosthetic makeup techniques by artist John Chambers and was well received by critics and audiences.
- Charlton Heston as George Taylor
- Roddy McDowall as Cornelius
- Kim Hunter as Zira
- Maurice Evans as Dr. Zaius
- James Whitmore as President of the Assembly
- James Daly as Honorious
- Linda Harrison as Nova
- Lou Wagner as Lucius