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      Invasion of the Body Snatchers

      Released Feb 5, 1956 1h 20m Sci-Fi Horror List
      98% Tomatometer 59 Reviews 85% Audience Score 10,000+ Ratings In Santa Mira, California, Dr. Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) is baffled when all his patients come to him with the same complaint: their loved ones seem to have been replaced by emotionless impostors. Despite others' dismissive denials, Dr. Bennell, his former girlfriend Becky (Dana Wynter) and his friend Jack (King Donovan) soon discover that the patients' suspicions are true: an alien species of human duplicates, grown from plant-like pods, is taking over the small town. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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      Invasion of the Body Snatchers

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      Critics Consensus

      One of the best political allegories of the 1950s, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is an efficient, chilling blend of sci-fi and horror.

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      Critics Reviews

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      Kevin Maher Times (UK) "You fools! You're in danger! Can't you see? They're after you! They're after all of us!" It's one of the greatest lines in sci-fi movie history, from one of the greatest films, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Rated: 4/5 Dec 4, 2014 Full Review Jonathan Romney Observer (UK) Watch it in the cinema and you'll find yourself gazing warily at everyone else in your row. Rated: 5/5 Nov 2, 2014 Full Review Peter Bradshaw Guardian A movie that can claim kinship with Alberto Cavalcanti's Went the Day Well? as well as The Matrix and Under the Skin. Rated: 5/5 Oct 30, 2014 Full Review Carson Timar ButteredPopcorn Even today, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a rather wonderful alien thriller. Carrying both a devilish tension and undeniable charm, the film pulls audiences in with both great characters and filmmaking. Sep 22, 2022 Full Review Kimberly Pierce Ticklish Business A dive into Invasion of the Body Snatchers shows how special this movie is... Whether it be though an examinations of the pods as a metaphor for communism, or... the downside of consumerism... this movie is a riveting example of timely 1950s cinema. Rated: 4.5/5 May 1, 2022 Full Review Eddie Harrison ...the rising terror of the nightmare depicted here is very much in tune with 2021's on-going state of fear and loathing between previously trusting neighbours... Rated: 4/5 Oct 28, 2021 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      Dave It was a blast to see this classic film on the big screen. It's a perfect creepy movie for Halloween season. I would have given the review five stars but the theater I saw it in chose to turn on the lights during the last five minutes of the film which ruined the atmosphere completely. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 10/18/22 Full Review Matthew B The action of Invasion of the Body Snatchers does not take place in a dream, but it does raise fears about undergoing a transformation while asleep. It is during their sleep that the inhabitants of the town of Santa Mira are turned into pod people and lose their human identity. Suddenly sleep has become a threat and not a relief. Even the romantic line that the movie's hero, Dr Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) quotes to Becky Driscoll (Dana Wynter) is from A Midsummer Night's Dream, a Shakespeare play in which characters are transformed in their sleep ("I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows, Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows."). The notion of a small town under threat was a popular notion in cinema for many decades. In Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the threat is an alien one. Sea pods floating in space have landed on earth, and they have the capacity to absorb the identity of humans. Dr Bennell is the local practitioner in Santa Mira. The town is so small that he knows everybody, a point that later adds a tragic scale to events, as he is able to observe the activities from a hiding place and name every one of the people who have been replaced, and who are now working against the human race. With Invasion of the Body Snatchers, director Don Siegel demonstrated that sci-fi could be visually compelling without the need for special-effects. Only $15,000 was spent on effects. Indeed only $416,911 was spent on the whole movie, although it took in a generous $3 million at the box office. This may explain the absence of star names. Kevin McCarthy was an actor given to exaggerated performances, though that made him well-suited to this role. Most of the other cast members are not really known for appearing in other movies. Nonetheless Invasion of the Body Snatchers contains images that stay in the mind, even though no large sum of money was needed to film them. The scenes that stay with me are the duplicates emerging from the pods, the entire town chasing our heroes on foot, a field of agricultural workers harvesting pods and putting them onto trucks while gentle music plays, and a kiss that turns into one of most terrifying kisses in screen history. Did the pod people ruin Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Last-minute changes were made to the movie before it was released to the wider audiences. The studio was not too happy when test audiences laughed too much at the film, and the film was edited as a result. In the process it lost much of its humour and humanity, according to the film's producer, Walter Wanger. There is a certain irony in the thought that the studio removed the very qualities that might be seen as separating the human race from the pod people. It might seem as if some of the company executives were themselves ‘pod people', lacking appreciation of the warmer and funnier aspects of the film. Nonetheless the film is tense, nightmarish and gripping, and it is one of the best science-fiction movies of its decade. I wrote a longer appreciation of Invasion of the Body Snatchers on my blog page if you would like to read more: Rated 5 out of 5 stars 08/25/23 Full Review David F A solid Science Fiction B-Movie from the 50s with a story and plot that offers up many possible allegorical interpretations. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 08/23/23 Full Review Leaburn O Remains to this day an exciting, fast paced sci-fi thriller. Fairly predictable and the ending is incredibly abrupt but it was really fun to watch. Had to buy this one on prime as DVDs were overpriced and not shown on the or free streaming in the UK. Was really pleased to have finally had a chance to see this classic that made it into AFI's top ten sci fi films. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 08/09/23 Full Review Steve D Effectively creepy and still works today. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 07/03/23 Full Review Mike P I seem to remember reading where Don Siegel et al. wanted to do a sci-fi movie with NO special effects. Where it was all psychological. Almost as a challenge, like, could they pull that off. And why they chose this, which was Jack Finney's serialized rip-off of Robert Heinlin's 1951 classic The Puppet Masters, is anyone's guess. This was, as stated, a magazine version of the story, not yet printed as a novel. And it was thought of as a ripoff, it wasn't very respected. So why make this and not the original? Maybe they thought it would be easier to adapt a lower profile property; it would be more malleable; they could change more. I just researched it and I guess Heinlen occasionally inserted nudism and other shocking subject matter like promiscuous sexuality and incest into his stories. There's also rumors that he was a swinger, and was also a bit of a fascist. I'm not saying this is true, but this is what people believed about him; that was the perception. And maybe all that was thought of as unacceptable, that might have scared the studio heads off; which is why they chose the ripoff to remake. Ironically, in 1978s Invasion of the Body Snatchers Brooke Adams walks out of the giant pod factory at the ending nude, when she is trying to track down Matthew and expose him. This is probably a nod to the Robert Heinlin original and his whole ouvre! Who knows all the reasoning behind all this stuff; decisions that were made way back in 1952... But the point is they did an excellent rendition of this imposter takeover story. Starting with the title- the "Invasion of...." was a nice touch. It rolls of the tongue better and has more of a poetry and a rhythm to it than just "Body Snatchers". And then the story as it unfolds is just supremely effective. And by de-emphasizing special effects and by focusing more on the psychological thriller aspects of it, it somehow seems classier; more serious. (I think that was the point). And it's aged alot better than alot of it's contemporary sci-fi epics like 1951s "The Thing From Another World" which hadn't aged well at all. Or "Forbidden Planet" from 1956, which seems pretty campy these days. Overall very scarey, very intense sci-fi story, and super influential... I mean think of how many movies and tv shows have ripped off this what has become a classic sci-fi trope. And Kevin McCarthy is superb. The other actors really aren't on his level unfortunately. The score by Carmen Dragon is also excellent. I mean it's sort of overwrought with alot of old fashioned "dun-dun!!!" moments. And yet it works. Very well. It does make you feel tense and a little frightened. The worst thing that can be said about this is that while Don Siegel put together a very respectable version of Jack Finney's sci-fi classic novel, this doesn't even hold a candle to the 1978 remake which is just stunning. (I remember Siskel and Ebert reviewed the remake in 1978, and Ebert said, "Why did they remake Invasion of the Body Snatchers". As if you could not improve upon perfection with the original. And I'm thinking "Are you even kidding??!" There's no comparison. The original's a goofy sci-fi story; the second one is an amazing horror classic). But it's not really this movie's fault that the remake was just exponentially better. Sci-fi movies weren't taken seriously back then; it would have been hard to get everyone on board for a super serious, ambitious, adult allegory type sci-fi movie. Back then this is as good as it got, this and The Day The Earth Stood Still. It wasn't until Stanley Kubrick broke through with the amazing 2001: A Space Odyssey when it was proved that Sci Fi movies could be serious, A List Oscar fare, like one of the best movies ever. But this original is a still good, entertaining sci-fi flick. Schlocky, silly and intense fun. Recommended Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 05/14/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis In Santa Mira, California, Dr. Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) is baffled when all his patients come to him with the same complaint: their loved ones seem to have been replaced by emotionless impostors. Despite others' dismissive denials, Dr. Bennell, his former girlfriend Becky (Dana Wynter) and his friend Jack (King Donovan) soon discover that the patients' suspicions are true: an alien species of human duplicates, grown from plant-like pods, is taking over the small town.
      Don Siegel
      Walter Wanger
      Daniel Mainwaring
      Production Co
      Walter Wanger Productions, Inc.
      Sci-Fi, Horror
      Original Language
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Feb 5, 1956, Original
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Oct 1, 2016
      1h 20m
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