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It Came From Outer Space

G Released May 25, 1953 1h 21m Sci-Fi List
81% Tomatometer 31 Reviews 55% Audience Score 2,500+ Ratings
While looking through his telescope one night, John Putnam (Richard Carlson) sees what at first appears to be a meteor shower -- but it is actually a crash-landing alien spaceship! After investigating the crater from the impact, John informs the town sheriff (Charles Drake), and receives nothing but ridicule. Even his fiancée, Ellen (Barbara Rush), is skeptical. All that changes when the townsfolk start disappearing, and are replaced by eerie alien duplicates. Read More Read Less
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It Came From Outer Space

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Critics Consensus

It Came From Outer Space is a pulpy-but-effective psychological sci-fi picture, with a provocative message about xenophobia.

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Critics Reviews

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Variety Picture has been smartly fashioned to take advantage of all the tricks of science-fiction and 3-D. May 29, 2007 Full Review Jonathan Rosenbaum Chicago Reader [A] scary black-and-white SF effort from 1953. May 29, 2007 Full Review A.H. Weiler New York Times Merely mildly diverting, not stupendous. Rated: 2.5/5 Oct 31, 2006 Full Review Kevin Carr Fat Guys at the Movies A rather simplified Cold War cautionary tale about xenophobia that doesn’t handle itself nearly as well as other classics of its time. Rated: 2.5/4 Oct 6, 2023 Full Review Sean Axmaker Stream on Demand ... one of the more optimistic movies about visitors from the stars, and in its way was an inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s 'E.T.' Nov 6, 2022 Full Review Clyde Gilmour Maclean's Magazine Except for the gimmick value of fairly good 3-D photography and the reassuring thought that other planets may not want to destroy Earth, this is a quite conventional specimen of science fiction on the screen. Dec 3, 2019 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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Steve D OK but it hasn't aged as well as some. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 04/06/24 Full Review Brian R Unfortunately this was the colorized mess … absolutely horrible color job … why why why - idiotic waste Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/18/24 Full Review Sean D Trying to solve the mystery with the main character was fun throughout the movie. Great music to the movie. However, the Third act drug out a bit. Good watch! Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 10/03/23 Full Review Matthew B It Came from Outer Space is unusual among 1950s science-fiction movies concerning extra-terrestrial visits. The aliens are not well-intentioned like Klaatu from The Day the Earth Stood Still, but nor are they hostile invaders like most aliens of the period (The War of the Worlds, Invaders from Mars, The Thing from Another World, the Quatermass movies etc). The aliens land on Earth for one reason only. They are stopping to make repairs. Like many sci-fi movies, It Came from Outer Space is set in an isolated location where the locals are cut off from immediate help in a crisis. The setting is a small desert town in Arizona. The heat is unbearable, and will play a part in stoking tensions. There are only a small number of supporting characters. A hot-headed sheriff (who is secretly in love with the heroine), a doctor and a journalist are among the stock characters that we see. The story's main focus is on an astronomer called John Putnam (Richard Carlson), who is the familiar open-minded and humane scientist hero. He has a girlfriend, Ellen Fields (Barbara Rush), who occupies the traditional female role in sci-fi films of the age. She cooks for Putnam. She likes astrology rather than astronomy. The couple are enjoying time together as Putnam watches the stars when they see an extraordinary sight. A fiery item plummets from the sky and lands in the desert. This was the a time when 3D effects were popular, so director Jack Arnold used mirrors to create the illusion that it is heading straight for the screen. Believing it to be a meteor, Putnam is eager to investigate. However when he arrives at the crater, he is in for a shock. As he climbs down into the pit, he discovers that the meteor is in fact a spacecraft. One of the movie's most memorable images shows the figure of Putnam dwarfed by the ship. He briefly sees a figure moving around inside the entrance to the craft. Unfortunately a rock slide buries the spaceship before he can see anything else, and he finds that nobody is willing to believe his story. This was the age of Cold War paranoia, and the attitude of the locals towards the aliens is indicative of the xenophobia of the age. I use the word xenophobia advisedly. The townsfolk are not merely bigoted. Their behaviour is inspired by fear. The inhabitants seem suspicious of anybody who is not like themselves, including Putnam. A town that is frightened by an astronomer is hardly a place that is likely to behave well in the face of a mysterious alien visitation. Before long the hot-headed sheriff is leading a posse against the aliens that looks suspiciously like a lynch mob, and Putnam is desperately trying to mediate between the scared townsfolk and the beleaguered aliens. None of the 1950s sci-fi directors etched a reputation as great as Arnold though. He was a director of strict limitations. He made little attempt to direct his actors, other than telling them where to stand. However he was working within a limited budget with the best actors he could get, and there was no time to finesse his movies, or smooth out the rough edges. Instead he built up a great sense of suspense, and used special effects that were reasonably convincing for their day. It Came from Outer Space was possibly the best of Arnold's movies (a case could be made for The Incredible Shrinking Man too). The alien outfits may not bear close scrutiny, but Arnold wisely keeps shots of them to a minimum. He concentrates on building suspense in other ways. He is able to frame certain shots perfectly to create a sense of awe in the viewer. The best of them is Putnam's first encounter with the spacecraft, the only time we get a good look at it. Arnold frequently jolts the viewer with false alarms – a Joshua tree lours in the gloom making us look twice; Putnam jumps when someone touches his arm, but it is only Ellen; we get an alien POV and a hand touches Ellen's shoulder, but the hand belongs to someone who looks like George; a child in a space suit frightens Ellen when she opens the door. An eerie alien effect is created by the use of theremin music, a common device in sci-fi and horror movies. Arnold was also lucky to have the involvement of the great science-fiction author Ray Bradbury in the project. How much of Bradbury's original treatment of the story remains in the final film, I am uncertain, but there are occasional passages of dialogue that bear the unmistakable lyricism of Bradbury's writing style. While It Came from Outer Space did not contain friendly aliens, it did at least contain sympathetic ones, thereby pointing the way forward to later movies where the possibility of alien visitations would not prove to be a threat to the human race. Spielberg cited it as an influence on his movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. What makes It Came from Outer Space different for its time is its ability to trade on Cold war fears without succumbing to them. I wrote a longer appreciation of It Came from Outer Space on my blog page if you would like to read more: https://themoviescreenscene.wordpress.com/2019/08/18/it-came-from-outer-space-1953/ Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 08/25/23 Full Review RF J A real fan of B movies as a kid watching with my oldest Sister. It is so wonderful that Barbara Rush & Kathleen Hughes(sexy blond) are still with us today in their 90s whereas the Boys have passed on. I keep this movie on my list so I can watch it repeatedly along with a newer one" Alien Trespass" Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 06/23/23 Full Review Shaheed B Not much actually happens in this movie, they keep going back and forth to the same places over and over. The aliens doesn't actually kill anyone so I can't really say it's a horror movie, and when you actually get to see the actual alien costume fully, it looks like googly eyes on a thumb haha! Why does the actor look like John Cena in some scenes? The cinematography is good, it's very clear and you can see everything clearly besides the shots of the aliens infront of the car, but what is up with that point of view of the alike through their eye, even if they didn't have that effects we would have gotten the point. The sound is good, its very aged but it's clear. The story isn't that great, which is actually going to drop my rating a little, I feel like it was pointless watching this movie by the end. I wasn't satisfied at the turn out. I actually think this movie need to be redone, just to be more intense especially with the aliens taking over. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 10/25/22 Full Review Read all reviews
It Came From Outer Space

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Cast & Crew

It Came From Outer Space

It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - All We Needed Was Time It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - All We Needed Was Time 3:50 It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - Crash Landing It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - Crash Landing 2:47 It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - First Contact It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - First Contact 2:30 It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - They'll Be Back It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - They'll Be Back 1:06 It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - Don't Be Afraid It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - Don't Be Afraid 3:09 It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - Anti-Alien Posse It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - Anti-Alien Posse 1:31 It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - Stalked by Cosmic Evil It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - Stalked by Cosmic Evil 2:08 It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - Alien Avalanche It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - Alien Avalanche 2:06 It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - Incognito Abduction It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - Incognito Abduction 1:13 It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - Resorting to Violence It Came From Outer Space: Official Clip - Resorting to Violence 1:53 View more videos
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Movie Info

Synopsis While looking through his telescope one night, John Putnam (Richard Carlson) sees what at first appears to be a meteor shower -- but it is actually a crash-landing alien spaceship! After investigating the crater from the impact, John informs the town sheriff (Charles Drake), and receives nothing but ridicule. Even his fiancée, Ellen (Barbara Rush), is skeptical. All that changes when the townsfolk start disappearing, and are replaced by eerie alien duplicates.
Director
Jack Arnold
Producer
William Alland
Screenwriter
Ray Bradbury, Harry Essex
Distributor
Universal Pictures, GoodTimes Home Video [us], Universal International Pictures
Production Co
Universal International Pictures
Rating
G
Genre
Sci-Fi
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
May 25, 1953, Original
Release Date (Streaming)
Sep 10, 2015
Runtime
1h 21m
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