War Of The Worlds

Theatrical Release: August 26, 1953
DVD Release: November 1, 2005
War Of The Worlds


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.

Dove Review

This is considered a classic for a reason. The special effects were ground-breaking for its day, and the story is top notch. When visitors from Mars land on earth and probe its surroundings, they turn their space ship’s deadly ray on the earthlings, with the intent of taking over since they have run into survival problems on their own planet. Earth’s greatest scientists attempt to figure out a way to stop them when the military fails and it becomes clear they are outmatched. Just as it looks like all hope is lost, a professor comes up with what might be earth’s final hope. Will his idea work and will it be in time?

There are some scenes of violence and death and disintegration in the movie, but nothing graphic enough to cross our level of acceptability in the violence category. This film may very well encourage the viewer to use his/her imagination in pondering other civilizations in other galaxies. We are pleased to award this movie our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal.

Content Description

Sex: None
Language: None
Violence: Aliens initially attack three men with a ray and soon their ashen images are all that are left; cars are destroyed by fire; a pastor is disintegrated by aliens; several people are killed by alien's ray but no blood is seen; the military strikes back but can't penetrate the Martian ships; a fuzzy skeleton is seen for an instant as one man is vaporized; a horse and houses are destroyed; a Martian's blood is studied; an A-Bomb is dropped but to no avail; a few brief scenes of men on fire with some screams but it is not graphic and is very brief; object thrown through store window; a character has a little blood on face; people loot city.
Drugs: A man smokes a pipe; drinking.
Nudity: None
Other: A pastor quotes the 23rd Psalm; people sing and pray in church as they hope for a miracle.


Company: Paramount Home Entertainment
Writer: H.G. Wells and Barré Lyndon
Director: Byron Haskin
Producer: George Pal
Genre: Science-Fiction
Runtime: 85 min.
Industry Rating: Not Rated
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter