The War of the Worlds
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H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds had been on the Paramount Pictures docket since the silent era, when it was optioned as a potential Cecil B. DeMille production. When Paramount finally got around to a filming the Wells novel, the property was firmly in the hands of special-effects maestro George Pal. Like Orson Welles's infamous 1938 radio adaptation, the film eschews Wells's original Victorian England setting for a contemporary American locale, in this case Southern California. A meteorlike object crash-lands near the small town of Linda Rosa. Among the crowd of curious onlookers is… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"As the perfect crystallization of 50s ideology the film would be fascinating enough, but the special effects in this 1953 George Pal production also achieve a kind of dark, burnished apocalyptic beauty."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"Too bad about the wooden cast, the tackily conventional romance, and a draggy religious message; but at least, given the time it was made, it isn't imbued with Cold War hysteria."
‑ , Time Out
"Some grisly and scary parts. Not for young 'uns."
‑ Carly Kocurek, Common Sense Media
"Though it's bogged down by a stiff cast, a yawn-inspiring conventional romance, and a sappy religiosity, it remains a landmark in the history of special effects."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"This version has more soul than the remake."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"War of the Worlds is a socko science-fiction feature, as fearsome as a film as was the Orson Welles 1938 radio interpretation of the H.G. Wells novel."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"A half-century after its creation, the film's best moments are still so enjoyably unnerving that they easily carry a viewer through the necessary but inevitably dated exposition."
‑ Douglas Pratt, Hollywood Reporter
‑ Stefan Birgir Stefansson,
"For a movie that already succeeded in scaring the Grape Nehi out of every ten-year-old in the audience, how disquieting it must have been for the Cold War-agitated grownups to witness U.S. might, tanks and A-bombs alike, brushed away helpless..."
‑ Mark Bourne,
"...a so-called "classic" that couldn't possibly be more overrated."
‑ David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
"Mind those heat rays!"
‑ A.H. Weiler, New York Times
"Understandably well-remembered, but its status as a high classic seems more incidental than earned."
‑ Rob Humanick,
"Definitely a sci-fi classic from the 1950s...great George Pal effects."
‑ Steve Crum,
"peculiarly fifties-bound"
‑ Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central
"This is vintage Cold War-era sci-fi, and one of the best films in the genre."
‑ Christopher Null,
More reviews for The War of the Worlds on Rotten Tomatoes

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