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Planet of the Apes Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 12 & under

Original Apes mixes smart sci-fi and fighting, sexy stuff.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Planet of the Apes is the original 1968 sci-fi movie that yielded five sequels (and counting), one remake, two TV series, as well as toys and games; it was extremely popular in its day and still has many fans. It's one of those rare sci-fi movies that's based on thoughtful ideas, but also contains fighting and action. Characters fire guns, a little blood is shown, and characters die. Humans are held prisoner and mistreated, and there's violent struggling. A decomposed corpse is shown in one shocking scene. Several male astronauts are naked (nothing sensitive shown) and sex is discussed. Language is mild, but contains uses of "God," "damn" and "hell." With the success of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and with the promise of new sequels coming, teen sci-fi fans may want to go back and watch this. Though the MPAA gave it a "G" at the time, it's probably the equivalent of a PG-13 film today.

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. In what ways are the humans mistreated? Do you notice any similarities to how humans treat animals? What is the reason for the mistreatment?
  • The movie seems to suggest that science is better than blind faith. Do you agree? Is there a way the two can go together?
  • The movie's twist ending has become fairly famous. Did you know about it before watching the movie? How did it affect the story?
  • Who is a better role model: the human astronaut, or the ape scientists? Why?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: The movie raises questions about faith versus science, and suggests that science is the more open-minded path. But it's also a cautionary tale that raises the question: What could man have done to wipe himself out? It also suggests that cruelty due to ignorance is a bad thing.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: The human hero never seems to learn much of anything, but the two ape scientists learn to become enthusiastic about the possibility of communicating with another type of creature. They realize that communication is better than ignorance.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: In a scary scene, a female astronaut dies and decays in her stasis chamber, which malfunctions. Other characters die. The apes shoot guns. The hero's throat is wounded, rendering him unable to speak for a time. A little blood is shown. The apes keep humans as prisoners. The humans are sometimes mistreated, though not exactly tortured. A human and an ape have a hands-on fight in a cage, and there is a great deal of arguing, struggling, and chasing.

  • sex false2

    Sex: The male astronauts go swimming and lose their clothes. They run through the jungle naked, though nothing sensitive is shown. The main character is given a "mate," (a female human who does not speak), and he talks about all the "lovers" he had back on earth. He mentions a female astronaut, who died during the journey and was supposed to be the "new Eve."

  • language false2

    Language: Language is not very frequent, but includes "Goddamn," "oh my God," "hell" and several uses of "damn," including the famous line: "Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!"

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Charlton Heston's character smokes a cigar in an early scene.