Day the Earth Stood Still

Day the Earth Stood Still

4.7 32
Director: Robert Wise

Cast: Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe


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Though dated in many ways, The Day the Earth Stood Still is still a classic of the science fiction genre, and Fox obviously recognizes that with a wonderful DVD release. The image restoration shines through as this full-frame transfer looks better than ever. Detail is exact, as well are shadows. The black-and-white photography has superb depth and contrast…  See more details below


Though dated in many ways, The Day the Earth Stood Still is still a classic of the science fiction genre, and Fox obviously recognizes that with a wonderful DVD release. The image restoration shines through as this full-frame transfer looks better than ever. Detail is exact, as well are shadows. The black-and-white photography has superb depth and contrast throughout. Only some minor imperfections are evident, but there's never a significant distraction. Unfortunately, the audio is the weakest element of this disc. Both the mono and stereo English Dolby Digital tracks are recorded far too low, though the stereo track does have a slightly wider field. Considering how revered this film is, it's little surprise that it's been given the special-edition treatment, though many of the supplements are taken from the 1995 laserdisc release. The disc is divided over two sides, the first with the film and a fine interview/scene-specific commentary, hosted by director Nicholas Meyer, with Robert Wise, the director of this film. Also on this side, along with the theatrical trailer, is a 1951 newsreel with a short segment on this film. The second side of the disc contains some great material. First up is a 80-minute documentary that covers nearly every part of the production. It includes interviews with Wise, producer Julian Blaustein, actress Patricia Neal, and many others. Another real plus is a comparison between the many restorations this film has had, from 1993, 1995, and 2002; it goes to show you what care went into releasing this definitive DVD edition. Finally, along with a couple of other Fox genre titles, One Million Years B.C. and Journey to the Center of the Earth, is an extensive gallery section. Unlike most galleries though, this one is a real treasure, since it includes the complete script of the film, blueprints, posters, production photos, and much more. This is a fine disc that complements a great film.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Greg Kalleres
"Klaatu, Barada, Nikto." This phrase rings bells for all fans of American science fiction, as it is so crucial to salvation in the 1951 classic The Day the Earth Stood Still. A landmark in 20th-century sci-fi, the film follows an alien named Klaatu (Michael Rennie) who travels millions of miles to earth to deliver a message of universal peace. Paranoia breeds irony, however, and the ignorant humans are so frightened by the alien that they aim to capture him, that is until Klaatu arranges for a worldwide shutdown of electricity, or a "stand still." Costarring Sam Jaffe (Ben-Hur) and Patricia Neal (Hud) as Klaatu's benevolent human conspirators, the film benefits from intelligent direction by Oscar-winner Robert Wise (The Sound of Music), who helped to establish the social mores of '50s sci-fi -- atomic consciousness, cold war anxiety, and theremin music. The Day is still a thoroughly influential film 50 years later, and prime evidence is Sam Rami's Army of Darkness, which features Bruce Campbell's hilarious send-up, "Klaatu, Barada, Nikkhuharshenhar."
All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
At a time when science fiction on film had yet to work itself out of its bug-eyed monsters period, The Day the Earth Stood Still was a dramatic step forward for the genre. Intelligently written and directed, well-crafted, and boasting a top-notch cast in good form, it was a class act all the way, as well as one of the first Hollywood films to take the idea of extraterrestrial visitors seriously (if not as a practical reality, at least as an interesting metaphor). Klaatu, as played by Michael Rennie, was that rare alien invader who wanted to save us from ourselves, and Rennie gives the character an intelligence, compassion, and strength that make him seem a lot more human than many of the earthlings he encounters, while Sam Jaffe, Patricia Neal, and Billy Gray manage to prove that not all the Earth people are violent, brain-dead slobs. Director Robert Wise and his crew create an admirable sense of tension and awestruck wonder in the wake of Klaatu's arrival (many later films with higher budgets failed to capture the magic of the spaceship landing in Washington, D.C., or the towering mystery of Klaatu's robot assistant Gort), and, at a time when Cold War paranoia was at its height, The Day the Earth Stood Still carried a strong pro-disarmament message that was quite brave for its day. The film's message remains pertinent today, and, as entertainment, its intelligence, warmth, and solid filmcraft make it an enduring classic of its kind.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
[stereo, monaural, THX-Supervised Mastering]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Audio commentary by Robert Wise & Nicolas Meyer; 70-minute "Making the Earth Stand Still" documentary; Movietone newsreel (1951); Restoration comparison; 5 still galleries; Shooting script; Theatrical trailer; Full-frame format (aspect ratio 1.33:1); Audio: English stereo, English mono, French mono, Spanish mono; Subtitles: English, Spanish

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Michael Rennie Klaatu
Patricia Neal Helen Benson
Hugh Marlowe Tom Stevens
Sam Jaffe Dr. Barnhardt
Billy Gray Bobby Benson
Frances Bavier Mrs. Barley
Lock Martin Gort
Drew Pearson Himself
H.V. Kaltenborn Himself
Bobby Gray Actor
Harry Harvey Taxi Driver
Marshall Bradford Newscaster
Stuart Whitman Actor
Frank Conroy Harley
Carleton Young Colonel
Fay Roope Major General
Edith Evanson Mrs. Crockett
Robert Osterloh Major White
Tyler McVey Brady
James Seay Government Man
John Brown Mr. Bradley
Marjorie Crossland Hilda
House Peters MP Captain
Rush Williams MP Sergeant
Olan Soule Mr. Krull
Gil Herman Government Agent
James Craven Businessman
Harry Lauter Platoon Leader
Wheaton Chambers Jeweler
Dorothy Neumann Barnhardt's Secretary
George Lynn Col. Ryder
Freeman Lusk Gen. Cutler
John Burton British Radio MC

Technical Credits
Robert Wise Director
Julian Blaustein Producer
Claude E. Carpenter Set Decoration/Design
Addison Hehr Art Director
Bernard Herrmann Score Composer
Arthur L. Kirbach Sound/Sound Designer
Harry M. Leonard Sound/Sound Designer
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Edmund H. North Screenwriter
Ben Nye Makeup
William H. Reynolds Editor
Fred Sersen Special Effects
Leo Tover Cinematographer
William Travilla Costumes/Costume Designer
Lyle Wheeler Art Director
Darryl F. Zanuck Executive Producer

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Scene Index

Side #1 -- Side A
1. Main Titles
2. A Fast Bogey
3. A Spaceship
4. A Spaceman
5. Examination
6. A New Tenant
7. Seeing the Sights
8. Visiting Professor Barnhardt
9. Curious About Carpenter
10. In the Spaceship
11. Carpenter's Confession
12. The Military Takes Over
13. Three Little Words
14. Goat's Task
15. Addressing Earth
Side #2 -- Side B
1. Main Titles
2. An Interesting Script
3. Casting
4. The Robot
5. The Gentle Giant
6. Art Direction
7. The Score
8. Grabbing the Audience
9. The Perfect Title
10. The Sneak Previews
11. Not Like the Other Movies
12. Political Overtones
13. Something Important to Say
14. A Classic Film
15. The Collectors


Customer Reviews

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The Day the Earth Stood Still 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
jvolstad More than 1 year ago
A great Blu-Ray DVD with 30% off at the store, 10% off with my member discount, and 15% off with my BN coupon that I received in the mail. I found it amusing watching the docs at Walter Reed smoking away. High def Black and White was very impressive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Still a great movie.  A little too long of a preview, but not a problem.
AlchemystAZ More than 1 year ago
Please watch this one and not the awful Keanu remake (which ruined the whole idea). Maybe the Biblical Carpenter will be pleased.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
First of the really good ones, with good acting and a serious moral to the story. A true Must Have for all collectors of ''The Essentials''.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A true original in Sci Fi: good acting for the time, great story with intellect, and an alien that is a mix of ''Father Knows Best'' with ''It's a Wonderful Life''. While it was filmed in the formative years of Sci Fi with its limitations, it truly is one of my favorite movies.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first saw this movie back in the 60's and have watched it repeatedly since then and have yet to tire of it. It is truly a movie to see over and over again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best Sci Fi film ever made...other films may have more modern special effects...but this film is solid with a great cast and just the right amount of effects. Worth the watch.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This has to be one of the best sci-fi movies ever. I've always loved this movie. I've got it on VHS, and I've watched it so many times, I ''swear'' it's going to wear out....
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was the prototypical 50's film. BUT the ending was ''unsuitable'' for a U.S. audience of the time. The studio then changed the ending to the OPPOSITE of the author's story. Why it continues to be a ''classic'' is a mystery. Maybe in the ''extra material'' they explain, but that doesn't save it. I read the story when it first came out (a long time ago), and when I saw the movie I was shocked to see what they had done. Love it at your own risk, because the author wrote a powerful story that was butchered for ''commercial'' reasons.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Performance by all actors was terrific! Clearly a Cold War film. I'm in my fifties and, unfortunately, the next youngest generation has NO idea what I mean by, 'Klatu, barrada, nicto!' I find that amusing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I always found it strange that the military left just two boneheaded men to guard the ship and Gort. Then, when they get knocked out by Gort, guess what? STILL, only two are left to guard the most incredible event in human history. Alas, such was the state of 50's Scif-fi. Does this make it a bad movie? Not really. It gave new sensibilities to the way we looked at fantastic fiction and Sci-Fi. Still, the end result remains one of fascism, albeit for alturistic reasons. This theme has been sung many tunes over the years, but this film remains a cornerstone in forming a more enlightened, yet controversial esthetic. It truly is a classic. Klaatu Barada Nikto!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Awsome, superior to a lot of other sci-fi films. Not as good as Forbidden Planet, but sooooooooo close.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My father forced me to watch this film when I was younger, and now even in my 20's I still thank him for it. Even when I was a child the graphics were outdated but it forces you to pay attention to the story. If possible have your children watch this film because to this day it still gives me a warm feeling to say to my father with a wink, "Gort, klaatu barrada nikto"
Guest More than 1 year ago
Suprisingly, and refreshingly this film avoids all the UFO cliches in exchange for something more important. America's massive hysteria over UFO's is deflated and asked to be replaced with a much more reasonable scenario. The outcome is a movie that is compelling and engrossing!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a Sci Fi buff, this is a classic!!! The message Klatu delivered was poignant, and can easily compared to what is transpiring with current world affairs.
Cyclestone More than 1 year ago
One of the greatest sci fi movies ever made. A tremendous movie for it's day. The new one starring Keanu Reeves, regardless of how good it is, will never measure up to the original.
tito More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best SciFi movies ever made. The idea is excellent, acting was great, special effects were good at that time. It was just a really good movie and I do recommend it. The remake probably sucked major butt, with Keanu Reeves' terrible acting. Watch the old one on cable and save a few bucks, it'll be worth it.
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