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Movies about Mars often tell us more about ourselves than Mars. Most of these movies were made during the Cold War and as such reflect a feeling of fear and paranoia about the unknown.
This information was obtained from several sources including: Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide and The VideoHound's Movie Guide.
The data is in the following format:
Title, Country of origin, Date, Rating, Format (color/black and white), Video available, Time in minutes, Review in *'s out of ****
Abbott and Costello Go to Mars
US, (1953) NR, B & W, V, 77, * .5
Director: Charles Lamont Cast: Bud Abbott, Robert Paige, Martha Hyer, Lou Costello, Marie Blanchard, Horace McMahon
Plot: A & C end up every where except Mars, a case of poor navigation.
Lesson: Bring a good map! And make sure your navigator passed Astronomy 101.
Aelita: Queen of Mars
Soviet, (1924) B & W, Silent
Director: Jakov Protazanov
Plot: A Soviet engineer builds a spaceship to reach Mars. He kills his wife, Natacha and flees to Mars, where he falls in love with Aelita, the Queen of Mars.
Lesson: This could be a Jerry Springer episode.
The Alpha Incident
US, (1977) PG, C, V, 84, **
Director: Bill Rebane Cast: Ralph Meeker, John Goff, Stafford Morgan, Carole Irene Newell
Plot: Government tries to cover up the existence of a deadly organism that has been retrieved from Mars.
Lesson: Beware of sample return missions.
The Angry Red Planet
US, (1959) NR, C, V, 83, **
Director: Ib Melchoir Cast: Gerald Mohr, Les Tremayne, Paul Hahn, Nora Hayden, Jack Kruschen
Plot: Martians attack first Earth expedition to Mars.
Lesson: They were angry we took so long to visit.
US, (1971) NR, C, 73 (Made for TV average)
Director: Robert Michael Lewis Cast: Monte Markham, Susan Clark, James B. Sikking, Jackie Cooper, Robert Lansing, Wally "astronaut" Schirra
Plot: Space officials recruit a pilot to pose as an astronaut who died on Mars.
Lesson: Honesty is the best policy.
Battle Beyond the Sun
US, (1963) NR, C, V, 75, **
Director: Thomas Colchart Cast: Edd Perry, Andy Stewart, Arla Powell, Bruce Hunter
Plot: Director and cast names are pseudonyms. A reworking of the Soviet film Nebo Zowet (1959) by Roger Corman and Francis Ford Coppola. The story deals with rival space missions to Mars.
Lesson: Co-operation works better in the long run.
US, (1978) PG, C, V, 124, ***
Director: Peter Hyams Cast: Elliot Gould, Hal Holbrook, Karen Black, Telly Savalas, Denise Nicholas, Robert Walden, James Brolin, Sam Waterston, O.J. "The Juice" Simpson, Brenda Vaccaro, David Huddleston, David Doyle
Plot: A faked first mission to Mars takes a wrong turn when the capsule supposedly burns up in re-entry. What do you do with the astronauts?
Lesson: It may be cheaper to just do the mission then to try to fake it.
Conquest of Space US, (1955) NR, C, V, 80, ** .5
Director: Byron Haskins Cast: Eric Fleming, Ross Martin, Joan Shawlee, William Hopper, Walter Brooke
Plot: A George Pal production about the first expedition to Mars, based on Werner von Braun's book The Mars Project.
Lesson: Von Braun really wanted to go to Mars.
D-Day on Mars
US, (1945), NR, B & W, 100, **
Director: Spencer Bennet, Fred Bannon Cast: Dennis Moore, Roy Barcroft, Bud Geary, Linda Sterling, James Craven, Mary Moore
Plot: Re-edited from the Republic serial "The Purple Monster Strikes". Square jawed heroes battle evil purple Martian invaders.
Lesson: Purple? Sounds like Barney.
The Day Mars Invaded Earth
US, (1962) NR, B & W, 70, * .5
Director: Maury Dexter Cast: Kent Taylor, William Mims, Lowell Brown, Marie Windsor, Betty Beall, Gregg Shank
Plot: Martians who look identical to Earth scientist invade Earth.
Lesson: Aliens look just like Earthlings.
The Deadly Ray From Mars
US, (1938) NR, B & W, V, 99, ** .5
Director: Ford Beebe, Robert Hill Cast: Buster Crabbe, Charles Middleton, Donald Kerr, Jean Rogers, Frank Shannon, Beatrice Roberts
Plot: Edited version of Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars Serial. Ming tries to siphon nitrogen from the Earth's atmosphere, now that's evil.
Lesson: Every body needs buffer gas.
Devil Girl From Mars
UK (1954) NR, B & W, V, 77, * .5
Director: David MacDonald Cast: Patricia Laffan, Hazel Court, Peter Reynolds, John Laurie, Hugh McDermott, Adrienne Corri, Joseph Tomelty
Plot: A Martian woman dressed in black leather lands in Scotland, to find a human husband.
Lesson: Scotland is a good Martian analog.
Flight to Mars
US, (1951) NR, C, V, 72, **
Director: Lesley Selander Cast: Marguerite Chapman, Virginia Huston, Cameron Mitchell, Arthur Franz
Plot: Scientists and newspapermen land on Mars and find a lost civilization.
Lesson: They must have had fuel to spare.
Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster
US, (1965) NR, B & W, V, 78, *
Director: Robert Gaffney Cast: James Karen, Nancy Marshall, David Kerman, Marilyn Hanold
Plot: Interplanetary robot runs amuck, hey it could happen. Released on video with the more appropriate title Mars Invades Puerto Rico.
Lesson: I wonder if they went to Arecibo?
The Girl From Mars
New Zealand-Canada, (1991) NR, C, 100 (made for TV average)
Director: Neill Feranley Cast: Edward Albert, Sarah Sawatsky, Christianne Hirt, Eddie Albert, Gary Day, Gwynyth Walsh
Plot: A politician's daughter, helping with ecological problems, is really a Martian.
Lesson: Martian ecologists must have learned the hard way with Mars.
Invaders from Mars
US, (1953) NR, C, V, 78, ***
Director: William Cameron Menzies Cast: Helena Carter, Jimmy Hunt, Hillary Brooke, Arthur Franz, Lief Erickson, Bert Freed
Plot: Martians invade Earth and brainwash residents of a small town.
Lesson: Small towns are dangerous.
Invaders from Mars
US, (1986) PG, C, V, 100, * .5
Director: Tobe Hooper Cast: Karen Black, Timothy Bottoms, James Karen, Bud Cort, Hunter Carson, Laraine Newman, Louise Fletcher, Jimmy Hunt
Plot: Martians invade Earth and brainwash residents of a small town.
Lesson: Hollywood lacks originality.
It! The Terror from Beyond Space
US, (1958) NR, B & W, V, 69, ** .5
Director: Edward L. Cahn Cast: Marshall Thompson, Kim Spalding, Shawn Smith, Ann Doran
Plot: A second expedition to Mars returns to Earth with the sole survivor of the first mission. A Martian monster has stowed away, causing trouble.
Lesson: Count the crew and passengers before you leave.
US, (1930) NR, B & W, 102, * .5
Director: David Butler Cast: El Brendel, John Garrick, Frank Albertson, Maureen O'Sullivan, Majorie White, Hobart Bosworth
Plot: A musical science fiction comedy made in the thirties but set in the eighties. A dead man is revived after being dead for fifty years, whereupon he goes to Mars.
Lesson: Sounds a lot like Futurama to me.
Lobster Man from Mars
US, (1989) PG, C, V,84, **.5
Director: Stanley Shiff Cast: Tony Curtis, Deborah Foreman, Patrick MacNee, Roddy McDowell, Tommy Sledge, Billy Barty, Phil Proctor
Plot: A young film student tries to sell his weird movie about a Lobster Man from Mars.
Lesson: Big stars will make stupid movies.
US, (1996) C, V
Director: - Cast: Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Natalie Portman, Pierce Brosnan, Annette Bening, Danny Devito, Rod Steiger, Tom Jones
Plot: Martians attack Earth.
Lesson: A bad movie can be saved by calling it a spoof.
Mars Needs Women
US, (1968) NR, C, V, 80, * .5
Director: Larry Buchanan Cast: Tommy Kirk, Byron Lord, Warren Hammack, Yvonne "Batgirl" Craig, Roger Ready, Anthony Houston
Plot: Martians invade Earth to capture live women. OK, so a slow night on Utopia Planitia?
Lesson: I suppose this proves the theory of panspermia.
Martians Go Home
US, (1990) PG-13, C,V,89, * .5
Director: David Odell Cast: Randt Quaid, Anita Morris, Vic Dunlop, Gerrit Graham, Harry Basil, Margaret Colin, Barry Sobel, John Philbin, Ronny Cox
Plot: A TV personality summons billions of Martians to Earth.
Lesson: Be careful of visitors.
US, (1958) NR, B & W, 75, * .5
Director: Fred C. Brannon Cast: Walter Reed, Gregory Gay, Lois Collier, James Craven
Plot: Re-edited version of the serial "Flying Disc Man from Mars". Martians try to take over Earth using guided missiles.
Lesson: They went with robotic probes rather than manned (?) missions.
US, (1968) NR, C, V, 95, *.5
Director: Nick Webster Cast: Darren McGavin, George DeVries, Michael DeBeausset, Nick Adams, Heather Hewitt, Shirley Parker
Plot: US, astronauts battle unseen forces during a Mars mission.
Lesson: This was understandable with all the space probes which malfunctioned in that era.
Murder in Space
US, (1985) NR, C, V, 89, (made for TV below average)
Director: Steven Hillard Stern Cast: Wilford Brimley, Martin Balsam, Damir Andrei, Peter Dvorsky, Alberta Watson, Arthur Hill, Michael Ironside, Tom Butler, Cathie Shirriff
Plot: Murders occur on an expedition returning from Mars.
Lesson: You really must do good psychological profiles on the crew.
Planet of BloodUS, (1966) NR, C,V,81,** .5
Director: Curtis Harrington Cast: Basil Rathbone John Saxon, Dennis Hopper, Florence Marly
Plot: An expedition to Mars finds a crashed alien space ship. They bring back the only survivor; a bloodsucking, female alien. Then the trouble begins.
Lesson: Don't pick up hitchhikers.
Red Planet Mars
US, (1952) NR, B & W, V, 87, ** .5
Director: Harry Homer Cast: Peter Graves, Marvin Miller, House Peters, Andrea King, Herbert Berghof, Vince Barnett
Plot: Messages from Mars turn out to be coming from god!
Lesson: What type of antenna were they using anyway?
Robinson Crusoe on Mars
US, (1964) NR, C, V, 109, ** .5
Director: Byron Haskin Cast: Paul Mantee, Adam "Batman" West, Vic Lundin
Plot: Astronaut is stranded on Mars in a reworking of the Defoe classic.
Lesson: Don't send just one astronaut.
Rocket Ship X-M
US, (1950) NR, B & W, V, 77, ** .5
Director: Kurt Neumann Cast: Lloyd Bridges, Hugh O'Brian, Osa Massen, John Emery
Plot: An expedition to the Moon goes astray and ends up on Mars. As If! NASA gets really steamed when this happens.
Lesson: Another example of bad navigation.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
US, (1964), NR, C, V, 80, *
Director: Nicholas Webster Cast: John Call, Vincent Beck, Pia Zadora, Leonard Hicks, Donna Conforti
Plot: Martians abduct Santa Claus.
Lesson: Is the atmosphere on Mars thick enough to support reindeer flight? Now this is just silly.
US, (1990) C, V, 113, ***
Director: Paul Verhoeven Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside, Mel Johnson Jr., Rachel Ticotin, Ronny Cox, Marshall Bell
Plot: Arnold travels to Mars and becomes involved with a revolution.
Lesson: Real travel may be safer than virtual reality.
War of the Worlds
US, (1953) NR, C, V, 85, *** .5
Director: Byron Haskins Cast: Gene Barry, Ann Robinson, Henery Brandon, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Les Tremayne, Robert Cornthwaite
Plot: Martians invade Earth, but succumb to the common cold. An adaptaion of the H.G. Wells story.
Lesson: Get immunized before going on a trip.
World without End
US, (1956) NR, C, 80, 88 .5
Director: Edward Bernds Cast: Hugh Marlowe, Nelson Leigh, Nancy Gates, Rod Taylor
Plot: A space flight to Mars breaks the time barrier and ends up in the future, bummer.
Lesson: Don't speed!
This document's URL is http://Chapters.MarsSociety.org/toronto/Education/Movies.shtml. 'T'was last updated on Saturday, 21-May-2016 17:38:32 PDT.