The Planet Of The Apes Films – Part 3 of 8: Escape From The Planet Of The Apes (1971)

After the events of the previous movie Cornelius (Roddy McDowell), Zira (Kim Hunter) and Dr Milo (Sal Mineo) escape Earth’s destruction in Taylor’s spaceship. Encountering a time warp they arrive on Earth in 1973.

They are taken to a zoo and cared for by Dr Stephanie Branton and Dr Lewis Dixon. Zira eventually reveals that they can speak. Milo is killed by another gorilla at the zoo which greatly distresses Zira and Cornelius but Dixon is able to convince them that the humans mean no harm.

After a presidential commission the apes are embraced as celebrities, only revealing to Branton and Lewis the circumstances of what happened in their time and why they needed to escape.

The President’s Science Adviser Dr Otto Hasslien becomes concerned for the future of humanity when he discovers Zira is pregnant.

As more disturbing details of Earth’s future come to be revealed – Hasslien eventually calls for the apes to be executed. Branton and Lewis help them escape and arrange for them to be sheltered in a Circus run by Senor Armando (Ricardo Montalben).

Sadly, nothing can stop the tragic confrontation that’s about to occur.

Director Ted Post creates a fine film which makes a welcome return to exploring the themes of the original classic. It does so by flipping the events in reverse. Instead of humans crash landing on an Earth ruled by apes, apes crash land on an Earth ruled by humans.

What this means for humanity is deftly analysed – and results in some incredibly intelligent science fiction.

The message is still the same. By and large humans can be pretty worthless. Afraid of change and willing to go to despicable lengths to ensure their own survival.

It results in a heartbreaking ending which I found very difficult to watch as a kid, but that ending does set up an ingenious narrative strand to be explored in further sequels. More on that when the time comes.

Escape From The Planet Of The Apes is brainy and exciting science fiction – and is easily the best out of the original run of sequels.

The Man Who Saved Movies. They became alert to the concept of slavery. And, as their numbers grew, to slavery’s antidote which, of course, is unity. At first, they began assembling in small groups. They learned the art of corporate and militant action. They learned to refuse. At first, they just grunted their refusal. But then, on an historic day, which is commemorated by my species and fully documented in the sacred scrolls, there came Aldo. He did not grunt. He articulated. He spoke a word which had been spoken to him time without number by humans. He said ‘No.’ So that’s how it all started.


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  • The Magic Hunter

    That one does sound interesting!

    And it’s got Sal Mineo — far out, Daddy-O! I just Wikipedia-ed him, and this was his last film role. Then he did some tv dribbles, before starting to make a stage comeback playing a bisexual burglar in the play “P.S., Your Cat is Dead.” Soon after he moved with the play from SF to LA, he was murdered by a street thief who had no idea who his victim was! Bonus trivia: Sal and Don Johnson were once roommates, around the time that they costarred in an LGBT play that was criticized for its long, gratuitous prison rape scene. Friends and biographers swear, though, that Sal never got it on with either Mr. Future “Miami Vice” or his “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Giant” costar James Dean!

    • Mistah Doe

      Well, there were those rumors of Don Johnson being bisexual. His estranged sister had outed him back in the day.

      • The Magic Hunter

        That’s why we should all keep our lovers close and our sisters closer!

        • I don’t have any sisters so that might be a bit difficult for me.

          • The Magic Hunter

            That’s where my business Rent-a-Sister comes in — Nah!

          • That’d get jumped on at the other place!

          • The Magic Hunter

            Oh for sure — fun times, but also a Tardis of too much lost time for me. I’m glad they cut me loose.

          • I am and I’m not…

          • The Magic Hunter

            I hear ya. For me, I’m happy to feel like that was a particular era of my life, and it was time for me to move on for several reasons.

          • I miss some of the other talkbackers. Must admit.

          • The Magic Hunter

            Yeah, me too. When I see them elsewhere, like at the AV Club, I’ll keep pushing this place. I just posted my Baby Driver thoughts ?

          • I try to cut for Stu as often as I can over there. Most people are too fucking lazy to follow me, though.

        • Mistah Doe


      • If he is I think it’s sad that he felt he had to keep it secret. I remember when Barry Manilow came out. Whole world reacted like “Erm… so what? Just keep pumping out the GREAT tunes and we’re happy!”

      • This is precisely why I love the talkbacks. I learn something EVERY DAMN DAY.

        • Mistah Doe

          “Knowing is half the battle” friend.?

    • Hah! I guess we’ll never know!

  • Mistah Doe

    “Afraid of change and willing to go to despicable lengths to ensure their own survival.”

    I.e. the angry Alt-Right??
    Escape was a good sequel and it foreshadowed today’s obssesion of reality tv celebs and as tragic as the ending was, it had to be told. Looking forward to your review of Conquest. The POTA series has one of the best political allegories from science fiction and yet its still relevant not because of the current remakes but its social commentary which defines today’s political and social climate.

    Cant wait till War for the POTA debuts!

    • Yeah, I’m looking forward to the new one. I thought about today’s obsession with celebs and if the movie was foreshadowing it or not… but I didn’t really stand out to me as a major story element worth exploring in a review. It’s difficult to reign that stuff in you see. A better movie for that kind of thing is The Truman Show. I’ll get to that one day. It’s one of my favourite films.

      • The Magic Hunter

        Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!

    • The angry alt-right AND the whining SJW-left. It’s the damn human condition, to try and make the world into what we individually want it to be.

      • Mistah Doe

        The angry Alt Right is more dangerous than the SJWs. You dont see them making threats or inflicting bodly harm because of your political affiliation, race or religion.

      • I think this is my moment to come out: I’m left. In fact I’m VERY left wing in my politics.
        There. Its out there.

        • I’m not political. I’m of the opinion that humans are all evil, so how can we depend on anyone to lead us in a fitting manner? Well, come to think of it, these folks DO lead us in a fitting manner…a manner that befits our savage nature!

          • You really feel that way? ?

          • Yes, I do. That’s why I try each day to be a servant to everyone, to place them above me, even if it’s only simply to let them in during rush hour traffic or hold the door for someone. In this way, we each can help each other and elevate each other and make each other stronger. Then the SJW’s won’t have to worry about making the world a bubble-wrapped safe-space-for-all, because we’ll each be stronger and braver and better equipped to face the world on its savage terms. I truly believe that we are not racing toward a utopia but toward our own destruction, so we each need to help each other and slow the tide. We also need to raise our kids to love and respect EVERYONE, and to do so out of the kindness IN THEIR HEARTS, and not because the law tells them they have to.

          • I guess I can agree.

          • You know I have no problem with folks disagreeing with me. 🙂 It’s a big world and there’s room for everyone, but Mistah Doe is also VERY right: there are some very dangerous folks out there, but they exist on both sides of the issue and we can’t forget that. In a choice between alt-right nutbars and SJW’s, I look at it this way: do I want to be struck by a snake NOW, or have my children’s freedom of expression controlled by a snake LATER? There’s no easy answer and that’s why we need a grass-roots approach to help this dying world.

          • It’s happening here in England. Google Jeremy Corbyn. Great man.

          • I don’t know, brother. People always think that THEIR brand of socialism could work because they are able to wield it by coming from a standpoint of virtue and compassion, but that’s that the thing: a) they won’t live forever and someone else is going to be in charge of their socialist government later on and b) they themselves are a flawed human being.

          • A valid point.

          • To be fair I think that all government is corrupt, not because of any conspiracy theory, but simply because we are all flawed individuals.

          • Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

          • Yeah, that, too. 🙂

          • The Magic Hunter

            You defy your own thesis! I think there are a lot more like you (and me and Stu) out there than you give the world credit for.

          • Indeed there are, otherwise I would give up and raise my kids to be more savage than the next person and take what they want before someone else does. The world is still worth fighting for. I swear, I’m not subscribing to Zack Snyder’s world view.

          • The Magic Hunter

            “Lord of the Flies: Hauling Family Edition” — on Bluray finally this Christmas!

          • We come descended from a long line of frontiersmen and outdoorsmen.

          • Mistah Doe

            I’m left of the center but IMO, its the Right that is far more evil, vile and corrupt and not to mention fucking stupid. I mean, halting stem cell research because of religious doctrine or some “moral compass” which the right is bereft of? Dismantling healthcare leaving millions to dies? Wars for profit? Race baiting dog whistle campaigns? FOX News? Hypocrisy, hypocrisy and more hypocrisy.
            Its not a matter of “safe space bubbles” but fighting the good fight against evil which stems from the right.

            its not the “law” that should tell us how to behave but having respect for yourself and your fellow man.

          • Mistah Doe

            Not all humans are evil but a whole goddamn lot of them. The wheat from the chaff needs to be separated. X)

        • The Magic Hunter

          I assume you’ve caught this guy’s latest single: