Follow TV Tropes


Film / Planet of the Apes (1968)

Go To

"Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!"
Colonel Taylor

Adapted from the novel of the same name by French author Pierre Boulle, co-scripted by Rod Serling, and directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, this classic 1968 Science Fiction film launched a screen franchise that has continued, with various sequels and reboots, into The New '20s.

A team of astronauts flies into space at near light speed. They are influenced by time dilation: eighteen months for them is over two thousand years for the Earth. They crash onto a mysterious, seemingly desolate planet (losing the sole female on the crew in the process), specifically into a dead lake; they thus lose their spacecraft and most of their supplies.

On this planet, there is a mute race of human-like creatures, treated as animals by a race of sentient English-speaking apes. Caught in the middle of an ambush between Ape and Man, one of the astronauts is killed, another captured (and later lobotomized), and a third, Col. George Taylor (Charlton Heston), is shot in the throat, which renders him mute like the other men. He is among the captured men, and taken back to the apes' mostly pre-industrial city. As the civilized, talking apes eventually learn that Taylor, ("Bright Eyes" to them), can speak and write, they put him on trial for heresy against the ape civilization's sacred scrolls.

Notable for its famous Earth All Along ending: Taylor escapes from the apes, hoping to find a new life with his love Nova, and eventually discovers the ruins of the Statue of Liberty. He realizes that humanity destroyed itself in some iteration of World War III, sent the planet back to the Stone Age, and allowed the apes to conquer.

The sequel to this movie, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, was released in 1970.

The movie contains examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: In the first scene, the year on the ship's onboard calendar reads 1972.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: Taylor mentions that Stewart, the only female astronaut, was to be their "Eve". Due to Time Dilation the crew wasn't expected to return to Earth.
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: In the original novel, the titular planet really is an alien planet called "Soror", which the main character and Nova escape by sneaking into an experimental space flight, only to discover that Earth has been also taken over by apes.
  • Adaptational Diversity: The four-astronaut crew in the film includes a black man and a woman. In the book, they were three white men and a chimp.
  • Adaptational Location Change: The film's planet turns out to be Earth All Along while the novel takes place on a different planet. The novel's protagonist eventually does return to Earth, but he lands on Paris instead of the New York / New Jersey area.
  • Adaptational Modesty:
    • In the book, the wild humans walk around naked, as would be expected of their simian-like intellect. In the movie they wear animal skins.
    • Likewise, when Ulysse (Taylor's counterpart) and his companions encounter the wild humans, they rip apart their clothes leaving them naked, while in the film they get their clothes stolen but find some ripped clothes to cover themselves.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Due to Adaptational Nationality change from an implied French crew to American, Ulysse Mérou is renamed George Taylor, Professor Antelle is Landon and Arthur Levain is Dodge.
  • Adaptational Species Change: Technical for the fourth companion of the spaceship who gets killed early on, along with a Gender Flip - in the book it is a pet chimp named Hector; int he film, a female astronaut named Stewart.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Unlike in the book, Dr. Zaius is aware that humans used to be the intelligent species on the planet and his plans to have Taylor vivisected or killed is part of the coverup. He also has Landon lobotomized for the same reason (in the book, Antelle just "degenerated" after being left in a cage with dumb humans) and later confesses to have killed other astronauts who arrived before Taylor.
  • After the End: The end reveals that Taylor didn't land in an alien planet but on Earth some two thousand years into the future, after the collapse of human civilization and its replacement by a simian one.
  • Agent Mulder: Zira is an unorthodox "animal psychologist" who thinks that humans can become intelligent and talk with the adequate stimulation. Upon meeting Taylor, she takes his attempts to communicate as genuine and signs of a greater intelligence in him, even though she still thinks of him as a gifted animal. That is, until he reveals he can speak, which she accepts enthusiastically.
  • Agent Scully: Cornelius doubts Zira's theories even when presented with Taylor, though it is implied that this is encouraged by his desire to avoid conflict with Ape Law. When Taylor reveals he can speak, however, he immediately switches to treating him like an intelligent being, unlike Zaius or Julius.
  • Aliens Speaking English: The alien apes speak English and have Latin-inspired names, which goes completely unremarked on by the visiting astronauts. However this is subverted when it is revealed the planet was Earth All Along.
  • Animal Is the New Man: The astronauts land on a planet where apes are civilized and humans behave like animals. It is revealed in the end that the planet is Earth in the future.
    Taylor: Man preceded you here. You owe him your science, your language, whatever knowledge you have.
    Dr. Zaius: Then answer me this—if man was superior, why didn't he survive?
  • Anti-Hero: Taylor is a misanthropic, rather vicious Jerkass. However, he is not without sympathetic traits, such as his affection for Nova and his disgust with Landon's lobotomy. He also seems disappointed that the apes are no better than humans (or vice versa).
  • Anti-Villain: Doctor Zaius can be ruthless when pressed though he has fundamentally good intentions as he seeks to prevent humanity from causing another apocalypse and is at least reasonable enough to try and talk Taylor into making a false confession in exchange for his safety.
  • Apocalypse How: Taylor gets a Heroic BSoD when he learns that the planet is actually Earth after the collapse of civilization. Like the audiences of his time, he immediately assumes this was the result of nuclear war: "You maniacs! You blew it up!"
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • "Dr. Zaius, would an ape make a human doll that TALKS?"
    • "You do this out of fear. Because you're afraid of me! WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF, DOCTOR??"
  • Artificial Gravity: In the opening scene, Taylor is seen walking over to his cryosleep pod to get inside while in outer space.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • The ship is sent into space to colonize a new planet. That's why it contains three males and one female. A population that low would die out from inbreeding within several generations, even assuming the single female would reproduce constantly. For breeding, it would be far more efficient to have several females for each male, since a single male can impregnate multiple females, whereas a single female can only undergo one pregnancy at a time.
    • Gorillas are portrayed as warlike and violent, chimpanzees as reserved and rational, and orangutans as wise and social. Gorillas are very gentle and docile animals (though angering them is an extremely bad idea) while chimps have been known to exterminate other tribes, including the infants, to take the females and food. Orangutans have a completely anti-social society; males leave upon puberty and live on their own, attacking anyone that comes into their territory. However, some of this is a case of Science Marches On.
    • Every example of humans brawling with apes hand-to-hand underestimates what a Curb-Stomp Battle on the ape's favor would actually be. Even an adolescent chimp can toss a human around like a ragdoll if aggravated, and the larger apes could quite literally rip a human apart.
  • Artistic License – Linguistics: The Apes speak perfectly recognizable English more than two thousand years after Taylor left Earth.
  • Awful Truth: Dr. Zaius, and possibly the entire orangutan caste, knows the true history of the world and the origin of ape society.
  • Big Applesauce: Taylor finds the Statue of Liberty at the end of the film, revealing that the "Forbidden Zone" is where New York City used to be.
  • Big Bad: Doctor Zaius spends almost the entire film plotting against Taylor.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The only female astronaut dies due to cryosleep malfunction while still on the ship, and the only black astronaut is killed during the first encounter with the apes, leaving only two white, male astronauts to see Ape City.
  • Bland-Name Product: The astronauts wear "ANSA" patches.
  • Captain's Log: Taylor makes an entry at the beginning of the film, before going into cryosleep.
  • Cassandra Truth: Plenty to pick up from: that Taylor is an intelligent being capable of speech, that humans once were intelligent and had a civilization, and that Taylor came from another planet in a spaceship. Even the apes who believe in Taylor in the first two cases don't in the third, and while the famous reveal proves them technically right, they are Right for the Wrong Reasons (they don't believe Taylor only because they don't believe powered flight is possible).
  • Characteristic Trope: This film made the Earth All Along trope its own, forcing later films to reference the film when featuring or referencing the trope in any form.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Charlton Heston all the way. You cut up his braaaaaaiiiinnn, you bloody baboon!; It's a madhouse! A MAAADHOUSE!!! (Lampshaded in the trailer), his very weird braying and over-the-top grin of HAW HAW HAW HAW, and especially YOU MANIACS! YOU BLEW IT UP! OH, DAMN YOU! GOD DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL! — are just a few times he does it during the movie.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Chimpanzees wear green, gorillas wear black/purple, and orangutans wear orange.
  • Comic Trio: The apes' society is based on this. The orangutans run things, the gorillas carry their plans out, and the chimpanzees have all the brains and none of the power.
  • Composite Character: Taylor is actually a mix between the protagonist Ulysse, who tries to prove to Zira that he's intelligent, and the misanthropic professor Antelle who's tired of humans in the book.
  • The Constant: Taylor finally realizes that he's actually on future Earth and not in another planet when he finds the remains of the Statue of Liberty half buried in the sand.
  • Cryonics Failure: Happens before the spaceship crashes in the titular planet. For the men it just means they wake up with longer hair and full beards, but the only woman Stewart ages into an 80+ looking woman and dies without waking up.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The ape religion is definitely Abrahamaic; they outright have "God", who made apes in his image and condemned humans. References to The Lawgiver as the writer of the Sacred Scrolls that serve as basis for the Ape religion, with no apparent divine nature of his own, put their religion closer to Judaism or Islam than Christianity.
  • Cute Mute: Nova, a beautiful woman who cannot speak, becomes Taylor's love interest. In his (somewhat sleazy) words, she's "not much for conversation" but she's "the only girl in town".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Taylor, even when mute. Cornelius fits the bill among the apes.
  • Dead Guy on Display: After being killed on the hunt, Dodge's body is stuffed and placed in the human exhibit of a museum. A tie-in comic added further context by claiming that the apes did this because they had never seen a dark-skinned man before.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The revelation that is was Earth All Along drop-kicks Taylor right across it. He spends his final seconds on screen crying and screaming insults to those who made the end of the world happen.
  • Detonation Moon: Implied to have happened since we're on Earth, but Taylor and his fellow astronauts note that the sky has no moon.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: It's at least a half hour until we encounter the apes, and all but one of the astronauts either ends up dead or lobotomized.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: At his hearing, Taylor is repeatedly said that as a human, he has no rights under ape law - mirroring the ruling of Dredd Scott's trial, which stated that African-Americans were not citizens of the US regardless if they were slave or free.
  • Downer Ending: After Zira and Cornelius get hauled away to be tried for heresy, it is revealed that the planet of the apes was Earth All Along, thousands of years after World War III. Taylor was home all along, and the home he was hoping to get back to is gone. His final howl of despair implies the realization has completely broken him.
    Taylor: We finally, really did it...YOU MANIACS! YOU BLEW IT UP! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!
  • Dub Name Change: Of all the characters, Cornelius alone got his name changed for the Spanish dub. He was renamed "Aurelio." This change is particularly mystifying, because "Cornelius" (being a name of Latin origin) does have a Spanish form: "Cornelio".
  • Earth All Along: The Trope Codifier. The "planet of the apes" is Earth, thousands of years after a nuclear holocaust.
  • Eerily Out-of-Place Object: The Statue of Liberty on a beach on what was supposed to be an alien planet.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: Seeing the Statue of Liberty allows Taylor to realize that he's actually on Earth.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: Used as a plot point. The apes in an archeological site are freaked out when a human doll talks.
  • Escaped Animal Rampage: A funny inversion occurs when Taylor the human escapes from a medical lab where apes do experiments on humans and runs amok, scaring the innocent residents of Ape City.
  • Eternal English: It's over two thousand years in the future, and the apes speak perfect English. Although they don't call it that... Cornelius just says it was the language taught to him by his father and his father before him.
  • Evil Laugh: Not really "evil" so much as mockingly cynical, but Taylor's laughter at Landon planting a tiny U.S. flag on the planet has a similar effect.
  • Evolutionary Levels: The apes' evolution to intelligence, and humanity's loss of it in a couple of thousand years.
  • Fantastic Caste System: Gorillas are soldiers, police, and blue-collar workers. Chimpanzees work the medical and academic fields. Orangutans are the lawmaking aristocracy. It's mentioned that the caste system was abolished, but that only pertains to it being officially institutionalized. In practice it's still very much in effect.
  • Fantastic Racism: Apes hate humans. And their society is clearly divided between chimps, gorillas, and orangutans. It's even said that during production the cast would spontaneously segregate by the ape costumes they wore.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • Dodge's body is stuffed and put on display at a museum, nobody ever knowing he was an intelligent man.
    • Landon is captured alive but later wounds up lobotomized, implicitly on orders of Dr. Zaius to keep the existence of intelligent humans secret. He is last seen being whipped to make him get in a cage with other primitive humans.
    • Taylor himself becomes more desperate to escape after learning that he is scheduled to be lobotomized himself, and also emasculated, and also going to lose his two best friends to a Kangaroo Court on heresy charges.
  • Forbidden Zone: A lifeless desert not far from Ape City, literally called "The Forbidden Zone", is closed off to ape citizens by their government because it holds evidence that humans once were the dominant species over the planet.
  • For Science!: Landon says that Dodge would walk naked into a live volcano if it meant he could learn something that no one else knew.
  • Freudian Threat: Dr. Zaius makes repeated attempts to emasculate Taylor, potentially due to his obsession with the idea of a race of intelligent humans breeding.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: There were concerns that censors would object to Taylor's cry of "God damn you all to hell!" under Section V of the Hays Code. The problem was avoided when the producers and Heston explained that the phrase was not an expletive. Rather, Taylor was, literally, calling on God to damn the entire human race for destroying civilization.
  • Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: The astronauts' immediate reaction to discovering a (freshwater) lake just outside of the Forbidden Zone is to go Skinny Dipping. While this happens, their clothes and equipment end up being stolen and destroyed by the primitive humans.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Charlton Heston and Maurice Evans spend much of the movie's final third trying to out-act one another, as Taylor and Dr. Zaius verbally spar over and over. The fact that Heston more than keeps up with Evans despite Evans having the advantage of being costumed as a orangutan speaks to his Large Ham mastery.
  • Hero of Another Story: An Ape organization called the Anti-Vivisection League is mentioned a few times as a rare group that fights for human rights and tries to prevent people like Zaius from sterilizing human slaves. No known members appear onscreen, though.
  • History Repeats: After humanity blew itself up with nuclear weapons, their descendants regressed into primitive creatures comparable to australopithecines. Meanwhile, the Apes repeated the same history of segregation, oppression, and violence as the humans they despise so much.
  • Hope Spot: Taylor wins his freedom and rides off with Nova to find his place on the Planet of the Apes... only to learn that it was Earth All Along.
  • Hope Sprouts Eternal: At first it appears that the planet is completely desolate, but they look for signs of life anyway. They discover that it has life when they see a small plant growing in the desert. "Where there's one, there must be more!" So, hope renewed, they keep looking.
  • Human Aliens: The apes and the humans look exactly like the ones on Earth. Subverted Trope when it turns out it was Earth All Along.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Eloquently declared in The Sacred Scrolls.
    "Beware the beast, Man, for he is the Devil’s pawn. Alone among God’s primates, he kills for sport. Or lust. Or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother’s land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him. Drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death."
  • Humans Are Morons: Subverted. Humans degenerated after blowing themselves up in a nuclear war, but there is no sign that the apes that replaced them are any better, who might just be walking in the human race's footsteps to a similar fate, despite considering themselves oh so superior.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Taylor feels this way at the beginning, but after meeting the apes, he changes his mind. Then comes the ending, which is when it's all but confirmed. Downplayed Trope, as what we see of the Apes suggests that they have all the same flaws that the humans had and it's only their primitive technology that keeps them from doing as much damage.
  • Humans Are Ugly: When Taylor wants to kiss Zira goodbye, she consents but not without adding that he is "so damned ugly."
  • Human Popsicle: The astronauts originate in the remote past compared to the events in most of the film, due to traveling in a Sleeper Starship.
  • In Name Only: When compared to the original novel, which was set in a different planet, gave the apes 20th century tech, had the main character accepted in ape society until he had a son, and even allowed him to return to Earth (briefly).
  • ...In That Order: "If they catch you, they will dissect you. And kill you. In that order."
  • In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves: Dr. Zaius explains to Taylor that his bigotry against humans is because they ultimately destroy any environment they settle in. Towards the end, Dr. Cornelius (who is actually sympathetic to Taylor) even reads from a religious scroll that warns of "that harbinger of Death — man". The ending reveals that Zaius was completely right, since it's really a post-apocalyptic future.
  • Irony:
    • In the prologue, Taylor wonders if there's a sentient race out there that's "better than man." It turns out most of the Apes are hardly any better than the humans they claim to be superior to.
    • He also starts off as a cynical misanthrope who couldn't wait to get away from the human race. By the halfway point of the movie, he's forced to become humanity's vocal proponent. And then the ending reveals he was right about humans being bastards all along.
    • There's also a distinctly harsh moment where Taylor is roughly tying up Doctor Zaius near the finale, despite the protests of Zira and Cornelius; Taylor blithely remarks that it's no different from how he was treated, suggesting that he's no better than the Apes.
  • Insult Backfire:
    Taylor: Dr. Zaius, I know who I am but who are you? How in hell did this upside-down civilization get started?
    Zaius: Huh! You may well call it upside-down since you occupy its lowest level, and deservedly so.
  • Ironic Name: Dodge is fatally shot by the apes (twice, technically), never dodging any bullets.
  • Is This a Joke?: The tribunal dismiss Taylor's claim of being from another planet as "a joke."
  • I Want My Jet Pack: 1972 has come and gone, and while we stepped foot on the Moon the year after this movie's release, we do not have spaceships with Artificial Gravity, hypersleep chambers and engines that can (at least theoretically) allow the ship to travel 300 light years at near the speed of light.
  • Jerkass: Most of Taylor's behavior toward the apes for most of the film. He doesn't appear to get along particularly well with his fellow astronauts, either.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Dr. Zaius at the very end, although the point is not made by him.
  • Kangaroo Court: Taylor is subjected to a "hearing" with all the appearance of a trial, except the very apes judging him do not accuse him of anything in particular and point out several times that as a man, he has no rights under ape law. Cornelius and Zira are later threatened to be subjected to another Kangaroo Court on charges of heresy for having been Taylor's advocates, even though they are apes and have those theoretical rights.
  • Killer Space Monkey: The gorilla hunters that the astronauts encounter soon after jumping out of their spaceship fit the trope, even if they are revealed to have never left Earth in the end.
  • Land of One City: Ape City doesn't appear to control other settlements despite having ministries and such.
  • Large Ham: Charlton Heston as Taylor is a strong candidate for hammiest lead performance in Hollywood history.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: At the end of the film, after being repeatedly attacked, beaten, caged, stripped, and tied up by the apes, Taylor exacts a small measure of revenge by capturing Dr. Zaius, arguably the Apes' main spokesperson, and tying him to a log.
  • Last-Name Basis: All astronauts are referred to by their last names, with even Taylor's only becoming known in the sequel.
  • Lobotomy: Landon is lobotomized by the apes, implicitly on orders of Dr. Zaius to keep the existence of intelligent humans a secret.
  • Low Culture, High Tech: The apes wield repeating rifles (the movie props are modified M1 carbines), at least a century more advanced than any other tech they're shown using.
  • Monkey Morality Pose: The orangutan judges adopt the pose during Taylor's hearing, fitting the first two's refusal to hear and see the truth (that Taylor is an intelligent being) while Dr. Zaius knows the truth but refuses to speak it.
  • Monumental Damage: Near the 40th century, the Statue of Liberty - though half-buried and severely damaged - is the only part of New York City still recognizable.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. Zaius: Ethically questionable... OK, very unethical. In fact, an antagonist. He routinely performs lethal experiments on those inferior humans, although he later explains why he's so wary of man.
  • Motherly Scientist: Dr. Zira, notable psychologist and zoologist, calls Taylor "Bright Eyes," at least until he manages to write his own name, to her surprise. She ends up kissing him goodbye - even though, as she tells him, "You're so damned ugly." She's sort of like a reverse Jane Goodall.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Taylor, who provides perhaps the most male nudity you'll ever find in a G-rated film. He goes Skinny Dipping along with the other astronauts during the above-mentioned Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen scene, and his state of dress doesn't really change from there on out. We also get to see his naked ass on at least two separate occasions.
  • Not So Above It All: The ape society as a whole. For as much is they like to look down on humans, the fact that the apes hunt non-sapient humans for sport, have political corruption and religious fanaticism shows that the apes are hypocritical and likely to follow in humanity’s self-destructive footsteps.
  • Nubile Savage: Nova, who spends most of her time in scantily-clad clothing.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The apes are only familiar with unintelligent, non-speaking humans. So when Taylor starts writing, it scares Cornelius and Zira before it impresses them. Everyone is scared when his throat wound heals and he's able to say his iconic line: "Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape."
  • Outside-Context Problem: Despite being captive, enslaved, and thought to be mute, Taylor is out of context to the apes once they realize that he can write, is quite intelligent, and eventually talk once his throat is healed. All the other humans in the film are kept as pets who can't talk or think intelligently.
  • Persecution Flip: The apes hunt and mutilate humans, keep them in cages and use them for experiments, and think they don't deserve any better than that.
  • Pet the Dog:
    Taylor: A planet where apes evolved from men? There's got to be an answer.
    Dr. Zaius: Don't look for it, Taylor. You may not like what you find.
    • The leader of the hunting party that guns down dozens of humans and roughly drags many more around in nets is relatively gentle with the one human child the group takes prisoner.
    • President Gaius is by no means a Reasonable Authority Figure, but he does at least make an attempt to rein in the state's prosecutor Dr Honorius when he goes off on a slanderous tangent aimed at Cornelius and Zira.
  • Post-Historical Trauma: Taylor learns about World War III two millennia later and falls into despair, yelling "You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you!! GOD DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!!!"
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • In the original novel, the apes live in a society that is identical to the 1960's, when the book was written. Due to budgetary reasons, their city is more primitive with the most advanced things they have been automatic guns, pens and hoses.
    • The titular planet is indeed a different planet in the novel, which is guilty of Casual Interplanetary Travel. After his adventure, Nova and Ulysse (Taylor) return to Earth, only to find that it has been taken over by apes in his absence. The movie condenses both by making it Earth All Along.
    • While the archaeological site and the doll are both present in the novel, Dr. Zaius is not aware of man's past preeminence, and this is discovered only when Nova is subjected to an experiment that unlocks her ancestor's Genetic Memory.
    • The movie also eliminates yet another final twist that reveals the story was a message in a bottle found "adrift" in space by two scientists, who turn out to be apes, probably from yet another planet, who also think that the idea of intelligent humans is ridiculous.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • "Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!"
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Delivered as only Charlton Heston can say it. All together now: GOD! DAMN! YOU! ALL! TO! HELL!
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The ape society was originally going to be more technologically advanced, akin to the book it was based on, but it proved too expensive and the ape society was made more primitive to cut costs.
  • Sacred Scripture: The Sacred Scrolls, written by The Lawgiver, are the basis of the ape religion.
  • Scary Scarecrows: Just before leaving the Forbidden Zone, the three surviving astronauts find scarecrows with the appearance of corpses tied to a St. Andrew's cross.
  • Schizo Tech: The apes use modified M1 carbines and photo cameras, but don't think airplanes are possible (nevermind interplanetary travel) and use horses and carts instead of motor-powered vehicles. It is possible that some technologies are being delayed by Dr. Zaius and the orangutans just like the knowledge of human civilization, but it is never confirmed.
  • Secret Police: Dr. Zaius knows that ape society's view of humanity is not entirely true, and because of what he knows, he's deeply involved in making sure that that stays true, prosecuting Taylor's collaborators for heresy rather than letting out the fact that humans are actually sentient beings.
  • Shout-Out: To Animal Farm. When asked if he knows why all apes were created equal, Taylor replies that "some apes seem to be more equal than others". The prosecutor's response is, "Ridiculous! A contradiction in terms."
  • Silent Credits: One of the most famous silent end credits (except for the sound of waves crashing on the shore) as Taylor realizes he's been on Earth all along.
  • Sleeper Starship: The crew hibernate during the trip, but Cryonics Failure leads to them aging normally before waking up.
  • Spoiler Cover: There were videotape covers showing the Statue of Liberty on the cover, spoiling the Twist Ending.
  • Status Quo Is God: At the beginning of the film, Taylor believes humanity to be bastards, but changes his mind after meeting the apes, but goes right back to thinking it after seeing the ruins of the Statue of Liberty. In the sequel, becomes even more misanthropic.
  • The Theocracy: Ape society runs pretty heavily on laws created by the ape version of Moses, and is intolerant of acts of heresy. It's also implied that the ruling caste are deliberately holding back scientific progress to prevent society from changing.
  • Time Dilation: Taylor's crew ages 18 months while 2006 years have passed outside.
  • Time-Passage Beard: The first telling evidence of the Cryonics Failure that the astronauts get is noticing that they have grown beards.
  • Tomato Surprise: Taylor finding the ruined Statue of Liberty and realizing he was in Earth All Along.
  • Twist Ending: The Planet of the Apes was Earth All Along. Considering Rod Serling had a hand in the 1968 screenplay, it really shouldn't have been that surprising.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Dr. Zaius, to an extent. In any case, he obviously already knows what Taylor would discover in the ending.
    Dr. Zaius: All my life I've awaited your coming and dreaded it. Like death itself.
    Taylor: Why? I've terrified you from the first, Doctor. I still do. You're afraid of me and you hate me. Why?
    Dr. Zaius: Because you're a man! And you're right, I have always known about man. From the evidence, I believe his wisdom must walk hand in hand with his idiocy. His emotions must rule his brain. He must be a warlike creature who gives battle to everything around him, even himself.
    Taylor: What evidence? There were no weapons in that cave.
    Dr. Zaius: The Forbidden Zone was once a paradise. Your breed made a desert of it, ages ago.
    Taylor: That still doesn't give me the why. A planet where apes evolved from men? There's got to be an answer.
    Dr. Zaius: Don't look for it, Taylor. You may not like what you find.
  • Wham Line: The first words the apes hear from a human, ever, is none other than "TAKE YOUR STINKING PAWS OFF OF ME, YOU DAMNED DIRTY APE!!!" Made all the more powerful if you know that Charlton Heston was sick with the flu at the time, but the director felt that the hoarseness of his voice would add impact to that line. It did.
  • Wham Shot: The Statue of Liberty at the end. For people who didn't know beforehand, at least.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Publicly, Dr. Zaius insists that Taylor must be an animal trained in mimickry or some other fraud, and insists on calling him by Zira's original nickname for him, Bright Eyes. When meeting privately with Taylor to negotiate, however, Zaius dispenses with all such political double talk, talking to Taylor as a fellow intelligent being, and calling him by his real name. Taylor even thanks him for it.
  • You Can Talk?: When Taylor says the Wham Line above, all the apes go dead silent. They don't say this quote word for word, but their expressions sure do.

"You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! GOD DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!"


Video Example(s):


Orangutan Judges

The orangutan judges adopt the "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" positions.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / MonkeyMoralityPose

Media sources: