Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

conquest of the planet of the apes poster 1972 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 5/10

Return to gritty violent style of the first movie

Cheap looking

Movie Info

Movie Name: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Genre(s): Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s): June 29, 1972

MPAA Rating: PG

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Do not yell “Khan” at me one more time Caesar or I will turn you in

Caesar (Roddy McDowall) has grown up protected in the circus of Armondo (Ricardo Montobaun), and the truth that he is the intelligent offspring of the murdered Zira and Cornelius is hidden.  Living in a world where apes are slaves, Caesar finds himself forced into slavery and serving the men he despises.  With his people enslaved, Caesar must risk his life for his people and the only hope is turning ape against man in a battle for freedom.

Directed by J. Lee Thompson, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes was the fourth film in the franchise and followed the enjoyable Escape from the Planet of the Apes in 1971.  The film was also the only Planet of the Apes to receive a PG rating after the previous installments were rated G (which goes to show how much more lenient ratings were).  Conquest of the Planet at points is pretty violent during the uprising, but its original ending was toned down a bit to attempt to get a G (which it failed).  The movie was met with rather negative reviews and a slumping box-office when compared to the other films.

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Can’t we all just get along?

Conquest of the Apes doesn’t really make much sense.  I understand why Caesar was intelligent (he was born of two apes that were intelligent), but how was he able to train all the other apes to rise up against their human masters?  The apes (who had to learn how to be essentially slaves) could soon fire weapons and rally troops to stage a takeover…it is kind of like watching Battlefield Earth.  It would make sense if they simply robbed and stole (as seen in the movie), but they are able to organize.  In Escape from Planet of the Apes, the apes were just normal apes, but here they are already gaining intelligence (but it hasn’t even been a generation).

The budget also had come way down by this point.  Some of the apes were just rubber masks and the “futuristic” sets just looked like leftovers from Star Trek.  Many of the props really were just leftovers from TV series like Time Tunnel, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Land of the Giants.

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Dude guys, lets totally get back to conquesting

Roddy McDowall still helps by making Caesar feel real.  It isn’t that Caesar is really any different that his Cornelius character, but he is much more cynical.  There are some interesting moments involving his trust of humans versus his hatred.  It would have been nice if that aspect had been more developed and maybe had been the thrust of the plot.

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes is better than Beneath the Planet of the Apes but worse than Escape from the Planet of the Apes.  The classic Planet of the Apes is a great film, it is too bad that a little more effort wasn’t put into the sequels.  This film also helped serve as the basis for the 2011 relaunch of the series Rise of the Planet of the ApesConquest of the Planet of the Apes was followed by the final installment of the original series Battle for the Planet of the Apes in 1973.

Related Links:

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)

Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

Planet of the Apes (2001)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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