Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)

escape from the planet of the apes poster 1971 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Acting: 7/10
Story: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Kim Hunter & Roddy McDowall, fun '70s retro feel

Time loop stories make me nuts

Movie Info

Movie Name: Escape from the Planet of the Apes

Studio: 20th Century Fox

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

Release Date(s): May 21, 1971

MPAA Rating: G


I don’t think we’re in Ape-Kansas anymore!

Before the destruction of their Earth, Cornelius (Roddy McDowall), Zira (Kim Hunter), and Dr. Milo (Sal Mineo) escape into Earth’s past and end up in 1970s Los Angeles.  After an accident kills Dr. Milo, Zira and Cornelius are exposed as intelligent apes and become a threat to the world.  Realizing that the apes are hiding something about the future of humanity, the apes learn that they are no longer a novelty but a threat.  On the run and in danger, Cornelius and Zira find they are not only protecting themselves but an unborn child that could be the future of their world!

Directed by Don Taylor, Escape from the Planet of the Apes is third film of the series and a follow-up to Beneath the Planet of the Apes from 1971.  The film was rather well received and generally considered the best of the sequels.


Aren’t I Ape-Tastic?

Escape from the Planet of the Apes definitely is my favorite sequel.  It is fun and lighthearted (something that none of the Planet of the Apes are before this), but it also goes very dark at the end.  By setting it in the past, it reversed the ideas of the original movies by having the apes out of their element.  Unfortunately, Sal Mineo hated the ape makeup so much that it was rewritten that so he was killed early.

The movie has a fun retro feel since it is set in the 1970s but it also advances the story forward and puts it in an unfortunate time loop (I hate those…Earth is damned to explode and going to the past damns it).  Escape from the Planet of the Apes show how the apes became intelligent and leads the Earth to its destruction (led of course by man).


Yeah…He’ll make a great circus chimp. I mean…yes I’ll watch him

Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter continue to be great as Zira and Cornelius.  They get to have some fun in this one when they become public celebrities.  That period of the movie is a lot of fun and it would have been nice to see more moments like this.  Despite the light part of the movie Hunter and McDowall do great in the serious parts of the movie…plus having fewer apes, it allowed a lot of focus on their make-up which looked a bit better.

Escape from the Planet of the Apes does feel a bit rushed at points (and drags at other points).  Its study of the rights of animals is kind of interesting.  Are Cornelius and Zira animals or people?  Can they be experimented on and is it alright that they experimented on the animalistic humans of the future?  The series is much more fantasy by this point and not as much sci-fi…but at least they keep trying.  Escape from the Planet of the Apes was followed by Conquest of the Planet of the Apes  in 1972.

Related Links:

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

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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