Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

earth vs the flying saucers poster 1956 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 8/10

Classic Ray Harryhausen visuals

Generic '50s sci-fi story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Earth vs. the Flying Saucers

Studio:  Columbia Pictures

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  July 1, 1956

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Just another sign of a government UFO cover-up

Newlyweds Carol (Joan Taylor) and Russell Marvin (Hugh Marlowe) are preparing a series of satellites called Project Skyhook.  When aliens begin targeting the program’s satellites, Russell must determine if the visitors come in peace or are a threat.  As the tension escalates, the aliens’ true intentions are revealed, and the people of Earth must join together to stop them.

Directed by Fred F. Sears, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers was sometimes called Invasion of the Flying Saucers.  The movie employed special effects master Ray Harryhausen to develop the flying saucers and other effects and is considered a classic.


Oh no! Non-theatening aliens!!!

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers was allegedly Harryhausen’s least favorite film.  The saucers are fun, but there isn’t much for Harryhausen to work with plot-wise (the aliens are regular actors).  The imagery provided however has been rather influential and the movie is one of the primary basis of Tim Burton’s underrated ’50s sci-fi spoof film Mars Attacks!

The problem with Earth vs. the Flying Saucers is that like a lot of ’50s science-fiction, the writers had an idea (flying saucers attack), but they didn’t have much of a plot to team-up with it.  Yes, the attacks on Washington, D.C. are fun, but it takes way too long to get to it.  The Project Skyhook and attempted peace negotiations with the aliens are rather tedious.


This is why the Washington Monument is always under construction

The film does have a futuristic feel to it.  Sputnik 1 had not been launched (it went up October 4, 1957) when the movie was released and the space race was starting to heat up.  Some of the technology in the film also feels very advanced for the time it was made so it was good to see that producers attempted to use some real science mixed in with the created science of the film.

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers is a great example of ’50s sci-fi.  When you watch it, if you haven’t seen it, it almost feels generic since it is so cliché of what you’d expect.  The stodgy scientists, the invaders, and of course the classic flying saucer.  Earth vs. the Flying Saucers is a must for fans of sci-fi but don’t really expect to be wowed by it.  It is a fun classic film.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @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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