Forbidden Planet (1956)

forbidden planet post 1956 movie
10 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great looking classic science fiction


Movie Info

Movie Name:  Forbidden Planet

Studio:  MGM

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  March 3, 1956

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

forbidden planet invisible id

The Id cannot be stopped!

Sent to retrieve a lost exploration group from the planet Altair IV, the starship C-57D lands on the planet discover only Professor Edward Morbius (Walter Pidgeon), his daughter Altaira (Anne Francis), and their assistant Robby the Robot have survived. Commander John J. Adams (Leslie Nielsen) and his crew are about to discover that there is something stalking the planet of Altair IV, and their attempts to leave could be in peril. Professor Morbius has uncovered a secret hidden deep within Altair IV…and it could be deadly!

Directed by Fred M. Wilcox, Forbidden Planet is a science-fiction film. The movie had a big budget and the script was loosely adapted from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The film received critical acclaim upon its release and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Special Effects. The film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2013.

Forbidden Planet was one of those movies you just grew up with. It frequently was on TV and Robby the Robot (credited here as Robby, The Robot) was always good for a cameo in shows like The Love Boat and Mork & Mindy. Forbidden Planet is a classic that has reach.

forbidden planet altaira john anne francis leslie nielsen

“Surely you can stop it!!!”
“I can’t stop it and don’t call me ‘Shirley’!”

The story quite smart though savvy modern viewers probably can unravel the plot faster than those less familiar with the science-fiction genre when it was released. The Tempest’s elements can easily be seen in the relationship between Morbius and his daughter Altaira, but the “monster” and the concepts surrounding the Krells who became their own worst enemy parallels the fear that science can destroy. It is an interesting plot that plays out well and does it with style.

The cast is strong. Leslie Nielsen makes his big screen debut as Commander John J. Adams (back when he wasn’t a comedic actor), but he and most of the crew of the spaceship are rather generic. Walter Pidgeon does a better job as the “mad” doctor who doesn’t realize he’s the one who has been causing the death and destruction, and Anne Francis is solid as the naïve Altaira. The film features a few cameos by actors who went on to later success including Richard Anderson (The Six Million Dollar Man) and James Best (The Dukes of Hazzard).

forbidden planet robby the robot cook earl holiman

I demand more wacky adventures of Robby the Robot and Cook!

What made Forbidden Planet really stand out was the special effects. MGM actually put money into the film which was rare for a science-fiction film at the time. The film was shot in the same studio as The Wizard of Oz (and Altaira’s garden reuses part of the Munchkin set). The animation and style of the film combines with the bright colors to really give the film a real atmosphere and Disney animator Joshua Meador creates a memorable (invisible) monster of the Id.

Forbidden Planet is a classic and not only is it a classic, but it is an influential classic that changed science-fiction movies. The movie treated science-fiction as its own art and didn’t portray it as a joke. While the movie does contain jokes (like Cook and his quest for alcohol), all movies at that time had joke characters (even serious movies like The Searchers). The film’s effect not only had Robby the Robot become a star (he appeared in a semi-sequel The Invisible Boy (1957) and other shows like Twilight Zone, Lost in Space, and even Gremlins), but it also spawned countless ideas an creators like Gene Roddenbery and others who cited the movie as a source of their material. Long live Forbidden Planet and the monsters from the Id!

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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