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4.5 out of 5 stars170
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 3 August 2003
Sensationally good, this is one of the all-time greatest sci-fi films. The visual effects are years ahead of their time; the battle sequences are nothing short of brilliant, and the first face-to-face contact with an alien is completely terrifying. The acting is convincing throughout - even the script is pretty good! Despite its age this film is far suprior to such modern "classics" as Starship Troopers or Independence Day, the latter of which was supposed to be a remake of War of the Worlds. Anyone who even vaguely enjoys sci-fi is going to have a fantastic time with this film.
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VINE VOICEon 12 October 2003
I first saw this film many years ago now. Its still quite an entertaining film based around H. G Wells classic novel which was written even before man learned to fly. Americanised of course, which doesnt distract from the original story which was set in Surrey and London. For a film made during the early 1950s, the effects are remarkably good for its time. The leads, Gene Barry and Ann Robinson, do the best they can with the wooden dialogue which was typical of films in those days. Technology which we take for granted nowadays didnt exist then. The sound and picture for DVD are rather good, and its still worth buying just to see the sort of film which packed cinemas upon its initial release, for it was a box office hit at the time. Give it a try.
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on 17 December 2002
When this film first came out it was considered so terrifying that it was given an x cirtificate. Now it's shown at tea time and is given a PG. How things change.
There are some changes to the book by changing the setting to America and changing some details in the middle. The walking machines are changed to flying machines for the sake of filming. Walking machines would be near impossible to film when this film was made. Walking machines would be laughably bad to watch. It was difficult enough to film walking machines (especially with three legs) in the 1980's for the Tripods TV series.
The powerful ending is still more or less the same. Like all sci fi films seen many years later it's almost cute because it's so dated. However it's not too bad and it's still a fun film to watch. It keeps it's pace throughout.
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Having been totally under whelmed by the new Tom Cruise version I came back to the original and everything fell into place again.

Unknown stars were deliberately chosen so the audience would concentrate on the drama. Gene Barry as the scientist Dr Clayton Forrester and Ann Robinson as Sylvia van Buren have the leading roles. They are low on chemistry but as there is no overt love interest this is not a problem

The 1953 special effects still stand up with the best. The best decision (although taken on financial grounds) was to eliminate the tripod legs of the Martian invaders and invent invisible force fields to hold the beautiful swan like monsters in the air enabling close ups as they methodically destroy everything in their path.

This is a film that deserves its' well loved classic status, does not date and will never disappoint however often it is viewed.

A lovely DVD preserving the original superb highly saturated Technicolor, with a good selection of extras.
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on 29 March 2007
War of the Worlds, the good version. Lovely deep colours, unique designs, terrifying sounds (I still get goose-bumps from the hiss the martian heat ray makes as it surveys its surroundings) and inspired effects add up to a terrific movie.

It has a terrific package to go with it -- two commentaries by people who really know their stuff, a couple of neat documentaries (what a shame about the original models!) and a clear, sharp picture. So sharp, in fact, that the support cables are all too visible, unfortunately.

Still the best film of Wells' novel. Steven Spielberg, eat your heart out.

As I write this, it's only £6. You'd be a fool not to.
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on 2 March 2007
Wow, what a surprise this film is. Done way back before I was born. And I am old by today's standards.Suspense, ahead of their time special effects, a nifty alien and superb spacecraft with an invincible feel to the invaders. Talking of which, if you've seen "the invaders" you know where the dying alien effects come from. A real surprise package with interviews and behind the scenes discussions that further enhance the magic of this movie. A true classic.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 September 2014
Martians invade Earth with total destructive powers, seemingly unstoppable, mankind must find a way to beat them before all is Lost.

In spite of the uproar and considerable success of Orson Welles' 1938 radio adaptation of the H.G Wells novel, War Of The Worlds was a topic that directors were staying well away from. Such high esteemed men like as Cecil B. DeMille & Alfred Hitchcock were mooted to be interested but it always came down to a worry that the special effects needed for the story were too much of a headache. Enter producer George Pal, noted for puppetoon shorts, he managed to sway the big wigs at Paramount that it could indeed be done, and thus the chain of big colour spaceships blasting, sci-fi creatures lurking and blockbuster bums on seats movies began.

Directed by Byron Haskin, this version of the source moves the location from Edwardian England to 20th Century America, and this works a treat because the watching American public were genuinely unnerved at the sight of contemporary America being reduced to rubble by an invading force. The makers further our sense of dread by only letting us glimpse the aliens once in a wonderful scene (respectfully homaged in Stephen Spielberg's 2005 version of the source), other than that scene we are subjected to attack after attack from shiny flying saucers, slick and ground breaking effects working their magic on an impressionable audience.

Outside of those known to hardcore sci-fi fans, the cast doesn't contain any stars of note, probably due to all the money being used on the effects? And for sure many of them come across as wooden beyond compare (though the lovely Ann Robinson lights up every scene she is in), while if I'm to be over critical: then the romantic thread in the film is tiresome and the religious overtone is tardily done. But War Of The Worlds 1953 still stands proud as a brave and hugely enjoyable picture thats importance has never been (nor should it be) understated, and even allowing for nostalgic fervour from this particular viewer, I heartily recommend this film to anyone interested in template movies for the sci-fi genre. 7/10
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In the world of movies and in the world of many, this is the definitive "War Of the worlds"

For those that may have read the book there is no justification for the many changes other than to say that someone had to take a book that could be a mini series and to do a little triage. Of course movies must have a love interest and the more controversial religious aspect (of the book where the pastor wavers in his faith) would not pass in the movie. If they made the movie today they could show a little blood sucking and not be out of line. But I am afraid that the aliens would be popping out of stomachs or exploding dogs as in the remake of "The thing" we would still not get a true rendition of the H.G. Wells story. Unfortunately it looks as though Spielberg has his eye on it.

The movie starts out with a great narrative from the book about aliens on a dying planet coveting our earth. Naturally we focus in on the Los Angles area as a microcosm of what is happing over the world of 1953.

Dr. Clayton Forrester (Gene Barry), well known atomic scientist is out fishing. He spies a meteor that comes down at a mysterious angle. The crater it makes has him suspect that it is hollow. He lets a local pastor's niece Sylvia Van Buren (Ann Robinson) talk him into a square dance while waiting for the meteorite to cool.
Soon the lights go out. And they will go out all over the world as we experience "The war of the Worlds".
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With the advent of Blu-ray and DVD's in general you will find several different editions. Each has its strengths and they are no reason not to have more than one edition.
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on 13 May 2009
I recorded this film assuming it was the 2006 version starring Tom Cruise - was initially disappointed to see it was the 1953 version but decided to watch it anyway. To my surprise I found myself completely immersed in it - the special effects for the time were outstanding - and the sense of helplessness is very believable as mankind gradually realises that nothing - not even the dreaded 'A-bomb' - can make any impact whatsoever on these creatures from another world. Very interesting as a snapshot of 1950's mores also - the strong man, the screaming girl who needs to be protected - my 8 year old daughter watched with great and curious interest!
Highly recommended.
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on 24 January 2003
This film was made before I was born & I saw it on TV as a teenager. I'm glad I bought the DVD because it was as good as I remember. There is a lot of action & a good storyline even though they do take liberties when compared to the original book. If you like old scifi films, you will enjoy this.
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