Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Planet of the Apes (1968)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Planet of the Apes (1968)

In Franklin J. Schaffner's original sci-fi film of the long-running series, a twisting time-travel adventure with an effective, politically-charged message of social commentary - about a post-apocalyptic, post-nuclear futuristic planet (Earth) with evolved, highly-intelligent talking apes - the film was most celebrated for its Oscar-winning make-up artistry of the civilized, evolved yet dictatorial ape-like creatures:

  • the opening crash-landing of a US spacecraft launched in 1972 after a long flight of 18 months, on a desolate planet - on November 25, 3978, over two millennia after take-off
  • the action scene of the pursuit of stranded American astronaut 'George' Taylor (Charlton Heston) and other primitive humans in a cornfield by horse-back riding, armed gorillas
  • the scenes of Taylor's shocking realization that the imprisoned and rounded-up caged humans were mute and inarticulate and could only grunt; and his own failed attempt, with a damaged throat voice-box, of trying to speak to chimpanzee scientist Dr. Zira (Kim Hunter) and orangutan ape leader Dr. Zaius (Maurice Evans); an assistant sarcastically noted: "You know what they say, 'Human See, Human Do'"; Zaius also commented: "Yes, amusing, a man acting like an ape!...He has a definite gift for mimicry"
  • during Taylor's attempted escape in Ape City, his discovery of a museum display or exhibit of a fellow astronaut - Dodge (Jeff Burton), now a stuffed and eyeless corpse
  • Taylor's snarling and defiant insults toward the ruling apes, when he was caught in a net like a beast, and spoke for the first time: ("Take your stinkin' paws off me, you damn dirty ape!"); he also cried out when restrained and sprayed with a high-powered hose ("It's a madhouse!")
  • the "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil" pose of the three National Academy orangutans during a tribunal hearing, imitating the wise monkeys of Japanese culture
  • the laugh-out-loud goodbye kiss between Taylor and Dr. Zira: (Taylor: "Doctor, I'd like to kiss you goodbye" Dr. Zira: "All right, but you're so damned ugly")
  • Dr. Zaius' confirmation of a cover-up - that savage, war-like Earth dwellers had destroyed the planet: "I have always known about man. From the evidence, I believe his wisdom must walk hand in hand with his idiocy. His emotions must rule his brain. He must be a warlike creature who gives battle to everything around him, even himself...The Forbidden Zone was once a paradise. Your breed made a desert of it, ages ago"
  • the startling, twist-surprise ending as George rode down a beach on horseback with mute primitive Nova (Linda Harrison) in the out-of-bounds Forbidden Zone and suddenly saw something, and dismounted to stare upwards
The Twist Surprise Ending
George Taylor on Horseback Riding Down a Beach Shoreline
in the Forbidden Zone With Mute Nova

Dismounting, and Staring Upwards

"Oh, my God. I'm back. I'm home. All the time, it was..."

"We finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! Goddamn you all to hell!"
  • as the camera panned forward toward Taylor, through a spiked object, he had two major reactions; he first exclaimed: "Oh, my God! I'm back, I'm home. All the time, it was..."; but then he dropped to his knees: "We finally really did it." He pounded his fist into the sand and railed against Earth's generations almost 2,000 years earlier that had destroyed his home planet's civilization with a devastating nuclear war - the film's final line of dialogue: "You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! Goddamn you all to hell!"
  • in a final shock revelation, the full object came into view as the camera panned backward - the spiked crown of a battered Statue of Liberty that was buried waist-deep in beach sand, signifying that Taylor was still on Earth!
  • the end title credits played without musical accompaniment; the only sound was the ever-present rhythmic waves pounding the shore


Humans, Including Taylor, Hunted by Gorillas

Taylor Struggling to Speak

Stuffed Corpse of Astronaut Dodge - A Museum Display

"Take your stinkin' paws off me..."

"It's a madhouse!"

"See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil"

Kiss with Dr. Zira

Dr. Zaius' Confirmation of Humans' Destructiveness


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z