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Planet of the Apes

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Planet of the Apes, starring Charleton Heston, Roddy McDowell
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Planet of the Apes (1968), starring Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowell

Synopsis of Planet of the Apes

In Planet of the ApesCharlton Heston and Roddy McDowall star in this legendary science fiction masterpiece. Astronaut Taylor crash lands on a distant planet ruled by apes. And they use a primitive race of humans for experimentation … and sport. Soon Taylor finds himself among the hunted, his life in the hands of a benevolent chimpanzee scientist couple.

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Dr. Zaius: You are right, I have always known about man. From the evidence, I believe his wisdom must walk hand and 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.


Cornelius (Roddy McDowell), Zira (Kim Hunter), Taylor (Charleton Heston) in "Planet of the Apes"
  • Charlton Heston (The Greatest Show on Earth) … George Taylor, aka “Bright Eyes”. One of the three astronauts who crash land on the planet. He survives, and discovers the secret of the planet. And how it’s connected to Earth. He’s a pessimist. His motivation for the interstellar voyage is to find something better than mankind. His throat is injured when he’s captured by the gorillas. Preventing him from speaking …. For a time.
  • Roddy McDowall (Lord Love a Duck) … Cornelius. One of the chimpanzee scientists, who eventually befriend Taylor. He has theories that Dr. Zaius considers borderline heresy.
  • Kim Hunter (The Seventh Victim) … Zira. Cornelius’ wife, and fellow scientist. In many ways, she leads him. And, she leads in trying to protect Taylor as well.
  • Maurice Evans (Beneath the Planet of the Apes) … Dr. Zaius. The orangutan, in charge. He looks down on humans. Zaius believes he has perfectly valid reasons for that. He knows things that the chimpanzee doctors do not. That he intends to keep hidden.
  • James Whitmore (Them!) … President of the Assembly
  • James Daly (The Young Stranger) … Honorious
  • Linda Harrison (Cocoon) … Nova. A lovely native human on the distant planet. She becomes Taylor’s romantic interest. Despite her inability to speak.
  • Robert GunnerLandon. One of Taylor’s fellow astronauts. The optimist. He survives the original culling. But he apparently suffers a skull fracture. Then, brain surgery. And effectively a lobotomy.
  • Lou Wagner (Airport) … Lucius. The young ape. Rebelling against authority.

Secondary characters

  • Woodrow Parfrey … Maximus. Commissioner for animal affairs.
  • Jeff BurtonDodge. One of Taylor’s fellow astronauts. The explorer. A curious man. He would walk into the mouth of a volcano to learn something new. He doesn’t survive the culling.
  • Buck Kartalian (Cool Hand Luke) … Julius. The assistant at the laboratory. Neither bad nor evil. But, he knows humans are dangerous. And, he wants to keep Zira safe from them. Taylor assaults him when Zaius orders Taylor to be gelded.
  • Norman Burton (The Towering Inferno) … Hunt Leader
  • Wright King … Dr. Galen
  • Paul Lambert (Spartacus) … Minister, presiding over a funeral. That Taylor interrupts during his escape attempt.

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