Planet of the Apes is a 1968 American science fiction film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and loosely based on the 1963 French novel La Planète des Singes by Pierre Boulle. Written by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling, it stars Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly and Linda Harrison.
The outline of Planet of the Apes originated in script, originally written by Rod Serling, underwent many rewrites before filming eventually began.
The film was released in the United States on February 8, 1968, and was a commercial success, earning a lifetime domestic gross of $32.6 million. The film was groundbreaking for its prosthetic makeup techniques by artist John Chambers.
Astronauts Taylor, Landon, and Dodge awaken from deep hibernation after a near-light-speed space voyage. Stewart, the lone female crew member, is dead due to a sleep chamber malfunction. Their spacecraft crashes into a lake on an unknown planet and the men abandon the sinking vessel. Before bailing out, Taylor reads the ship’s chronometer as November 25, 3978, two thousand and six years after their departure in 1972. But due to time dilation, their age was almost the same as what they were in 1972.
An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved. The movie also contains the classic line; “Get your hands off me you damned dirty ape..”
Roddy McDowall had a long-running relationship with the Apes series, appearing in four of the original five films (absent, from the second film of the series, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, in which he was replaced by David Watson in the role of Cornelius), and also in the television series.