Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first Planet of the Apes feature film, adapted from Pierre Boulle's 1963 French novel, La Planete Des Singes, and which spawned an imaginative jungle of sequels, reboots, action figures, comic books, lunch boxes, board games, and a short-lived TV series.
20th Century Fox released Apes on March 27, 1968, directed by industry veteran Franklin Schaffner from a screenplay by The Twilight Zone's Rod Serling and blacklisted writer Michael Wilson.
The film showcased some of the most miraculous makeup effects ever seen on screen and contained thought-provoking messages on the nature of man and human evolution. John Chambers received a special Academy Award for his masterful mask work, with the golden statue being carried out on stage by a real chimpanzee in a tuxedo. Oh yeah, and then there's that stupefying ending with the rusting Statue of Liberty half buried in the sand!
Starring Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, and Maurice Evans, the time-tripping sci-fi epic was a worldwide hit. The marketing department and foreign distributors made effective use of Apes' striking imagery to sell the film and lure audiences into theaters.
It might have been a madhouse, but Planet of the Apes is now an indelible part of pop culture and remains one of the finest franchises in cinema history.
To celebrate the film's golden anniversary, swing into SYFY WIRE's expansive gallery of 25 movie posters, both domestic and international, and see what advertisements enticed audiences into the wild realm of intelligent apes.