Forbidden Planet

A major landmark in the evolution of cinematic science fiction, Forbidden Planet is credited with a number of pioneering achievements: the first depiction of “light speed,” the first “personable” robot, the first entirely electronic score, and (perhaps most notably) the first miniskirt on film. The film’s story echoes that of The Tempest: a spaceship crew led by well-scrubbed, all-American commander John Adams (Leslie Neilsen) is sent to a distant planet to determine the fate of a 20-year-old expedition. To the crew’s surprise, the only people remaining on the planet are Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his fetching daughter Altaira (Anne Francis). Though Morbius warns Adams of danger, the ship lands and the crew are soon threatened by the mysterious and deadly forces at work on the planet. With its glossy ’50s rendering of future technologies and a considerably dated approach to gender politics, Forbidden Planet could easily have been a light and forgettable caper. However, thanks to its prescient take on the complex themes, philosophical questions, and sci-fi conventions that would be further explored in such seminal genre works as Star Trek, Aliens, and the films of Andrei Tarkovsky, it has rightfully become an enduring classic. “An ingenious script, excellent special effects and photography, and superior acting…make it an endearing winner.”—Time Out.

Genres: Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure