Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)


Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi


Ted Post




James Franciscus, David Watson, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, Linda Harrison, Paul Richards, Natalie Trundy, Jeff Corey, Gregory Sierra, Victor Buono, Don Pedro Colley, James Gregory, Charlton Heston, Tod Andrews, Thomas Gomez, Roddy McDowall, Paul Frees


The sole survivor (James Franciscus) of an interplanetary rescue mission searches for the only survivor (Charlton Heston) of the previous expedition. What he discovers is a planet ruled by apes and an underground city run by telepathic humans.


Following the success of "Planet of the Apes", the filmmakers rightfully thought to make a sequel. Unfortunately "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" is a mediocre, unengaging copy disguised as a sequel.

The first film was fascinating because of its plot and philosophical meaning. I guess that's the reason why the writers thought it was a brilliant idea to write another film with basically the same story. For almost an hour, the film is just a worse copy of the original film. An astronaut crash-lands on a planet, discovers the ape civilization, gets captured by them, escapes and finds out the truth about the planet. Sure, he's also looking for the survivor of the previous mission, and the story becomes different after the dreadful beginning, but that doesn't necessarily improve the film's quality.

I have to admit that the dark world beneath the planet of the apes is original and quite interesting. Same goes for the religious commentary and the anti-war propaganda. But it doesn't raise big questions like the original film did.

The characters are another problem with the film. There are a lot of them that have nothing to do. They just be.

However, it isn't a complete disaster. It is action packed and the action sequences are actually good and quite evocative. And the acting is unevenly good. While Charlot Heston steals the show reprising the role of astronaut Taylor - even though it's basically just a cameo -, James Franciscus overacts in most of the scenes. But the supporting cast is decent.


  1. This is a great review and I just found this so campy. Good ole James Franciscus before he became Longstreet