Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

35mm film, Todd-AO 35, “color by DeLuxe”, 2.35:1
mono (Westrex Recording System), English

An American science fiction film directed by J. Lee Thompson. It is the fourth in the original series and went into production on 6 December 1971.


Twenty years after his parents were murdered, the chimpanzee Caesar has grown to adulthood, hidden in a circus owned by Armando. But a trip to the city reveals that have become slaves after a plague wiped out domestic pets. When Armando is killed trying to protect Caesar, he leads his fellow apes in a violent uprising.


Directed by: J. Lee Thompson
© MCMLXXII [1972] by Apjac Productions, Inc. and Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Twentieth Century-Fox presents an Arthur P. Jacons production. Produced by Apjac Productions, Inc.
Produced by: Arthur P. Jacobs
Written by: Paul Dehn
Based on Characters Created by: Pierre Boulle
Director of Photography: Bruce Surtees
Film Editors: Marjorie Fowler, Allan Jaggs
Music: Tom Scott
Sound: Herman Lewis, Don Bassman
Creative Makeup Design: John Chambers
Makeup Supervision: Dan Striepeke
Hair Stylist: Carol Pershing
Art Director: Philip Jeffries

Roddy McDowall (Caesar)
Don Murray (Breck)
Natalie Trundy (Lisa)
Hari Rhodes (MacDonald)
Severn Darden (Kolp)
Lou Wagner (busboy)
John Randolph (commission chairman)
Asa Maynor (Mrs Riley)
H.M. Wynant (Hoskyns)
David Chow (Aldo)
Buck Kartalian (Frank (gorilla))
John Dennis (policeman)
Ricardo Montalban as Armando
Paul Comi (2nd policeman)
Gordon Jump (auctioneer)
Dick Spangler (announcer)
Joyce Haber (Zelda)
Hector Soucy (ape with chain)

Alternative Titles

1999: conquista della Terra – Italy
Apinoiden planeetan valloitus – Finland
La Conquête de la planète des singes – France
La conquista del planeta de los simios – Spain
A Conquista do Planeta dos Macacos – Portugal
Eroberung vom Planet der Affen – West Germany
Erövringen av apornas planet – Sweden
Podbój planety malp – Poland
La rebelión de los simios – Spain

Sequel to
Planet of the Apes (1967)
Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)
Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)

Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

Extracts included in
Behind the Planet of the Apes (1998)

Production Notes


In the UK, the film was released on the Rank cinema circuit on 24 September 1972 on a double bill with What Became of Jack and Jill? (1972).


Variety vol.267 no.5 (14 June 1972) p.18
Dehn's dramaturgy is perfect in that the violence to come is matched by the gross injustices being perpetrated. Thus, while the film is exeremely rough towards the end, it is not offensive In this regard. There have been some last-minute changes in the climax, which now finds McDowall sparing Murray's life after a long siege, and proclaiming a new era of peace, but under the domination of apes. Considering the plot development earlier, this may seem an abrupt cop-out, but at least the tag sequence does not run too long and therefore any audience letdown is minimal. McDowall is extremely good as usual to simian character, and Thompson's staging keeps the pace very lively. Hari Rhodes is prominent as one of Murray's aides who helps the apes and is spared from the carnage. Tom Scott's music is very adroit to the uptight, militant story environment, and all other production credits are tops. – from a review by Murf

Monthly Film Bulletin vol.39 no.463 (August 1972) pp.157-158
This comic-book adventure is a far cry from the provocative Pierre Boulle vision so impressively realised by Franklin Schaffner four films ago; and in spite of some crude allegorical pretensions, it can't really be considered seriously as more than another excuse by APJAC to get maximum wear out of an expensive set of costumes. Even on that score, the film falls down rather badly. The original rubbery creations which, one could reason, were acceptable representations of a race of evolved, humanised simians thousands of years hence, certainly won't do to depict animated apes straight out of a twentieth-century jungle; and it's adding insult to inaccuracy to show the actors' air-holes in quite such disillusioning close-up. […] Perhaps if the producers had cut out the statutory moralising (particularly the clumsy and decidedly backhanded parallels with America's race problems), called their film Son of the Apes and pitched it simply at the Saturday matinee level thus implied (Don Murray's hammy demagogue catches the flavour perfectly), a passable piece of sci-fi might have emerged. As it is, one can only take comfort from the thought that the whole convoluted saga has now almost come full circle. – from a review by Clyde Jeavons

Cinefantastique vol.3 no.1 Autumn 1973 p.29
Paul Dehn fashioned an extremely imaginative screenplay, full of swift, clever plot transitions and devices. […] [T]he film so loads the dice against humanity that the apes' bloodbath seems entirely justified. My complaint here is not a moral one really, but dramatically an aesthetic balance between the ape and human characters was desperately needed. It becomes a one-dimensional racist parable, perhaps unintentional, in which the death of one man seems enough reason for one ape to go crackers (or bananas?) and kill every human in sight, recruiting every ape he can get his hands on. Only two characters, Armando and MacDonald, are given any sympathy. charity. feeling, or dimension, and the first one kills himself before nearly betraying Caesar under police interrogation, and the other is black (draw your own conclusions). […] Even the totalitarian way or life cannot be conveyed with a conviction or involvement necessary to understand why humans have become vegetables, and apes are becoming human. These may seem like academic remarks, but they're vital in relating why the film, though it moves well, doesn't really develop with any kind of force. Perhaps the one vital, and yet understandably necessary, missing factor, is the ape-ape, ape-human dialog that lends this balance I've been discussing. […] Though all hands try very hard, the battle scenes that take up about the last half-hour or more of the film are its weakest part. The cutting from hand-held, to tracking, to static shots is never smooth enough to be awesome or tight enough to be consistently exciting. It's pure mayhem, admittedly at times suspenseful (especially when the apes blowtorch their way into the control room), but it goes beyond aesthetic reason and endurance to become merely a display of bloody fighting and carnage, with no meaningful context. The scenes often look messy, and not even Century City provides the background to make it seem like the epic it was obviously intended to be. […] But all this can he justified in one way or another because Thompson. and photographer Bruce Surtees, evidently worked arduously to make it work as best they could. On the surface, it is an extremely handsome production. […] With all my criticisms, it's still a very enjoyable, thoruughly professional endeavour. It remains the fastest moving, most imaginatively constructed. and the most surfacely actionful film of the series. But it remains wanting of some of the qualities that distinguished Apes1 and 3 especially, and often suffers through lack of them. – from an illustrated review by Dale Winogura



  • Cinefantastique vol.2 no.2 (Summer 1972) pp.16-37 – interviews (Dialogues on apes, apes and more apes by Dale Winogura)
  • Cinefantastique vol.3 no.1 (Autumn 1973) p.29 – illustrated review (by Dale Winogura)
  • Cinefantastique vol.33 no.4 (August 2001) pp.34-37 – illustrated article (Planet of the Apes: the original series by Mark Phillips and Frank Garcia)
  • Cinema TV Today no.9992 (5 August 1972) p.19 – credits, review (The new films by Marjorie Bilbow)
  • Empire no.203 (May 2006) p.165 – illustrated DVD review (At Home/Reissues on DVD: Box sets by Sam Toy)
  • Film Comment vol.31 no.5 (September/October 1995) pp.62-66 – illustrated article (Son of Apes by Michael Atkinson)
  • Filmfacts vol.15 no.8 (1972) pp.175-177 – reprinted reviews
  • Films and Filming vol.18 no.12 (September 1972) p.42 – credits, review
  • Films Illustrated vol.2 no.14 (August 1972) p.42 – credits, review
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.220 no.11 (25 Februay 1972) p.13 – credits
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.221 no.35 (9 June 1972) p.3 – credits, review
  • Legend no.34 (2001) p.23 – CD review (Soundtrack reviews by Dirk Wickenden)
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.39 no.463 (August 1972) pp.157-158 – credits, synopsis, review (by Cyde Jeavons)
  • Soundtrack! The Collector's Quarterly vol.20 no.77 (Spring 2001) p.25 – illustrated record review (Soundtrack review by Randall D. Larson)
  • Today's Cinema no.9945 (5 October 1971) p.4 – note (Apjac's future plans)
  • Variety vol.267 no.5 (14 June 1972) p.18 – credits, review (by Murf)


  • Hoffman's Guide to Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Movies 1991-1992 p.77 – credits, review
  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee pp.73-74 – credits