The First Big Budget Sci-Fi Movie Is Now Available Without Netflix

By Matthew Flynn | Published

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More than half a century after its release, Forbidden Planet still stands as a monumental pillar in the field of science fiction cinema. With an unprecedented budget and innovative storytelling techniques, it was truly ahead of its time. Let’s take a journey through the enigmatic universe of Forbidden Planet, exploring its monumental budget, deep ties to Shakespeare and its enduring appeal in popular culture.

Forbidden Planet From 1956

Released in 1965, Forbidden Planet is a 1956 was directed by Fred M. Wilcox, and starred Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, and Leslie Nielsen. Conceived with a then-staggering budget of nearly $2 million, it was a landmark production that showcased what could be done in sci-fi, if given enough support.

Its budget was exceptional for that era, particularly for a genre that often faced budgetary constraints. Forbidden Planet’s sizeable funds were extensively used for creative set design, groundbreaking special effects, and its innovative score.

The superbly crafted spaceship and the planet’s environment, including the incredibly vivid Id Monster, were a testament to the creators’ commitment to highly aesthetic and engaging visuals.

Sci-Fi And Literature

Forbidden Planet‘s storytelling strength lies in its creative amalgamation of science fiction and literature. The film is notably rooted in Shakespeare’s fantasy, The Tempest, with elements of the plot and character dynamics mirroring the Bard’s timeless play.

This narrative depth added a sense of sophistication and complexity that was relatively rare in science fiction films of its time.

Traveling To A Distant Planet

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In Forbidden Planet, the crew of the starship C-57D travels to the distant Altair IV to uncover the fate of a lost expedition, ignoring ominous warnings along the way.

As the only survivors, Dr. Edward Morbius, his daughter Altaira, and their robot servant Robby, present a mystery that grows more complex with the discovery of an unseen planetary force.

Planet’s Deeper Secrets

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As the crew, led by Leslie Nielsen as Commander John J. Adams, delves deeper into the planet’s secrets, they encounter the technology of an advanced race and alien creatures. The explorers must confront these hidden dangers and dark secrets in a tale of exploration, revelation, and survival.

Moderate Box Office Success

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Forbidden Planet was a moderate success at the box office, earning $2.765 million in the US and Canada during its initial run. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, in part because it was the first sci-fi film to be set entirely on another planet.

Over time, Forbidden Planet’s stature has only continued to grow and is now considered a fundamental entry in the classic science fiction canon.

Lasting Mark On Cinema

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Forbidden Planet was added to the National Film Registry because of the lasting mark it left on cinema. In addition to the ground-breaking special effects, the movie was the first to feature a robot with depth of character as well as the first to be scored exclusively with electronic music.

Beyond its financial and critical success, Forbidden Planet has left an indelible mark on pop culture. It influenced the greenlighting and creation of future science fiction television programs and inspired generations of filmmakers. Robby the Robot, the film’s mechanical marvel, became a cultural icon and remains a popular symbol of 1950s sci-fi cinema.

Forbidden Planet is now free to stream on Tubi.