It Conquered the World
It Conquered the World.jpg
film poster by Albert Kallis
Directed by Roger Corman
Produced by Roger Corman
Written by Lou Rusoff
Charles B. Griffith (uncredited)
Starring Peter Graves
Lee Van Cleef
Beverly Garland
Sally Fraser
Music by Ronald Stein
Cinematography Fred E. West
Editing by Charles Gross
Distributed by American International Pictures
Release date(s) July 15, 1956
Running time 71 min.
Country US flag 49 stars.svg.png [[|]]
Language English

It Conquered the World is a 1956 American science fiction film about an alien from Venus trying to take over the world with the help of a disillusioned human scientist. It was directed by Roger Corman, written by Lou Rusoff (with uncredited contributions by Charles B. Griffith), and starred Peter Graves, Lee Van Cleef, Beverly Garland, and Sally Fraser.

Plot synopsis Edit

Dr. Tom Anderson (Van Cleef), an embittered scientist, has picked up the voice of a Venusian alien in his radio transmitter. The alien wants to take over the world with its mind-control devices and thus make a new home for itself, but claims only to be bringing peace to the Earth through the elimination of emotions. Anderson agrees to help the creature in this ploy, even allowing that the creature assimilate his friend Dr. Nelson (Graves) and his wife (Fraser). The alien's first action is to suppress all electric power on Earth, including the ignition and starting systems of motor vehicles, leaving Dr. Nelson resorting to riding around on a bicycle.

After killing a flying bat-like creature which carries the mind-control device, Nelson returns home to see his wife is assimilated and, as she attempts to assimilate him with another bat creature, he kills her. By this point, the only people left that are not mind controlled are Nelson, Anderson, Anderson's wife, and a small group of soldiers camping in the woods. Dr. Nelson finally persuades the paranoid Anderson that he has been wrong about the alien's motives and that he has made a horrible mistake, allying himself with a creature bent on world domination. They hurriedly leave when they discover Tom's wife has picked up a rifle and gone to the alien's cave to try to kill it. The monster succeeds in taking the life of Mrs. Anderson before the two doctors make it to her rescue. Finally seeing his hubris and the loss of everything he holds dear, Dr. Anderson kills the monster, sustaining lethal wounds of his own in the confrontation.

Cast Edit

  • Peter Graves as Dr. Paul Nelson
  • Lee Van Cleef as Dr. Tom Anderson
  • Beverly Garland as Claire Anderson
  • Sally Fraser as Joan Nelson
  • Russ Bender as General James Pattick
  • Taggart Casey as Sheriff N.J. Shallert
  • Karen Kadler as Dr. Ellen Peters
  • Dick Miller as First Sergeant
  • Jonathan Haze as Corporal Manuel Ortiz
  • Paul Harbor as Dr. Floyd Mason
  • Charles B. Griffith as Dr. Pete Shelton
  • Thomas E. Jackson as George Haskell

Release HistoryEdit

It Conquered the World was released theatrically by American International Pictures in July, 1956.[1] During the 1960's the title was syndicated to television by American International Television. In the 1990's VHS versions appeared on the US home video market (by RCA Columbia Home Video)[2] and in the UK,[3] but these are no longer in distribution.



Chicago Reader gave the film a generally positive review, saying "Amazingly, this 1953 picture isn't half bad […]".[4]

Time Out magazine, however, gave the film a negative review, criticising the film for its poor special effects.[5]

Leonard Maltin called the film "well acted and interesting but awkwardly plotted".[6]

All Movie Guide gave the film three out of five stars, calling it an "above-average quickie".[7]

Rotten tomatoes gave the film 80%, regarding it "fresh", based on 5 Reviews,[8] while the Rotten Tomatoes User Community gave the film 60%, also regarding it "fresh", based on 5 reviews.[9]


In 1966, a remake of It Conquered the World was produced for television under the name Zontar, The Thing from Venus.

Frank Zappa's 1974 live album Roxy & Elsewhere refers to the film in the introduction for the song Cheepnis.

In 1991, it was mocked on the television series Mystery Science Theater 3000; subjects for jokes included the poor monster props, occasionally wooden acting, and the overblown closing monologue.

Audio samples from the film are played in the song Facing That from M83's self titled debut album, released in 2001.

References Edit

  1. It Conquered the World at
  2. US-American VHS of It Conquered the World at
  3. British VHS of It Conquered the World at
  4. Review by Dave Kehr in the Chicago Reader.
  5. Review by Tony Rayns in Time Out magazine.
  6. Leonard Maltin's 2008 Movie Guide, Signet/New American Library, New York 2008.
  7. Review by Hal Erickson in All Movie Guide, online at
  8. Online reviews at
  9. User reviews at

External links Edit

watch the trailer here

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