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Product Details

  • Actors: William Phipps, Susan Douglas Rubes, James Anderson, Charles Lampkin, Earl Lee
  • Directors: Arch Oboler
  • Writers: Arch Oboler, James Weldon Johnson
  • Producers: Arch Oboler
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 3, 2009
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001LMAK7O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,327 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Five" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Intriguing, offbeat film by famed radio writer-director Arch Oboler about the survivors of a nuclear holocaust. FIVE stars William Phipps, Susan Douglas and Charles Lampkin, and is probably the first film to deal with a post-apocalyptic theme.


Sony Pictures’ "Martini Movies" series, of which Five is one, consists of films clearly intended to be laughed at, not with; indeed, watching this 1951 turkey is like a Mystery Science Theater screening, except that you supply your own commentary. But give writer-director Arch Oboler credit for coming up with one of the earliest entries in the post-nuclear apocalypse genre. In this "story about the day after tomorrow," the titular five have survived the radioactive fallout that has effectively wiped out the rest of humanity and somehow ended up in the same place (Malibu, California; the shooting took place at Oboler’s home, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright). The five quickly become four, as an elderly banker succumbs to radiation sickness. That leaves a pregnant woman (Susan Douglas), a "philosopher" (William Phipps), an "explorer" (James Anderson), and a guy who was accompanying the banker; and since the latter is African-American and this is the early '50s, that means it’s up to the other two men, one a practical hard worker and the other a nonchalant layabout, to battle it out to see who’ll become Adam to the woman’s Eve. Not a whole lot happens in this "cheap honky-tonk of a world"--tensions mount; grass grows; they dance to a Strauss waltz--but there’s plenty of philosophizing about the new order and some reminiscing about the old one, most of it ludicrously melodramatic and pseudo-profound. Clearly this stuff is best apprehended with the help of a cocktail or two, and we are helpfully provided with two martini recipes to guide us through. Cheers! --Sam Graham

Stills from Five (Click for larger image)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
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1 star
See all 24 customer reviews
The story and plot of the movie was very good.
Margaret Songer
The camera work is grim and grainy, and in a film like this, it adds a powerful note of realism.
Martin Asiner
The movie Five has to be one of the best sci-fi movies i have ever seen.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Robert C. Cumbow on March 2, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This DVD transfer looks worlds better than previous VHS versions, but is still marred by problems that go back to the condition of the master print. But it's an excellent reminder that Arch Oboler was ahead of the pack in so many respects. Here he is, creating the first film about the survivors of a world-devastating nuclear exchange, establishing the language and tone--and setting the bar--for many films that followed. For all its apparent simplicity, FIVE contains complex characterizations and uncompromising moments of confrontation and narrative development, as well as some unforgettable images.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By D. Lockin on February 5, 2009
Format: DVD
The official review about this film is correct it is the first post nuke film that i know of. I do not have this copy of the movie but I do have a bad copy made from an old film.

The movie is exactly how I remember it from the first time I say it on TV over 30 years ago maybe close to 40 years. It is about a group of 5 people who gather in Arch Oboler's house (yes it was filmed in his Frank Loyld Wright house).

This movie will disappoint all of the five year old's out there because it is a slow moving introspective picture about the 5 who try and to some degree fail to live together in this house. The movie was made at a time when action was not the only prerequisite for a movie. There are no explosions and no real scenes of mass destruction and of course it is in black and white, so there is another reason for the 5 year old's to not like it. There are 4 men and one pregnant woman at the beginning and at the end it is more of and Adam and Eve beginning.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 25, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I accidentally ran across this film on one of the Roku channels. I had never heard of it and thought I would give it a shot. I was not disappointed. It's an apocalyptic film without the zombies and gore--just the struggles of five people thrown together. It deals with the good and evil of mankind and focuses upon the relationships built by these five individuals. If you're into zombies and plagues, then stay away! But if you like solid drama based upon character development, then this is a movies you should see. I liked it enough to purchase my own copy!Five
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By calvinnme HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 2, 2010
Format: DVD
The subject of this film may seem commonplace - the world destroyed by nuclear holocaust, one woman and several men the only survivors, - but it was the first to tackle this subject matter, and it does it very well. This one does have one interesting catch - the woman survivor is pregnant.

I'm usually on top of new classic releases, but this one escaped my attention until DVD Savant named it the top disc of 2009. I hadn't seen it since the third grade - Thanskgiving 1966 - and it made quite an impression on me at the time, so I thought I'd purchase it and see if it lived up to my memories. It did and then some. I can't really share any details of the story without giving anything away, except perhaps the character of the survivors. The woman is understandably obsessed with returning to the city and finding out for sure if her husband is dead or alive. Of the four men one is disqualified as a suitor because of his age, and another is disqualified because, after all, this is 1951 and he is African American and the woman is white. Of the two actually eligible suitors by 1951 standards, one is a brutish slob and the other is thoughtful and forward thinking, setting up a Cain and Abel dynamic between the two.

The film audio and video quality are excellent. From 2000 - 2005 Sony put out some of the more technically challenged classic film discs I've seen, but in the last three or four years they've really turned things around. Highly recommended for fans of 1950's sci-fi.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Martin Asiner on March 3, 2009
Format: DVD
FIVE belongs to that rare class of science fiction film that lingers in the memory even decades after a first viewing. Director/producer/writer Arch Oboler tried for something daring in an era that was dominated by threat of nuclear war. He combined stark black and white images with literally no special effects with five survivors of an atomic armeggedon who faced both the harshness of survival and personal crisis to produce a film that some reviewers have termed simplistic and pretentious. Such negative reactions are, I think, more of a reflection of the desire of most audiences to have slang bang action sequences with Rambo punching out hordes of Commie troops. Here Oboler went with a more low key, more believable approach. When the nuclear dust settles over the world, the lucky few survivors will indeed be fortunate to find each other, and when they do, Oboler suggests that the prejudices and hates of the Old World will not go away.

William Phipps is Michael, who survives only because he happens to be in an elevator in the Empire State building. He meets Roseanna (Susan Douglas), who similarly survives because she was rolled into a lead-lined X-Ray machine. Against all odds, they meet in a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, where they must overcome the emotional baggage that each brings. He with loneliness, she with pregnancy and a desire to find her husband. Michael tries foolishly to kiss her and she repulses him. They work around this and slowly grow attached to each other. And all the while they talk. This talk is the ordinary stuff of life, ordinary only in the extraordinary circumstances of their new life. Far from viewing this torrent of words as pretentious, I saw it as a sincere desire to hold on to the fast evaporating vestiges of the post-war mindset.
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