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It Came from Outer Space

4.4 out of 5 stars 251 customer reviews

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(May 21, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

Amateur astronomer John Putnam (Richard Carlson) and his fiancee Ellen Fields (Barbara Rush) are stargazing in the desert when a spaceship bursts from the sky and crashes to the ground. Just before a landslide buries the ship, a mysterious creature emerges and disappears into the darkness. Of course, when he tells his story to the sheriff (Charles Drake), John is branded a crackpot; but before long, strange things begin to happen, and the tide of disbelief turns… Based on a story by acclaimed writer Ray Bradbury, It Came From Outer Space is a science fiction classic that is as thought-provoking and tantalizing today as it was when it first "landed" on the sliver screen.

Special Features

  • The Universe According to Universal
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian Tom Weaver
  • Photograph and Poster Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Recommendations

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Richard Carlson, Barbara Rush, Charles Drake, Joe Sawyer, Russell Johnson
    • Directors: Jack Arnold
    • Writers: Harry Essex
    • Producers: William Alland
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
    • Subtitles: Spanish
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      General Audience
    • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: May 21, 2002
    • Run Time: 81 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (251 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B000063UR0
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,150 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "It Came from Outer Space" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    Format: DVD
    The great thing about 1950's sci-fi movies is the way in which they took the psychological fallout from the Soviet-USA Cold War confrontation that dominated the decade (paranoia, McCarthyism and the "Red Scare", fear of the atomic bomb), and turned it into edgy science fiction that's unlike any present-day moviemaking. Some of these relatively low-budget films were awful, but others have stood the test of time to become classics of the genre. One of the best is 1953's "It Came From Outer Space", which features a great plot, solid acting, and is based on a story created by the great Ray Bradbury, one of the best sci-fi writers of his generation.

    Richard Carlson - who also starred in another 50s sci-fi classic, "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" - plays John Putnam, an amateur astronomer and scientist who lives in the desert outside a small town in Arizona. The townsfolk consider John to be a loner and something of an oddball, but he does enjoy the love of Ellen Fields (Barbara Rush), a pretty schoolteacher who thinks he can do no wrong. John's relationship with Ellen has earned him the ire of the town's sheriff (Charles Drake), a down-to-earth, cowboy-type fellow who can't understand Putnam's interest in "weird" things like science and astronomy and who wants Ellen for himself. One evening both John and Ellen watch as a huge meteor crashes near an old mine outside of town. The next day they investigate the meteor's crater, but only John makes it to the bottom, where he sees a large spaceship which is promptly buried in a landslide that nearly engulfs him as well. Ellen believes his story, but others are doubtful and laugh at him, and even the local radio station makes fun of him.
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    Format: VHS Tape
    In the 1970s I had the privledge of seeing IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE on the big screen in its original 3D format, and as such it was a visually fascinating film. But like all 3D films, IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE suffers in the translation from big screen 3D format to a standard television screen: the special effects, which seemed so spectacular in 3D, seem only so-so. And that is truly regrettable, for in its original format IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE is a classic of 1950s science-fiction.

    The story, created by Bradbury, concerns an amateur astronomer who discovers that aliens have crashlanded in the desert--but no one will believe him. Although the basic premise has been done to death, at the time OUTER SPACE was released it was still fresh, and Bradbury gives the tale an unusual spin that lifts it out of the realm of later 1950s and 1960s teenybopper flicks. But shorn of its 3D effects, the film lacks impact, and the creatures that were so impressive on the big screen become literal and slightly silly. Viewers who have never seen the film in its original 3D will be apt to wonder what all the fuss is about.

    And this poses a question. Why can't we have 3D films--a roster that includes THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, Vincent Price's WAX MUSEUM, and IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE--on tape or DVD in their original format? Admittedly the glasses are cumbersome, and there might be some issues about including them in the package, but other (and considerably less interesting) films have been released to video in 3D; why not the great classics, so we can see them as they were intended to be seen--and enjoy such films as IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE to their fullest? The original 3D version deserves a five-star rating, but in flat presentation it is worthy of only a three. I'm splitting the difference.

    GFT Amazon Reviewer
    8 Comments 96 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    This is a wonderful movie, even in the flat 2-D we are offered on this DVD. I've actually never seen this movie in its original 3-D splendor, but I've been told it was stunning.
    The story is, by today's standards, typical for the 1950's science fiction film. Handsome, rugged scientist (Richard Carlson of Creature From The Black Lagoon fame) and beautiful girlfriend (Barbara Rush) witness a meteor crashing to ground in the Arizona desert, only to learn it is a spacecraft from another world. No one believes them until people begin to disappear, and later return as almost robotic zombies. But this story was based on a Ray Bradburry short story, and that story, combined with wonderful script writing, takes this from a bland sci-fi popcorn muncher to a thinking man's (at least on the B-grade movie level) story of paranoia and terror that ultimately shows the weaknesses, and the strenths, in humankind.
    What most young people today don't realize is that this film was a first of many kinds. It was the first science fiction movie to portray aliens as anything but blood thirsty. It was the first of the desert sci-fi films. It was one of the first films to use the theremin for the eerie, wavering, electronic music we all associate with science fiction films from that era. It's the first time a movie used the perspective of the "monster", by letting us see through its cyclopian eye.
    The lonely desert landscapes are almost alien in themselves, sweeping and harsh, and seen many times in the long shadows and gray light of dusk. The soundtrack is mono that has been encoded to stereo, which sound wonderful on a home stereo system. The acting is top notch, and the special effects, though dated, have that comic book Buck Roger's feel that was bigger than life in the 1950's.
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