Them! (1954)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB

USA, 1954Story by , adaptation by , Screenplay by Cinematography by Produced by Music by Production Design by Costume Design by Film Editing by

One of the most popular and best-loved monster movies to come out of the golden age of fifties sci-fi, with an environmental message related to fears of nuclear war delicately sewn in to its horrific premise. A little girl is found by policeman wandering the New Mexico desert, catatonic thanks to an unexplained case of shock. Her home turns out to be destroyed and her family killed, but the police can’t tell who or what did it until the FBI joins in, finds some pretty interesting large footprints in the sand and ships in two myrmecologists, a father () and daughter (), who help reveal the ghastly truth: radiation from testing the A-bomb has resulted in local ants growing to the size of airplanes, and given how strong they are at their regular size, giant ants are likely to devour the whole country and, eventually, the world. Our merely human heroes snap into action when they discover that among the population of monstrously large critters are queen ants whose ability to repopulate their kind knows practically no bounds. There are few creature features that have not been influenced by this classic, among them as lofty a masterpiece as Alien lifts images directly from here, and while little of it remains genuinely terrifying (those big mechanical ants never quite move fast enough), its clever construction and sincere performances still make it great entertainment.

Academy Award Nomination:  Best Special Effects


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