THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS (1953) Reviews and overview

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The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms is a 1953 American science fiction monster film directed by Eugène Lourié (The Colossus of New York; The Giant Behemoth; Gorgo) from a screenplay by Lou Morheim and Fred Freiberger, based on Ray Bradbury‘s story ‘The Foghorn’. Lourié also served as the film’s production designer.

The film’s animation effects were by Ray Harryhausen (It Came from Beneath the Sea; 20 Million Miles to Earth; The Valley of Gwangi).

The movie stars Paul Christian, Paula Raymond, Cecil Kellaway, Kenneth Tobey (The Thing from Another World), Donald Woods, Lee Van Cleef, Steve Brodie, Ross Elliott, and Jack Pennick.

An atomic bomb test in the Arctic Circle unfreezes a giant carnivorous diapsid known as the Rhedosaurus, thawing it out of the ice where it had been hibernating for 100 million years.

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms light house

The Beast starts making its way down the east coast of North America, sinking a fishing ketch off the Grand Banks, destroying another near Marquette, Canada, wrecking a lighthouse in Maine, and crushing buildings in Massachusetts. The monster eventually comes ashore in Manhattan, and, after tearing through power lines, attacks the city…


” … works perfectly well as a straight-up monster flick. Technically speaking, this is one of the four or five best-made movies of its type that I’ve seen. Remarkably, it features a number of fairly good actors in the central roles (Cecil Kellaway especially is terrific), and never makes the mistake of asking them to do things that are beyond their abilities.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

“Like all of Harryhausen’s stop-motion creations, the Rhedosaurus has great personality and an iconic look. The film moves a little bit slower than some of the movies that followed it, but it’s an absolute must-see for any fans of 1950s science fiction, in the same league as better-known films such as The Day the Earth Stood Still or Earth vs. the Flying Saucers.” Jim Vorel, Paste magazine


” … the quintessential 1950s monster movie. As it stands, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms is not a particularly great film. However, sometimes in science-fiction and fantasy, the genre’s ability to carry social symbolism can have a potency and power that reaches out beyond the crude pulp confines it comes embedded in.” Richard Scheib, Moria

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“We usually balk at films that are style over substance like this, but The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms is spectacularly well-realized and packed with numerous sequences that are still awe-inspiring thanks to Ray Harryhausen’s landmark effects sequences. The film not only represents a groundbreaking genre but also groundbreaking effects work.” Oh, the Horror!


“A wonderful film and still one of the best giant monster rampage flicks out there. It may not carry the weight and tone of more ‘serious’ sci fi from the 50s like The Thing (1951) and The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951), but this one is much more fun.” Crash! Landen’s Crash Site







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