“Planet of the Apes” – With apologies to “Forbidden Planet” and “2001,” “Planet of the Apes” is the best sci-fi movie of the pre-“Star Wars” era. This dystopian parable from “Twilight Zone” creator Rod Serling is as meaningful today as it was in 1968. An astronaut (Charlton Heston) travels to the 40th century and a planet where apes rule and humans are hunted.
Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, the film is packed with scenes and dialogue that provide a wry commentary on modern society. Above all, it warns that nuclear weapons could lead to the apocalypse, a theme reprised in many later films. It all leads up to a chilling final scene.
– John Hansen, “The 25 coolest science fiction movies,” NDSU Spectrum, Sept. 4, 1998