Today on MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES we look at memorable lines of dialogue from the original PLANET OF THE APES (1968) starring Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowall, one of my all-time favorite movies.
There are a lot of notable lines in this one, most of them spoken by Charlton Heston. The screenplay for PLANET OF THE APES was written by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling, based on the novel by Pierre Boulle. Of course, everyone knows Rod Serling and the talent he brought to the table, thanks to THE TWILIGHT ZONE TV series, but Michael Wilson was an award winning screenwriter in his own right, the winner of two Academy Awards for Best Screenplay for A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951) and THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957). He also co-wrote the screenplay for LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962).
It’s no wonder PLANET OF THE APES has so many outstanding lines!
We’ll get two of my favorite lines from the movie out of the way immediately. My all-time favorite line from PLANET OF THE APES comes from Charlton Heston’s astronaut Taylor, when he reaches his breaking point at the hands of the apes, and he shouts in anguish:
TAYLOR: It’s a madhouse! A madhouse!
There have been quite a few times in my life when things have gotten very low, and I’ve heard Heston’s voice in my head shouting these very same words.
Next up is probably the most famous quote from the movie, and it’s the scene where Taylor finally regains his voice, after having lost his ability to speak due to a bullet wound to the throat. In a world where apes speak and humans don’t, it was the first words spoken by a human that the apes had ever heard. The apes had just been chasing Taylor through the city, and when they capture him, he shouts:
TAYLOR: Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!
To relieve a lot of the tension in this riveting science fiction thriller, there’s a good amount of humor in the movie. For example, this line from one of the apes:
JULIUS: You know the saying, “Human see, human do.”
A bunch of very memorable lines come during the final sequence in the film, where Cornelius (Roddy McDowall) and Zira (Kim Hunter) take Taylor and Nova (Linda Harrison) to the Forbidden Zone, where they play to escape from Ape City. However, Dr. Zaius (Maurice Evans) and his gorilla soldiers are in hot pursuit.
For example, this exchange after Taylor overpowers Zaius and ties him up.
ZIRA: Taylor! Don’t treat him that way!
TAYLOR: Why not?
ZIRA: It’s humiliating!
TAYLOR: The way you humiliated me? All of you? You led me around on a leash!
CORNELIUS: That was different. We thought you were inferior.
TAYLOR: Now you know better.
When Cornelius reads from the sacred scrolls, it’s a memorable passage, so much so it was repeated in the opening of the movie’s sequel, BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES (1970).
CORNELIUS (reading from scroll): Beware the beast Man, for he is the Devil’s pawn. Alone among God’s primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother’s land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death.
Then there’s this exchange moments later between Taylor and Dr. Zaius:
TAYLOR: A planet where apes evolved from men? There’s got to be an answer.
DR. ZAIUS: Don’t look for it, Taylor. You may not like what you find.
And when Taylor and Nova are finally ready to ride off into the unknown, Taylor decides he’d like to kiss Zira goodbye, to which Zira gives this memorable response:
TAYLOR: Doctor, I’d like to kiss you goodbye.
ZIRA: All right, but you’re so damned ugly!
And we finish with Dr. Zaius’ prophetic comment about what Taylor will find on his voyage into the Forbidden Zone.
ZIRA: What will he find out there, doctor?
DR. ZAIUS: His destiny.
Great lines, great movie, great fun.
Thanks for joining me today on MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES, and I hope you enjoyed these lines from PLANET OF THE APES.
I’ll see you again next time with memorable quotes from another classic movie.
Books by Michael Arruda:
TIME FRAME, science fiction novel by Michael Arruda.
IN THE SPOOKLIGHT, movie review collection by Michael Arruda.
FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR, short story collection by Michael Arruda.