Battle for the Planet of the Apes

Battle for the Planet of the Apes

Infobox Film
name=Battle for the Planet of the Apes

director=J. Lee Thompson
writer=Pierre Boulle (characters)
Paul Dehn
John Corrington
Joyce Hooper Corrington
starring=Roddy McDowall
Claude Akins
Natalie Trundy
John Huston
Paul Williams
released=June 15 1973
runtime=93 minutes
preceded_by="Conquest of the Planet of the Apes"

"Battle for the Planet of the Apes" is a 1973 science fiction film and is the fifth and final entry in the "Planet of the Apes" series. It was directed by J. Lee Thompson. Considered by critics to be the weakest of all the sequels,fact|date=March 2008 the film's budget was also the lowest.


"This synopsis is based on the expanded European version, later seen on network television."

Set in flashback to the turn of the 21st century, and told by the Great Lawgiver, this sequel focuses on the ape leader, Caesar (Roddy McDowall), a few decades after he led the ape revolution in the previous film, "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes". In this post-nuclear war society, Caesar tries to cultivate peace between his simian peers and the surviving remains of humanity. Gorilla leader Aldo (Claude Akins), however, wants nothing to do with this; therefore he plots Caesar's overthrow and doom. Caesar is now married to Lisa, the female ape of the previous film, and they have a son, named Cornelius in honor of Caesar's father. Caesar regrets having never known his parents, until his human assistant, MacDonald, informs him that by viewing taped archives of his parents, he can learn of the future. Caesar learns the archives are in the Forbidden City, once a large Human city, and is now nuclear ruins. Caesar travels with MacDonald and Virgil to the Forbidden City and sneaks in to find the record archives. However, there are radiation-scarred humans still living in the Forbidden City, now under the command of Governor Kolp. Caesar and his party view the recordings of Cornelius and Zira and learn of the future of the world, but barely have enough time to study the tapes before they must escape or risk capture and death. Kolp considers this clandestine entrance by Caesar an act of espionage while his subordinate Méndez says that they did nothing wrong and should be allowed to go in peace. Governor Kolp then declares war on Ape City, mustering the humans from the Forbidden City to destroy the ape society once and for all.

Meanwhile, Aldo is furious over the fact that Caesar wants to co-exist peacefully with humans, and plots a military coup in order to install himself as the leader of Ape City. Cornelius, while climbing a tree, overhears this, but is spotted by Aldo, who hacks at the branch, causing Cornelius to suffer serious injuries and remain bedridden. Cornelius eventually dies in the arms of his parents. Caesar is devastated by this event, and only leaves the side of his now-dead son when he learns Kolp's ragtag force is attacking Ape City. Aldo leads the gorillas to break in to the armory, steal the weapons and corral all the humans into a pen, under the justification that all humans are alike and should be locked away.

The mutants attack Ape City and initially succeed. When Kolp finds Caesar, he taunts him, saying the apes would once again be humanity's slaves. But when Lisa cries out, Caesar is spurred on. He shouts NOW, FIGHT LIKE APES!!!, and the apes launch a counter-attack that ultimately drives the mutants off. Kolp and his remaining forces are killed by Aldo and his troops. After the battle, Aldo wants to kill the humans in the pen, but Caesar shields them. It is then revealed that Cornelius' death was not due to an accident, but Aldo's malevolence. The ape community concludes that the society's sacred law ("ape must never kill ape") has been broken. As the community repeats "ape has killed ape", an infuriated Caesar engages in a single combat with Aldo, which results in Aldo's death. Caesar then frees the humans, who insist that freedom is meaningless without being treated as equals. Caesar then realizes the apes are just as despicable as the slaveowners who once owned them if they treat the humans as second class citizens. The apes and humans then decide to coexist with one another and begin to make a new society.

Back in the Forbidden City, Méndez has succeeded Kolp as Governor. A mutant is about to fire the cobalt bomb, when Governor Méndez countermands Kolp's last order, saying that it will result in massive destruction and a Pyrrhic victory, whereas if they form a respect, even religion, based on the bomb, they will always have a sense of purpose in their lives.

The wizened orangutan at the beginning of the film (the Great Lawgiver, played by John Huston), finishes the narration begun in the prologue (which takes place over 600 years later) to a group of young humans and apes. Instead of humanity falling and apes rising to take their place, the two species have continued to coexist. However, Screenwiter Paul Dehn stated that the last shot of the film showing a tear on the statue of Caesar was to let the audience know that Caesar's plans may have ultimately failed. It could also be a clue to mankind's eventual fall as seen in the earlier films.


While Roddy McDowall returns and John Huston appears as the Lawgiver, the casting of this film otherwise showed the diminishing stature and budget of the series. As was becoming routine in the "Apes" movies, actors who were largely known for television appearances or supporting film work were cast in leading roles, particularly Claude Akins and Severn Darden, and in this entry they even received movie-star billing with their photos featured prominently on the film's poster. This fact, as well as the stunt casting of musician Paul Williams as one of the apes, combined with the minimalist sets to give the film a movie-of-the-week aura. Curiously, France Nuyen, who even at that time was arguably a bigger star than most of the top-billed actors, received poor billing in a small role, though the extended DVD cut restored much of her screen time.

Extended Cut

The CBS television version adds a few scenes cut from the theatrical release. One scene takes place after Aldo chases teacher Abe, where MacDonald reminds him why humans should not say "no" to an ape. Another scene towards the end of the film shows the beginnings of the House of Mendez cult, as the humans in the city are about to fire off the doomsday bomb (as seen in "Beneath the Planet of the Apes"), but decide not to, as it would threaten the world. If checked carefully in "Beneath", one can see signs of Mendez being around the Forbidden Zone, as there is a hymnal on the pipe organ reading "Mendez II", busts of past leaders of the mutant society (such as Mendez XIV), and the leader of the mutant society in "Beneath" is also named Mendez (presumably a descendant of the Mendez in "Battle"). It is clear that Governor Mendez has taken a different tack of leadership from his predecessors, Kolp and Breck, in that he is more sympathetic to the apes living their own lives; so long as they do not invade the mutant territory, and starting up the religion of the bomb. It is also possible that he has now started a theocracy with the leader being called Mendez, and coming to power through hereditary succession.

In 2006, the "Planet of the Apes" movies were re-released separately and in a new box set. When "Battle for the Planet of the Apes" was re-released on the box set and separately, it was advertised as a digitally-remastered, extended version with 10 minutes of additional footage.

This version has been released before, via bootleg, and has been widely acknowledged by "Apes" fans as the definitive version. Here listed are the additional scenes:

*Near the end of the opening credits, the score continues to its original ending for 25 seconds, with extra footage of General Aldo approaching on a horse.
*The chase of the teacher of the apes is longer by 20 seconds.
*The mutant chief is walking around in his HQ, and has more dialogue.
*The entry into the ruins of the Forbidden City of the ape scout party with Caesar is 40 seconds longer, with more dialogue.
*The escape from the Forbidden City shows more footage and dialogue involving the apes.
*The scene where Cornelius is "shot" by a human boy begins slightly earlier, making it clear that the shooting is a game — which makes more sense, since no mutant party had yet even approached the ape city.
*DELETED SCENE: In this edited scene, Governor Kolp tells his lieutenant to fire an atomic missile on Ape City when he gives the signal.
*The assault by the mutants is shown 45 seconds longer. "(In this sequence there were three more smaller cuts that reduced the battle scene by 40 additional seconds, and originally there was no musical score.)"
*The scene where the Governor Kolp calls "Sergeant York" is missing.
*Again, parts of the assault are cut by almost 40 seconds.
*There are additional shots and dialogue before the mutants lay down the smoke screen.
*15 more seconds of the battle were cut.
*20 seconds of later battle footage cut.
*The scene where Aldo kills Governor Kolp and his followers in the school bus was cut in the U.S. theatrical version, but has been restored.
*The fight between Aldo and Caesar is longer.
*DELETED SCENE: The new Governor Mendez talks the mutant lieutenant out of firing the atomic missile. As they argue, they discover it is the ALPHA-OMEGA bomb. This scene was cut. "(Only with this sequence reinserted the odd cut from the Caesar conversation involving the humans to the ending sequence makes a little more sense and looks better.)"


External links


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