BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES
Following the events of previous 'Planet of the Apes' movie, time-displaced astronaut George Taylor (Charlton Heston) and the mute human Nova (Linda Harrison) are riding on horseback through the desert of the Forbidden Zone.
Suddenly and without warning, walls of fire spring up from the ground and deep chasms open in the earth. Confused by the strange phenomenon, Taylor investigates a cliff wall and disappears before Nova's eyes.
Elsewhere in the Forbidden Zone, a second human spaceship has crash-landed after being sent in search of Taylor and his crew. Like Taylor's ship, it has traveled forward through time into Earth's distant future.
Two astronauts emerge whom are John Brent (James Franciscus) and the gravely wounded captain of ship, known only as Skipper, who soon dies from his wounds.
Brent reads the Earth year on his crashed ship as 3955 A.D., and he believes he has traveled to another planet, unaware that this is Earth of the far-future.
He encounters Nova still riding on Taylor's horse and notices she is wearing Taylor's dog tags, but he cannot get her to speak. Hoping Taylor is still alive, Brent rides with Nova to Ape City, where he is shocked to discover a civilization of bipedal, talking apes.
He observes the militarist gorilla General Ursus (James Gregory) leading a rally calling for the apes to invade the Forbidden Zone, conquer it, exterminate all humans, and use it as a potential food source, against the objections of the orangutan ruling leader Dr. Zaius (Maurice Evans) as well as the chimpanzee minority of Ape City.
Brent is spotted and wounded by a gorilla soldier. He is taken by Nova to the home of Cornelius (David Watson) and Zira (Kim Hunter), who treat his wound and tell him of their previous encounter with Taylor.
The two humans hide when Dr. Zaius arrives and announces that he will accompany Ursus on the invasion of the Forbidden Zone. Attempting to flee the city, Brent and Nova are captured by gorillas.
Ursus orders they be used for target practice, but Zira helps them escape. Brent and Nova flee into the Forbidden Zone where they hide in a cave which Brent discovers to be the ruins of the Queensboro Plaza station of the New York City Subway, sparking the realization that he has traveled to Earth's post-apocalyptic future.
Following a humming sound deeper into the underground tunnels, Brent begins to hear voices telling him to kill Nova. Entering the remains of St. Patrick's Cathedral, he finds a population of telepathic humans who worship an intact nuclear bomb.
Meanwhile back in Ape City, Dr. Zaius prepares to accompany General Ursus for the invasion by several armed gorilla battalions into the Forbidden Zone to exterminate any humans there.
They are temporarily halted by a peace protest by the chimpanzee minority whom the gorillas proceed to detain. As Ursus and Zaius lead the huge ape army away from Ape City into the desert, Cornelius and Zira plot their own excursion into the Forbidden Zone desert to look for Taylor's spaceship by the Dead Lake deep in the zone where he told them in the previous movie where he crashed it.
Back in the underground city, Brent and Nova are captured by the mutant humans and are telepathically interrogated. Brent reveals the apes are marching on the Forbidden Zone and will find their underground city.
Above ground, the telepaths attempt to repel the ape army when it arrives by using their mental abilities to project illusions of fire and other horrors, as they had done to Taylor and Nova.
Dr. Zaius sees through the illusions, however, and leads the ape army through to the ruined city. With the apes closing in, the telepaths plan to detonate their "Divine Bomb" as a last resort.
They hold a religious ceremony, at the height of which they remove their masks to reveal that their appearance has been grotesquely mutated by centuries of exposure to nuclear fallout.
Brent is separated from Nova and taken to a cell, where he finds Taylor imprisoned. The mutant Ongaro (Don Pedro Colley) uses his telepathic powers to force Brent and Taylor to fight each other to the death.
Nova escapes her guard and runs to the cell, screaming her first word: "Taylor!" This breaks Ongaro's concentration, freeing Brent and Taylor from his control, and they overpower and kill him.
Brent describes the bomb the mutants worship and Taylor recognizes it as a "doomsday bomb", capable of destroying all life on the surface of the planet.
The heavily armed apes invade the subterranean city, killing Nova and making their way to the cathedral, shooting, stabbing, and clubbing all the mutant humans they see.
They are confronted by Méndez (Paul Richards), the mutant leader who raises the bomb into activation position before being gunned down. Brent and Taylor attempt to stop Ursus from accidentally setting off the weapon, but Taylor is shot.
Brent manages to take a rifle off a dead gorilla where he personally kills Ursus and several of his gorilla soldiers before being overwhelmed and shot dead by the other gorillas.
The mortally wounded Taylor pleads with Dr. Zaius for help, but Zaius refuses, saying that man is only capable of destruction and that all humans must be exterminated.
In his last moment, Taylor defiantly brings his hand down on the activation switch, triggering the bomb, which detonates... thus wiping out all life on the planet.
ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES - 1971
The preceding film, 'Beneath the Planet of the Apes', ends with a nuclear weapon's destruction of the apes' future Earth itself and everything on it.
'Escape from the Planet of the Apes' begins by establishing that three chimpanzee apes, Cornelius (Roddy McDowall), Zira (Kim Hunter), and Dr. Milo (Sal Mineo) escaped the Earth's destruction by salvaging and repairing the astronaut Taylor's spaceship (which sank in the Dead Lake in the desert Forbidden Zone in the first movie).
They piloted it through the nuclear shock wave of Earth's destruction, sending the ship into space and through a time warp wormhole back to present day 1973.
The salvage, repair and launch of Taylor's spaceship apparently all happened (off-camera) within the brief period during the final act of the previous film. The three apes arrive on Earth, splashing down on the Pacific coast near Los Angeles.
They are found by the surprised local authorities and are transported to a secluded area of the Los Angeles Zoo, under the observation of two scientists, Stephanie Branton (Natalie Trundy) and Lewis Dixon (Bradford Dillman).
They administer a series of intelligence tests, which Zira performs unerringly, but she finally loses her patience at the end of the last one and answers Stephanie's question to Lewis with an angry retort.
Stephanie and Lewis step outside, completely astonished. Milo argues with Zira and Cornelius about their agreement to hide their ability to speak until they felt the time was right.
The argument agitates a wild gorilla on the opposite side of a set of bars in the cages. Milo steps too close to these bars and the wild gorilla reaches through them and strangles Milo to death.
Meanwhile, a Presidential Commission has been formed to investigate the return of Taylor's spaceship which was launched the previous year and how the apes, which they already are aware are atypically intelligent, came to be aboard it.
Cornelius and Zira are brought before the Presidential Commission, where they publicly reveal their ability to speak, and are welcomed as guests. They tell the commission about their planet in the future which is future Earth, about the apes way of life, but they deny knowing Taylor or anyone else that crash landed on their world.
Over the next several weeks, the two apes become celebrities, being lavished with presents and media attention as well as staying in a fancy hotel suite.
They come to the attention of the President's Science Advisor Dr. Otto Hasslein (Eric Braeden), who discovers Zira is pregnant and fears for the future of the human race after Zira had earlier told the commission about the growing dominance of apes to be set in the near future.
Determined to force the issue, he gets her drunk on champagne (which he assures her is harmless, calling it "grape juice plus"). The resulting interrogation enables him to convince the Commission that Cornelius and Zira must be subjected to more rigorous questioning.
Both chips are brought to a top secret military base are questioned using various means of interrogation; during this time, one of Hasslein's assistants refers to the apes as "monkeys", stirring Cornelius' anger. Hasslein defuses it, saying they simply want to know how apes rose in dominance over men.
Under interrogation, Cornelius reveals that according to the historic archive books and scrolls in their ape society of the future, the human race will eventually meet its downfall in the late 20th Century.
A plague wiped out all domestic cats and dogs of humans and humanity adopted apes as household pets which they turned into slaves.
A militant ape, known only as 'Aldo', led a slave revolt and the world was soon dominated by the simians, which will, many centuries later, lead to the surface of Earth's destruction through nuclear war and anarchy in the year 3955.
However, there are still suspicions about how humans are treated by the future apes when Cornelius and Zira continue to deny knowing Taylor or talk about how humans are treated in their world.
Suspicion had already been aroused by Zira letting it slip, during her drunken interrogation by Dr. Hasslein, that she had dissected humans in the course of her scientific work.
Hasslein orders Lewis to administer a truth serum to her, while Cornelius is taken to confinement quarters. Lewis warns Zira that the serum will have the same effect as the champagne Hasslein convinced her to drink earlier.
As a result of the serum, Hasslein learns for himself that Zira examined and operated on humans in the future and indeed knew Taylor as well as Barnes who also arrived on their planet.
Zira is taken to join Cornelius in confinement while the paranoid Hasslein takes his findings to the U.S. President (William Windom) who insists to the President that the apes are a danger to the human race.
A little later, an orderly bringing food refers to the unborn child as a "little monkey"; Cornelius has heard enough of the epithet and knocks the tray out of the orderly's hands and bashes him on the head with the tray, and uses this advantage to escape from the military base.
At first, Cornelius thinks that he has only knocked the orderly unconscious, but he is later stunned to overhear that the man died.
Hasslein uses the orderly's death and of Cornelius and Zira's escape as an illustration of the future danger the apes present and calls for the apes' execution. The president reluctantly orders that the unborn child's birth be terminated and that both chimpanzees be sterilized or killed.
Running for their lives, Cornelius and Zira (assisted by Stephanie and Lewis) find shelter in a circus run by a Mexican national named Señor Armando (Ricardo Montalbán), where an ape named Heloise has just had a baby.
There Zira gives birth to a son, whom she names Milo (later known as Caesar). Hasslein, knowing Zira will imminently give birth, orders a search of all circuses and zoos.
As a result, Armando must send the apes away. Armando, Lewis and Stephanie provide them with maps and help them plan to hide until such time as they can escape into the Florida Everglades to live the rest of their lives in peace.
In case they are discovered, Lewis gives Cornelius a pistol to use as a last resort. Zira asks to say goodbye to Heloise before they leave. Hasslein tracks the apes down to an abandoned ship in Long Beach harbor, and finds Zira resting with her infant.
Hasslein shoots Zira in cold blood after she refuses to hand over her infant and then proceeds to fire several shots into the infant. Hasslein is immediately shot to death by Cornelius, and falls overboard.
After Cornelius kills Hasslein, he is shot by several Marine Corps snipers and, as Stephanie and Lewis watch helplessly from the shore, falls to his death onto the poop deck of the ship.
Zira tosses her dead baby over the side of the ship before crawling to lie with her husband and dying by his side. But in the final scene in a surprising plot twist, Stephanie, Lewis and the other humans are unaware of the real fate of the infant ape.
Earlier, Cornelius, Zira, and Armando switched babies with Heloise before their escape from the circus. Armando now watches over the infant Milo as the circus is being moved to a new location.
Armando remarks how intelligent that the baby chimp is who will now survive with him at his circus. The final shot shows the baby ape Milo sitting in a cage, plaintively speaking the words "Mama? Mama?" with the voice of a human child.
CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES - 1972
In 1983 (several years after the end of 'Escape from the Planet of the Apes'), an interstellar disease kills the world's cats and dogs, leaving humans with no pet animals. To replace them, humans began keeping monkeys and apes as household pets.
In time, humans notice the apes' capacity to learn and adapt; thus they train them to perform menial household tasks. By 1991, the former United States of America and most of the North American continent has become an oppressive and fascist police superstate culture of uniformed classes and castes, based upon ape slave labor.
The different apes are divided into similar caste systems; gorillas wear red jumpsuits; chimpanzees wear green jumpsuits; and orangutans wear orange jumpsuits.
In the opening scene, Armando (Ricardo Montalbán) and Caesar (Roddy McDowall), a young chimpanzee horseback rider in Armando's circus, visit a large city to distribute flyers advertising the circus' arrival to town.
Armando warns the chimpanzee to be careful; should anyone learn his identity as the child of the late Cornelius and Zira, it would mean their deaths. Walking the streets, they see apes cleaning streets, delivering packages, et cetera, and are shocked by what is done to disobedient apes.
Seeing an ape being beaten and drugged by black-uniformed neo-Gestapo police units, Caesar shouts: "Lousy human bastards!". Quickly, Armando takes responsibility for the exclamation, explaining to the policemen that it was he who shouted, not his chimpanzee.
The surrounding crowd become agitated, and Caesar runs away. Hiding in a stairway, Armando says he will go to the authorities and settle the matter by bluffing.
Meantime, Caesar must hide among his own kind (in a cage of orangutans from Borneo), and soon finds himself being trained for slavery through violent conditioning. He then is sold at auction to the neo-Fascist Governor Breck (Don Murray).
Gov. Breck allows the ape to name himself by randomly pointing to a word in a book handed to him and the chimpanzee's finger rests upon the name Caesar, as if by chance (but the audience knows that the ape can read and searched for the name).
Caesar is then put to work by Gov. Breck's chief aide, the African-American MacDonald (Hari Rhodes), who sympathizes with the apes to the thinly veiled disgust of his boss, and eventually deduces Casear's true identity.
Meanwhile, Armando is being interrogated by Inspector Kolp (Severn Darden), who suspects his "circus ape" is the child of the two civilized apes from the future back in 1973. Kolp's assistant puts Armando under an authenticator machine that psychologically forces people to be truthful.
Rather than confessing, Armando fights the guards and commits suicide by jumping to his death through a window. Learning of the death of the only human he loved, Caesar loses faith in human kindness and begins plotting a simian rebellion.
Secretly, Caesar teaches the combat arts to the other apes and has them gather weapons. Meanwhile, Gov. Breck learns from Inspector Kolp that the manifest of the vessel that delivered Caesar lists no chimpanzees.
Suspecting Caesar is the ape the secret police are hunting, Breck's men arrest Caesar and electrically torture him until he speaks, thus betraying his identity. Hearing the confession, Breck orders Caesar's immediate death.
Caesar survives his execution because MacDonald, feigning over-sensitivity to torture, reduces the electrical power of the machine. Once Gov. Breck leaves, Caesar kills the torturer and escapes. Caesar leads an ape revolt against Ape Management and a violent and climatic 25-minute battle begins.
The apes are victorious after killing most of the riot police. After bursting into Gov. Breck's command post and killing most of the personnel, Caesar has Breck marched out to be executed in the courtyard. MacDonald appeals to Caesar's humanity to show mercy to his former persecutor.
Caesar ignores him, and in a rage declares: "Where there is fire, there is smoke. And in that smoke, from this day forward, my people will crouch, and conspire, and plot, and plan for the inevitable day of Man's downfall. The day when he finally and self-destructively turns his weapons against his own kind.
The day of the writing in the sky, when your cities lie buried under radioactive rubble! When the sea is a dead sea, and the land is a wasteland out of which I will lead my people from their captivity!
And we will build our own cities, in which there will be no place for humans except to serve our ends! And we shall found our own armies, our own religion, our own dynasty! And that day is upon you NOW!"
However, as the apes raise their rifles to beat Breck to death, Lisa (Natalie Trundy), Caesar's beloved and later wife, voices her objection; "NO!" other than Caesar, she is the first ape to speak. Caesar reconsiders and orders the apes to lower their weapons, saying:
"But now... now we will put away our hatred. Now we will put down our weapons. We have passed through the night of the fires, and those who were our masters are now our servants. And we, who are not human, can afford to be humane.
Destiny is the will of God, and if it is mans destiny to be dominated, it is Gods will that he be dominated with compassion, and understanding. So, cast out your vengeance. Tonight, we have seen the birth of the planet of the apes!"
The final shot shows Caesar standing among all his fellow gorillas, chimpanzees, and other apes among the burning buildings as the city burns to the ground.
BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES - 1973
Set in a flashback in the former North American continent of the early 21st century in the year 2003, and told by the Great Lawgiver, this latest Planet of the Apes sequel focuses on the chimpanzee ape leader, Caesar (Roddy McDowall), more then a decade 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. A militant gorilla general named Aldo (Claude Akins) however opposes this. Therefore, he plots Caesar's overthrow and doom.
Caesar is now married to the chimpanzee Lisa (Natalie Trundy), the female chimpanzee ape of the previous film, and they have a son, named Cornelius (Bobby Porter) in honor of Caesar's late father.
Caesar regrets having never known his parents until his human assistant MacDonald (Austin Stoker) informs him that by viewing video taped archives of his parents, he can learn about the future. Caesar learns the archives are in the Forbidden City, once the city in which Caesar was enslaved, and is now in nuclear ruins.
After obtaining weapons from an armory run by the orangutan Mandemus (Lew Ayres), Caesar travels with MacDonald and the orangutan Virgil (Paul Williams) to the Forbidden City and sneaks in to find the recorded archives.
However, there are radiation-scarred humans still living in the Forbidden City, now under the command of Governor Kolp (Severn Darden), the former police chief under the late Governor Beck and who is now the current leader and governor.
Caesar and his party view the video recordings of Cornelius and Zira (from 'Escape from the Planet of the Apes') and learn about the future of the world, but barely have enough time to study the tapes before they must escape or risk capture or death.
Back in Ape City, Caesar assembles a meeting with the citizens to report his discoveries at the Forbidden City. Aldo objects when some humans show up at the meeting and leads the gorillas away. The three-man scout group sent by Governor Kolp return and tell them about the Ape City.
Kolp considers this clandestine entrance by Caesar an act of espionage while his subordinate Méndez (Paul Stevens) says that they did nothing wrong and should be allowed to go in peace. Governor Kolp then declares war on Ape City, mustering the mutant humans from the Forbidden City to destroy the ape society once and for all.
That night, 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 when trying to catch his pet squirrel, but is spotted by Aldo who hacks at the branch with his sword causing Cornelius to fall to the ground and suffer serious injuries and he becomes bedridden.
After one of the ape scouts is wounded by Governor Kolp, Aldo takes action into his own hands and orders all humans rounded into the corral. Then, Aldo leads the gorillas to loot Mandemus' armory for its weapons. Cornelius succumbs to his wounds leaving Caesar devastated.
Upon learning about Aldo's actions from Virgil, Caesar leaves Cornelius's side to confront Aldo, but Kolp's ragtag force of mutant humans launches their attack against Ape City at that moment delaying Caesar's and Aldo's confrontation until after the battle as both Caesar and Aldo are forced to team up to fight the attacking mutant humans.
The mutants attack on Ape City initially succeeds after an artillery barrage destroys or damages many homes and buildings, forcing Caesar to order the defenders to fall back.
When Kolp finds Caesar lying wounded amongst the apes on the ground, he taunts him saying the apes would once again be humanity's slaves or die, and is about to shoot him. But then Lisa cries out, and Kolp is distracted.
Caesar shouts, "Now, fight like apes!," and most of the fallen apes all around them, who were feigning death (clearly on Caesar's orders) or hiding, launch a counter-attack that captures most of the mutants and drives Kolp into retreat. Kolp and his remaining forces are killed by Aldo and his mounted troops.
After the battle, Aldo wants to kill the humans in the pen, but Caesar shields them for they were not part of Kolp's army and thus killed nobody. Aldo declares that Caesar should be killed if he shields the humans.
But before he can carry this out, he lets it slip that Cornelius' death was not due to an accident, but Aldo's malevolence. The ape community immediately grows angry and 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 pursues Aldo up a large tree, and their fight results in Aldo's death when he falls. Caesar then goes to free the humans, but they refuse to leave the pen unless things change. MacDonald insists that freedom is meaningless without being treated as equals.
Caesar then realizes the apes are just as evil and despicable as the former slave-owners if they treat the humans as second class citizens. The apes and humans then decide to co-exist with one another and begin to work side-by-side in rebuilding their community and make a new society.
In the final scene, the wizened orangutan teacher at the beginning of the film, known in ape society as the Great Lawgiver (John Huston), finishes the narration begun in the prologue all about the life of the late great chimpanzee leader Caesar who united the world in peace... to a mixed group of young human and ape children in an outdoor classroom.
The setting is now in the year 2670, over 600 years in the future. In complete contrast to the first 'Planet of the Apes' movie, instead of humanity falling and apes rising to take their place as the dominant species on Earth, the two species have continued to co-exist.
When asked by a human child at what the future will hold and if man and ape will continue to live together in peace (among the next 1,300 years before the first 'Planet of the Apes' movie thus bringing the series full circle), the Lawgiver states that only the dead know about the future.
The final shot zooms over to a life-size stone statue of Caesar and shows a single tear falling from the statue's left eye.
PLANET OF THE APES - 2001
In 2029, aboard the United States Air Force space station Oberon, Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) works closely with primates who are trained for space missions. His favorite simian co-worker is a chimpanzee named Pericles.
With a deadly electromagnetic storm approaching the station, a small space pod piloted by Pericles is used to probe the storm. Pericles' pod enters the storm and disappears. Against his commanding officer's orders, Leo takes a second pod and searches the storm for Pericles.
Entering the storm, Leo loses contact with the Oberon and crashes on a planet called Ashlar in the year 5021. He discovers that the world is ruled by humanoid apes who can speak human language and capture members of the primitive human beings as slaves.
Leo meets Ari (Helena Bonham Carter), a female chimpanzee named who protests against the awful treatment humans receive. Ari buys Leo and a female slave named Daena (Estella Warren) to work as servants in her father's house, Senator Sandar (David Warner). Leo escapes his cage and frees other humans.
Ari sees them, but Leo manages to convince Ari to join a human rebellion against the apes. General Thade (Tim Roth) and Colonel Attar (Michael Clarke Duncan) send ape warriors to pursue the humans. Leo discovers Calima (the temple of "Semos"), a forbidden, but holy, site for the apes.
Calima, it turns out, is a corruption of a partially obscured sign which reads "Caution, Live Animals" within the wreck of the Oberon, Leo's former space station. It has apparently crashed on the planet's surface and appears to have been wrecked for a long time.
The ship is powered by inexhaustible fuel cells and Leo is able to access computer logs. The logs show that the space station crashed thousands of years ago while searching for him.
Leo deduces that when he entered the vortex he was pushed forward in time, while the Oberon, searching for him, was not, crashing on the planet long before he did. The Oberon's log reveals that the apes on board, led by Semos, organized a mutiny and took control of the vessel after it crashed.
The human and ape survivors of the struggle left the ship and their descendants are the people Leo has encountered since landing. The apes arrive and attack the humans who have gathered to see Leo. A familiar vehicle descends from the sky and is identified immediately by Leo.
The pod is piloted by Pericles, the chimp astronaut. Pericles was pushed forward in time as Leo was, and had just now found his way to the planet. When Pericles lands and the pod opens, the apes interpret his arrival as the return of Semos, the first ape, who is their god.
They bow, and hostilities between humans and apes suddenly cease. Pericles runs into the wreck of the Oberon and Leo runs after him, followed by General Thade. Thade and Leo fight. Pericles tries to help Leo, but Thade throws him hard against a wall. Thade takes Leo's gun from him and tries to fire the weapon at Leo.
Leo sees that Thade is within the pilot's deck and closes the automatic door, trapping Thade inside. Thade fires the weapon repeatedly at the door but the ricochets create sparks that cause Thade to huddle afraid under a control panel. Leo decides to escape the Planet of the Apes and return to earth.
He gives Pericles to Ari, who promises to look after him. He says goodbye and kisses Daena. Leo climbs aboard Pericles's undamaged pod and travels back in time through the same electromagnetic storm. Leo crashes in Washington, D.C. on Earth in his own time.
He looks up to see the Lincoln Memorial is now a monument in honor of General Thade. A swarm of police officers, firefighters, and news reporters descend on Leo, but on closer inspection, it appears that they are all apes.