Brief History of Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Planet of the Apes, 1968
Based on a French novel, La Planète des Singes, by Pierre Boulle, the original Apes film debuted in 1968, captivating audiences and sparking a franchise that includes seven films, two television series, a novel and a comic strip. In the first installment, a group of astronauts crash into a planet in the distant future. The group, led by Taylor (center, portrayed by Charlton Heston), discover a horrifying caste system: apes are the superior beings, and humans are the lowest of living things.

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