The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms

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The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms is a 1953 giant monster movie directed by Eugène Lourié. The film was the first giant monster movie of the 50s, following a hiatus in the genre that had been occuring since 1933's King Kong. It kicked off a hefty trend, including The Amazing Colossal Man, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, The Giant Behemoth, The Giant Claw, Gojira, Gorgo, It Came from Beneath the Sea, The Monster that Challenged the World, Reptilicus, Tarantula and Them.

The movie follows Professor Tom Nesbitt, the sole witness to the existence of a carnivorous dinosaur (Rhedosaurus) that was thawed due to a nuclear blast detonated in the Arctic. The monster makes its way down the coast of North America, wreaking destruction as it goes. The monster soon arrives at New York city, rising from the sea to prey on the hopeless civilians. Things are furthered complicated by a mysterious disease carried by the beast; killing it causing the disease to easily spread and kill the world's human population.


Tropes used in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms include:
  • Canada, Eh?
  • I Love Nuclear Power
  • Ironic Echo: "If every account of anyone ever seeing a monster was laid end-to-end, they'd reach the moon".
  • Immune to Bullets: The Beast.
  • Follow the Leader: This was the first movie where the atom bomb was responsible for the existence of the monster. It was followed by Them, The Deadly Mantis, Earth vs. the Spider, and, most famously, Gojira.
  • Funny Foreigner: Georges LeMay, the humourous Quebecois fisherman. There's a Nova Scotian fisherman named Jacob Bowman who is much more toned-down and believable. Tom himself is written off as this by a few people.
  • Kill It with Fire: Subverted. The giant dinosaur could be killed with fire, or with most other things, but fire would carry its diseased particles all over the world and we'd all die anyway.
  • The Obi-Wan: Dr. Elson. He dies.
  • Omniglot: Tom is revealed to be one when .[context?]
  • Science Is Bad: Averted; the portrayal of science is handled with far more subtlety and ambivalence than in most of the monster movies that followed; science unleashes the monster, but it's also the only effective way of killing the monster without making things even worse.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Awakened for you by nuclear power!
  • Sea Monster: When nobody believes Tom about the creature, he's referred to various other legendary sea serpents.