The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951 film)

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Unmarked Spoilers Ahead - this movie's plot is so famous that It Was His Sled applies here.

The Day The Earth Stood Still is a 1951 black-and-white science fiction movie based on the short story Farewell to the Master. The Human Alien Klaatu lands in Washington DC (in a classic Flying Saucer) during the Cold War era. The paranoid military shoots him, prompting his robot Gort to go on a rampage. Klaatu stops Gort, then tells the President of a message for all the world's leaders (who can't agree on a meeting place). Klaatu later escapes to live among the people of Earth and learns of their penchant for war—but also of their message of peace and understanding.

As a demonstration of power, Klaatu freezes everything mechanical in the entire world (except for airplanes in flight and hospital electronics) for exactly half an hour. (This is the event referred to in the title, though nobody calls it such within the story.) The military takes this as a sign of hostile intent and responds by hunting Klaatu down and killing him. Shortly before they catch up with him, Klaatu gives one of his newfound human friends, Helen, a message to deliver to Gort in his own language: "Klaatu Barada Nikto." Gort re-activates upon Klaatu's death and begins destroying the city, but Helen's message diverts Gort into retrieving Klaatu's body. The robot temporarily revives Klaatu, who tells the people of Earth of Gort's true purpose: he, and other robots like him, were built to enforce peace in the galaxy—and if humans bring their warlike ways into space, they will be destroyed. Klaatu leaves Earth with a simple phrase to mull over: "The choice is yours."

This film's plot was copied in the extremely similar (yet hilarious) Plan 9 from Outer Space.

A 2008 remake starred Keanu Reeves in the role of Klaatu; you can see the plot of the remake as recapped by a Bum in this video on Bum Reviews.


The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951 film) is the Trope Namer for:
Tropes used in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951 film) include: