"I'm Spartacus!" "No, I'm Spartacus!" "No, I'M-" "Guys, thanks for trying, but I'm pretty sure they figured out which one of us is Spartacus."


"I'm Spartacus!" "No, I'm Spartacus!" "No, I'M-" "Guys, thanks for trying, but I'm pretty sure they figured out which one of us is Spartacus."

PLANET OF THE APES (1968)

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. SPACESHIP, 1972

CHARLTON HESTON is piloting a SPACESHIP at NEAR-LIGHT SPEED, which apparently makes space look like it’s populated by hundreds of FAIRIES.

CHARLTON HESTON

Dear space diary: soon I will join my fellow astronauts in hibernation, as we travel to another star, where we hope to stumble across a planet which will support human life, so that the four of us can sit alone in the dirt until we die. Maybe radio back some scientific findings, so that a thousand years from now Earth can find out what kind of rocks we found on some random planet in the ass-end of the galaxy. What a shitty way to spend fifty billion dollars. Oh well, nighty night.

EXT. MYSTERIOUS PLANET, HMMM, WHICH PLANET COULD IT BE???, 3978

TWO THOUSAND YEARS LATER, the SPACESHIP lands on a planet without the aid of a PARACHUTE, crashing into a RIVER at roughly TEN THOUSAND MILES AN HOUR, somehow without turning its occupants into PASTE.

CHARLTON HESTON

(waking up)

Aha, we’re here! So, did we wake up too early or too late? I’m assuming we didn’t just become the first fictional spacefarers to actually be woken out of stasis exactly on schedule.

ROBERT GUNNER

Of course not! We actually slept three times as long as we were supposed to. We were asleep for eighteen months, during which two thousand years passed on Earth, which means we must have been traveling at roughly 0.9999998 light speed. So traveling roughly one light year per year for two thousand years should put us-

CHARLTON HESTON

Three hundred light years from Earth, obviously!

ROBERT GUNNER

...Well I guess that conclusion still makes more sense than the ship spontaneously turning around and going home for no apparent reason.

CHARLTON HESTON

Never mind that now, the ship is sinking! Very, very slowly! Let’s get out of here, also very slowly, but with PANICKY MUSIC TO CREATE A FALSE SENSE OF TENSION!!!

CHARLTON, ROBERT, and IRRELEVANT THIRD PERSON escape the SHIP and make it to shore.

CHARLTON HESTON

Okay then, so this planet has blue skies, water, Earth gravity, Earth temperature, Earth atmosphere, twenty-four-hour days and an Earthlike sun. Under different circumstances this might rouse certain suspicions in me, except this is science fiction, and that sort of crap just happens here.

They cross the desert (nearly getting crushed by a ROLLING STONE which may be some incredibly obscure “TWO THOUSAND LIGHT YEARS FROM HOME” reference), then stumble across a tribe of STRAIGHT-UP HUMAN BEINGS.

CHARLTON HESTON

...Okay, maybe by now I should reaaally be putting two and two together.

The HUMANS steal the astronauts’ CLOTHES.

CHARLTON HESTON

Damnit! What curiously bad luck that I’ve been robbed of the one thing that visibly distinguished me from these primitive cave people. Oh well, I can still set myself apart via my ability to speak-

Suddenly some HUMANOID, HORSE-RIDING APES show up and shoot CHARLTON squarely in the VOICE BOX.

CHARLTON HESTON

(in enraged sign language)

OH FUCK OFF!!!

CHARLTON and ROBERT are CAPTURED, and the IRRELEVANT GUY DIES so now we REALLY don’t have to bother about him.

INT. APE LAB

CHARLTON is now a LAB ANIMAL. SCIENTIST APE KIM HUNTER hauls her boss APE MAURICE EVANS in to see.

APE KIM HUNTER

This is the weird human I was talking about! See how it looks like he’s trying to talk?

APE MAURICE EVANS

No it doesn’t, what are you talking about? He keeps shaping his mouth into vowel and consonant sounds. Everyone knows that when you speak your mouth just flaps up and down like the Canadians from South Park.

CHARLTON HESTON

(keeps waggling lips)

(does not attempt simpler means of communication like nodding or pointing)

APE KIM HUNTER

Say what you will, Dr. Evans, I still believe that Charlton has intelligence!

CHARLTON HESTON

(does not use any of the material in his cage to spell out words on the floor)

APE KIM HUNTER

Not a whole lot by the look of things, but still.

APE MAURICE EVANS

All right, if it makes you feel better I’ll ship him off to be castrated.

APE KIM HUNTER

What the-

APE MAURICE EVANS

It’s fine, just cutting his balls off! That’s certainly not just a cover story so we can have him lobotomized like the other one!

APE KIM HUNTER

Wait-

APE MAURICE EVANS

I did NOT say there was another one. I don’t know what you’re talking about! WHAT conspiracy?!

CHARLTON freaks out and BUSTS THE HELL OUT OF THERE. He gets chased through the streets and captured in a NET.

CHARLTON HESTON

A damn dirty ape has its stinking paw on me! That means it's time for my iconic line!

(pause)

LET MY PEOPLE GO!!!

APE MAURICE EVANS

Damn, a bunch of civilians just witnessed a talking animal, throwing all our religious and scientific dogma into question! What an inconvenient time for Charlton’s vocal chords to completely heal all at once. Oh well, surely this can be entirely fixed by slapping together a ten-minute kangaroo court.

(pause)

...Ape kangaroo court? I don’t know.

INT. COURTROOM

CHARLTON is brought before JUDGE APE JAMES WHITMORE.

APE JAMES WHITMORE

Welcome to this completely fair and unbiased trial, where the defendant is not allowed to speak, and there are no lawyers present, and we’re not even specifying charges, and really it’s just an excuse for the people in charge to keep yelling that everybody’s wrong except them. This hearing will be presided over by myself, Chief Asshole of the Supreme Court; Ape Maurice Evans, Head Assholeologist of the James P. Douchebag Institute of Assholery; and Ape Woodrow Parfrey, Undersecretary of Being a Dick. Now, who wants to say what in this rambling, unstructured scene?

APE RODDY MCDOWALL

Excuse me, your honor, I’m not sure why I, an archaeologist, am defending an animal in court or against what, but I’d just like it pointed out that Charlton might be a missing link between man and ape and therefore proof of my theory of evolution.

(to audience)

Hey, here’s a fun game: imagine a scientist finds a chimp that can speak English and decides that this proves evolution is real. Tell me if that makes any fucking sense.

APE JAMES WHITMORE

EVOLUTION?! We cannot permit such heresy! It flies in the face of our bullshit creationist mumbo-jumbo!

APE RODDY MCDOWALL

But logically-

APE JAMES WHITMORE

NUH UHHHH

APE RODDY MCDOWALL

But archaeological evidence-

APE JAMES WHITMORE

LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOUUU

APE RODDY MCDOWALL

Okay, so suddenly this is Inherit the Wind starring moody toddlers. I thought we were doing an animal rights metaphor, did we switch over at some point?

APE JAMES WHITMORE

Anyway that counts as a hearing I think! The court hereby finds itself correct and everything anyone else said illegal. The end!

CHARLTON is hauled to MAURICE’S OFFICE.

APE MAURICE EVANS

So that unproductive chain of events brings us back to the ball-chopping. Don’t know why we keep coming back to the ball-chopping, doesn’t seem to serve any purpose really, but the point is if you want to KEEP your balls you’ll tell us where your tribe of talking humans is.

CHARLTON HESTON

Now would probably be a logical time to make something up in order to at least buy myself some time, but instead I’m going to stick to the ridiculous-sounding true story of me being a space alien who just happens to speak English.

APE MAURICE EVANS

Fine then! You will await your fate in the cage you already escaped from before, watched by the same inept guard you already eluded! Let’s see you get out of THAT one!!

INT. APE LAB

That night, KIM and RODDY break CHARLTON out of his cage.

APE KIM HUNTER

We’ve got a plan. We’ll go grab that archaeological evidence that Roddy was talking about, and then if we show the court proof of evolution they’ll have to admit we were right all along and let us off the hook! I’m sure they’ll go along with that, they seemed like reasonable, open-minded fellows.

CHARLTON HESTON

Okay, but I insist on bringing that cavewoman I’ve fallen in love with despite the fact that she doesn’t speak and seems to have an IQ of about eight.

APE KIM HUNTER

Fine whatever, let’s just-

CHARLTON HESTON

And give me one of those semiautomatic rifles you guys have, that seem like a thousand years more technologically advanced that anything else in your civilization!

APE KIM HUNTER

Wow, do you normally make this many demands before you let somebody save your life and testicles? Let’s GO already.

EXT. BEACHSIDE CAVE

CHARLTON, KIM, RODDY and the CAVEWOMAN have nearly reached the ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIG inside a CAVE, when MAURICE shows up with a crapload of SOLDIERS.

CHARLTON HESTON

Hold it, Maurice! You may have ten crack soldiers with their guns aimed at my head, but we’ve got ONE guy with a gun aimed at YOU! Tell them not to blow my brains out or I’ll fire.

APE MAURICE EVANS

Damn, why am I even here in the first place? This would have all gone a lot smoother if I just left the soldiers to take care of this while I stayed home and got in some more jerk practice.

The SOLDIERS drop their WEAPONS and CHARLTON leads MAURICE and the OTHERS into the CAVE.

APE RODDY MCDOWALL

So as you see here, I found ancient artifacts that show that ape civilization was preceded by a more technologically advanced civilization, which has such things as eyeglasses and human-sized false teeth and a human doll which says “mama” and holy FUCK, did 1968 audiences really not see where this was going?!

CHARLTON HESTON

All right, we got the evidence! Now, once again using the unbeatable strategic superiority of our one single gun, we demand that you provide a fully-loaded horse so that-

APE KIM HUNTER

So that Roddy and I, the people who repeatedly risked their careers and lives for you, can get a head start getting the evidence back to civilization? Y’know, so that Maurice doesn’t get the chance to just make it and us disappear?

CHARLTON HESTON

What? No. Fuck you; absolutely fuck you both. No, I want the horse so I can ride off in a random direction and just hope that I don't eventually starve to death.

APE KIM HUNTER

That’s the worst fucking plan.

CHARLTON HESTON

Well it’s my choice and I can take responsibility for my own actions. Oh, and that cavewoman who has no way of understanding or consenting to any of this, she has to come too.

APE MAURICE EVANS

All right, Charlton, but I warn you, you won’t find anything that way but misery. I knew all along, that it was in your nature, as it is in the nature of all your kind, to-

APE RODDY MCDOWALL

OH JUST FUCKING GET TO THE TWIST ALREADY WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR IT ALL FUCKING MOVIE JUST GET ON WITH IT.

EXT. THE TWIST

CHARLTON rides up the beach a few miles, only to find, partially destroyed and half-buried in the sand - THE MOTHERFUCKING STATUE OF LIBERTY!!!!!

NOBODY WHO EVER SAW THIS MOVIE ANY LATER THAN 1968

WHHHAAAAAAAA?!?!?

CHARLTON HESTON

YOU MANIACS! YOU CREATED A VIRUS INTENDED TO COMBAT DEMENTIA, WHICH IN APES PROVED TO GREATLY ENHANCE COGNITIVE ABILITY BUT IN HUMANS WAS A HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS PLAGUE WHICH WIPED OUT MOST OF CIVILIZATION, BEFORE MUTATING SO THAT IT IMPAIRED THE HIGHER REASONING AND SPEECH ABILITY OF THE HUMANS THAT REMAINED BLEW IT UP! GODDAMN YOU!! GODDAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!!!

(pause)

Wait, how did I just ride a horse to Liberty Island?

END.

This script was made possible thanks to the support of Patrons like Agamemnon Jones.

If you'd like to support the site, please check out our Patreon page where pledging can earn you access to an ad-free version of the site, early access to scripts, exclusive scripts, and other cool shit.

Discussion