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Parents' Guide to

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Talky, tame original sci-fi study in paranoia.

Movie NR 1956 80 minutes
Invasion of the Body Snatchers Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 11+

My first scary movie, shared with my kids

Our kids were ten, 12, and 14 when we first watched this as a family. I remember this 1956 version being the first scary movie I ever watched when I was around ten or 12, and it always stuck with me. Our daughter was a somewhat sensitive ten-year-old, and she had bad dreams after seeing it. Even the 12-year-old thought it was spooky. I'd say view with caution with kids under 11, but older kids may see it as more campy than creepy. NB: Everyone smokes in this film. EVERYONE. One of the downsides of 1950s-era movies.

This title has:

Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 10+

Great for all ages.

A great old black and white sci-fi movie that can be watched by almost any age. A great conversation starter for those semi-deep conversations kids love. How do we know the cat is really the cat we started with!?

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (5 ):

The original INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS is fairly atypical for a science-fiction/horror movie -- in that the idea underneath the material is a lot scarier than anything you see. In fact, laden with dialogue (that makes it feel longer than its brief running time), the movie might bore younger viewers -- or even grownups -- expecting more standard shock material. It's no surprise, really, that later talented filmmakers remade this multiple times, adding their own angles and twists (and more explicit content). Seen today, the 1956 film seems a bit stodgy and talky, and studio interference took much of the sting out of the ending. Still, horror-sci-fi fans speak of it with reverence.

The film studio never intended Invasion of the Body Snatchers to be a prestige production -- hence its short running time, designed for bargain-priced double features. Furthermore, executives insisted on adding an awkward prologue and epilogue in which Miles tells his strange story to authorities, to end the flick on an audience-pleasing positive note. Director Don Siegel would have preferred to finish with nobody listening to the hero's terrified warnings. Nonetheless, generations have come to embrace this flawed film as a classic, reading in messages galore about the dangers of social conformity in the Cold War era. Some have claimed it's about McCarthyism (would they have made that dubious association if the leading man's last name were different?). Others insist it's about communism, and the attitude in 1950s America that enemy infiltrators, who look just like you and me, could take over by stealth.

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