Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Forbidden Planet (1956)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Forbidden Planet (1956)

In director Fred Wilcox' influential, classic science-fiction space adventure with an all-electronic score - the first science-fiction film in color and CinemaScope - and an adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest - a forerunner of the entire Star Trek (and Lost in Space) franchises:

  • the story, set in the 23rd century, was about a journey by astronauts, led by Commander Adams (Leslie Nielsen), on a flying saucer-shaped United Planets space cruiser C-57D to a distant planet-star named Altair-IV with green skies, to investigate the fate of a colony (the Bellerophon Expedition) planted 20 years before
  • as they approached the planet, Dr. Edward Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) of the doomed Bellerophon - the colonizing expedition's reclusive philologist (later described as "an expert in words and languages, their origins and meanings"), stubbornly but vaguely warned by radio that the ship must not land, because no rescue or other assistance was required; Commander Adams ignored Morbius' warning and demanded to land
  • upon their arrival at a desert landing area, the crew's space-ship was met by a fast-moving Jeep-like vehicle driven by a large bi-pedal robot, about 7 and a half feet tall; the astronauts met friendly anthropomorphic Robby the Robot (voice by Marvin Miller) (who influenced and was the progenitor of many other future robotic creations) who functioned as both Dr. Morbius' house servant and guard, and also often provided comic relief, as in the case when Robby arrived late and gave a humorous excuse: ("Sorry miss, I was giving myself an oil job!")
Robby the Robot
  • Adams ordered Chief Quinn (Richard Anderson) to take charge of the ship, while he and two of his fellow officers (Lt. "Doc" Ostrow (Warren Stevens) and Lt. Farman (Jack Kelly)) were transported (and escorted) to the home of the sole surviving expedition crew member Dr. Morbius - chauffeured by Robby

Dr. Edward Morbius (Walter Pidgeon)

(l to r): Adams, Ostrow, Farman

Robby Refusing to Fire
  • Morbius illustrated one tenet of Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics that a robot would never kill a human, when he commanded Robby to kill Commander Adams with a laser blaster and "aim right between the eyes. Fire!"; however, the robot turned powerless and helpless, short-circuited and froze, and would not obey - its fail-safe mechanism
  • Commander Adams was informed about the fate of the other Bellerophon research expedition members - he was astounded when told that every one of the others was violently killed in the first year by some dark, ambiguous, unknown and mysterious "planetary force"; Morbius described the "unnatural" deaths - they were literally torn apart "limb from limb" by a vicious and "devilish thing" or "creature"; Comm. Adams was very suspicious that Morbius was immune to whatever phenomenon or creature brutally slaughtered the rest of his fellow explorers in the expedition (save his wife) almost two decades earlier, and why the returning starship Bellerophon wasn't able to safely depart
  • the crew were introduced to Morbius' lovely, doe-eyed and very naive, barefoot and Eve-like 19 year-old daughter Altaira (Anne Francis) who had never seen men; upon seeing three crew members, she marveled: ("I've always so terribly wanted to meet a young man, and now three of them at once"); she was the second known survivor of the ill-fated colony; among the smitten men, Lieutenant Farman acted very solicitiously, friendly and over-helpful toward the beautiful young female, and joined her to get coffee
  • Morbius persuasively urged the visitors that he hoped they could return to Earth as soon as possible, however, it was clear that he was reluctant to leave the planet even temporarily
  • the next morning at the spacecraft, Lt. Farman took Altaira aside and taught her how to kiss and its health benefits; after a few moments, her comment was that she couldn't feel any "stimulation," but then they were caught by Comm. Adams and the Lieutenant was reprimanded. [Note: there was a creepy, incestuous subtext in the film, Freudian in nature, that Morbius had a subconscious, protective desire and jealous longing for his only daughter, once she had become desirous of other males' attention]
  • that evening, it was sensed - conveyed through POV camera tracking, that the ship was entered by an unseen force with the sound of "big breathing"; the camera tracked up the craft's exterior staircase, while the electronic score emphasized each footstep of an invisible being; the next morning, it was reported to Adams that vital communications gear had been sabotaged inside the ship, even though the spacecraft was being guarded
  • Adams and "Doc" arrived at Morbius' home to visit him, but he was unavailable; while waiting inside, Adams caught a quick glance of Altaira swimming outside in a pool - appearing to be nude; she innocently asked him: "What's a bathing suit?"; after they embraced and passionately kissed, suddenly and without warning, Altaira's fierce pet tiger appeared and growled at them, and Adams was forced to shoot disintegrate the beast in mid-air with his blaster-gun; [Note: After romantic attraction and sexual feelings had emerged in his daughter, the tiger emerged from Morbius' beastly, incestuous, possessive subconscious as a killer.]
Morbius' 19 Year-Old Daughter Altaira

"What's a bathing suit?"

Nude? (not really) What was she wearing?

Kissing Comm. Adams

Adams' Laser-Blasting Altaira's Growling Tiger
  • Dr. Morbius decided to give Adams and "Doc" a tour of "Krell Wonders" - in length, Dr. Morbius described the civilization from the past; it was an advanced technological and sophisticated civilization from 2,000 centuries earlier - a mighty race of beings who called themselves the Krells - but for some reason, the superior alien race of geniuses had destroyed itself or become extinct 2,000 centuries earlier: ("In times long past, this planet was the home of a mighty and noble race of beings which called themselves the Krell. Ethically and technologically, they were a million years ahead of humankind, for in unlocking the mysteries of nature, they had conquered even their baser selves. And when, in the course of eons, they had abolished sickness and insanity, crime and all injustice, they turned, still in high benevolence, outward towards space....The heights they had reached, but then, seemingly on the threshold of some supreme accomplishment, which was to have crowned their entire history, this all but divine race perished in a single night. In the 2,000 centuries since that unexplained catastrophe, even their cloud-piercing towers of glass and porcelain and adamantine steel have crumbled back into the soil of Altair-4 and nothing, absolutely nothing, remains above ground")
  • he brought them into one of the Krell laboratories, to describe how their advanced technological and sophisticated civilization from 2,000 centuries earlier had been the subject of Morbius' research for the past 20 years, and he had devoted his life to recovering their lost knowledge for mankind
  • he demonstrated a three-pronged, cranium head-set device and how he had greatly increased his own mental prowess and psychic powers through the Krell's I.Q. machine; he exhibited its visualization power by displaying from his own mind a three-dimensional holographic image - and in a semi-perverse way, he selected for visualization his own daughter Altaira [Note: This sequence was paid homage in Star Wars, when Princess Leia was brought up as a 3D hologram.]

Head-Set Device Attached to Krell's IQ Machine
Visualization of a Hologram of Altaira
  • a shuttle car ride took the group deeper into the underground to view more Krell wonders - beginning with the vast and intricate Krell ventilation system. Morbius prepared his visitors for what they would see - a giant vent system of shafts that led to the core of the planet; he described what they were looking at: "Prepare your minds for a new scale of physical scientific values, gentlemen." He led them through a huge network of underground rooms, laboratories, deep shafts (composed of "78 hundred levels"); he offhandedly mentioned what had happened 16 years earlier - there was a reaction to an event that had happened in the past (possibly the destruction of the Bellerophon?); he also showed off a section of one of the thermonuclear power units (one of a total of 9,200 thermonuclear reactors), still functioning. Two screens were illuminated - a visual representation of the planet's "harnessed power"
  • that night ushered in one of the film's two scarier sequences - it was an attack on the crew of the flying saucer by what was eventually revealed to be a sinister, invisible Id monster - a living, other-worldly, invisible, tree-dwelling giant biped monster-creature with four sloth-like clawed feet; giant footprints made deep imprints in the soft desert soil, leading toward the stairs into the ship; Chief Quinn was found murdered inside the spaceship while working alone; Morbius arrived to warn the crew with a semi-ultimatum: "I warned you while your ship was still in space. I begged you not to land on this planet. Believe me, Commander, that is only a foretaste. The Bellerophon pattern is being woven again"
  • next was a third, more frightening, night-time attack of the Id monster - that again killed some of the crew at the perimeter of a force field fence; it required the crew to repel the invisible being with their neutron-beam weapons; the intrusive figure became more visible when the blasters created an outline of the target in their beams; the attacking figure appeared to be a horrendous, reddish, two-legged, monstrous creature
  • it was revealed that Morbius - in a dream state - was creating the invisible creature in his sleeping mind; while unconscious, his primal fears of the invasive spacemen were visualized as a monster that was being fueled by the powerhouse within the Krell's technological laboratory; he was startled awake from a terrible nightmarish dream - eerily similar to the attack, and told Altaira: "I just had a terrible dream. There was blood and fire and thunder and something awful was moving in the middle of it. I could hear the roar and bellow"; "Doc" suspected that the creature was "an invisible being that cannot be disintegrated by atomic fission"; with Adams, the two decided to return to Morbius' home to confront him
  • after arriving, "Doc" slipped away to take the brain enhancer-boost - and although he was fatally injured and in pain after the experience, he was able to provide vital information to Adams about how the entire Krell race had become extinct in just one horrific night - everyone had unleashed their "monstrous" Ids; the highly-evolved beings had been able to materialize anything that they could imagine, and project it, create it, or "materialize" it anywhere on the planet; however, they had forgotten one crucial thing - their own species' monstrous, secret and deadly subconscious - their ID - comprised of their base primal urges and drives
  • Commander Adams confronted Morbius and demanded that he explain the Id ("What is the ID?"). At first, Morbius called the Id an outdated and obsolete Freudian term: ("the elementary basis of the subconscious mind"); Adams warned about the Krell's shortsightedness: "But like you, the Krell forgot one deadly danger - their own subconscious hate and lust for destruction"; Morbius agreed and then offered names for the invisible Id monster: ("The beast. The mindless primitive! Even the Krell must have evolved from that beginning"); Adams continued: "And so those mindless beasts of the subconscious had access to a machine that could never be shut down. The secret devil of every soul on the planet all set free at once to loot and maim. And take revenge, Morbius, and kill!"
  • it was slowly revealed that the Krell ("My poor Krell") from 2,000 centuries earlier didn't realize the power that was destroying them from within - when inner subconscious thoughts could be instantly realized; Morbius was reluctant to face the conclusion that he himself was a "living monster" when Adams became accusatory about him being the awakened monster: "You still refuse to face the truth...Morbius, that thing out there - it's you!"
  • with time running out, Adams forcibly sat Morbius at the brain-boost machine as he explained the incredible power of the Krell technology, and how Morbius' own projected or externalized sub-conscious was responsible for unleashing tremendous destruction; during a startling confession, Morbius admitted that the Id was his own projected or externalized sub-conscious; Morbius explained that he was the source of the monstrous creature, after the Krell had built a machine able to release his inner beast; Morbius was forced to realize that he was unable to control his subconscious desires: ("Guilty! Guilty! My evil self is at that door, and I have no power to stop it!")
  • Morbius' obsessed desire had been to remain on the planet, repel any intruders, continue his research, keep Altaira possessively and jealously for himself, and remain the sole possessor of the Krell's secrets; now because his daughter Altaira was also defying him, his subconscious wrath was being extended to her too
  • Morbius was the "id monster" that had killed the members of original Bellerophon expedition, when they wanted to abandon Altair-IV and return to Earth. And now, the 'great machine' was again reacting to and feeding Morbius' baser and destructive subconscious thoughts in his 'inner beast' - and materializing or externalizing projections from his mind - to commit acts of violence on the crew of the C-57D cruiser in the form of an Id monster; he admitted: "Yes, I must be guilty....Guilty. Guilty. My evil self is at that door, and I have no power to stop it"

Adam's Confrontation with Morbius, Who Eventually Admitted He was the Id Monster

Adams Forcing Morbius To Sit at His Brain-Boost Machine

Morbius: "Yes, I must be guilty"
  • Morbius decided to confront his evil self - by shouting out that he denied its existence: "Stop. No further. I deny you, I give you up"; he allowed himself to be destroyed by the amplified forces of his own fears; the power gauges flickered wildly as the creature disappeared; his moment of truth had compelled him to physically place himself between the creature and the others, and turn the evil monster away from his subconscious, but it also caused his own self-sacrificing fatal injury - he collapsed to the floor as the power gauges dimmed and turned silent

Morbius' Attempt to Deny His Own Existence: "Stop. No further. I deny you, I give you up"

Morbius Collapsed to the Floor as He Died
  • with his last dying words before perishing in Altaira's arms, Morbius instructed Comm. Adams to activate an irreversible, self-destruct mechanism by throwing a floor switch, that would completely and explosively destroy the entire "forbidden planet" of Altair (after triggering the machine's self-destruct mechanism) and all of the terrible Krell technology within 24 hours, to prevent its terrible technology from ever being used again: "Son, turn that disc. The switch, throw it. In 24 hours, you must be 100 millions miles out in space -- the Krell furnaces, chain reaction - they cannot be reversed"
  • as the crew departed and returned to Earth, Commander Adams offered final assurances to Altaira (who was saved with the crew, plus Robby) as they watched the planet's destruction from afar in space as a white fireball behind them, and then afterwards hugged her: ("Yes, Alta, your father, my shipmates, all the stored knowledge of the Krell. Five seconds, four, three, two, one. Alta, about a million years from now, the human race will have crawled up to where the Krell stood in their great moment of triumph and tragedy. And your father's name will shine again like a beacon in the galaxy. It's true, it will remind us that we are, after all, not God")

Commander Adams (Leslie Nielsen)

The Flying Saucer Landing on Altair-IV

Arrival of Vehicle Driven by Robot

Dr. Morbius Introducing Daughter Altaira

Lt. Farman's Flirtations with Altaira

The Next Day's Kissing Scene Between Altaira and Lt. Farman

POV Tracking Shot of Unseen Force Entering Spaceship During First Nighttime Attack

Dr. Morbius: "This planet was the home of a mighty and noble race of beings which called themselves the Krell"

Morbius' Tour of the Underground Krell Labs

Shuttle Ride Deeper To the Giant Krell Vent System

The Underground Krell World

Two Screens Presented a Visual Representation of the Planet's "Harnessed Power"

Giant Footprints of an Invisible Creature During Second Night-time Attack

Morbius to Adams: "I warned you..."

The Third Nighttime Attack of the Id Monster

Morbius Awakening From His Horrible Dream That Created the Monster

"Doc" After Being Brain-Boosted - His Last Dying Words to Comm. Adams

The Departure of the Crew and The Destruction of the 'Forbidden Planet' of Altair-IV


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