The Planet of the Apes carries a great many influences from the 60’s from religion, science, to civil, women, and animal rights. This movie is less for entertainment and more of a social warning to the audience. The three most obvious influences are the fear of nuclear war, the space race, and separation of church and state.
The Influence of the space race is hit on at the start of the movie as Taylor is seen inside of a space craft. The space race raged long before the 60’s but in that decade is when the desire to touch the stars reached its climax. The space race started when the Russians launched sputnik in October of 1957.
From there the United States converged on space rushing to beat its rivals to the moon” We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. ” John f. Kennedy Speech Rice University Houston 1967 In the movie we see an American astronaut not a Russian cosmonaut heading out into space.The underlying tone is the superior technology of America to beat others into adventures in space. That technology comes into play later as well as the religious influences of our world as a whole. Religion and technology converge in this new world and almost become one. Religion and its role in federal and state government are hit upon. In the movie the ape culture has created an theocracy mixed with a technocracy which in itself is a paradox, as one is ruled by divine guidelines and the other is based on a scientific format.
This type of conundrum is also shown in one of the main government officials titles as both the head scientist and defender of the faith. In the American system it is often and widely stressed that church and state should be separate, neither influencing the other. In the movie they are intertwined and the lines of influence are blurred as pointed at in Dr. Zaius statement ” There is no contradiction between faith and science…
true science! ” Planet of the Apes 1968. Fear rules both lines of governing and is a tool owned by those in power, much like nuclear weapons were and are a part of the power structure of today’s governments.In the 60’s tension between nations where intensely fierce. Many international incidents are evident through the decades. In the movie a civilization was found that worshiped a nuclear bomb called alpha and omega. The name implies beginning and end, possibly meaning once nuclear war started it would be short lived due to the devastation it would cause and would end all.
Here again there is the undertone of religion, worship of an inanimate object that has the power to let life live on or strip it away with one bright flash “If you go on with this nuclear arms race, all you are going to do is make the rubble bounce. WinstonChurchill(http://www. brainyquote. com/quotes/keywords/nuclear. html#ixzz1lI3tq7Sn ). This is a reflection of the mental state of fear within the general population of the 60’s. This fear seeped into every aspect of life thus seen by the creators interposition of the movie. This are the driving motivations behind not only the movie’s message but it very creation.
this discourse also influenced American life in the 60’s