7.0/10
603
20 user 7 critic

The Night That Panicked America (1975)

On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles's radio play "The War of the Worlds" accidentally provokes mass panic.

Director:

Joseph Sargent

Writers:

Nicholas Meyer (teleplay), Anthony Wilson (teleplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

More Like This 

Certificate: Passed Comedy | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A small country on the verge of bankruptcy is persuaded to enter the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics as a means of raising money. Either a masterpiece of absurdity or a triumph of satire, ... See full summary »

Director: Edward F. Cline
Stars: Jack Oakie, W.C. Fields, Andy Clyde
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Madie Levrington is a neurotic, wealthy woman who escapes from a New York mental institution where her unwholesome husband had her committed to avoid the trial of an expensive divorce. She ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph Sargent
Stars: Dyan Cannon, Robert Blake, Quinn K. Redeker
Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

To treat his friend's cocaine induced delusions, Watson lures Sherlock Holmes to Sigmund Freud.

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Alan Arkin, Vanessa Redgrave, Robert Duvall
Goldengirl (1979)
Drama | Sci-Fi | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

A neo-Nazi doctor tries to make a superwoman of his daughter who has been specially fed, exercised, and conditioned since she was a child in preparation of the Olympics.

Director: Joseph Sargent
Stars: Susan Anton, James Coburn, Curd Jürgens
The Deadly Tower (TV Movie 1975)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The infamous story of Charles Whitman, "America's favourite sniper" (in Stephen King's words), is told here once again.

Director: Jerry Jameson
Stars: Kurt Russell, Richard Yniguez, Ned Beatty
Home for the Holidays (TV Movie 1972)
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An ailing man summons his four daughters home for Christmas and asks them to kill his new wife, who he suspects is poisoning him.

Director: John Llewellyn Moxey
Stars: Jessica Walter, Sally Field, Eleanor Parker
The Colony (TV Movie 1995)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Thriller about a man who, along with his family, moves from a crime-ridden inner city suburb to a self-proclaimed violence-free haven overseen by a godlike businessman. However, they soon ... See full summary »

Director: Rob Hedden
Stars: John Ritter, Mary Page Keller, Hal Linden
Nightmares (1983)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Anthology of four horror tales with a supernatural twist based on urban legends.

Director: Joseph Sargent
Stars: Cristina Raines, Joe Lambie, Anthony James
Unnatural Causes (TV Movie 1986)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Frank Coleman is a Vietnam veteran dying from cancer brought on by exposure to the defoliant chemical Agent Orange which he turns to Maude DeVictor, a Veterans Administration benefits ... See full summary »

Director: Lamont Johnson
Stars: John Ritter, Alfre Woodard, Patti LaBelle
Tricks of the Trade (TV Movie 1988)
Comedy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Catherine's world goes to pieces when she learns from the police that her husband Donald got killed - shot in the apartment of a prostitute! To her he was a model husband, determined to ... See full summary »

Director: Jack Bender
Stars: Cindy Williams, Markie Post, John Ritter
Stone (TV Series 1979)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Sgt. Daniel Stone has been moonlighting as a writer and after he becomes a success with lots of fans, it leads to resentment on the force. Former friend Chief Paulson is among those unhappy, not so rookie Buck Rogers.

Stars: Dennis Weaver, Pat Hingle, Robert Weaver
Wholly Moses! (1980)
Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

Harvey and Zoey, two tourists travelling through Israel, discover an ancient scroll describing the life of Herschel, the man who was almost Moses. Herschel receives the command from God to ... See full summary »

Director: Gary Weis
Stars: Dudley Moore, Laraine Newman, James Coco
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vic Morrow ... Hank Muldoon
Cliff De Young ... Stefan Grubowski
Michael Constantine ... Jess Wingate
Walter McGinn Walter McGinn ... Paul Stewart
Eileen Brennan ... Ann Muldoon
Meredith Baxter ... Linda Davis (as Meredith Baxter Birney)
Tom Bosley ... Norman Smith
Will Geer ... Reverend Davis
Paul Shenar ... Orson Welles
John Ritter ... Walter Wingate
Granville Van Dusen ... Carl Phillips
Burton Gilliam ... Tex
Joshua Bryant ... Howard Koch
Liam Dunn ... Charlie
Shelley Morrison ... Toni
Edit

Storyline

The true story of the night that Orson Welles broadcast his version of 'H.G. Welles'' classic ''The War of the Worlds'' on the radio. Designed to be as realistic as possible, many people were fooled into thinking that an alien invasion was actually taking place. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 October 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Night the Martians Landed See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is set on Sunday 30th October 1938, airdate of "The Mercury Theatre on the Air"'s famous Halloween broadcast of H.G. Wells' 'War of the Worlds' on CBS from New York. See more »

Goofs

The announcer introducing the Mercury Theatre on the Air's production of "The War of the Worlds" names Orson Welles and Howard Koch as the writer. While Koch did write the script, he was not named in the introduction to the original broadcast. See more »

Quotes

Ora Nichols: [to her assistant, assessing the Mercury Theater's show] Looks like another big night for Charlie Mc Carthy.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Premiered om ABC-TV at two hours (with commercials). A subsequent network rebroadcast was cut to fit a ninety-minute time slot. Both versions later turned up in syndication. See more »


Soundtracks

Moonlight and Shadows
(uncredited)
Music by Friedrich Hollaender
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Look At Both Mass Hysteria And Early Radio
30 October 2013 | by sddavis63See all my reviews

In October of 1938, the world was on the brink of war and in the midst of a depression. People were frightened about the present an frightened about the future. One part of this movie, at least, is about fear - the fear felt by people facing tough situations and how easy it is to tap into that fear.

"The Night That Panicked America" is the story (accurately told for the most part) of the night of October 30, 1938. The CBS Radio Network and Orson Welles broadcast their version of H.G. Wells' "The War Of The Worlds." Largely taking the form of news broadcasts, and with people tuning in and out and not necessarily catching the disclaimer at the start, panic began to spread, as people heard the fake news reports and actually believed that Martians were attacking. The portrayal of mass hysteria is very interesting; how easy it was to convince people that this was real was actually rather frightening. I've seen estimates that about 6 million people heard the broadcast, 1.7 million of them believed it and 1.2 million were actually very frightened by what they thought was happening. Fascinating to think how easily manipulated the masses could be by someone deliberately setting out to do it - and, in 1938, CBS wasn't setting out to manipulate; they were just setting out to entertain with a scary Halloween Eve broadcast. Fascinating.

The other interesting aspect of the movie is the technical side. It was also fascinating to see the re-creation of how a 1938 radio show was put together. That alone made this worthwhile viewing - especially to see what they did for something that we today would think of as being as simple as sound effects.

Is this is a great movie? Probably not. It's not exactly what I would call riveting. But it is a good look both at early radio and at the phenomenon of mass hysteria. (7/10)


2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 20 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed