Entertainment Weekly - 10/16/1998
"...Old-fashioned innocents unaware of infinite possibility....[McCarthy is] splendid..." -- Rating: B
Total Film - 11/01/2007 5 stars out of 5 -- "Don Siegel's taut, bleak, noir-flavoured picture is arguably the science fiction B-movie of the 1950s..."
Empire - 11/01/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "Back in 1956, in crisp black-and-white, at the height of Cold War-fed paranoia, the story was at its most effective."
Uncut - 12/01/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "A concise but ambiguous masterpiece of paranoia, its sharp, haunting brilliance grows clearer with the appearance of each subsequent replicant."
Wall Street Journal - 10/22/2010
"Few modern-day movies are more genuinely frightening..."
Don Siegel's cult masterpiece, interpreted as an allegory of both McCarthyism and Communism, is undoubtedly one of the screen's most disturbing evocations of paranoia. It stars Kevin McCarthy as Dr. Miles Binnell, a physician whose traumatized arrival in the emergency room of a San Francisco hospital leads the staff to believe he's lost his mind. In a series of flashbacks, he unwinds a bizarre account of his last few days. After his return from a trip to rural Santa Mira, his nurse, Sally (Jean Willes), explains that his office has been flooded with patients who have made appointments yet never appeared. Former girlfriend Becky Driscoll (Dana Wynter) tells him that she's unable to rid herself of the belief that the man claiming to be her uncle is an impostor. A hysterical young boy refuses to return home, claiming that his mother is not his mother. Miles's concern over this pattern of incidents, temporarily allayed by some jargon from the town psychiatrist, is newly aroused when he gets a phone call from friend Jack Belicec (King Donovan), who begs him to come over and take a look at the strange mannequinlike figure that's suddenly appeared on his pool table. This exceptionally well written and directed fable, the ultimate comment on the subtly coercive conformity of the 1950s, may be Siegel's best film, and it is undoubtedly one of the most exciting science fiction films ever made.
This classic film, based on the serialized story in Collier's magazine by Jack Finney, is set in idyllic small-town America, where a strange, alien form of plant life sprouts pods that destroy the human personality while taking over the body. And only one man can stop them...if they don't stop him first.
Shooting location: Sierra Madre and Beechwood Hills, CA.
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1994.
Sam Peckinpah served as dialogue director for this film, as well as playing the small role of the meter reader.
Don Siegel described his purpose in making the film: "I think so many people have no feeling about cultural things, no feeling of pain, of sorrow. I wanted to get it over and I didn't know of a better way to get it over than in this particular film."
The special effects budget was less than $15,000.
This well-reviewed and popular film has been remade twice; in 1978 by director Philip Kaufman, in which original director Don Siegel and star Kevin McCarthy had cameos, and in 1993 by Abel Ferrara.
Jack Finney's serialized story "The Body Snatchers" was later published as a novel, called (like the film) INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.
Richard Deacon, who later starred as Mel Cooley on THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, has a small role in the film.