Anne Francis with Robby the Robot During the Filming of ‘Forbidden Planet (1956)

Forbidden Planet is one of the greatest science fiction films of the 1950s. Many people consider it a loose adaptation of The Tempest because of its characters and setting, reminiscent of those in William Shakespeare’s play. The film was released on March 3, 1956.

Forbidden Planet offered an often thought-provoking plot that worked on many levels in an era when science fiction movies were invariably cheap rubber monsters tearing up our cities and scaring people. It marked the first time humans traveled in a starship capable of traveling faster than light. As well as being the first filmed in interstellar space, far away from Earth, it was set entirely on another planet. Unlike most film robots, Robby the Robot has a distinct personality and plays a crucial role. He is one of the first film robots, not simply mechanical “tin cans” on legs.

The plot of Forbidden Planet

In the 23rd century, astronauts are sent to Altair IV to discover why a previous expedition vanished. After setting foot there, they found Morbius (played by Walter Pidgeon) and his daughter Altaira (Anne Francis), and an amazing robot named Robby. Morbius tells the astronauts that something unknown killed the other settlers and shows them the underground city of the Krell, the long-dead natives of Altair IV. The astronauts are attacked by an invisible creature in Morbius’s subconscious unleashed by his experiments with the Krell’s mind-expanding machinery.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) built the sets for Forbidden Planet on one of their sound stages at its Culver City film lot. Cedric Gibbons and Arthur Lonergan designed them. Sets, visual effects, and matte paintings were used to simulate all Altair IV exterior scenes.

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Written by Alicia Linn

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