3 Stars


A mysterious, meteorlike object has landed in a small California town. All clocks have stopped. A fleet of glowing green UFOs hovers menacingly over the entire globe. The Martian invasion of Earth has begun, and it seems that nothing—neither military might nor the scientific know-how of nuclear physicist Dr. Clayton Forrester (Gene Barry)—can stop it. In the expert hands of genre specialists George Pal and Byron Haskin, H. G. Wells’s end-of-civilization classic receives a chilling Cold War–era update, complete with hallucinatory Technicolor and visionary, Oscar-winning special effects. Emblazoned with iconographic images of 1950s science fiction, The War of the Worlds is both an influential triumph of visual imagination and a still-disquieting document of the wonder and terror of the atomic age.


  • Byron Haskin
  • United States
  • 1953
  • 85 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.37:1
  • English
  • Spine #1037


  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, created by sound designer Ben Burtt and presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 2005 featuring filmmaker Joe Dante, film historian Bob Burns, and author Bill Warren
  • Movie Archaeologists, a new program on the visual and sound effects in the film featuring Burtt and film historian Craig Barron
  • From the Archive, a new program about the film’s restoration featuring Barron, Burtt, and Paramount Pictures archivist Andrea Kalas
  • Audio interview with producer George Pal from 1970
  • The Sky Is Falling, a 2005 documentary about the making of the film
  • The Mercury Theatre on the Air radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds from 1938, directed and narrated by Orson Welles
  • Radio program from 1940 featuring a discussion between Welles and H. G. Wells, author of the 1897 novel The War of the Worlds
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic J. Hoberman

New cover by Patrick Leger

July 7, 2020

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Published by

Kevin Collins


Ronald Epstein

Senior HTF Member
Jul 3, 1997
Real Name
Ronald Epstein
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Last edited:


Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems
Feb 24, 2000
Sonora Norte
Real Name
I don’t think Criterion has done 4k UHD yet. Perhaps this is Paramount’s strategy - keep 4K for digital only and license out the 1080 version.

You're correct Peter. Criterion hasn't jumped into the 4K UHD disc pond yet, so I'm not at all surprised this is a 1080p release. Also, even though there's a 4K master available, it would seem to me a strange choice for their first 4K UHD disc. Roma would have been a better title to debut in this format, IMO.

But, for those seeking this out in 4K, the 4K Dolby Vision streaming version on iTunes looks fabulous and goes on sale occasionally for $4.99. Why not have the best of both, um, worlds. ;)


Feb 22, 2012
Real Name
mark gross
Well, I'm beside myself with joyful anticipation, as I can add another George Barnes three-strip Technicolor masterwork to my collection. And a film that I first saw at the Westcott, my neighborhood theater, when I was four or five. I remember when the Martians first attack, all of us ducked down behind our seats.

Randy Korstick

Senior HTF Member
Feb 24, 2000
Great news. Glad I held off on the Australian release. This and the Bruce Lee set. I can't remember the last time I wanted 2 criterion releases from the same month.

Lord Dalek

Senior HTF Member
Apr 4, 2005
Real Name
Joel Henderson
Wonder how that new 5.1 mix is going to turn out since they don't have complete music stems and it doesn't appear that the surviving tracks were recorded in stereo in the first place.

Jeffrey D

Senior HTF Member
Oct 15, 2018
Real Name
Jeffrey D Hanawalt
I figure one of you guys can answer this- the Mercury Theater program from 1938, narrated by Welles- was this the program that some mistook for a news broadcast, and there was a panic over this?