A small town in California is attacked by Martians, beginning a worldwide invasion.

Editing: Everett Douglas
Leith Stevens

Cast: Gene Barry, Ann Robinson, Les Tremayne, Robert Cornthwaite, Sandro Giglio, Lewis Martin

Directors: Byron Haskin
Writers: H.G. Wells (based on the novel by), Barré Lyndon (screenplay by)
Cinematography: George Barnes


  • Dolby Vision and HDR10

  • Remastered DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Disc One – 4K UHD

  • Commentary by Actors Ann Robinson and Gene Barry

  • Commentary by Film Director Joe Dante, Film Historian Bob Burns, and Bill Warren, author of Keep Watching The Skies!

  • The Sky Is Falling: Making The War of the Worlds

  • H.G. Wells: The Father of Science Fiction

  • The Mercury Theatre On The Air presents The War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast

  • Original Theatrical Trailer

  • Optional English Subtitles

Everyone knows something about the War of the Worlds, even if they don’t realise they do. But as someone who has never watched the original film adaption of the H.G Wells famous book, I was excited to recently sit down and watch it in a 4K restoration and a recently re-mixed audio design. 

I’ve seen plenty of films that parody War of the Worlds, so watching the movie, it felt almost like I had seen it before. I was most surprised by how different it was from the Steven Spielberg film. They’re entirely different, and you can tell the two films were made at different times. Although the core alien invasion part remains the same, the post-WWII setting gives the film a certain vibe not found in the 2005 film, and yet there’s almost a simplicity to it not found in modern sci-film films.

Disc 2 – Blu-ray

  • Audio commentary by film critics Barry Forshaw & Kim Newman

  • Audio commentary by actor Gene Barry and actress Ann Robinson

  • Audio commentary by “fans” Joe Dante, Bob Burns and Bill Warren

  • Original English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono

  • “The Sky is Falling: Making War of the Worlds” documentary

  • “H.G. Wells: The Father of Science Fiction” featurette

  • “The Mercury Theater on the Air Presents: The War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast” (with stills of Orson Welles)

  • Theatrical trailer

  • Optional English Subtitles

There’s minimal character work here outside the first 15-20 minutes. As what the residents of a small town in California take to be a big meteorite crashlands near their town, they invite in Dr Clayton Forrester (Gene Barry) to check it out. Soon after, an alien ship bursts out the form inside, and it’s just the first of many that follow and begin to attack Earth. 

Unlike most modern sci-fi films, there are no attempts at communication or delving into what made the aliens want to attack Earth. They’re UFOs, they shoot everything, and you don’t need to know more than that to watch the film. At just 85 minutes, once they start shooting, the film begins to fly by as well, with the ending, in particular, being shocking for me for just how abrupt War of the Worlds wraps everything up. 

Having never watched the film before, it’s hard for me to fully grasp any visual improvements compared to other releases, but the movie looked fantastic. Details on jackets are fine, letters on small objects legible and the aliens and special effects themselves surprisingly good for the year the film was first produced. I most enjoyed the new 5.1 DTS sound mix, which supplied blasting. Laser beam sounds from the ship, clarity in audio, and small details like the turning of the meteorite’s pod at the film’s start. 

Diving into the special features on the disc after wrapping up the film, I was disappointed with the small handful of behind-the-scenes and featured material available here for such a premium release. ‘The Sky Is Falling: Making The War of the Worlds” is an interesting but lacklustre behind-the-scenes featurette, and ‘H.G. Well: The Father of Science Fiction’ is a short but appreciative feature on the man behind War of the World. Having the original radio broadcast by Orson Wells of The War of the Worlds on the disc is a nice tough, however. 

Housed in a beautiful 3D lenticular case, the 4K Steelbook features attention-grabbing yet simplistic artwork portraying the aliens from mars on the front and the hand of one grabbing the back of Ann Robinson. This release also includes a 44-page collectors booklet that showcases posters and other promotional material for the film’s original release, as well as an essay about War of the World’s effects on cinema, including the love for sci-monster movies. 

Even without prior love for The War of the Worlds, I appreciate that the first time I could watch the film was with such a fantastic restoration for the technicolour film. And with such an excellent package for collectors, it’s only the need for any new or a wider variety of unique features that hold this back from surely being the ultimate War of the Worlds disc to own in your collection. 

Film Score

Blu-Ray Score