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The Night That Panicked America (1975)

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


Joseph Sargent


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


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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


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



Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






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



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The telefilm was produced by Paramount Television. The book "War of the Worlds" was actually filmed twice by Paramount Pictures, in 1953 and 2005, the second time around as a co-production with DreamWorks which Paramount soon acquired (although DreamWorks is independent again, its early film archive remains owned by Paramount). See more »


Welles was 23 when his "War of the Worlds" production aired. Paul Shenar was 39 when portraying Welles. See more »


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 »


La Paloma
Music by Sebastián Yradier
Arranged by Frank Comstock
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User Reviews

Great Movie. Knew of Radio Show. Very Funny.
19 October 2003 | by ghawkinsSee all my reviews

Had heard of the Radio Broadcast, and was intrigued by Orson Welles causing so much panic for the people who tuned in late. Enjoyed the hectic panic shown in the movie. This was also a good starring vehicle for Eileen Brennan, who attended The American Academy of Dramatic Arts,at the same time as myself. She has a good comic ability, and handled herself well as one who is truly panicked. I felt the movie was a good laugh riot from start to finish. After seeing the movie, It made me even more sad for missing the original on Radio.

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