A hallmark of the science fiction genre as well as a wry commentary on the political climate
of the 1950s, The Day the Earth Stood Still is a sci-fi movie less concerned with special effects
than with a social parable. A spacecraft lands in Washington, D.C., carrying a humanoid messenger
from another world (Michael Rennie) imparting a warning to the people of Earth to cease their
violent behavior. But panic ensues as the messenger lands and is shot by a nervous soldier. His
large robot companion destroys the Capitol as the messenger escapes the confines of the hospital.
He moves in with a family as a boarder and blends into society to observe the full range of the
human experience. Director Robert Wise (West Side Story) not only provides one of the most
recognizable icons of the science fiction world in his depiction of the massive robot loyal to
his master, but he avoids the obvious camp elements of the story to create a quiet and observant
story highlighting both the good and the bad in human nature.