A group of astronauts land on a distant planet in the future, as first they find only primitive human life however they discover the world is dominated by a evolved race of Apes. The Apes hunt and gather the humans in the fields leaving only the Taylor. Taylor is studied by a female ape named Zira who also is a animal psychologist. She studies Taylor and learns of his intelligence, she is determined to prove that humans are beyond the low level species their leaders claim to be. Zira's archaeologist fiancé, Cornelius also thinks Taylor could be a missing link between a previous ape-like people to their people. However Dr. Zaius and others want to keep the truth hidden not only to keep Ape Society and the Ape Law in tact but to hide the horrible secrets that lie in The Forbidden Zone.
Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner with the screenplay written by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling.
Based on the book by Pierre Boulle and music conducted by Jerry Goldsmith.
The film would be followed by four sequels, a television series, an animated series and a remake directed by Tim Burton in 2001.
The film has also been added to the Library of Congress in 2001 under the National Film Registry.