Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes, poster, US poster, center left: Roddy McDowall, 1972. (Photo by LMPC via Getty Images)
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Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes Had To Change Its Ending To Avoid An R-Rating
The fourth film in the “Planet of the Apes” franchise that would become the fulcrum point for all future sequels, “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes,” sees Caesar’s rise to power and explains how humans begin to lose control. The film was released in theaters with a peaceful message of co-existing at the end; however, that was far from its original, bleaker conclusion.
After training other apes to use guns, Caesar launches a rebellion against their human overlords and delivers a raged-filled speech on the importance of burning the world down, laying the foundation for apes becoming the dominant species. The ending was too much for the ratings board of 1972, and a few extra lines of dialogue were added to seemingly renounce violence.
After delivering the enraged declaration, Caesar almost completely reverses direction and gives a sermon-like speech advocating for the compassionate domination of humans and denouncing vengeance. While the world appears to be saved from violence, much of the film’s overall impact is significantly diminished due to the changes needed to lower the movie’s rating.