The Night That Panicked America

The Night That Panicked America
The Night That Panicked America.jpg
DVD cover
Screenplay by
Story byNicholas Meyer
Directed byJoseph Sargent
Music byFrank Comstock
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Executive producerAnthony Wilson
ProducerJoseph Sargent
Production locationLos Angeles
CinematographyJules Brenner
  • Bud S. Isaacs
  • George Jay Nicholson
  • Tony Radecki
Running time92 minutes
Production companiesThe Culzean Corporation
Paramount Television
DistributorCBS Television Distribution
Original networkABC
Original release
  • October 31, 1975 (1975-10-31)

The Night That Panicked America is an American made-for-television drama film that was originally broadcast on the ABC network on October 31, 1975. The telefilm dramatizes events surrounding Orson Welles' famous - and infamous - War of the Worlds radio broadcast (based on the 1898 novel of the same name by English author H.G. Wells) of October 30, 1938, which had led some Americans to believe that an invasion by Martians was occurring in the area near Grover's Mill in West Windsor, New Jersey.

The Welles broadcast and the reaction to it had been earlier dramatized on television as The Night America Trembled, a live presentation that aired September 9, 1957, on Studio One.


The Night That Panicked America tells the story of the 1938 broadcast from the point of view of Welles and his associates as they create the broadcast live, as well as from the points of view of a number of different fictional American families, in a variety of locations and from a variety of social classes, who listened to the broadcast and believed the imaginary Martian invasion was actually occurring, with some people even committing suicide.



The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction praised the film's recreation of events in the radio studio, but was unimpressed by its depiction of the resulting panic, calling it "a routine disaster movie with hackneyed characters reacting in predictable ways." Through the 1980s, some local stations in various areas of the United States made an annual tradition of rebroadcasting Night on October 30 (the anniversary of the original radio broadcast) or on October 31 (Halloween).

The movie received three Emmy Award nominations, winning for Outstanding Achievement in Film Sound Editing – For a Single Episode of a Regular or Limited Series in 1976.[3]

Home media

The film was released on DVD by CBS Home Entertainment on October 28, 2014.

See also


External links

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