Which Movies Inspired War For The Planet Of The Apes, According To Matt Reeves

War for the Planet of the Apes Caesar on horseback

This summer has some pretty good looking blockbusters to look forward to, but one of the most exciting of those has to be War for the Planet of the Apes. The film will serve as the conclusion of Caesar's story as he leads his apes in a brutal war against the last remnants of humanity. The blockbuster is clearly following the trends of a war film, only with talking apes as the main POV. As such, director Matt Reeves looked to a lot of classic films for inspiration. Not only were other war films influential, but several Westerns and Biblical stories were drawn upon as well.

We watched Bridge on the River Kwai. We watched The Great Escape. We watched Biblical epics, because I really felt like this movie had to have a Biblical aspect to it. We watched Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments. We didn't go, like, 'Let's take a little bit of this, a little bit of that.' When you surround yourself with something that feels emotionally right, there are connections that make sense to you that somebody else might not see...[the films] informed the vibe we felt about this thing.

When Matt Reeves was first brought on to direct Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the film already had a release date, so production was constantly going full throttle. As Reeves remembers, the first draft of the script was basically the only draft. All that work paid off in the sum of $700 million worldwide with critical acclaim to boot. Now for the sequel, Fox has chosen to see what Reeves and company can do when they actually have some time. Reeves and writer Mark Bomback used that new freedom to watch a crap ton of movies. According to EW, not only did they watch the entire Planet of the Apes series, but also The Great Escape, Bridge on the River Kwai, Ben-Hur, and The Outlaw Josey Wales, to name a few.

The allusions to war movies for War of the Planet of the Apes is pretty obvious -- it's about war, after all. The blockbuster also pulls from Westerns as well. Caesar literally rides with a posse on horseback while carrying guns and Reeves makes some direct comparisons himself to Clint Eastwood's The Outlaw Josey Wales. In Reeves' eye, the movie needed a "Biblical aspect," with the rise of Caesar as the most important ape in history having more than a few comparisons to some Biblical themes, if not actually religious in usage. All in all, those are some pretty great films to get your inspiration from, making the wait for Apes all the longer.

War for the Planet of the Apes is expected to hit theaters this summer on July 14, 2017.

Matt Wood

Matt has lived in New Jersey his entire life, but commutes every day to New York City. He graduated from Rowan University and loves Marvel, Nintendo, and going on long hikes and then greatly wishing he was back indoors. Matt has been covering the entertainment industry for over two years and will fight to his dying breath that Hulk and Black Widow make a good couple.