Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Rise of the Planet of the Apes Poster
Promotional poster
Film information

Directed by

Rupert Wyatt

Produced by

Peter Chernin
Dylan Clark
Rick Jaffa
Amanda Silver

Written by

Rick Jaffa
Amanda Silver

Music by

Patrick Doyle


Andrew Lesnie



Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a 2011 American science fiction film directed by Rupert Wyatt and starring James Franco, Freida Pinto, and Andy Serkis. Written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, it is 20th Century Fox's reboot of the Planet of the Apes series, intended to act as an origin story for a new series of films.


Will Rodman (James Franco) is a scientist at biotechnology company Gen-Sys who has been trying to develop a cure for Alzheimer's disease and is testing a new gene therapy drug on chimpanzees. The drug, a modified virus, mutates a chimpanzee, giving her a human level of intelligence. She later goes on a rampage which is seen as a side effect of the drug. When Will's boss Steven Jacobs (David Oyelowo) subsequently orders chimp handler Robert Franklin (Tyler Labine) to euthanize the remaining test chimpanzees Franklin discovers the chimp had given birth and was only protecting her baby. Unable to bring himself to kill the baby chimp, Robert gives him to Will, who takes him home to raise.

Will's father Charles (John Lithgow), who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, names the baby chimp "Caesar." Caesar (Andy Serkis) has inherited his mother's high intelligence and develops quickly. One day, after he frightens the children of their neighbor, Douglas Hunsiker (David Hewlett), and receives a cut on his leg, Will takes him to the San Francisco Zoo where primatologist Caroline Aranha (Freida Pinto) treats his injury. Will begins to take Caesar on excursions to the redwood forest at Muir Woods National Monument, but after seeing a family's German shepherd, Caesar asks if he is a pet. When Caesar questions his identity, Will tells him that his mother was given a drug and that the reason for his intelligence is that the drug affected him while still in the womb. Caesar becomes more aware of his biological identity and begins to view himself as different from his human family.

A desperate Will tests a sample of his cure on his father. At first, his father's condition improves, but eventually his dementia returns. Confused, he attempts to drive Hunsiker's car, and damages it, angering Hunsiker. Caesar witnesses the confrontation and attacks Hunsiker, prompting authorities to place him in a primate shelter run by John Landon (Brian Cox), where he is treated cruelly by the other apes and the chief guard, Landon's son Dodge (Tom Felton). Caesar escapes from his cell and frees a gorilla called Buck kept in solitary confinement. With Buck's assistance, Caesar gains dominance over the other apes by intimidating the sanctuary's alpha chimp.

Will creates a more powerful form of the virus to resume treating his father, and boss Jacobs clears its testing on chimpanzees, which further increases their intelligence. However, unbeknownst to the scientists, it is fatal to humans. Franklin is exposed to the new virus and begins sneezing blood. Attempting to contact Will at his home, he accidentally infects Hunsiker, and he is then later discovered dead in his apartment. Will attempts to warn Jacobs against further testing but when Jacobs refuses to listen, Will quits his job.

After his father's death, Will bribes the elder Landon into releasing Caesar into his custody, but Caesar refuses to leave. He later escapes from the ape facility on his own and returns to Will's house, where he steals canisters of the new virus and releases it throughout the cage area at the facility, enhancing the intelligence of his fellow apes. The apes put an escape plan into motion. Landon's son Dodge attempts to intervene, leading to a fight with Caesar. Caesar shocks Dodge by shouting "No!" at him, and later kills him through electrocution. The liberated apes storm the city and release the remaining apes from Gen-Sys, as well as the entire ape population of a zoo.

A terrible battle follows as the apes force their way past a police blockade on the Golden Gate Bridge to escape into the Redwood forest. Buck sacrifices his life to save Caesar, jumping into a police helicopter (with Will's boss Jacobs aboard) as they try to shoot Caesar. Buck damages the helicopter severely forcing it to crash on the bridge. A still alive Jacobs trapped in the helicopter is finally killed when Koba, an ape who had spent a lifetime being tested on, kicks the helicopter off the bridge. As the apes find their way into the Redwood forest Will arrives and warns Caesar that the humans will hunt them down, and begs him to return home. To Will's surprise Caesar speaks like a human, telling him that "Caesar is home" among his fellow apes. The final image shows the apes climbing to the tops of the Redwood trees, looking out over the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Bay.

In a post-credits scene, Hunsiker arrives at his job as an airline pilot. He sneezes out blood as he is infected by the virus he got from Franklin. The camera pans to a filled flight-status display board, zooming-in on New York implying the spread of a global pandemic.


  • James Franco as Dr. William "Will" Rodman, a scientist who is trying to cure his father's Alzheimer's disease by testing ALZ-112 on chimps. He is a father figure to Caesar. James Franco was cast after talks with Tobey Maguire broke down.
  • Freida Pinto as Caroline Aranha, a primatologist who starts a relationship with Will and grows attached to Caesar.
  • John Lithgow as Charles Rodman, Will's Alzheimer's-afflicted father and a former music teacher who improves after Will gives him the ALZ-112 and forms a strong bond with Caesar.
  • Brian Cox as John Landon, manager of the San Bruno Primate Shelter where Caesar is confined for a time. His full name is a reference to one of the astronauts in the original Planet of the Apes.
  • Tom Felton as Dodge Landon, John's son and an animal caretaker at the shelter, who enjoys treating the apes cruelly. His first and last name are references to two of the astronauts in the original Planet of the Apes.
  • David Oyelowo as Steven Jacobs, Will's greedy boss. His last name is a reference to Arthur P. Jacobs, the producer of the original Planet of the Apes series.
  • Tyler Labine as Robert Franklin, a chimp handler at Gen-Sys.
  • Jamie Harris as Rodney, a caretaker and a nightwatchman who is kinder to the apes at the sanctuary.
  • David Hewlett as Douglas Hunsiker, Will's hot headed neighbor.
  • Chelah Horsdal as Irena, a nurse who is looking after Charles.
  • Andy Serkis as Caesar, a chimpanzee whose intelligence is increased due to inheriting ALZ-112 from his mother during her pregnancy, and who is raised by Will for eight years. He later leads an ape revolution against humanity. The character is based on Caesar from Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes of the original series.
  • Karin Konoval as Maurice, a Bornean orangutan who had retired from the circus and knows sign language; he becomes Caesar's closest ally. His name is a reference to Maurice Evans, who played orangutan Dr. Zaius in the original Planet of the Apes (1968). Konoval also cameos as the court clerk who Will briefly argues with about his appeal.
  • Terry Notary as Rocket, the former dominant chimp at the ape sanctuary, until Caesar overthrows him – his name references the set decorator of Planet of the Apes, Norman Rockett – and Bright Eyes, Caesar's mother who was captured in Africa – her name is the nickname given to Charlton Heston's human character by Zira in the 1968 film.
  • Richard Ridings as Buck, a western lowland gorilla who pledges his allegiance to Caesar after he is freed by him. His name is a reference to Buck Kaltilian, who played the gorilla Julius in the 1968 film, as well as another gorilla in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.
  • Christopher Gordon as Koba, a scar-faced bonobo who has spent most of his life in laboratories and holds a grudge against humans. He is named Koba after an alias often used by Joseph Stalin
  • Devyn Dalton as Cornelia, a female chimpanzee in the ape sanctuary. Her name is the female name of the chimp Cornelius played by Roddy McDowall in the original Planet Of The Apes.
  • Jay Caputo as Alpha, the dominant male chimpanzee of Bright Eyes' troop and Caesar's father.


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