I've watched the Planet Of The Apes movies before, the 1960s-1970s ones. And I thought the series ending wasn't very good. I'm thinking about reading the book, but if it ends in the same terrible way, then I don't think it would be worth it.

However, if it doesn't, then I don't want to look up the ending and have the book ruined anyway.

The book I am referring to is the French novel (translated into English) written by Pierre Boulle 1963.

It's kind of a lose-lose scenario, especially because I don't have any friends who have read it. So, without revealing the actual ending, could someone tell me if the book ends in the same way as the movie?

The in-universe chronological end of the story (Beneath the Planet of the Apes) is in the spoiler below:

Planet earth is nuked by a giant missile set off whilst fighting the bald radioactive city people.

  • I would add a spoiler that discloses the ending to the movies, but I don't know how. Also, I wasn't sure what tags to add, because this is my first question. Feb 11, 2016 at 1:27
  • Ouch. A downvoted without the person even bothering to say why. And in the first two minutes of the question being posted. That doesn't bode well. Feb 11, 2016 at 1:28
  • @JakeGould I just want to know if the book ends like the movie, without having the book's ending disclosed. Feb 11, 2016 at 1:38
  • @XandarTheZenon - the movie ending you are referencing is actually the the ending to the first sequel to the original film. I've edited the question to reflect this. P.S: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet_of_the_Apes_(novel)
    – NKCampbell
    Feb 11, 2016 at 2:00
  • @JakeGould - yup - I think I was writing and missed your update. Definitely was thrown at first by the initial phrasing of the question referencing the second movie :)
    – NKCampbell
    Feb 11, 2016 at 2:02

2 Answers 2


The original 1968 film of Planet of the Apes was an adaptation of the 1963 French novel La Planète des Singes by Pierre Boulle and pretty much all of the 1968 film was a fairly radical rewrite of the Pierre Boulle book by Rod Serling to make it more dramatic and action-packed; remember books are more about thoughts and ideas and films are about actions. This Rod Serling website has a fairly great analysis of the work Rod Serling and other’s went through to rework Pierre Boulle’s novel into a film:

In late 1963, Rod Serling was hired by King Brothers Productions to write a screenplay based on Pierre Boulle's novel Planet of the Apes. For more than two years, Serling, who had earned a solid reputation as a television writer, struggled with the task of adapting this complex story for the big screen. By the time he submitted a final draft in early 1965, APJAC Productions had acquired the screen rights to Boulle's story. For the next two years, producer Arthur P. Jacobs worked to raise enough funding for what had developed into a very expensive project. Before filming began, another experienced writer, Michael Wilson, was brought in to work on the script. Wilson, whose career suffered through the blacklisting of the McCarthy era, had written many excellent film scripts (including It's A Wonderful Life and A Place in the Sun)—some uncredited until recently (such as Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia). Finally, in early 1968, Planet of the Apes was released, with both Wilson and Serling sharing screen credit.

So when all is said and done, the ending of the 1963 Pierre Boulle novel—as well as much of the story itself—has very little to do with the ending of the 1968 film adaptation. And the film and television sequels that followed the 1968 film adaptation have even less in common with its source material as the series went on.

So you are 100% safe to go ahead and read that novel without fear of one ending “spoiling” another. If anything you will get a deeper insight into the core DNA of the whole Planet of the Apes franchise before it even became a franchise.

FWIW, the ending you have alluded to in your spoiler text was from the second film in the series: Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970). But—thanks to the use of “time travel” and the producer’s desire (aka: $$$) for sequels—the franchise continued with three more films and a TV series:

  • Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)
  • Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)
  • Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)
  • Planet of the Apes (1974 TV series)

So yes, the sequential, in-universe Planet of the Apes timeline “ends” with the event you describe happening at the end of Beneath the Planet of the Apes. But the film series continued past that film and even into a TV series as well.

  • 1
    It made me sad, to be honest. That film franchise had so much potential... And then it was all squandered to make some stupid point. Then re-energized with time travel. Then ruined again. With monkey Buddha. Feb 11, 2016 at 4:45
  • -----Potential Spoiler Alert!!!------- "Conquest" was the nearest to the original novel, but reversed. It was realized early that it would be prohibitively expensive to have one man on a world of apes, but doable to have one (two in this case) in the world of men. Even then, however, the ending was different, being closer to the 2001 POTA., even then not the same.
    – JohnHunt
    Nov 24, 2021 at 6:19

No, the ending of the book is the same as the ending of the 2001 Tim Burton Planet of the Apes remake. Which I wouldn't recommend watching but if you do read the book first. To clarify the book ending is totally unrelated to the series ending and the ending of Beneath the Planet of the Apes which I believe you are referencing and which original star Charlton Heston intended to be the series ending.

I have mentioned this an answer to a previous question so do not know if it's OK to mention but Charlton Heston was opposed to Planet of the Apes sequels and only agreed to star if his character was killed off and they ended the film in such a way as to prevent any further sequels. (Which didn't stop them making increasingly inferior sequels).

Unfortunately I can't recall exactly where I came by this info, it was an interview with Charlton Heston possibly in a Planet of the Apes documentary or a magazine article. I hope this provides you with some information on whether you decide to read the book or not

  • 2
    I wouldn't have deleted your answer, but it was very spare. Can you think of anything to flesh this out?
    – Adamant
    Nov 11, 2016 at 22:38
  • Also, I edited out the parts that were commentary on why your previous answer got deleted.
    – Adamant
    Nov 11, 2016 at 22:59
  • I didn't want to say what the ending was, as the OP hasn't yet read the book, and I wouldn't recommend Burton's 2001 remake because it was terrible (I am unaware if this film is considered part of the Planet of the Apes series or not) . So not really without giving any spoilers about the book Nov 13, 2016 at 14:58
  • OK I have edited my answer with what info I could think of that may help the OP's decision as to whether they read the book or not without giving any spoilers. Nov 13, 2016 at 15:15
  • "No, the ending of the book is the same as the ending of the 2001 Tim Burton Planet of the Apes remake." Except that, being French, it takes place at Orly Airport instead of the Lincoln (Thade) Memorial. The premise is the same, though: Earth looking as we know it, but run (I almost said "manned") by intelligent simians.
    – André D.
    Nov 12, 2023 at 1:39

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