Broken out for film from this question

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Given that human looking intelligent aliens are so common as to be a trope, what is the earliest depiction in Film of an intelligent alien life form as being non humanoid in appearance (i.e. radically different such as the Horta)?

By non humanoid, I meant that it should be readily distinguishable from the typical two-armed/two-legged alien depiction. For example, all the members of the Max Rebo band would qualify (two arms, two legs, odd heads but still humanoid). Jabba the Hutt would not qualify as humanoid.

  • The Blob was certainly a non-humanoid alien life form but I don't think it was intelligent.
    – user14111
    Oct 12, 2017 at 22:00
  • @user14111 - I thought about that one, and I don't think it was intelligent, more of a mindless eating machine.
    – JohnP
    Oct 12, 2017 at 22:02
  • define intelligence. The blob reacts to it's environment, not mindlessly :)
    – NKCampbell
    Oct 12, 2017 at 22:09
  • @NKCampbell a protozoa reacts to environment. It isn't intellifent.
    – JohnP
    Oct 12, 2017 at 22:16

3 Answers 3


The Martians from 1953's take on War of the Worlds is somewhat shonky, but they are definitely not humanoid.

The film came out on 29 July 1953.

The best view the movie gives of them is in this clip:

I think this fits the bill because while the martians do have long arms, they don't have legs, mouths, of human-like eyes.

Although it's hard to tell from the film, the most common version of the Martians appears to be as per this model:

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If your defintion of humanoid is

For non humanoid, I would intend it to be readily distinguishable from the typical two armed/two legged alien depiction.

I think it's this guy, although it has humanoid face. It's from Invaders from Mars, released April 22, 1953.

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Otherwise it's that thing from It came from Outer Space

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Of course, if you are open to consider lizards as non-humanoids, then the very first ones would be the ones from A Trip to the Moon from 1902, but well, they have 2 arms and 2 legs.

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I want to put in a vote for The Thing From Another World, form 1951 In this case, the main alien threat is indeed humanoid, and it is played by James Arness (before Gunsmoke). However, the alien is a plant, and it reproduces via seedlings.

Nasty little blood-fed sprouts

The trickiness about this is that the adult alien, while not brilliant, clearly has a certain level of intelligence. However, the non-humanoid sprout stage does not exhibit any signs of intelligence; the seedlings just grow, nourished by blood. So it's a judgement call whether this counts or not.

  • why do you say "not brilliant" -- he was from a civilization that built an inter-planetary (perhaps inter-stellar) space craft. admittedly arness played him very much like frankenstein, i think.
    – releseabe
    Feb 14 at 9:46

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