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It occurred to me after yesterday's movie night that The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) is the earliest movie I know of where the alien actually says this.

                                  KLAATU
                      We have come to visit you in peace -- 
                      and with good will.

Are there any older movies that also used some variation of "We come in peace"?

For clarity's sake: I'm after science fiction movies in which an alien comes to Earth and, ideally, the very first thing they say to humanity is a variation of this phrase, since that's the trope I most often see parodied in modern works.

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It's The Day the Earth Stood Still

After quite a bit of investigation, I can find no instance of an alien uttering this particular phrase (or a variation of it) in any science fiction film prior to 1951's The Day the Earth Stood Still. Of course, it does appear in both fictional and non-fictional works before 1951, but not in the desired context.

I have subsequently concluded that The Day the Earth Stood Still is the first science fiction film in which a variation of the phrase "we come in peace" is spoken by an alien to a human in a first-contact scenario.

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The following article makes for some interesting reading on the different types of first contact presented in early 1950s sci-fi films:

Referring to The Day the Earth Stood Still, the article proclaims:

So simple, so archetypal, that it would become the basis for many a future sci-fi film...

In particular, it seems to be the origin of the pervasive "we come in peace" trope in science fiction cinema.

  • Out of curiosity, what are some of those "fiction and non-fiction works" which have the phrase in other contexts? – Ixrec Aug 15 '15 at 20:50
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    @Ixrec : Non-fiction: political texts, congressional hearings, historical accounts, etc. Fiction: the 1885 novel King Solomon's Mines by H.R. Haggard about an elephant hunter / treasure seeker, and a short story in Esquire magazine in 1942. All of these are either in the context of first contact (between human groups) or peace negotiations. None involve aliens. ;-) – Praxis Aug 15 '15 at 21:03

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