Them! (1954)

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Them! is a 1954 American black-and-white science fiction film from Warner Bros. Pictures produced by David Weisbart, directed by Gordon Douglas, and starring James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon, and James Arness. The film is based on an original story treatment by George Worthing Yates, which was then developed into a screenplay by Ted Sherdeman and Russell Hughes.

Them! is one of the first of the 1950s "nuclear monster" movies, and the first "big bug" feature. A nest of gigantic irradiated ants is discovered in the New Mexico desert; they quickly become a national threat when it is discovered a young queen ant and her consorts have escaped to establish a new nest. The national search that follows finally culminates in a battle with Them in the concrete spillways and sewers of Los Angeles.

Since its original release, Them! has become generally regarded as one of the very best science fiction films of the 1950s. Bill Warren described the film as " ... tight, fast-paced and credible ... [T]he picture is suspenseful." Phil Hardy�s The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction noted, "Directed by [Gordon] Douglas in semi-documentary fashion, Them! is one of the best American science fiction films of the fifties." Danny Peary believed the film "Ranks with The Thing and Invasion of the Body Snatchers as the best of the countless 50s science fiction films." In the Time Out Film Guide, David Pirie wrote, "By far the best of the 50s cycle of 'creature features' ... retains a good part of its power today."