A group of astronauts awaken from suspended animation in their spacecraft as it nears the star, Betelgeuse, they were scheduled to explore. What they don't know is that it's thousands of years in the future and that the planet below them is Earth. The capsule containing the woman crew member had cracked and she's a skeleton. They crash land into a lake and the three male astronauts make it out alive, only to find a barren wasteland. When they finally come across vegetation they also see cavemen like people. They are then herded like animals by horseback riding gorillas that talk. The leader, George Taylor (Charlton Heston), is injured so he can't talk. He's captured and taken to Ape City, which look like stone Flintstone buildings. He's befriended by a kindly chimp couple, Cornelius and Zira. When he's finally able to talk it shocks the apes and the leader of the city, Dr. Zaius, an orangutan, wants Taylor destroyed. He knows of mankind's violent history and doesn't want it as a threat to apekind.
This is a very grim, serious movie, not at all like the oftentimes goofy remake. The story holds up well, as do the Oscar winning makeup effects. This is one of my favorite sci-fi films of all time.