Planet of the Apes Wiki
"The Forbidden Zone was once a paradise. Your breed made a desert of it, ages ago."
Zaius to George Taylor

The Forbidden Zone was the radiation-disfigured land throughout the original Planet of the Apes series. A Forbidden Zone could be a mountainous desert or swamp, city or sea. It just had to be deadly as well. It would seem that each Forbidden Zone has to maintain a certain quota of Mutants also.[1]


Planet of the Apes (1968)

The Forbidden Zone is first seen when George Taylor's spaceship crashes into a lake. After escaping from their sinking ship, Taylor, John Landon, and Dodge walked through great stretches of mountains and desert, at last finding an oasis guarded by what appear to be humanoid scarecrows.

Later on, Cornelius I, Zira, and their nephew Lucius free Taylor and Nova where they flee into the Forbidden Zone to prove that man was once superior to the ape. At an archaeological site by the sea, Dr. Zaius and the Gorilla Soldiers catch up to them since "only an apostate would flee into the Forbidden Zone." Taylor manages to capture Zaius and within the cave, they discover a human doll that talks, thus proving that humans once held superior technology and that apes somehow descended from them.

Dr. Zaius allowed Taylor and Nova to go further into the Forbidden Zone stating that Taylor may not like what he finds out there. While charging Zira and Cornelius for heresy and going back on his word, Dr. Zaius arranges for the cave to be blown up.

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Taylor and Nova are shown wandering further through the Forbidden Zone when Taylor suddenly disappears and is captured by Mutants. Meanwhile, Dr. Zaius and General Ursus planned to lead their army into the Forbidden Zone to destroy the force that affects the simians' senses.


  • Like many aspects of the Planet of the Apes mythos, the concept of the 'Forbidden Zone' evolved gradually through a number of years and a number of writers. Pierre Boulle's original crew of astronauts glided over modern towns and roadways before coming to rest on a plateau clearing within a jungle. The dense jungle provided the only cover for the spaceship, and the downfall of humanity was due to to their own mental and physcal lethargy rather than to nuclear holocaust.
  • When Rod Serling adapted the novel to a screenplay, he first introduced the notion of a radioactive wasteland. This, in turn, would provide a perfect hiding place for the astronauts' advanced technology. In Serling's draft scripts, the ship automatically touches-down in a valley within a mountain range - hidden even from the watchful helicopters Serling's apes used for transport. The crew travel across a body of water to reach the more promising verdent lands beyond. Later, an ape reporter questions Thomas about the whereabouts of his craft: "We've been told that your ship landed in the Island area which has been quarantined to our race for many centuries." At an ape university, Thomas is told some more about this 'quarantined area' when he asks why the apes inhabit only a tiny part of the land-mass. Dr Ernestine of the Biology Department replies: "Did anyone explain the contamination to you, Mr. Thomas?... Expeditions have been sent out, Mr. Thomas - west on our own continent and to several of the continents beyond. There has been evidence of some form of radio-activity. But of a massive nature... It's mentioned in many of our historical documents. Places where plant life and human life existed in abundance, totally wiped out. So we've been rather cautious in our expeditions beyond." The reason for all this is spelled out to Thomas at the archaeological dig, where a nuclear fallout shelter is unearthed, holding the skeletal remains of advanced human beings. The jungle area the astronauts had crossed to, and where they were captured, was named by Dr. Zira when she asked the hunt-leader, Mr. Digby, about his "expedition into the inner-land".[2] The concept of a radioactive zone may have first been suggested to Serling by producer Arthur P. Jacobs.[3]
  • Writing the script ultimately used in the movie, Michael Wilson took the framework of Serling's treatment and altered the dialogue and the advanced nature of the apes, but maintained the basic story. Thus Serling's idea about a barren man-made wilderness survived, but with a new and ominous-sounding name - The Forbidden Zone.


External links


Planet of the Apes - The Original Pentalogy Series
Planet of the Apes (APJ) Movies
Planet of the Apes | Beneath the Planet of the Apes | Escape from the Planet of the Apes | Conquest of the Planet of the Apes | Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Main Ape Characters
Zira | Cornelius | Zaius | Ursus | Milo | Caesar | Lisa | Virgil | Aldo | Cornelius II | Lawgiver
Supporting Ape Characters
Hunt Leader | Julius | Marcus | Galen | Honorius | Maximus | President of the Assembly | Lucius | Minister | Minister | Frank | Mandemus
Main Human Characters
George Taylor | Nova | John Landon | Dodge | John Brent | Mendez XXVI | Caspay | Ongaro | Albina | Fat Man | Lewis Dixon | Stephanie Branton | Otto Hasslein | Armando | Breck | MacDonald (Conquest) | MacDonald (Battle) | Kolp | Mendez I
Supporting Human Characters
Stewart | Maddox | Verger | General Winthrop | General Faulkner | The President | Chairman of the President's Committee of Inquiry | E-1 | E-2 | Inspector Hoskyns | TV Newscaster | Mrs Riley | Mutant Captain | Jake | Jake's friend
Horse | Gorilla in Zoo
Items / Weapons
Sacred Scrolls | Human Doll | Alpha-Omega Bomb | Grape Juice Plus
Important Events / Battles
Ape Rebellion
Bellatrix | Orion | Earth's Moon | Ape City | Forbidden Zone | Statue of Liberty | Queensboro Plaza | Radio City Music Hall | Grand Central Terminal | New York Stock Exchange | St. Patrick's Cathedral' | New York City | Jefferson Public School | Los Angeles | Los Angeles Zoo | Forbidden City | Ape City (Caesar's City) | Council
Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes | Exile on the Planet of the Apes | Planet of the Apes: Ursus| Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern | Kong on the Planet of the Apes | Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes
Soundtrack Music
Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Beneath the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Escape from the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Battle for the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Music Of The Planet Of The Apes