War of the Worlds Ending Explained & Film Analysis

On June 27, 2005, Steven Steelberg’s sci-fi film, based on the novel of the same name by H. G. Wells, premiered. More than 15 years have passed, and the debate over what the true meaning of the movie War of the Worlds continues. The meaning of the film War of the Worlds: summary, ending explanation

Epithets for the film range from “great, Spielberg’s best film” to “terrible, ruining the idea of ​​the great Wells.” What is the phenomenon of the picture? What idea were the creators of the picture trying to convey to the viewer? The answers to these questions will be given by a detailed analysis of the film.


The beginning of the film is preceded by voice-over words that humanity, plunged into its own problems, does not notice the surveillance of alien creatures pursuing selfish goals. To understand the meaning of the movie War of the Worlds, you have to remember the main points of the storyline.

In the center of the story:

  • Ray Ferrier – crane operator;
  • Mary Ann – Ray’s ex-wife;
  • Rachel, 10, and Robbie, 16, are the children of the Ferriers.

The events of the film begin on the day when Mary Ann, who has gathered with her new husband in Boston to her parents, brings the children to Ray for the weekend.

Interesting! Actress Miranda Otto, who played the role of Mary Ann, did not agree to star in the film because of her pregnancy. Then Spielberg edited the script to include the heroine’s pregnancy.

Children after the divorce of their parents rarely saw their father, so the relationship between them is strained. Ray has a particularly hard time with his son. He is not inclined to communicate with his father. So this time, having quarreled with his father, Robbie leaves home.


Ray goes in search of his son. The weather suddenly deteriorates. From the sky lit up with a strange light, lightning strikes one after another on the ground. The ground cracks, buildings collapse, lights go out, and all working electronic devices fail.

Interesting! In the filming of Ray, rushing about among the crowd, in the role of Tom Cruise, residents of nearby streets took part. People came with their cameras for the photo with the actor promised by the creators.

From under the ground, like mushrooms, huge mechanisms similar to tripods, controlled by unknown creatures, grow. The tripod shoots out heat rays that burn people.

Ray, like Robbie, manages to return home. After putting the kids in the car, Ferrier drives to the suburbs where Mary Ann’s house is located.

In the morning, from the news, the heroes learn about the attack of aliens on major cities of different countries and getting into the car, they go to Boston. But on the way they take away the car. The heroes are forced to walk to the ferry. There is also a huge crowd of people. But tripods that have grown out of the water prevent them from getting on board.

In the ensuing chaos, Ray doesn’t notice Robbie running off to join the military. A father and daughter find shelter in the basement of the home of ambulance driver Harlan Ogilvie, whose family was exterminated by aliens.

While in hiding, the heroes observe the manipulations of aliens who grow unknown red plants. Alien vegetation grows at a rapid pace, entangling trees and buildings with roots. Aliens use blood sucked from humans to feed plants.

What he sees finally drives Ogilvy crazy. Ray is forced to get rid of him for his daughter’s safety.

At night, one of the tripods tries to sneak into the basement, scaring Rachel. While Ray tries to chop off the tentacles with an ax, the girl runs away in a panic and gets into an alien basket under the tripod cabin. Then Ray specifically attracts the creature’s attention to himself in order to get into the cage where his daughter is.

Once in the basket, the hero blows up the tripod with grenades he grabbed ahead of time from an abandoned military vehicle.

An unexpected rescue

After 10 days, father and daughter finally get to Boston. Here, a strange picture appears before them: withered, whitened alien vegetation and motionless tripods, from which dying alien creatures crawl out.

Arriving at the house of the ex-wife’s parents, Ray and Rachel meet with Mary and Robbie, who miraculously managed to survive.

From the off-screen monologue, viewers learn that the cause of the death of aliens is microbes that are safe for humans, but turned out to be fatal for aliens.

Plot Explanation

“War of the Worlds” is a special film that stands out sharply against the backdrop of many tapes about the alien invasion. The Martians here are hostile and cruel invaders who do not spare people. And the main character is not some kind of superman who saves humanity from death, but an ordinary father, for whom there is nothing more important than the life of his children.

Moreover, Ray’s views change as the plot develops. At the beginning of the film, it’s just a man leading a bachelor life after a divorce. He does not care about anyone, rarely sees children and does not even seek to establish relations with them.

But when they are in danger, everything changes. The hero comes to understand that children are the most important thing in life. There is a reassessment of values, priorities change. The meaning of the film War of the Worlds is to show that the main value of any person is close people.

What is the essence of the ending

Throughout the film, events develop quite rapidly. Spectators, watching the characters with tension, try to predict their future fate. But the ending of the film has a stunning effect.

Beings that seemed immortal die from contact with bacteria. This deprives the ending of the movie “War of the Worlds” of any meaning. It is not entirely clear to the viewer why the race, which managed to master space, decided to capture the planet, unsuitable for its life.

Perhaps, with such a finale, the authors sought to show that no one has absolute power over the world, even super-developed beings. External circumstances can make their own adjustments and humanity must be ready for any development of events.

“War of the Worlds” differs from most science fiction films about the confrontation between Martians and people in that this picture has a meaning that makes you want to review the tape more than once. And after each viewing, new thoughts appear that make you think about how fragile the world is and how easily it can collapse.

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