I've always wanted to see this film, but never quite got around to it. The plot line is simple - a space ship lands on the national mall in Washington D.C., and a man arrives with a message. Humanity reacts as it's usual xenophobic self - but not everybody is afraid of the man, and some will help him try to spread his message before it is too late for the world...
"Klaatu barada nikto"
Want to know what that means? Watch the film.
I was actually quite impressed by the acting in the film, especially the man picked to play Klaatu - he had an otherworldly presence and self-assuredness about himself that made him a perfect actor for the part. In fact, I would compare him in style to the actress who plays Six in Battlestar Galactica - they both have the same "not-quite-human" feel, although he lacks the sexuality obviously.
And the acting isn't everything. The story, humanity's reaction to the visitor, and the loyalties of each person are quite believable. We've seen this story again, with elements of it lopped off, in countless film after film since then - ET, Splash, Short Circuit, and Starman to name a few - but the original does it very well, enough so that I didn't mind watching it again.
The special effects are actually quite good for a film of that era. I will admit to noticing supporting wires once, but overall things looked pretty good.
Thane gives it 4 out of 5 stars, and a bonus "must see" for any sci-fi buff.