I try to remember a movie I saw long time ago on TV. It must be at the beginning of the 90s, possibly the end of the 80s. The movie might be older though. It was something about a scientist researching and experimenting with ants. I think the ants got intelligent, but I'm not sure about this. If I recall it right, in the end the ants took over the world, or only the lab. Sorry, that's all a little bit cloudy. My memory is not the best about this, that's why I need your help to get the name of the movie.

  • 3
    are you certain they were ants? and could it have been a two part episode of a show? (Sand Kings - Outer Limits is a thought)
    – Seanland
    Dec 3, 2011 at 22:24
  • Amazingly sounds like "City" / Cliford Simak (as comment, since this is a book) Dec 10, 2011 at 0:00
  • @Seanland That episode is one of my favorites! I was just going to ask about it after being reminded by this question. +15 to you, sir. Mar 27, 2013 at 16:39
  • They. There was a movie, one of my favs, from the early eighties about a lab in the desert with intelligent ants that did things like shut down the scientists computers by soldier ants sacrificing themselves by crawling into the equipment in droves shorting it out. They also built elaborate structures on their hives to catch the power of the sun. Is this ringing a bell? Great movie! It was called "They" but when you look up the title you only get a bad movie from 2002. If you find it let me know where! I've been looking for the movie for years.
    – user6545
    Oct 27, 2013 at 23:21
  • I wonder if we're looking for the same movie it was a family who tried to live in a suburb as a normal human family but we're ants?
    – user25930
    Sep 14, 2015 at 21:43

7 Answers 7


There are a number of science fiction movies involving ants, and based on your memory, it might be a challenge to determine if it was truly a made-for-tv-movie...or just a very old movie that happened to be broadcast one night on the tube. Nevertheless, the closest matches to your description are:

  1. Phase IV (1974)

  2. It Happened at Lakewood Manor / Panic at Lakewood Manor / Ants (1977) - This one was specifically made for TV.

  3. Them! (1955) - You'd know if it was this--it was black and white.

  • Thanks. I believe it is Phase IV, the name rings a bell. Now I have a name and can try to rewatch it. 'Them!' doesn't match. I don't remember colors, but the description talks about giant ants, and I remember normal sized but organized ants. Lakewood Manor don't seem to match either. The description seems to point in direction of a creature-horror-movie, and my memory says SF.
    – Mnementh
    Dec 3, 2011 at 22:57
  • It must be Phase IV. In Fallout 3, there is a scientist character called Lesko (named after Lesko in Phase IV), who was also experimenting with ants, and ants took over the whole town.
    – kapa
    Dec 4, 2011 at 9:46
  • My first thought was Phase IV. Them! doesn't have a lab as such, and it's a lot older than Phase IV too. Classic, though, both of them (though "Them!" is better-known I think). @baz wow, I didn't know that about Fallout 3. I got to play it now. Dec 8, 2011 at 0:32

You may already have your answer, but your description reminded me of the scene in The Simpsons episode Deep Space Homer when Homer accidentally smashes the ant farm on board the rocket and causes panic back on Earth.

So I checked The Simpsons Archive, which notes two films in its references section: Empire of the Ants and Hellstrom Chronicles. Perhaps one of those is the film you're trying to remember.

  • I think it is definitely worth it for the OP to review these, esp. Hellstrom Chronicles. Dec 8, 2011 at 23:41
  • Empire of Ants is clearly not the movie I look for, as it involves big creatures. Hellstrom Chronicles... seems not to be the one I search, but it seems to be a cleverly constructed movie. So I will look for it anyway. Thanks. :-)
    – Mnementh
    Dec 9, 2011 at 12:34


The scientist and family man Dr. Simon Kress has been researching the development of a species using eggs found in a sample of Martian soil. When one bug escapes from the laboratory breaking the security of the facility, the project is shut-down by the government due to its hazard and Dr. Simon is fired. Dr. Simon expected to win the Nobel Prize and steals 275 g of the sample ground, bringing it to the barn of his property and developing new species. He hides the truth from his wife Cathy and shares the secret with his smart son Josh. Along the days, Simon realizes how intelligent the creatures are and feels like a god since they seem to worship him. However, when Simon is bitten by one subject, his irresponsible behavior changes to insanity, jeopardizing his family, his friend and mankind.


An 'ant'-themed movie from the 90's I remember when "killer-ant invasion" was in the news is Legion of Fire: Killer Ants! (1998). They aren't overly intelligent, but the characters are constantly surprised by their "tenacity", "determination", and "cleverness" (wax on the anthropomorphism).


Another title which might match what you are looking for is The Hive (2008). In this movie, intelligent ants take over an island and kill its inhabitants. An extermination squad is called in, only to discover that the ants are controlled by an extraterrestrial intelligence.

  • Far too new to be the one I'm looking for.
    – Mnementh
    Dec 9, 2011 at 12:35

There was a bad late-70s horror movie with Joan Collins in it where an experiment on a jungle island got out of control, and the both intelligent and giant ants (if I remember correctly) ran amok.

IMDB "Empire of the Ants" entry


You all forgot THE NAKED JUNGLE based on Carl Stephenson’s Lennigen Versus theAnts. And Joe Dante's masterful short MANT.

  • 1
    We are looking for long answers. Could you please add some citations why you think its thee movie which OP is looking for
    – Panther
    Aug 1, 2015 at 5:59
  • Was Mant the movie-within-a-movie in Matinee? This had the greatest line: The man transforms into an ant because he was bitten by an ant at the dentist's office while being xrayed. The dentist,looking at the xray picture, says to the man who now has the head of an ant, "I guess it doesn't matter much now, but you didn't have one cavity..."
    – Jeff
    Jan 9, 2017 at 0:10

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