The atomic bomb hit the New Mexico desert in 1945, and although it didn’t wipe out civilization, it did produce car-size, radioactive ants with body-splitting mandibles and ear-piercing shrieks. The mutated bugs knock over trailers and tear down general stores in search of sugar, and it’s up to a quirky scientist and his attractive daughter to help the authorities contain the horrific beasts before they proliferate and nationwide hysteria ensues. Of course, that’s exactly what happens. What follows is a fight against the ants that involves the military, flamethrowers and an ominous government warning and curfew that perfectly capture the uncertainty and paranoia of the 1950s. Oscar-nominated for its special effects, the film became an instant hit with its surprisingly effective plot. Them! quickly became the quintessential B-movie creature feature and inspired a multitude of imitators. The film remains a fan and critic favorite in the sci-fi genre, boasting a 100% positive rating on the popular film-review site Rotten Tomatoes.