War of the Worlds draws elements not only from the H. G. Wells novel, but also the 1938
and the 1953 film. Hence, to place this film in proper historical context as an adaptation
requires some knowledge
of all three previous incarnations of Wells' story.
As in the original novel, which takes place in and around London, the narrative is told
from the point of view of civilians caught up in the conflict. Whereas the novel portrayed
of a solitary British journalist late in the 19th century, War of the Worlds is, according
to Spielberg, purported to show the war
"through the eyes of one American family fighting to survive it". It is set in the early
and as in the radio play begins in New Jersey. Part of the movie was filmed in the Newark,
New Jersey Ironbound District.
The scene in which the alien first appears from the hole in the ground was shot on Ferry
Filming in Newark was reportedly cancelled due to the noisy environment and prospect of
owners losing business from the closed off set. Main parts of the film was shot in Bayonne,
with the Bayonne Bridge being destroyed.