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2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

G  |   |  Mystery, Sci-Fi  |  15 May 1968 (UK)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 382,260 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 1,679 user | 275 critic | 14 from

Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial, object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Top 250 Movies #92 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel Richter ...
Sean Sullivan ...
Douglas Rain ...
HAL 9000 (voice)
Frank Miller ...
Bill Weston ...
Aries-1B Lunar Shuttle Captain (as Edward Bishop)
Glenn Beck ...
Alan Gifford ...
Ann Gillis ...


"2001" is a story of evolution. Sometime in the distant past, someone or something nudged evolution by placing a monolith on Earth (presumably elsewhere throughout the universe as well). Evolution then enabled humankind to reach the moon's surface, where yet another monolith is found, one that signals the monolith placers that humankind has evolved that far. Now a race begins between computers (HAL) and human (Bowman) to reach the monolith placers. The winner will achieve the next step in evolution, whatever that may be. Written by Larry Cousins

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Ultimate Trip. See more »


Mystery | Sci-Fi


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

15 May 1968 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

How the Solar System Was Won  »

Box Office


$10,500,000 (estimated)


$56,715,371 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut) | (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(35 mm magnetic prints)| (70 mm prints)| (2001 re-release)



Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Some of the "Dawn of Man" African sequences used the sounds of wild cats, gorillas and chimpanzees originally recorded for the MGM film Mogambo (1953). The sounds were authentic and actually recorded in locations throughout Africa during the making of "Mogambo" while it was being shot on location there. See more »


When Bowman is carrying out the EVA to replace the AE-35 unit, Discovery's aerial is seen rotating. Normally the aerial is directed to Earth, and unless the ship itself was changing position the aerial would appear stationary. However, the device which controls the positioning mechanisms of the aerial is the AE-35 unit-the unit being replaced. During the time Bowman is exchanging the AE-35s the aerial would have no hardware control, and there is also a small but real possibility that the replacement AE-35 might be faulty. It is reasonable to assume that the aerial would first be rotated to its default position (facing forward, away from Earth) and mechanically locked down until the new AE-35 unit is installed and checked out. The rotation visible in the scene is consistent with that. See more »


[first lines]
Aries-1B stewardess: Here you are, sir, main level please.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Thus Spake Zarathustra" is the only musical piece in the film whose conductor and orchestra are not mentioned in the closing credits. For all other pieces, the orchestra which plays it, and the conductor who leads it, are given screen credit. See more »


(1962) (uncredited)
Music by György Ligeti
Performed by The International Chamber Ensemble Darmstadt
Conductor Bruno Maderna
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A film of monolithic proportions.
5 January 2005 | by (Austin, TX) – See all my reviews

A review I have put off for far too long....

Bluntly, 2001 is one of the best science-fiction films made to date, if not the very best. Stanley Kubrick was a genius of a film maker and this is one of his very best works. And although it is misunderstood by many, and respectively underrated, it is considered one of the best films of all time and I'll have to agree. Back in 1968, no one had done anything like this before, and no one has since. It was a marvel of a special effects breakthrough back then, and seeing how the effects hold up today, it is no wonder as to why. The film still looks marvelous after almost forty years! Take note CGI people. Through the use of large miniatures and realistic lighting, Kubrick created some of the best special effects ever put on celluloid. This aspect alone almost single-handedly created the chilling void of the space atmosphere which is also attributed to the music and realistic sound effects. I can't think of another film where you can't here anything in space, like it is in reality. Not only is the absence of sound effects in space realistic, it is used cleverly as a tool to establish mood, and it works flawlessly.

Aside from the magnificent display of ingenious special effects, there are other factors that play a part in establishing the feel of the film. The music played, all classical, compliment what the eyes are seeing and make you feel the significance of man's journey through his evolution from ape to space traveler.

The story, while seemingly simple, is profound. Sequentially, several mysterious black monoliths are discovered and basically trigger certain events integral to the film. What are they? Where did they come from? What do they do? These are all questions one asks oneself while watching the story develop and is asked to find his own way. While most come away with a general idea of what took place in the story, each individual will have to decide what it means to them. Any way one decides to answer these question results in profound solutions. It's not left entirely up to interpretation, but in some aspects it is. Experience it for more clarification. The end result is quite chilling, no matter your personal solution.

While it is a long film, and sometimes slows down, it has to be in order to accurately portray the journey of man. It's not a subject that would have faired well in a shorter film, faster paced feature. Those with short attention spans need not apply.

Last but not least, is the epitome of a remorseless antagonist, HAL 9000, the computer. Never has a machine held such a chilling screen presence. Which reminds me, for a film with such profound ambition and execution, there is surprisingly little dialogue. Another sign of Kubrick's genius.

All in all, one of the best films made to date and one of the very best science fiction films made. A personal favorite. Everyone must see this film at least once.

Very highly recommended.

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