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2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

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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.

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Top Rated Movies #93 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

"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

Taglines:

The Ultimate Trip. See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

12 May 1968 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

How the Solar System Was Won  »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$56,715,371 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (theatrical release) | (initial release)

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

(Technicolor)|

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The joke working title, "How the Solar System was Won", reflected the original idea for the film. Just as How the West Was Won (1962) was a series of short stories spanning decades, this film was going to be a series of stories showing explorations on many planets and moons, ending with "The Sentinel" showing the uncovering of the monolith on the Moon, which was the first contact with extraterrestrials. A genuine working title was "Voyage Beyond the Stars". When Fantastic Voyage (1966) was released, Stanley Kubrick reportedly so disliked that film that he did not want his film to sound anything like it. In the end, "2001" was chosen as it is the first year of both the 21st century and the 3rd millennium. In 1999 Arthur C. Clarke held a press conference in which he said he was dismayed that so many people (including college professors and journalists) were incorrectly calling 2000 the beginning of the century. See more »

Goofs

The spinning pen on the clipper is not spinning around its center of mass: it's spinning about a point well outside its body, which (no matter the mass distribution inside the pen) is impossible. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Aries-1B stewardess: Here you are, sir, main level please.
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Crazy Credits

In the 2001 UK cinema re-release, the music carries on for 10-15 minutes after the end of the credits. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Dead Like Me: Ashes to Ashes (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

The Blue Danube
(1866)
("An der schönen, blauen Donau, op. 314 (The Blue Danube)")
Music by Johann Strauss (as Johann Strauss)
Performed by Berliner Philharmoniker (as the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra)
Conductor Herbert von Karajan
Courtesy Deutsche Grammophon
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Cosmic Art
6 February 2005 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Mankind's Self awakening is the theme of "2001: A Space Odyssey", a process that unfolds along a space-time continuum. We "see" our primordial past, and we "infer" a cosmic future. The powers of intuition thus become the doors of perception, in our ongoing collective journey.

From this transcendental perspective, a conventional, egocentric plot seems superfluous. Our frenzied conflicts and self-important dialogue are consumed in evolutionary change, and are irrelevant in a cosmos that is vast beyond comprehension. It's a tough lesson for a vain and aggressive species. Not surprising then that some of us huff and puff about the film's slowness and minimal story. For perceptive viewers, the remuneration is an inspirational sense of wonder and awe.

In this film, which is mostly visual, geometric symbols guide our intuition. Circles and arcs represent nature. Right angles represent conscious intelligence. Some people think the sleek, black monolith is a Von Neumann probe. Maybe. Without doubt, the monolith is a visual metaphor for an extraterrestrial intelligence whose physical form is never shown. Mystery is more profound than explanation.

"2001 ... " is unique among films in content and scope. The cinematography is out-of-this-world, the special and visual effects are breathtaking, and the classical music is sublime. I rarely use the word "masterpiece" to describe a movie. But Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" is art in the highest sense, like Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa", or Vincent Van Gogh's "The Starry Night".


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