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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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564 ( 107)
Top Rated Movies #89 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 7 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 ...


"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


An epic drama of adventure and exploration See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

12 May 1968 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

How the Solar System Was Won  »

Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)


$56,715,371 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (theatrical release) | (initial release)

Sound Mix:

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



Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


HAL's verbal description of his chess move (Q-B3), given what he shows on the screen, are from Frank's point of view. This is often regarded as an error, since in descriptive chess notation, the rank is described from the point of view of the player making the move. It should be Q-B6. HAL's errors can be considered either script goofs or clues revealing his internal conflict, since he is supposed to be infallible. See more »


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

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 »


Referenced in WarGames: The Dead Code (2008) See more »


Also Sprach Zarathustra
Music by Richard Strauss
Performed by Wiener Philharmoniker (uncredited)
Conducted by Herbert von Karajan (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

My god, it's full of stars
20 April 2003 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

For all those bewildered by the length and pace of this film ("like, why does he show spaceships docking for, like, 15 minutes?"), here's a word you might want to think about:


Beauty is an under-rated concept. Sure, you'll often see nice photography and so on in films. But when did you last see a film that contains beauty purely for the sake of it? There is a weird belief among cinemagoers that anything which is not plot or character related must be removed. This is depressing hogwash. There is nothing wrong with creating a beautiful sequence that has nothing to do with the film's plot. A director can show 15 minutes of spaceships for no reason than that they are beautiful, and it is neither illegal nor evil to do so.

'2001' requires you to watch in a different way than you normally watch films. It requires you to relax. It requires you to experience strange and beautiful images without feeling guilty that there is no complex plot or detailed characterization. Don't get me wrong, plots and characters are good, but they're not the be-all and end-all of everything. There are different KINDS of film, and to enjoy '2001' you must tune your brain to a different wavelength and succumb to the pleasure of beauty, PURE beauty, unfettered by the banal conventions of everyday films.

"All art is quite useless" - Oscar Wilde.

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what a bore conordohertycoughlan
It has aged for me and no longer is my favorite movie of all time Martinese
Can you argue that 2001 is the most beloved divisive film of all time? TwiZone
Slow movie is slow SomeDesperado
So, what's the big deal? Fosth101
The Odyssey And Space Odyssey bradhbbrd
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