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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 390,871 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 1,688 user | 278 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

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 #92 | 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 ...
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 time is now. [2001 re-release] 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


| (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?


MGM took a four page advertisement in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Star to launch its publicity campaign for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) during 25th February 1968. See more »


The Moon changes phase several times (backwards and forwards) in the long shots during the trip from the Space Station to Clavius Base on the Moon. See more »


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

Crazy Credits

The traditional "roaring lion" logo for MGM was not used in this film. Instead, the newly designed corporate logo for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was used, along with the letters "MGM", all in white against a blue background. See more »


Spoofed in Nassereddin Shah, Actor-e Cinema (1992) See more »


The Blue Danube
("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

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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