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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.



(screenplay), (screenplay)
489 ( 91)
Top Rated Movies #91 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Douglas Rain ...
HAL 9000 (voice)
Frank Miller ...
Aries-1B Lunar Shuttle Captain (as Edward Bishop)


"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 »


Adventure | Sci-Fi


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

12 May 1968 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

How the Solar System Was Won  »


Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£69,567 (United Kingdom), 30 November 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (theatrical release) | (initial release)

Sound Mix:

(35 mm magnetic prints)| (70 mm prints)


(Technicolor)| (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


Rather than using bluescreen, Stanley Kubrick filmed all the model shots against black backgrounds and required the compositing work to be done by a team of British animators painting travelling mattes by hand frame-by-frame to mask out each element. When production ended, most of the animators signed onto Yellow Submarine (1968) in order to work on something colourful after spending two years painting little black blobs. See more »


The bone Moon-Watcher uses to beat the enemy ape is a femur (upper leg bone), as indicated by the sideways projecting "arm" with a ball at the end. However, the bone shown rotating in the air is a tibia (main bone of the lower leg), as indicated by its blunt ends. See more »


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

Crazy Credits

No opening credits for actors, writers, producer, director, etc. are shown, with the story beginning right after the title. Although by the 1990s it had become quite common for major films to not have opening credits, it was still unusual in 1968. See more »


Referenced in Nostalgia Critic: Star Trek: The Motion Picture (2012) See more »


Happy Birthday to You
(1893) (uncredited)
Written by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill
Performed by Alan Gifford and Ann Gillis
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Cosmic Art
6 February 2005 | by 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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