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2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

G  |   |  Mystery, Sci-Fi  |  15 May 1968 (UK)
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 352,389 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 1,657 user | 263 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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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

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Top 250 #93 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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 ...
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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:

An epic drama of adventure and exploration See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

15 May 1968 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

How the Solar System Was Won  »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,500,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$56,715,371 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut) | (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

Stanley Kubrick considered shooting the Dawn of man sequence on location in Southern Africa but was unable to due to the expense and also the likelihood of shooting being disrupted by adverse weather. Rear projection as well as colour separation overlay (blue-screen) were considered but not used because both methods would lack visual quality. Instead with assistance from MGM's special effects department the crew developed a new front projection system that used 8x10-inch slides taken on location in Africa. A high-intensity projector was aligned at a perfect angle from the camera and used to project the slide through a partially-transparent mirror that simulated placing the camera and projector in exactly the same place - thus the shadows cast by actors and set objects on the screen were invisible. However the screen material was only available in rolls of limited width and there were variations in reflectivity between rolls. Tearing the material up into small sections and "collaging" them together provided the best uniformity but with effort some variation can be seen in places. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in Killer Condom (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Atmospheres
(1961)
Music by György Ligeti
Performed by Southwest German Radio Orchestra (as the Southwest German Radio Orchestra)
Conductor Ernest Bour
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Greatest Movie of All Time
3 June 1999 | by (Boston) – See all my reviews

Instead of writing a paragraph, I'll give four good reasons why 2001 is the greatest cinema experience of all time:

1) It is a visual Odyssey that could only be told on the big screen. The special effects that won Kubrick his only Oscar are the most stunning effects before that age of Jurassic Park and T2. They allow Kubrick to give an accurate (or at least are the most accurate) depiction of space travel to date. The silence that fills the space scenes not only serves its purpose as accurate science, but also adds to the mood of the film (to be discussed in a later point with HAL). The fact that Kubrick shot the moon scenes before the Apollo landing is a gutsy yet fulfilling move. Many have said that upon its original release, it was a favorite "trip" movie. I can think of no other movie that has such amazing visuals for its time and even of all time (sorry Phantom Menace fans!)

2) Kubrick's directing style is terrific. As in all his films, Kubrick likes to use his camera as means to delve into the psychology of his characters and plots. His camera is not as mobile as other greats, such as Scorsese, but instead sits and watches the narrative unfold. Faces are the key element of a Kubrick film. Like classic movies, such as M and Touch of Evil, Kubrick focuses on the characters' faces to give the audience a psychological view-point. Even he uses extreme close-ups of HAL's glowing red "eye" to show the coldness and determination of the computerizd villain. I could go on, but in summation Kubrick is at the hieght of his style.

3) HAL 9000 is one of the most villainous characters in film history. I whole-heartedly agree with the late Gene Siskle's opinion of HAL 9000. Most of this film takes place in space. Through the use of silence and the darkness of space itself, a mood of isolation is created. Dave and his crewmen are isolated between earth and jupiter, with nowhere to escape. Combine this mood with the cold, calculated actions of HAL 9000 and you have the most fearful villain imaginable. I still, although having see this film several times, feel my chest tighten in a particular scene.

4) The controversial ending of 2001 always turns people away from this film. Instead of trying to give my opinion of the what it means and what my idea of 2001's meaning in general is, I'd like to discuss the fact that the ending serves to leave the movie open-ended. Kubrick has stated that he inteded to make 2001 open for discussion. He left its meaning in the hands of the viewer. By respecting the audience's intelligence, Kubrick allowed his movie to be the beginning, not the end, of a meaningful discussion on man's past, present, and future. The beauty of 2001 is that the ending need not mean anything deep, it can just be a purely plot driven explanation and the entire movie can be viewed as an entertaining journey through space. No other movie, save the great Citizen Kane, leaves itself open to discussion like 2001. It is truly meant to be a surreal journey that involves not only the eye but the mind. Instead of waiting in long lines for the Phantom Menace, rent a widescreen edition of 2001 and enjoy the greatest cinematic experience.


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