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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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598 ( 92)
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:
...
...
...
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 ...
...
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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:

Still The Ultimate Trip. [2001 re-release] 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

Although the film leaves it mysterious, early script drafts made clear that HAL's breakdown is triggered by authorities on Earth who order him to withhold information from the astronauts about the purpose of the mission (this is also explained in 2010 (1984)). Frederick Ordway, Stanley Kubrick's science advisor and technical consultant, stated that in an earlier script Poole tells HAL there is "... something about this mission that we weren't told. Something the rest of the crew knows and that you know. We would like to know whether this is true", to which HAL responds: "I'm sorry, Frank, but I don't think I can answer that question without knowing everything that all of you know." HAL then falsely predicts a failure of the hardware maintaining radio contact with Earth (the source of HAL's difficult orders) during the broadcast of Frank Poole's birthday greetings from his parents.

The final script removed this explanation, but it is hinted at when HAL asks David Bowman if Bowman is bothered by the "oddities" and "tight security" surrounding the mission. After Bowman concludes that HAL is dutifully drawing up the "crew psychology report", the computer makes his false prediction of hardware failure. Another hint occurs at the moment of HAL's deactivation when a video reveals the purpose of the mission.

In an interview with Joseph Gelmis in 1969, Kubrick stated that HAL "had an acute emotional crisis because he could not accept evidence of his own fallibility". See more »

Goofs

When David Bowman re-enters Discovery he uses the right "hand" of the pod to rotate the manual lift control for the pod bay door. While it it possible for this to work with the pod's thrusters compensating for the rotational torque, it would be more efficient if there were a left "handhold" to keep the pod from rotating around the control, instead of spinning the pod around. See more »

Quotes

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

Crazy Credits

"Thus Spake Zarathustra" is the only musical piece in the film whose conductor and orchestra are not mentioned in the closing credits. For all other pieces, the orchestra which plays it, and the conductor who leads it, are given screen credit. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Royale (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Lux Aeterna
(1966)
Music by György Ligeti
Performed by Stuttgart Schola Cantorum (as the Stuttgart Schola Cantorum)
Conductor Clytus Gottwald
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Tribute to one of the top 5 filmmakers of our time...
7 March 1999 | by (Philadelphia, PA) – See all my reviews

I write this review just after hearing of Stanley Kubrick's death. It's a great loss, and I write about 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, because I feel it is the consummate Kubrick film, the one he will be most remembered for. It is a picture like no other, not only revolutionizing science fiction, but changing the way films are conceptualized. It was probably America's first 'art' film and has inspired the likes of George Lucas and countless other writers and directors.

Aside from its visual greatness, the reason the film spawns so much discussion and analysis is because so many people have so many different interpretations of it. Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, his co-writer, had a vision, but we have never really found out what was going through their minds. Of course, the skinny on its 'message' is how technology of the future will take over humanity and decide the course of our lives unless we are careful. 2001's ending is one of hope, a version of our rebirth through the star-child's flight back to earth. It is meaningless to many, but discerning filmgoers will understand.

Although 2001 does not have the wicked, dark humor of DR. STRANGELOVE or CLOCKWORK ORANGE, or contain strong, eccentric characters that filled his earlier works like PATHS OF GLORY or SPARTACUS, I still feel he would've liked to be remembered most for this. If anything, HAL will be his most memorable character, dangerous, murderous, and artificial. It was a half-decade in the making at a time when Hollywood was still churning out dull musicals and just waking up to the New Wave of French and Italian cinema. Kubrick was a maverick director who made great films on his own terms, his own time, and for everyone else to marvel at. He will be missed.


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