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Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)

M  |   |  Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  10 July 1970 (West Germany)
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Thinking this will prevent war, the US government gives an impenetrable supercomputer total control over launching nuclear missiles. But what the computer does with the power is unimaginable to its creators.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Cleo Markham
The President
CIA Director Grauber
Leonid Rostoff ...
Russian Chairman
Dr. John F. Fisher
Willard Sage ...
Dr. Blake
Alex Rodine ...
Dr. Kuprin
Dr. Jefferson J. Johnson (as Martin Brooks)
Angela Fields
Dolph Sweet ...
Missile Commander
Byron Morrow ...
Secretary of State
Lew Brown ...
Sid McCoy ...
Secretary of Defense
Tom Basham ...
Thomas L. Harrison


Forbin is the designer of an incredibly sophisticated computer that will run all of America's nuclear defenses. Shortly after being turned on, it detects the existence of Guardian, the Soviet counterpart, previously unknown to US Planners. Both computers insist that they be linked, and after taking safeguards to preserve confidential material, each side agrees to allow it. As soon as the link is established the two become a new Super computer and threaten the world with the immediate launch of nuclear weapons if they are detached. Colossus begins to give its plans for the management of the world under its guidance. Forbin and the other scientists form a technological resistance to Colossus which must operate underground. Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


We built a super computer with a mind of its own and now we must fight it for the world! See more »


Sci-Fi | Thriller


M | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

10 July 1970 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Day the World Changed Hands  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The many prominent blue and gray "consoles" (the ones with a rotary knob on the right side) for Colossus are cannibalized console panels from several IBM 1620 computers remounted on prop "computers". See more »


At the start The President states Colossus has control of ALL Allied defenses yet later in the movie when it chooses new targets for missiles it targets London, Rome & Denmark which have all been NATO members since 1948. See more »


Colossus: How many nights a week do you require sex?
Dr. Forbin: Every night.
Colossus: Not want. Require...
Dr. Forbin: [looks sheepish] Four times.
See more »


Referenced in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

A great but often overlooked period piece
4 July 2003 | by (Lowell, MA) – See all my reviews

"Colossus: The Forbin Project" integrates two familiar themes--a Cold War "Doomsday" scenario, and computers that run amok--to produce a truly engrossing thriller.

In a top-secret Pentagon project, American computer scientist Dr. Charles Forbin builds a great supercomputer, "Colossus," to control America's entire nuclear forces automatically. The Soviets soon follow with their own supercomputer, "Guardian," to control their own forces.

"Colossus" then stuns Forbin by issuing a "request" to set up communication with "Guardian," perhaps to learn more about it. And that's when Dr. Forbin makes his fatal mistake. His scientific curiosity and love for his "child" overwhelms him too, and he gets the President to approve the communication.

Colossus and Guardian begin communicating, soon exchanging data in a new language of their own devising that no human being can understand.

Fearing what may be happening, the U.S. and U.S.S.R. attempt to break the communication link. But Colossus and Guardian react by launching nuclear missiles at various targets to force the humans to keep the link open--and to do whatever else they command. It becomes clear that the two computers are now conspiring with each other--against the rest of humanity.

The rest of the movie is a fascinating battle of wits between the human designers of the machines, who must now try to find a way to defeat machines they had just spent ten years making invincible, and the Colossus-Guardian computers with their own rapidly developing plans for the future of humankind.

The moral of this movie makes an interesting contrast with the moral of "Forbidden Planet." "Forbidden Planet" showed that no matter how advanced our civilization gets technologically, we can't escape the "monsters" buried deeply in the baser instincts of our subconscious. "Colossus" showed that we can't escape hubris or "Murphy's Law" either.

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Recent Posts
Amusingly outdated robert3750-92-607013
Wishing for Colossus and Andromeda Strain on BluRay jorget22
Will Smith as Dr. Forbin? tfc
Wide Screen? jorget22
Remove The Story Ending larryman
Someone should remake this jpje84
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