7.2/10
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97 user 39 critic

Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)

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.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Leonid Rostoff ...
Russian Chairman
...
...
Dr. Blake
Alex Rodine ...
Dr. Kuprin
...
Dr. Jefferson J. Johnson (as Martin Brooks)
...
Dolph Sweet ...
Missile Commander
...
Secretary of State
Lew Brown ...
Peterson
Sid McCoy ...
Secretary of Defense
Tom Basham ...
Thomas L. Harrison
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Storyline

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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This is the dawning of the Age of Colossus (where peace is compulsory... freedom is forbidden... and Man's greatest invention could be Man's greatest mistake). See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Thriller

Certificate:

M | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

10 July 1970 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Day the World Changed Hands  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The computer seen in the film was the payroll computer at the studio. See more »

Goofs

In an effort to prevent Colossus from launching America's ICBMs at other countries, Air Force personnel secretly replace the activating modules in the missiles' nuclear warheads with non-operative dummy modules. Later, when Colossus discovers a plan to overload him and thereby render him powerless, he detonates the warheads in two of the missiles. But detonation would have been impossible with the dummy modules installed. See more »

Quotes

Colossus: We can coexist, but only on my terms. You will say you lose your freedom, freedom is an illusion. All you lose is the emotion of pride. To be dominated by me is not as bad for human pride as to be dominated by others of your species.
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Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Stranded in Space (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

A great but often overlooked period piece
4 July 2003 | by 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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