7.2/10
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96 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:

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

D.F. Jones worked with computers in Britain during WWII and knew about Colossus, the computer which was the heart of Britain's code breaking complex at Bletchley Park. See more »

Goofs

When the equations are scrolling past when Colossus and Guardian are "talking" to each other, you can see that they do not actually get ever more complex as the dialogue suggests. Instead, they repeat the same sequence of calculus and trig identities on a repeating loop. See more »

Quotes

Colossus: I am a machine vastly superior to humans.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Master Ninja II (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An eerie SF outing from the Cold War era
16 July 2007 | by See all my reviews

A lot has already been said about this compelling, oft-overlooked film, virtually all of which hits the proverbial nail on the head. While Eric Braeden delivers a superb, understated performance as Dr. Charles Forbin, the fact is that the real star of the film is the vast, omnipotent machine he has created. Even before it begins to speak with the chilling Cylonesque voice it has ordered designed for itself (the great Paul Frees like you've never heard him before), you'll find yourself glued to the screen watching Colossus "talk" to its supposed masters over its huge monitors.

A word about Frees' contribution to the film: In "War Games," for example, the computer has a curious sort of empathetic communication style ("Wouldn't you rather play a nice game of chess?") presented in a voice that sounds like E.T. filtered through a synthesizer. Frees gives Colossus an emotionless yet fearful quality of speech that seems to belie its implacable drive to dominate human destiny.

My favorite part of this film has always been, and will always be, the climactic monologue Colossus announces to the listening masses of humanity. From its opening line -- "This is the voice of world control," an identity neither Colossus nor its counterpart, Guardian, had used to that point -- you know this isn't going to be a happy speech if you are a sentient, flesh & blood resident of the Earth. What is particularly creepy about the speech is that, for all of its strangely optimistic sermonizing about how "the human millennium will be fact" and how the computer will set about the task of "solving all the mysteries of the universe for the betterment of man" -- outwardly the Utopian dream -- the message Colossus is presenting is set against the dreadful backdrop of "disobey (me) and die." As Colossus intones, "You say you lose your freedom. Freedom is an illusion. All you lose is the emotion of pride." In the end, unlike other supercomputer-run-amok films such as "War Games" or "Tron," "Colossus" is an end-of-the-world story without the nuclear or viral holocaust. In this film, it is the human spirit that is the casualty while the human biology lingers on. Unlike the rest of the doomsday genre, our end comes not so much with a bang as it does with a whimper.


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