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THX 1138 (1971)

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Set in the 25th century, the story centers around a man and a woman who rebel against their rigidly controlled society.

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(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
THX
...
SEN
...
SRT
Maggie McOmie ...
LUH
...
PTO
...
TWA
...
NCH
John Pearce ...
DWY
Irene Cagen ...
IMM (as Irene Forrest)
Gary Alan Marsh ...
CAM
John Seaton ...
OUE
Eugene I. Stillman ...
JOT
Jack Walsh ...
TRG (as Raymond J. Walsh)
Mark Lawhead ...
...
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Storyline

In an undefined future, a dystopian underground society is oriented to production and consumption in the malls. The population is controlled by drugs and people do not feel affection or sympathy for others. Sexual intercourse is absolutely forbidden and roommates are chosen by a computer. Faceless androids are responsible for the surveillance of the behavior of the dwellers and people pray in Unichapels for their god OMM 0910 that responds through recorded electronic messages. The worker THX 1138 handles radioactive materials in a factory and lives with his roommate LUH 3417. When she decides to stop using drugs, she becomes lucid and replaces the drugs of her partner for harmless pills. THX becomes emotional again and falls in love with LUH. He plans to escape with LUH to the superstructure, where they expect to live in freedom. But when SEN 5241 manipulates the computer to live with THX, he reports a complaint to the authorities and SEN is arrested. When THX commits a mistake in his... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Visit the future where love is the ultimate crime. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 March 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

THX-1138  »

Box Office

Budget:

$777,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut) | (1971 Studio Theatrical Cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The seemingly endless Control Room where the android police try to corner THX and SRT, who find out LUH has been consumed for organ reclamation, was actually the circuit switch room of the San Francisco location of the Pacific Bell Telephone Company. PacBell allowed George Lucas to shoot the film there because the entire room and the hardware found there were about to be dismantled as the phone company was switching to touchtone phone technology. See more »

Goofs

When THX is shouldered, naked, by the police in prison, we can see his short shorts tan line on his leg - pretty impossible for people in an underground city. (Unless, of course, there are solariums/tanning salons in the city.) See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Male voice (medicine cabinet): What's wrong?
THX 1138: Nothing. Nothing really. I just feel that I need something stronger.
Male voice (medicine cabinet): If you have a problem, don't hesitate to ask for assistance.
THX 1138: Yes, thank you, I'll be alright.
Male voice (medicine cabinet): Call 3485...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Credits roll down instead of up. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Elevator Music
(uncredited)
from the Miracle in the Rain (1956) score
Composed by Franz Waxman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Outstanding dystopian drama
3 November 2004 | by (London, UK) – See all my reviews

I had to check the DVD case twice - made in 1970. The only thing that vaguely suggests the period in which the film was made are the blaxploitation-style TV/hologram shows, and I'm stretching for that one. Lucas' (and Ford Coppola's) realisation of this uniform future society is immaculately researched and presented in costume, lighting and shooting and - crucially - in content. The genius of this film is that a semblance of individual autonomy is maintained, from hideous confessional substitutes to the extraordinary, ambiguous and thoroughly depressing end. There's also humour and realism aplenty inamongst the surrealism of this futuristic vision. [There's also additional CGI towards the end, but I'll overlook this error of judgment]

A fine performance from Robert Duvall as the titular number is complemented by both Donald Pleasance (a less self-aware human compared to Duvall: heartbreaking) the upbeat Don Pedro Colley. Maggie McOmie's Luh manages to be breathtakingly beautiful in a sort of Midnight Express style haircut and uniform nurses fatigues and her requited love for Duvall sets up a long bitter fall after their separation.

If Ford Coppola saw technical competence and imagination in Lucas' student short, then he deserves recognition for assisting to turn this into such a convincing feature. I was expecting an esoteric exercise in technical experimentation and loopy sci-fi postualtion and got my existential insides kicked out instead. 8.5/10


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