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The Andromeda Strain (1971)

G  |   |  Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  12 March 1971 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 24,288 users  
Reviews: 170 user | 53 critic

A group of scientists investigates a deadly new alien virus before it can spread.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: The Andromeda Strain (1971)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Arthur Hill ...
George Mitchell ...
Ramon Bieri ...
Major Manchek
Kermit Murdock ...
Dr. Robertson
Richard O'Brien ...
Peter Hobbs ...
General Sparks
Senator from Vermont
Mark Jenkins ...
Lt. Shawn (Piedmont team)
Peter Helm ...
Sgt. Crane (Piedmont team)
Joe Di Reda ...
Wildfire Computer Sgt. Burk (as Joe DiReda)
Carl Reindel ...
Lt. Comroe


When virtually all of the residents of Piedmont, New Mexico, are found dead after the return to Earth of a space satellite, the head of the US Air Force's Project Scoop declares an emergency. Many years prior to this incident, a group of eminent scientists led by Dr. Jeremy Stone advocated for the construction of a secure laboratory facility that would serve as a base in the event an alien biological life form was returned to Earth from a space mission. Stone and his team - Drs. Dutton, Leavitt and Hall - go to the facility, known as Wildfire, and try to first isolate the life form while determining why two people from Piedmont (an old wino and a six-month-old baby) survived. The scientists methodically study the alien life form unaware that it has already mutated and presents a far greater danger in the lab, which is equipped with a nuclear self-destruct device should it manage to escape. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The picture runs 130 minutes!... The story covers 96 of the most critical hours in man's history!... The suspense will last through your lifetime!


Sci-Fi | Thriller


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 March 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Andromeda - Tödlicher Staub aus dem All  »

Box Office


$6,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (video)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints) (Westrex Recording System)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The section of the film where the two scientists are in the town of Piedmont in their suits, is very similar to the opening of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Finny Foot Affair (1964). They were even searching for some kind of biohazard material, too, which had been taken to a local doctor, but in a small town in Scotland, where they also found everyone dead. In the "UNCLE" episode, the biohazard caused rapid aging, which resulted in death. See more »


At the jet fighter crash site, a helicopter lands and one of its passengers vigorously slams two of its doors shut. This would never happen with experienced passengers. A helicopter's doors are light, fragile, and expensive. Thus one of the first rules of helicopter travel is to never slam the doors. See more »


Allison Stone: You tell the senator it's his daughter.
Senator (Allison's father): Allison?
Allison Stone: Dad, there's something very peculiar has... has just happened, even for Jeremy. A few minutes ago...
[call is interrupted by beeping]
Allison Stone: Dad, are you there? What's going on?
Women's voice on phone: This communication is being monitored. The connection has been broken for reasons of national security. You will be briefed at the appropriate time. Thank you for your cooperation, Mrs. Stone.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits read: "ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This film concerns the four-day history of a major American scientific crisis. We received the generous help of many people attached to Project Scoop at Vandenberg Air Force Base and the Wildfire Laboratory in Flatrock, Nevada. They encouraged us to tell the story accurately and in detail." "The documents presented here are soon to be made public. They do not in any way jeopardize the national security." See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

19 May 2000 | by (Canberra, Australia) – See all my reviews

Easily - EASILY - the best film Michael Crichton has had anything to do with. (That is, of the ones I've seen. For the record, the rest are: `Westworld', `The First Great Train Robbery', `Disclosure', `Jurassic Park', `Twister', and `Congo', although I've never made it to the end of `Congo'.) Does this say something about Crichton's career, or the state of film-making, or neither? Can't say.

Whatever - this is pretty darned good science fiction. Sure, it has the vices we've come to expect: scientists with a tendency to act like the crew of the Enterprise, and central protagonists who begin the film by swimming through treacle and end it by leaping tall buildings in a single bound. As for the former problem, well, it's not so bad here as it usually is. As for the latter, well, it's easy to forgive, because we're put through a very tense ride before our heroes crawl out of the treacle - even afterwards. They don't make films this tense these days. Or at least, this particular film would have been less tense if it had been made these days. I don't think a modern director would have resisted the temptation to goof off at some point.

THAT'S part of the charm. The film's idea of how scientists behave is rather a silly one, but at least the scientists aren't forced to act GOOFY in order to show that scientists are really human, after all - as if there was any need to show this. And I'll say this: whatever the scientists were like, the SCIENCE is much more intelligent than a modern public has any right to expect. So far as I could tell (not that I'm an expert in anything) it only stretches into fantasy when it needs to. Wise gives us information, and plenty of it - not techno-babble.

I've heard people snicker at the thirty-year-old look of the film, but I think they're nuts. The art direction is wonderful. In a way it does the same thing as the original Star Trek: it creates a coherent, claustrophobic world by force of sheer simplicity. But to see `The Andromeda Strain' is to see it done WELL.

52 of 77 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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why did the woman scientist lie about the no growth? ksinelli
More similar films please! rpb140990
Universal billed it as a family film! mike_cable
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Does a Wildfire facility exist? mickeyone
What?! Leavitt? A WOMAN? ahhelga
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