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The Andromeda Strain (1971)

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



(novel), (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Major Manchek
Kermit Murdock ...
Dr. Robertson
Richard O'Brien ...
General Sparks
Mark Jenkins ...
Lt. Shawn (Piedmont team)
Peter Helm ...
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 (Arthur Hill) 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 (David Wayne, Kate Reid, and James Olson, respectively)- 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! See more »


Sci-Fi | Thriller


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 March 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Andromeda - Tödlicher Staub aus dem All  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$6,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$12,376,563, 31 December 1971
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (video)

Sound Mix:

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



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Four actors would later go on to star in the hit tv series Little House On The Prairie. Arthur Hill would guest star as Lansford Ingalls (Charles Ingalls father). James Olson would guest star as a charismatic faith healer and Ramon Bieri (Major Manchek) appeared in the first ever episode as a ruthless local businessman. Richard Bull who had a smaller role as "Air Force Major" would take on the regular role of Nels Olsen, the owner of the Mercantile and star in the show for its entire nine-year run. See more »


Dr. Ruth Leavitt pronounces "nuclear" as "nucular" which is a common mistake, but would not be expected from a noted person of science. See more »


Dr. Jeremy Stone: Stick to established procedures.
Dr. Ruth Leavitt: Establishment gonna fall down and go boom.
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 »


Referenced in The Walking Dead: Wildfire (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Love this film
28 September 2004 | by See all my reviews

I really love this film, and its funny because most people Complain about its slow pace, but I believe that this is one of the reasons that the film is so good, and pace does build up towards the end.

I understand that this film isn't for everybody, but I am a Michael Crichton fan, and I enjoy the way he introduces his sci-fi characters into his novels.

I agree with other user comments that this film was way before its time, and disagree with others who don't seem to be able to differentiate between the music and the sounds in the film.

The film has so many qualities, and is a must see for any sci-fi fan.


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