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The Hellstrom Chronicle (1971)

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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 460 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 16 critic

A scientist explains how the savagery and efficiency of the insect world could result in their taking over the world.




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Title: The Hellstrom Chronicle (1971)

The Hellstrom Chronicle (1971) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


Cast overview:
Dr. Hellstrom


A scientist explains how the savagery and efficiency of the insect world could result in their taking over the world.

Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis


Shocking. Beautiful. Brilliant. Sensual. Deadly... and in the end only they will survive.


Documentary | Drama


G | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 June 1971 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Hellstrom Chronicle  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film was the inspiration for the 1973 novel Hellstrom's Hive by Frank Herbert. See more »


Dr. Hellstrom: Without the burden of intellect, emotion or individual identity, these creatures were given something we weren't: the knowledge that they must work together to create the elusive utopia - the perfect society.
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Referenced in The Matrix (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

Not since THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT have I been so disturbed by a movie.
12 March 2003 | by (Center of the Universe) – See all my reviews

"The earth was created not with the gentle caress of love, but with the brutal violence of rape."

This portentous statement opens THE HELLSTROM CHRONICLE, a stunning quasi-documentary which is, in its own way, one of the most frightening movies I've ever seen, with themes that are eerily prescient in today's world.

Winner of the 1971 Oscar for Best Documentary, this mostly non-fiction film

  • the dark side of MICROCOSMOS - recounts the history and nature of the
insect world, as well as the myriad ways insects are more equipped to outlive Man in the long run. Insects have a 200-million-year head start, don't have feelings, don't ponder their own existence, don't fight within their species, can adapt to their surroundings, live harmoniously with their environment, have been using "robots" and the airwaves long before we came to be, and aren't afraid to die. Nothing Man throws at them (like pesticides) can stop their reproduction; insects quickly develop immunities while Man chokes on its own weaponry while polluting its environment. And, it would take Man a million years to repopulate the world after nuclear fallout; insects could do it in three weeks.

This ominous storyline is framed in the film with Dr. Hellstrom, a fictional entomologist who narrates with an effectively brooding yet pragmatic tone that somehow comes off as dire but soothing. Some may feel that the human segments of the film distract from the force of the narrative. I, however, believe these breaks from the storyline give the viewer a breather, for the foreboding menace would be nearly unbearably intense otherwise. Also, there is one segment of the film that's obviously faked, but that's okay: it wouldn't have been prudent to film it realistically, and it nonetheless succeeds in making its point as is.

Similar to THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT in that what's waiting for us in nature is scarier than any boogeyman, THE HELLSTROM CHRONICLE raises questions about Man's arrogance - our fatal flaw which will be the reason for our ultimate downfall. While the film never uses the word "God," it speaks of a "Creator," and ponders the significance of the only species that believes in a higher power yet uses "intelligence" to disprove its existence. THE HELLSTROM CHRONICLE is edge-of-your-seat drama about the horror of war and our inevitable fight to the death with the insect world - a battle that we're sure to lose.


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