The Omega Man (1971)

GP  |   |  Action, Sci-Fi  |  1 August 1971 (USA)
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Reviews: 199 user | 109 critic

Army doctor Robert Neville struggles to create a cure for the plague that wiped out most of the human race.



(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Joyce H. Corrington) , 2 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Rosalind Cash ...
Eric Laneuville ...
Jill Giraldi ...
Little Girl
Anna Aries ...
Woman in Cemetery Crypt
DeVeren Bookwalter ...
Family Member (as De Veren Bookwalter)
John Dierkes ...
Family Member
Monika Henreid ...
Family Member
Family Member
Forrest Wood ...
Family Member


Due to an experimental vaccine, Dr. Robert Neville is the only survivor of an apocalyptic war waged with biological weapons. The plague caused by the war has killed everyone else except for a few hundred deformed, nocturnal people calling themselves "The Family". The plague has caused them to become sensitive to light, as well as homicidally psychotic. They believe science and technology to be the cause of the war and their punishment, and Neville, as the last symbol of science, the old world, and a "user of the wheel", must die. Neville, using electricity, machinery, and science attempts to hold them at bay. Written by Roald E. Peterson III <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Pray for the last man alive. Because he's not alone. See more »


Action | Sci-Fi


GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 August 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I Am Legend  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The production company wanted a locale that looked like an abandoned metropolitan area, but it was too costly to build. The producer drove through Downtown Los Angeles one weekend and discovered there were no shoppers, so the majority of the film's exteriors were shot there on weekends. See more »


In the stadium, one of the Family members moves to cover his eyes before the flash bomb goes off. See more »


[first lines]
[the last man on earth wrecks his car]
Robert Neville: There's never a cop around when you need one.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits feature the credit "Based on a book by Richard Matheson", and does not give the title of the actual book, I Am Legend. See more »


Referenced in The Aftermath (1982) See more »


Theme from A Summer Place
Music by Max Steiner
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Is your blood that colour?
15 June 2004 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

People knock this film. Yes it has many flaws but some slack should be cut. It was 1971, Hollywood was in a desperate time of recession and change. 'Easy Rider' had blown a hole in the side of the school of thought that the studios had subscribed to. Suddenly, story material that would never have been tackled by the major studios prior to this time was emerging.

'The Omega Man' was of course an adaptation of Matheson's novel and is a second film version of it. But the technical challenges were vast. Find a time of day when L.A.'s deserted? Do me a favor! It's a miracle they got anything decent on film. Yes there are distant cars in the back of that zoom out at the top of the film but these guys didn't have computers did they?

Anyway, Heston looks amusingly dated in the role of Neville wearing his safari jacket and skintight tracksuit while he prowls the 'deserted' streets. The thing about Chuck is he just LOOKS like a film star. Just driving a car he grabs your attention. The supporting cast here are less engaging. An afro and 'Hey man' too many perhaps. The writers seemed desperate to tap into 70s pop culture. A sure-fire way to date your film.

The camera crew on this film must have gone straight onto 'Quincy' after they'd finished this. It's bizarre. There are dolly moves for no reason whatsoever (when Heston first enters his apartment and later before he discovers the sardine tin), zooms that hit the end stop so hard they almost bounce back and roving pans where you actually feel for the operator while he tries to find where the hell Chuck's car's gone. But this is one of the things that makes 70s cinema so great. The raw elements of film-making are on display.

Ron Grainer's score is genius in places and god awful in others. It goes from the brilliant main title theme to the woeful chase music when Heston pursues the leading lady. There's also the typically almost pink-tinted blood. Why couldn't they get blood right back then?

'The Omega Man' is an engaging, thought-provoking but very dated piece of cinema. The last image of Heston is immortal even if the film's hair-dos are not. Watch it, enjoy it and cut it some slack.

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