6.6/10
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218 user 107 critic

The Omega Man (1971)

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

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Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Joyce H. Corrington) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Richie
...
Jill Giraldi ...
Anna Aries ...
Woman in Cemetery Crypt
...
Tommy
...
Family Member (as De Veren Bookwalter)
...
Monika Henreid ...
Family Member
...
Family Member
Forrest Wood ...
Family Member
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Storyline

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 <slz13@cc.usu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 August 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I Am Legend  »

Box Office

Gross:

$8,720,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Neville's primary weapon during the film is a Smith & Wesson M76 submachine gun, sometimes fitted with a flashlight. During the first night attack by the Family, Neville uses a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) with an infrared scope. See more »

Goofs

In the film's very first shot, Neville drives the red convertible down the street & turns right. If you watch carefully through the credits (after he fires on the Family member), you will see that he turns right again at this exact same route/street corner twice more from different camera angles, for a total of three turns. You can triangulate the shots by noting surrounding parked cars (specifically small pickup RVs) and the streets behind the car as he drives. Neville is driving in circles or continuity error. See more »

Quotes

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

Crazy Credits

There is a 2-minute cold open with no logos or credits. The Warner Bros. logo comes on at the two-minute mark, followed by the opening credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Strange Brew (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Coming Into Los Angeles
(uncredited)
Written by Arlo Guthrie
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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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