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The Formula (1980)

5.6
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 1,587 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 15 critic

A detective uncovers a formula that was devised by the Nazis in WW II to make gasoline from synthetic products, thereby eliminating the necessity for oil--and oil companies. A major oil ... See full summary »

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Title: The Formula (1980)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lt. Barney Caine LAPD
...
Adam Steiffel, Chairman Titan Oil
...
Lisa Spangler
...
Dr. Abraham Esau, Director Reich Energy
...
Arthur Clements
...
Kay Neeley
...
General Helmut Kladen / Frank Tedesco
John Van Dreelen ...
Hans Lehman, Prefect of Police Berlin
Robin Clarke ...
Major Tom Neeley
...
Tony
...
Geologist #1
Dieter Schidor ...
Assassin
Werner Kreindl ...
Schellenberg
...
Gestapo Captain
...
Franz Tauber, Swiss businessman
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Storyline

A detective uncovers a formula that was devised by the Nazis in WW II to make gasoline from synthetic products, thereby eliminating the necessity for oil--and oil companies. A major oil company finds out about it and tries to destroy the formula and anyone who knows about it. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From the best-selling mystery thriller that rips the truth from behind today's headlines See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

19 December 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La fórmula  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Reportedly, director John G. Avildsen distanced himself from the picture after it was completed. Apparently, Avildsen wanted to have his name removed from the credits as both editor and director. This request was unsuccessful and Avildsen's credits remained. Avildsen complained that after his final edit, writer-producer Steve Shagan allegedly re-edited the picture differently to Avildsen's final cut. See more »

Goofs

When Barney and John leave a room, close the door and enter the corridor, we can read the shadow of the text on the door window on the opposite wall, "453 PRECINCT COORDINATES". However, the text should be mirrored since the door is illuminated from the inside of the room. See more »

Quotes

Barney Caine: [Barney Caine to Adam Stieffel, Chairman, Titan Oil] What do you know about this nation? Don't you ever give a second thought to American citizens? You're the reason their money's worthless. You're the reason old people are eating out of garbage cans, and kids get killed in bullshit wars. You're not in the oil business; you're in the oil SHORTAGE business! You're an ivory-tower hoodlum-a common street killer. I wish to Christ there was some way I could nail ya'.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Formula for tedium
21 January 2007 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Pitched as 'the movie the oil companies don't want you to see' but instead proving to be the movie nobody wanted to see, The Formula is a classic example of how blockbuster novels so often turn into mundane films. It has a solid cast, a solid script, solid production values – everything, in fact, but a reason to watch it. It's one of those lethargic thrillers where cardboard characters constantly talk to each other about things that happened offscreen and which the film would have been far better showing us as George C. Scott's LA cop uncovers a conspiracy involving a Nazi formula for synthetic fuel that Marlon Brando's eccentric oilman wants kept under lock and key so he can artificially inflate the price of oil. The teaming of Oscar's two most famous refusniks sadly provides no sparks – indeed, there seemed to be more drama offscreen between director John G. Avildsen and writer/producer Steve Shagan over the re-editing of the film, resulting in a compromise cut that probably satisfied no-one (it's a genuine surprise to find them jovially sharing the audio commentary on Warners' new DVD). Not that it seems that anyone else was so passionate about the film: there's no shortage of class talent here (John Gielgud and Beatrice Straight also turn up), but it's clear that the paycheck is of more interest to them than the script and they're just slumming it. Not a terrible movie, just a rather flat, uneventful and predictable one.


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Totally Underrated..... concord_trimming
Strip Club Scene nygfan
Formula no secret SeldonRL
Technical first? tcliffton
Brando's teeth... kegan-3
If you liked 'The Formula', see '3 Days of the Condor'. tcliffton
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