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Short Circuit (1986)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Family, Sci-Fi  |  9 May 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 40,238 users  
Reviews: 86 user | 34 critic

Number 5 of a group of experimental robots in a lab is electrocuted, suddenly becomes intelligent, and escapes.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim Blaney ...
Number 5 (voice)
Marvin J. McIntyre ...
John Garber ...
Penny Santon ...
Mrs. Cepeda
Vernon Weddle ...
General Washburne
Senator Mills
Tom Lawrence ...
Howard Marner's Aide
Fred Slyter ...
Billy Ray Sharkey ...


Number 5, one of a group of experimental military robots, undergoes a sudden transformation after being struck by lightning. He develops self-awareness, consciousness, and a fear of the reprogramming that awaits him back at the factory. With the help of a young woman, Number 5 tries to evade capture and convince his creator that he has truly become alive. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Life is not a malfunction. See more »


Comedy | Family | Sci-Fi


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

9 May 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cortocircuito  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$40,697,761 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


There was a script for a possible third Short Circuit movie written in 1989 and rewritten in 1990, but it was found to be unsatisfactory by the producers, and the project was subsequently scrapped. According to Variety magazine in April of 2008, Dimension Films had bought the rights to make a third Short Circuit movie, in which the plot would involve a boy from a broken family meeting and befriending Number 5. It remains unclear however if this movie will be a sequel to the first two movies, or a remake of this movie. See more »


During the chase scenes with Number 5 driving through the streets, the weather changes from sunny and clear to overcast between the shots. See more »


Number 5: Benjamin Jabituya, delete.
Benjamin Jabituya: No, wait! Rethink yourself!
Number 5: Exit. Depart. Leave.
Benjamin Jabituya: Eat my dust, Newton Crosby. Let us break wind.
Number 5: Newton Crosby, no run, no talk, drive.
[Crosby stalls]
Number 5: Today, Crosby! Today!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are played out over a montage of scenes from the movie, including a pair of scenes that failed to make the final cut. One involves an encounter between Number 5 and a toy robot, the other involves a scene in a scrap yard where a scrapped car that Number 5 is currently sitting in is crushed. See more »


Referenced in Psych: Santabarbaratown 2 (2013) See more »


Who's Johnny
("Short Circuit" Theme)
Written by Péter Wolf (as Peter) and Ina Wolf
Performed by El DeBarge
Courtesy of Motown Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

25 July 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I'm sorry, I can't see why this film has been given such a low rating. This film is wonderfully life-affirming through the character of robot Jonny 5 (the scene where he realises what it means to be alive through crushing a grass hopper is beautifully portrayed), Ally Sheedy brings a bucket load of positive energy to the character of the naive but loving Stephanie, and to top it all there is a subtle but powerful comment on American militarism. There is a real emphasis on quality screen writing here which only comes through on a small ratio of films. The characters could easily have become 2 dimensional stereotypes, but instead given some interesting dialogue and motives (science, military etc). Yes it is cheesy, and I think many people label it as a cheap and tacky 80's movie, but having watched it again recently I think history may well judge it a minor classic.

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Message Boards

Recent Posts
Favourite Johnny 5 quote overwatch17
500 things learned from watching short circuit. Nickrj
Johnny 5...or Wall-E!!?? sampurdon
Where was the 5th Robot? mamaduck71
Who cried at the ending of this movie?? c_rese19
Johnny 5 = Jesus? NN-dimethyltryptamine
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