In 1979 Clive Sinclair, British inventor of the pocket calculator, frustrated by the lack of home investment in his project,the electric car, also opposes former assistant Chris Curry's ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Chris Curry
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Hermann Hauser
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Steve Furber
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Roger Wilson
Colin Michael Carmichael ...
Jim Westwood
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Nigel Searle
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Valerie
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Cynthia
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Ann Sinclair
Anthony Smee ...
Norman Hewett
Michael Keating ...
Derek Holley
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Bank Manager
Jon Glover ...
John Radcliffe
...
Sinclair Journalist
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Storyline

In 1979 Clive Sinclair, British inventor of the pocket calculator, frustrated by the lack of home investment in his project,the electric car, also opposes former assistant Chris Curry's belief that he can successfully market a micro-chip for a home computer. A parting of the ways sees Curry, in partnership with the Austrian Hermann Hauser and using whizz kid Cambridge students, set up his own, rival firm to Sinclair Radionics, Acorn. Acorn beat Sinclair to a lucrative contract supplying the BBC with machines for a computer series. From here on it is a battle for supremacy to gain the upper hand in the domestic market. Written by don @ minifie-1

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8 October 2009 (UK)  »

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Trivia

In 2015 Sir Clive Sinclair has re-launched a modernized version of the ZX Spectrum called the Sinclair Spectrum Vega. The computer has fewer buttons than the original, but will run thousands of retro games. See more »

Goofs

After Clive Sinclair storms off in anger that he will only be remembered for "Jet Set f***ing Willy", Nigel Searle tells his colleague "My lad's on level 7". Jet Set Willy does not have levels - it takes place on a single game map. See more »

Quotes

Clive Sinclair: Games! Games! Everywhere I go games! This is what my lifetime of achievement has been reduced to! Clive Sinclair the man who brought you Jet Set fucking Willy!
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Connections

Featured in Grierson 2010: The British Documentary Awards (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Entertaining Brit-Centric Fantasy
18 June 2014 | by See all my reviews

Micro Men is an interesting look at this early British microcomputer industry, but the viewer must always keep in mind that these events occurred in Britain's isolated, self-important microcosm, and had virtually no relevance to the real microcomputer industry as a whole. As with all British-produced programs dealing with computer history, Micro Men is hilariously Brit-centric, to the point of being fantasy. This self-delusion can even be seen in the IMDb summary for Micro Men, which refers to "Clive Sinclair, British inventor of the pocket calculator". Not only did Sinclair not invent the pocket calculator, but he didn't even invent his *own* pocket calculator, which used an American-made Texas Instruments single-chip calculator, similar to the chips used in many early TI hand-held and desktop calculators. Sinclair literally only invented the box that held the TI chip. This of course will set the tone for Britain's entire microcomputer industry -- inferior repackaging of technology from the United States and claiming it as their own, and then further exacerbating the delusion by making false claims of being 'first', 'best', 'most important', etc. Britain has an extensive history of grotesquely overstating their relevance in the computer industry, which stretches all the way back to World War II, and Micro Men is no exception to this behavior.

After watching Micro Men, you're left with the utterly erroneous impression that Sinclair and Acorn were on the verge of dominating the home computer industry, yet somehow let it slip through their fingers. Of course, the movie never really tells you *what* they did wrong, as that would require a direct confrontation of the fact that they were five years late to the party, and showed up with hardware which was vastly inferior to what was being produced in the United States and other countries. As England slowly escaped the early 1980s economic recession, Sinclair's $99 doorstops became progressively less appealing. Meanwhile, the computer and video game crash in the United States dragged American offerings down into the price range of Acorn's products, stripping Acorn of their only significant advantage.

When Sinclair and Acorn attempted to escape the economically protective confines of Great Britain, they were met with much-deserved scorn and ridicule. Quite simply, neither company ever had a chance of survival in an environment of global competition.


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