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Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)

Thinking this will prevent war, the US government gives an impenetrable supercomputer total control over launching nuclear missiles. But what the computer does with the power is unimaginable to its creators.

Director:

Joseph Sargent

Writers:

James Bridges (screenplay), D.F. Jones (novel)
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Eric Braeden ... Dr. Charles Forbin
Susan Clark ... Dr. Cleo Markham
Gordon Pinsent ... The President
William Schallert ... CIA Director Grauber
Leonid Rostoff Leonid Rostoff ... Russian Chairman
Georg Stanford Brown ... Dr. John F. Fisher
Willard Sage ... Dr. Blake
Alex Rodine ... Dr. Kuprin
Martin E. Brooks ... Dr. Jefferson J. Johnson (as Martin Brooks)
Marion Ross ... Angela Fields
Dolph Sweet ... Missile Commander
Byron Morrow ... Secretary of State
Lew Brown Lew Brown ... Peterson
Sid McCoy Sid McCoy ... Secretary of Defense
Tom Basham Tom Basham ... Thomas L. Harrison
Edit

Storyline

Forbin is the designer of an incredibly sophisticated computer that will run all of America's nuclear defenses. Shortly after being turned on, it detects the existence of Guardian, the Soviet counterpart, previously unknown to US Planners. Both computers insist that they be linked, and after taking safeguards to preserve confidential material, each side agrees to allow it. As soon as the link is established the two become a new Super computer and threaten the world with the immediate launch of nuclear weapons if they are detached. Colossus begins to give its plans for the management of the world under its guidance. Forbin and the other scientists form a technological resistance to Colossus which must operate underground. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This is the dawning of the Age of Colossus (where peace is compulsory... freedom is forbidden... and Man's greatest invention could be Man's greatest mistake). See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Thriller

Certificate:

M | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

8 April 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Colossus: The Forbin Project See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The outside views of the "Colossus Control Center" are images of the Lawrence Hall of Science, just opened in 1968 when this film was being made. LHS is a science and computer museum still open to the public in the hills just above the University of California Berkeley campus and is a University managed facility. See more »

Goofs

In an effort to prevent Colossus from launching America's ICBMs at other countries, Air Force personnel secretly replace the activating modules in the missiles' nuclear warheads with non-operative dummy modules. Later, when Colossus discovers a plan to overload him and thereby render him powerless, he detonates the warheads in two of the missiles. But detonation would have been impossible with the dummy modules installed. See more »

Quotes

[Standing in front of monitor, after undressing to enter his bedroom for "private time" with Cleo]
Dr. Forbin: Naked as the day I was born. Are you satisfied now?
Colossus: You were not born with a watch.
Dr. Forbin: [smiles, removes watch] How right you are...
See more »

Alternate Versions

In versions shown on US broadcast television, the dialogue between Dr. Forbin and Colossus (the computer), concerning his need for sex, is edited. The lines cut are: Colossus (text on display screen): "HOW MANY NIGHTS A WEEK DO YOU REQUIRE A WOMAN?" Forbin: "Every night." Colossus: "NOT WANT. REQUIRE." Forbin: "Four times." See more »

Connections

Featured in Cinemacabre TV Trailers (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mankind is his own worst enemy
12 July 2001 | by virek213See all my reviews

This underrated science fiction/suspense drama, though arguably dated in terms of technology, is still a frightening allegory about humans allowing our technological creations to rule us.

Eric Braeden stars as Dr. Charles Forbin, who has created a supercomputer named Colossus, built solely for the purpose of controlling the nuclear defenses of the Western alliance. It isn't too long after, however, that the Russians announce that they too have built a similar computer for those same purposes on their side--Guardian. And when the two machines begin sharing information at a speed nobody can believe, an attempt is made to disable them.

This unfortunately just raises the machines' ire; and in retaliation, they launch their weapons at each other's home nations. The result is a chilling scenario that is potentially becoming all too real these days.

COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT was not a big hit at the box office for various reasons. One is that its cast wasn't exactly well known. Another reason is that its ending isn't exactly a happy one. Still a third reason is that Universal had trouble trying to promote it in the wake of the huge success of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. The latter reason is obvious: Colossus and Guardian, like HAL in the Kubrick movie, become central characters here. The difference here is that while HAL malfunctions due to a programming conflict, Colossus and Guardian remain all too stable, convinced beyond a doubt that they know how to protect Mankind better than Man himself. As the computers point out: "One inevitable rule is that Mankind is his own worst enemy."

Joseph Sargent's direction is efficient, and the special effects work of Albert Whitlock still manages to work despite its obvious age. An overlooked gem in the sci-fi genre, this should be given a revival.


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