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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)
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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 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
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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:

We built a super computer with a mind of its own and now we must fight it for the world! 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:

The Day the World Changed Hands 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

Universal later reused the footage of Colussus being activated as part of Cyborg: The Six Million Dollar Man. Before they begin operating on Steve Austin to attach his bionic limbs, the entire activation sequence from Colossus is used. See more »

Goofs

At 14:15 into the movie, Colossus displays its first message. The President turns to look at the small monitor, and the display reads "WARN HERE IS ANOTHER SYSTEM". On the big ceiling monitor however it reads "WARN THERE IS ANOTHER SYSTEM", the correct message. See more »

Quotes

Colossus: [to Dr. Charles Forbin while playing chess] Forbin, the system programming unit under the supervision of John F Fisher with the assistance of Jefferson J Johnson have attempted to overload my circuits. This was a deliberate and premeditated act. The penalty is the death of the men who organized this action. At this moment they are being executed... bishop to rook 3
[shots fired]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Early in the picture, when they are testing Colossus to see if they are still in control after it had issued an order for communication with Guardian -- They are waiting for a 30 minute time period to pass -- the computer should not at that time repeat the order as it had been acknowledged and ordered not to do so. Before the time was up, originally the following conversation took place: Blake: Colossus can not exceed its programming. It's impossible. The computer cannot physically change its guts. Forbin: Anything the human mind can conceive of is possible, Blake. Blake: Really, Charles? OK, how about a four-sided triangle? Forbin: A triangle in three dimensions would be four-sided. Cleo: It's called a pyramid. In all copies of this film since it was first released on video, the conversation does not take place. The scene just cuts to 30 minutes later with Blake saying "We're still boss". See more »

Connections

Featured in Night Gallery: The Caterpillar/Little Girl Lost (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

 
COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT (Joseph Sargent, 1970) ***
2 July 2006 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

A classic of science fiction and the paranoid political thrillers prevalent at the time: chilling in its implications and persuasively presented, the film makes for intelligent if demanding viewing. In hindsight, while it's much admired by connoisseurs of either genre (being a fan of both, I'd been longing to catch up with it for years!), the film deserves to have a more widespread reputation. Undoubtedly, this remains Joseph Sargent's best work; his cinematic career hasn't provided much else worthy of note, with the only film to come any close being the fine caper THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE, TWO, THREE (1974).

Its computer-run-amok theme echoes the Hal 9000 of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) and looks forward to DEMON SEED (1977)'s Proteus IV; what a fascinating if overwhelming triple-bill the films would make! Where production values are concerned – polished look (courtesy of d.p. Gene Polito, who later shot WESTWORLD [1973]), imaginative settings (by the veteran Alexander Golitzen), often disorienting editing (the expert work of Folmar Blangsted) and an appropriately weird score (by Michel Colombier) – the film truly can't be faulted, but it also benefits from a largely anonymous cast. The abrupt and unresolved ending, with Man refusing to give in to the undeniable superior intellect of his creation, is highly effective and certainly left the audience with sufficient food for thought – and even apprehension – for the future.

Needless to say, when this was announced for DVD release, I was ready to leap at the chance of finally being able to own and watch the film – but, as many of you must already know, my joy (and that of many another fan, I'm sure) was short-lived when it emerged that Universal had issued a Pan-and-Scan version (which I can only imagine now how this ruined its detailed widescreen compositions)!; thankfully, I was able to make amends via the miraculous format called DivX...


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