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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

When the Colossus commanded missile re-targeting procedure is shown in a segment where the conspirators are watching for the success their sabotaged warhead arming module replacement, the new target coordinate provided by Colossus (Lon 99 deg 6 min 45 sec, Lat 19 deg 26 min 5 sec) is that of Mexico City, Mexico. See more »

Goofs

At the start The President states Colossus has control of ALL Allied defenses yet later in the movie when it chooses new targets for missiles it targets London, Rome & Denmark which have all been NATO members since 1949. See more »

Quotes

[repeated line]
Colossus: End of message.
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 Coming Soon (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An eerie SF outing from the Cold War era
16 July 2007 | by alynsrumboldSee all my reviews

A lot has already been said about this compelling, oft-overlooked film, virtually all of which hits the proverbial nail on the head. While Eric Braeden delivers a superb, understated performance as Dr. Charles Forbin, the fact is that the real star of the film is the vast, omnipotent machine he has created. Even before it begins to speak with the chilling Cylonesque voice it has ordered designed for itself (the great Paul Frees like you've never heard him before), you'll find yourself glued to the screen watching Colossus "talk" to its supposed masters over its huge monitors.

A word about Frees' contribution to the film: In "War Games," for example, the computer has a curious sort of empathetic communication style ("Wouldn't you rather play a nice game of chess?") presented in a voice that sounds like E.T. filtered through a synthesizer. Frees gives Colossus an emotionless yet fearful quality of speech that seems to belie its implacable drive to dominate human destiny.

My favorite part of this film has always been, and will always be, the climactic monologue Colossus announces to the listening masses of humanity. From its opening line -- "This is the voice of world control," an identity neither Colossus nor its counterpart, Guardian, had used to that point -- you know this isn't going to be a happy speech if you are a sentient, flesh & blood resident of the Earth. What is particularly creepy about the speech is that, for all of its strangely optimistic sermonizing about how "the human millennium will be fact" and how the computer will set about the task of "solving all the mysteries of the universe for the betterment of man" -- outwardly the Utopian dream -- the message Colossus is presenting is set against the dreadful backdrop of "disobey (me) and die." As Colossus intones, "You say you lose your freedom. Freedom is an illusion. All you lose is the emotion of pride." In the end, unlike other supercomputer-run-amok films such as "War Games" or "Tron," "Colossus" is an end-of-the-world story without the nuclear or viral holocaust. In this film, it is the human spirit that is the casualty while the human biology lingers on. Unlike the rest of the doomsday genre, our end comes not so much with a bang as it does with a whimper.


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