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THX 1138 (1971)

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In the twenty-fifth century, a time when people have designations instead of names, a man, THX 1138, and a woman, LUH 3417, rebel against their rigidly controlled society.

Director:

George Lucas

Writers:

George Lucas (story by), George Lucas (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
3,500 ( 393)
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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A couple of high school grads spend one final night cruising the strip with their buddies before they go off to college.

Director: George Lucas
Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Duvall ... THX
Donald Pleasence ... SEN
Don Pedro Colley ... SRT
Maggie McOmie ... LUH
Ian Wolfe ... PTO
Marshall Efron ... TWA
Sid Haig ... NCH
John Pearce John Pearce ... DWY
Irene Cagen Irene Cagen ... IMM (as Irene Forrest)
Gary Alan Marsh Gary Alan Marsh ... CAM
John Seaton John Seaton ... OUE
Eugene I. Stillman Eugene I. Stillman ... JOT
Jack Walsh Jack Walsh ... TRG (as Raymond J. Walsh)
Mark Lawhead Mark Lawhead ... Shell Dweller
Robert Feero ... Chrome Robot
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Storyline

It's sometime in the future in a state controlled society, where conformity and homogeneity are the rule. What is also the rule is that the populace follows the wants of the faceless state without question. How this is achieved is through a mandatory drug regimen, which also suppresses human desire, with sexual intercourse and human relationships banned. The law of the state is policed by a force of robocops. The physical environment is totally within a manufactured enclosure, what being outside of this unknown. THX 1138 is a loyal subject, he who goes about his business as a skilled factory working building robocops. And even when he begins to have strange feelings, he does what is obliged by going to the state run confessional, which further brainwashes through its reinforced mantra of happiness, loyalty and understanding. THX 1138 is given a glimpse into the other side through his computer matched and thus appointed female roommate, LUH 3417, and her surveillance colleague SEN 5241... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Visit the future where love is the ultimate crime. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 March 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

THX-1138 See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$777,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,437,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut) | (1971 Studio Theatrical Cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Many of the electronic sound effects heard throughout the film are derived from telephone dial tones, pitch-shifted, and electronically modified. See more »

Goofs

During the car chase, THX's car is shown from the front stopping in the right-hand lane of two. A subsequent shot showing a monitor has the car from the rear, stopped in the left-hand lane. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Male voice (medicine cabinet): What's wrong?
THX 1138: Nothing. Nothing really. I just feel that I need something stronger.
Male voice (medicine cabinet): If you have a problem, don't hesitate to ask for assistance.
THX 1138: Yes, thank you, I'll be alright.
Male voice (medicine cabinet): Call 3485...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Credits roll down instead of up. See more »

Alternate Versions

The 2004 "George Lucas Director's Cut" contains several updated and CGI- expanded sequences:
  • The mosaic at the beginning of the film has been color treated and looks more like a bank of monitors.
  • The droid factory at the start of the film has been greatly expanded with CGI and we see much more detail of the creation of droids.
  • Many shots of the "city" have been greatly expanded with much more detail.
  • Several corridors in the film have been extended with more people.
  • The "Mind Lock" sequence has been updated and now has much more shots of the droids being created and new eye effects on Robert Duvall.
  • There is a never-before-seen shot of the police station.
  • The train scenes at the end have been expanded with more special effects.
  • The car chase scene is longer and more intense, with more CGI.
  • THX is attacked by new CGI shell dwellers at the end on his way out.
See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies of the 1970s (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Elevator Music
(uncredited)
from the Miracle in the Rain (1956) score
Composed by Franz Waxman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"Drug Abstinence Felony"
10 April 2012 | by tim-764-291856See all my reviews

In George Lucas' 1971 view of 25th century "life", it's not the taking of drugs that lands you in trouble with the 'chrome robots' (police) but the NOT taking of them, for this is a chemically controlled population and environment. And, as ever, a couple of rebels try to break free from these chains....

Robert Duval (THX1138) goes through withdrawal symptoms as he stops the pill-popping, gets his libido back and makes love to his mate, LUH (Maggie McOmie). In a CCT governed environment these felonies don't go unnoticed and THX1138 is charged with sexual deviancy and drug abstinence. It soon comes clear that his sentence will be death and his body used for organ transplantation.

Naturally, Duval and other inmates of the 'detention unit' decide to escape, through the labyrinth of tunnels and with about the only action in the entire film, in futuristic cars, all the while, the soul-less robot policemen in pursuit use pleasant pre-recorded warnings.

I'd not seen or heard of THX1138 until looking up George Lucas on the IMDb. Then, I wondered if a snippet of memory from decades ago of a nude couple in a huge white void being approached by robots was one of the very same. And, yes, so it was, and is. I don't know when, or where I'd seen it before, but the pertinent thing was, that it had imprinted something indelible into my psyche.

Which is a mark of a good film. Not the chases at the end, which to many seem to be the only bits worthy of mention. To me, it is the minimalist, art-house sets that are both the most disturbing and memorable, of rows and rows of technicians and lab assistants. The story now, has been used a lot by now so that it's hardly original, but back 41 years ago (yes!, almost as old as I am) it must have painted a very chilling picture indeed.

It's also quite a dour, solemn picture; contrast that to say, 'Logan's Run', that at least some semblance of freedom on the outside that the couple had sampled and wanted to bring back to their City. I won't spoil those who've not seen THX how code no. 1138 fares and whether he finds freedom, or not.

Overall, a sobering, intelligent and superbly designed film rather than a great epic, far-reaching odyssey that Lucas was to move onto, of course. There are big hints at Lucas' genius at work here, this being his debut release, such as the robotic policemen and the ideas that he was to take into Star Wars.

One then, for the George Lucas fan club and for sci-fi enthusiasts. Mainstream audiences may well be a bit bored and baffled. The script is often confusing, with either nothing said and visuals only to tell us what's going on or, as with the rantings of Donald Pleasance in the Detention Unit, distracting and unnecessary to the story. These faults aside, this is a good sci-fi film, one to jostle the mind and a good grounding from which Lucas made such an epic career.


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