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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 »
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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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:

A Love Story Filmed on Location in the 21st Century 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

George Lucas has worked the title of this film, or parts of it, in some of his other films. In American Graffiti (1973), the license plate of one car is "THX 138". In Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), a reference is made to "prison cell 1138". The cinema sound certification his company developed is called "THX". In Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999), one of the battle droid's number is "1138". It is seen when all of the battle droids have been shut down. See more »

Goofs

When THX has his first scene with SEN, an unseen woman asks SEN for his badge and he hands it to her. Just a minute later, as SEN follows THX, the badge is back on. 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

The Warner Bros. logo is preceded by a trailer for a Buck Rogers serial (or in early versions, a one-minute scene from Things to Come (1936)). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Danville 2nd Ward Young Men: Showbiz Tour 2013 (2013) 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

Huxley and Orwell meet the French New Wave
18 September 2004 | by grendelkhanSee all my reviews

George Lucas has a fairly small body of work, as a director; and most of it is fairly simplistic, except this film. Lucas' first feature is steeped in the French New Wave mode of philosophical musings and strange visuals. Unfortunately, that doesn't necessarily make for an exciting film. However, there are enough intriguing ideas to sustain some interest, although you do have to fight off the boredom factor.

Lucas is, and has always been, a visual filmmaker. He is not great with actors and his films aren't noted for their performances, except American Graffiti. That was a more personal film, and Lucas probably had a clearer idea of the characters thoughts and emotions. Here, emotions are stifled by drugs and the wooden performances reinforce this.

According to Lucas, the film is the story of escape, told in three different forms: an escape from the drugs that keep people in check, an escape from a prison with no visible barriers, and an escape from the city itself. The final sequence contains most of the action, but is marred by the budget constraints.

Robert Duvall commands attention when he is on screen, but you never really feel like you get to know THX. Donald Pleasance, as SEN, provides a nice turn as the antagonist, of sorts. The rest of the cast is fairly forgettable, with only minor moments. The philosophical underpinnings of the film are often lost in pretension, the same flaw which hit the Matrix in its sequels. Lucas could have delivered his message in a far simpler fashion, probably with greater result. Still, the film does have its interesting moments and memorable ideas and images. The robot police are quite chilling, although they are used sparingly. The white prison is quite unsettling as well. The final escape is the most riveting sequence of the film.

The new DVD has Lucas' trademark tinkering. Only this time, the alterations help to add scope to the film. The city scenes are expanded to add complexity to the environment that was missing in the original. There are no fundamental story changes, as in the Star Wars Special Edition (Greedo shoots first). The commentary and featurettes help the viewer to understand the intent of the story and help to establish the context in which it was made. Lucas makes a statement that he would like to return to this kind of film. Given the disappointing nature of the Star Wars prequels, I wouldn't mind seeing Lucas take another crack at a more cerebral sci-fi story. My only request is that he works with a great scriptwriter.


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