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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
4,615 ( 307)
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:

The Future is here. 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

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$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

For the final sequence, in which THX is climbing up to the surface, it is a simple perspective trick. It is not a ladder, but rebar embedded in concrete. The cast members are crawling along a horizontal surface. By tilting the camera to appropriate angles, it appears that the characters are climbing upward. See more »

Goofs

During the chase scene at the end, it is shown on one monitor that the THX budget is 3,410 units over the budget of 14,000 units (24%). A voice had stated earlier that accounts are to be terminated when they exceed their original budget by 5%. When the account/chase is terminated, we hear a voice say that the THX project is 6% over budget, which would be 840 units, not 3,410. 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

There are technically three versions of this movie: 1. The 1971 Warner Bros. Studio Theatrical Cut. Warner Bros in house cut 4 minutes from the film. This version has not been released on any home media. 2. The 1970/1977 Restored Version which is the version originally cut by the director prior to Warner Bros. cutting it for its 1971 theatrical release. This was finally released in 1977 following the success of "Star Wars" and later released on VHS and laserdisc releases. 3. The 2004 George Lucas Director's Cut with many scenes improved using CGI and some new shots added in following extensive work done by George Lucas and THX in 2003/2004. This was later released on all DVD and Blu-ray releases. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hardware Wars (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
2004 - More Than a Curiosity Piece
20 August 2004 | by GRMacESee all my reviews

This movie has been seen by most film buffs many, many years ago on late night TV. If you are like me, it was an interesting film purely as a reference point for a young George Lucas. If you remembered it at all, it was for the use of white space and the long periods during which almost nothing discernible happens.

Well, it is almost 35 years later (35 YEARS!) and for reasons best known to film and DVD marketers, George Lucas has pulled it out of the vaults. Instead of just transferring the original print to new film stock, Lucas has re-cut several critical scenes; added a tasteful bit of CGI; zipped up the sound track and film score; and, best of all, turned it into the best reason yet for digital projection. Whether this is the original version he had in his head as a 26-year-old or one that he has fleshed out over the years is sort of beside the point. What is on the screen now is definitely worth your $10.

Yes, it is still a bit tedious at times (in a '2001: A Space Odyssey' kind of way) and, yes, the plot holes and infamous continuity issues are still there.

But, Wow! The plot is a weird stew in which an allegorical Adam and Eve story is crossed with 'Brave New World.' (The Catholic act of confession will never be the same after you see it re-imagined here.) The crystal clear cinematography is a revelation. The characters' multiple layers are wonderful. Donald Pleasence's performance as the would-be leader/rebel is downright creepy. The way the camera lingers on a scene rather than quick cutting for effect is a welcome relief. This is adult subject matter and it is not what you expect out of Lucas. You have to ask why he didn't pursue themes like this in later films. (Who knows, maybe the upcoming Darth Vader fest will return us to the dark side.)

Be forewarned, this is not a casual film that you can sit back and munch popcorn while it plays out in front of you. This is definitely art-house fare by a young director finding his chops.

Many of the message boards and most of the reviews of this film point out how many elements carry over to later Lucas films. (C3PO, the climactic chase scene, drones in service to masters, etc.) For me, the touchstone is not for Lucas, but for the Executive Producer, Francis Ford Coppola. Many of the themes explored in THX show up in Coppola's 'The Conversation' three years later. Gene Hackman's Harry Caul character is a clone of Robert Duvall's loner forced to confront a faceless progenitor. See if you don't agree.

Though they are releasing the film to theaters ahead of the DVD release, the place to see it is in a theater with digital projection. Similar to 'Lawrence of Arabia,' much of the action takes place in the far corners of the scene and I can't imagine seeing this on anything less than a very large HDTV screen.


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