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.
When virtually all of the residents of Piedmont, New Mexico, are found dead after the return to Earth of a space satellite, the head of the US Air Force's Project Scoop declares an emergency. Many years prior to this incident, a group of eminent scientists led by Dr. Jeremy Stone (Arthur Hill) advocated for the construction of a secure laboratory facility that would serve as a base in the event an alien biological life form was returned to Earth from a space mission. Stone and his team - Drs. Dutton, Leavitt and Hall (David Wayne, Kate Reid, and James Olson, respectively)- go to the facility, known as Wildfire, and try to first isolate the life form while determining why two people from Piedmont (an old wino and a six-month-old baby) survived. The scientists methodically study the alien life form unaware that it has already mutated and presents a far greater danger in the lab, which is equipped with a nuclear self-destruct device should it manage to escape.Written by
The Andromeda Strain was a moderate box office success. Produced on a relatively high budget of $6.5 million, the film grossed $12,376,563 in North America, earning $8.2 million in US theatrical rentals. It was the 16th highest-grossing film of 1971. See more »
When Dutton, Stone and Hall walk towards the electrostatic decontaminator, they are shown full-body from the rear to be nude entering the chamber. The next scene, tastefully blurred and solarized, still shows Dutton and Stone wearing athletic supporters, and Hall wearing bikini underwear. See more »
The opening credits read: "ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This film concerns the four-day history of a major American scientific crisis. We received the generous help of many people attached to Project Scoop at Vandenberg Air Force Base and the Wildfire Laboratory in Flatrock, Nevada. They encouraged us to tell the story accurately and in detail." "The documents presented here are soon to be made public. They do not in any way jeopardize the national security." See more »
Earlier VHS releases showed the scene where Stone and Hall search the town as full screen shots cutting back and forth from them to the victims inside their houses, and does not show the shot of the topless victim. The DVD release shows both searchers and victims simutaniously in reduced size split-screen shots and include the topless woman both in that scene as well as in a later flashback by Stone at Project Wild Fire. See more »
I have always been attracted by science, since my early childhood. I remember seeing this movie and being fascinated by the science and technology on display in it. Today, as a MSC EE, I can see that the science in "Andromeda Strain" is accurate. In fact, it's the most accurate of all Sci-Fi movies I have ever seen (and I have seen the great majority of Sci-Fi cinema).
That's one reason I love this movie.
But there are other, probably subjective reasosn for my adulation of "Andromeda Strain": believable people and believable situations (no "last microsecond decision/action/occurance", no over-the-top behaviour, just human quirkyness, no one-man-does-it-all but teamwork and birth of ideas) and the avoidance of the cliche of only-1-will-survive. So, yes, I liked the script a lot.
I also thought the actors were good and the setting was brilliant. I am not put off by dated computer technology: the film clearly illustrates the computing capabilities at the beginning of the '70, and I find something educative and strangely reassuring in that.
I give it 10/10, and am sad that nobody produced a Sci-Fi as scientificly accurate ever since.
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