A team of top scientists work feverishly in a secret, state-of-the-art laboratory to discover what has killed the citizens of a small town and learn how this deadly contagion can be stopped.

Director:

Robert Wise

Writers:

Michael Crichton (novel), Nelson Gidding (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Arthur Hill ... Dr. Jeremy Stone
David Wayne ... Dr. Charles Dutton
James Olson ... Dr. Mark Hall
Kate Reid ... Dr. Ruth Leavitt
Paula Kelly ... Karen Anson
George Mitchell ... Jackson
Ramon Bieri ... Major Manchek
Kermit Murdock ... Dr. Robertson
Richard O'Brien Richard O'Brien ... Grimes
Peter Hobbs ... General Sparks
Eric Christmas ... Senator from Vermont
Mark Jenkins ... Lt. Shawn (Piedmont team)
Peter Helm ... Sgt. Crane (Piedmont team)
Joe Di Reda ... Wildfire Computer Sgt. Burk (as Joe DiReda)
Carl Reindel ... Lt. Comroe
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Storyline

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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The picture runs 130 minutes!... The story covers 96 of the most critical hours in man's history!... The suspense will last through your lifetime! See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Death metal band Nocturnus has a song called "Andromeda Strain" on their début album, The Key. See more »

Goofs

When the two scientists are first exploring the town, we see a shot of a priest lying dead on the steps of a church, eyes wide open. Right before the scene cuts, the supposedly dead priest stops his dead-eyed stare and looks to the right, obviously moving both eyes. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Sgt. Crane (Piedmont team): Piedmont, New Mexico. Population, 68.
Lt. Shawn (Piedmont team): Come on.
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Crazy Credits

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 »

Alternate Versions

Italian version is 10 minutes shorter than original version (released at 130 min.) and omits many scenes from a subplot about a fallen fighter plane. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Stargate SG-1: Message in a Bottle (1998) See more »

User Reviews

 
Near Perfect
20 March 2003 | by henry-girlingSee all my reviews

Robert Wise is an under rated director but in his body of work are such gems as 'The Body Snatcher', 'The Set-Up', 'The Day the Earth Stood Still', 'Odds Against Tomorrow', 'The Haunting', 'West Side Story', 'I Want to Live!' and on its own terms, 'The Sound of Music'. He managed to make genre films more interesting and watchable than other more celebrated directors.

'The Andromeda Strain' is an engrossing film from beginning to end. It is science fiction, alien virus comes to earth type thing, but has more depth than just that. The scientists, played very well by Arthur Hill, David Wayne, Kate Reid and James Olson, are fallible and have real emotions. Yet in them is a longing to know, to discover, to solve. Most popular cinema celebrate the fist or the gun but part of the excitement of this film is the use of the intellect to tackle the problem. Brains and not brawn is key.

The early scenes in the town of Piedmont are fascinating. Nothing dramatic, only small details adding up to a large tragedy. Restrained film making is not common but in this case it is really effective. After these scenes the film moves on as fear and wonder grip the scientists to a satisfying conclusion.

The electronic music is just right, the sets are atmospheric, the hard ware plausible and the photography simple and effective. A mention should be made of Paula Kelly as a nurse, an excellent actor and shamefully under used in films. (She is great in 'Sweet Charity' too.)In a supporting role she gives an intelligent, spirited performance.

A near perfect film. Hopefully no one will re-make it.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 March 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Andromeda Strain See more »

Filming Locations:

Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (video)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) (Westrex Recording System)| Mono (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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