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The Omega Man (1971)

Army doctor Robert Neville struggles to create a cure for the plague that wiped out most of the human race.

Director:

Boris Sagal

Writers:

John William Corrington (screenplay), Joyce Hooper Corrington (screenplay) (as Joyce H. Corrington) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
3,519 ( 304)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Charlton Heston ... Neville
Anthony Zerbe ... Matthias
Rosalind Cash ... Lisa
Paul Koslo ... Dutch
Eric Laneuville ... Richie
Lincoln Kilpatrick ... Zachary
Jill Giraldi Jill Giraldi ... Little Girl
Anna Aries Anna Aries ... Woman in Cemetery Crypt
Brian Tochi ... Tommy
DeVeren Bookwalter ... Family Member (as De Veren Bookwalter)
John Dierkes ... Family Member
Monika Henreid Monika Henreid ... Family Member
Linda Redfearn ... Family Member
Forrest Wood Forrest Wood ... Family Member
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Storyline

Due to an experimental vaccine, Dr. Robert Neville is the only survivor of an apocalyptic war waged with biological weapons. The plague caused by the war has killed everyone else except for a few hundred deformed, nocturnal people calling themselves "The Family". The plague has caused them to become sensitive to light, as well as homicidally psychotic. They believe science and technology to be the cause of the war and their punishment, and Neville, as the last symbol of science, the old world, and a "user of the wheel", must die. Neville, using electricity, machinery, and science attempts to hold them at bay. Written by Roald E. Peterson III <slz13@cc.usu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Pray for the last man alive. Because he's not alone. See more »


Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 August 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Am Legend See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$8,720,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Charlton Heston had approached Orson Welles to direct this. See more »

Goofs

In the film's very first shot, Neville drives the red convertible down the street & turns right. If you watch carefully through the credits (after he fires on the Family member), you will see that he turns right again at this exact same route/street corner twice more from different camera angles, for a total of three turns. You can triangulate the shots by noting surrounding parked cars (specifically small pickup RVs) and the streets behind the car as he drives. Neville is driving in circles or continuity error. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[the last man on earth wrecks his car]
Neville: There's never a cop around when you need one.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is a 2-minute cold open with no logos or credits. The Warner Bros. logo comes on at the two-minute mark, followed by the opening credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

The flashback sequence which takes place at the hospital on the DVD version is missing several seconds which are present on the VHS version. See more »

Connections

Version of Soy leyenda (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

'Round Midnight
Written by Bernie Hanighan, Cootie Williams and Thelonious Monk
Performed by Thelonious Monk
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Thought-provoking, violent sci-fi story.
1 May 2005 | by barnabyrudgeSee all my reviews

Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet, so the "Omega" Man is a round-a-bout way of saying The "Last" Man. Indeed, this violent science fiction actioner is a remake of a 1964 movie called The Last Man On Earth; in this version Charlton Heston assumes the role played by Vincent Price in the earlier film. It is a depressing - and in many ways thought-provoking - story set in a future where the human population has been wiped out.

Robert Neville (Heston) is the only remaining survivor of a worldwide plague, other than a race of vampiric mutants who come out at night. When the plague was first reaching epidemic proportions, numerous scientists were given serums to try - Neville was the one who got the correct serum, but he never managed to get back to HQ in time to report the good news. Most of the world's people went on to be killed by the plague, but those who survived have evolved into light-sensitive mutants. Every day, Neville drives around the empty streets of LA scavenging for food, fuel and useful objects; every night he returns to his ultra high-security house from which he fends off the creepy minions who come out to taunt him and, perhaps, one day kill him. The mutants are led by Matthias (Anthony Zerbe), formerly a TV newsreader, now an anti-technology crusader who encourages his followers to destroy the scientific and technological items they find, as he blames meddling scientists for ultimately decimating the world's population.

What's so chilling about The Omega Man is that Neville is gradually shown to be the real "mutant". He is the only man left from the world as it WAS; Zerbe and his mutant hordes are the evolutionary creatures of the world as it IS. Distressing as it is, The Omega Man is saying that in the event of a worldwide catastrophe human life would find a way to prevail, but the remnants of previous human life might need eradicating first. From the sensational opening - in which Heston screeches his car to a halt on an empty street and starts shooting at an unseen being in a skyscraper - to the climax (which is simultaneously happy AND sad), The Omega Man constantly raises questions and manipulates our fears. It has weaknesses - sometimes the metaphors and morals are too heavy-handed; parts of the film are slow-going, with an excess of talk which merely goes over plot details already mentioned; there are dated elements (music, decor, costumes, vehicles, slang speech) which deny the film its topicality over 30 years on. But, in spite of all that, The Omega Man remains a worthwhile sci-fi actioner and another cult flick in the Charlton Heston "shock sci-fi" canon (see also Planet of the Apes '68 and Soylent Green '73).


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